~ For people who are passionate about respecting the earth, walking in nature, observing wildlife, local diet, making do, repurposing, organic gardening, foraging for wild plants and fungi, natural health, scrumptious healthy cooking, renovations, DIY, crafting, raising children simply and mindfully, taking time for stillness, and living in harmony with the seasons.
I am back home at the cabin now (since yesterday) and have been busy unpacking, doing laundry and loading the final batch of photos from the camera onto my computer. Here are a few parting shots of the natural beauty of the desert and Martinez Lake, taken on my trip to Arizona.
Martinez Lake, Arizona.
Below, a lonely cactus high on a mountain peak. (Taken from a moving vehicle.)
This shed is the main view from my study window and after a year of looking at it in a sad state I decided that it was time to freshen (and brighten) up the view a little. Below is a picture that I took one year ago. It’s hard to see but there was quite a bit of scrap wood (with rusty nails sticking out of them!) lying around and I also had this full sized basketball net that was way too heavy for me to move myself. As much as I like ‘old weathered things’, this shed looked a bit sad, tired and neglected.
Here is a close up ‘before’ shot. The basketball net was rescued by my wonderful friends and neighbors who live just down the road (who took it away, cleaned it, fixed the net and made it look brand new). The side door was bolted with no key in sight. The same neighbors brought bolt cutters and cut the bolt for me. (Thank you!) Now I can use the side door and lock the main doors from the inside instead of propping this heavy beam against them.
I started by cleaning, scraping and lightly sanding the wood. Then I used a solid exterior stain to cover the green paint on the top and door molding. I like how it quietly blends in with the old shingles and already makes everything look a little cleaner.
Then I put two coats of exterior grade primer over the doors. I originally had planned to stain the doors but in looking at the samples at the hardware store I found that I wouldn’t be able to achieve the brightness of red that I wanted… so paint was the next option even though it would require more work (six coats over all instead of two). Also, I excavated the concrete pad in front. It looks a lot tidier now.
Then I applied four coats of red paint. Yes. Four. With 24 hours of time to dry in between each coat. (A patient labor of love.) The first two coats looked horrible, they always do with bright or deep colors. Don’t let this discourage you from trying color. It is well worth the effort when it’s all done!
Today I painted the hinges black using metal paint.
I still have a few more little things to do in order to finish the shed. I need to continue clearing out the piles of bits and pieces of wood (and tar paper and garbage) on the side and back of the shed and make sure that the dirt isn’t piled up against the wooden walls. I will stop at Ellerslie Garden Centre sometime in the coming week to look at their pounded cast iron door handles and other rustic hardware accents. I will put a handle on the side door and possible something decorative for the two front doors just to break up the red a little.
This shed is special to me because it is the only original building on this land. It was here with the original farmhouse that was torn down to build this cabin about 38 years ago. It is a sturdy building, built on a concrete pad and foundation. It also has power which is handy as it is near where the chicken coop is being built. This shed houses the lawn tractor and stores the wood that I have salvaged for future building projects. I may also start parking the quad here. (I use the quad for shoveling snow as it is now equipped with a shovel -again, thanks to my handy neighbors!).
Here is the new and improved view from my study window. No longer sad and neglected, the shed is bright and cheerful, loved and appreciated. It even looks a little proud as it appears to stand a little straighter (if only sheds could talk). Below is the view that I am looking at as I type these words. Notice the uninspiring woodshed to the right… Another project!!!
There is a nice private little area on the east of the cabin. The dining room window overlooks this side of the house and this is where I hang my bird feeders and winter suet. The previous owners left behind a very large picnic table. It was sturdy but neglected and splashed here and there with green paint. After looking out at it all winter and spring, I figured it was time to give it a fresh new look.
Here are a few ‘before’ shots:
I began by scraping and sanding the wood. Then I stained it with a solid dark brown stain (to cover the green paint). It looks quite boring at this stage.
Then I jazzed it up today with some freehand painting inspired by Australian Aboriginal art (I have been to Australia twice and spent quite a bit of time in small galleries there). It was a very relaxing way to spend a few hours.
Then I added a kick of yellow…
Now I just need to protect it with a few coats of varathane. I love how it turned out and it definitely makes the area look more inviting. Not only does it add a touch of whimsy and playfulness, but it now feels cleaner when eating at the table and the red umbrella provides some lovely shade on those (rare) hot summer days. The circular pattern will remind me of my connection to all of existence and the colorful bright dots will cheer me up when I look out on those cold winter days, reminding me of the promise of spring and the joy of eating al fresco…