A Closer Look

I piqued my own curiosity with yesterday’s post, so this morning I was eager to reexamine some of the things I reported on yesterday. I stopped by the house with the flowers on the lawn and picked up one of the blossoms to examine. It is about 3¼” (8 cm) long, and I will have to revise my description of the color from “salmon pink” to “peach,” as the colors range from a golden yellow at the hollow stem to a deep orangey pink inside, with a pinkish orange on the outside of the tubular body and brownish striations inside. It is an elongated trumpet shape with five semi-detached petals forming the corolla. The petals have a sort of “onion dome” shape. I’ve scoured the Web with Google Images and can’t seem to find anything that quite matches (though there are some honeysuckles that are not entirely unlike it). If it came from a vine (perhaps a vine that has been cut down), that would explain its presence, which I can’t otherwise explain since there were no other plants in the vicinity except pine trees and azalea bushes.

As for the house with the skin disease, today I crossed the street to inspect it more closely. I found that the brown splotches were in fact not places where paint had been removed but rather places where something brown had been daubed on. Again, given the distribution of the daubs, I would imagine that this is some sort of rust preventive applied to the nails. Also, in the interest of accuracy, I should report that the “clapboards” I referred to are actually asbestos cement shingles or siding.

Finally, yesterday’s post elicited a comment (thanks, Luc!) with a question about house moving. I provided some additional detail in my reply to the comment, but there’s more! In this morning’s “Mobile Matters” program on WHIL-FM, announcer Kathy Richardson was interviewing Bill Shanahan, president and COO of the Mobile BayBears Minor League Baseball team. Among other things, Shanahan was talking about the plan to move Henry Aaron’s childhood home to Gaslight Park at Hank Aaron Stadium (or “the Hank” as it is affectionately known), where the BayBears play. As noted in the linked article, a local firm, Hinkle’s House Movers, will be moving the house from Toulminville (a neighborhood in north Mobile) to the stadium in south Mobile. From the watercolor illustration in the article, the house appears to be a modest one, but it also appears to be brick, so the move will be a challenge—though perhaps not quite such a mammoth operation as the one shown in the This Old House video I referred to in yesterday’s comment! Or the moving of Alexander Hamilton’s 1802 house by Wolfe House & Building Movers, which required lifting the house 35 feet to clear a church portico that was hemming it in.

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4 Responses to A Closer Look

  1. Luc Sanders says:

    Interesting you mention asbestos shingles. Asbestos has been banned here because of the health risk. Although the fibres of the asbestos are bound to the cement they can get loose. If they are non-friable shingles (not crumbling or torn) there is no immediate problem.

  2. Yes, I hesitated before describing them as asbestos (though I think it very likely that they are), knowing that this would be controversial. Asbestos is considered a hazard here as well, but shingles or siding that is already in place can be left alone, I think. If it is removed, there are very stringent procedures that must be followed for removal and disposal.

    Our roof was originally covered with asbestos “slates.” Not only were they becoming brittle, but they were so slick (and the roof so steep) that it was impossible (or at least impractical) to get to the chimney to do needed work on it, so we decided to have a new roof put on. As the “slates” were removed, they couldn’t just be dropped to the ground as asphalt shingles would be. They had to be very carefully lowered and then double- or triple-bagged and taken to a special disposal site. And of course the workers had to wear protective face masks.

    Asbestos insulation is another concern, but, again, it is often left alone until other renovation work is contemplated.

    In any case, “asbestos” was just a guess based on the apparent age of the house. I could tell, for example, that the covering wasn’t aluminum or vinyl siding; it wasn’t traditional clapboards; cedar shingles usually aren’t painted (and would not have been used on a house of this type, anyway); and it didn’t look like Masonite siding (something else that has caused a legal ruckus). So I could be wrong, but my guess accurately describes the appearance of the surface.

  3. Update: The spotted house is now in the process of becoming hunter green. That is, it is in fact being painted.

  4. BigBan says:

    Oh, Thanks! Really funny. keep working!

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