Finished Bathroom Project/August Garden Update

The end of the bathroom project is finally upon us!  There is only a few little things that need to be done – the mirror installed over the vanity – and a more permanent fix for the toilet rocking side to side.

On Thursday, the grouting for the flooring was done.  All of the tiles were put into place on Wednesday – except the last row that was to be right next to the tub support.  That row of tile went in on Friday along with the tub support wall.  The tub support wall needed to be in place before the last row of tile could be cut – so that way the measurements could be made.

Tile Grouting

On Friday, a lot was done.  The wall support for the tub was put in with the finished top plate that was varnished six times to hopefully keep water from getting to the wood:

Bathroom Top Plate

The cabinet and vanity were installed and put in place:

Bathroom Project

And the toilet was installed:

Bathroom Project

Unfortunately, as said earlier, the toilet rocks from side to side.  This is because the tile isn’t 100% level and on the right side of the toilet, the tile seems to be maybe 1/16-th or 1/8-th of an inch lower than the tile on the left side.  This doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really makes the toilet rock back and forth a lot!  Currently I have three shims that are placed on that side to keep it from rocking – but this isn’t a permanent solution.

Also on Friday, the last row of tile next to the tub was put in (don’t have a picture of that).

Saturday saw the next steps done.  The last row of tile was grouted and the wainscotting was attached to the tub support.

Bathroom Project

It looks almost like a finished bathroom!  Kitty is sure liking the new bathroom and is taking advantage of the rug in there.  Also on Saturday, the door was put up as well.  The trim around the door and baseboard was also cut and two coats of varnish was applied to them.

On Sunday, the last final touches were done – the baseboard and trim were finished up.

The last thing to do is get the mirror put in place.  I was putting the trim around the mirror and was using small brad nails and nailing the trim to the luan board that holds everything together.  Unfortunately, I put one of the brad nails right through the mirror and it cracked it down the whole thing!  So I had to order another mirror – and it may take up to a month to get in.  The size was 20×24 for the mirror and it has to be the same size so I can re-use the pre-cut trim that is already made.

So, the bathroom is almost fully completed!  It looks much better than the old, dated room that it once was with the yellowing flooring and the paint chipping off the walls and ceiling.

Moving onto the August garden update.

The garden doesn’t have much going on.  The majority of the crops are all done for the year.  One thing I’ve learned this year is to NOT use the Greencrop green beans again!  I’ve had quite the problems with this variety of green bean.  We only got about 10% of the green beans this year as we did last year.  They just don’t seem to grow very well and the green beans seem to be very limp.  I purchased this variety from FedCo Seeds because they were advertised as being a good producer and producing long green beans.  While the beans do seem to be long, I think they are comparable to the Bush Blue Lake varieties that we used last year.  The Greencrop beans also seem to be flat – almost like peas!

Here is the area where I planted all new Greencrop green beans in the front garden after the corn was taken out.  They are not doing much of anything and just look horrible.

Greencrop Green Beans

The beans were planted six inches apart from each other in three rows – and the rows are about 20 inches apart.  You can see many holes where they didn’t sprout or come up.  Most of them did – but just died later.

The peppers that are right in front of the green beans are still coming along well.  I’m not too sure of the epsom salt that was added a while ago did anything for the peppers – but the weather has cooled down a bit which has helped out.

California Wonder Peppers

While I was taking pictures, I found three peppers that were just turning red so they were picked.

California Wonder Peppers

In the middle of the front yard, the Granny Smith apple tree is doing alright.  It has put up one long stem that is growing well.

Granny Smith Apple Tree

Over by the strawberry bed, it looks horrible.  The heat has really caused major damage to the strawberries.  I’m hoping that some of them can come back – but I bet we won’t have any more strawberries for the rest of the year – and will have much less next year as the strawberries try to re-establish themselves.

Tri-Star Strawberries

One of the grape plants – the Flame Bunch grapevine – has the grapes still coming along well.  They are just beginning to turn a little bit of color.

Flame Bunch Grape Vine

Next – going to the side garden.  The tomatoes are still doing very well.  There does seem to be something that is getting into the Best Boy tomatoes though.  I’ve noticed that both the cherry tomatoes and the Roma tomatoes do not seem to be affected by this.  It almost looks like something is taking a very small bite out of the tomatoes that just take the top flesh off.  Other times there are large holes in them – which I suspect is insect damage.


And to the back garden.  This is where the row of potatoes were taken out.  I also had some Greencrop green beans planted right next to the row of potatoes that were removed as well.  The only thing left back here is the Straight Eight cucumber plants, the Burpee Pickler cucumber plants (which are dying off), and a row of potatoes that are in the same row as the cucumbers against the garage.  You can see the dead potato vines lying on the ground.  I need to get back there and dig those up – but I’m afraid I will interfere with the cucumbers.

Back Garden

Notice some growth to the right side of the boards that are put down?  Those are Greencrop green beans!  While I was digging up those potatoes, I buried the green bean plants.  Apparently some of those seeds must have sprouted are are germinating.

Greencrop Green Beans

We got a good selection of cucumbers on Sunday as well.  Two large Straight Eight cucumbers along with a small one – then three small Burpee Pickler cucumbers.  We’ve got more than we can keep up with now.


I also poked my head around to the back side of the garage where the rain barrel system and compost tea system is.  I have plenty of compost tea to use – a full 32 gallon container of it!  I haven’t been too good at keeping up the compost tea treatments to the plants recently because of the bathroom project.  But it is getting late in the season anyways.

Compost Tea

The last area to check out is the patio garden.  I pulled a few green beans off of these plants – but again, some of them have already died.  Many of the green beans were limp and were not usable, so they were just thrown back into the area.

Patio Garden

I also cut several sprigs of basil off – one sprig from each plant.  It came to just over four ounces of leaves by the time I was done.


Notice the brown parts on the basil?  That is the flower pods where the seeds form.

Basil Flower Pod

I tried to get a side view of this flower/seed pod so you can barely see a few black spots.  Those are the seeds!  The seeds of basil are very small.  I rubbed each individual flower pod between my fingers back and forth and this freed up the seeds and the seeds then dropped onto the counter.

Basil Seeds

Not a very good photo of the seeds, but they are small, oval-shaped and black.  By the time I was done getting all of the seeds, I had probably well over a thousand!  I only need about 40-60 for next year and I’ll give some away to my buddy in Tennessee since he wasn’t able to save any seed this year for his basil plants.

Speaking of seeds, a few weeks ago I cut down the large radish plant that was growing in the front garden that I was saving for seed.  All of the seed pods were brown and ready to be picked.  So I pulled off the seed pods from the plant and placed them in a container.  I still need to go through and crack open each pod to get the seed (wow will that be a job!).

Radish Seed Pods

That is all for the garden update!

Potatoes and more Potatoes!

OK – so I will start off with the gardening activities first – and then go into the update on the bathroom project.

There wasn’t much at all that happened this week in the garden.  Last week (probably Wednesday), I went out to pick a few cucumbers behind the garage.  In doing so, I also turned the water on for the tomatoes since they needed a good watering.  It was another scorcher this week – with everyday at around 95 degrees or higher.

I took the cucumbers inside to weigh them – and before doing so, I told myself that I’d better remember to go turn the water off.  Well, I forgot.  I drained the rain barrels out on the tomatoes!  It was probably 300+ gallons of water that was given to the tomato plants.  What is worse is it was right next to the foundation of the house.  Luckily there wasn’t any kind of water that got into the basement.

Friday night we had some storms blow through the area so it dumped about two inches of rain on us.  So the barrels are full again!  Came just in time really.

Saturday morning I got myself out of bed around 7:30 and went outside.  I needed to start digging up to the potatoes.  I was also worried with all that rain if it would start to rot the potatoes in the ground – because the leaves/vines on the potatoes had been dead for a few weeks now.

I picked one of the rows behind the garage – the longest row of about 25 potato plants.  The other row has about 12 plants that I’ll have to come back later and dig up (can’t right now since the cucumbers are in that row).

I was absolutely amazed!  I got a full five-gallon bucket full of large, nice-sized Kennebec potatoes.  It was just over 31 pounds of potatoes after they were all picked.  This exceeded my estimates of one pound per plant.  This made up for some of the other potatoes that didn’t produce anything – or those that rotted in the ground.

Kennebec Potatoes

Later in the day I also picked about four red California Wonder peppers from the front garden.  It seems that after adding epsom salt, they seem to be more lush and are growing better.

Sunday night I went out to pick a large cucumber – a Straight Eight cucumber that weighed just under a pound.

The gardening season is quickly coming to an end.  The green beans this year were pitiful and we only got about a tenth of what we did last year.  I am wondering if it is this new Greencrop variety that I planted; next year I think I will go back to the Blue Lake varieties that yielded very well last year.  Some of the cucumber plants are beginning to yellow.  The only plants left in the garden that are still growing are the cucumbers, basil, and peppers.  Parsley is still growing but I am not counting it; it mostly was a waste to plant since we don’t have much use for it.

Moving onto the bathroom update.  What a huge difference a week makes!

Over the past week, we have been working to put the tile around the bathtub.  Well, after some calculations, it was discovered that there would only be three inches of space left around the top of the tile after the last full piece of tile was put in place.  Instead of having a 12-inch tile cut down to just a 3-inch wide piece all the way around the top, we opted to get some accent tiles and put at the half-way point around the tub.  Our trusty Menards store didn’t have much of anything good in the way of accent tile that matched what we needed.  So we went to Lowe’s and they had a few that we liked.  The tiles we bought were 2×2 inch tiles that were in a mat of a square foot.  So this allowed me to make two cuts in the mesh backing that held the tiles together to make three strips of 4 inch by 12 inch tiles.

The accent tiles turned out exceptionally well.  It did cost us an extra $26 just for this 4 inch strip around the tub, but I think it was a $26 well spent.

We were up late Wednesday and Thursday night until after 11 pm putting all the tile in and completed it that Thursday  night.

Bathtub Tile

Friday it was time to get the walls all primed up!  Our intentions were to have the walls primed and painted on Friday, but that didn’t quite happen.  One coat of primer was put on the walls – and the walls just absorbed the paint in!  It took exactly one gallon of primer to do the walls and ceiling – but there was a lot of green still showing through.  We used some Zinser primer that had mold and mildew block in it – wanted to get stuff that would last a long time.  So Friday evening I had to get another gallon of primer – and we put two more coats of primer on the wall.  The first coat took a gallon since it absorbed into the wall but each additional coat took less; about 2/3 of a gallon for the second coat and only 1/3 of a gallon for the third coat.  Now the walls were fully white and all of the green from the drywall was gone.

Walls Primed

Saturday we put on the paint.  We used a color called Country White.  It is just a little darker than white.  Again, I opted to get a good paint to ensure we wouldn’t have any painting problems.  The first coat took about a half gallon.  I waited a couple of hours and put the second coat on.  It probably didn’t need a second coat but I had quite a lot of paint left – so I figured it was better to use it than let it go bad.

The paint has a nice shine to it since it is semi-gloss.  It doesn’t look too different in the picture below compared to the picture above where the primer was added.

Walls Painted

After the walls were painted, it was time to get the new light fixture hung up that will go over the mirror and vanity.  I also got the light over the tub put back together so it wasn’t hanging down and put the face plates on the electrical outlet and switches.

Bathroom Light

Bathroom Light

Bathroom Light

Wow – so that is the tile around the tub, the painting, and lighting done in a week!

What’s next?  Well, stuff we just did yesterday (Sunday).  We got much farther than I expected.  Dad first started doing the grouting around the tub tile while I was cutting the concrete backer board for the floor and screwing it in.  Tiles were then laid down to see how we needed to cut them.

Concrete Backer Board

The tiles were absolutely perfect.  The tiles were 11.5 inches square and the bathroom width was one inch less than five feet – because of the half-inch drywall on either wall.  When we laid the tile down for a quick check, exactly five tiles wide is what we needed with the 3/16-inch spacers between the tiles.  We got a lucky break.

It was then time to lay the tile.  We first started out by putting all the full tiles in place – then we cut the ones around the air vent, the wall corner, and around the toilet.  It was about 8 pm by the time it was done.

Bathroom Tile

And there it is – the tile on the floor, the tile on the wall, the grout done on the wall, the plumbing all done.

What is left to do?  Well, I still need to make the support for the side of the tub so it hides all of the ugly stuff.  After the wall is put in, I will have one more row of tile to lay on the floor.  Then the flooring can have the grout done.  After that, it will be moving in the vanity, cabinet, and toilet.  The door will then go up and the towel racks – and the bathroom will be complete!


Let’s start with the bathroom update.

We called it a day already today.  There wasn’t terribly much to do this week.  Just a few things here and there.  Since the first coat of drywall compound was put on last weekend, it was just some sanding and filling in the screw holes with compound throughout the week.  In addition, I also cut the last few pieces of concrete backer board around the tub (done today) so the area around the tub is fully ready for tile.

Speaking of tile – we got the first row of tile in around the tub!  The tile was much easier to cut than was originally suspected.  Two pieces needed to be cut and then we used the hole saw to cut the holes for the faucet and valve for the tub.  One tile was broken in the process, but the second try was successful.

Below shows the full walls around the tub completed with the backer board and the first row of tile.

Bathroom Project

And a better view of the first row of tile.

Bathroom Project

About six more rows of tile to do before it is done!  Hopefully we can get one more row of tile in today – and then if we put in one row a day, it will be done Friday evening.  That is in a perfect world though.  It seemed to take about two hours to put one row of tile in – but that also included doing the cutting for the facuet/valve as well.



What is going on in the garden?  A lot of dead stuff.  I pulled all of the celery this week and pulled the broccoli.  I was hoping to get some seed off of the broccoli plant but it just didn’t seem like it was possible.  The celery just didn’t do well at all because the incredibly hot temperatures.

In better news, at least we got some peppers.  However, it was less than four pounds.  Last year we picked about 50 pounds of peppers from eight plants – and this year we may have picked about 10% of that from eight plants.  We do have enough to make salsa though – so that is the important part!

California Wonder Peppers

I also pulled all of the pea vines behind the garage.  I was saving those so I could capture some seed from them – and here are the seed pods that were collected:

Pea Seeds

It seemed that out of around 50 or so pods, we got around 125 seeds.  This is just about what I need for next year for planting.  I just hope that they are viable and that they will grow.

Pea Seeds

I also pulled down the last three ears of corn.  One was not pollinated at all and was discarded – but the other two were full.  I cooked them right up and had them for supper on Friday night.  Just decided it wasn’t worth chilling them and freezing them when they could be eaten fresh that night!  The kernels were very meaty and chewy and it was fantastic.  Usually after I freeze the corn and then cook again, the kernels fall apart much easier and are not as meaty.

Silver Queen Corn

And in the last bit of gardening news – the carrots were all picked… finally!  I’ve been a bit lazy lately and didn’t want to pick all of them.  Well, I got all of them harvested on Saturday in the early morning before it turned off hot.


There were two varieties planted this year in equal amounts – Sugarsnax and Burpee A#1.  The Burpee seed was a year old and the Sugarsnax carrots were purchased at the beginning of this year.  Overall, the Burpee carrots seemed to succumb to damping off disease pretty bad and I thought the Sugarsnax tolerated it better.  But in the end, there were about 65 Sugarsnax carrots to 61 Burpee A#1 carrots.


Sugarsnax Carrots

Sugarsnax Carrots

Burpee A#1 carrots:

Burpee A#1 Carrots

Now the carrot/potato bin raised bed is all alone and empty now.

Carrot Raised Bed

Overall, the Sugarsnax carrots weighed in around five pounds, 14 ounces.  The Burpee A#1 carrots also weighed in at…. five pounds, 14 ounces.  Per carrot, there was slightly a bit more weight per carrot for the Burpee A#1 – but not by much.

Taste?  Well, both of them tasted exactly the same and had a little bit of sugar content to them.  So in the end, it doesn’t matter which variety is planted in the way of taste, but the Burpee A#1 carrot was just a bit better on the yield.

It is a bit sad though – because combined, the carrots were just under 12 pounds.  Last year we had almost 18 pounds of carrots.  So that is six pounds difference.  If it wasn’t for damping off disease hitting, I think that they could have surpassed that 18 pounds this year!

That is all going on here!  We did make another seven jars of salsa last night along with four more jars of pickle spears.  The tomatoes have a lot of bruises/bad spots in them and they are going bad in a matter of days.  So we’ve been putting them to use in the salsa.


Before starting on the gardening updates, here is what is going on with the bathroom project.

This week there were some boards put between the studs in the wall so that towel racks and other items have something to grab onto once they are installed.

After that, black plastic was then put around the entire room as a moisture resistant layer.  After the black plastic was up, the concrete backer board was applied around the tub – which the tiles will be adhered to.

Black Pastic/Concrete Backer Board

You can see in the picture above that the black plastic is wrapped around the walls.  I used a staple gun to hold the plastic in.  Then the backer board was put behind the tub.  Two more pieces were also put up after this photo was taken; one on the front and one on the back of the tub.  We had to pick up another piece of concrete backer board because I’ve decided to run tile all the way to the ceiling.  Originally I was only going to go up five feet, but decided to do the entire thing.

I also worked on putting the last coats of varnish on the cabinet and vanity.  After that was done and I let it sit a few days, I brought the vanity inside and put the vanity top and faucet on.  Looking pretty good!

Vanity and Top

My dad stopped by again on Sunday and we had quite a bit of work to do.  He started off by getting all of the plumbing done for the toilet and hot/cold water lines for the sink.  Originally there was galvanized pipe and it was needing to be replaced.

After that, we began putting drywall up on the ceiling.  Well, I had forgot that because we were putting drywall over the existing drywall, this was a one-inch thick piece to screw into.  The screws we were using were 1 1/4 inches and they were not long enough to really hold in.  Not to mention that the ceiling joists were not playing nice and we had trouble locating them.

So we had to run back to Menards to get a few PVC items, the next piece of concrete backer board, and a few other odds n ends.

Got back and put up the rest of the ceiling.  The walls were then all put up and my dad started doing all of the drywall compound work.  This is something I’m not too good at; I know how to make a mess with it and apply it to the drywall, but when it comes to making a nice smooth finish, I haven’t been too successful doing that.



Still a bit left to do.  I still need to get more screws in the ceiling to hold that better, cut and install the last bit of the concrete backer board, and fill the screw holes with drywall compound.  Probably another week or two weeks and the walls and ceiling will be ready for painting!



Moving on to the garden.  I’ve slacked off again this week and didn’t do very good with watering the garden.  I got up earlier this morning to go out and water the gardening areas.

However, I did manage to pick some things from the garden.  So far we’ve collected a little over 20 pounds of tomatoes and I dug up about 10 pounds of potatoes off of ten plants.  The potatoes in the potato bin were very nice – and were the best producers.  With the bin, it was originally built to be one foot deep.  Then as the potatoes grew, I just added a six inch layer of mulched leaves.  Out of the six potato plants in this bin, I would say that it was about eight pounds.  I then dug up about four potato plants behind the garage and they were not as good.  However, I may not have dug far enough either – so there still may be more potatoes in there!

Kennebec Potatoes

What to do with all of the tomatoes – welp, we made some salsa again!

Salsa Making

We filled up 12 quart jars of salsa from 20 pounds of tomatoes.  We mixed in 24 ounces of tomato paste, about six cups of onions, 3.5 cups of lemon juice, the cilantro from the garden, some basil from the garden, oregano, and about three pounds of peppers from the garden.

Salsa Jars

Looks good!  However, it was a bit more soupy than last year and you can see in the jars above, there is a lot of water on the bottom.

Speaking of onions – last year when we made salsa, we had to cut the onions up by hand and used a food processor to really make them small.  This year I wanted to have a bit more chunky salsa – and we got this onion chopper.

Onion Chopper

This thing works wonders!  I cut the onions in half and then placed the flat side on the cross-hatched blade area.  Gave the white lid a good push down and it chopped the onions into perfect-size little squares.  It does take quite a bit of power to get the onions to fully chop – so much that you feel you are going to break the chopper!  I’m sure it will eventually break from all of the pressure, but it works very well!

While the water bath canning pot was still out and rolling to a boil, we also cut up the cucumbers from our garden to make spear pickles.  Last year we made slice pickles for use on hamburgers and such, but we really haven’t used many of them and have cans left.  So this time we made some spear pickles.


Some other gardeners mentioned to me about adding epsom salt to your peppers and tomatoes.  Well, I opted to try it.  The peppers are growing, but they are just not producing like they did last year.

California Wonder Peppers

So I took about one tablespoon of epsom salt and sprinkled around the trunk of each pepper plant.  While I was at it, I also put some around the tomatoes as well.

Epsom Salt

We’ll see if this does any good.  Epsom salt – as in the photo above – has a lot of magnesium in it that peppers and tomatoes need to produce good-sized fruits.  So this is basically a fertilizer.

Well, what else is going on around the garden.

This is the carrot bed that has had all of the potatoes pulled.  The potato bin was right in the front and the carrots behind.  The carrots really need picked – but just have to find the time to do it!  It takes a lot of time to pull all of the carrots, cut off the tops, and wash them good.


The back garden is slowly beginning to die off.  That is because the potatoes are needing to all be picked.  That is going to be a big task.  Planting potatoes is no big deal – but having to dig all of them up is going to take a substantial amount of time.  The cucumbers weight is pulling the fencing down too – so hopefully it will last to the end of the year.

Back Garden

Speaking of cucumbers – these things must grow fast!  I was just out picking things a few days ago and somehow another yellow cucumber is huge and growing!  Another one I need to pick today!

Yellow Cucumber

Moving to the patio garden with the basil and green beans.  The green beans in this bed are growing very large and bushy.  Just hopefully we’ll get some green beans from them.  Hasn’t been a good year for green beans around the garden for some reason.

Patio Garden

And the front garden.  All but just a few stalks of corn are left.  The corn needs to be taken down because I don’t expect there to be any usable ears.  Green beans have been planted in this entire area – but again, they just don’t seem to be growing well – or are not germinating at all.  I gave them a good compost tea feeding on Friday so maybe this will help a bit.

Front Garden

And lastly – I thought I’d take a photo of the radish seed pods.  Some of them are finally beginning to turn brown.  Hopefully the seed in here will be good so I can use it next year.

Radish Seed Pods

That is all for this week!