CTA Buses Through The Years - 70th Anniversary

Earlier this month, the Chicago Transit Authority had a neat display of both modern and vintage buses set up at Daley Plaza right next to the Picasso for people to check out.   The buses ranged from one built in 1960 (that you see above) to a brand new one out on the street today.  I didn't go on the buses, but you can see people boarding them, which is kinda nice.  The oldest one is the coolest looking of the bunch that you can see below, isn't it?  Also, the green and cream are lovely to look at, aren't they?  The blue ones could be buses from Champaign or Chicago.  There's nothing making them unique.

The display was part of the CTA's 70th anniversary celebration.  From WGN:
The CTA will display three of its vintage buses on the Daley Plaza Monday and Tuesday as part of its 70th anniversary celebration.  The buses were gradually retired between the 1970's and 1990's -- but you'll get a chance to check them out.  Many of them still have the old ads t…

Postmaster Steel Fence Posts For Our Cedar Fence

Over the past few posts about our fence, I showed the posts being installed and talked about what the fence was going to do in terms of framing up our backyard.  Unlike our first fence in Elmhurst, the crew putting our fence in this time dug each of the posts by hand.  I'm not sure if that is just how they roll or if it had something to do with the posts we selected?

Because we're planning on staying in our #NewOldFarmhouse for quite some time, after talking with the team at Classic Fence, we decided to upgrade to steel posts instead of the traditional 4x4 cedar posts.  The steel posts we selected are called Postmaster posts from Master Halco. They're specifically designed for wood fences and allow for the attachment of cedar rails on the sides and accept planks on the outside and inside to basically 'cover' or mask the steel post in it's entirety.

Here's a look at a few of the posts that were installed in our #newoldbackyard.  The one on the left is unad…

Crimson King Maple - Added to #NewOldBackyard

Another tree?  Yep.  This makes number nine.  Nine trees planted this season in the yard.

There's 2 flowering pears, 1 Japanese flowering cherry, 2 Lindens, 1 Dawn Redwood, a Magnolia, a Corkscrew Willow and now this one: A Crimson King Norway Maple.  And let me get this out of the way.  Yes, I know some folks wouldn't recommend this tree.  But I've been drawn to them for a while and I wanted something that would break up the sea of greenness in the very far reaches of the rear of the new old backyard.

Menards has marked their trees down to 30% to 50% off, so this one was a no-brainer for me.  I brought it home and found a spot along the fenceline all the way in the back.  We haven't quite gotten around to cleaning out most of the weeds/brush areas around the perimeter of the lot, so this is - for now - mixed in amongst some native weeds and various, unidentified brush.

Now, back to the tree.  If you're looking to find out why some folks have maligned this tree,…

Fence Install With Posts - In Progress (Step 2)

Last week, I posted a BF (before fence) photo of the #newoldbackyard and here above is an in-progress look at the fence posts going in the ground.  The above photo is clickable, but here is a link to the Google Photos version where you can zoom in and scroll around.  This is the second fence that we've installed and I documented almost the exact same point in installation from the first time.  Check it out here from seven years ago.

If you look closely, you'll notice the posts aren't traditional 4x4 cedar posts.  We opted for steel posts as an upgrade this time over the standard cedar posts.  They cost a bit more, but they perform much better and will last much longer.  I'll post something on the posts themselves in the coming days.

The fence is one of the first steps in the evolution of the backyard.  Once it is finished being installed, I can move on to planting some of the trees and then move on to deciding on some of the locations of the landscape beds out back.…

Envisioning the "Entrance" to our Backyard

There's this spot on the rear/side of our house - right next to the screened-in porch and behind the garage that is sandwiched up against the fence and is on a grade appears to be the likely 'entry point' for our backyard.  Right now, it is grass (some of it yellowed!) and a few stepper stones that you can see above.  The concrete pad that you see on the left is the bottom of a few steps that come out of my office and is right behind one that comes out from the side door of our garage.  Behind where I'm standing when I took this photo is one of the fence gates.

The grade poses a problem and that's revealed by the current installation.  You have to kind of walk sideways on the pavers as they make the turn on their angles.  It is *fine* for now.  But, not ideal.

The first thing that pops into my mind is to contemplate how we engineer or build out a little footbridge that incorporates a water feature/pond.  I can imagine excavating a good portion of the area where …

Montgomery Wards Raft - A Second Life

On a recent visit to Twin Lakes, we spent some time with friends at their place up on Lake Elizabeth.  They have a few water toys that the kids got to try out including one of those massive water trampolines.  What was most interesting was that the kids figured out how to use raft and paddle that they boarded from the dock to navigate out to the trampoline - all the while staying mostly dry and out of the lake.  I talked with the Babe that night and she said that having the ability to pilot her own 'boat' out on the lake was a lot of fun. It was only about 20 feet from the dock to the trampoline, but that whole time, she was the captain and first mate.  She was on her own.  And, she expressed that she liked it!  So...while we're not in the spot to score a trampoline, we happen to be in possession of an old raft.  My Dad gave it to me as he was closing down Coloma and for the past year, it sat up in the garage in Twin Lakes.  Until now.

I dragged it to the porch, hooked up…