Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Our latest concrete project

Of course, despite the November date and Thanksgiving fast approaching, we have decided to add another project to our "get done before frost" list. We are in the process of repairing our front step. The prior owners at some point patched the front step. However, they did not do it right-opting for quickness/ease over longevity. As a result, last year, the patched piece finally gave way.

This time around, Glenn used rebar. This past weekend, he drilled holes in the step, glued in rebar cut to fit, then wired the rebar together.

The epoxy takes 24 hours to dry, so we had to wait until this coming weekend to pour the concrete into a form (to be made). We can pour concrete as long as it is 40 degrees (and not currently raining). We are hoping that this weekend that will be the case.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Bulbs and Thorny plants

I finally got around to planting them. This year, I opted for just digging out (with Glenn's help) a whole section of the garden and planting the bulbs in rows. In so doing, we uncovered previously planted bulbs in various stages of grown. (crocus' and some mystery bulbs-perhaps daffodils). I opted to just add the old bulbs back in with the new.
I hope waking them from their slumber didn't mess them up at all.

I tried to plant some more bulbs in with the ivy. The ivy grew in too much though so it was basically impossible. I think a couple were just planted perhaps 4 inches (instead of 6) down. I'm hoping they still bloom. All in all I planted 100 new bulbs in our front yard-a mix of purple hyacinths, red tulips, snow crocus', dwarf iris, and tahiti double blooming daffodils. The crocus' and dwarf iris' are very early spring blooming. I think I read somewhere there's a possibility of them blooming in February! I'm really looking forward to that.

I also planted a barberry bush-a plant to hopefully deter possible plant or other thieves. At the very least, it should maybe hurt any intruder.

I bought the barberry bush before I started the massive fence project. For a couple days, it was sitting in my front hall. Promptly, it seemed to die. (shriveled up leaves). I brought it outide thinking it needed sun and water. I watered. and watered. and watered. A week goes by-nothing. I, of course, think it's dead, but I leave it there, hoping it would come back to life. (and I stopped watering it). And it did!! Leaves started sprouting up all over. I decided to plant it in hope that in its new home, it will be happier. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
The rose bush I bought, on the other hand, seems to be struggling a lot more. It has black spots on the leaves so I'm not planting it. Right now, I'm trying to figure out if I could winter it indoors, or if it's a gonner.

For good measure, here's a picture of the two boxwood we planted last week. One of my 2007 summer goals was to plant items in this section of the yard that would have some seasonal interest. In prior years, outside of the sleeping sedum, we just had the mulch to attract and attention. (now it's cocoa mulch). I still need to come up with a more complete landscape plan for that area of the yard. We'll see next year.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Off to the Market

Kane County Flea Market, that is! Saturday, en route back to Chicago from visiting friends in Milwaukee (we found out that this was even less en route home than we thought), we thought we'd stop by the Kane County Market. We had heard good things.

The Flea Market happens the first weekend of every month in St. Charles Illinois and attracts sellers from all over. (The ones I noticed included Minnesota and Wisconsin, at the least). The market was much larger than we anticipated. Countless times we would say, oh, lets go down that row, (expecting a quick turnaround) to find at the end of the row basically another football field full of vendors. (or so it seemed). In our quick little "run through," we were there for 3 hours. They have a combination of sellers out in the open, inside permanent buildings and underneath large tents. The permanent buildings are usually used for the county fair, and include names such as sheep 1, sheep 2.

I'm sure that every month the sellers change a bit. This time around we saw a bunch of jewelry (some older and vintage coupled with newer stuff), vintage light fixtures, tools, antique hardware, stained glass, garden planters and decorations, and random older items (such as vases, knick-knacks, dishes, toys (beanie babies and antiques), and cash registers). Pretty much everything. Sprinkled in with all the vintage sellers, were (1) food vendors (including baked potatoes, popcorn, hotdogs/hamburgers, ice cream, apple cider and apples); and (2) newly made items including dog treats, sweaters, garland and Christmas decorations, quilts, among other items.

There were a number of furniture vendors including some antiques, antique furniture that had been refinished, new furniture, and a personal favorite, new furniture made from reclaimed wood. There was a fair amount of furniture that looked to be well made, but very affordable. It seemed like a great place to go if you needed to get something solid. We saw a mahogany table, with 6 chairs for $200.

Before you go:
1. Make sure you bring a vehicle appropriate for your purchases. If you are looking for furniture, a truck or van would be a great idea. (and we saw a lot of them in the parking lot).
2. If you think you may buy something, bring a shopping cart. We saw a number of people with the folding shopping carts you would see in the city. (clearly they had come before) It makes that puchase decision all the easier.
3. Wear comfortable shoes.
4. Have an idea about what you want. There's a lot of ground to cover in a relatively short time. It would be a lot easier if you knew that you wanted a nightstand, or something to put on your living room wall, or vintage toys. It's hard to look at everything at once. I saw a lot of "neat" items that I didn't have a place for.
5. Remember it's a market not a brick and mortar store. That being the case, haggling is the game. Sure, a lot of items have prices but unless it says "firm price" it isn't.
6. The Antiques Roadshow advice. (I remember this from an episode they had showing how to navigate a flea market). Talk to the seller-get a sense of what he/she is saying is true, and whatever he/she might know about the particular item. Buy what you like and don't necessarily buy what you think you can sell to make money. Sure, there are those finds-hidden in the rough items that will sell big at auction. However, there are a lot of items out there that you may think would be worth money, but aren't. If you are looking to really make money, know what you are buying.

Oh, yeah, we didn't get anything. We didn't know enough about stuff we may have been interested to know if items were reasonably priced and are stuffed to our gills in our house as is. We weren't opposed to getting anything-just nothing jumped out as a "must have this." (plus, that long walk back to the car didn't encourage us to buy anything). But, we had fun, and that's what's important.