Monday, November 30, 2009

As time goes by...

It's been a month of simply living in the house, enjoying its warmth and becoming more accustomed to its ways (that, and a whirlwind week to Brasstown, NC and back!). Our goal at the outset of building this house was to celebrate Thanksgiving here, and last week our goal was achieved!
We are now taking a break from building until after Christmas. We are going to savor the season, relax when we can, and get ready to finish the upstairs and various trims, etc. in the new year. Meanwhile, our friend Rich is finishing the siding for us. Such a deal!
Hunt has bartered a painting for a beautiful Steinway upright piano, circa 1880. We are enjoying both its beauty and its incredible sound.
We were so glad to see dear friends in NC, and hope to see many more of you during and after this season of bringing light into the dark time of year. May this season and the new year bring us all contentment and peace.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bean by bean...

My father's mother used to say, "Bean by bean we fill the pot!" This week has been a bean by bean week. The windows and doors in the living room are now trimmed, and yesterday we moved all the tools out, vacuumed the floor, and oiled it. This morning we began transforming it into a cozy living space!

Meanwhile, we've hired Rich Popovic again, to finish the siding for us. Check out the exterior! The front face is finished- it looks like the brown house of our dreams!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Siding, Snow, Moose, Kitten

The title says it all! This has been a week of happenings: the siding is finished on the wing, and we hope to finish the main house while the weather holds. We had an unexpected snow earlier in the week, which lasted just a day of dusting on the ground. Yesterday we had a wonderful visitor just passing through: a magnificent moose walked up from the swamp, past the front of the house, and off into the woods! Slow and stately, like a giant ocean liner, he loped on by.
Last but not least, we welcome Marie Laveau, Queen of the Indoors, Kitten Supreme!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Power to the people!

PSNH came through! Today the truck came and hooked the house to the wire that all summer has been coiled to a tree. Harvey Tolman is on his way to begin to finish his job, and soon we will be fully powered!
It's been another week of many developments. Arthur Sussman installed the kitchen sink and shower. We said goodbye to Micca and turned him loose on the NH and Maine coastal folkies. Penn decided to stick around and help for awhile longer. Maggie came for October break and slept for the first time in the corner of the vast, unfinished upstairs that has been designated for her room. Dylan celebrated his 24th birthday with the whole family gathered around the kitchen for presents and traditional birthday cannolis.
Sadly, our sweet cat, Tabitha, shot out the door one night and hasn't returned. She was the cuddliest cat ever, and we miss her.
Dan is working hard, racing winter (first snow flurries this morning!) to get the siding on the house. He's started on the wing, as Hunt works to trim windows, but the two of them will continue work on the main house until it truly turns into my life-long dream of a brown house in the woods!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Peepers, propane, and the comforts of home!

As you can see, we are now in the lap of luxury! Thanks to the wonders of propane, we have HOT WATER!! And with the clever use of extention cords we have use of the stove and fridge.
We are joining the ranks of the locals whose guest rooms swell at leaf-peeping time, though in the case of this week's guests, the timing is coincidental. Micca Patterson from London is pictured, and our friend Penn Berens from Cleveland, a childhood friend of Hunt's, is also here, sleeping in the popup camper!
The kitchen cabinets have arrived and are being installed this week, along with the black basalt formica tops. Harvey Tolman is hard at work finishing the electrical wiring. Will we have full electricity by next week? Watch this space!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Home, sweet home Part 2

We have plumbing (connected to the temporary electric service) and heat, thanks to the wood stove. We have a full, complete, water-tight roof. So, it follows that we couldn't wait any longer, and we are now sleeping and doing most of our living in the house! The food and cooking is still at the cabin, although we've rigged up a "caffeine delivery system" in the new house. Hunt and Dan have put in all the first floor doors, and are trimming windows. Exterior siding goes on bit by very slow bit, as we hurry to get the first floor really livable before the real cold hits.
We had a great visit from our friend Sydney, and other visitors dropped by as well.
Things we are waiting for:
Kitchen cabinets arrive today or tomorrow. Countertops arrive hopefully early next week.
Webber Fuels will set up the propane service on Friday.
PSNH will hook up the electricity in its own good time. We understand they're short-handed at the moment...
But living conditions are quite cozy at the moment, nonetheless!
In the evenings we sit by the stove and look around us and marvel. We're home.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's all happening so quickly...

There were days this summer when we somehow forgot what it was we were working so hard to accomplish! There seemed so little to show for our nightly exhaustion. Now, it's just the opposite- from morning to late afternoon so much gets done that our heads are spinning!
We celebrated our first anniversary with a romantic candlelight dinner in the new kitchen, with sawhorses and boards for a table, and stew cooked over an open fire in the fire ring outside. We are so grateful for each other, and for the love and strength that have carried us through during this difficult year.
The plumber (Arthur Sussman) and electrician (Harvey Tolman)have been here this week, the appliances have arrived, we can now walk up and down stairs from cellar to second floor, and we are starting to talk about when we can at least move the bed into what is now a real Bed Room! The chimney man (Steve Scripture) will install the chimney this weekend and move the stove into place next Tuesday. We've put the first layer of green paint on the bathroom floor, which now has holes ready for the bathroom fixtures to be placed: we got a sweet porcelein sink and clawfoot tub at Renew in Brattleboro, and scored a perfectly good toilet from the side of the road!
AND it's my 50th birthday! It feels like the first day of the rest of my life!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Getting Septic

The snowball effect is in effect! This week the septic system is getting installed, the windows and doors are being installed, the interior first floor walls are getting framed, the electrician is getting started, the propane and chimney guys have given their estimates, and we're hoping to make contact with our elusive plumber- and it's only Wednesday! We had a lovely visit Sunday from Hunt's niece Cornelia Read, and today our brother-in-law Bill Hoyt is back to help with the framing. The work is less physically arduous, but it's getting colder these days, so we're motivated to get inside- estimated date to get the bed into the bedroom: early October.
This coming Sunday, Sept. 20, we celebrate our first anniversary and Hunt's (65th) birthday, and next Thursday is my 50th birthday. We had hoped to have a big party this week or next, but it will be a belated one, sometime in mid-late October, when we can have it inside the house, unfinished though it will be. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Progress! Insulation, windows, doors, carpenter ants?!


We had a wonderful time at Pinewoods Camp, and came home to a silver house instead of a brown one! Rich and Dan did a great job wrapping and insulating while we were gone, and got one window in upstairs as well.
This has been a week of learning experiences: some of the window openings are larger than the windows and we've learned a lot about compensating for past errors! But the wing is almost fully enclosed, and today should be "finished" as far as windows and doors are concerned. We've cut a stair hole to the upstairs, found a toilet offered for free (Allison: "Hunt! Stop the car! I see a toilet!"), and Dylan and I have moved large piles of wood from the left side of the driveway (where the septic tank will go next week) to the other side of the driveway. We found a large nest of, yes, carpenter ants. They had done quite a bit of damage to the siding, and we've lost 10-12 boards, but the nest is now completely gone (I'll spare you the details).
This weekend John and Neil will come and begin roofing- neither Hunt, Dan, nor I has any desire to slide around up there- and with the chilly weather we've been having, we're really looking forward to enclosing the whole house.
Next week, the septic system gets installed. The following week we'll have the plumber, electrician, and propane installers with us. Is that a light at the end of the tunnel I see?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

...Bringing in the sheathes...

After a week of various ailments slowing us down (Dan had strep, I've been laid low with allergies, and Hunt is getting just plain exhausted) not to mention some iffy weather, we've been back at it, and today the house will be nearly fully sheathed! This is a good thing. Hunt and Dan created framework for the upstairs gables and found that they needed to accommodate some funky measurements, but it all came out well and looks great.
This past week we also ordered our appliances: Kenmore everything: gas stove, fridge, washer and dryer. It just makes it seem as though the end of the tunnel is in sight!
After today, a needed break. On Friday Hunt and I will head down to Westport, Massachusetts to spend the night with our friend Sidney. On Saturday we wend our way to Pinewoods Camp, near Plymouth, Mass., for English Dance Musicians Week! We are very much in need of the break. For most campers, this will be a week of rustic cabin living. For us, it's a major step up- running water, flush toilets, showers, 3 meals a day- bliss! We may even take in a few classes around our plans to sleep, eat, swim, canoe, schmooze and RELAX!
While we're gone, Dan and friend, neighbor and First Day Cottage-dweller Rich Popovic will continue work on the house. They plan to wrap the house in Typar, put up the insulation, and maybe get some windows installed! What a wonderful prospect to return home to!
We get back Labor Day weekend and hope that the roof can go up that week or soon thereafter. Hunt says "The back of the work is broken"- we are starting to think about actually living in the house, and can see that all this hard work is going to pay off!

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like...

a house! We've had day after day of sunny weather, and progress is being made! Hunt and Dan are now measuring where the windows will go, and sheathing around all the rough openings, and now we have a shady spot to sit when it's time for a break and some iced tea (or our current summer favorite, an "Arnold Palmer": 1/2 iced tea and 1/2 lemonade, which I make from fresh-squeezed lemons and local maple syrup!). We've met with our plumber, Art Sussman, and are making plans to have the house enclosed in time for him to come do his work in late Sept.
The visits are winding down, but we're enjoying having neighbors stop by. Today Laurie and Jonathan Smith came for lunch and a tour. So, when are you coming?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sudden burst of speed...

Wow! What they say is true- it DOES move faster once the rafters go up! Many thanks to John from First Day and his friend Neil for doing the big muscle work on the rafters for the wing- no more joists! Now we've taken just a few days to sheathe most of the wing, and it looks so beautiful from the inside (outside it's a little more patch-work, but that's ok, 'cause it all gets covered up soon with TyPar and insulation!). As I write (from the coolness of the library) Hunt and Dan are creating window framework for the end of the wing, which will then get sheathed and we will then have a whole room that looks practically finished!
We have loved our visits from friends- come on along and see what we're up to! And let's all keep being grateful for the glorious weather!