Thursday, April 26, 2018

Brick Oven: It's finally finished!

We are delighted to finally have this oven finished and Done!

Alan got the last of the tiles laid and grouting finished in early April; cleaned and sealed the tiles over the next couple of weeks. I put the remaining coats of paint on and did some touch-ups here and there.

Here's a fire about to be lit, inside the dome.

We test fired it last Sunday and it all worked very nicely, we enjoyed some hot delicious breads and pizza. Yay!

And here it is again - doesn't it look pretty? - all stocked up with wood and ready to cook :-)


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Brick Oven: Glass and Tile

I made some glass tiles for the corners of the oven.

Alan chose some beautiful Mexican terra-cotta tile to go onto the floor of the wood store and around the base. He cut them all up on the tile saw and managed to get some of them attached before the weather window closed again for the winter.

Somewhere in here we got the base painted, too, in a dark orange color. And the wooden surround of the shelf was stained in a dark brown wood preserver coating.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Brick Oven: Stucco and Paint

Well, it only took two years to get a suitable weather window, but we finally got the stucco onto the dome. Yay, no more tarp!

First up was the base coat of regular stucco.

Then Alan finished it with a coat of fine stucco.

I used our 3D printer to make a set of stamps, and printed stamp shapes into the dome :-)

Next up was some paint. We chose colors to match the house, so we have a light straw beige for the dome itself.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Some gratuitous cat pictures

It's been such lovely weather this Spring that we have spent some time sitting outside, and sometimes I've taken my long lens out with me. And then the cats come and hang out with us...

Portrait of Sunshine

Portrait of Smokey

Smokey languishing

And prowling

Meanwhile, Sunshine has taken over the old barbecue table...

Smokey is watching the birds

Calm; before...

The inevitable storm...

Some Creatures

I've found a few various creatures in my camera lens recently. Let's see what we have here.

This Opossum showed up in my game camera. We also saw a suspected skunk; at least, the blurry shape was black and white, and judging from the smells the next morning, I don't think it was the local cat.

Here's a Great Horned Owl that alighted in our tree the other night. I happened to see her land; the motion looked unfamiliar - not a vulture - and then I realized the shape had ears! It was almost dark; the sun was well down, but I grabbed my long lens and maxed out the camera as fast it would go.

Here's a Polyphemus moth outside friend Terri's stable. That hosepipe in the picture is an inch in diameter, for scale.

This is from back in January but I don't think I posted it yet. A Sparrow and a Cardinal sharing the feeder.

Some flowers

Spring has sprung, and the flowers are starting to color the world. Yay!

Spring begins with the Redbud tree. It's one of the closest things we have to cherry blossom. This one isn't fully out yet.

I've no idea what these little yellow flowers are - they're about 2 inches wide and are popping up all over the place. Some kind of primrose? It has a strange stem/root structure.

If you can't see the flowers, you sure as heck can smell these Mountain Laurels. Ours, like many others, is in full swing this year. They flower in two-year cycles; we got nothing last year but some bean pods. They make an incredible aroma; very sweet, a bit like honeysuckle maybe, and you can smell them for miles around. I'm sure someone is making a fortune bottling this smell. If nothing else, the bush is starting to buzz with all the happy insects visiting it.

This is the pear tree that friend Tamzin got us a couple of years ago. It's blooming nicely this year. Also filling my cherry blossom void.

Friend Terri think these might be Boysenberries, or blackberries. I thought they looked like blackberry bushes. Let's hope I find the fruit before the deer do.

And last but not least, it's not allowed to be Spring in Texas without a profusion of Bluebonnets. We had enough rain earlier this year that they say it will be a good year for wildflowers. I expect to see a lot more of these guys over the next month or two.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Front Yard update

Spring is sprung, and I got The Twitch on to get some new plants. 

A friend and I went to a garden center we hadn't been to before and ended up with a few things. 

There's a variegated garlic, a gerbera and a fuzzy Jew on the right. 

The Twitch didn't go away, and since its been such lovely weather recently, today I procured Tank #2 for the front yard. This has gone into the shady end which doesn't get any direct sun, so I got shade tolerant ferns and Impatiens flowers. 

I also put a few new plants into Tank #1 since we lost the pencil cactus, unfortunately. The chap at the garden center advised leaving them in their pots for a bit so I just plopped them in place as you see here. 

Here's the whole tank. 

You can see the drapey thing has grown, and we even have a blue flower :-) (bottom left)

I moved the Gerbera to the back yard as I don't think it was getting enough sun where it was. 

So; onwards.