Project 52.46 – The New Kid

Some of you may remember my previous post, The River and the Road, and the picture of my poor front wheel drive Jetta stuck somewhat askew on the Hill of Discontent. It was late last year and I’d gotten about 10 feet up the hill before the tires couldn’t grip and the Jetta, try gallantly though it did for many tense moments, finally gave up and seemed to say to me, “Listen, woman, I am not The Little Engine that Frickin’ Could, Aw-right?!” and then it went slippy-slidey until I, too, finally gave up. We had a few of those days with me trying to back the car down the icy slope without going over the bank into the apple tree. Each time, the Jetta tried its best and showed one reason why I will always be a Volkswagen girl at heart – because Volkswagens have spirit. Still, the unavoidable … Continue reading…

Project 52.45 – First Snow

We finally got our first snow of the 2012 winter season. Moose is pretty happy about it. Misty, on the other hand, seems to share my sentiment, my “here we go again, didn’t we just do this?” feeling. It’s true, we did seem to just come out from the clutches of last winter when this winter arrived. That’s OK, with vistas like this, we will not complain.  

Project 52.44 – The Ol’ Girl

A few weeks ago, my cousin Virgil pointed out that I haven’t shown too many exterior shots of the barn. Of course, I live to serve, but it’s too easy to go outside, snap a photo, and be done. What is more marvelous is the before-and-after transformation of this place. Mike’s mom, Sherry, was kind enough to dig out some old photos (many, many thanks to her for that!) but, unfortunately, all photos of the barn in its original 1940’s glory were lost in a house fire. The photos below start at about 20 years ago (judging from the length of Mike’s hair!).   And, the “after” shots, the transformation from a slice of Americana to a vibrant and well loved living space. The family members who knew this barn back in its heyday (or, perhaps, its “hay days”) say “she ain’t what she used to be.”  Yes and no. … Continue reading…

Project 52.41 – Family Jewel

Family Oak Tree

Sometimes, things just sneak up on you, even though you know they’re coming. We all knew that Fall was headed our way and that soon we’d be forgoing salads for soup, sandals for slippers, and camp fires for cozy indoor fires and cocoa.  And, yet, we’re still surprised that first morning when we have to scrape ice crystals from the car windshield and we’re a little sad to find ourselves buttoning up that warmer coat before heading out to work. For me, this year my no-denying, inescapable “autumn’s here” moment came when I looked out the window at the family oak tree, which had gone from steadfast green to a dazzling palette of orange, yellow, gold, and red in what I swear was just overnight.  In the blink of an eye, summer was gone and the warm glow of the grand and noble oak glinted like jewels in the sun … Continue reading…

Project 52.40 – Banded Woolly Bears

Banded Woolly Bear

It has been a strange year for bugs. I mean, it has been a strange year for US having so many bugs around. Last year we were inundated with lady bugs (or lady birds, for those folks across the pond). This year, we seem to have an influx of stink bugs, crickets, and those little black and reddish brown fuzzy caterpillars that roll up into a ball when you touch them. Those, I’ve just learned here, are on their way to becoming Isabella Tiger Moths, commonly called “Banded Woolly Bears” in the caterpillar stage. They are cold climate critters who winter by freezing solid and emerge in the springtime into their next phase of life. And here I was thinking the barn was a little chilly this morning when I woke up!

Project 52.39 – Closet Monsters

Since Mike has been in North Dakota for the past week, I’ve had some time to myself, time to retrieve furniture and other possessions from the depths of storage and time to spread out, getting used to the new living space. I’ve also had some time to get to those tasks we normally would reserve for rainy Sunday mornings or those days when we’re feeling so darned productive we don’t know what to do with ourselves. (Ha! Like that ever happens!) I’m talking about things like cleaning out the refrigerator, washing the windows, and organizing the bathroom closet. I did all these things this weekend, and I’m prepared to cough up a shot of what I was up against. Before you say, “In the name of all that’s holy, woman!” I feel in our defense I should say we’ve been in the middle of a big push to get living … Continue reading…

Project 52.38 – Living Room

Living Room

This weekend was one of firsts. It was our first weekend of being able to have a real “living room” in the barn, and, unfortunately, it was also Mike’s first weekend away from home at his new job in North Dakota. We got the flooring done on Saturday and, sadly, Mike left before dawn Sunday morning. He’ll be home in two weeks to fully enjoy the fruits of his labor, to do some relaxing and living in his new living room. Until then, I’ll try to do my part to keep it clean!

Project 52.36 – A Fan of Mike’s

Mike is my hero. Progress on the barn seems to be picking up momentum. We’ve finished painting and, as mentioned last week, putting in the lights. We’re now doing some finish work on the beams, trimming out the big window, and preparing to lay the new flooring. That’s right! We have flooring!  We didn’t go with the Vintner’s Reserve but instead we chose a beautiful Brazilian Koa, which is rich, warm, and sweet (just like chocolate cake, but I digress!). It was also about $500 cheaper than the Vintner’s Reserve, a price I will not contest. All this activity makes us hot and sweaty. Thank goodness for the awesome fan Mike installed last weekend. It’s my favorite thing of the week. Well, it’s my favorite thing of the week, after Mike!

Project 52.35 – Progress

Mike Nearly Done

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a status update on The Great Barn Project, mostly because progress was stalled due to a family vacation, the pleasures of summer, and the seemingly neverending cycle of drywall-tape-mud-sand-mud-sand-mud-sand that at times made me envy Sisyphus (I mean, really, all he had to do was push a rock up a hill for eternity). I spared you several weeks of “Barn Progress Update, Week 300-Something, More Drywall.” You’re welcome. First, oatmeal and sand. What do those things have in common? Oatmeal tastes like sand? You could argue that, if you’re someone who eats sand. I do not. However, I do put oatmeal on the walls (just ask my mother about that incident when I was three…). In my current status as someone pretending to be an adult, though, I’ve chosen not to smear my surroundings with actual oatmeal but have instead relied upon the good people … Continue reading…

Project 52.34 – The Neighbors

The neighbors come over every evening. The mother raids our apple tree and teaches her three hooligan kids to raid it as well. They walk around like they own the place and they eye our raspberries like they’re planning to break into the garden in the dark of night and steal them all, the thieves. The cute, lovable thieves. The thing about the triplets and their mother is that they kind of just show up unannounced. No call. No text message. They just show up. Walking by the window yesterday, I looked out and this is what I saw (no zoom required): Honestly, it’s like they live here or something! It makes me happy to see them so at ease, though, that they come so close. Their lives are full of enough stress as it is and they constantly get the short end of the stick in the predator-prey relationship. … Continue reading…