Eric still had to trim out the square corner posts and apply the shingle siding. That sounds like it should go pretty quickly—it would only take about seven minutes on a home improvement show. In real life, it takes two months of weekends and 86 trips to building supply stores.
The caps on the posts did go quickly. We assumed our gender-specific roles: Eric cut the wood and screwed it in place, then filled the holes with stinky two-part epoxy filler that dries hard as rock.
Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Then I took over with the sander and paint, with the help of my assistant, Tara, who specializes in testing painted surfaces for dryness. Here are her results:
Shingling took a lot longer, and was occasionally interrupted by a trip to the store for more shingles (it took almost twice what Eric had originally bought). Tacking up the alternating 3-inch and 6-inch courses on the straight sections of wall went quickly, but when it came to the square corners, that was another story.
Eric had to do a lot of painstaking cutting and fitting, overlapping the corner shingles in alternating directions (one right, the next left), and fitting the shingles around the railings.
I really should say “painsgiving.” Eric essentially was doing squats as he fitted and applied the shingles, which caused a lot of muscle soreness, accompanied by moaning and groaning. But his thighs and the corner posts look great.
Inspired by some neon-bright plant arrangements I saw at our local Ace Hardware, I got excited about refilling the urns that I’ve always kept on the side porch. I managed to snag enough bright annuals to fill them before the fall mums and ornamental kale took over Lowe’s garden department. There’s an urn on each post, although the west one is obscured by the weeping birch tree. I’m hoping the flowers spill over the sides before the season is over.
I had to have this plant! I’d never seen a spilanthes (acmella oleracea) before. It’s a Brazilian medicinal herb whose floral buttons are known as “buzz buttons,” “Szechuan buttons,” or “electric buttons.” According to Wikipedia, they produce a tingling, numbing, or effervescent sensation in the mouth, accompanied by excessive salivation. I think I’ll pass, thank you.
At another garden store, I found Senorita Kitty and a matching pot. Couldn’t resist.
Then I went a little wild with throw pillows for the bistro set, and a couple of small turquoise and green planters that go with a red one I already had. I succumbed to some trendy colors that complemented Senorita Kitty, but these are colors that I’ve always liked, anyway. Now our side porch has a summery, south-of-the-border vibe.
I still need to decide what kind of foundation plantings I want in front of the porch. Something low and evergreen as a base, punctuated with some taller color. But, I will wait until fall to plant anything. It’s so hot and dry this summer, new plants wouldn’t stand the stress.
At last, we could check off this project as DONE!! It was time for our celebration dinner. Duke supervised the table setting.
Unfortunately, yellowjackets drove us inside not long after we sat down … but that didn’t diminish our celebratory mood. I wander out onto our reborn porch daily just to admire it. Eric did an incredible job, as usual, and I just did a little polishing … as usual.
It’s hard to look at the “before” photos. We took it from this eyesore …
To this beautiful relaxation spot…
It really is my favorite room!