Taking advantage of good weather: Getting loads of stuff done

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Greetings friends!

We’ve been utilizing the unprecedented ‘Indian Summer’ weather to get as much done outside as possible before we slip back into the usual weather we can expect this time of year. (Funnily enough, even the yle.fi news site has referred to our warmish autumn weather as *Indian Summer*, although I think that term is very North American) The crazy Finnish weather report says our summer was warmer than usual in most parts of Finland. Unfortunately, the rainfall was low here and this trend continued into August. What does that mean for gardeners & farmers? Well, it makes it tough to grow things with confidence – hoping for rain while your plants & crops are drying out is rather stressful!

*Usually* when September rolls around its common to expect a fair share of rainfall which seems to be an effort by mother nature to make up for amounts of rain not received during the last throes of summer. That hasn’t been the case this year. This is especially worrisome to me since I took the opportunity of good weather to do a HOST of transplanting around the yard. I also took the opportunity to expand a small border on the back terrace to knock out a cumbersome curve to make it easier to mow. While doing that we bumped the whole bed out another 2 feet or so.  Next, all the huge Mustila hydrangeas in there had to be dug up and repositioned. Yikes, they had become beasts in just 5 years.

I tried my best to dig up as much root-ball as I could manage, but on a couple I had to enlist Pekka to do the hardest part. Once they were out, they went right back in, but in new places. That was all well and good, but we never got any rain, and it’s nearly three weeks on and you can imagine how well everything is doing & looking at this point. S. A. D.  Maybe even dead, who knows! Won’t really know until next spring when something either comes up or …eek doesn’t!

Complicating the transplanting of those beasts, as well as lots of other items and lack of rain, was the loss of the well pump due to having to shut the water off for our demolition of the shed building interior. There’s a water line going out there and unfortunately our rather simplistic watering system is either on or off! I’ve been carting water by the bucket – the fun never ends!  After about the 2nd week, the watering list was reduced to just a few items of the greatest desire to keep, namely the Mustila hydrangeas and a decorative Pinky Winky standard. I have my fingers crossed they all pull through.

I was awakened in the small hours this morning to rainfall hitting the roof. The rain that had been forecasted wasn’t due to arrive until this afternoon, apparently mother nature had other plans. Fortunately, it was much more than the forecasted dashing sprinkle, and we picked up over 5mm. But now, nothing more on the rainfall horizon for another week. So much for expectations of September rain! Today is the last of September!

Another benefit of having a good weather forecast was deciding it was the best time to buy and install the siding for the shed building. Figuring we had about two weeks to work with, Pekka went *ALL IN*.  We kicked things into high gear and finished the remaining removal and install of new replacement insulation & breeze board to prepare for the siding.

The siding itself is pretty easy to install – it’s a tongue and groove planking that is just screwed or hammered onto the prepared surface. Because the shed is SOOO big, it does take a lot of siding to cover it – which means a lot of nails & screws, and finally a protective covering of either paint or stain.

As I wrote previously, the green breeze board had been going up as a completed phase of that portion of the exterior renovation. All that was  needed next was the siding. We still had sides of the building in various stages of renovation.

Realizing we could take advantage of the good weather as a time to get the siding on, things sped up rather quickly. If it was the weekend, we were working the whole day until after dinner time. If it was a weekday, we started once Pekka was done with work. One entrance door had been installed already by this time, but the other shown above still needed to be installed and painted. So we did that. Once we got the whole building prepared for siding, we got busy installing siding. Really, in only a few hours one end was already done.

As soon as the last piece was attached, I began staining.  This also went rather quick, believe it or not. I am using Teknos Woodex stain, in the same color as the house.

And so this process was repeated all the way around the building. Pekka and I put up the siding, and eventually I traded the hammer or drill for a paint brush.

You know it’s autumn when…

Closing in the final end of the building was last because of the difficulty in managing the elevation and navigating around all the plants in the bed. There are a bunch of roses and hydrangeas, as well as a crabapple tree in there.

I’m happy to say nothing was damaged, even though there were PLENTY of opportunities. The siding was eventually finished yesterday. Realizing last weekend we were about out of stain, I went to get more only to find out they didn’t have anymore in stock! I was supposed to get a call from our local RTV yesterday, but that call never came. Guess I’ll have to truck on over there to find the last bucket of stain in our area. So this is how things look at the moment. I’m hoping they don’t continue to look like this for long. FYI I’m done staining, that last portion is Pekka’s to do.

BTW I’m no expert in painting or staining, and I’ve no idea if I’m even doing it right. But I get the whole point is to apply equal coverage.  My ‘technique’ is to stain the boards right to left or left to right, a couple planks at a time, moving upwards once all pieces are covered. Making sure to get good coverage of the stain on the board is not too hard, but on this rough siding, there are lots of grooves, nooks and crannies and plenty of knots to cover over. Getting enough stain on the board to fill all those voids and inconsistencies, while also getting uniform coverage does take some patience and diligence.  Calculating my actual staining time  = 13 hrs.

With computerized paint/stain tinting I’m not so sure how much I need to worry about making sure the color from one can, matches the next bucket. BUT to be on the safe side I am using an *old school* trick of reserving a portion of the first can to mix with the new can to hopefully find a blend which is as close to an exact match as possible. FYI paint/stain is sold here by the litre. And in our case for large jobs it’s arriving in a 9l metal can – which would be about 2.5 gallons. Somehow despite my best efforts, I doubt I’m getting enough stain on the boards. Once that final bucket can be located and the end portion covered, I do plan to add a second coat to the entire west facing side. This is the side that we can see from inside the house and the side which will bear the brunt from the sun and rain.  Hopefully, that final bucket materializes soon while the weather stays good for painting!

Now, I have a question for our readers! What color would you paint the concrete foundation?

  1. same color it is, but a fresh coat – battleship gray
  2. black
  3. red like the wooden portion
  4. some other color -WHAT color?

Presently, the house foundation is also that same battleship gray, and in a few cases on the new construction portion still needs to be plastered before it can be painted. Eventually, the entire foundation on the house and the shed will be painted to match. What color to choose??

In this picture you can see the difference a fresh coat of stain will have when we tackle re-staining the house next year. Peeking out just at the bottom of the frame is the concrete bock foundation which needs plastering. I cannot say which is easier, staining a naked board or re-staining one previously stained. Does anyone know, or even want to know?! The thing is, everyone who owns a home eventually finds out, one way or another; Whether you are staining or painting, eventually every house gets covered in something, unless you’ve opted for vinyl or aluminum siding.

Did I forget to mention that about the same time all this has been going on, I got the notice about my bulb order arriving?? I am a compulsive bulb orderer. It is way too easy & so much fun to select & order bulbs, and much, much less fun to plant them! I did nip my order by 50 bulbs, thus reducing it to 655. Nevertheless, it took a whole day to get them all in the ground. One spot where we used to have steps leading to the roadside was reverted to slope last year, and I took an opportunity to smother that whole area with bulbs. It was an easy place to deposit a couple hundred varieties! But still so many to plant! Tucking the last ones in was a very satisfying feeling!!

Things are looking pretty good in the garden despite the lack of rain, (except those Mustila hydrangeas & the Pinky Winky) The blue skies have been welcome and the daytime temps were close to 20c most of last week.  The colors of leaves on plants as well as trees has undertaken a dramatic change over the last couple of weeks.  They seem to know, despite a few unusually warm tantalizing days that *winter is coming* and just around the corner. Already the ground is beginning to look more like, a ‘job to do’ rather than a green space to enjoy. Getting the rakes out is one of my least favorite garden chores. There are just way too many leaves, and most, if not all aren’t even from trees on our side of the fence! At least with the warm weather, I was able to keep the grass in good nick. Very tidy and the edges got re-done recently too, which adds so much to the overall aesthetic. I like a well-kept yard!

Enjoy the following highlights – they are fleeting! First a lovely Limelight hydrangea and heuchera in the back roadside garden. Below Ghislaine de Feligonde climbing rose

Until next time dear friends! ❤ Vanha Talo Suomi