Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Bulkhead, Windows, Groceries and Rain

In my last blog I showed how we yanked down the old shed surrounding the basement stair entrance.

Now it was time to ready the frameworks over the cement stairs, and put on the steel bulkhead doors.  (Steve found a used set on Marketplace).

Steve ordered up some treated planks from the local hardware store, doing a curbside pickup. He also ordered a big sheet of treated plywood at the same time.

With careful measuring, and walking back and forth, back and forth to the saw in the garage, he created a nice angled framework that was very sturdy and would endure for many many years.

Now the task was to get these heavy steel doors carried over and put into place on the frameworks. Usually I help him with anything that he is involved in. This was a job that was too heavy for me to help with!

We called upon son-in-law Waylen to swing by after work and give Steve a hand. What a relief it was for me.

These doors are probably way in the 200 pound range I think?  They carried them out and around the newly planted grass so they didn't have to walk through the fresh dirt.


 Then they brought it over and set them carefully down into place.

Thank you Waylen!

With Steve's careful measuring, they were exactly the right size and fit for the opening and his frameworks.  I know they look rugged in the pic, wait till they get painted!   These are normally around $700, but Steve found them used for $150 from a guy tearing down a house.

After he got them bolted down into place, using a hammer drill and special cement anchoring bolts, it was now securely attached to the cement.  Next he was able to measure and cut out and scribe the two triangle plywood pieces for each side.

Now it's time for my job! We asked the hardware store to get some more paint mixed up that was good for primed metal, and had it match the other red paint on the house. It took a couple trips back and forth to the hardware store, with curbside pickup each time, to get the paint matched exactly.  (even with using the computer matching on a chip of our other paint). Reds are hard colors to match.

I gave two good coats to the plywood triangles, as well as two good coats to the entire steel surfaces of the doors and frameworks around it. It sure looked a lot better with the paint.

Once the triangles were dry, Steve screwed them into place and I was able to touch up where he did some sealing and caulking, as well as paint over the heads of the screws.


I think I am imagining the grandkids coming over and sliding down it like we used to do on the one at my Great Grandma Anna Today's home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

We sure are missing the grandchildren...  let us hope these numbers continue to decrease in Wisconsin and we can start visiting amongst the family again.

Now that the bulkhead doors are finished, it was time to finish putting my cages around my tomatoes and wire tie wooden support frameworks to the tops of the cages. It helps keep everything firm and sturdy once the plants start growing and bearing the weight of heavy tomatoes.  I hope.

I put up the cute little white picket fences just to keep anybody from stepping into the tomato area, as well as the dogs if they are ramming around. They generally stay away and don't ever bother anything in the flower beds, but you never know. Maybe it will also detract a little bunny rabbit--- even though we really don't see many of those around in our yard. Plus this tomato area is located within the 4ft high fenced area for the dogs potty yard, so we don't see any deer or other creatures coming into that part of the yard.  I like that the rain barrel is right next to my tomatoes.  Easier to water them with good rain water, rather than icky city water!


Speaking of creatures, our two beautiful elegant sandhill cranes are back. They gracefully browse along through the yard nibbling on this or that, especially in the evenings. I think they are nesting back in the preserve land behind our home. But they come out here into our yard to wander around.


Also two blogs back, I mentioned about how Steve poured new cement window sills for two of the basement windows. I took care of re-painting the original gridded windows so they look really good again. Steve got them mounted into place. On the inside are the solid pane storm windows, and the outside ones will have the nice gridded panes for a better look.  Now we will have double layers for better winter insulation. This house never had that before!  The basement windows were single panes and we are sure there was a lot of heat loss in the winter.  (probably why the sills were so rotted)

The three front basement windows under the porch are the ones with screens to let in ventilation.  We have double panes to go in those windows as well in the upcoming winter months.

Now he will work on the two windows to the South as well as the one right by my tomato bed. They all need new window sills. The old wooden ones are rotten. So he is going to make some forms for the rest of these basement windows and pour cement window sills, just like he did for the other two. But that will have to wait until this hot humid miserable weather is past.

Speaking of the covid-19 and getting out and about, we decided on Memorial Day weekend that perhaps Sunday morning early, during the immune challenged and senior citizen hours, would be a good time to hit the local grocery store. We heard they had hand sanitizer as well as disinfectant spray in stock, an ample supply of toilet paper, and a bunch of good things that were on sale that we wanted to take advantage of.

It was really hard to make that decision to actually go out and get groceries!!!  I have had pneumonia over 20 times and have breathing challenges to this day, as well as being immune compromised after a bunch of surgeries. That is why we are being so careful.

This is the first time we have stepped indoors of ANY store since March 11th.

Our biggest worry was the tourists and vacationers returning to their cottages up north, that might have been in the store the day before.  But then they sanitize overnight and the morning is a fresh start. That is why we went early.

I am still feeling tense and anxious just thinking about the whole excursion.

On Sunday, Steve and I set the alarm and went to the grocery store at exactly 7 am. There were a number of items we wanted to get and we also were thinking that we would like to stock up in case we go camping in the near future.

We donned our gloves and masks and headed to the store with a plan. When we got there, there were only two cars in the lot!  Even still, we were VERY scared!

We got there as soon as the doors opened. We disinfected our cart in the lobby and went through the store.

I had my list all divided up by sections, because we know every aisle in the store.

We zoomed through in 20 minutes, getting just exactly the things that we wanted. They were only out of one thing that I had wanted. It's a certain type of spice that they only carry called Harvest Blend. Similar to Mrs. Dash.  Our cart was loaded with our choices as we rolled through every aisle as fast as we could go.

We scored three big cans of Lysol aerosol spray disinfectant and three tall bottles of hand sanitizer! They even had the big 24 packs of toilet paper of the brand that we like, and we were able to get the biggest container of Tide pods laundry soap. Lot of stores around here are out of all of that...

We got everything in the cart, and a few treats that Steve threw in along the way.  (he does that) We made it to the checkout with only passing one person in the store.  At the checkout, there was the only other person there. We waited at a distance while the clerk checked our things out, while the owner of the store bagged our groceries.

$247.00 later we are home, groceries all sanitized and sorted, and packaging discarded and put in holding area or the fridge in the garage.  Most of the things we leave sit out there for 72 hours, the rest of the needed items are sanitized to be brought into the house.

Then we both stripped off our gloves and masks and jackets in the garage. As soon as we came in the door of the house, we stripped off all of our clothes and they went directly into the washing machine. We both hopped into the shower without touching anything else in the house.

I am still feeling shakey and jittery.... Steve too.

But with the low numbers of only 30 cases in our County since this whole thing began, we have to start slowly getting back out there and I think we did okay.


Memorial Day morning started out with beautiful sunshine and some gentle relaxing coffee time out on the front porch.

We didn't plan on going anywhere, and instead did a few small projects around the house. We transplanted some tiger lilies from an unwanted location in the yard to make some rings around the bases of some of the big trees. Then Steve doesn't have to drive the lawn mower so close --- and the lilies kind of grow over some of the exposed roots and bumpy lumps around the trunks.

We walked to the far big backyard along the treeline, and pulled a bunch of big horrible growing vines and dead vines off the trees back there. Those invasive vines have bugged me since we first saw the property. They needed to get pulled out of those trees before they killed them. We cut and tugged and yanked and pulled until we had a big huge pile of them lined up alongside the gravel road back there. The city will come and chop them all up with the chipper for us. And all the trees, I am happy to say, are now "vine free" !!  We huffed and puffed our way back to the house, as the humidity and temperatures were rising rapidly.

We puttered and putzed with a few things, but kept an eye on the radar weather channel. They were talking about heavy thunderstorms coming up this way. The first batch kind of missed us over to the west, but the second batch was coming quickly and looked like it was headed right towards us.

We grabbed some blue tarps and clamped them down to the tomato cages, to make a barrier over my tender little plants. We knew the pounding rain was coming, and those little young plants would have been battered straight down into the dirt if we didn't cover them up.

Oh My!  The pouring rain came down and down and down! We got over an inch in less than an hour and it was just tremendously drenching us. It was coming down so heavy we couldn't even see to the far end of our backyard.

My tomatoes were safe under the tarps, and the rain barrel was filled to overflowing, even the overflow hose could not keep up.

Then, all of a sudden, the sun came out! It was still pouring rain from one cloud, but it was blue sky and sunshine right next to it.

I grabbed the cell phone and put it on video mode, looking for a rainbow. Here is what I filmed:

We never found the rainbow, 
so that means 
we never got a pot of gold.

The rain soon soaked into the ground and amazingly we didn't have too many puddles out back after it was done. Looking this morning, there's very little standing water in the yard. My tomatoes survived the storm, and now we are due for a couple days of horrible hot muggy weather.

This morning it is already 78° and muggy, we sat on the front porch for a little while enjoying coffee. Time to get back inside where the air conditioning will keep us comfortable for the next few days.


  1. I understand your virus fears given your history. Glad your grocery trip went well overall. We haven't been inside a store since early March.....doing the curb pickup process even though now we have to drive 30 miles to the nearest store that offers it. We're workampimg at Silver Lake, MI. Now only seasonal residents were allowed in, but so many of them are not taking this health threat seriously. We're wearing masks inside the office with plexiglass barriers and keeping our distance from our neighbors, even if they want to get closer!. The pool, bath house and laundry are closed. The governor may let us open fully by June 12, and I know then we'll be busy disinfecting the facilities often through the day since our owners are very caring people. Best wishes!!

  2. We are also being careful. Not as much as you because we don't have your health history but I feel vulnerable, anyway. I'm glad you are taking all the precautions.

    We got a rainbow perfect for this season. You can see it here: https://sandcastle.sandsys.org/2020/05/flattening-the-curve/

  3. I think that feeling of trepidation and fear will be around for sometime yet. I find myself, changing direction (when I can), to avoid coming in contact with people.

    We had a thunderstorm roll through here yesterday, first one of the season. It brought some heavy winds but thankfully do damage done. AND we had a double rainbow!

    Take care and stay well!

  4. Soon all your projects will be finished then you will have no choice but to go Camping.
    Be Safe but don't be scared. Enjoy the cooler temps heading your way.

    It's about time.


Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog! I moderate all comments so it may take a little while for your comment to appear.