Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Construction Update #32

We were blessed with a delightful dry evening tonight, and predicted dry weather overnight, so Karen and I finished off the first coat of paint on the barn. Now on to the second coat!

Corn in the backyard 2009, week 10

July 26

The ears are maturing nicely and the stalks keep getting taller. The tallest tassels measured 118 inches, which is just shy of ten feet, or as someone once said, " high as an elephant's eye..." Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Construction Update #31

I realized I've been negligent in showing images of the barn from the roof of the house.

This shot was taken last Thursday evening showing the progress, but not quite completion, of the first coat of paint.

Just for grins here's a re-post of an image of the same part of the yard taken on June 11, 2008. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Corn in the backyard 2009, week 9

July 19

Last week I said we'd be watching for tassels and a few days later, there they were! Tassels are only part of the process of growing corn, another important part is...

...ears! As you can see those are starting to pop out too. Even so, farmers don't make a living selling tassels, or stalks, or even ears, but the kernels that grow on the ears. We'll keep our eyes open for evidence that kernels are developing, because that's the whole reason for growing these plants.

Finally, for the record, the corn continues to grow taller, measuring 103 inches at the highest point this week. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


God has blessed us with some relatively dry weather recently, so we broke out the paint and attacked the barn. Unfortunately the "one-coat" paint we purchased is going to require more than one coat, but at least we're not paying someone by the hour to apply it. All the girls sprung into action Saturday morning, and we made good progress, but we still have plenty of painting before we can call this one finished.

Since we have so many high surfaces we are doing a lot of the painting from ladders, which is slow and requires moving heavy ladders frequently. It didn't take too many minutes of painting before we came to a few solid conclusions: (1) pre-painted siding looks like a very attractive option; (2) the next time we build a barn we will paint the siding before it's attached; and (3) building a structure with all the painted surfaces accessible while standing on the ground is a very sensible thing to do.

Here's Karen attacking the north side with vigor. The paint is pink when wet, and dries to a "Brite Red" shade that is appropriately named. Kind of makes me wonder why barns were traditionally painted red: so cattle could find their way home in a snowstorm? Nonetheless, our barn will soon be the brightest red barn in the neighborhood in case you're trying to find our place -- like from an airplane, or the space shuttle, or something.... Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Corn in the backyard 2009, week 8

July 12

The view out the backyard is officially obscured as the corn continues to prosper. The taller leaves in the picture measure about 90 inches which represents another 18 inches of growth since last week. Even though we expect the stalks to keep growing, we're also closely watching for tassels. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

When technology lets you down

I've had so much fun with the pressure washer lately that I thought there was no job too tough for its 1,600 psi stream of water. Then I tried it on the barn siding. The dirt you see at the bottom of the siding is due to six months of rain running off the roof before we put the gutters on. Unfortunately the pressure washer barely budged the dirt. The small clean section just to the left of the window is where I scrubbed by hand with a plastic brush. The brush seemed to do the trick so I circumnavigated the barn with a garden hose in one hand and the scrub brush in the other.




We're removing the dirt now in preparation for painting the siding. What you see now is the primer that is applied to the cement board siding by the manufacturer. The light gray color is kinda pretty in a way, but the siding ought to have some paint on it to help it last longer. If we get a stretch of dry weather sometime this summer we hope to post some painting pictures. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Corn in the backyard 2009, week 7

July 5

I would call this at least shoulder high by the 4th of July. In fact the leaf hovering over my right shoulder measured 72 inches tall, a gain of 24 inches in one week even though the temperatures were mostly well below normal. In the top photo you can see that the farm across the highway is all but obscured from view, making our privacy fence very effective, but not nearly as tall as we expect it to be. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Deck Maintenance, Phase 3

It was well over a month ago that we posted the first two phases of our deck maintenance which left the deck in a clean but unstained state. A few days after cleaning we had enough dry weather to apply the first coat of stain. The instructions on the can told us to apply the stain when it would not see rain for the next 24 hours. So we waited.

In our part of Illinois this year we haven't had many periods where rain was unlikely for two days in a row. This week the weather was not too hot, and the radar looked promising, so Karen and the girls diligently covered everything with what we hope is the last coat. I think they did a marvelous job. The manufacturer advertised this product as "8 year stain," so I'm hoping we get at least two years out of the stain before it needs attention. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More meteorological marvels

Even though I appreciate cool weather, the summer can't be beat for impressive cloud formations. These images are over a month old, but we were awed enough one evening to break out the camera and record some of the marvels of God's created order.

When we see towering clouds like this it usually means someone underneath those clouds is experiencing a pretty powerful thunderstorm.

The filtering of the sun's rays in this shot make you feel like the sun is sitting right on top of the clouds and angels are ready to come running down those sunbeams. Thanks for visiting!

Beautiful sunrise #9

July 2, 5:42 AM