Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ice, Snow, Wind and Hail = Indoor Projects!

We finally got to enjoy our patio this Memorial Day weekend. Before that, the cold winds kept us indoors.

It's been pretty dry - except for the hail, ice and snow. At least the grass (or should I say, dirt) is getting a much needed drink.

We've been busy indoors - renovating the guest bathroom. Yes, it really is that orange! At first, we were just replacing the floor as it was stained. We needed to pull the toilet when we tore out the old floor - so maybe we'll replace that while we're at it. The sink was old and worn - so we checked into finding a new one - but they don't make that size anymore - so maybe the whole top - counter and sink should be changed. The old cabinet was custom built and not a normal size, so we couldn't just buy a new top - we needed to replace the vanity cabinet also. Out came the old one with the orange tiles on top - being careful not to mess us the tiles on the wall and we found a cabinet and top we liked to replace it.

While the room was almost naked, we decided to finish the job and paint the walls and ceiling. We had JUST enough paint left from the master-bath project, but he-who-shall-remain-nameless spilled the paint into the tub, so we had to buy a new can to finish the job.

Nothing is simple here at the Cruff house. The new sink is centered in the counter top whereas the old one was off to the right. This meant, the medicine cabinet and light were no longer centered. Down they came. Now we had a hole in the wall, lopsided plumbing and an electric box for the vanity light off to the side. Many adjustments and visits to Lowes later, we have a new mirror covering the hole and a light that is almost centered over it. The old toilet is sitting in the guest room (room with a bath?) and a new one is in the garage. We need to keep the old one just in case the new one doesn't fit - since the rough-in for the drain is not the normal 12 inches. Once the new floor is in, we'll find out.

I've still managed to get some quilting done. After cutting fabric on the dining room table - my back was a disaster, so my wonderful, resourceful husband found a solution - he propped up the legs with PVC pipes. It's just enough that I can cut in comfort. Of course, the table has to drop down when we have company - but that's OK. The old computer desk in the 3rd bedroom is my new sewing table. The set-up is not as convenient as I have in Florida, but it works.

These are the squares I'm assembling. They are the first step in a French Braid pattern that I'm adjusting as I go. The colors and patterns are fun to work with.

Our yard is finally looking a bit better. We still have huge brown spots - but there are signs of new growth, so we are hopeful. The flowers and pond help tremendously.

We have had more new birds in the yard this year then ever before. This adorable Yellow Warbler has been a daily visitor. We think maybe they like the neglected yard - or maybe it's because we have not been outside to scare them away. What ever the reason, we are enjoying them from our kitchen window!

The Western Tanagers are still around, but not in the numbers as we had earlier in the month.

This was another first for the yard - a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. We think he followed us home from Missouri.

The Bullock's Orioles have left now - but they stayed around for almost two weeks. We THINK this one is a first-year male as the females do not have the black on their chin.

We think this is another first-year male, a little further along with his adult colors. The bright orange one we had earlier this month probably had more Baltimore Oriole in his family tree. Please correct us if we are wrong!

The Magpies are beautiful birds - but they are loud and obnoxious.

The Lesser Goldfinches are just starting to return. We saw our first one over the weekend. All males so far, but we expect the females will arrive very soon. Last year we had dozens enjoying the thistle feeder.

The larger and prettier American Goldfinches have mostly moved on. We just see one or two a day now.

We'd had several Chipping Sparrows.

And this new bird. We THINK it is a Swainson's Thrush. It's larger than a Sparrow and smaller than a Robin. He feeds on the ground, not at the feeders. Please let us know if our identification is not correct.

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