Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No kids! It is NOT an ice cream truck...

First, time for more talk about the seasons...

No not seasonings... although I will show you the latest picture of my pantry...
but at the present moment I am talking about seasons. Ya know like:

Spring, Summer, Fall, and winter?

I know I have mentioned that fall is here and I will be showing you fall pictures ad nauseam for awhile but it is just so pretty I can not help myself. Back home the landscape did show a little bit of the seasonal changes but boy oh boy... it sure does here. Even while the leaves are turning, they are starting to fall... fall down that is.

Here are a few fallen fall leaves that were knocking on my front door. ;)

Leaves are not the only thing falling. Dead branches are falling too. As a matter of fact, as I sat here thinking about the blog this morning I heard another one fall outside my window. Not too close but close enough for me. A while back, on one of our visits here after we bought the place, we were staying in the old cabin when we heard a tree go down. We were sitting at the table talking when we first heard the cracking... and we looked at each other and said what was that? and then silence... and then boom. It shook the ground. Oh dear!

Not to worry though. David cut out the bad trees around the house and had tree people come look at others to make sure they will not be falling on our new pad. It is all clear... I guess. Um. I hope.

Anyway... back to the leaves.

We are really enjoying this and I have to say it is nice to hear that the local folks still love the colors as well. So often when one lives somewhere there is a particular natural beauty, people start to take it for granted. One kind of forgets about how beautiful something is that you see everyday... but David and I have been lucky enough to live in a few places where you can not help to be reminded by the beauty of the surroundings. I was pleased to hear the residents still discuss the colors and even have named certain trees and watch them and photograph them each year. I will show you a picture of "Big Red" in a later post once she is in full color.

Where we lived before... well... there is really no forgetting about the beauty of these:

A forest of maples, birches, etc sound like what you think they would sound like this time of year. They rustle. It is almost like the forest is nestling in for the long winter ahead.

A forest of redwoods on the other hand... well... they are mostly silent, with just the mist to tickle your ears... the silence in fact is so thick that your hearing seems to withdraw. Suddenly you find yourself having to rely on all of your other senses to take in the magnificence of it all... you even find yourself compelled to speak softly.

Well, last night was date night. That was what we jokingly called it anyway, we have been so busy it was nice to just take a few moments alone to relax.

We have a spot down the road and up a hill that we are going to be visiting a lot... especially this time of year. It is in the National Forest... the same one that surrounds our home and the lake... and is up on the top of a big rock. It is called Ludwig's rock. Dunno who Ludwig is... or was.

I am pretty confident though that it is probably NOT either of these two Ludwigs:


The view around Ludwig's rock during the fall... in particular at sunset... will be quite a sight to see. Here are a few pictures so far. That is us, by the way, sitting on the bench on top of the Rock... that is my forehead coming out of David's nose and shoulder. I have to work on that taking a picture of one's self thing.

This is just the beginning of the fall... I will watch it and get a picture when that whole area above has turned and post it here in a couple weeks.

The bench has carved into it "to everything there is a season".
Dunno who did that either. I am a regular font of information.

And here I am below clinging perilously to the edge of the cliff just so you can see this lovely picture! Um. Just kidding... David was being artsy and held the camera at a weird angle. I dunno why.

Now... my pantry! Yayyy! David put the shelving strips on there and then we got out some woodscraps for the shelves.

I have been priming them so that they match the lovely primer interior of everything else in the house and soon I can finally start putting stuff away. We ended up doing pretty well with the storage.. each of the bathrooms has a very deep closet, the kitchen has a pantry, the guestroom has a big old closet (thanks Dad!) and we have a hanging rack in the control room... and then of course the cubbies in the loft bedroom (part of one of which Delta has taken over) and then we of course have our little knee wall dressers (thanks comrade workers in China!) and the dresser I have been carrying around for years... which is also in the guestroom as it is a taller one.

Still will probably have to take stuff to St. Vinnies. Oh well... it is one of those things 'they' always say. If you have not used it in ::fill in time here:: then you won't ever use it. Get rid of it.

As a side note I think I finally got a picture of the crooked house out on the highway. I have slowed down and taken several pictures just trying to capture all of the angles just right but have had a hard time doing so... you see the house leans in EVERY direction.

I did not want to just get out and walk around and take a picture because there is a farmer that lives there... not in that barn.. but in a house right next to it. I did not want him taking any pot shots at me. The farm has been in the family for ages apparently. He has cows in there sometimes by the way... he still uses this barn actively. He used to drive a crooked truck that looked about the same but recently got a new one I hear. The fellow also is known for having a herd of cats he feeds. I have heard stories about him being seen at his gate with the food and instead of the cows being lined up... the cats are.

His brother lives just down the road and his place is neat as a pin, whatever that means.

Anyway... there are a lot of interesting characters around here. Of course there are characters anywhere you live but I think it is always fun hearing about them. I LOVE the stories.

For instance, there is a fella here in town who actually lives down the road from us. He and his wife have been here for ages. He is known for several things, one of which is that he is a very friendly man. The other is that throughout the day he enjoys several beers or cocktails and gets to visiting... now to visit anyone here you must drive.

You can figure part of the story from that info right there.

Anyway... you see him driving here and there and if it is early in the day and he sees you on the road he quickly rolls down the window and sticks his hand out and points at you as you drive by. I just wave and smile.

As the day goes on, and the motor skills diminish, first he can not seem to get the window down fast enough so he just points at you from inside... then he goes from pointing to a sort of wave.. and then maybe.. just maybe his wave has turned into a hand slowly moving upwards. He also stops... just stops... wherever he may be.. right in the middle of the road (no pulling over for this fellow) and pees. It might be in your yard, or by your driveway, or really just about anywhere. You will see his truck stopped and you know what he is doing. Just FYI - he drives very slow and everyone knows his truck when they see it.

People are interesting.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Term of... art?

Ummm… What did you just say?!

The "art" in term of art is not art as in "artist" but art as in "artisan." A term of art, therefore, refers not to the fine arts, but to any specialized field of endeavor. As defined in Random House Webster's Dictionary of the Law a term of art is "a word or phrase having a special meaning in a particular field, different from or more precise than its customary meaning." The phrase has been in use since at least 1628.

So enough of Webster for now… My Dad has been in the construction biz forever, and has taken the family to his different job sites many times. Heck, I even worked for him on a few occasions, mostly helping to tear down burned down houses for him to rebuild. Anyway, he apparently was not sharing everything he could have with us girls back at home. You see, as in most professions, the construction trade has it’s own language, it’s own lingo, it’s own terms of art shall we say.

So the other day I was upstairs in our loft bedroom assembling the nightstands and dressers we purchased while David and Doug were sweating over the stairs. (The stairs are beautiful by the way... we decided not to go for the stair in a box thing and David and Doug made them themselves.. stringers, risers, spindles, posts and all.)

During an unguarded moment, after hearing several of those construction terms that I had not heard before, one phrase in particular caught my... ears.

David was telling Doug that we were going to be moving that night despite still having finishing work to do… and Doug said… “well hell yeah. You have a rack and a shitter… what else do you need?”

I blinked.

A rack and a shitter? In my past life, as a Deputy Probation Officer I spent more than enough time in the men’s side at the jail interviewing folks and pretending that I did not hear the other inmates talking as I walked down the rows trying to find the interview rooms. With that kind of experience it only took me a second or two to decipher what those things might be… one was a bit more obvious than the other… I am sure you may have figured it out already… but if not here is some translation help:

I think… or maybe I hope… that Doug forgot I was upstairs and would normally have acted to protect my lady-like pristine ears…

However, being rather UN-ladylike I could not help myself... just could not let it go. So I said loudly with a wink to David, “oh boy… that is it! That is my next blog title! A rack and a shitter!” Doug was a tad embarrassed but David just chuckled. He chuckled because not only does he know that my ears are not pristine, he also knows I cuss well enough to make Edward Teach blush when properly provoked.

(Edward Teach = Blackbeard the pirate.)

Well, we moved into our home. Mostly anyway. We are still collecting stuff from Jerry and Karen’s and still doing finishing work but we are living here now. We will even get a phone soon! The computer is on… of course… one must have their priorities you know.

Being in the house is wonderful…

I love the kitchen... here is a couple before and after shots:

The kitchen is almost done... sorta.. just have the painting of walls, staining of floors, decorating of room, and filling of pantry to do.

Oh and of course the clearing of the dust bunnies:

Well, that is not a dust bunny that is Delta the moose wanting to go out onto her deck (i.e. perch) to watch over the yard and lake.

The lake is so pretty and the colors are changing fast. Every day it seems they change significantly from the previous day. I looked out one of my kitchen windows the other morning and the sun was falling on different sections of leaves on the maples across the street. I noticed that where the sun was falling the color seems to be changing the quickest. Those areas get sunshine longer than the others and it must make enough of a difference to make the color change quicker. I dunno... David thinks the sunshine just might be illuminating those particular leaves so that it seems like they are turning faster. Either way... I will post some pictures when it gets real fiery looking.

One of the many chores we have on our lists now is to move the woodpiles closer to the house. If we don't we will have to tie ropes to ourselves when we go out to get wood to make sure we make it back to the house… heh… we can reel each other in after getting an armful!

Just kidding… it won’t be that bad.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Every day I drive from Jerry's to our home at the lake the trees have turned a different shade. Brighter, lighter, orange- er, red- er, and there is a chill in the air. I love autumn. My sadness about the tomatoes not ripening has passed... for now... and I look forward to the fall changes with great anticipation. This area is known for it's autumn colors... unfortunately overlooked by those who think Maine has a monopoly on maple trees. A ride around the U.P. will open your eyes quickly to what this area has to offer in terms of natural beauty. Maybe the fact that is a bit of a secret is a good thing. Keeps the hordes of tourists away.

I heard from Joy (Jerry's sister) that the hummingbirds have disappeared and have been gone for a couple of weeks... that is early. When we were giving Keith and Heidi (David's other brother and wife) a tour of the house we heard geese honking. Becky and Bart Kennedy told us the geese have been going for about a week or two as well. Also early. We are in for an early winter. That is a sign when the geese move out... even this California girl knows that.

speaking of moving out...

David is finishing up the floors in the main living area and kitchen today!

the appliances will be delivered on Friday, we will be moving into our new home
this weekend!

Time to tuck into our nest...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Badgers, Wolverines, and COSMO the Magnificent

First of all, please excuse the font weirdness in the post.. I dunno what the heck is going on with it. Hope it is not too distracting.

It has been kind of a mixed bag of things going on lately. My knee is still sore and I am wearing a brace around… but I ditched the crutches because they are awkward to maneuver… but then again so is a twisted knee. duh Becca. The only thing really different this time is that I seem to have a bruise down the back of my knee along the calf muscle area. Not sure what that is about but it does not hurt any worse than when I have done this before… Anyway…

We have been doing so many different things, tying up loose ends on bigger projects and starting on new ones. All with the goal to get moved in which may happen in a week or two! Really! I keep saying that but really just a week or two!

For an example of the detail jobs we have been doing, I had started putting the knobs and pulls on the cabinets. However, some of the pilot holes were a teeny tiny fraction off so David had to redrill them. He finished installing them and now all the pulls and knobs are on. I love them!

The cabinets are great! They are knotty alder with a lighter very slight cherry kind of color. I wanted a touch red but not a lot of red. The grain and the knots in the wood are very pretty! I even started putting my dishes in them! Might as well unpack them! They have been in boxes since March and that is an easy job to get out of the way… with the added bonus of making me very excited that we are getting nearer and nearer to being in the house!

I also moved my hippy chimes to the patio downstairs to a new temporary home.
They sound pretty with the wind coming up off the lake:

and we have been watching the grass pop up between the straw on the hill facing the lake.

Ya kinda have to look closely but it is there! We put that down not only to get some grass growing but to help hold the soil on the hill.

Froggy got moved up the hill near the house. Right now he is on a rock in the east side garden area of the house, over looking the driveway. He likes his new spot and has a good view from the top of that rock... also keeps the dogs from peeing on him. That's always a good thing. I had Dickie Bird put that rock there after he placed that bigger one on the west side of the house.

After a difficult battle that I won't go into here because it pisses me off, we have picked and chosen through the laminate flooring we purchased and have started to install it. It has been some work let me tell you... but it is looking o.k. Here it is halfway done in the loft bedroom:

As one always does when you build a house, we have adapted and changed stuff around a bit. We will still use the laminate in our loft bedroom, and will try it down in the office and guest bedroom. We had to pick a different tile for the guest bathroom and will probably have to end up doing a different treatment on the floor in the main living room area. The changes came about because of a problem with the laminate and the decision of the company to not assist us. We will be dealing with that later.

Anyway... the main living floor which consists of the living room, the kitchen, and pantry. We had originally planned on using the laminate throughout most of the house... well.. that is not going to work.

SO.... we are considering flooring on that level with the same stuff we used on the ceiling.
Pine wood floors.. yes yes yes we know.

Pine is soft.

But we think it will be nice looking... here are a couple of example of pine floor. (We plan to have a matte finish not glossy) and once we get that kitchen area floored we can move in!
Yep.. move in... in a week or two! ;)

The dogs have been troopers,
except for Cosmo who has turned into part wildabeast and part wolverine

who keeps embarrassing us by his ferocious behavior towards man and beast. No one here probably believes us, but he really is a truly lovely boy who just wants to be near us.

Us and no one else... ever ever ever... mine mine... and no one else can get near!!!

Poor boy, he is just confused and tries to rule the pack around here… the home pack here at Jerry's house that consists of:

Chuck a ridgeback, greyhound or afghan hound cross and Beau a Newfoundland/lab cross

and a lab / german shepherd cross. Speaking of her... here is Ms. Delta getting a play stick:

Notice the resemblances below?

Cosmo on the left... wolverine on the right.

He has all the big dogs giving him a wide berth. Not so much because he is so tough but because he is a tenacious snippy little bastard who will just not give up!

He has no fear. Imagine that... a Jack Russell /fox terrier cross with no fear.

Hmmmm. Anyway, he continually goes after Beau… the Newfoundland lab cross who really is the pack leader and is normally very gentle with Cosmo until Beau has had enough.

At first Beau would just step on Cosmo with his great big paw and hold him down… he was like:

'Dude.. that's just wrong. What is your problem?!'

Except probably since Beau is not a west coast dog but instead is a Midwestern dog he probably really said:

' Ooooo.... What is wrong with you?!... Hay?'

However, the last time Cosmo started in on Beau, Beau took Cosmo by the scruff and gave him a little shake down. I have to say, it did not matter so much. Cosmo STILL bared his fangs (not hard for him to do as they stick straight out on their own) and growled ferociously and snapped and snarled... while Beau slobber was dripping down his neck.

I have seen them all sitting in a room... all three big dogs huddled on one side, together and then Cosmo on the other staring at them all. He controls Delta, who is the biggest dog around here, with just a look. If Cosmo is sitting on the couch and is in a grumpy mood when she walks in, she looks to him and he must give her the doggy secret evil eye or something because she will drop her head and slink back out. Geez. Most of the time they get a long pretty well although she does always defer to him.

Maybe this is a closer resemblance...

That one thing is a badger by the way... a friendly little fellow. See him smiling? Ummm.. the first one... without the blue collar.

I was thinking about Cosmo and his behavior the other day and put it down to being a terrier. I just happened to see this commercial on t.v. the other day and it made me think about how he acts with these big dogs. It sure fits and Jack Russell/Fox terrier owners would probably all agree. He just does not get it... that whole size thing does not matter to him.

And finally a couple of sunflowers that I planted when spring finally came around a few months ago. I got the seeds from Lynette as a moving present. I was not sure they would make it but they sure are cheerful. This one I planted at Jerry and Karen's house. I will put some in at our house next spring!


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