Adding Flowers, Removing Bricks: Sunday at Work in the Parkway and Basement

Today, Julie and Bob stopped over to help us with the house. Outside, Julie and Liz were at work on the parkway. Inside, Bob was taking measurements and making plans while I was in the basement, continuing to work on removing bricks from the chimney.

As a reminder, this is what the parkway looked like yesterday evening, when Liz had finished clearing things.

Around about 5PM, I stopped out to go grab some photos. I was surprised to see that nearly all the plants Julie had bought for us were in place.

Along with a small walkway around the tree, temporarily marked by two rows of bricks. The eventual goal is to track down some wood, and cut a series of 1-2 inch thick discs, and use those to plot out the path.

Lots of flowers, getting ready for their arrival in Spring of 2016.

Liz and Julie, hard at work.

Near the end of the evening, here’s the pile of bricks that remained intact.

More rubble from the demo.

I got down towards the lower part of the chimney, and was able to remove the furnace door. Haven’t checked to see if there’s a date yet, but I know this guy is old. Assuming it was put in here when the house was built, it would date back to the 1880’s.

It was starting to get dark, so I popped outside to get a few photos of the work. Lo and behold, not only was everything planted… but all the mulch was put down too!

We actually had a tremendous amount of mulch on our front porch, so this is really a great thing to see. Almost all of it got used in the parkway, and now we have a much smaller (and managable) pile of mulch left over.

View from the front steps. It looks so much different than it used to.

Placeholder steps.

Back in the basement, Bob helped start the second row of bricks (which, looking at how things are situated, should go pretty quickly). Here, he’s showing me how to best go about cracking off the bricks that overlap our original cut (while still keeping the original cut clean/smooth).

Bob also had a great idea for putting his phone inside the chimney, to check on the state of things. I didn’t get a copy of his video, but I copied the idea… and took a bit of video of my own.

The first part is looking down at the floor. After the flip, you’re looking up:

Bob’s realization was that this chimeny was never used. His theory is that the original design called for a chimney here, and the basement and lower part of the chimeny was built according to those specifications. But when they got to the first floor… they just decided to brick over the top here.

So this guy was never used. We were expecting a lot of soot and ash, but beyond just rubble and mortar dust… it’s pretty clean! Which is great news for us, as I was dreading using the power washer on a chimney that had see 100+ years of use.

When we do eventually power wash the basement (in the near future), it’s going to go faster than we planned – as the chimeny is no longer going to be a horrible, soggy mess. Really great news!

A view of the chimney work so far. Still got a ways to go, but it’s getting there…

Inside, Outside: Work on the Basement and Parkway
Clearing the Parkway
Cutting into the Chimney Bricks in the Basement

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