Monday, May 31, 2010

Thanks Mac and Jane!

We helped our friends Mac and Jane saw up some firewood and stack it, planning ahead for our first cold winter. For our efforts, we get some nicely seasoned and cut hardwood, and we were also treated to lunch and a coupla beers at the Doubleday Café.

The house is still just almost done. More than half of the punch list is completed, but we need to write up a new punch list before we leave tomorrow. So close, yet so far.

The garage is the only big thing left to finish, and a bit of electrical work. We'll probably not even try to do a lawn until is too hot and dry to plant anything now.

Two pics of the bathrooms: powder room is now sporting the nice big $8 mirror from Anna's shop in Richfield Springs, and the master bath now has its cheapo medicine cabinet from Home Depot. Once we get our furniture in this house, it might actually feel like we live here. There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be sorted before we move. Got my work cut out for me!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Birthday parade, house for sale, grand staircase, working fridge!

We came back up for Memorial Day weekend. The local Fire Department is having a parade on Monday for my birthday. Or maybe it is actually for Memorial Day and we'll be the only ones celebrating my 54th birthday...

The "For Sale" sign went up on the NJ house yesterday, just before we left. It is as scary as it is exciting to be leaving my favorite NJ house to move up here for good. I will miss that old house almost as much as I will miss friends and family. Little Sister promised to save us a room in her new house for when we come back to visit. Coincidentally, she will be trying to sell the old Boro homestead at the same time. Of course it's got to be the absolute worst time to try to sell a house, and we both chose to do it anyway.

Also not the best economy for us to be building a house, but aren't we glad we did!

The newly finished stairs are as grand as Richie said they were—even he was impressed with his work. I purchased the round iron balusters sometime last summer, and I wasn't sure how this would all work out, but everything is looking MAHvelous! The Husband wasn't so sure about my color choices for the treads and risers, but now that he sees it all finished, he loves it as much as I do.

And, the best birthday present of all—the fridge is working!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tough not to be there, new head, and HB to the OR Sis!

I think they are finishing up the house either this week or next. I wish these construction guys were computer savvy enough to take some photos and send them to me...

I talked to Richie twice this week. He said the stair treads (second photo) are all installed, but he was still working on the railing (round iron balusters and stained maple handrail and newel post). These are the treads on the living room floor as he was cutting them to fit. Luckily we didn't have a Puppy Head there to run all over them!

The orange Adirondack chair is inside for now, only because we don't have any other furniture up there. Thanks to Bets and Folk for the great Christmas/housewarming gift!

Richie and Jim have also opened up the doorway that should have cut through from the dormer/studio into the big master bedroom closet. It will be really interesting to see how that works out. Second photo is from the inside of the big closet. You can see the celery paint color from the bedroom AND the cork floor. On the right side of the photo, in the back, is where the other doorway will come through. Because of the slant of the roof, a regular door won't work here. Maybe I don't need a door at all? I just need to be able to access this space from the studio, and I think I want to hide a cat box in there.

Changing the header again. I think this one can stay for awhile. I love the flapping Lester ears—they make him look so much younger than his twelve years.

And, last but not least, Happy Birthday to my sis in OR! That's her in pic three looking ever so adorable in pink. And that just might be her big sister stealing her Easter bunny...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The big story: the big fridge fits!

And it seems to be working too!

Lowe's Herkimer came through for me with a prompt and pleasant delivery on the new fridge. Free delivery and haul-away of the old disaster, and they claim that they even recycle what they can from it.

My concerns about it fitting in the space were justified. Richie assured me that the width of the opening was 30", exactly the width of the fridge, but the actual fridge was a bit bowed on both sides, and it took some serious pushin' and shovin' to get it in there. I better NEVER have a problem with this new black fridge, because no one is ever going to get it back out of there! At least there is a good bit of space at the top and back for ventilation.

The worst is over. The 2 kitchen dilemmas have been rectified. The fridge is in and working, and the sink is beautiful and draining properly. You can see in the fridge photo that there is still stone dust from the sink settling on everything (you can even still see it in the air where the flash caught it, and it covers the island top even though I wiped it down several times). But this is basically still a construction site, and with another good cleaning when everything is done, I think we'll be good to go.

I love my new kitchen!

Jim says the whole house should be done by the end of this week, but I think it is more likely going to be the end of the month. Maybe even the garage will be done by then.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pretty pasture pics for The Husband

This afternoon I wasted about an hour and a half searching for a missing Sophie. I even called in the troops to help (Friend Jane in her Jeep). While I was just about hoarse calling her name and probably enraging the neighbors, back she comes, trotting across the field as if nothing was wrong.

Mostly I worked today, putting the screen door back together and finishing up my other paying job, but I did manage to take some more photos before and after I retrieved my missing retriever mix. I have a lot of new ones to share, and I will do my best to bring them back home with me for later posts. For now, some pretty pictures of the "pasture" for The Husband to contemplate back in NJ. In the bottom one, you can see the tracks in the foreground from the excavator's leveling routine.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fierce invalids and Baltimore orioles

I didn't accomplish a whole lot today, other than to finish painting the screen door I brought up from the NJ house, taking the dogs to the hardware store for more dog food and some missing screws for the screen door and door knocker from B&E, and starting Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, by Tom Robbins (one of my favorite authors).

A quotation from page 22:"Things, Cosas. Things attach themselves like leeches to the human soul, then they bleed out the sweetness and the music and the primordial joy of being unencumbered upon the land. Comprende? People feel tremendous pressure to settle down in some sort of permanent space and fill it up with stuff, but deep inside they resent those structures, and they're scared to death of that stuff because they know it controls them and restricts their movements." Yikes! I cannot resent my new structure! And what about the lifetime of stuff in the NJ house? I would love to be unencumbered, and yet I acquire more stuff every day...

The inclement weather pretty much kept me inside today—it has been raining/sleeting/snowing on-and-off since morning—so I did some birdwatching. There are the usual large numbers of goldfinches, barn swallows, crows, starlings and red-winged blackbirds. But today I saw a pair of brown-headed cowbirds, and quite a few Baltimore orioles, neither of which I have ever seen before.

I am depending on David Allen Sibley's The Sibley Guide to Birds for my identification. It is very useful, but I still have not been able to ID the eagle-sized bird that I saw yesterday, and several times here before. It is either a very large hawk (ferruginous?), or a young bald or golden eagle. Or maybe an osprey? I never can get a good look at it.

I wish I had either a better digital camera (more stuff!) or my old Minolta SLR brought back to life. This little Nikon Coolpix doesn't cut it for bird photos. As proof, here's 2 from NJ, maybe a sharpshin, and maybe a red-tail or ferruginous hawk. Bad photos, hard to see. I want my telephoto lens back!

Watching wind and weather

I tried to post late yesterday afternoon, but the power went out every time. So while there was still enough natural light, I sat by my big bank of windows in the living room and simply watched the weather. The wind was truly howling—so much so that I was thankful to be in my new house rather than The Dump, which brings images from The Wizard of Oz to mind.

Power was intermittent until about 7 pm, and then it went out completely until about 10. If I was unsure of the need for a generator, I am no longer. I went to bed early, wind howling through the night, and woke up to a dusting of snow on Mother's Day. Wind is still howling and snow flurrying at noon. Bizarre weather for May! Or maybe not, but this South Jersey girl isn't used to it.

Scott the Excavator was here on Friday and he successfully leveled everything out around the yard. We don't need a real lawn, but it has to be seeded somehow otherwise all we will have is mud. I had hoped to go out and throw some Mammoth Red Clover seed around, but now that I am staying until Tuesday, I will wait until I talk to Jim the Builder to find out what parts are in danger of being disturbed again. Also, there's a freeze warning for tonight, not sure how that would affect the seeds...

Old fridge is near death. New fridge is coming Tuesday. Hope I don't get sick eating my not-very-cold food in the meantime. Might just store it out in the car for tonight...that will definitely be colder than the fridge!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cooler but still nice

I am finishing up the one job, and holding off on the bigger one until the weather turns bad. I just can't work inside when it is so nice out there. As soon as I finish here I will take L & S down to the far side of the creek, where they will undoubtedly continue their feast on whatever dead things they can find.

It is just a little lonely without the crazy foster pup here to entertain us. The biggest problem with Ruby being here was that L & S knew that I was watching her more carefully, so they chose to expand their boundaries more than usual. Even now they think they can roam just that much farther, and wait just those few minutes longer to come back when I call them. They are both very smart about getting to places where I cannot (or will not) chase them—like on the other side of the barbed wire fence, or on the far side of the creek at its deepest part. When Sophie gets over there, very often she forgets how she got there without swimming, and she can't figure out how to get back... We'll get back into our routine soon enough...redefining the boundaries.

These photos are of all 3 kids at the creek from 2 weeks ago, a happy wet Lester on the front porch, and the remains of something (a deer?) that probably had a good life a few years ago, but now looks like a Georgia O'Keefe painting.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Nice day, getting cooler

The best part of today is that I ended up getting 2 jobs to work on tomorrow. Have to pay for this place somehow!

Second best: Jim the Builder said he could finish the house by the end of next week. Scott the Excavator is supposed to be coming late tomorrow to finish up the grading around the front and around the garage. I can talk to Jim then and find out when he thinks the garage will be finished too.

Third best: Gary the Farm Table Guy cut down the legs on the 2 stools, and now they perfectly fit the counter. I've been eating my meals there, such as they are. Dinner was spicy southwest salmon burger on English muffin bread with spring mix, tomato and fresh mushroom salad.

Not really best: The new refrigerator gets delivered on Tuesday. If everything goes well with the excavator, I will be back home by then, but the guys will be here to receive it. I measured the space. I'd say it's 50/50 whether it squeaks in or not. I'm not going to sweat it, because there's no way to tell until it gets here...

Not best at all: I only got about 8 of the remaining trees planted yesterday afternoon. That leaves about 37 more to plant. I have to find out how long they can survive unplanted, as the weather is taking a turn toward winter for the next few days. Basically cloudy, rainy and cooler, with a chance of (omigod!) snow flurries for Mother's Day. I even put the heat back on for tonight.

I really do have PLENTY of photos, including the ones that I forgot to bring home the last time. I'll keep posting until I run out.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Apple blossom time

For the first time I have caught the apple trees (and crabapples) in bloom. I am celebrating by adding a new blog header.

I came up last night in time to watch the sun go down with the doggies in their new fence (robbed from The Dump). The cloudy sky pic with just the apple trees was from last night, the one with bright blue skies from the gorgeous day that is today.

Mike the Water Man was here until about noon installing the water softener and iron filter. We didn't really want to spend that $3k, but had to clean up our orange water that is staining all the shiny new white bathroom fixtures. This should do the trick, and he'll come back once a year to tune up and add or change whatever needs adding or changing.

I took the stools back to Gary to cut a few inches off the bottom. They came up too close to the countertop. He wasn't there, but Sparky the Wonderdog came out to assure me that everything would be OK.

Now I gotta get out there and plant some more trees. The Husband loves to leave me with all these "little" chores...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Little kook-monster found a home?

I am taking Ruby to her potential new home tonight at 7 pm (where her name will be Peanut!). She will hopefully find some love in Warminster, PA. They are a couple in their 60s with an adult son living at home, and another dog named Linc. As they have never seen the little one in person, I am praying that they find her as adorable as we do.

I explained to her what was happening, that I think she will be happy there, but the shock of living without us might be tough on her. I intend to sneak out before she figures out what is going on. As much as we complain about her, she will be missed—by all of us except Willie, who will probably throw a big party and invite all of his kitty friends over to celebrate her loss!

I will post later with photos and an update.

Update: Meet and greet went great, but I didn't get any photos. They seem like a really nice couple. I know she will be happy there.

Update #2: While I am waiting for photos of Peanut! and her new buddy, Linc, I am posting this little video of a silly girl jawing with my Sophie. That's Uncle Lester barking at them to stop and play with him.