getting ready for steel

August 9th, 2012

David and Joe have been prepping for the installation of the steel that will cantilever our deck. For the last few days, they’ve been removing the siding on the forward third of the house. David reports: “You can see that the original construction paper didn’t keep out moisture very well. The nails heads all show rust trails…”

getting ready for steel: siding removed


“Above, you can see on the lower right where the deck structure was repaired with pressure treated plywood in the ’80s. However, the object should have been to keep water out, not make a structure that could survive moisture penetration.”

Look what Joe found etched underneath the siding…

getting ready for steel: 1972



More from David: “Cutting the aluminum nails they used to install the siding in ’72 turned out to be easer than punching them in. I have a lot of respect for the carpenters that used these soft nails!”

getting ready for steel: siding nail removal


Once the boards were off, the boys added house wrap to keep water out temporarily — eventually all the walls will receive 3″ of foam insulation like the deck-end of the house did…

getting ready for steel: house wrap


With that done, attention turned to the inner walls of the deck…

getting ready for steel: deck walls await




















Now that the new LVL beams are in, the deck is rebuilt and the wall height  raised to code, the siding that goes on the inner walls can go up. David and Joe began staining it dark to match the siding below the deck…

getting ready for steel: staining the siding




















Looks to me like they’ll be busy…

getting ready for steel: siding in waiting




















The saga continues… but not today. Today the boys are taking a break.

two small things

August 9th, 2012

One is considerably smaller than the other.

1. Butt-thra is still fluttering around the garden, five days after her birth

butt-thra on tithonia





















2. The mystery wallpaper has arrived for downstairs…

wallpaper is here!




















It will be installed on Monday. Stay tuned.




monarch midwifery: day 13!

August 3rd, 2012

Hatch day! Got outside at about 5:20 am. Just me, a cup of tea and my iPhone. Right after 6 a.m., the monarch crysalis started to open. The stupid camera couldn’t seem to focus on the right thing, but you can just make out the split starting from the bottom…

monarch midwife_1: crysalis starting to open!




















Seconds later she popped out!

monarch midwife: moments out of the crysalis




















Note the tiny wings and the huge abdomen. Over the next hour and a half, Bix and David and I watched as she hung there pumping fluid from the thorax into her wings…

monarch midwife 3




















You can see her wings gradually grow while her abdomen skinnifies, all Jenny Craiglike…

monarch midwife 4



















monarch midwife 5



















monarch midwife 6





















Then she opened her wings. I could barely fit her in the shot!

monarch midwife: the wings finally open




















Scarcely over two hours after she began her transformation from pupa to butterfly, our baby took her first flight…



This evening I discovered the newborn fluttering around our sumacs, so she’s still here. Hopefully she’s enjoying our butterfly buffet before she heads south.


Addendum #1:

After watching Godzilla vs. The Thing  (also known as Godzilla vs. Mothra) last night, Bix and I dubbed our magical monarch “Butt-thra” in deference to our favorite winged monster, Mothra…

a shot of mothra from last night’s movie













Addendum #2:

Bix requests that you join us for a song before you go, okay?


FYI, If you’re not familiar with the Singing Science series by Motivation Records, check it out. Fantastic and fun. (Space Songs and the two Nature records are our favorites.)

monarch watch: holy moly!

August 2nd, 2012

At about lunchtime I posted that there wasn’t much going on with our butterfly friend. But look what she’s gone and done in the last two hours…

monarch pupa: day 12 omg i can finally see you!




















Can you believe it? It’s almost butterfly time!

projects update: built-ins + butterflies

August 2nd, 2012

Let’s see… when we left off on Day 9, it was almost time for our monarch butterfly to bust out of her chrysalis, fan us with her awe-inspiring wings and flutter on out of here. So what’s up?

DAY 10

monarch pupa: day 10




















DAY 11

monarch pupa: day 11



















DAY 12

monarch pupa: day 12




















So much for the 10-day cycle. Ever waited for a cat to have kittens? It’s kind of like that. I go outside and check the chrysalis throughout the day. When something happens I’ll let you know.

In other news that might actually be news, David and Joe are downstairs banging out the built-ins. Here’s your sneak-peek…

built-ins: joe and david at work



















built-in: record rack



















built-ins: bookcases and whatnot





















Once they’re in, David can tell you all about them. Also waiting in the wings: our murphy bed hardware. So there’s that to look forward to, as well.

One last note: the wallpaper decision has been made. I’m saving it as a surprise. All will be revealed with the fullness of time.


monarch, day 8 + 9

July 30th, 2012

Our monarch butterfly is still cooking on days 8 and 9…

monarch pupa: day 8



















monarch pupa: day 9




















I let our very rainy weekend stop me from snapping a shot on Day 7. But I have a feeling our friend looked quite similar to the above.

So is Tuesday hatch day? It will be 10 days since she climbed into position and that’s supposedly how long metamorphosis lasts. I may have to hover over her all day tomorrow to capture her emergence!

monarch, day 6

July 27th, 2012

I think I see the green beginning to shift a little. Perhaps our butterfly friend’s change to orange is beginning? Or I’m imagining things…

monarch pupa: day 6




















Looking quite a bit different from Days 1 and 2. Four more days to go!


monarch, days 4 + 5

July 26th, 2012

Our butterfly friend is looking fairly unchanged from day 4…

monarch pupa: day 4




















to day 5…

monarch pupa: day 5




















But I imagine there’s a lot happening in there. As it turns out, the pupa is clear and the color you see is the green butterfly on the inside. As she gets closer to “done,” the color will change to the bright monarch orange we know and love.

Only five more days to go!

Day 3


monarch, day 3

July 24th, 2012

monarch butterfly pupa: day 3




















Days 1 and 2.

another creature sighting!

July 23rd, 2012

We discovered a new garden guest yesterday…

monarch butterfly caterpillar: day 1




















Can you believe it?! A monarch butterfly caterpillar just beginning its transformation into a butterfly! In fact, it must have just climbed into place because it only takes a matter of hours for the pupa to form.

This morning, she had already reached the chrysalis stage…

monarch butterfly chrysalis: day 2




















I’m so excited that the kiddo gets to watch this happen. We just don’t get this Wild Kingdom kind of experience often in the city. So happy we planted our Asclepias tuberose (native butterfly weed or milkweed), as it’s the host plant for monarch eggs and larva.

Will endeavor to post a photo every day for the 10-day metamorphosis. Great visuals here, by the way, if you’re eager to see what’s going to take place.