Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Shed (Page 1 of 3)

Fall Backyard and Putting Finishing Touches on Our Shed

The weather has been getting colder each day, and we had the second snow last week. The mornings have been dark, wet, and cold, making it a real pain to get up. So when I woke up on Sunday to bright sunshine through the bedroom window, I was happy and felt so pumped to be outside. Roxie and Charlie must have thought the same, because they came to me at 7 AM begging to be let out! So we all (except Slav) had breakfast super early and headed out for a play.

IMG_9779

It was the first nice day after a while. Knowing that another cold snap was coming, we wanted to wrap up a few things in the yard. Slav raked all the leaves and mowed the lawn. It was a whole afternoon of work but our lawn looked super neat compared to our neighbor’s:

IMG_9791

IMG_9789

Most of the leaves in our backyard came from this crab apple tree. It was a good timing raking the leaves since it just shed all its leaves.

IMG_9760

Charlie loves napping under the sun, and he always get dry leave all over in his fur. Now our boy can stay clean again!

IMG_9795

I begged Slav to mount a pair of vintage ski on the shed to dress it up a little.

IMG_9810_cr

This was the shed without the skies. It was already nice, but I think the skies added some character and made it more “us”.

IMG_9106

Aside from adding the skies, I finally painted the new 2″x4″ trims and exposed rafter and subroof. It has been 6 weeks since the roof was replaced, which left a good portion of overhang with untreated 2x4s and subroof.

IMG_9104

I started by priming everything by hand, but soon found that it was totally a mission impossible – the plywood subroof was unfinished and rough, neither brush or roller would work.

IMG_9711

IMG_9713

This little portion took me almost an hour to paint with brushes – not acceptable. I had to break out my paint sprayer.

IMG_9840

After finishing priming, I reloaded the sprayer with the brown paint I used for trims and birch tree stencil, did two thin coats from the bottom to cover the plywood subroof, rafters and the underside of all the trims. The side of the trims facing outside got two coats of bronze paint, which we used on the gutter, trims, and fascia of the main house.

IMG_9847

With the help of the paint sprayer, I was able to finish both sides of the shed in an hour and half, including the time to clean the sprayer between primer and paint.

IMG_9717

At this point, I decided to continue painting the back of the shed brown as well. The backside of the shed was painted green to match the color of the compost bins. However, the green exterior paint we used does not have as good coverage. The compost bins have since relocated, and the green wall by itself just looked odd.

IMG_9814

IMG_9817

I continued to spray away. In less than 15 minutes, the shed painting marathon was (thank god) finally done!

IMG_9842

IMG_9841

When we picked the paint colors for the shed, we had no idea that it would too get a new roof. Now it did, I am so glad that the color of the shed fits well with the roof and trims – the shed and the house now look like they are intentionally designed to echo each other, a happy coincidence I’d say.

IMG_9714

IMG_9776

With the yard cleared and the shed completely finished, we kicked back and enjoyed an lovely evening outside with a big bonfire. Our DIY solar chandelier looks so spooky against the naked branches! Happy Halloween, everyone!

IMG_9804

The Roof Project Completed!

Bing!

IMG_9088

Bing!

IMG_9122

Bing bing!

IMG_9098

Bing bing bing!

IMG_9112

Did I hit you hard with these photos yet? How about some before and after photos:

The main house front before:

IMG_6495

And after!

IMG_9098

Garage roof before:

Ranch House - 3

After!

IMG_9095

IMG_9094

The back of the house when we moved in:

IMG_6553

And the back of the house today!

IMG_9112

Our pipes and vents before, badly rusted and leaking:

IMG_6555

And this is how they look today!

IMG_9241

The brown trims we inherited before:

IMG_7975

IMG_8938

And what they look like now:

IMG_9119

IMG_9093

We chose to paint the trims and soffit with the same bronze color as our gutter, so the gutter can disappear on the fascia. The goal is to have fewer horizontal lines on our one-story ranch house:

IMG_9124

And being the same bronze as our front door, we made the front doors look taller. The goal here is to elongate any vertical lines on the exterior (doors, windows, so our one-story ranch looks less flat:

IMG_9243

A far cry from what we had before:

IMG_7812

 

IMG_7417

This is what the same area look like now:

IMG_9083

The gutter contrasts the bricks handsomely:

IMG_9088

And even better, we have the same new roof put on our shed as well!

IMG_9101

The shed roof came as a nice surprise to us. When we booked the roofers we did not know that their quote includes the shed. It felt like a Christmas in September when they started tearing down the old roof on the shed! Our shed could use a new roof – aside from missing shingles, the plywood sub-roof was rotten:

IMG_7280

The roofers torn it to studs and put in all new plywood and underlayment.

IMG_9104

And here is our new shed roof today:

IMG_9102

We took the opportunity to extend the overhang out from 10″ to 2′, so the firewood stored underneath are better protected from rain and snow:

IMG_9108

IMG_9106

We do not have anything stored under the overhang on the other side yet. But it gives us options for more firewood if needed.

The new shed roof conveniently completed the phase II for our shed renovation, which is a lot faster coming that we expected after phase I! I almost forgot how bad it was when we bought the house. This is the real before:

IMG_6825

Wow, right? Look at this lady now:

IMG_9101

As soon as the whole roof work was done, it has been raining cats and dogs for a solid week. The new gutters and our grading around the foundation are doing a great job to direct water away from our foundation. There was not a bit of moisture in any of our new window wells.

IMG_9115

IMG_9116

We are sooo glad that we have crossed all the things off our long, “water” to-do list before the fall rolls around. It was a long list and we did lots of hard work ourselves. I cannot help but having it here again, just so I can do my “Shift+Alt+D” once again:

1. Replace the leaky roof and gutter
2. Extend the downspouts
3. Getting rid of the front flower bed
4. Correct the sloping issues of the front and back porch 
5. Seal the foundation cracks
6. Seal all the exterior holes and gaps
7. Grading around the house

Now, let it snow! We are ready for our first winter in Colorado!

Setting Up Our Compost

IMG_8516

Composting is now in full force at our ranch! We had composted when living in North Carolina and it was pretty easy. We mostly did the trench bury method, with a bit of help from a tumbling composter. It reduced our food waste so much and we were so hooked. As soon as we moved in our ranch, I asked Slav to keep the grass clippings for composting.

Decide the location of our compost bins

We kept our compost bins in mind while working on our shed (here, here, here, and here). Slav got rid of all the bushes around the shed and leveled the ground at the back, leaving plenty of room for wheel barrel to go around and compost bins.

IMG_6965

We want the compost bins to be tucked away from our views. From our back patio and most of the yard, we cannot see the back and the right side of the shed, making them ideal locations.

IMG_8439

IMG_8442

You can probably tell by the way we painted the shed where the compost bins would go. Yes, they will be set up at the back of the shed. We need some covered firewood storage. The rake (part of the roof overhanging at gable end) of the shed is longer than the eaves (part of the roof overhanging the back walls). The back is also longer for us to set up multiple compost bins.

Our compost bins

We got this Rubbermaid bin from one of our many trips to Habitat for Humanity.

IMG_7956

This compost bin has an awesome design. It is 3′ long, 2’8″ wide and about 2′ tall on the sides. It is made with hollow plastic walls that are 2″ thick,  making the inside ~18 Cu Ft capacity. There are six plastic pieces: two on the top and four sides. It has holes all around near the bottom for drainage and ventilation, but these holes are not big enough for rodent to get inside. One side panel has a small detachable piece at the bottom to make removing the finished compost easier.

IMG_7627

I loved the design but unfortunately, this compost bin has been discontinued. Luckily, I spotted another one on Craigslist soon after and snapped it right away. Now I have two of them! The new one has lost its color on the top pieces, but it is still strong and fully functional.

IMG_8451

You can see our old window well there too. I plan to use it as a temporary storage for yard waste so I can add them in layers.

What to compost – C/N ratio is the key

As you might already know, composting needs both carbon-rich materials, such as paper and dry leaves, and nitrogen-rich materials, such as coffee ground and kitchen scrapes. The image below is an easy reference for what you can compost:

carbon-nitrogen-sources

What lots of us do not know, is how to balance the ratio of the carbon vs nitrogen. Too much nitrogen rich material leads to rotten compost piles and terrible smell, while too much carbon makes a dry and inactive pile which takes forever to break down. The right ratio is about 30:1 of carbon to nitrogen (C/N), and all the stuff we usually put in the compost bins already have an internal C/N ratio that we need to factor in. Here is a handy list for estimated C/N ratio for commonly composted items. You can see that fresh glass clippings already have a 20:1 C/N ratio, so does food scraps. Since we have mostly glass clippings and kitchen waste, my compost bins need more “brown” materials.

We have lots of cardboard boxes and egg cartons in hand. So they will be stored in the trash can we place in the shed until they are layered in the bins. This is also where the “window well” container comes in handy – we can dry fresh glass clippings before putting them into the bins to increases their C/N ratio.

IMG_8474

Setting up the bins

I assembled both bins and put them along the back of the shed. I made sure that the detachable piece at the bottom of each shed faces outside (the right compost bin has it on the right side and the left bin has it on the left side), so I can remove finished compost without working in between the bins.

IMG_8471

The window wells are pieced together in the middle for extra glass clippings:

IMG_8518

It is recommended to build “layers” when composting, like this:

build-your-own-hot-compost-pile

Our compost bins do not have a bottom and sit directly on dirt. At my first layer, I put down some cardboard boxes. They do compost, but I mainly put them there to prevent rodents from getting into the bins:

IMG_8473

IMG_8476

IMG_8477

Then I started layering in the compost bins on the left. First came dried grass clippings:

IMG_8478

Then a layer of food waste. Since my glass clippings was not as dry as I would like it to be, I did not add too much food waste:

IMG_8479

I then covered the food waste with more grass clippings and kept building my pile, until it was about 2 ft tall:

IMG_8480

Then watered it down:

IMG_8481

Putting the lid on and the left bin is set! This bin consumed all of our food waste and half glass clippings. The next step is to keep it wet and turn it a couple times a month. I am not gonna add anything new into this bin, since adding new material will make the breaking done process waaaay longer. Since I have two bins, I will add new material slowly into the right one while this one is cooking. Hopefully this one will be done by the time I fill up the right bin!

Stacking our firewood

Once the compost set up is finished, I turned my attention to the firewood piling up among the fence. Denver is sunny most of the time but still rains occasionally. We would like to protect our firewood from rain by stacking them under the gable of the shed.

IMG_8449

Remember the right side of the shed we reserved for these firewood?

IMG_8447

This is how it looks like now:

IMG_8514

With the shed painted and organized, the compost bins set, and the firewood stacked, my internal OCD is 100% satisfied – I now have the most organized shed, the coolest compost operation, and the prettiest firewood stash in the Highlands! Now we just need the compost to work!

Page 1 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén