Thursday, December 14, 2017

Blue Sky Smiling at ME!

 Are you in the mood for another of my DIY projects??

I mentioned I was freshening up Mom's Screen porch while she is away.
so I kinda worked on it when I wanted to and weather permitting.   I'm doing  this because it really needed to be done. It's not normally in this much of a jumble...I took this photo after I began sliding things around...


It's a simple lean to style porch, screened, and on a cement slab.  She had it added in the late 80's early 1990's? If I recall.  The uprights needed to be repainted so I did that I tightened up the screen in some spots...the screening needs to be completely replaced it has a lot of rusty crusty spots on it, but I think it can go a little longer...split up the cost since all the lattice and screen would need to be removed, new screen, and new lattice put up.   This time I'm concentrating on the ceiling and floor. 

You can see how it was exposed rafters in the humidity of summer it mildews.  I have to spray a harsh mildew killer up there to kill it otherwise the entire ceiling gets coated.

That photo ^above^ shows what I mean, the cleaned and uncleaned difference...and you can see how yukky it gets!  AND not to mention the nails used for this were too long and they rust and look pretty bad!! Even tho I didn't think I could enclose this ceiling by myself I decided to give it a try!  You know me I am game for trying.  I started with the roof overhang's a 2 ft overhang which is great it keeps rain from splashing onto the floor and it's perfect spot to hang plants in the summer.
That part was  pretty easy.   I cleaned the gutter and the trim around the roof edge too since that also needed to be done...Then I started on the inside, putting up the full sized sheets was a real challenge!! It took me to the 3rd sheet to figure out an easier way...the size of the porch is approx. 16.6 by 9.6 ft.  In addition to the full sheets an additional 18 inches had to be added at the low end.   

long board on left and swivel board right

I figured out if I screwed up a long board on the high end and a swivel board on the low end it was way easier.  With the long board in place I could lift then slide one end of the sheet up to the wall then drag the ladder over with my foot, climb one step up while holding the bottom edge of the sheet,  and reach up to swivel the other piece of wood over the end, and that held it in place like an extra pair of hands!  Instead of trying to cut out a piece for the ceiling fan I cut a long piece off the side of a sheet then cut it in half and filled in the spaces on each end of the fan...that worked out easier in the long run...

This is where I got a little slack with the picture taking...But to make a long story short back in the days people used to paint the porch ceilings blue to emulate the sky outside! So that's what I did. I know it's kinda bright! (think Montana Sky) If Mom is not in sinc with the idea it can be repainted in a jiffy...but it needed to be bright and boy--- it is!!

I taped off all the edges with painters tape and made a sky where there was none before! It's growing on me, but at first it was  It's so hard to pick colors under the florescent lighting in stores! But honestly it makes the porch seem so much brighter overall. 

Once the trim was up it really looked nice...and the bead board adds a character.  My hope is no more mildew to deal with every summer. The paint is a high quality and mildew resistant. I won't be able to get up on ladders and do that cleaning many more years!  Another thing I plan to add is leaf guards to the gutter I found some at Lowe's that I think will work just right. They snap in place NO nailing.

I painted the floor!  Again, I went with color!! The siding on mom's house is a very pale orange sherbert, and the porch wall was painted to match so that wall color was staying. I gave it a wash down.  I found a color in that first I thought safe grey but went in a completely different direction...I think BRIGHT is better.  So even on a cloudy gloomy day, it's cheerful.  Mom likes pastel colors, most of her wardrobe is pastels.  

I chose the wrong time of day to take these photos the southern sun comes in strong mid day...but you get the idea.  

I used the scrap to build a box to hold the recycle bins that are normally sitting here and seem to attract clutter...I had everything I needed to build it including the hinges that is great when you open the box the lid stays in the UP position, no head banging!   I placed it by the steps so we need only step out to put the plastic, cardboard, and such into the bins.  And it can be used like a handrail. This will help Mom make it up the steps that go into the house. 

The fan blades also succumbed to the humidity, and came unglued, certainly made it impossible to use the fan. I found 5 new blades at the Habitat Store for $1.50. for the lot. I did cut them down to the shorter length...I  brought one set home realized there was only 4 blades so back for a second bundle of 5. I think I have enough blades now to build a windmill!!  

And I didn't take any before  shots of the chairs, found objects that we have had and used for many seasons...we found them on the side of the road!! These got restained and glossy marine varnish will protect them and the oak round table.  Mom and I made the cushions years ago when we had the upholstery shop going...and they are still in good shape.  I cleaned them and dried them in the sun. We made the table base too, it's cedar, I painted that....and added rollers to make it easier to move around.   

                                                Hi Casey! 

We need one more chair around the table, the other one had a crack so I tossed it awhile back better safe than I'm on the look out. It does not have to match, it just needs to be strong and usable. Making it fit in even when it doesn't is part of the fun!  I also think some artwork is needed on the big blank who knows maybe an art project is in my future? That would drag the eye away from the ugly AC unit that has to be here, unfortunately.  
The new rug is an eco-friendly indoor/outdoor 8 x 6 ft made completely from post consumer plastics! Cost $19 at Lowe's.  I don't know yet if dog hair sticks to it, I HOPE NOT. 

The porch is ready for Spring!! Mom can relax, watch the birds at the feeders,  the trees fill in with spring leaves,  and always have a blue sky over her head!  

Every day is a new Adventure.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Slick Saturday!

Saturday was a busy day!  My sis was up when I got up...she was dressed I hadn't even had coffee...LoL.  I was on a mini vacation...
I wanted to stop by Oak Creek Pond one of my favorite ponds nearby...unfortunately it has not recovered from the dam breaking a few years back.  The water is back but I think it will take longer for the plant life in the pond to recover and bring back the ducks, geese, and grebes that used to be all over the place.  We did see one busy Ruddy Duck and a hunting Great Blue Heron. 

Our next stop was to the Campbell Covered Bridge c-1909 to hike the new 1/2 mile loop nature trail one of the scout troops put in.  

The trail was a nice walk in the's been a while since I have visited this site it is now part of the Parks System of Greenville.  Glad it is being preserved.  The next stop on our whirlwind Saturday was to the mountains above Traveler's Rest.  

                                                               view of Glassy Mountain

We stopped at this newly opened spot, Marci Jo's Old Mountain Store.   They have a simple menu and some very creative hand made gifts...It's a family owned and operated made all the fixtures, mom makes the crafts, grandma helps out, and daughter works the kitchen and cash register.  

A lovely spot for lunch! 

Since 2010 I've been trying to hike to as many waterfalls in the Upstate region of SC as I has been a long time since I made the effort...I have not given up on this challenge tho.  still a very real goal in my life.  I've been stuck at 55 for a couple of I was thrilled to added more this day! And especially 2 I've been trying to see for a while...I couldn't find the spot where the trail begins...BUT finally we did! 

It's really hard to find; someone painted this Blaze to mark it and that is new, would have helped me find this on the many times I've looked for this trail before.  It is not a long hike but it was challenging due to the slippery rocks, the roots, and the fallen leaves. 

This is Slickum Creek.  Maybe it gets that name due to the slippery terrain around the creek...The first falls is small but very attractive, named the Last Falls on Slickum. If you start at the top and come down the name makes sense. There is 3 more falls up the mountain, but that trail is located in a different place. 

The trail  follows the edge of the creek, and goes up.   And eventually after 0.2 mile you come to
Sweet Thing on Slickum.  It has the right name, it is very sweet! 


You have to do some butt sliding to get down to it, but it's worth it! Love the way it splits after the pool and falls again...really a small jewel. 


and the look downstream...a moss covered log leads the way 

Sweet Thing is about an 8 ft drop...would be a great one to stand under in summer! 

The woods here are a thick Rhododendron/Oak/Hickory type.  Difficult to hike around you have to weave over and under the fallen logs and the tangled vegetation...but it sure was a reward to see the little falls. 

There was enough of a canopy for me to try for a longer exposure...and I like the effect...

We got pretty hot since it warmed considerable this rose to about 70! Back in the car we drove with the moon roof open to cool off on the way to our next planned hike on the Oconee Bells Nature Trail a 1 mile loop.  This hike is inside the Devil's Fork State Park on the shores of Lake Jocassee.  A really beautiful man made lake.

The hike is also another woods trail...and the star of the trail is the Oconee Bells a small ground cover plant that produces small white flowers in the's rare and this is one of the few areas where it can still be found.   We want to come do this trail again in Spring to see the flowers...

A creek runs along the trail for a while before we ascend back to the parking lot...and I didn't realize till later this little water fall is listed in the Waterfall Hikes of Upstate SC the book I use as my field guide for waterfall hiking, this is the Oconee Bells Falls! CaChing #58.  The book contains 125 hikes, but many are on private those I probably won't get to see...but there's also some roadside ones I haven't driven to yet, and the rest are the ones listed as Difficult gotta get in better shape for mountain hiking. 

It was getting late when we got back to the car I snapped a few shots of the lake with the evening sun making it all aglow...

Then off we headed to home, the Moon was just awesome that night...

What a Great Weekend!! 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Monday, December 4, 2017

An Early Christmas Goose!

My sis invited me up to her home in the upstate region of SC, the foothills of the Blue Ridge, the Appalachians, and the Saluda Mountains! You may have never heard of that range I linked it up with Wikipedia if you're curious.  

Friday I left home pretty early for the 3 hr drive.    

I've had my eye on the ebird state rarities list for over a week as 2 Ross Goose have been hanging out on this cattle farm.   I was about to just make the jump and drive the 3 hrs and hope they were still hanging around when sis called and asked if I was interested in coming up..Perfect!! She lives about 40 miles from the cattle farm! 

some of the barns

The geese had been seen near the watering ponds and a few reported them across the road in a big grassy I scanned the pond area when I arrived.  

And there they were you can just barely see them in this shot here it is closer...

The fence doesn't allow me to get any closer and It's not a good idea to go tromping around on a guy's farm so I mostly stayed in my vehicle and checked through the open window...I did get out and try to get a closer shot...

The Ross Goose is much like the snow goose  one other birder later recorded 4 Snow Geese up high on the hill, I didn't see any I had hoped for a State sighting but didn't get it. In comparison the Ross are smaller, they have a shorter beak, they don't have the black toothed "grin" look of the snow goose.  So a good ID marker is to look at the beak, and the smaller size.  

HOW awesome is it that they decided to come within a 40 minute drive of sis's house?  They breed in the central Arctic...and normally winter in California! Don't you love it when the birds come to YOU instead of you having to go where they live?  That's #413! I'm on my way to 500 by the end of 2018! It could happen...87 to go? Anything is possible. 
Here is my list if you're interested in what else I saw at the farm...

Later we headed downtown it was so mild we had a nice dinner then walked around town enjoying the Holiday Lights and meeting some really friendly people who were out doing the same.  Greenville, SC is in the top 10 list of small city downtowns.  Since it was dark it was hard to get any photos of the waterfalls in here is a photo from one of my previous visits to the Reedy River Park,,,,it is super lovely at night since they have Holiday lighting up very nice with reflections in the water...something you just have to see with your own eyes. 

                                                          2006 Reedy River Falls 


We had Italian for dinner, then visited some of the of the Landmark stores is the Old General Store, c-1883.  All sorts of cool stuff! 

the Dark Corner can sample Moonshine and other spirits...

The Nutcracker Ballet was going on in the Peace Center.

I forgot my camera so these photos are from my sis's phone.   

We walked till our feet had enough and then headed home.after a Fancy Coffee Treat and even the Grinch was in a good mood...lots of plans for our second day.

CHEESE...only we yelled  Merry Christmas. 

Every day is a new Adventure.