Those little cows in the corner there are NOT Great Grampa Stark's. They were Gramma Bea's cows. One of them, Inky, was sold to pay the taxes on the farm one year. It was a big, fat, unhappy, hairy deal. Gramma was heartbroken. And Angry. It was the only fight my mom remember her parents having.
Poor Inky. Poor Gramma Bea.
In other news, Christmas is still coming. The fireplace is in and works wonderfully. I have to clean the house today. Wish me luck!
Bry took a personal/sick day on Friday so that he could make it to a doctor's appt. for his wrist and knee and get some extra work done on the house. So we had a long weekend, including a nice relaxing Sabbath being iced in.
Here's what we (well, Bryan, really) accomplished last week and this weekend :
He ripped out the shower downstairs (it froze last week when the temp got down to a shivery 0 degrees) that space will now become more studio storage. Yay! Then he spent several hours replacing insulation that was moved out of the way during wiring and pluming projects and spraying several cans of Great Stuff in holes, cracks and gaps. This raised the overall temperature in the South Studio by 10 or 15 degrees and made the upstairs and living room noticeably warmer. Hooray!
He finished the insulation in the Living Room and got most of the wallboard up and the outlets for the Living Room wired. So now we can put in a Christmas tree and hang lights and stuff. The tree will go in the corner near the big window. The ugly TV will go upstairs for the season.
He also got the space for our gas fireplace framed up with backer board in place and ready for tile. Our oil company is coming on Tuesday to install a new gas line and hook it up. It will be a wonderful addition to the house, making the living room very cozy when we want to cuddle and read or watch a movie there and it will be a big help when we need to let the big woodstove go out so that we can empty the coals - usually once every week & a half or two weeks. Eventually Bry will build a nice mantle around and above the fireplace which will include a place to hang stockings, shelves for books, movies and/or trinkets and (someday when we can afford it) a flat screen TV hidden behind a mirror.
He got a good start on the installation for the upstairs shower. (We're currently on sponge baths or charity showers at Mom & Dad's or Jonathan & Nichelle's!) Hopefully later this week we will have either the shower or the bathtub ready to use in the upstairs bathroom. Oh - one other little piece of wonderful news - the Upstairs Bathroom is the most comfortable room in the house in terms of warmth. You can get warm fast in front of the Fisher Stove down here in the studio but it is a rotisserie style of warmth - you need to keep turning to get warm everywhere! But the bathroom has a nice, cozy and even ambient temperature.
Molly has been making these wonderful 20 point Moravian Stars (see top photo) all weekend out of some gorgeous card stock I bought a while back. You can find instructions on how to make these stars in several places - we found ours on Jenny Harada's blog. She advises using old Christmas cards but Molly wanted to make lots and have them be look like they belonged together so a packet of color & pattern coordinated card stock is perfect. I buy that stuff to use as background for me bead and jewelry photos so I only need one of each nice sheet, the packets usually have 3-4 of each pattern so everyone wins!
And yesterday we took a wander out back and cut our tree. That was fun - there was lots of slush under the snow under the layer of ice.
Check in later this week for more decorations. It's still rough in here but I'm sure the kids will make it festive!
It is cold. Very cold. The windows are not finished being framed in yet so all the warmth from the house pours out from around the windows on one side of the house, being replaced by cold pouring in from the opposite side of the house. Most of the doors have big gaps where cold air screams through, too.
So basically, we're cold. Very cold.
The shower pipes froze last night.
By turning off the pump in order to address the frozen pipes issue, we have discovered that the steady trickle of water coming into the basement is not ground water seeping in but rather is water being pulled up the pipe by the pump and spilling out through a crack in said pipe somewhere between the house and the well. Luckily for us this discovery was made After the ground was frozen and there is 2 feet of snow on top of it. Good Times.
The good news:
Bryan was NOT killed by a stupid driver who pulled out right in front of him this morning on his way to work. (That pretty much trumps all that other bad news up there. I'm unbelievably thankful for that.)
The upstairs bathroom now looks like these photos and actually is a little bit warmish. Bry is actively working on getting the shower installed upstairs ASAP. The downstairs shower is no longer a viable option because, obviously, it freezes too easily.
There is now a drier in the upstairs bathroom. (Thank you, Neighbors Tabors!)
P.S. Sorry that these photos are a bit sea-sick. The lighting is really weird up there and I was being quick with the camera.
We've been a bit overwhelmed lately. I don't even have time to spell it all out - suffice it to say that it is getting cold and we Still haven't had time to finish the soffits and fascia on the new roof or get the new windows framed in and insulated. Rather uncomfortable, really.
BUT. The Ft. Jackson house has sold. Woo Hoo! We're not going to make any money on it but a family has moved in - he is a construction contractor and she loves the house so all is well there.
We have re-thought our color scheme for downstairs - again. One thing we have learned is that you NEVER buy paint until the very end.
(Does anyone want to buy two huge buckets of pale blue paint?)
Because our plan for the layout of the downstairs has changed slightly and because the cabinets we had priced and planned for last winter are no longer available, we have had to re-think our whole plan for the downstairs. I'll tell all in another post once I've got caught up with the mess in this house (it is truly amazing how much volume the cabinets in the Ft.Jackson house were hiding!) but in the meantime - here is a short overview of our color scheme:
Kitchen walls - Dark teal (yes, really)
Living Room walls - that dusty pink and/or the chocolate brown - tile work with will be done in that faux aged stone tile with a few decorative tiles thrown in.
Cabinetry and Built-ins in both rooms - pale mustard yellow with that dark formica flecked with gold and teal for the counter tops.
Ceilings - the paler yellow
Paprika Curtains in the LR, teal throw pillows and other accents, something lightweight and cream or kitchen curtains.
We hope to have at least some of it done before Christmas!
O.K. Time for some real life work. (The color chips look so much better in real life - I've played with the color balance but digital cameras just don't manage blues against reds very well.)
I swear. This is as good as it is going to get. I'm priming tomorrow and painting this weekend. If anyone wants to kneel down next to my toilet and complain that I didn't do a good enough job on this corner, I'll flush their head for them.
Maxx has been perfecting his pirate fashion for weeks months now. He can hardly wait for Friday when he gets to be a PIRATE at SCHOOL!
He had a blast helping design his spooky little pumpkin last night, too. He generally likes creepy things.
Since we have been so busy all year and had no construction $$ to work on the house this weekend and because we all spent the first part of the weekend being miserable and sick and because we wanted to celebrate our Temple Anniversary, we took a trip up to the Adirondacks on Monday. We drove up the Whiteface Veteran's Memorial Highway. That drive is pretty much my limit for heights, switchbacks and drop-offs. And then we played with my other borderline phobia and walked through the tunnel to the elevator that would take us the rest of the way through the mountain to the top.
Maxx had a blast jumping around on the rocks at the top of the mountain. But not too close to the edge.
Then we took the kids to the covered bridge in Jay. Molly Bryn didn't remember ever seeing it before. Bry and I realized that we have been negligent about taking her around to our ancestral stomping grounds.
We also spent a little time wandering around in Downtown Lake Placid before heading home. I was pretty disappointed with the shops this time around. I remember there being several small, charming little shops with unique items but this time I there seemed to be only high end, pretentious outlets and small touristy shops. Even "Where'd You Get That Hat?" felt stale, trEndy and commercial.
The mountain was great though - 80 mile visibility and not freezing at the top.
Has been at a standstill since the beginning of school. We ran out of construction $$ at the end of August and it took me several weeks to put together a packet of receipts and estimates and project overviews for the bank and then the USPS changed its sorting route for Upstate NY and all of my early September bill payments were three weeks late.
THREE Weeks! To get a piece of mail from Brasher to Potsdam. And our mortgage payment got completely lost.
That created multiple glitches with the the other Evil Empire (National Grid) and with the bank that were finally all straightened out yesterday with a $25.00 stop check fee. Aaargh. So maybe we can have more construction $ next week?
My lovely new bathroom is still at the early skeleton construction stage. That non-functioning bathtub taunts me every time I walk upstairs.
We got the two female Kittens fixed. Emmeth can wait a little while. He's not spraying and he still says "meeew?" It will be a while yet before he becomes a full grown, sauntering Tom Cat.
The cows have moved away. This makes us all very sad but we are growing some spectacularly large spiders in our side entry to make up for their absence. I think they make a pretty good home security system. By 8:00 every night, they have spun new, strong webs and hang at about head height to catch yummy flies - which we also have plenty of.
The cold is coming on strong. Our first delivery of wood for the season comes today and the trees are beautiful.
Grampa got out the tractor last Monday and we set out to pick apples for Family Home evening.
Molly Bryn was in a great mood.
Maxx was starting to get sick and was developing some snot and 'tude, too. (But, boy! That hat is a hit. It is on every waking minute at home.)
Chrissy and Truman were downright excited but were being very mellow & cool about the whole thing.
It was a beautiful evening in the meadow.
I took several shots of flora & foliage as references for a project I'm working on in the studio.
Molly Bryn took lots of beautiful sunset shots.
The moon was up as we rode home on the wagon.
Gramma made applesauce the next day and shared it around. Molly and Maxx both missed the rest of the week at school because this first-of-the-year virus really knocked them out. I understand now why they were so miserable - I'm coming down with it and it feels like someone injected cold liquid lead into my veins.
Hopefully, I will fight it off faster than the kids did. It's the first time I have been sick since the swine flu and earache from Hell late last fall so I'm not bitter. It has been wonderful to be well for so long.
I feel like I need some Monty Python bloke to wheel a barrow past my door singing "Bring out yer dead!" Farm house or not, I do not tolerate any creature with neither functional sphincters nor clothes in my pantry. Or on my table or counter top or cupboards or in my silverware drawer - etc . . . . I'm tired of washing everything every day.
And how do they get in the places they do, anyway? Grappling hooks? Tiny helicopters? Little catapults?
The war continues.
Not bad for a rainstorm with over 1 inch of water per hour for over 5 hours through the night. Apparently, the only leaks are in places where the screws with their little rubber washers weren't tight enough or where there was a formerly used screw hole that was too big or hadn't been filled in yet. (We're experimenting with recycled tin for our roof. We hope it's going to work out well.)
Better yet - we had river front property this morning.
Complete with Class 3 Rapids on the Little Brook.
This is a photo of underneath our new roof. See where that air compressor is? Right there is where my new great big bathtub is going to go.
Unlike this cat*, we have been feeling the advent of September with a great deal of discomfort. It has been the "School is coming and we still don't have the roof fixed yet" variety of discomfort that only teachers and the spouses of teachers can fully appreciate. We worried about it for a while Monday because of the rain and because of our exhaustion and because we were beginning to feel just a little bit helpless and hopeless.
Bryan sat down and scribbled pictures of sticks on pieces of paper and tried to explain them to me. I nodded sagely and turned away feeling rather bewildered and, I imagine, looking quite a bit like Buttercup before she stepped into that patch of lightning sand. On Tuesday we looked at the weather forecast and saw that there were 5 days in a row that did not predict rain and certain doom for roofing projects. Bryan promptly climbed up on the roof and began tearing off pieces of tin. I began exhibiting small signs of extreme stress, like chuckling under my breath at strange and unlikely times and rocking back and forth for no apparent reason.
You see, last year my brother-in-law, Jonathan, tore his roof off with similar abandon mid summer. He blithely explained that he was going to build a few new walls, reinstall his rafters and put new siding on in order to have an extra story on his house. He anticipated that this project would only take a week or so, especially if the weather behaved the way the forecast predicted.
He took his roof off.
We had monsoons. Water poured out of the electrical sockets in his downstairs living room. All of his lovely sheet rock walls downstairs were destroyed. Several rolls of insulation were saturated. High winds and rain squalls persisted for WEEKS. It was like Jumanji without the stampede and giant alligator. The whole family played games with thunder and lightning in a desperate attempt to get Some work done whenever it was dry and light enough out to work and then to get SOMETHING over that house when the rainclouds invariably began rolling in. It was a nightmare. It was so traumatic that when his wife came home and saw that our roof was off, she almost threw up in her driveway.
Perhaps stimming in the corner is not such a bad coping strategy considering the experience I've had with absent roofs.
Perhaps my terror was unfounded. Progress has been good.
Tuesday. Day 1. No great pictures because the day consisted mostly of Bryan consulting with Amish men (who do not enjoy having their photos taken), writing checks and hauling lumber on the hay wagon over to our yard. (You can see that my lens is a bit greasy in this photo.)
Wednesday. Day 2. Tin gone. Decking gone. Naked rafters. Scary things falling from the sky.
Thursday. Day 3. Old rafters gone. (I worked at the Arts Council so did not get to witness scary things falling from the sky nor all of the silly horseplay on the naked roof.) New rafters up. Dormer framed up and built in.
Friday. Day 4. New decking. Tin begins to be cut.
Saturday. Day 5. Will it rain? If it stays dry, we'll get our tin on.
We're over budget but things are moving so beautifully fast and smooth. It looks very promising. Dad and Jonathan and Trenton and Ken and Mickey and Robert and Mom and Greg and Nichelle have been so incredibly helpful. The men and Mom have all pitched in on the actual labor and Nichelle and mom have helped me out by taking turns with me to prepare meals for everyone. It's been great. I'm still rocking and chuckling quietly, though.
*(This cat believes herself to be Queen of the Universe. And she can climb walls. She has actually Climbed Up The Side of The House and gotten in through the construction project. There is no keeping her out. She is every cliche' you have ever heard about stubborn, persistent cats who keep coming back. And she's absolutely adorable. I'm trying SO hard not to be in love.)