Saturday, October 30, 2010

Knobs and Handles and Rails...Oh My!

Things are really coming along. Every time we go out to the cottage we get more excited and happier. We are so glad that there is someone working out there nearly every day. Bob and I were out on Friday and two guys were working all day--one on the deck and one on the trim.

 Here you can see the hand rail on the stairs and the nice spindle rail at the end. No more worries about someone plummeting to their death. Whew!

 Looking at the railing from the other side.

Knobs in the kitchen.

The knobs close up. They are oil rubbed bronze even though this photo makes them look kind of  like pewter. 
 Oil rubbed bronze door handles.

Polish potter knobs on my closet doors. This is so it looks girlie. Bob's closet is smaller and has a regular handle on it. That way we won't get confused when we hang our clothes up!

There is still quite a bit of trim work to be done. We decided to have someone put the polyurethane on all the oak--but Bob and I will do all the touch up paint and all the trim paint.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good Neighbors...

As I was waking up this morning I thought about how I didn't mention our good neighbors when I was talking about our bad ones. Back, and back and back some more--we used to live in a neighborhood. There was a small trailer park kitty-corner across the street where some of our best friends lived. There were many fine people who lived there through the years.

Surrounded by an institution, our two homes stand side by side. The H's home is the one in the center, ours is behind the red pin oak tree.
H house on left, ours peeking out on the right

Our house with my jeep parked next to it.
Directly across the street were two buildings with a total of 6 apartments in them. They had hardwood floors, crown molding and wonderful wood trim everywhere. Then there were a few old houses, like ours, only bigger. Probably they were all built about 100 years ago and they reflected the craftsmanship that was evident in that day.

As I mentioned in another post,  these homes and trailers were surrounded with lovely trees that blossomed in the spring and had vibrant colored leaves in the fall. Even if I didn't have a calendar, I could tell the change of seasons easily by looking out my front windows at my neighborhood.

 I remember a block party we had before---before the seminary bought and destroyed all the homes, apartments and the trailer park and everyone moved away. There were great people with hopes and dreams, living simple lives in a friendly neighborhood. It was small town living at its finest.

H's house with ours in background on right.

Now, there are two of us left. Us and Dr. and Mrs. H. Dr. H was a college philosophy professor up until he retired a few years ago. Mrs. H. is a bundle of energy. She is wife, mother, grandma to 17 and a confidant to many. Originally from Uruguay, she is a friend to all nd an adopted mother and grandma to many, many Hispanics in our area. The two--Dr. and Mrs.--are THE BEST neighbors anyone could ask for. 

For 18 years we have lived side by side--they with a parking lot on their left, us with one on our right, and both with lots across the street. We have been there for each other through marriages, births, deaths and the very serious accident Dr. H was in ten years ago which left him  barely alive. Mrs. H. would not let them pull the plug and amazingly, with the hand of God prevalent upon him and a dedicated wife fiercely supporting him, he mostly recovered. Slowly and steadily, he recovered all but his short term memory.

We have shared tears, jokes and brownies over our white picket fence. Bob played the piano at their youngest son's wedding and they have been there when our children married. There were several Sundays when Dr. H. helped us out by filling in as the preacher at the little Methodist churches Bob was pastoring at that time. It was a two hour drive each way, but they did it willingly.

Coming out my back door. The H's and Bob and I have had many conversations over our fence.

When I walk in their back door and yell, "Hello" I am always greeting with a smile, a hug and sometimes a familial kiss on the cheek.

Yes, we have awesome neighbors. It is one of the many blessings in my life to have neighbors such as these. I guess the good neighbors on my left almost balance out the bad neighbors on the right. And, I have to say, the squirrels scamper happily in their lovely treed back yard even in the midst of gravel, dust and stumps.

Take Care,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Day the Squirrels Cried... and so did I

Last Friday was a terrible-horrible day on North Walnut Street. Our neighbors, a Christian seminary, did an awful thing. They hacked down the last walnut trees on North Walnut Street.

And, they also dismembered a wild cherry, a couple of maples and a few others.

It was like in Lord of the Rings when you see the Orcs clear cutting all the trees.

We shouldn't have been surprised. They did this across the street from us in 2004, slashing red buds, dogwood and cherry trees with no respect for God's creation.  
 Why you ask?  

 To make ugly gravel parking lots. It makes no sense at all. They told us in 2004 that they were going to plant "better" trees and landscape the area making this a "bright spot" in the community. It is still gravel, mud and dust, 6 1/2 years later.

 This old walnut tree succumbed to the chain saw. Generations of squirrels lived and ate in this tree. It shaded Bob's office for years and will never be able to be replaced in my lifetime. 

The wood was not even saved to make anything useful, just sawed into small bits and tossed in the back of a dump truck.

A few maples were lost in the rampage. The stripped one [near the top of the page] was cut down to the ground a few days after I took these photos.

This seminary actually received a "green award" this past year for its environmental conscience. I guess they must have restricted flow toilets and some compact fluorescent bulbs in their buildings or something. 

It just goes to show you how meaningless those green awards are, doesn't it?

I have to wonder about the social conscience and the value of stewardship that this institution espouses. They are big on the word "community" but it seems like it pertains to a closed community within the hallowed walls of the seminary.

Once you get out to the parking lot area, who cares? Who cares about the community outside the walls?

I find it ironic that they send folks all over the world to be missionaries, and yet don't know how to be good neighbors. I remember the words of Mother Teresa who said that missionary work begins with your neighbors.  I have to agree.  As you can see, we have terrible neighbors.

 We have lived next door to them for over 18 years and I still really don't know them. It is  hard to be neighbors with an institution. How can you wave hello, or share brownies or conversations over the fence?

You can't.

All you can do is wonder what they are thinking and what they are doing.When I asked two workers what was going on I got these responses,

"I don't know. They don't tell me anything," and "I'm just earning a paycheck."
This past week all the rubble was raked up and hauled away. Now we are left with nothing but stumps.

And at the end of the day, there is one lone squirrel crying in the tree and one middle aged grandma crying beneath it.



Kitchen cabinets installed...

 The cabinets were installed last Friday and the guy came today to make the template for the counter top. Remember this is a small kitchen, but I think the cabinets look awesome. Here you can see the top ones. The Fridge will go in the space under the short cabinets.
 This is the bottom a cupboard, 4 drawers and small sink base. Actually there is room for a 3" pull out spice drawer that will be installed next to the sink base. I am hoping my jars of loose tea will fit in it.
 This kind of shows it, but the color is wrong. With the lighting from the window it is hard to get the color right.
 Over the oven.I will have a microwave with a fan installed under the short part.
 The slate hearth. It still needs the wood frame taken off and nice wood put on the front, but it is beautiful. I put 6 coats of natural stone sealer on it.
Oak steps going down.

Oak steps going up from basement. My two nieces and I are planning to have a "girls sleepover" at the farm when Kari is home at Christmas. It will be so fun.

This was what the sky looked like from the deck while Bob and I waited for the counter guy this morning. The glacier looking thing is mist rising from the KY river.

Take care,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gutters Installed and Kitchen Cabinets delivered

Tuesday I was babysitting Violet and also had to go out to the farm to accept the cabinet delivery. I took Violet with me and we met the truck. The problem with a cottage is that there is not much space to store boxes while workers are working. I decided the bedroom would be the best place, so Kenny [the carpenter] and I moved the moldings out the bedroom and opened the door from the deck and waited for the cabinets to come.

Meanwhile, I smiled as I walked around the cottage because the roof is finally done and the gutters are installed. Hooray!

The oak steps were almost all done. Lovely!

After all the cabinets were stacked in the bedroom, Violet sat in the window seat and had a snack of little Chips Ahoy cookies. It was chilly out there so she I put my hoody on her. You can tell she is swimming in it, but she was toasty.

The Cabinets delivered, the truck made its bumpy way down our driveway.  Installation is Friday. After that, the electrician can come and finish his work.

  Every little bit of forward progress feels like a battle won. The slate tile was installed on the woodstove hearth too, but I couldn't take a photo because Kenny had his huge saw in the living room and was working. I did not want to get in his way to fight my way through the saw, wood, nails and everything else that is stored there in order to take a photo. I just peeked through the window and saw how nice it was.

Take care,

Monday, October 18, 2010


My daughter joined Americorps this year so I think that makes me an Ameri-Mom. Kari is in the NCCC Corps, which states its mission as:

Service Through Teamwork

In the trusses, Kari on left.
"AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women age 18–24. Members are assigned to one of five campuses, located in Denver, Colorado; Sacramento, California; Perry Point, Maryland; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Vinton, Iowa."

"The mission of AmeriCorps NCCC is to strengthen communities and develop leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. In partnership with non-profits—secular and faith based, local municipalities, state governments, federal government, national or state parks, Indian Tribes and schools members complete service projects throughout the region they are assigned."
 "Drawn from the successful models of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s and the U.S. military, AmeriCorps NCCC is built on the belief that civic responsibility is an inherent duty of all citizens and that national service programs work effectively with local communities to address pressing needs."

She is stationed in Vicksburg, Mississippi and will be involved in 4-6 projects during her term of service. She worked with Habitat for Humanity in Alabama and will be working with another house building program in New Orleans for two months before she gets to come home for Christmas. 

She is learning so many new skills, meeting new people, working hard and seeing new parts of the country. She works out a few days a week, cooks supper for her team every 10 days [each team member takes a turn cooking supper], works Tuesday through Saturday every week, and then may do additional volunteer hours on Sunday or Monday.

 These young people work hard. They must serve the full ten months and complete 1,700 hours of community service, including 80 hours of independent service. When they complete the program they receive an education award to help with college expenses.

At Kari's first long term project, the housing the team members spend their evenings doing various things--there isn't any internet. Kari said she has spent some evenings playing her guitar and crocheting.

 So far I am impressed with what she tells us. It seems like the program is well organized and the teams are doing lots of worthwhile projects. 

Here are a few more photos:

Cutting Tile with a wet saw.

Felting a roof.

The Team Girls with one of the site supervisors. Kari on far right.

Improvising the best way to screw on a vent cover. Kari on bottom.

Kari and Charlie
They went down to New Orleans during the commemoration of  the fifth anniversary of Katrina and built a privacy fence for Charlie. Kari liked New Orleans. it is not all work and no fun however. They have seen some local sites and one weekend a few of Kari's team drove from Alabama to New Orleans to site see and relax. 
In the French Quarter with two teammates. Kari is on far right.

I have to say, I miss my girl. Even though she has not lived at home for a couple of years, we saw her regularly, but now it has been over two months and I am anxiously waiting for her Christmas break. I know that various Americans are benefiting from the hours and hours of hard work Kari and the other young people are doing.  They are serving their country with an organization that most people don't even know exists.    
They are serving by working hard and though it is also hard emotionally to be an Ameri-Mom I am proud of my Ameri-Kari and pray that this year will be all she hopes it will be and that she will come home ready to reach her dreams.            
Take care of yourself Kari, we miss you.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Applesauce Day 2010...

Applesauce in Jars 2009
Applesauce Day looked a lot like last year except we were all a bit older and there were two new grandchildren. I bought 6 bushels of apples [seconds] and was feeling pretty good about everything, when Bob asked my on Thursday night, "Do you think you have enough apples?"

Washing apples 2009

Every year for about the past 5 or 6, we have sent Bob to the orchard on Applesauce Day to get more apples, so you can see why he asked. So, Friday morning I bought two more bushels, making a total of 8 bushels of apples.

I started getting things around at about 7:15 Saturday morning and Bethel started helping around 7:45 or so, and the others trickled in during the morning. By 7:00 at night, we had canned 81 quarts and 123 pints and eaten at least a couple of gallons and had about 2 gallons of un-canned sauce in the fridge. We made over 40 gallons of 100%, no sugar--no added anything-- applesauce. It was a great day.

Apples cooking in steam pot 2009
We had 11 adults, 7 kids, 2 stoves, 8 bushels of apples and lots of fun. At the end of the day I looked at our good friend Jenny and said, "I am so whipped. But it is a good exhaustion, because we got so much done." She looked whipped too, even though she is nearly 20 years my junior and she said, "Aren't you glad you aren't a pioneer woman? We would have to work this hard everyday."

No wonder they died so young.
Take care,

PS: I am sorry I didn't get any photos, so I just posted some from last year.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More work done...basement drywalled, window seat finished, cement pad poured

  Bob and I were out of town, but miraculously enough, the work continued.

The finish wood was put on the window seat. It looks great!

The vanity was put in the upstairs bath. Nice and small. The bathroom is so small, I didn't want anything big. This is perfect.

The cement pad was poured. It is L shaped so that the heat pump can go on the side. We will have to put some kind of little brick wall to keep the dirt back.
 The drywall was put up in the basement. We weren't going to drywall the basement, but the building code requires that insulation be covered. We are not going to have it finished [tape and mud] at this time.
 My niece Violet went out with my today. She is standing under the stairway. This will be my pantry.
 Violet is standing in the downstairs bath, right where the toilet will go.
 Here she is in the laundry room with the new drywall up
 The cement patio outside the basement door is so nice. We will love this!
 The finish carpenter was working today. He was putting in the finish steps.
The final wood was put on the top of the window seat and the trim was done. I am not sure if you can see the detail here, but it looks really nice. I am not sure if I should paint it or stain it. The jury is still out on that.