Monday, August 31, 2009

Some subtle whimsy

After all the fuss about the swooped roof, it seems to have worked out pretty well. Several people (including Jim the Builder) have commented that they like the "presence" of the house, that they can see it from the road and it looks great. The woman who owns the horse farm across the street said she was mowing down by the lake and could see the house from there. And the architect commented that it is "sited well".

I replaced Jerry's stolen sandwich with some grilled chicken. I am not sure if he shared it with the other guys or not.

Way before yesterday

Since we bought our land up here, I have been wanting to take some photos of the Herkimer Cemetery that is just a few hundred feet from the edge of our property. Our 22 acres was once a part of a much larger Herkimer Farm, going back to the time of the Revolutionary War. I need to do some more research, but I am pretty sure it was owned by a brother of General Herkimer, and stayed in the family for years after.

Since I have no paying work to do today, I finally wandered over. This poor little cemetery is landlocked by other people's property, so you have to trespass to get there...that and you have to climb a very steep little hill.

On my list of things to do when we move up here, is to contact the owners of the cemetery, the town's historical society, and see if we can't raise some money to clean it up a bit.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Treasures from yesterday

Chicken finally made it to the grill. The second pic pretty much sums up the weather pattern: blue skies, looks like rain, blue skies... You can also see the new house behind the shed, to the right. This is the view from the backyard of the Dump. I will miss this view, but I think the new ones from the house will make up for it.

Dinner tonight, with Lester's help, was grilled chicken (finally) with some of my goodies from the Farmer's Market yesterday: yellow tomatoes and raw milk feta, blue potatoes with fresh onion and garlic, and my new $1 wine glass (with cheap white wine). Wrong color for both taters and tamaters, but YUM!

Even wilder creek today

We got a whole lotta rain last night and this morning. I never did get to grill my dinner last night, and just since I took this photo and started this post, it has clouded up and started raining again. I've been trying since Friday to grill that chicken...

I went with the dogs to the creek around noon, and we could barely cross it at our usual spot. I had to help Sophie back across as she was getting swept sideways. I finally saw the creek from the upstairs window in the new house, probably because the water was so much higher than usual.

I tried to find my way back to where The Husband wants the dock to go, but only got about halfway there. At least I think I have a better idea how to direct Scott to where we want it.

And I spent a couple of hours moving stakes again. I think I finally have the garage in the best location. If you click on the photo here (or any of them) you can see it larger. In the large version you will see my pathetic attempt at architectural drawing. The view is pasted together from 2 different spots on the front porch, so it's not exactly correct. I drew on top of it what I think the garage will look like (thin red lines). And, if you look to the left of the garage and the Magic Barn (you can ONLY see this in the large version, and barely there) I pointed out my huge lake view for all you naysayers.

I can see it even if you can't! And that's all that matters, isn't it?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The creek is wild today

Maybe there was more rain north and west of here last night, because the creek is running wild.

This morning I went into Cooperstown to the Farmers Market for some peaches, tomatoes, blue potatoes, and my favorite from there: Painted Goat cheese. Today I got their raw goat's milk feta, haven't tried that yet.

I left 2 peaches for the architect for bothering her about picking up a siding sample on a Saturday. Turns out she had plenty of peaches and was freezing them for winter pies, but she was happy for the 2 unfrozen ones to eat. Then I took the sample to the hardware store to compare it to the roof shingle colors. Harvard Slate looks MUCH better in person than on the website, so that will be the color for this little house. Note to IKO: Take some better photos of your shingle colors and replace the awful samples you have on your website and in your brochure. Maybe it's just me...far too picky...

And Fly Creek was having a town yard sale today, so I hit a few places and came back with 2 nice wine glasses for $2, and some homemade strawberry jam for $4. I'm on a low budget during this building project.

The rain seems to have stopped. Maybe I'll be able to get the grill going for dinner tonight.

Friday, August 28, 2009

We have a roof

They finished sheathing most of the roof today, just before the rain came in. I was going to make a little movie of the end-of-Friday roofing progress, but I was interrupted by Jim the Builder coming down the driveway. The dogs don't seem to understand they need to yield to moving vehicles, so I had to end the film and direct them away from the truck.

They finished all the roof (minus shingles) except for the "whimsy", the curved roof on the dormer. It will be more of a challenge to frame this little swoopy roof, but I think well worth the effort.

I did write a few big checks today, and a few more will come next week. The excavator is due to put in the septic, and finish some grading. Jim also promised to repair the dock and have Scott drag it back to the creek for us. My job is to find the spot where The Husband wants it to go...that won't be easy!

And I have an appointment on Tuesday with a designer at the bath showroom in Oneonta. Between the 2 baths and the kitchen, I have to start making some decisions as to what is going on. Also need to pick the roof color before Monday. Whaddya think: Harvard Slate or Dual Black?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sophie steals a sandwich and Susan stops by

Ever-so-sweet and innocent Sophie ran up on the porch today while all the guys were eating lunch. She assessed the situation, unsuccessfully tried giving everyone the sad boo-boo face, and carefully waited for the right moment. Jerry set his sandwich on the floor for one second, and just like that it was gone! I owe you one, Jerry.

Susan the Architect showed up unexpectedly for a visit. I am very glad she did because she got to talk to Gordy and clear up a few things that may have slipped through the cracks otherwise. Like cutting the front steps out of the porch so that they are under the roof, not outside the roof with rain dripping on our heads, or ice to clean off... We also discussed removing a few unnecessary walls upstairs to open up the dormer office and the closet crawlspace.

In talking with Susan, it turns out that Gordy caught a few things too, like lining up the kitchen window (after I had him move it) with the one upstairs, and moving other windows a few inches this way or that to make them perfect. As far as I am concerned, all talk is good talk.

Jim the Builder is supposed to stop by tomorrow. I am sure I will get some other things resolved, and probably have to write a few more checks. Things are moving so quickly it feels like we are going to blast through all that loan money before the house gets done...but that is just my fear of writing big checks. So far we have only used our savings and not touched the loan. I am sure that will change tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New back porch

Perfect fer sittin' and watchin' the sun go down.

Just got in tonight. I don't have any real work to keep me busy, so I plan to work on all of the house plans to make sure everything is properly translated from architect to builder, to crew, to plumber, electrician, etc.

Our new electric pole was also installed since we left on Sunday. Only a matter of days before we have electric out there, and they can eliminate the noisy generator. And Steve, my Verizon hero, dropped off some wire for me so they can run it out to the house in the trench with the electric and the water line.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lester's Flat: The sequel

I now have a new version of iMovie that is much more fun to play with, but it erases whatever knowledge I had of the old version. So this is a mystery all over again! I have no idea how to save this to the blog in the right format, but I wanted to put something up here so I could show it off in work today. Be patient with Speilberg, Jr., here (ha!). I'll keep playing with it...but this is all I can do today. The soundtrack will have to wait for another day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The rain never came today

So it's still hot and steamy here. I think we can blame Hurricane Bill, stalled off the coast, probably named after my brother!

We took another drive today, so I never finished my slideshow of the growing house. We are going home tomorrow, so the slideshow won't get done till Monday.

We went to see Cousin Chris's new bull calf, Bullwinkle. We found Bullwinkle, but not Chris.

Then we went to the Herkimer County Fair...expensive but interesting. The best part was watching the youngsters showing their winning lambs and sheep, with an occasional goat or calf in there just to annoy the judges.

Then we stopped on the way back to get some raw milk and fresh eggs to bring home as a gift to Debbie who has been caring for the cats. (sorry, J, don't forget those cats and farm animals!).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Perfectly framed. Here comes the rain again.

Jim the Builder heard I was bad-mouthing him on the blog for messing up the dock and the trees. I told him all was right with the world, and I would give him some praise to make up for it. Jim, you and the guys are truly doing an excellent job...keep up the good work! Everyone who sees how fast this house is growing up from the ground is very impressed.

I am working on a slideshow of all that happened this week, but since I am also doing some real work (the kind that pays for this project) the slideshow will have to wait for tomorrow.

The steamy temps are supposed to leave us after a rainy Friday. Then we're supposed to go back to some less humid weather. Right now the guys are out there working in the pouring rain...again!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lester and Sophie say hi

Jersey Girl was missin' the pooches, so we'll add a few pooch pics for her.

They are moving very quickly with raising the roof. I have taken several photos over the last few days, and will try to put together a slideshow for my next update.

We also met Bruce the Plumber for the first time this morning. He seems to think we are better off with radiant floor heat throughout, instead of opting for radiant panels on the second floor. It was Jim the Engineer who suggested the radiant who do you listen to? I suppose either will be acceptable and efficient.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Raising the roof in big sky country

We had some guests for dinner tonight: Brian, Eve, Greg, Chris; so we are light on the house photos today even though they were raising the roof. I will do better tomorrow. Even with the stormy skies in these photos, it wasn't much cooler than it has been. We did manage a good creek exploration this morning, and I CAN see the house from the creek. Maybe the guys up in the rafters can see it, but I think our creek views through the windows will be limited to winter months when the weeds are gone. At least we can hear it from the house, even in August.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day trip and some rain when we got back

I took this shot at about 8 p.m. when we got back from our road trip. We drove north on Rt 167, and eventually ended up in Gloversville, where we bought 2 interesting chairs, one Windsor, one painted yellow, for $54. The owner threw in a free little lead monkey...someday I'll take a pic of him.

On the way back on the NY Thruway, we encountered some torrential downpours and lightning. I drove down the driveway to get this pic of the house because it was still raining pretty good. I'll post some more photos tomorrow of the inside: no roof yet, pretty wet inside, but the soggy views are spectacular.

BTW, notice that they "parged" (cemented over) the blue legos on the foundation, and they started to put in the basement windows.

Monday, August 17, 2009

More heat and a new porch

Still too darn hot. I guess that's what we get for complaining about too much rain and chill. Check out Sophie over there finding a spot in the shade, fresh from her wander to the creek.

Jim the Builder says not to worry: they'll fix the dock AND take it down to the creek for us. And we planted the cherry tree and gave it several good drinks to bring it back to life.

Tomorrow we have to blaze a trail to the part of the creek that Brett keeps calling "The Hole". He says the water there is 6' or 7' deep.

La Traviata on a hot day with no air conditioning

Di quell'amor ch'รจ palpito
Dell'universo intero,
Misterioso, altero,
Croce e delizia al cor.

Of that unspoken love,
The pulse of the whole world,
Mysterious, unattainable,
The torment and delight of my heart.

Violetta and Alfredo were so enchanting that we totally forgot about how steamy it was in the theatre. This is only the third opera I have seen, and it was by far the most interesting. The staging and especially the performances were just beautiful.

To listen to some (or all) of La Traviata, check out this website:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The heat of summer and our first visitors

Yesterday was a day for visitors to review the progress on the house. As far as I can tell, everyone approves. Of course, the kids were more interested in swimming in the creek, refusing to get out and come home for dinner. It is incredibly hot and humid here so far this week, so I think maybe they are smarter than we.

Later today we go to La Traviata at the Glimmerglass Opera. I hope that our ticket price includes some serious air conditioning.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The good with the bad

Got a better look at everything today. The house looks great, although it still looks smaller than I imagined. Even though I have seen many architectural drawings over the years in my job, I guess this is the first time I have seen a drawing turn into something real.

We still haven't jumped up inside for the full tour, but will do that this weekend. In this photo, Sophie is in the driveway where you would pull up and first see the house. The front door is the hole on the right.

The bad part: a small sour cherry tree that we planted last year had to move for the driveway to come through. Found it today still not replanted.

Bad part 2: We bought a 12' piece of dock awhile back for $25. We were going to use it to bridge the creek, but couldn't find a way to carry it or drag it back there. Found it today destroyed by some big equipment. Oops.

If these are the worst hurdles we have to jump, we'll be doing very well...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Got in while it was still light

Another wow! Second floor is in and some of the second-floor walls are framed. It looks like my best view might actually be preserved. (Some finessing of the garage location can take place over the weekend.) The excavator filled the hole around the foundation, and graded the house site maybe a little too much. It looks too smooth and wonderful, we might have him rough it up a bit to be more natural like it was.

Just got done ordering some expensive tickets for the Glimmerglass Opera for a matinee on Sunday. La Traviata by Verdi. From their website:

"Jonathan Miller’s Glimmerglass production has been described as 'brilliant' by the Schenectady Gazette, and 'well directed and carefully understated' by the Ithaca Journal.

In this tale of passion, sacrifice and heartbreak, courtesan Violetta abandons a life of freedom and extravagance to be with Alfredo. Although their unconventional union proves unstable, their love endures.

Mary Dunleavy as Violetta and Ryan MacPherson as Alfredo are '…utterly convincing as a couple trying to navigate a path between sudden passion and social protocol' (The New York Times)."

So there really is some semblance of civilization out here!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The invisible second floor

The second floor is framed and ready for plywood, and the excavator was there on Tuesday morning to fill in the hole around the foundation. Jim the Builder promised to take some photos while I was in NJ, but he couldn't find the key to get my camera from The Dump. So no pics of the house until I go back up there tomorrow night to catch up on the progress.

We are expecting some of The Husband's family to visit this weekend through next week, so I will update you with some family photos while the second floor remains invisible. I am working today on trying to print out this photo of my parents leaving their wedding reception to go on their honeymoon in 1954. This is how I choose to remember them both, before age and illnesses took their toll. I am wondering what they would think of my home-building project and our plans to eventually move there. I expect they are following our progress from above, without the need of my blog updates...

(Sorry, Mom, I know you would hate to have a photo of yourself up on the web for all the world to see, but you look so beautiful here!)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Central NY farmers

Who knew we could build a house and grow crops at the same time?

Well, I don't think we're any competition for the real farmers. This is our whole crop of peas. Last year we got maybe 7 or 8 ears of corn. The year before was our first gardening experiment. We paid Shotgun Mike to prepare 2 fairly large garden beds for us. We added some composted manure and peat moss to the gravelly, partially clay soil. We planted 2 seed packets of sunflowers and 1 of winter squash. We got one baseball-sized squash and that's it. Groundhogs got everything else.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Measure twice, cut once

Watch out Spielberg! I took the video from the other day and added the latest, from yesterday. The whole first floor is framed—all in seven minutes, 39 seconds. I told the guys I would delete the part where they had to measure twice, cut twice...but it was much more interesting to leave it in. Sorry guys!

The big hole gets filled in tomorrow and they start the second floor next week. The husband and some other family are coming up Friday. They should be starting the roof by then—if all goes well. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gonna run back home for a few

Things are going to slow down just a bit, so I'm running back to NJ. These pics, and the ones I take later this afternoon, will have to suffice until I get back. But then Jim the Builder offered to take some while I am gone. We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rising above the goldenrod

Today, for the first time, I am able to see the house from the lower field. The photo on the right was taken from about halfway down to the creek. The weeds out there are head-high, mostly goldenrod, but also dame's rocket, bachelor's buttons, burdock, and others yet to be identified. We have blazed a trail to the creek, for our daily walk, by walking sideways and breaking off the stems at ground-level. Well, I guess I did the trailblazing, the dogs just ran ahead. The creek is running really high today, they must have had more rain since I left last week.

If I can see the house from the creek (not yet) will I be able to see the creek from the house? That might just help me get over the loss of my favorite view from the front porch.

Later today I am going to meet with Karen, the kitchen layout design pro, in Cooperstown.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Arrived in time

to take a few pics before the sun went down. This photo was taken from the top of a dirt pile, to get the best angle for you guys, because I care. I do.

Looks like the concrete basement floor is finished, and the first floor framing begun. I am still concerned that they moved the house forward a bit too far, after all my staking efforts, and that I will lose my favorite view from the front porch. But I won't be able to tell for sure until my front porch reappears. Maybe we'll have to make that a wrap-around porch like the one in NJ...