Friday, August 27, 2010

More coming.....

I'm working on more posts of the Blue Castle progress, but life is a little busy right now. It seems like I spend most of my time frantically cooking and cleaning to keep everything going, but I didn't have enough to do so I volunteered to help coordinate a volleyball tournament. What was that all about? I've never even been to one. We'll see how it goes. If I get confused and start playing the Wedding March, oh, well.

Plus, on top of that, I can feel that my parents are really stressing about the house project and that stresses me. Big time. Plus, I was already stressed about it. Compound stress. It's what my life is all about. That and goat milk. But I stress about that too, so it's pretty much the same thing. So, the last few days I've been mentally planning and working to have things ready so I would be available to help down at the new house today - and I'll worry about catching the milk up again on Monday.

But, you know what, I'm feeling a little less stressed about the house now. I got the closet that has been hanging in the middle of the living room area completely moved upstairs - and it doesn't even look bad. Mother helped me hang a pole upstairs, she suggested a rug, we moved the dresser and then when all was said and done, I unearthed a molded (cut glass looking) jar of mine, and filled it with water and arranged some greenery in it and put it on the dresser with a lamp and box. That is how I clean and organize. The finishing touches it what makes it all worthwhile to me. And you know what? Now, in a tiny corner of the upstairs, I have a place to call home.

Hopefully I'll get back to the Blue Castle on Monday, for now I'm off to plan a volleyball tournament.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Remodel Part V

We had another family friend, skilled in electrical work amongst many other talents, help us do the wiring. The fun of that was that he brought his sweet wife and adorable children with him! The main portion was completely finished for the first inspection and we've (I use that term loosely) just been working on the finish wiring as the project progresses.

The Remodel Part IV

When life is chaotic and unpredictable, you have to have a sense of humor. One day this just hit me, and I had to share it with the family. It was very popular and Mummy made this sign. (The sign reads: "Camp Hope - we hope we are not camping for the rest of our lives!")

This is what life looks like when you are living in a storage unit.... very scary.

That is part workshop.

And this is what the hill going up the driveway looks like in the spring with blue flowers that you can't see very well, but cheer the spirits after the "storage unit."

And this, this, is the trickling creek behind The Blue Castle. It slowly gurgles it watery musical notes as it falls over rocks, moss covered and sheltered by a thicket. Come the warmth of summer, it falls asleep until the next spring thaw.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Remodel Part III Updated

"The Loft"

And down below, all the old floors are gone and it's time to lay the plumbing before the concrete pour.

All the trenches are back filled and the vapor barrier is down and ready for the concrete.

The plumbing is ready....

And now for the concrete, we have J.J. on the wheelbarrow,

While C.J. and C.A. man the buckets,

Teamwork: Many thanks to all the guys that volunteered their time and expertise. We'll all pour together when we pour, we'll all pour..... My version is much better, don' you think? I have this tendency to take songs and change the lyrics to suit my purposes. The original version is by Tom Lehr (I think) and is more along the lines of "we'll all char together when we char." So you can see why my version is better. The song is funny, but in a ghastly way. Simply ghastly.

B.T., D.C. and A.C. working on the preliminary leveling.

More leveling. It is smoother than this, much smoother. But do I have pictures of the finished job? No. Though, I think it is in a few later pictures, so stay tuned and watch for the floor. You won't regret it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Little Bit of Goodness

After a late night, several late nights, weeks of late nights in fact, but who is counting? I just got off subject, what was I going to tell you?

Oh, yes, anyway, this morning I wasn't feeling super energized, I didn't have food plans for the day, Mother Hubbard's Cupboards were low, and D.C. had showed up to help with the house = company for lunch. In fact, things were conspiring against me.

What I really wanted was something magical and nice to appear, but I don't know what is up with the union, but my fairy godmother has been rather unhelpful as of late. Enter Divine inspiration. I threw together what I think ought to be called Improvisation Salad, because I used my sister-in-law's recipe for Greek Salad (Or was it Turkish?) but I didn't have most of the ingredients. Rough substitutes, yes. But I was a little skeptical about the results and that was just plain it. Just salad. Well, that seemed a tiny bit blah, so further inspiration - I whipped up a batch of oatmeal cookies and sandwiched them between homemade vanilla ice cream that we just happened to have leftover, which is not a very common occurrence around here.

Main Course:Improvised Greek Salad (Garnished with a sprig of parsley - presentation folks, presentation.)
Beverage: Apricot Iced Tea
Dessert: Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

Well, it could have been worse. And you know what? I love it when something comes out of seemingly nothing.

Random Summer

A nearby city was doing a showing of My Fair Lady at a park so two of my sisters and I ventured into town as dusk was approaching and after running a few errands we spread a blanket at the park and then played Go Fish with a regular set of cards until it was dark enough to start the movie. Popcorn, chocolate candy bars and a good movie. A wonderful, albeit late, night.

A few friends joined us, Abby, not so much of a surprise, her brother, a little bit. And then D.C. and a friend show up. That was a little more shocking folks. We're talking about My Fair Lady here. D.C. is a contractor and his friend is a logger. Shakes head. This movie is a musical! Well, I don't know what his friend thought, but I do think we lost D.C. to a catnap somewhere in there.

That was lots of fun, but you know what I loved even more? Tonight, my wee niece decided to wake up after going down for the night and since her mother was in the middle of her dessert and then Little K woke up, I got to hold her. She wasn't happy, so I fetched a blanket and took her outside on the back deck where a soft summer coolness was gently stirring the air, and held her all wrapped up against me and rocked her gently. What a precious moment. Her big brown eyes taking in the landscape around us, the one tear that had escaped wet below her eye. Melt. What a darling.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Remodel Part II

I just love this photo. Look at those cute little ladders all lined up waiting for their workers. Don't tell the guys I said that. I would in no way want to undermine their manliness and I don't think they would look at their ladders the same way again. Papa Ladder, Mama Ladder and Baby Ladder. Actually, I think two of those ladders are the same size, but I can imagine.

Inside the wall that was being framed.

Look, the ladders have workers and they aren't bears. Oh, well. I like this photo too, three ladders, three guys. All very balanced. I'm all about balance. (Don't jump D.C.! Please don't jump.Think of all the Arizona Iced Tea you could drink.)

That's good, come slowly down the ladder. (Okay, sorry, I think I'm low on sleep.)

The front door! It is beginning to look a tiny bit less like a barn. I think.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Remodel Part I

Plan B:

We had not intended to pour a concrete floor in this section of the house. But, well, eventually, that is just what we decided to do. Why stick with Plan A? Life would be much too boring that way. (I for one, am very glad we didn't in this case. Pouring concrete also meant we could lower the loft floor for a lot more head room. Very nice, that.)

The one finished room. Good, let's rip out the floor. It did make sense in the long run.

A small portion of the scrap building supplies we were accumulating and storing.

Tea break and planning. In cold weather it is what we do. It is also what we do in hot weather. But that isn't the point here. Honestly though, it got pretty cold at times. I would often take the female crew hot water bottles to warm them. I would have done the same for the guys, but they weren't into that so much.

Trenches through the mud. My brother dug these with a machine, but then we had to back fill them by hand. More pictures of that later. (Hopefully.)

Cleaning the rental machine in the cold.

Never to "tired" to compute. I really couldn't resist.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Tin Cleanup

Before: The burned tin pulled off the old foundation and waiting to be taken to metal recycling.

After: The burned tin, ripped, stomped and ready to haul away. We ripped, just used our bare hands and ripped (In the interests of full disclosure, we actually wore gloves over our bare hands. "Bare hands" being a figure of speech), those pieces in two, or three and piled 'em up and stomped 'em down. Do you know how powerful you feel ripping sheets of metal in half like paper? Actually it was a little more work than that, but it was kind of fun. Snip with metal cutters to get a start and then tearing it in half. I felt so strong! Actually, when all was said and done, I felt pretty tired. But, I'd also moved maybe a couple hundred concrete blocks earlier that day.

And I took this picture just because of the truck. I thought you'd want to see my brothers cool vintage truck.

The Cleanup Part III

Cleaning out the old foundation

All the burned tin waiting to be hauled to metal recycling.

Sometimes the job is really rough.

I mean really, really rough.

Very, very, unbearably rough.

Truth: These are lunch break photos. I thought you ought to know that. I wanted you to know that.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Cleanup Part II

The back of the shed, with the ladder leading to the loft.

This way please.... The Loft

Looking the opposite direction of the first picture was this room. Yes, it was finished, but it needed a lot of help.

Much, much better. Now, if we can only get rid of the ghastly light fixtures.