leaves are falling…again…

Fog in the mornings is a daily thing here in this valley in the Berkshires.  It drifts over the creek, across the meadow, reaching out to the house, hiding the hills in the distance.  Cooler weather has arrived, the leaves are turning and falling.  Fifty-three weeks ago I closed on this house, eight months ago I stopped adding content here as a dramatic shift in plans came about. All the plans to clean, paint, restore, and renovate were put aside as I took on a much more important task.  That task has now come to a close, or nearly so, with only some few odds and ends still needing attention.  Perhaps one day I’ll share; perhaps not.

In the meantime, work has restarted.  My other half has now spent a few weeks here (intermittently) and we’ve got lawn equipment and snow removal equipment.  He’s spent many hours mowing grass and trimming trees and shrubs.  A room to the front of the house received a fresh coat of paint back in January, and recently, a closet in the kitchen was dismantled, painted, and is awaiting the purchase and installation of new shelving.





Going forward, a few projects are at the top of the list.  First, painting the room that will become my office.  Second, working on the dining room – remember, I’d gotten a touch carried away and stripped off all the wallpaper – to repair the walls and get a prime coat on them.  From there, the front hallway will also need repair and priming, and then perhaps the next big project will be the living room, back to the fireplace, stripping down the woodwork as best as we can, and painting so I can get some drapes up before too late in winter to help keep the drafts down.

During my hiatus from posting, much work got done on the house, mostly by my contractor.  The sinking back extension has now been reinforced, with new sill and beams, the concrete patched, insulation installed and a vapor barrier laid down.  The useless, leaking venting chimney was removed, the outer wall repaired (as well as some sheetrock replaced inside) and new gutters installed along that one wall.  A propane tank was installed in the side front yard.  A fairly major renovation happened to the western side of the extension, where there is now an ADA compliant space, complete with a sidewalk that runs from the back to the side parking space, three wide doors for egress including a new side porch with a lift, and a large bathroom with a roll-in shower and a roll-under sink.  More on this later, perhaps.  For now, we’ll leave it at that.




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A shift in the weather

No pictures today, just chronicling the sudden swing in temperatures.  When I left the house last night for my trek to the barn, it was still balmy, having soared into the mid-50s during the day.  The side yard was muddy and rutted where some lost souls (?) decided to pull in and play Chinese fire drill?  I don’t really know, but I would like to thank them for the ruts in my lawn now.  I just came back in from sweeping the side porch, steps, and car, and fetching the mail, and everything is once again covered in white.  My little weather bug tells me we could dip below zero tonight.  So something like a 50 degree swing in about 36 hours.  Yikes!

In other news, finally got the upstairs over the kitchen swept and vacuumed, ready to get scrubbing once the hot water flows throughout the house.  Optimistic that will be before this time next week.  Stay tuned!

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Death of a pumpkin

Alas, while the on-demand hot water heater is now mounted on a wall in the basement and it appears most if not all of the plumbing is in place, the propane won’t be connected until next Monday and then there’s more hurry up and wait until the contractor’s crew can come, pressurize and test the system .  In the meantime, I have these:

Fortunately, this is all in the butler’s pantry, where it is sheetrock and should be fairly easy to replace and repair.  In fact, the longer ceiling opening had been opened before and already had an obvious repair panel.  There’s another, similar hole in the wall in the above bathroom behind the tub enclosure, again, easily repaired and out of sight.  All in, if it means running water throughout the house and I can move up from sleeping in the barn, (as Martha would say), it’s a good thing!

After a holiday break I did come back to some sadness though.


Arrivederci, mio amico, you will make excellent compost.


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Et voila

I’ll need finer brushes for the second pass, but for now, voila!

DSCN0335This is likely my last post until after the holiday break, so a little something festive to celebrate the season!



My mother’s childhood rocker and a bear she had after she retired.  He’s trying to sort the lights… 


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A touch sore…

Woke up to a gleaming horizon, everything covered in white, around six inches or so.  Took off to the hardware store across the border in Massachusetts, then back to scrubbing.  Didn’t get much done, though, as I started late and my arms are tired and sore from the scrubbing.  Excuses, excuses, I know!

Progress so far:


Hoping I can finish this first pass tomorrow.

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First snow!

The view from my kitchen this afternoon:


Up early to tackle the wrapped fireplace, so here are some progress shots:


Plastic removed, paint scraped off (messy, sloppy, sticky mess, but paint came off nicely)

And then after several hours of scrubbing; already worn down the small brush I bought yesterday, so looks like I’ll be procuring a few more of them on my next trip to the hardware store.



First pass, it will definitely need another to get the last bits of white paint off.



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That’s a wrap…


Not as in it’s done, more as in it’s wrapped?  Sad pun?  Sorry (not sorry).

Removed the doors of the fireplace to get at all the bricks, taped the floor and fireplace surround, and draped the fire dogs (note to self: add all of the grating and andirons to the cleaning list).  Slapped on a coat of CitriStrip then wrapped it in plastic wrap.  A little something to keep me busy tomorrow.

Once the fireplace was wrapped, I spent some more time working on the bricks to the left, building muscles.  This is going to take time, and the lower bricks are going to be tough to get at, but it’s going to be awesome once it’s done.  It’s fun watching it emerge, too.  The best part is the vents?  Turns out they are brass after all!!!



Getting the paint off’s a chore, but once the brass is clean and polished, this will look classic.


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