Thursday, March 31, 2011

Still not sure

Yesterday afternoon, I was certain I'd go with the orange (bottom right). This morning, I'm back to the "Tate Olive", bottom left. It's more green than it looks in this picture.

Don't hold your breath. Will probably change mind nine more times before choosing. This might just be a good indication that the right colour is not yet a sample on the wall.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Make up your mind, girl!

Bedroom wall. Decisions... Took oranges from the painting that will go in the bathroom, but I didn't like them when they were on the wall as much as I thought they would. And it was a cowardly day.

Went for more samples at the weekend; olive-greens, plus the bluey-greeny-forest-shadow that's top-right on the wall. Love that colour, but it's not the right place for it. Like the lighter green but it's a tad too pastel. I don't do pastel.

Which will it be?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Living room painting

Spent all weekend painting (half of) the living room. It's a beautiful satin, deep, grey.  Two walls are this colour: the other two, where the windows are, will be much lighter.

When I hired the guys to paint the tallest ceilings last week, I forgot that the living room has a high ceiling too. The ceiling is stained wood, and does not need painting, but the walls go high up into the point of the roof, and it's really, really tricky to paint the edge of the wall up there. I need scaffolding or a step-ladder that's twice as tall as the one I have.

Choosing paint colours

I found a painting that will go on the wall in the master bathroom. And I discovered the Behr iPhone app: you can take a photo, point to part of the photo, and the app finds the Behr paint colour to match.

Trying to find an accent-wall colour for the master bedroom. Took the orange from this painting, tried four samples on the wall, but they are not right. Going to try the olive-green and see how that works.

Sacramento rainy season

 My back yard borders on a creek, which usually is a tiny trickle at the bottom of a narrow, steep-walled channel, bordered by trees and grass and wild garlic. Sacramento stands on clay, which is full of nutrients for plant life, but which doesn't absorb water quickly.

The rains of the past few weeks have proven why the creek-bed is deep, and the area around it so lush. Within a few minutes of a rainstorm, the creek is full of run-off from upstream; torrential rain can cause it to overflow and it did that, impressively, last week.

The fence on the right is around my swimming pool: the grass to the left is (usually) the back yard and public right-of-way along the edge of the creek.

The back lawn at the height of the flood.

The swirling meeting of the creek: it separates a little way upstream, splits into two, and then joins up again near my house.

Dylan saw a mallard riding the waves, like a surfer or a kid on a fairground ride.

The rain stops, and a couple of hours later, the creek is back inside its bed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Painting underway

 Master bedroom (they are painting the ceiling, I have to do the walls).

 The room which will become the library
 The dining room (and the tacky fake-brass chandelier which looks rather cool under its plastic wrap will be replaced)

... and the stairwell.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Slowly but surely...

Spent all weekend painting my home office: it now has Lunar Light walls and ceiling. I like painting the ceiling the same colour as the walls. Not only does it look good, I don't have to spend hours trying and failing to make the corners straight. Lunar Light is an off-white with a greeny-yellow tinge... like moonlight.

Still have to hang pictures on the walls.

Chose the paint for the living room. Decided on a colour, went to Home Depot and bought five samples, came home and tried them on the wall. Still want to see it in sunshine but it's down to one of two shades of Bella-grey for two of the walls.

And today I have guys here to help. They are painting the dining room, "library", master bath and the stairwell--the places with very high ceilings that I would either totally mess up, or break my neck falling off ladder, or both, in the process.

Quotes for built-in bookcases came close to 10K$ and there's no way that will happen right now, so am going to IKEA. Still want to do the Tetris shelves at some point, but have to win lotter first.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Talk Turkey

It is turkey show time!

The guys are strutting and showing their feathers. They make a rustling noise and knock their feathers on the ground, as well as calling.

Putting on a grand show for the turkey gals...

... who they find beautiful, even if you don't!

I'm sure some Star Wars characters were based on these guys.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


This mourning dove has been nesting under the eaves of the roof of the covered deck since we moved in. We found a couple of small eggshells that had broken open, and I was looking forward to seeing a nest full of tiny, cheeping dove-chicks.

Over the past few days, I noticed that mummy dove was a little uncomfortable on her nest: she was being squished between the nest and the roof, and I thought that it was because she was carefully keeping her babies warm.

Then this morning, at first light, I saw her feeding her offspring.

It is almost as big as she is!

I only saw one baby, so I think that is the family. What a big baby!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sunday un-doings

Sunday was grey and drizzly, and the end-of-daylight rushed in so fast that it felt like nothing had been achieved. But it had: small steps, the devouring of the elephant one bite-ate-a-time.

- Found and bought a lawnmower, from craigslist. My push-mower (really push, human-powered) will not cope (or rather, the human will not cope) with nearly half an acre. And Dylan's going to be the human operating this as the lawn guy wanted 300$/month and left the gates open so dogs could escape. Twice. So buying an almost-new mower for a good price was the right thing to do.

- Fixed the nail-holes and cracks in the drywall in master bathroom and bedroom ready for painting. I woke up with good intentions of at least having the loo painted by end-of-Sunday, but discovered that the drywall repair paste the guy in HomeDepot recommended, needed to dry overnight... unlike the stuff I usually use that is ready to paint in a couple of hours. Oh well. I guess this is the best way to do it.

- With Dylan's help, set up iTunes and TV and amp so that everything can be played and shared around the house. Including from my external hard drive which stores all my music... and which refused to change from read-only no matter what we tried. I did fix it late in the day, but don't ask me what I did to make it work because I have no idea. Anyway, it works now so all is good.

- Sorted out and put away a giant box of T-shirts. I do not need that many T-shirts. Half of them went to stuff the Moroccan pouffe whose previous contents were thrown away before the move.

- Spent a little time on the spinning bike, and with Exercise TV. This helped firm up the plan for seating in the living room. Want to keep that open space and open feeling. Will be going for a couple of sofas that can be moved around easily, not a large sectional. I think.

So no huge transformations this weekend, just a little more foundation.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday in Citrus Heights

The garage is much emptier again; unpacked a load of boxes, tools and garden pots (only one broken), jump-start leads and extension cables and mitre saw and cast-iron lizards. Put the empty boxes on craigslist, and they were gone within the hour.

Planted some of the blue pots with corms/roots brought from Long Island; wonder if any of them will grow? (And then couldn't resist five bare-root roses from the grocery shop round the corner, two grandiflora and three tea roses, they're lined up in their bags next to the garage for planting tomorrow.)

Yesterday I found six almost-new plastic-fake-Adirondack chairs at the thrift shop; that was the cue to find/unpack the pressure washer, clean them and then try it on a corner of the deck. It does come clean! Under the moss and the ground-in dirt is creamy-coloured wood-grained composite decking. Will do it all when the weather's a little warmer.

Sunny, warm morning; coffee and yogurt and a good book in the sun, 9 am and warm... now it's half-past five, and the day is a soft grey, drizzle on the pool and on Bella's stormcloud back.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

... and some of our neighbo(u)rs

There is a large turkey population here! And it's showing-off season for the turkey guys.

They look just like the ones on the packs of Paxo stuffing.

The pool, and I cannot wait for it to be warm enough to swim

 The pool had been cleaned and treated, once, during the foreclosure process, but was again dirty and full-of-leaves by the time I moved in. The floating, solar cover had not prevented leaves falling in.

Now it's clean and blue again and the chemicals are balanced. Bad news: there is a leak somewhere which needs to be tracked down as soon as possible. It does not appear to be at the filter or pump--that would be too easy--but must be somewhere in-between or even worse, at the bottom.

But it's a really nice pool. About eight feet deep in one part, long enough to swim properly, and with a "spa" which can (if I win the lottery) be heated separately from the main pool for winter use. Right now it's waiting for summer to provide the heat.

First steps in the dining room

The dining room is to the left of the front door, and it was a rather-unique shade of red, together with stained (but newer-than-rest-of-house) carpet, and messy patches in the outdated popcorn ceiling where the roof had leaked.

The roof has now been fixed, and the popcorn has been scraped off and the ceilings smoothed, ready for painting, throughout the house. There is a company in Sacramento that specialises in removing popcorn (it's a textured ceiling that collects dust and cobwebs... also known as spider condos!)

Dylan primed the dining room, and now the red has gone. It's wonderful to have a grown son who can reach much higher than I can!

That chandelier has to go...

Beginning in the living room

 It's a wood-burning fireplace but it needs some chimney repair/lining before burning logs in it. Or maybe to be replaced by gas "logs"? Almost every room has sliding doors and access to the deck/patio/pool.

First week in the house, and the floors all needed fixing-up, before the furniture arrived. The old carpets were disgustingly dirty and worn, and the lino in the kitchen was torn and beyond-liveable-with. And there was carpet in the master bathroom... gross.

Can't afford what I really want to put on the floors--hardwood and/or porcelain--yet, so decided on some inexpensive utility carpeting and vinyl that won't be a tragedy to rip out and replace when there are a few more dollars in the bank. And I'll be looking for tiles and storing them in the giant garage ready for the kitchen and entry and bathrooms.

But before the carpet was replaced, the monstrosity of an "entertainment centre" had to go. It was built for one of those ginormous, three-feet deep TVs.

Demolition is a lot of fun. This was tricky because it was very-well built of 3/4" oak ply and sturdy trim. It's now fully dismantled in the garage ready for future projects. Apart from the bits that I smashed beyond repair. Sledgehammer karate :-)

New home, new blog

Welcome to my (new) blog... and new home.

Not replacing yet... it contains the history of my time on Long Island, the story of the transformation of the house, and (hopefully) things that will soon help sell the house to someone who will love the views as much as I did.

But this is a new page... and a new project home.

I'm back in Sacramento, in northern California. The state capital (with the Capitol). Inland port, Gold Rush town, Pony Express terminus, "cow town", river town, hot dry summers and mild damp winters where "storm" equals rain and wind, not snow-ice-hurricane-nor'easter.

I bought a foreclosed home, where the previous owner had moved out-of-state. It has its own history. It's tucked away on a cul-de-sac and nestled in a greenbelt with a creek and hawks and egrets and a million or two giant turkeys. It's also just a couple of minutes from the I-80 freeway, and there are shops and restaurants at the end of the street. The "bones" of the house are really good--nice quality cabinets, great layout, lots of garden, a swimming pool... but it's all been neglected.

The property is almost half an acre., and it backs onto a "green belt" around a creek (or a raging river, depending on the day). There are many trees, ranging from mature California oaks to citrus trees which are today heavy with fruit, and a beautiful Japanese maple in the front garden which is today bare of leaves. It will be exciting to see what plants emerge from the winter earth.

I want to fix it all overnight. But it's going to take longer than that.
It will be fun.