Sunday, June 8, 2014

12 Days On A Ladder In the Garden, Orchard, and Deck

I realized it this morning: I spent the last 12 days on a ladder. At least the view is beautiful from here.

The cherry and apricot trees in our small orchard came into season--more or less, this week. I harvest the fruit when it's just starting to ripen so the birds don't eat it before I do. The stone fruits (peach, apricot, plums, prunes) will continue ripening inside a sealed paper bag in the kitchen.

Our three apple trees are bearing an abundance of fruit, which means it's time to get back into the garden and climb back up on the ladder to start thinning them.  

Thinning the apple trees is an important step to reduce the load on the branches and allow for the remaining apples to grow larger. 

The apples are thinned to leave 4-to-6 inches between the fruit. It seems like a waste of fruit, but it's an important step to growing a good crop. (We thin our peach trees, too). Besides, this time of year the trees experience what's called "June drop", a process through which they naturally start shedding fruit on their own. I'm just giving them a hand.

Meanwhile, I'm busy in our family room repainting the 20' x 20' space in Sherwin Williams Harvester. Most of the painting could easily be done from the floor with an extension poll...until I realized caulking was missing between the tops of the dry and the ceiling, and around some of the windows. So back up on the ladder I go...

Just to make sure that we stay really busy, we are diving into re-roofing our home before the full-blast of summer's heat strikes. And The Heat Is On. The first step is to remove the old overhang, which we'll replace with something simpler. Next, we removed the gutters. That's when we discovered that the fascia boards had not been painted. Fortunately, they're redwood and are in good shape...but still in need of a protective layer of paint.

 Back up on the ladder I go.

We took our time to seriously contemplate how to remove the deck cover from the existing roof without getting smashed under it. My husband, and his engineering genius, worked it out perfectly so that the three of us could remove the structure in manageable pieces...and not die in the process. Phew!

The old gutters are shown in this photo. We've since installed new gutters around the entire home. The next steps is to paint and install the downspouts. Painting the downspouts now is a little tricky because it's gotten so hot outside. We're working around the heat of the day by painting the sheet metal during the cool hours of the early morning and late evening.

Come back to see what it all looks like when it's finished. Plus, I'll share how I made no-cost custom "farmhouse" baseboards for our freshly painted family room.

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