Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ceiling Painting: Round Two

Nothing but fun today on Flat Top. That's Mason on scaffolding,
with a headlamp and a ShopVac, taking on some nasty cobwebs.
Remember that crappy particleboard ceiling we started to paint over the winter? Well, we've finally got around to finishing the job.

In our defense, we had to wait until it was warm enough to no longer need the wood stove, which is now enclosed in paper to protect it from flying paint. Painting a ceiling is very messy, if you weren't aware. Of course, now that we've waited for the heat of summer, it's become The Job From Hell, because it's hot as hell at the ceiling of an un-airconditioned cabin with a metal roof.

To do the job, Mason had to build some scaffolding so we could reach all of the ceiling that's about 20 feet over the living room. That's him, above, vacuuming the cobwebs before we paint. After a day's work, we're maybe a quarter of the way done.

Of course, one job always leads to another here on Flat Top. While the scaffolding is up, we'd be foolish not to take the opportunity to refinish the upper wall on that side of the living room. That wall was never properly finished by the original owner. The windows were never trimmed, and the particleboard on the ceiling looks like Grade A carpentry compared to the quarter-inch paneling that was on that portion of the wall.

And that thing about one job leading to another? Once the paneling was down, it was clear some critters had been nesting in the insulation up there. Maybe we should just be surprised there WAS insulation up there. Alas, we'll be replacing that, too.

Despite the undertaking, Mason -- covered in sweat, insulation dust and paint -- was unusually chipper. "Look at us!" he chimed in mid-afternoon. "We're a team again!"

He's not the only one enjoying my new work shift, which is down to three days a week for the summer. Tomorrow, before I start painting again, I'm putting nine tomato plants in the new veggie garden, which is far from finished, but I just couldn't resist.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mom's Perspective

Here are some photos my mom took while she was here:

Good morning.
An afternoon dip.

Mom liked my bowl collection. Thank you ladies!

Putting in post for the new veggie garden.

Waving to a neighbor driving by while on one of our twice daily walks.

The conversation pit, aka Tiki Bar.

Begonias in my hanging baskets.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mom! And JIm! And Ralph!

Can you see the resemblance, beyond the white hair, that is? This is my mom's first selfie!
Clearly I need some of her bright lipstick, but Mason won't come near me if I put it on.

Flat Top was in full visitors' mode during the past few weeks. After Mason's ex and her friends, it was my Mom, who braved the hardships of life in the forest to check out the improvements we’ve made since she last visited in 2011. After a few days, marveling at all of the greenery, she remarked, “It’s like you guys live in a National Park.”

We kept her busy for several days, tasking her with helping plan the upcoming guest cabin. She’s got a real knack for design, so I’d be foolish not to tap into her skills. The only problem is she kept designing the cabin bigger and bigger. When keeping my budget in mind, I kept telling her, “smaller, smaller.”  

We finally got a couple of good designs, and roped off the area where the cabin will go. Eventually. But first, we’re installing wood floors in the main cabin, finishing painting the ceiling and putting in a new door and window upstairs. No shortage of projects on Flat Top.

That's Ralph, left, and Jim, otherwise known as Foti.
We're always so flattered by how many Minneapolis friends
 have ventured to our little cabin in the woods!
While Mom was here, Minneapolis friends Jim and Ralph braved our dirt road in their low-slung Volvo wagon while on a cross-country road trip. A frequent Northern Minnesota camper, Ralph is completely versed in living off the grid, which was cool, and Jim didn’t seem too freaked out. They even took time to take video of their urban-mobile cresting the rocky terrain. City folk!

I’ve cut down my hours at the garden nursery for the rest of the summer, hoping to maximize my fun -- if you call painting fun. And sadly, I do, which is why life on Flat Top is so great!

But for now, I must go outside and pull weeds. It just finished raining nearly 2 inches in less than 2 hours. No better time to pluck.

What’s Mason up to? Putting the finishing touches on his deluxe bat house. It’s more like a bat condo. More on that next time!