September 3, 4, & 5, 2008—Gravel in the courtyard, floor in the kitchen

Wednesday, I arrived to find a giant pile of crushed rock destined for the courtyard sitting in front of the house.

Kai was also going to use some of this to smooth out the ramp up to the barn back door.

I also took a better picture of the two sets of rocks at the top of the road down to the pond. The rocks on the left were placed by the finish graders just last week. Probably they will get some more Mexican sage planted in them, since that seems to do very well.

I walked down to the silt pond before it got too hot, to check out how the graders had finished it. I was astonished to find it full of water. They must have nicked a vein of spring water when digging it out. It was still several inches deep even with the terrific heat wave we have been having.

I was a little concerned about all the loose dirt in the silt pond and discussed it with my assistant. We have decided to rip-rap it, so I am ordering 3 pallets of rocks to line it with.

The exterior lights had arrived and looked great. The one in this photo will be installed on the carport walkway.
Kai and his assistant spent the morning hiking gravel into the courtyard and compacting it with a vibra-plate.
Here is how it looked when they were done.
Next, my assistant will install flagstone on top of the gravel and fill the beds with potting soil.
The flashing contractor had been by to install the finishing touches on the parapet flashing and he also dropped off some parts of our beautiful copper down-spouts. Here they are sitting in the living room awaiting installation.

I have been agonizing over can trims for our ceiling lights. I never really looked at cans before and had no idea what to use for trim—especially since all the houses I have lived in have been so old that we were lucky if we got a ceiling light at all.

Anyway, this one is lined with a pale gold reflector, which looks warmer against the ceiling than the ones with silver lining. We are going to use this trim for the cans with the fluorescent bulbs because they are so narrow, you see a lot of the inside of the can.

I have been trying to find time to paint the garland on the range hood for a couple of weeks and finally got time after everyone left to start on it.

First, I figured where on the front of the hood I wanted to locate the garland, then marked it with chalk and taped out the area to be painted with blue tape.

The next day, I got some plastic from Kai and made a shield for the top and bottom of the range hood. The plaster is unfinished and pretty porous so if I dripped on it, it would show forever. I am kind of sloppy so I decided to be safe instead of sorry, and added the shield.

If you look closely, you will also see a red line next to the blue tape at the top and bottom of the area to be painted. That border line was what I painted this evening. I had previously mixed big batches of the paint colors I would be using. I wante to have enough of each color premixed so not try to have to match a color in the middle of painting. The lines did not come out super straight, but from a distance, they look OK.

If you look up toward the barn, you can see what Kai and his assistant also did today besides the courtyard. They improved the access to the back door of the barn a lot.

Here is a closer view. We plan to extend the retaining wall and curve it out to echo the other end. Then we plan to build another retaining wall from the front of the propane tank lid along the bottom of the hill running along the back of the carport and continuing along the side of the house.

This will keep any sluff from the bank from running down and mucking up the path. The wall behind the barn did an excellent job of this last winter.

I would also like to get the bank covered in cardboard and straw like we have behind the barn which really seems to keep it from sluffing as well.

To see more progress from this week—click here  
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