Archive for June, 2011

Voodoo Lily

Monday, June 27th, 2011

We had these crazy plants spring up out of nothing right after we moved in. They grew insanely fast and had cool succulent-like speckly patterned stalks and wavy fanned leaves. The neighbor told us to “pull it out; the flowers smell really bad.” We have one in the front next to our steps and if I pulled it out, it would have revealed the unattractive rhododendron stump and some ancient paint chips, probably loaded with poisonous lead. I made the conclusive choice to leave the plants be when I saw baby ones at a local nursery. I figured that if people paid big bucks for the things, they have to be good.

They grew tall. They grew lushly. Then they started to form long flower spikes. OH BOY!

Very body-snatcher looking.

And finally, it opened!

I at last looked them up and they are Dracunculus Vulgaris, commonly called “Voodoo Lily,” among many other names (that’s the coolest so we’ll stop there). The flies, as you can see, love them.

And it really does stink. Everything I’ve read about them say that the smell lasts a day and then goes away but they lie, unless there is another bloom hidden in the foliage there somewhere. It’s been days and I still catch wafts of it now and again from across the yard. It does savage battle with the neighbor’s giant honeysuckle on a nightly basis (planted, no doubt, to counteract the decaying varmint smells coming from my yard). I thought about cutting off the drooping flower but then I saw how it was supposed to mature into these big orangy berry things, and now I have to wait it out. The one by my front door just went off yesterday so we’ve kept the door shut. The mail lady probably thinks a raccoon croaked under my front porch.

In very pleasant-smelling flowerdom, allow me to introduce the pale pink/yellow peony:

which smells awesome, and the dark pink, which smells curiously like chocolate peppermint:

Kitchen remodel part I

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

So, the bathroom didn’t kick our asses hard enough so we decided it was time to rip out the kitchen. Who needs to eat, right? Besides, this one will be super easy because we won’t have to rip out any of the walls.


And the floor will be totally low-key because instead of putting in something new and clean and brand new and fresh and easy. Probably really easy.. We I decided that the douglas fir likely to be underneath would be much cooler if we refinished it. Seriously, imagine: One HUNDRED year-old doug fir, trees felled by burly dudes with hatchets and blue oxen or somesuch right there on our very floor. We just can’t cover that up.

We chipped out the old, ugly, poorly laid tile, which was a pain in the ass. We then pried up the cement board underneath it (a bigger pain in the ass, plus carcinogenic and all that good stuff). Then we had to remove the gnarly looking plywood sub-flooring held in place by no less than eleventy frillion two-inch screws. We’d remove screws until our eyes bled and our backs were surely crippled, then try to pry up the piece, and lo! One lone little fucker holding it down somewhere.. We’d hunt around until we found it, then kill it with fire and all that, and again try to pry up the piece (triumphant at la-). But no! Blast!! Another bleeding screw somewhere. It was not pretty. We got it all up in the end though and here’s what we beheld:

Hmmm. Rustic.

But fossilized mortar is no deterrent for the Optimistic One and I was all “Suh-WEET! This is going to look GREAT!” Joshua, ever the skeptic, was skeptical.

I rented a big sander from Home Depot and fired it up with some 24 grit, which is seriously like three or four good-sized boulders glued to a swath of tough paper. It’s scary.

Then of course there was a lot of filling required. We used up two large containers of the stuff because it kept sucking down into the floor boards. I couldn’t figure out where it was going. It just disappeared and we put more on top. The end.

It looked really awesome and I was super optimistic all over again when confronted with this spectacle first thing in the morning.

But it finished out to look like this:

And after applying only the first round of floor finish (it will have four-five layers in the end; five probably, because I’m crazy), this:

DAMN SAM! I’m satisfied. Now we can work on those walls.

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell