Dog Days of Summer

Although we technically are in the dogs days of summer now, it hasn’t much felt like it lately. The weather here has recently been cool, which is a nice change from Houston’s steamy summers we’d gotten used to over the past several years.  Blaine and I have been taking advantage of it by working almost daily to get the house closer to move-in ready.

My Houston lemon tree is thriving in southern Illinois, so far.

Of all our little projects going on lately, first up was putting a new roof on grandpa’s old shop.  It was beyond overdue; it had a big rotten hole in it.

A long snakeskin found in the loft while working on the roof.

Laying new decking on the east side.

We installed the same type of roofing that we used on the house – standing seam Galvalume.

All done!

Now, I’m already thinking…. how to make cinder blocks look pretty?  Covering them in Boston Ivy is an option we’re considering. I also love the look of Creeping Fig, which was commonly used in Houston and green all year long, though I don’t think it’d survive the winters here.

Inspiration – Boston Ivy covering a wall at Deborah Silver’s garden design center in Detroit.

A little project with instant gratification that Blaine and I did one afternoon was install the ceiling fans and rest of the lights on the back porch

Another day, we burned brush in the pasture. There’s probably weeks worth of work in tree trimming, stump grinding, and general brush cleanup around the property and fence-rows. It’s out of control.  Anybody have some goats for rent?

Meanwhile, we’ve hired out the work for our wood flooring.  Downstairs we’re installing all-new hardwood in the main living areas. Upstairs we’re refinishing the existing wood flooring.

Half-inch sub-floor going down in kitchen/dining room downstairs.

Sub-floor down in family room.

The existing species upstairs is pine. I didn’t care for the orange stain that it had on it; otherwise it’s in pretty decent condition.  

Sanding upstairs begins!

Upstairs hallway getting sanded.

First pass with the sander in an upstairs bedroom.

While the floor crew has been working, I’ve been priming and painting our plastered walls.

Ideally, I’d like to get the downstairs completely done before the installment of the new wood floor as to not have to worry about drips or spills.

Dining rooms walls painted.

The radiators are getting some attention too.


After a thorough cleaning and rust-preventing primer.

More in the lineup.

One last project we’ve checked-off was taking down the drywall in the mudroom.  It was a two-steps-forward, one-step-backwards situation.  🙂

When new drywall was hung throughout the house, we accidentally hung it in this room – forgetting that our plan was to leave the original bead-board porch ceiling exposed and install shiplap on the walls. Oops!  So off it came.

Hello bead-board ceiling. Again. 🙂

This Monday I’ll be sure to take a break around 1:20 and step outside to see the Total Solar Eclipse. It’s all the rage around here now!  


We are in the “Path of Totality”, which should make for good viewing.

Happy viewing if you’re in the area!


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