Refurbished Metal Chairs

We had three metal yard chairs, got them free somewhere a few years ago. This weekend I steel-wooled them down and gave them a fresh coat of Rustoleum. Good as almost-new.

One of the chairs had a loose bolt. The nut wouldn’t turn because of rust and old paint, so I Dremeled it off. The blade shot little sparks that made me feel like a miniature ironmonger. I tightened the chair with a new nut/bolt combo.

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Irrational Radio No. 1: Spring Girl Mix

Here’s a seven-song Spotify mix featuring awesoma-power songs with female singers. Free of charge.

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Old Paint

We inherited gallons of old paint when we bought our house a decade ago. Those cans, along with others we purchased ourselves and didn’t finish, are corroding. Last year, I blended many of those cans in big plastic buckets and ended up with ten gallons of strange, Silly Putty-colored paint. I might have a paint shop add some concentrated color to make it gray, and then I’ll paint the basement walls.

A few of the remaining cans need to go, so I’m using what I can and drying out the rest before I throw it away. I dried a dozen gallons of ruined paint last summer using kitty litter, which rapidly absorbs the moisture and turns into a kind of crumbly cement. This time I’m just painting a set of decrepit boards, over and over.

Decrepit Boards

Decrepit Boards


Bellweather REDO author sendCOLORWASH

A sun shower causing one’s immediate surroundings to ripple with vibrant, shifting colors. It is said to be like walking through a rainbow.

Read more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015).


Stain Jars

IMG_1116I have various cans of wood stain in the basement and the cans are beginning to corrode, like everything in the basement. Today I bought some disposable filters and poured the stain into labeled Mason jars. When trendy people come over, I’m going to say the jars are full of home-brewed specialty liquor that needs to ferment for another five years. “Oh, that’s my latest batch of 100-proof ‘dark walnut’ moonshine.” They’ll be mad with interest.

I kept the rims and lids perfectly clean, but I’m somewhat concerned that if the stain sloshes around, I might eventually find the jars permanently sealed. If that happens, we’ll have a dramatic new blog post about Dennis covered in shattered glass and wood stain.



Backyard Table Repair

Two years ago, I built a backyard table with hinges in the middle and tuckable legs. You could fold the it in half and put it away if you wanted. But we never put it away and I eventually stabilized the table with a few extra boards and screws.

The table was built with pine, which I thought would be OK if I used an exterior paint. Not so much. The legs rotted out over the winter, and I might need to build a brand new table next year. For this summer, my son and I are replacing the legs and repainting the entire table. We did the legs over the weekend.


Lemuel Carver

Bellweather REDO author sendLEMUEL CARVER

Tom Orange’s maternal uncle and Bess’s father. He is a massive tanner, often drunk and furious that his daughter has abandoned him.


Read more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015).


Corelli’s Concerto Op. 6, No. 9

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is from Corelli’s Concerto Op. 6, No. 9.


corelli grossi

Note: Beats Music membership required; they offer a free two-week trial.

Learn more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)



Read the first two chapters of BELL WEATHER: A Novel, compliments of Henry Holt & Co.


And enter to win one of 50 copies via Goodreads.


Bell Weather Hardcover

Elkinaki Love Story at #TwitterFiction

imageMy #TwitterFiction entry is live right now. Please follow along at @Giganticide.

Here’s a description:

A story for the Twitter campfire. Deep in the 18th-century wilderness, the son of a rapacious fur trapper meets the mute but spirited daughter of the local Elkinaki tribe. They fall in love, communicating with gifts and gestures, and rendezvousing secretly to avoid the wrath of their fathers, until a night of accidental bloodshed realigns their fates.


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