Ready for fabric Monday, Nov 2 2015 

one canoe, Chestnut company style c. 1905. It is most assuredly not flat bottomed and has a noticeable belly to it, very visible in the second photograph. The rebuilt stem ends came out rather nicely (not my work!) It is also getting new cane seats to replace the mismatched pair it currently has. Though, I have my suspicions that it is probably more stable when not using the seats. Now, the question is….how to transport it? At 16 feet…I think the truck may be getting a ladder carrier yet!

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New garden picture Saturday, Oct 4 2014 


A new view! From left to right: inkberry, ninebark, russian cyprus, witch-hazel, itea (hiding), enkianthus.  The bright yellow in the mid ground are some chrysanthemums, to the right of them are the azaleas and double-file viburnums; the rose garden (which will be quite happy to have more sun) is mid-ground left.

Fiddling about with doggerel Saturday, Apr 5 2014 

From something I was working on long ago…A description, perhaps, of the library, the piano, and the books.

On the day I left,

On the cold January morning,

The grand piano’s heartbreak,

I was in love

And left the library

Where the faun still knows

All the secrets

And the voice of man

Dances, unrepentant,

Beyond a classic, pillared frame.

Projects Wednesday, Mar 19 2014 

It is always astonishing how quickly something can happen when everyone puts their minds to it.  The picture project has taken another step forward with the creation of a double rack against one wall of the room. In theory, this should mean that I can fit all of the pictures into that space….

It was a bit of trick to get an eight foot long, two and half foot tall, two foot wide rack up the stairs.  It took a bit of a circuitous path through various rooms as well.  The same path a sideboard took, zig zagging through the house.  Each door, of course, is a slightly different width, or should I say: ‘narrowness’?  So far, we have not had to chop a hole in a wall for any furniture, unlike previous generations.  Thank goodness the rack was light enough to be easily rotated in the stair well. Mind the corners, and china, and the glass, and the lantern!

This project has only been in progress for several years, maybe by the time spring gets here (ha!) it will have come to some sort of conclusion.

Argh Friday, Mar 7 2014 

We’ll wander off to the personal here briefly.

I am not a feminist, not by any stripe, to be quite blunt I’ve seen the damage the feminist movement has managed to do in academia and I want no part of that hypocrisy.

That being said….is it too much to ask? All I want at this point is a decent pair of work boots to replace an excellent pair that I demolished through several years of work.  You know, something modestly waterproof, high ankle, good shock absorption (Try slamming your foot down on a shovel in sneakers, I dare you), long lasting, something tough enough that when a weed whacker equipped with a brush blade goes wrong you still have a foot and ankle…. that sort of thing.

Guys can find such boots by the hundred.  Women not so much.  I had my choice of cowboy boots (useless, vapid things) or a single pair of poorly built work boots with PINK flowers and Turquoise Hearts embroidered on the leather.

Needless to say, the brick and mortar store didn’t get my business. It turns out that Amazon carried the exact replacement of my previous pair, albeit with steel toes which I don’t need but won’t mind.  Thank you Amazon.

Now if they come before I need to walk a boundary line for the land trust in the middle of a swamp sometime in the next week I’ll be quite happy.

Finally! Monday, Jul 15 2013 

They are finally managing to get the hay cut here, about a month late. I only need 80 bales, (they’ll get about 800 on this cut) but I need them to be good quality. Of course, so does everybody else….
Still, it caused me to finally get around to the annual* cleaning of the barn; a lovely combination of cat/animal/horse/hay/old-barn dust/vehicle exhaust… Very good for me, I am sure!

In other news, I did not need to see this:
hanging around the kitchen door, complete with umpteen just hatched babies. And yes, this one was about the size of the one in the picture! She has gone away, I think…

*alright, I’ll admit…Biannual, I didn’t do it last year.

Historical Perspectives Sunday, Apr 14 2013 

I am poking at the project of working through the Ellsworth letters (mostly Emily Webster Ellsworth, Oliver Ellsworth, and Caroline Cleveland Smith with dates between 1820-1860)* I say poking, because the transcription is going to be daunting and it is an open question as to how many people are actually interested. Still, on my first letter I think there is some promise.

This is from July 1847 from Roswell C. Smith to his daughter Caroline (later the wife of Oliver, who was the grandson of the chief justice Oliver and son of William Wolcott Ellsworth). It is a curious letter in many respects, but it is also an interesting glimpse into a very new technology: railroads. Caroline was travelling from New Haven to Hartford by the railroad, rather than the stage. We would look at this letter and wonder why her father is making such a fuss (she was grown and living independently) until we remember that the railroad is the first Mechanical form of travel. A horse or a stage coach, though potentially quite dangerous, will attempt to react and avoid someone stepping out in front of them; they may not succed, but a reaction will occur. A rail car (or an automobile or a plane or an industrial engine or a power tool or…) cannot and will not. We, theoretically, understand that there are many mechanical devices which will continue on their path regardless of a person being in the way.* However, in 1847 many people unless they worked in some of the factories would have little or no experience with this. Looked at that way, the paragraph makes a bit more sense, in my opinion.

“It will be rather difficult for you to pick out your baggage, get it carried up to the City Hotel etc. but you will know more after the trial. Recollect not to stand outside or in front of the cars at any time, one man, Mr. Stockport, who married Miss Benjamin of Norwich, Foster’s wife’s mother’s daughter, lost his life instantly by so doing. Keep in the cars till they stop. In Hartford the baggage is taken off a few rods behind where the cars stop, before it comes to the depot, it goes over a little bridge near ?, then backs some ways into the Hartford depot. Always remem. to stay inside of the cars till they stop. I may give Burgess some directions, as I shall probably be there the day before you arrive as I shall learn by your letter.”

*That is what the box says…whether the list is accurate…no one knows.
*I say theoretically, Youtube gives us hours of proof that we seem to be incapable of figuring out physics.

Mysteries in the night Saturday, Feb 16 2013 

Nothing at all exciting!

This house has no complete ‘blueprints’.  It was mostly built before all that paper. We have measured out some of the rooms, but not all.  In the classic bit of insomniac pondering, I got to thinking about the old duct work for the original north end heating system.  This was a hot air system and built with the addition in 1893, so everything is buried in the walls and floors.  However, because it is not forced hot air, but simply gravity, the ducts are quite good sized.

Now, in the library section, between two rooms, there is a complicated stack running east-west.  On the first floor, this includes two closets, a chimney breast, and a bathroom.  On the second floor, there is the chimney, a hall, two closets, and a bathroom (offset from the one below on a long diagonal).  Now, that is all very well and fine…but there is on the second floor two wall vents for the hot air system: one at the extreme south-east, the other at the extreme north-west.  On the first floor, there are floor vents that are nowhere near where the wall vents must branch off.  Now, did those two second-story wall vents run directly up from the basement?  If so they have to have branched off somewhere in the basement ceiling, because only two main ducts ran below the ceiling in that direction, and one went to those floor vents.  Or does it snake through the first floor ceiling?  Or does it snake through that second story wall, but…  How did they fit? none of the walls appear to be thick enough to fit a duct in…but they must be….

I think I have a bit of measuring to do…unless the engineer knows?  I mean I could send our resident cat back in to the ducts…but he didn’t like it last time!

Rolling the carpet back Saturday, Jan 19 2013 

Planning out some planting on the tennis court section today in the wind.  This is actually a rather important shift; it naturally starts us working on the north line on the meadow, below the house lot proper and west of the tennis court.  It is not that a great deal of work does not still need to happen on the house lot, itself.  But that the completely out-of-control areas are now farther out.

It is a little hard to recall that at one point, not that long ago, walking to the north line on and east of the tennis court was impossible.  That I now know what is growing and where, even if it is still full of poison ivy and briars, is nevertheless something of an accomplishment.  It would revert almost immediately, if we stopped work; and there are still some large trees that (depending on the opinion) perhaps ought not to be there.  But it isn’t ‘overgrown’ in the same way.

Slow but steady!

Thwack! Monday, Jan 14 2013 

It being a pleasant day (if unseasonably warm, we Do Not need another spring drought, but I bet we get one) and the ‘real’ world being its charming self; I spent several hours outside doing actual work.

The west edge of the tennis court* has been sadly neglected and was going to burning bush.  I would like the edge to eventually be strategically located clumps of blueberry,chokeberry, steeplebush, shadblow and others interspersed with native bunch grasses and flowers.*  Step one is the removal of the burning bush.  I have begun this process, very satisfying.  Although I want to retain a few burning bushes on the property, I am rather of the mood that it Does Not need to be there; sitting here thinking on it, I just might get rid of all of it tomorrow.  Except for the SW corner clump on the tennis court proper (not the stuff on the west bank), that has an actual reason for existence.

Cutting things down is almost as fun as planting them…

*I dare you to play tennis on it.  A raised court made of sand/clay it is incredibly well draining (unlike the clay till soil of the rest of the property); starting in the 1930’s it was let to grass; it is now a pine grove with a few Norway maples, oaks, ashes and hemlocks.  (and Lots of poison ivy) Nature triumphs!

*whatever wants to grow, Pagoda Dogwood (cornus alterneafolia) is a happy volunteer, I hope to get some sweet fern going, black cherry and aspen really want to populate the area as well but as trees are not quite what I want.

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