Thursday, November 8, 2018

Progress Through The Week


Sunday was as lovely a fall day as anyone could desire.


The sky was brilliantly blue with soft white clouds.  
The wind was a gentle intermittent breeze.


The trees, so  long green in this autumn of rains, were wearing rusty hues, leaves drifting silently to the ground.
Walking behind the barn my attention was caught by a single scarlet leaf, spinning in a current of air, floating softly to rest on the trampled grass.


Trees along the east boundary, illuminated in morning sunshine.


Our good neighbor [renter when we owned the farm] volunteered to help for the day.


Jim and Fred devised a method for raising the truss rafters.


Looking at the sky from the main floor.


Monday was a restless day.  Weather forecasts warned of high winds, heavy rain beginning late in the evening. As dusk approached the mostly blue sky turned inky.

Later, I lay in bed listening to the rising wind, the scrape and skitter of leaves blowing across the camper's roof, aware of the seemingly fragile barrier between us and the gathering storm.

At about 10:30 the siren at the local fire station began to hoot.
Rain, propelled by gusty wind, lashed the camper, which shuddered.
We struggled into clothes, Jim pulled up the doplar weather map and announced, rather redundantly, 'We're in for some of the storm!'
Turning on my laptop to access the web page for county weather warnings I noticed that our SIL at the other end of the county was messaging me.
Tornado warnings in effect!
Headed your way!
Jim pulled on a jacket, stepped out to the deck, popped back in, water streaming from his cap, jacket soaked.
I fretted about the house, invisible in the swirling blackness.
"The house will stand," Jim declared. "We braced for this."

Thunder boomed, the sound mingled with the increasing roar of the wind.
The cats hid; Bobby Mac huddled in the windowless hallway, wedged himself against the shower door.  Unable to take refuge under the platform bed, the other cats flattened themselves along the edges. In a camper there is no room to pace. 

From my chair, laptop on its stand in front of me, I watched out the uncurtained west window, cringing at each flash of lightning, eyes glued to the awning that billowed, wrenching at its support posts.
For 10-15 minutes the wind lashed, howled, moaned; rain pounded, streamed down the windows.
Then--"Is it slacking off?" I asked, tentatively, not quite ready to believe the storm was passing.
"Yes, said Jim, "Its moving off."
Shedding his wet cap and jacket, he marched resolutely off to bed.
I messaged SIL--We're OK--the storm has gone through.

I picked up Jim's wet jacket, looked for a place it could be hung to dry; not finding one I poked it into the clothes dryer.
The cats began to creep out of hiding.
I turned off lights, removed my shoes, got back into my nightgown.
Shaken by the storm, I didn't immediately fall asleep., but lay awake listening to the now desultory spattering of rain on the roof, the rustle of falling leaves.



We were up early, reassured to see the framework of the house looming against the dawn sky.


Outside the day warmed into brilliance.  It was muddy underfoot and windy overhead.
Newly bared branches swayed under swiftly scudding clouds.
I stood looking upward, head tilted, watching the movement of the clouds until I was dizzy.



Too restless to stay indoors I squelched up to my makeshift garden.
At the house Jim and Howard were cheerfully sweeping rainwater out of the basement. 
Waiting for things to dry out we did errands, ate an early lunch at Bread of Life Cafe.



In the afternoon the men got most of the underlayment applied to the roof before dark.


Early on Wednesday morning the metal roofing was delivered.
By quitting time the backside of the house was clad.


Today the weather has been brisk--harbinger of the frost and cold front predicted for the weekend.
The rest of the roofing is on, though not the soffit and edge trim.
The house is being wrapped in tyvek.


Late in the morning the men appeared for a meal.
[We don't know whether to term it 'breakfast' or 'lunch' these days.]
I made cream of butternut squash soup, seasoned with minced onion, garlic, curry powder.
I used the volunteer squash which grew out of the compost pile at the farm.
Served with fat sandwiches--canned corned beef mixed with chopped celery and pickle, sliced tomato on whole wheat 'store-bought' bread.

The meal was a success, with a serving of soup tucked away in the fridge for me to enjoy tomorrow.
Gina brought us two loaves of banana bread--lovely with hot tea to ward off the chill.
Each week brings us closer to a new house--even as the days grow colder and shorter.




Friday, October 26, 2018

Progress Before Rain


Three days of crisp sunny weather saw much accomplished on the house project.


Walk-out/daylight basement framed and walls going up for main story.
Large windows will take advantage of light for the guest bedroom and family room which will be located in front. The rooms behind [bath, laundry, storage and sewing room] will depend on electric lights.


I walked one noon to the eastern fence line. The adjacent property is a working farm.
Old hickory and  oak trees frame the view into the meadow.



There is good farm land here at the top of the ridge, although individual farms are small.



A few stems of late frost asters and nubby clumps of ageratum lean against the weathered boards of the fence.



 Goldenrod has faded, no longer brilliant and glowing.



Jim turned the sod on a strip of ground below the barn--a place for the plants which spent the summer in pots ranged along the edge of the farmhouse side porch and on the cement landing below the walk. 

At the time I began rescuing favored perennials from the invasive mugwort and bindweed I had no clear idea how I might rework what had become an impossible garden.  With the sale of the farmhouse pending I decided to move these to our new location. 

This is a rough strip; I was able to fork over the soil, remove stones and rake it nearly level.  Ideally, the ground should have been tilled smooth, perhaps a bale of peat moss worked in. I would have needed Jim's help for that and he had no time to spare.

I labored for two afternoons, muscles protesting. It is late for transplanting, but each plant went into the ground surrounded by the soil mix in which new roots had developed over the past few months. I hope that this will lesson the shock of chilly coarse soil.

When I quit working on the second afternoon, the weather was deteriorating, chilly and damp.
I have one peony remaining to be situated, and some small lily bulbs. 
I think the lilies might fare best in a container. 
The dwarf daylilies can, I hope, remain safely in their metal tubs. 

I have a vigorous and bushy thyme which self-seeded into a pot last season and a rather frail lavender, survivor of the rain and humidity which slowly spoiled those in the herb plot.
Two of my three miniature roses revived when I transferred them to smaller pots with a coarser soil mix. I'm considering placing the small pots in larger containers with a loose mixture of soil and dry leaves layered round for insulation. 


I am especially pleased with these foxgloves, started from seed in April.
I think the variety is 'Camelot'--will check when I can locate seed packets in the spring.
The idea of designing foundation plantings for the new house is a bit daunting. 
Nursery catalogs will begin crowding the mailbox in a few weeks, and I will have the winter months to ponder and plan. I don't expect to be adventurous; my choices will likely be rather conventional--hardy shrubs under-planted with low-growing varieties for bloom and fragrance. 
I still hope for raised beds!
I can dream!


Friday, October 19, 2018

Thursday's Photos


This was the early morning view on Wednesday and Thursday. Proper October days with chilly mist at dawn followed by blue skies and sunshine. Good weather to advance the work on the new house.


I drove to the South Fork community to shop. I needed only a few things at the whole foods store, but also bought some bakery items for the men to enjoy with coffee break.  I will miss baking while we are in the camper, but the kitchen space is small as is the propane oven. 

The displays outside the produce market featured every possible variety of pumpkins and squash.  Many of these are heirloom treasures, not readily found.



White pumpkins don't seem 'normal' but they were appealing, the skins smooth and pearly.

Squash or pumpkin?


I think these are the gourds used locally for bird houses--not sure as I haven't seen spotty ones before.


A visual feast of shapes and colors!


Decorative Indian corn hanging from the rafters in a hoop house.


The mottled pumpkin on the left was unique--no others quite like it.



Warts and all!


Cushaws, a southern edible.


$35 for this giant planter of mums.




Local transportation.


Back at home, the resident builders have been inspired by the arrival of three [!] sunny days!


Howard measures and cuts, while Jim nails floor joists.

There's going to be a house here!


My questions and comments aren't very welcome at this point in the process. The building site is noisy with the roar of the air compressor, whine of saws, the rap-zap of nail guns.

I have been rummaging in the storage trailer--again--with somewhat disheartening results.
Why do we have so much stuff?  [Why is so much of this 'stuff' mine?]  
Rhetorical questions!

While rummaging on Wednesday, a dining room chair toppled from the highest wobbly tier of goods, glancing off the side of my head and skidding across my shoulder.
I labeled the top of each box I packed; most are stacked so high I can't read my labels.
I haul down a box or plastic bin, can't get it back into position.

The battery charger for my camera has gone missing. It has lived for several years in a particular drawer in the kitchen--handy to an electrical outlet. When we travel I slip the charger [its about 2 inches square] into one of the pockets of my handbag.
In the mayhem of moving I didn't think to do that. 

I've pawed through the bin which I loaded to bring into the camper--desk items that I will need for the next several months. I've over-turned and up-rooted every space and box which might contain the charger.
I balk at ordering a new one [which would likely result in the old one turning up] but my days of recording the building progress will be numbered without my camera.
What to do!  Bang head, wail!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Move Accomplished

 

The sale has closed/completed on the Amish farmhouse where we have lived during the past four years. There has been little time for reflection or nostalgia.  Our buyers needed to bring in their furniture and dozens of packed boxes prior to the closing as they had sold their home in another state--a 4 hours drive away. 
I managed to clear our belongings out of two bedrooms and the sunroom and accomplished at least a rudimentary cleaning of those rooms--floors vacuumed and mopped, the insides of the windows washed. By the time the buyers arrived with a second load it was clear that I wouldn't be able to do more than a cursory cleaning as spaces were filling up too fast.

Looking back on the past three weeks, it is difficult to distinguish one day from another. 
Jim began conveying loads of our household plunder to the storage unit on the new property while I continued to sort and pack; phone messages, emails, arrangements to be made for the closing; installation of landline phone and wifi at the new property; 
trips to building suppliers and lumber yards to order lumber, doors, windows.

Jim moved himself and several of the more obliging cats into the camper trailer, as he didn't like having so many tools on site with no one here. I stayed at the farmhouse for two more nights packing and cleaning into the wee hours. 

The weather changed the night that I moved to the camper, bringing my beloved Teasel cat who had resisted being caught and stuffed into a cat carrier.
After weeks of steamy, unseasonably hot and rainy weather the temperature took a fast dive of 30 degrees.
We are enduring more rain, varying from cloudbursts to mere drizzles, but now with chilly temperatures which have had me scrambling for warmer clothing.

Inevitably I brought various items into the camper which aren't essential, have lugged boxes up to the storage trailer, rootled about in there in mostly vain attempts to find things I think I should have with me.  It has been an exhausting process--made more disheartening by the inclement weather.


I have moved most of the plants which summered on the farmhouse porch.
I'm hoping Jim will have time to work up a strip of ground as a temporary home for them.
Sadly, I suspect I will lose some of the houseplants as there will be no space available to shelter them.
Gina carried home my heirloom geraniums; our renter, Fred, has provided a winter haven for my towering Norfolk Pine.







Jim's workshop at the farmhouse still needs clearing out.  He has tractors in varying states of repair/disrepair which need to be moved.
On Sunday, our son, Howard, arrived pulling his tool trailer.
We were able to locate and purchase a clean and attractive camper for him to occupy while he assists with the building project.
Thus far he has been helping to trouble-shoot a problem with our hot water system, move the refrigerator and freezer out of the farmhouse, and finally today, make a start on building preparations.


Although overcast and chilly it didn't rain today!


By the end of the afternoon staging had been set up.


I have pottered about, trying to better organize the camper, keep up with laundry [we have an apartment sized washer and dryer in the camper] make one simple hot meal per day.
The cats have acclimated.  The three boy cats go in and out during the day. 
Often they rush inside, hurl themselves at the litter box as though their 'business' couldn't be accomplished outside.
Dealing with the litter box is an ongoing duty!

I walked up the lane to the mailbox this afternoon, pausing to take photos.
The trek to and from is nearly a half mile walk.
Our neighbor is a good steward of his property. 
Here is a rustic birdhouse on the line fence.


Our neighbor has livestock, including this 'jack' who stands at stud.
I am always amused when he gives voice.



A resident horse and a few beef cattle observe my progress along the lane.

This bull is a noble looking creature.


Most of the meadow and roadside flowers have gone to seed.
This clump of goldenrod was a bright spot of color on a grey day.

In the midst of the moving, my laptop crashed.  There is no space to set up my desktop unit with all its accessories and cords.
The laptop was under warranty and to my delight the computer shop exchanged it for an upgraded model. Having sorted and installed some vital programs I am once again able to communicate and read online. 
Catching up with my favorite bloggers will provide a welcome break in the coming days as I seek to establish new patterns and routines in this interim situation of the next several months.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Muddle of Moving




Early mornings have the misty look associated with autumn but day after day the temperature surges into the high 80's F with a too heavy dose of humidity.


In spite of prolonged heat some of the trees have a slight cast of autumn color.
The tulip poplar outside the kitchen window is one of the earliest trees to show fresh leaves in springtime and one of the first to begin losing them in slow drifts in late summer.

Autumn in New England is the standard by which I rate fall beauty;  here in south-central Kentucky we don't have the sugar maples which in more northern regions set the hills ablaze in September and early October with shades of red from scarlet to near burgundy.

Our hickories turn to tarnished gold, the oaks--always the last to shed their leaves--move slowly from green to a satiny brown.  
The seemingly interminable rains of September have kept fields and foliage green longer than usual.
We have had no chilly evenings or crisp mornings when the scent of neighborhood wood fires hang in the air.
The hummingbirds are still with us, drinking deeply at each visit to the feeders; cardinals flash through the hedgerows and I heard the raucous voice of a bluejay yesterday as I watered plants on the side porch.


The house is in chaotic uproar.  Our buyers had to be out of their former home two weeks before the closing scheduled for their purchase of our house. It didn't make sense for them to rent a storage unit and move their household plunder twice, so we cleared several rooms which are now stacked with their boxes and displaced furniture.
Much of our own furniture and packed boxes have been conveyed up the ridge to the storage trailer on our property. 
Jim has made a space for his chair and the TV;  the cats are indignant at the removal of sofas and beds which were to their liking.
I tend to wander about distracted from sorting and packing by the necessity of responding to some query, searching for some object which may--or may not--be still in the house.

Daughter Gina spent a day emptying the pantry, then tackled my clothes closet.
I have reached a point where I am rather easily persuaded to part with anything from seldom worn clothes to spare mugs, small decorative items.  Numerous bags of 'stuff' have been lugged off to the charity shop in town.
I obstinately cherish homely sweaters, favorite books, vintage oddments.


Coreopsis spilling over the retaining wall, sodden with repeated rain.


Pouring concrete for the basement of the new house--an undertaking delayed by rain. 


Jim, who did his own concrete work for years, is not pleased with the final product.
It would seem that the contractor [who wasn't present for the pour] was spreading his resources too thin--too few workers to properly handle the job.
Jim and our neighbor/renter pitched in to keep the work going.


The camper trailer which will serve as our home during construction of the new house is tucked at the end of the lane.


Before I began lugging in armloads of bedding, books, kitchen ware, etc, the camper appeared roomy and tidy.
I arranged books that I wanted accessible for the next several months in the right hand cupboard.
Several days later, going in with more plunder, I discovered moisture on one bookshelf--7 paperback books were waterlogged.
We discovered that a seam in the roofing had cracked and been poorly repaired, so that moisture from the A/C unit on the roof dribbled into the cupboard.
Jim quickly sealed the crack and all seems well--except I am cross regarding the damage to books!

At present the farmhouse no longer feels like home.  Curtains and pictures and the small peg racks I made have been taken down and packed.  Quilts on display and on the beds have been washed and carefully stored in large plastic bins.  Items for housekeeping in the camper have been crowded into what may be temporary places. 
We are still preparing breakfast and evening snacks in the farmhouse kitchen which is a welter of half-packed boxes, desolate piles of items which have yet to find their landing--things which don't fit well in boxes, don't belong in any reasonable category.
We head for the cafe on the corner most days to order a pizza or a hot sandwich with fries.

We hope to be out of the farmhouse by mid-week, leaving me a few days to thoroughly clean the kitchen, hoover up the last wisps of cat hair.
The cats!  
A priority is building a safe 'yard' so that the 'house cats' can go out to stretch and air themselves without getting confused and lost in a new setting.
The camper has everything one could desire--even a tiny clothes washer and dryer--but where do we situate the litter box?
I tackle the remaining tasks in determined bursts, flopping briefly into a chair when it seems I can feel vital energy draining from every muscle and sinew.
We will get through this!
The weather will moderate to something more in keeping with October;  I will sort the living space in the camper; the cats will settle in.
Building materials will be delivered and a new house will begin to rise.