Monthly Archives: October 2008

Where there’s prey, there’s usually a predator

As happened last year, my flowering basil plants are aflutter with butterflies. No new species yet, but I did get a good photo of a Reakirt’s Blue. It can be identified by the row of white circled black dots on the forewing. The butterfly is hanging upside down on a basil flower.

But where there are butterflies in large numbers there are usually predators hanging around to eat them.

In this case, I found a new spider: the Banded Garden Spider. She’s already got a Lady Butterfly wrapped in webbing (lower right in photo) and was working on a Sachem (right) when I found her. This spider is one of the many Argiope spiders, that tend to be large.

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Tile, check!

As soon as the new mudroom door was in place, I set to work getting the tile down. I had to lay down some underlayment first to smooth out a dip in the floor near the door (nobody’s perfect). Then, I set all the whole tiles. The next day, I went down to our local tool rental shop and rented a tile saw to cut all the partial pieces along the door wall and the two pieces on either side of the doorway from the utility room.

The fellow at the rental store knows me by sight now if not by name. I’m one of few women who come in to rent a tool for a job they’re going to do themselves. He said plenty of women rent tools for their husbands.

I’m sure more women would do it if they knew how easy it was to tile. I’ve inspired a few women over the years to tackle a project they thought was beyond them. I’m not saying tiling is without effort, it takes some muscle, but the technique is pretty straightforward, especially for a floor.

I got the tile cut in less than an hour and returned the saw in time to get the three hour rate. It’s always good to save money. The cut tiles were quickly installed when I returned. The next morning, it was time to grout. That’s where most of the effort comes in making sure the grout is well pressed between the tiles.

The tiling is not completely finished of course, that will have to wait until the cabinetry is installed, but in the meantime, I have seamless tile floor running from the dining area all the way through to the mudroom door, and the little orphaned room finally feels like part of the house.

Another work day

Today was spent cleaning up the mudroom door jamb in preparation for the arrival of the door. Apparently brute force was used to remove the old door and the stone facade was damaged. Then they filled in all the gaps with this awful foaming insulation. It took quite a while to clear out all the crap and figure out which rocks had to be reinstalled.

This rock, upper left of the door jamb, was obviously loose since it had been lying at an angle to the wall, “glued” in place with more of the yellow guck (technical term). It was rather heavy to get out of there, but it’s ready to be reinstalled.

The other side was worse, because it’s a narrow wall between the door frame and a window. Cracks run halfway down the wall and the upper part wiggles. I think I can get away with resetting two rocks and repairing the cracks.

The prep work is done, now I just need the door framed in so I can mortar right up to the trim boards.

And here it is! We now have a proper doorway to the mudroom. It’s amazing how much heat a proper door will keep out compared to the 1/4″ paneling board I was using to keep critters out. I’ll be much more comfortable working on the room now.

We now have and unfinished, but functional mudroom.

Mudroom progress

I spent a couple of hours yesterday and today cleaning up tile I saved from the bathroom renovation and the kitchen floor repair, so I can reuse them in the mudroom. Tedious work cleaning all the edges of grout, but it’s saves some money, keeps the tile out of the landfill, and since it’s the same tile as the utility room, a perfect match.

Progress continues on the mudroom with the extension of the entrance wall to accommodate standard 24 inch deep cabinets. I also laid out some test tile to make sure I’d have enough, which I do!

The door should arrive on Wednesday and I’m hoping the installer will put it in on Friday. Then I can lay down the whole tiles and have a semi-finished floor. I won’t lay the partial tiles until I get the cabinetry in. First to go in will be the broom closet, so I have someplace to store that darned broom!