Winter! (Or: All the things we said we’d do before the rains….)

October 13, 2009

The first snows fell in the Northern Sierras last week—and this week, winter arrived in the Bay Area with a bang, shattering the rain records as the remnants of a Pacific typhoon swept in.

This is happy news for our garden and our fruit trees, which have been gasping for water the past few weeks. (I’ve been holding off on any big watering efforts because our clay soil stays moist for a few weeks, and, well, the rains were coming!)

This is less happy news for other members of the family:

You're serious?

You're serious? Umm, that's okay, I'm good here, thanks.

And even less happy news for:

  • Our rain barrels. Yeah, they’re still in the garage. We just need to build them a platform, but unfortunately neither of us knows how to build a platform. Bleh.
  • Our rafters. Umm. A few of them have been Bondo’ed where the knob-and-tube electrical wiring used to be attached….but the rest still need to be patched and painted. Maybe this weekend, if things dry out enough before then (and we finally find a ladder that’s tall enough!) We lose major points on this one since it’s actually a leftover project from last summer….augh! (We replaced the wiring right after we moved in to placate our insurance company.)
  • Our bedroom windows. We still have not replaced these because I haven’t had time to go debate the whole permit issue with the City. (I did finally talk to people there, but got two completely contradictory, mutually exclusive answers from the two departments that are ostensibly supposed to approve our window replacement permit. Ugh. I hate bureaucracy!)
  • Our baseboard gravity registers. I took these apart three months ago to try to strip the paint off of them. Then I discovered that they’re actually broken (from being forced open and shut, I think). Then I discovered that when the heat was installed, someone creatively stacked a bunch of wood together to “frame” the register, and when I took the register off, the wood moulding fell apart. Then I ordered new registers only to discover that the size is off by half an inch. Argh. Somehow this needs to get fixed before we have to turn the heat on…

So I guess a busy work weekend lies ahead!



  1. I’d be happy to help you build some platforms. About how tall do they need to be?

    Regarding the register, are they 1/2″ too big or too small? I’m guessing too big since you said some of the wood fell out. It’d be pretty simple to tack some new framing in to get it to the right size.

  2. Thanks, Gene—we might take you up on that, actually, if you’re game! The platform is pretty simple (and our inability to figure it out says more about our complete lack of woodworking skills than anything else)—basically a foot high or so to keep the barrels from being in direct contact with the soil. The area where we’re putting the barrels is on a slight grade, so the idea is that the platform will also correct for this.

    Re: the new register, it’s actually too small—but I think the solution is the same. The heat was added after the house was built, and it looks like they cut out an area of the woodwork and then moved the moulding up to frame the hole for the register, except that they were reusing pieces of the old woodwork and thus it wasn’t a single piece of wood. (Interesting also because it presumably means the woodwork was painted back then—it’s not super noticeable with the paint, but without paint is blatantly obvious.) I think the way to fix it is still to replace the moulding above the register with an appropriately sized single piece, though. Another one of those “would be relatively simple if only we knew how to use saws” projects that will hopefully inspire us to learn! Still toying with whether or not the old register can be repaired (probably involves some soldering) but we’re still not even sure what it looks like under all that paint….hard call.

  3. I can even bring the tools 🙂 It sounds like 4 pre-cast concrete footings, a bit of 4×4 for legs to bring the low end up even with the high end, some 2×6 for the frame, and some bolts (for the legs) should do it. I may even have some reclaimed wood from the part of our deck I removed for the addition for some of the above.

    In any event, you can email me at designsinlight.com and we can figure out a day to work on it. Fridays I’m at Habitat and alternate Tuesdays at the Red Cross, but the rest of my week is relatively flexible.

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