Friday, June 28, 2013

And, the sign is home...

Shortly after Don's death, and after the marathon "finish the apartments" time, I decided to have a sign made that would somehow honor Don and all the time and effort he had put into the remodeling of the apartments. I hadn't begun my building craze yet so had no idea what to do or how to get it done.  I can't remember how we came up with the idea to see if someone from the wood shop at Etna High School might be interested (probably a suggestion from Logger Daughter), but that's what I did.  We contacted the shop teacher, I sent him the simple text I wanted on the sign, he worked up a couple of designs.  I liked what he came up with and he gave the project to one of his shop students to do as his project.

When the sign was complete the shop teacher and his student installed facing the street, it in a plantable area in front of the main parking area.  We had a cherry tree planted on each side  of the sign (as a remembrance of Don's resting place in Arlington National Cemetery) and we planted ground cover around it.  The trees took hold and each spring they had more and more cherry blossoms.

You can barely make out one of the cherry trees - they were pretty scrawny when we first planted them!


If Don had lived me might have spent several months during the year in Fort Jones and while there we would have lived in a small apartment.  Although I still plan to spend lots of time in Etna with the Logger family, with Don gone I needed to come up with another plan for the apartments.  Don had done a wonderful job on them and the property and the units were now beautiful, BUT, they were still old, really old!  At some point soon they were probably going to need a new roof.  Some of the siding, we learned during the sale process, was rotted and needed replacing.  I had two full-time tenants, but didn't even look for renters for the other units - tenants can be a hassle sometimes and I just didn't need or want the hassle!  So, I put them on the market, and was completely surprised when the agent found a buyer for them!  After a few go-arounds regarding financing, the buyers approached the city for financing and they gave it to them.  Within just a couple of weeks escrow was opened and closed - and the apartments were no longer "Don's Old Mill Apartments".  I had asked Logger Daughter and SIL to remove the sign before the close of escrow, so we had it - and now I had to figure out what to do with it!

Using the last of the large pieces of cedar that Logger SIL had packing in my car during a trip last winter, I created the seating portion of the bench.  That sign is heavy and I worried about how to attach it securely to the bench and keep it upright!  I used some of the cedar with a natural edge to create the front legs but they weren't wide enough to support the bench.  I attached a 4x4 to the back which gave the bench all the support it needed.  Then I attached the sign as the back of the bench.  It's attached with 2x12s that fit under the cedar bench but have a 20" extension that is cut at an angle to accommodate the slight angle of the sign.  Those legs are attached with pocket hole screws to the bottom of the bench and the upright extensions are attached to the same boards that were used to attach the sign to the posts that held it at the apartments.

I wish you could see the work the student put into making this sign.  Those letters are carved out of the wood.  The area inside the "frame" has been routed out in a linear pattern.  The letters were painted the same color at the trim on the apartment buildings, the lumber for the sign was milled (by Logger SIL) from the huge spruce tree that, because is was diseased and created a safety issue) we had to have removed from the property.


I stained the 2x material a Minwax light walnut and sealed the bench and some areas of the sign with Thompson's Water Seal.  That product is clear, but it adds a really pretty reddish color to the cedar.





Tomorrow I'll have some help to move it to the backyard.  I think it will hold up well and will be a reminder (not that I need it) of all the fun and frustration these units provided to Don during the last two year's of his life! I'm glad it's home.
FROM THIS EYESORE!

TO THIS - JUST BEAUTIFUL, THE FOLKS IN FT. JONES WERE SO GRATEFUL TO DON FOR MAKING THIS PROPERTY A SHOW PIECE!




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