Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rafters Rising!

We were able to sit and enjoy the view from the upper porch a few days ago.

But yesterday there was so much scaffolding back there that it was hard to walk around.

Hoorah!  The upper rafters are going up on the back porch!!!
Joe on the Upper Porch
Once this final section of the house gets joined to the main body, the permanent roof can get put on.
The blue temporary film is beginning to degrade and it's time to get truly under roof and weathertight.

For all of my complaining about no snow here, it's been great for the construction schedule.  None of this could be happening if it were snowing and freezing.   
Rafters Going up/Painters Working on the Porch Ceiling Boards/Thumb Over Iphone Camera Lens!  
Learning from previous mistakes (the front porch), the rafters are getting a base coat of stain before being put into place!
Upper Porch Rafters Going Up.... Plus A Cloud that Looks Like Chimney Smoke!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm Becoming My Mother

In more ways than one it seems that I'm becoming my mother.

I've got her bumpy veins on my blotchy hands.

The eyelids over my blue eyes are beginning to droop to the point where it's almost pointless to try and wear mascara or eyeliner.

A quick glance in the mirror will sometimes take me aback!

Physical similarities aside, on Friday I was thinking of her and wishing that she was alive to see how I was spending my day.

Who'd have thought?

I attended a four hour crash course on learning to play bridge!

For over 50 years until shortly before her death, my mother was part of a bridge group that met twice a month in the evenings.  The bridge ladies were among her closest friends and it was one of the few things that she did just for herself.  Oddly, I never remember her broaching the subject of me or my sister learning to play.

My prowess at Wizard had me in good stead when it came to playing the hands but the bidding was a whole 'nother story!  The entire topic of bidding was a tangled web of rules and hints that left me cross-eyed and wondering if Alzheimers had already set in.

By the close of the seminar, my mind was total spaghetti but I'm determined to give bridge a whirl.  I'll study my take-home manual, browse the internet for hints and there will be a couple of opportunities to get together with other new players soon.

Wish me luck because I'm going to need it!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Staining the Front Porch Part Two

Yours truly hard at work on the front porch getting up close and personal with the oak timbers.   

I did the left side last week, so I put a second coat of stain on the side and then had time to get the first coat on the others.  

MUCH easier to cut in on the second coat! 

Where the five beams tie together was a nightmare challenge to do a nice sharp edge and keep the dark stain off the ceiling panels. 

Strange as it seems, I enjoy painting.  No blue tape for me!

If you know how to handle the brush, blue tape causes more trouble than it solves.

I'm happy with the colors... Shagbark on the beams and Summerhouse Beige on the ceiling. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vanities: Saving Money and Adding Character!

I had hoped to find a piece of antique furniture to become the guest bath vanity but finding something 6' long and the right height was beginning to resemble the search for the holy grail, so I decided to give up and look for a new piece.
To my amazement, I snagged a deal on a Restoration Hardware 6' double vanity.  It was on final clearance and I added another substantial discount on top of that, so got it for about 70% off the original price.  I'll have to get a top, but it includes the sinks..... a great deal! 

It was my first furniture purchase from RH.... they're usually way too overpriced for me to consider.  I was impressed:  it's solidly built, arrived about 5 days after I ordered it, the packing was perfect and the "white glove" delivery men who brought it down to the basement of the rental were careful and polite.

Last week, I came home with this old treadle sewing machine cabinet to use as the half bathroom vanity.

You'd have thought I planned the room around it:  it's the perfect depth and width!

I don't like the decorative gee-gaws on the top, but they're easily removed.  I'll finish the top with Waterlox instead of adding marble or granite in order to keep more of the tiger oak visible.

It's just a tad short so Joe will add some 2" high bun feet under the bottom to boost it up to normal vanity height.

And finally my favorite is this oak piece with barley twist legs.  I instantly knew I had to have it and if I hadn't been able to retrofit it for a vanity, I'd have bought it anyway!  I wasn't leaving without it!!

 I found it over at the antique store next to Tractor Supply and only had to pay $325.00 for it!  It'll be the vanity for the downstairs hall bathroom.  

After I hit it with some mineral spirits, elbow grease and wax, the woodgrain should come back nicely.  The glare of the flash makes it hard to tell, but the round knobs, round "buttons" and the oval discs on the doors aren't metal they're all oak.... really a different looking piece!

Talented though our cabinet maker might be, we couldn't afford to pay him to make something as detailed as the antique pieces.  We've saved money and gotten something with personality and character!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Hike

"Hike" is a bit of an exaggeration since we were walking along a relatively flat gravel road, but last week I went out with the Friday Hiking Group from the Newcomer's Club.  
Yes, I'm a week behind with this post!!
Buffalo Creek

It was a windy morning and just a hair above freezing with some flurries expected, so the group leaders decided to keep it simple by taking a short walk along a road that followed Buffalo Creek close to town.  (But to my dismay, no snow ever appeared!)

Looking upstream along Buffalo Creek 
Being able to drive a couple of miles from the heart of town, park and then just get out and walk is quite a change from our old life in EBR parish. 

About 15 of us walked along and visited and it made for a pleasant morning. 

I admired this small house with its copper roof, red siding and inviting stone steps leading down to the waters edge.  

The supply of canoes and kayaks along the other side of the house probably meant that the steps got a lot of use in nice weather. 

I need to start hoofing it on my own two feet more often and relying less on Cloud's four hooves to carry me along.  We only went about 4 miles and yet my legs were sore the next day!
Low water bridge to someone's property.... hope they have more than one way in!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Will It Ever Snow?

When we first began planning our move to Virginia, we heard this question from almost every one of our Louisiana friends:  "How much will it snow up there?"  From their point of view, weather was a dealbreaker and no Louisianan in their right senses would move any place where it snowed.

As we settled in this fall, we could sense doubt when people learned that we were from Louisiana. "How are you going to handle the snow?" was usually asked pretty quickly and little knowing smiles would creep onto their faces that seemed to indicate that they were convinced that we Deep South transplants would cry surrender and flee back down I-81 at the first sight of snowflakes.

I was excited about the prospect of snow!  We were moving here partly for the four seasons, and the last time I checked winter was one of them!  I wanted to slush around, scrape my windshield, wear winter boots and shovel the sidewalk.

But friends, this is winter in the Shenandoah Valley this year:
View from our rental home 
Notice the green grass?!!!

There just might be a conspiracy theory going on.  Could talk of snow in the Shenandoah Valley be a ruse to keep folks from moving here??!!!!  Not only has there not been snow, but it hasn't been any colder than winter in Lousiana.

A few nights down in the teens, warming up in the day and many a day when we've been wearing short sleeves and no jackets.

Anyone not moving here because of snow should pack their bags and come on up!

Just to remind myself of what the white stuff looked like, I went back into iphoto and pulled up some photos of snow at our old house in Louisiana:  

Yep, that's Louisiana.  

Meanwhile here in Virginia:  
View of the new house from the lower field

View from the new driveway looking North
Front walkway and parking bay

View from the New House Porch
Vegetable garden and driveway in the snow

 I know that none of this is "normal" but I want to see some Virginia snow!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Front Porch Staining

The front porch rafters and beams were put up without any stain.  

I decided that my free painting was preferable to paying a "real" painter goodness knows how much to slowly cut in the dark stain around each of the timbers.   I'm about the most anal painter in the world and that's what it was going to take to do a good job in this situation.  So who better for the job than me?

Joe and Tom set up some scaffolding and I began to put on the first coat of Shagbark a few days ago.

It was painfully slow..... this little bit took me over an hour and that's about all my back could handle without relapsing. I doubt anyone else would have been so precise and the dark stain against the light grooved ceiling have would shown every little bobble or overrun.  

I'm still loving Shagbark!

And I really do enjoy painting.....  It's instant gratification.  

I can't draw a stick figure so I'm no artist, but I'm a pretty darn good painter! 

(A few people told me that they couldn't read the post earlier this week about the Shagbark color choice.  Blogger didn't cooperate with the date and auto-post and it caused some problems.  So if you don't know what I'm talking about with Shagbark, here's the link)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fashion Choices

What does a girl who has just moved from Louisiana wear 

in order to make a fashion statement here in Virginia?

Especially if she desperately needs to expand her winter wardrobe?  

How about if she's young at heart

 and has a little gray in her hair?  

 Nothing could be more flattering and appropriate than turquoise and lilac Fleur-de-Li's!!!   

Isn't she a cutie?

.... Bringing a little pizzaz to the barn where almost everyone else is in drab navy blue or black!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Woman's Prerogative

Earlier this month, I was quite proud of myself for finally choosing a color for the timbers.

Remember my plan to use Sherwin Williams "Caribou"?

Did anyone notice that the back porch timbers were decidedly
Un Caribou-ish?

I had painted a good sized sample board and was pleased with the color, but thank goodness, the day before the timbers were going to receive their base coat, I painted a larger sample directly on a reject timber.  

I tried to like it.  

I spent an entire afternoon out at the house staring at that timber and trying to convince myself and anyone else who'd listen that it would be an awesome color.

SW Caribou on a timber

Apparently they've taken lessons in discretion from the guy at Sherwin Williams, because I couldn't get a single one of the construction crew to give me any opinion whatsoever. 

 Finally I took a deep breath and said aloud that this wasn't a case of being wishy-washy.

I didn't like it.  It wasn't a pleasing color and the more I saw of it, the purpler it looked.

It was yucky.


I didn't know what color the timbers were going to be, but they weren't going to be Caribou and I was going to delay everyone while I figured it out.   

And as soon as I said all of the above within earshot of the crew, the proverbial floodgates opened.  

Timber framer Bob mentioned that it looked "industrial."

Steven the plumber opined that it reminded him of PVC pipe.

Pat the lead carpenter mentioned the word "battleship" more than once.  

All three of these gentlemen had declined comment previously!  

Back to Sherwin-Williams I went and left armed with several more quart samples.

Shagbark on left.  Caribou on right.
I'm thrilled with my choice of "Shagbark."  

It's an earthy "touchable" brown.  Not yucky at all!

And Look!!  It's getting taller with timbers going up on the upper porch.
It's getting easier to visualize the roof extending over the back.  More than one local person coming to see the house has thought that the roof is ending abruptly like that as part of the design!

We're growing accustomed to the blue paper on the roof; it sort of reminds us of Louisiana.

It's a blue tarp/post hurricane thing for those of you lucky enough to not live in hurricane prone areas!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

News from the Coffee Shop

Back again at Lexington Coffees for a quick hour on the internet before starting my day.  

At $4.00 per latte/post this blogging could get to be an expensive hobby!  

Out at the house,  temporary decking was put on the lower porch roof

Which meant..... that we've finally gotten to stand on the UPPER porch!!

When I turned the door handle and stepped out, it was pure magic.  I've been waiting for the back porch to appear for months. 

At last it isn't the kitchen door to nowhere!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I'm Back!

Phew... it's been a long time since my last post!

I've just left my first doctor's appointment since moving to VA and am sitting in the local coffee shop using internet to get this posted.  My back has been so painful for the past two days that I finally made an appointment to go see a chiropractor.  I've gotten some instant relief; not perfect, but enough to enable me to sit here and type as opposed to laying flat on the sofa with Mr. Biggs' heating pad!

Our internet at the house fizzled out over the weekend and we still won't have the new Verizon card until Thursday.  Nothing happens fast around here!   So I'm making the best of being able to sit upright with no pain by sipping a latte and watching the town walk past the front window of the coffee shop.

Lots has happened since my last post.... most notably Christmas!   We spent 5 days in Snowshoe WV at what turned out to be a fantastic rental condo that I found on VRBO.   Three of the four sons flew in (we were missing Owen and Kathleen) along with future daughter-in-law Raeanna and her parents.

I had decided last spring that Christmas at our rental house would be crowded and fraught with disaster, so despite the fact that I'm a homebody and we've NEVER spent a Christmas away from our own home, we did something different this year.   Joe and I didn't ski, but we enjoyed a day on the tubing hill, finished a few books, took some walks and I actually enjoyed having food ready for everyone else when they came off the slopes.

New Years was another Virginia first for us and while not a total disappointment, it was a little low key.  No plans and no party invites so we had a quiet dinner together and were in bed before 10 pm.  Our first time to ring in the year without neighbors John, Sue, Brian and Sharon in over 25 years!  I'm already planning to host a New Years get together at the new house next year!  Who knows maybe we'll even have the old crew from LA come up and join us!

Before our pre-midnight bedtime, we got an evening phone call from Ada that she would be passing through Lexington the next afternoon!!!  Our first Louisiana visitors!  Ada was riding along and sharing driving with daughter Laura who was returning to her home in  MD after being in LA for during Tim's illness and for his funeral.

We cajoled them into spending the afternoon and overnighting with us.  I might have had to go out on the interstate with roofing nails had they not agreed to stop!  

Even though it was gray and drizzly we were still proud to show off our new hometown as well as the new house.   We heard some of Ada's plans for the Thoroughbreds and shared a funny Tim story or two over dinner at the Southern Inn.  If it weren't for Laura needing to be at work the next day, we'd have tried harder to get them to stay an extra day, but they had to get going the next morning.  

At least Ada now has a mental picture of the new house, the rental and our life here in Lexington.  Aren't good friends priceless?

I don't want to push my luck with my back so I'll call it quits.  I'm about 200 posts behind in my blog reading, but promise to catch up soon with my blog friends.

Last New Year's we were wondering where we would be.... would the house have sold?  Would we have begun construction on the new house?  And now here we are.... happy as clams, watching our house get built and starting a new life.

Happy New Year to All!  

Sunset and the lights of town from our rental home.