Tuesday, August 28, 2012

German Shepherd Ears on the Maury

It takes just a few minutes to drive from town to the area known as Goshen Pass 

where the Maury River flows through a gorge 
hemmed in by Little North Mountain.  

Although I wasn't fishing,  
Attagirl and I enjoyed an afternoon of mountain breezes 
and river "music" as the Maury tumbled past. 

Atta wasn't at all interested 
in watching Joe 
as he tried his hand at the art of flyfishing.

Nope, not even worrying about him one little bit.

Something downstream 
on this particular afternoon last week 
was MUCH more interesting....

And bears her constant vigilance.....

Yep, she loves Carter.....
Always has....

But that's all right Joe.  
if you just wade upstream, 

You can get in the radar ear frame too!  

Monday, August 27, 2012

We've got Garapa

Not Grappa.... that's an Italian liquor! 
But now that I think of it, 
we could've used a giant bottle of Grappa 
to smooth the edge of a stressful homebuilding hiccup
that happened over the weekend!  :) 

But no being negative.....
Here's a toast to something positive!  

The temporary decking is gone and we get to ogle our new Garapa deck boards!!
I was never tempted by the manmade vinyls, Trex etc
and I'd had my fill of splintery pressure treated wood 
that needs to be regularly sealed and stained. 

Garapa is a Brazilian hardwood
 and though it can be sealed to maintain the honey brown color, 
we'll be letting it weather naturally
and eventually it'll turn silver gray. 

I sort of wish that I had the motivation, 
and energy to try and maintain the honey color, 
but life's too short to be routinely sanding and schlepping sealer 
on several hundred feet of deck boards.

So gray it will be!
North Corner.... Awaiting the stairs
In the forums of my favorite online website for home advice, Gardenweb, 
the name that came up most often as the "go-to" guy 
for hardwood decking was 
George the owner of East Teak Hardwoods
We had a pretty big order and there were little to no "bad" boards, 
so East Teak was a Gardenweb winner!
Who's coming to visit and share a cup or glass of something on the veranda? 
I promise I'll have railings one of these days!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What's a Bookend Week?

Part of my absence from blogging last week was because we had visitors!  

Carter got a much needed break
 from the sweltering temperatures of Little Rock 
and made his first visit to our new hometown!!  

It was a rare opportunity to spend time with him 
when we weren't celebrating a holiday or family wedding 
and thus could quietly relax and visit one on one.  

We showed him a lot of the sights of the county, 
including of course the new house but we kept a few in reserve for future visits!

We ate out a time or two, introduced him to some of our new friends 
and of course since he's a fisherman, he tried out several of the local rivers.

He'd given Joe a fly rod several Christmases ago, 
but with no nearby fly-fishing in LA, 
it had never been used.  

Before hitting the river, 
they spent an hour or so out to the front yard 
for Fly Casting 101.  

Joe was a quick learner 
and Carter's experiences guiding in Alaska 
helped him be a patient teacher.  

The day after he flew back to Arkansas, 
we barely had time to wash the guest room sheets 
and we were back at the airport again!

Clark flew in for a long weekend  in order to sing at a friend's wedding! 

So it was my "bookend" week..... 
getting to see my oldest and youngest sons.

Special times!

Porch Steps, Stoops and Fencing

We're still charging along toward our completion date of "sometime this fall"!  :)

All you can do is smile!  

And possibly make plans for eating out at Thanksgiving?  

It's looking splendid and the place was a hubbub of activity this morning when I went out for a meeting with Tom (our GC), Arthur (landscape architect) and Matt (stone mason).   

About a month ago, I threw up my hands 
and officially gave up on my version of  Rubik's cube puzzle 
which was how to tie the diagonally placed garage to the house with a fence
 so that Attagirl had a fenced area to access via the back door.  

I had mulled over the front and side steps and the garage/side door fencing until I was cross-eyed.  

As usual, I knew what I didn't want 
but was having a difficult time putting together all of the pieces of what worked.

Enter Arthur Bartenstein, a local landscape architect 
who came to the rescue. 
He blended elements of my scattered ideas and his own unscattered ones 
to create a cohesive design that seems to actually work.  

There will be some tweaks but here's the general idea .... 
and let me tell you figuring this out was/is harder than it looks!   

When I left Matt and Tom were calculating the stone needed 
for the porch surfaces, treads, risers, pedestals and cheek walls.... 
better them than me!  

Rumor is that the fir rafters for the kitchen ceiling have been shipped from Canada 
and the front door is almost ready to begin the journey from Alabama.

   All points converge in VA!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Floors and A Year's Progress

The oak floors were installed in the den, dining room and foyer....
Here's a photo of the first board going down....

Sadly that's all I have to show because as soon as the boards were all down, 
they were quickly covered up with rolls of "Ram-Board."   

The same thing happened downstairs in the basement....
The tile was laid in the hall, study and center hall.  
And I managed to get one photo (ungrouted) 
 looking down at the center hall from the stair landing

before the slate look tiles were covered up!  

Outside, most of the battens are on and the exterior is largely ready for the painters to go after 
when they return Monday from a 2 week job elsewhere.  

We're making progress......

Here's the den last year in early August

And now....

The view is still as wonderful as ever, but we've got a few doors and a fireplace in the way!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Visit To Buchanan

One thing leads to another when you're retired and not on a schedule.  

Last month we were out for a pleasure drive 
(back when we had free time and weren't painting and staining like maniacs), 
and wound up near the Lexington Reservoir.

We decided explore a few back roads and eventually
(we didn't have a map or cell phone signal), 
we rejoined civilization but were pretty far to the south.
 However this unexpected turn of events
 gave us an excuse to make our first visit to Buchanan!

It's a tiny town (pop. 1,200) on the banks of the James River 
and we've finally gotten the hang of the correct pronounciation 
which is "Buck"Ann-un.

There's an outfitter with canoe and kayak rentals, a few restaurants and some antique shops.

Adjacent to the highway bridge there's an old swinging pedestrian bridge.

Over 350 feet long and very lumpy

We swayed across over the piers built in 1851. 

The piers originally supported a large covered toll bridge 
but was burned by those nasty Yankees during the Civil War.  

Rebuilt, washed away, rebuilt again 
and then finally made obsolete by the new concrete bridge next to it, 
the current swinging bridge has been around sine the late 1930's.

There's a tiny Art Deco restored movie theatre on Main Street.  
Built in 1914 and still showing movies on weekends.

The pharmacy has a soda fountain and grill

where we gave a thumbs up to our chocolate malts.

Retirement is rough, but somebody has to do it!

**  Why aren't I writing about the house?

Yes, it's still being built and there's a lot to show.

But alas organizational skills are apparently still not my strong suit.

The wire to the camera has gone missing and without it I can't upload new photos to the computer!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What I Didn't Tell You About July

Last I looked, I had over 300 items to read in my Google Reader.... 
I don't think I'll ever get to them so if you haven't heard from me lately don't feel neglected!

So how about a new type of post with things that didn't make the blog during the month of July?

  • We dropped in on a few fun happenings at the VA Horse Center.... one of which was a Regional Vaulting Championship.   Think "judged circus act without the circus".... amazing!  

  • Poor Attagirl!  Two days after we put Mr. Biggs to sleep,  she went into a huge slump which got slightly better after a few weeks but never quite was her old self.  She's been diagnosed with ehrlichiosis (a tick-borne virus) and was put on a 4 week course of antibiotics.   Within days of starting treatment, her energy levels increased and the wag came back in her tail.   Shame on us for thinking that she was depressed about the loss of Biggs, but the timing was too hard to ignore.... and we were definitely dragging around and sad ourselves.  :(
  • Joe had a birthday!  We celebrated with dinner at the Southern Inn.
  • The Rockbridge Regional Fair with rides, 4H events, agricultural and home-ec displays etc was in July.  We spent a lovely evening sitting on the grass hillside watching the Draft Horse Pull.  
         Almost as exciting as watching the horses pull increasingly large loads was the fact that 
I won the tickets!  
Yes, I was "Caller #5".... 
the first time I've ever tried to call a radio station for a give away, and I won! 
Me and my free tickets!

  • The Mega-Music Party at future new neighbors the Krantz' was a blast!  Just for the joy of performing in front of friends there were 15 minute musical acts all evening from 6 pm until 11..... ranging from a precious 10 year old with his tenor recorder to violins, piano, oboe, banjo, guitar....  Such fun and so much talent.  

  • Atta has been having company this week!  Murphy has fit right into the fold while our friends Barb and Rich are visiting with family in the midwest.  Noel was less than impressed for the first few days, but has finally decided to come out of hiding and rejoin the family. 
  • We ensconced ourselves in the University Center to take advantage of their fast, free internet and watched a live as new DIL Raeanna received her white coat in a second year of med school "White Coat Ceremony."   
            I'm very proud of the newest brains in the family!   
Clark and Raeanna on their honeymoon
 Now it's on to August!!  

The house is looking awesome, the weather here is grand, VA is heaven on earth..... life is good!!