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What’s Blooming!

I finally have blooms for What’s Blooming, how about that?  This year’s posts are going to be sparse on blooms as I am building a new garden bed. Maybe I should change the title of this post for the future. :D

We stopped by the old house and I took some pictures of what is blooming there.  That garden bed had a lot of winter damage. Looks like 2 of the 3 rose bushes there are gone.  I will pull them up in a couple weeks -just to make sure they are dead- if we haven’t sold the house yet. I need to also grab some irises (irides??) since we aren’t closing until who knows when.  Anyhoo – some flowers:

Beautiful hyacinth!

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These are the Apricot Dreams tulips that are so old. Tulips usually aren’t super long-lived as the original clumps, but these are going on 5 years, I think?

This is the Monte Carlos tulip that doesn’t even look like a tulip :)

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Now back to Radiance Manor and the work that is being done.  We finally got the left half of the front bed de-bushed.

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Digging out stumps is major work. It looks like a blast zone:

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Check out this mammoth stump!

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It is really too heavy to just pick up, so it got dragged over to the side. It needs to dry up and then we will cut it up. The city takes brush and stuff up to 4 inches in diameter, so this obviously can’t be put at the curb. :D We dug up 4 stumps with more to go out back.

It was looking so bare that I just stuck some tippy pots in the ground.

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Not their permanent place, but good for now.  I put in some dahlias and yanked some vinca ground cover out of the the bed on the other side for trailing.  Not sure what that metal thing is to the right. Some sort of utlity item – maybe water?

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I think it looks like a little mushroom and I just might paint it red with white spots for fun.

My few tulips out back are blooming and look nice.

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On lonely little daffodil bloom:

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Guess who is going to be planting platoons of bulbs this fall?  Think it will be me??

The magnolia tree also has bloomed and is lovely!

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I was pretty excited because I got plants in the mail this week.  Debby sent me some babies from her garden and I have them potted up to try to recover from a cross country journey:

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Hopefully some of them will make it.

I also got my Zephrine climbers today.

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I tried a new company for these roses, called Great Garden Plants. They sent me a free plant with the order, too.  A sunsparkler sedum.  Free gifts are always nice.  They also included a gift for Pixie in the form of rubberbands. She goes crazy over rubberbands – although I try to keep them away from her because she eats them.

I was thinking I got bareroot roses, but I guess I ordered the potted ones. I already received my other bareroot rose from Jackson and Perkins and *they* sent me a free rose bush as well!  Maybe everyone knows I need plants. Here is hoping they do well and I will update – obviously :D. 

Eating Exercise Calories

So, before I got sidelined with my opinion on real estate, I was getting ready to talk about exercise calories and eating them. In particular, how I treat them and eat them. 

I see many people posting calorie burns for exercise – or points – or however you count them. Sometimes, to me, these seem really high. Sometimes these people are also stalled in their weight loss.  Not always, but you know those times when you look at ins and outs on paper and you should be losing X per week, but it doesn’t happen that way?

Here are some interesting numbers.  Lets say you exercise for an hour and your computer/device spits out 500 calories burned for that hour. (This is just a number I pulled out of the air for math purposes).  Did you really burn 500? Maybe not.  That is your calorie burn for that hour, but not the net burn.  If you happened to be sitting on the couch for that hour instead, you would have burned about 70 calories just existing. So, that burn really is down to 430 calories.  So if you ate back all your exercise calories, you would actually  be taking in more than you should be.  

And in the unfairness part of life – if you have lost a significant amount of weight, your metabolism is already slowed down by 10-15%. So, lop another 50 calories off of that and it’s 380 calories. See where the trouble can come in? Also when you exercise a lot, you can tend to let extra calories slide in because of the ‘deserve it’ factor as well.  In the end, this can lead to plateauing. 

I figure I burn about 30-35 calories per mile on the bike. This has come from riding over the years and what I take in versus goes out calorie wise and how that affects my weight.  So, an average amount is about 400 calories per hour of riding.  So a ride like on Sunday of 2.5 hours is around 1000 calories. I have had people tell me in the past that I should be burning a lot more calories than this for  our long rides, but I know me.  n=1 tells *me* what *I* burn. Not what you or somebody else will burn doing the same thing.  I track my food in My Fitness Pal and that tells me I burn a lot more calories, but I have found if I eat those calories, I gain. Simple as that, which tells me that I don’t burn what I am ‘supposed’ to be burning.  Age, weight loss, height and all that and I burn less. Stinks, but that is what is true for me. 

No house closing for now.

I was all set to talk about exercise calories and all that jazz today and then things got all muddled up.

You know, things just are never easy, are they?  We were remarking at how smoothly this house closing has been going and as of last week, everything was on track to close by this Friday.  We were getting pretty excited about this whole process being finally over after so long and were planning where to go out to dinner to celebrate.

Then we get word today that the buyer’s financing fell through. Today. With the closing this Friday.  Why this took so long for that to happen is just a mystery. If the financing wasn’t going to go through, it should have been weeks ago that it was going to happen.  

Apparently some issue came up with the buyer’s ex-husband and something he did that got attached to her credit. Now her mortgage broker says that he has another lender that is willing to work with her, but who knows if that will be the case. We have to make a plan B to possibly have the house back on the market again. We are going to give them 10 days to give us concrete proof that they can get the deal done or we are going to have to open up the listing again and accept other offers. We just can’t wait around for this.  

I swear, this past year and a half has just been a bit of a nightmare as far as real estate goes. Anyway, we are pretty frustrated about the whole thing, but what are you going to do?  I hate those situations where I have absolutely no control over the outcome.

Just gotta take it one day at a time…and breathe.

I am crossing my fingers that this buyer gets the money and we can close sooner rather than waiting for another offer to come in.

 

Sundae Riding!

It was really a beautiful weekend. Spring has finally arrived.  After doing a lot of landscape work, John and I wanted a ride for some ice cream since it was so warm.

Ready for the riding season. It may be the first couple of days of May, but my skin is so sensitive and especially after this winter, I got out the big guns riding with exposed skin.

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Ready for riding!

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We had just gotten started on the ride and were on the main street.  I saw a cop car pull off the side of the road (no lights) and get out of his car. He then flags John and I over.  I was thinking “WTF?” What could we possibly be doing wrong? Well, turns out that he saw us riding with all the proper gear and obeying traffic signals and wanted to reward us for doing that. So, he gave us each a coupon for a free scoop of ice cream!

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He said it was a new program (more aimed towards kids) to reward proper riding and educate. So, if anyone rides in Glens Falls – wear your helmet and you, too, might get free ice cream! This coupon will be saved for another day, though.

We did a fair amount of road riding.

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I have always loved this old building.

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It’s been for sale for years. I think it was an old schoolhouse that ended up being converted to a warehouse of some type. It would be a cool artist community building or something.

Finally back onto the path after 10 miles or so.

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We took a lot of the same route that I did by myself last week, only we didn’t stop at the greenhouse…

Snack time!

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Dates or dried pineapple are my favorite ride snacks. Quick calories and they don’t sit in your stomach like a lump.

My riding partner:

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We had about 7 more miles to go to get to ice cream, so back to riding!

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On to famous Martha’s!

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Great Escape isn’t open yet, but Martha’s has been open for almost a month and it was packed on this beautiful sunny day. Lucky us, they opened a new window up right as we walked by it and got served right away.

My sundae:

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I am in a rut at Martha’s. I love this sundae. It has hot fudge, raspberry sauce, and cookie crumbles.  Very ride worthy :D

Also very filling.  We were at 20 miles at this point and wanted another 10, so we took another road loop around, so not too many pictures for safety sake.  We did stop at a pretty country club, though.

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Note that the trees are starting to leaf out now! With the wamer weather, it’s like it happened overnight.

Home again!

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Ride stats:

Total miles:  30.8

Average speed: 12.2 mph

Top speed:  25.7 mph

Ride time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Calories burned: 1067

Felt good. We almost were going to do a ride closer to 40, but I am glad we changed the route. 30 was a good point where it was a great workout and didn’t push the distance too much.  We will be there shortly.

And speaking of things popping out overnight, my tulips finally woke up! I had a bloom today:

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I am sooooooo happy to see this. It has been a long time coming. There should be a bunch more opening this week, so I will actually have blooms for Friday’s What’s Blooming post!

 

Tamale Pie

I have been wanting to make this recipe for a while, but couldn’t settle on one in particular. I love tamales and a lot of the recipes had cornbread on top, which isn’t quite a tamale to me.  I made a mishmash of a several recipes and then made it vegetarian so that John could partake in it as well. You could sub ground turkey or beef.

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For the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1/2 cup of chopped bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onions
  • 12 ounces (1 package) of Grillers Crumbles or ground turkey/beef
  • 1 can (15 oz) of petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (2 oz) of diced green chilis
  • 1/2 cup of corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the tamale topping:

  • 3/4 cup of cornmeal
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (hold for later)

Preheat oven to 375 F.  In a large saute pan, saute the onion and pepper in the tablespoon of oil until soft. Then add the veggie crumbles (or meat).

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If you are using meat, you would want to brown it at this stage. I just needed to heat up the crumbles since they are precooked.  Then add the diced tomatoes, diced chilis, corn, oregano, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper.

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Stir to combine and simmer over medium-high heat while you prepare the cornmeal.  No pictures of this step (John was making this while I did the filling), but just bring the water to a boil in the saucepan, whisk in the cornmeal, the salt and the cayenne pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the 1 tablespoon of butter. Set aside.

Now you have a bubbly filling:

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Taste this for salt and pepper seasoning and adjust.  This is actually pretty good itself just to put in a bowl and sprinkle some cheese on it :D  Pour this into a 9×9 pan sprayed with cooking spray.

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Pour the cornmeal on top:

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Now it is ready for the oven:

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Bake at 375 F for about 30 minutes.  It will be bubbling hot. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and let it sit for about 10 minutes before eating to thicken up – and cool. It’s very hot!

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This will let it thicken up just a bit.  Then serve!

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The verdict? This was pretty tasty!  What I really liked about it was that the cornmeal was still soft like a tamale is and not like cornbread.  Although I think that would be an interesting variation to try.

 

The nutritional stats are good on this as well.  Of course, this is using the veggie crumbles, which are a little bit less than turkey.

If divided into 6 servings (shown above): 246 calories, 25 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber

I was actually pretty hungry, so I had another half serving with this and now I am full :D  I bet the leftovers will be really good, too!

New hat!

Almost done with April.  It’s finally starting to feel more like spring. Finally.  We had temps in the upper 60s today and it was quite nice out for biking.

Check out my new hat!

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It’s one of those cool mesh hats and can actually be worn under a helmet if so desired. Not sure I desire that, but maybe when sweaty it might be a good thing. The brim isn’t really as big as it looks in the picture. Overhead selfies distort the closer stuff for whatever reason. For those of you who aren’t aware, the red polka dots symbolize the King of the Mountain jersey in the Tour de France. The person who earns the most points hitting the climbs first wears this jersey.  I just like the dots.  So this July when the tour is on, you can casually ask someone “So who has the KOTM jersey today?”  And they will be impressed.

We have been getting a lot of work done outside with the nicer weather. I have spent so much time digging stuff up.  All that work you put into strength training and this gives you the real life usage of it. Bending, squatting, lifting, pulling.  I can’t believe I don’t get sore doing this. Tired, yes, but not sore.  My back actually had been good, too (jinxie!!)

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Next up is removing those bushes in the middle.  They are sad. We decided to concentrate on half of the front of the house this spring and then work on the other side in the fall, so we won’t take up the bushes on the other side yet.  So much digging to do.

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I was thinking about making a sign like this to put in the back yard:

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I think it is cute, but then I realized that I have soooooooo many things that I am in the middle of doing that I really don’t need another project.

We only have about 1-1/2 weeks to the closing on the old house! Everything is going along smoothly. Fingers crossed. It would stink if something went wrong now.

I haven’t put up a Pixie shot in a while. Here she is getting tummy rubs:

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She has the best life, although she wants to be outside as well. Too bad, kitteh.  Guess we need to work on that catio for her.

Nepal Earthquake relief

 

The news coming out of Nepal is just terrible. Terrible. The death toll is over 4000 now. That is just a staggering number of people and  their medical and rescue system is just completely overwhelmed. You just feel helpless to do anything. This is a time when a lot of people will donate (including myself) to various causes.

To make sure your money is being spent in the best possible way and going where it is supposed to be legitimately, always check out Charity Navigator to make sure that the organization you are donating to is on the up and up – and also to be sure that the money goes to that.  Charity Navigator has vetted out some that have relief efforts set up already, and here are some of them:

 

Americares – They have an emergency response team on the ground currently and are sending over a medical team.

Direct Relief – They have a large stock of medical supplies provide medicines and needed items. According to their website – 100 percent of donations for Nepal are used exclusively to help people in Nepal. Make sure if you donate with them that you select the specific donation site from the drop down menu.

 

Global Giving:  This fund sets up the survivors with their immediate needs of food, water and shelter.

SEVA – Seva normally provides eyecare to marginalized people in over 20 countries (such as women, indiginous people and children). They have set up a fund where 100% of your donation goes to their partner hospitals in Nepal.

CARE – CARE has 150 people on the ground currently and donttions are being used to provide emergency supply kits, which include tarps, blankets, fuel cans and toiletries.

 

There are others, of course, but this is just a sampling if you want to donate and don’t know where.  I sent to Direct Relief.

Solo riding

It was a little chilly this weekend, but I wanted a ride. John was out of town, so I went solo on Saturday.  Some people don’t like riding alone, but I have no problem with it.  I took a rather circuitous route around. First stop was to bike out to a greenhouse and see if they carried any shrubs I am looking for.  I started out with road riding. Not my favorite, as you can see below.

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When they redid this road last year, they ate up some of the bike lane to make a center turn lane. Boo.

I went out exactly 5 miles just for a nice even number and then backtracked to the greenhouse.  Ahhh I am aching for this much greenery!

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This place is a little expensive, but they have a lot of unusual stock. Unfortunately – they did not have what I am looking for, but biking out here saved me a wasted car trip to find out.  

These are cute, too.  I may live under a rock as far as pop culture is concerned, but even I know these are minions.

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Made of hay bales.

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Then it was off with more road riding back in the direction of our old house. 

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Not a ton of water over the dam. The one good thing about this cold spring is that it didn’t create any runoff flooding.

I hooked around to the old feeder dam bike path, and it was nice getting off the roads.

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Did I mention it was windy and cold? About 50 degrees and I ended up with a wind chapped face.

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Then 15 miles in, I stopped in downtown Glens Falls at the new coffee shop for a latte.

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The guy that roasts the coffee made my latte :D

Even though I was only a mile from home, I wanted a longer ride, so I connected to the bike path again.

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If only all the riding could be path riding.  We are lucky to have this much, though.

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The shoulders are fairly clean now in the streets since sweepers have made a pass in most areas.

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Another 7 miles and I arrived home:

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Another 22 miles in the books.  Think I am ready for a 30 mile ride.  We still have some conditioning to do before doing a Saratoga ride, but hopefully some time in May we can get down there (50 miles).

Back garden update

Some work has begun on the back garden.  There is a lot of shade garden and really only one full sun area, which is the back right section.  I am pretty much getting rid of everything there so I can have my full sun plants, like roses and irises and the specialty cone flowers.   Here is that section with the half dead shrubs and lots of ground cover.

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Eventually I will have a garden bed coming up this fence as well, but  this is a multi year project.

I had to dig up a bajillion daylilies. I moved some closer to the house since they can take partial shade.  Here is the bed right now after I cut down the shrubs (which are in a pile to the right):

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So much work to do!  There is some green, though:

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Daffodils and tulips.  My rose bush might have made it, but I am not sure. It’s also too early to see if the razzmatazz survived, either.   Blooms are coming, though:

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This bed needs a walking path through it since it is so large. There seems to be a natural depression in it, which I think is where we will put some kind of path:


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Sorta like that anyway :D

I am glad I got a lot of that cleared out because my new rose bush shipped and will be here shortly!

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If you heard a loud squee the other day, that was me when I got the shipping notice!

There is a lot of wildlife in the back yard as well. I saw a bunny – who darn well better stay out of the garden – and lots of different kinds of birds, including cardinals, nuthatches, woodpeckers and more.  And squirrels, of course.

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Eating food from the cardinal feeder. Eating all of it! Booger.

Here is hoping to warmer weather this weekend. We even had ****ing snow flurries yesterday – can you believe it?  Not sure about riding, but I have my fingers crossed.

Slow progress

Moderate progress: The house closing is moving along pretty well. Or ‘swimmingly’ according to our lawyer. We should be ready to close in about 2.5 weeks. Yay!  I need to clean up the old garden bed to get it ready for the new owners  (and probably cry a little bit), and possibly nab some chunks off more plants to bring to my new gardens.

I thought I would share this amusing sign at the grocery store. Job incomplete:

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And all of this time spent thinking I didn’t like peas!!

Slow progress: After kicking my own butt at the beginning of March, I have seen snail pace progress. The scale is down 2.5 pounds in all that time.  It was a little lower than that, but the scale popped back up again. I have to admit that this is frustrating for me – particularly when I see a others losing 4 times more than this in less time doing basically what I am doing. I try not to let this bother me, but it does sometimes. Comparison does no good, but it’s hard not to.  Yes, I probably could do more drastic measures, but I just don’t want to live like that.  I just need to whine about it. I don’t want to change things too much since I know what makes me happy and what would make me miserable. I just wish my body would cooperate a little more and reward me for the work I do and not pay so dearly for indulgences (hi cannoli).

On the trunk front, I actually scored a trunk that I really, really wanted, but didn’t think I would either be able to find or afford. It’s called a Jenny Lind, named after a Swedish opera singer who toured in America in 1850 with PT Barnum.  

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This trunk was made for her and the style became popular for the next 10-20 years. This trunk is seriously old – like Civil War era!

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Sort of looks like a loaf of bread, doesn’t it? It was partially restored already, meaning they took off the old covering inside and out, so a lot of work is already done. I got this for a really good price, so I jumped on it. Now this one I don’t want to sell, but I want it for me.  :D  It is on the end of the restoration pile for that reason.

Speaking of more slow progress, this is the one I am working on currently:

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We have had rainy weather since Monday, so I have been getting more work on this one to get it ready for selling. It is cleaned and getting the rustoleum treatment. From rusty trunk to this so far:

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I might try to age that aluminum some so it doesn’t look quite so new, but I will have to see how the whole thing looks with the finished black and newly stained wood slats.

I guess on all fronts slow progress is still progress, though, right?