Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Back yard fence maintenance

The back yard fence needed to be maintained.  There is an "alley" behind our fence, between our fence and the neighbor's fence.  Everyone wants their own fence.  You want it running along the property line.  But since the property line might not be exactly where it is supposed to be, the custom is to put the fence 4 to 6 inches back from the property line.  Then if two neighbors both put up a fence, you end up with an alley of 8 to 12 inches of "dead" space.  It gets very little light, and neither side can really get to it, so it gets ignored.

In our case, there were several "trash" trees growing in the alley.  The trees get tall enough to be over the fence, and then their branches start pushing against the fence, and hanging down in the yard.

So first thing is, I took off two or three fence slats.  Look for ones that probably need to be replaced anyway.

That gives access to the alley.  With pruning shears, loopers, and a saw, I can then cut down all the growth in the alley.

But of course, it will just grow back.  Or something will grow back.  It seems that if I want to keep something undesirable from growing in the alley, I should plant something that I want, that will cut down on other stuff growing.  So what would grow in a 8 to 12 inch horizontal space?  Crepe myrtle trees seem to be slender and grow up tall enough to clear a fence.

Looking on the web, I find "Crepe Myrtle Guy".  He's in Waxahachie, and sells crepe myrtles.  Lots of different types of Crepe myrtle trees.  He has a special package of 6 or 9 Crepe myrtle trees, for $6 a piece, plus $20 shipping.  I order 9 trees; all different colors (but two white ones).  I'm looking for a tree that grows to 10 to 20 feet tall.

I order them on Friday, they get here on Monday.  On Tuesday, they are all in the ground.  I spend Monday evening clearing out all the volunteer growth, and then space the Crepe myrtles 8 feet apart -- in the center of an 8-foot wide fence panel.  Starting at one end (the South and West end), I put in

  • William Toovey (Dark Pink)
  • Twilight (Purple)
  • Natchez (White)
  • Sioux (Pink)
  • Muskogee (Lavender)
  • Dynamite (Deep Red)
  • Natchez (White)
  • Tuscarora (Pink)
  • Catawaba (Purple)
So this pretty well covers the length of the alley

all the way down

In some parts, the trees should get sun from the one side; in other places it only comes straight down from above.  And there is no irrigation.  Or oversight.  And there are other plants that want to grow there -- especially some bamboo from the South, West end.  But either they grow, or they don't.

We replace the fence slats with 6 new ones from Home Depot 6 foot tall, 5.5 inches wide, and 5/8 inch thick western red cedar dog-ear fence pickets.

including one that needed to be replaced.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

New Blinds for Back Bedroom

After the painting, Linda wanted new blinds for the back bedroom.  The previous set were mis-matched -- one with a pull cord and the other cordless.  Also they were two different colors, neither of which matched the current (new) color.

But they had functioned well, so we got the same (type of) thing:  dual honeycomb shades.  I think the honeycomb shape should help insulate the bedroom from the outside temperatures.  And now the common one seems to be cordless.

So first we measured the window openings.  We did this before for the last time we needed a blind.  We are mounting the shades inside the window area.  Each window is recessed by about 4 to 6 inches from the wall surfaces, and the shades fit in that recessed area.

Measure across the window, from wall to wall at the top, middle and bottom of the window.  70 inches for all for one window.  The other window was 69 7/8, 69 7/8, and 70 inches.  We also measure the previous shades; they were both 69 5/8.  The shade needs to be a bit smaller (apparently 3/8 inch smaller), so that it does not bit the walls as it goes up and down.

The height is not as critical.  One window is 58 inches on both the left and right; the other is 57 15/16 on the left and 57 3/4 on the right.  Let's just call them both 58.  At worst one is a small amount too long, but that shouldn't matter.

Then it's off to Home Depot to order them.  Take along the little chip that has our paint color on it.  Find the person in the custom blinds area to pull out the book and look at the colors available.  We chose MyBlinds, which seems to be a Home Depot branded version of Hunter-Douglas blinds.  These are Light Filtering Honeycomb Cellular Shades. 1/2 inch Cottage Double Cell in Buttercup HC3 920.  Inside Mount.  With Cordless Lift (costs an extra $51.01 for each).  Total comes to $786.02 (for both of them).

They will ship to my home or deliver to the local store for free.  Given the size and shape of the package, I'm not convinced it would arrive at my house in good shape, so I ask them to ship it to the store and I'll pick it up.  The box should be over 70 inches long -- so about 6 feet long, but only 4 to 5 inches square in cross section.

We order them (and pay) on 25 March 2019; they call on 5 April 2019 (so two full weeks, plus the intervening weekend).  I put them up on 7 April.

Installation involves mounting 3 clips on the top underside of the window well.  Each clip is held in place with 2 screws.  Use a drill (1/8" bit) to drill a pilot hole for the screws.

Mount 3 clips, one on each end and one in the middle.

Then put the blind on the clips.  The front edge of the clip slides into a groove in the top of the blind and then the back part of the clip is a bit springy to allow the back on the blinds to pivot up and snap in place.

Then just pull them down and it's done.

Repeat for the other window.  Total time, about 2 hours.