Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Day in the Life of Skippy

Hello, my name is Skippy. I'm new here. I'm a goat. A Nupine goat. That means one of my parents is a Nubian and the other an Alpine. Do you want to play with me?

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Peek-a-boo!!  Ha! Ha!  Gotcha!

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Oh, oh. Someone's coming, we'd better get to work. 

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Hi, would you like to pet me? I'm soft and I have floppy ears. 

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Peek-a-boo!  Ha! Ha! Gotcha again! 

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Now what do you want to play?  I know, how about king of the hill?

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 This hill seems kind of dangerous. Maybe we could find something softer...

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Oh, hey these are soft. Woo hoo!

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Holy smokes!  I didn't know sheep could fly like that!  Is it safe to come out yet?

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Monday, September 24, 2012

And Behind Door Number Three...

Visiting me in this old house is a lot like being on an episode of Let's Make a Deal. First, if you can even find the house hiding behind the hedgerow and the trees, you have to decide which of the two driveways to use. Then, depending on which you chose, you have to decide which door to enter. I recently had five ladies over and each of them entered through a different door. Highly entertaining for me, probably not so much for them. 

You see there is Door Number 1, the front entry to the house. Of course, nobody wants to use those doors as there is no sidewalk leading to them. Neither the service drive on the left or the old Model A drive on the right leads to this entrance. 

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The service entrance, Door Number 2, at the far left side of the house clearly leaves a lot to be desired in curb appeal, and leads into the rather small kitchen. Not exactly a warm or welcome feeling I'd prefer for my guests first impression. 

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Of course, Door Number 3, on the back deck is another option from that drive. While it is a direct route to Sheville, it still is not properly appointed for receiving guests. Although after work "emergency meetings" would certainly warrant using this door as it is closest to the "beverage cooler."

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 If you were to meander through the yard a bit and circle around the house you would find the cute little side porch. Door Number 4 could make a nice entry as it leads into the dining room, if only the door could actually open. Seems we need to add call a locksmith to our ever growing to-do list.

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This little porch also has Door Number 5 which also leads to Sheville. You could certainly enter there…if you only weigh 80 lbs or so. I might have a little too much "inventory" blocking a bit of the doorway. 

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 So that kind of leads us back to Door Number 6, the side entrance of the front porch. The issue here is when you pull in the drive a large tree hides the house. 

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I think it confuses people. Not to mention the drive itself. I think they scratch their heads and say, "Is that a driveway? What is that?" It had been partly covered with grass, but I've dug it out and sprayed the weeds so soon the middle part will die as well making it obvious that it is indeed a driveway. That large patch of mulch on the left will be a good spot to park, I hope to bring in some gravel in the spring to mark it clearly. In fact I think there may have been some there previously.

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There were some seriously scary shrubs masking the steps.

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But a chainsaw took care of that on Sunday. No more seriously scary shrubs. Only stumps and a wicker swing that needs a tall person or two to come hang it. This is the door, my friends, that you will likely want to enter when you visit. I even put a couple of planters there in an attempt to make it obvious.

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   So, now that you understand how to visit, feel free to stop by any time, we will be here waiting for you.

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The Bottomless Pit

Come to find out the giant petri dish of west nile virus actually does have a bottom, but had you asked us at one point on Saturday while we were emptying it we would have argued it did not. We had no idea the pool was this deep.

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I'm no pool expert, but I'm thinking we might need a new liner. What do you think? In the mean time a tidy new tarp cover has been installed to satisfy the insurance company's request that we "do something about the pool."  Can't imagine why they didn't think a giant petri dish of west nile virus was a good idea. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Path that leads to Nowhere

THERE'S a path that leads to Nowhere
        In a meadow that I know,
    Where an inland island rises
        And the stream is still and slow;
    There it wanders under willows,
        And beneath the silver green
    Of the birches' silent shadows
        Where the early violets lean.

    Other pathways lead to Somewhere,
        But the one I love so well
    Has no end and no beginning—
        Just the beauty of the dell,
    Just the wind-flowers and the lilies
        Yellow-striped as adder's tongue,
    Seem to satisfy my pathway
        As it winds their scents among.

    There I go to meet the Springtime,
        When the meadow is aglow,
    Marigolds amid the marshes,—
        And the stream is still and slow.
    There I find my fair oasis,
        And with care-free feet I tread
    For the pathway leads to Nowhere,
        And the blue is overhead!

    All the ways that lead to Somewhere
        Echo with the hurrying feet
    Of the Struggling and the Striving,
        But the way I find so sweet
    Bids me dream and bids me linger,
        Joy and Beauty are its goal,—
    On the path that leads to Nowhere
        I have sometimes found my soul!

- Robinson 

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When I left for work on Thursday the path to nowhere in the backyard still had no destination,  but by the time I reached home a small barn had sprung up like a mushroom. It is really rather amazing how quickly it was built. It still needs a coat of paint, but is already perfectly functional.

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I could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from the neighbors who I'm sure have been worried that we were going to continue to leave all our belongings strewn about the backyard. We were very much looking like the Clampets who had moved to Beverly Hills.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sewing Night

It is a very serious business, we being living historians and all. Every tiny detail of the historian's impression must be tested and authenticated. 

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Not only does the accessory need to be of the appropriate time period, it must also be worn appropriately. 

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Not all historic accessories fit the one-size-fits-all requirement. 

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Often an adjustment needs to be made. 

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That's where the actual sewing part comes in. 

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Or knitting if it requires it.

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But this part...

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I can only assume since there was a computer involved that is was some sort of research and it had nothing to do with the photo booth app because that certainly wouldn't be very serious.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Meanwhile Back in the Barn

I try not to play favorites. I try to keep my feelings for the animals at work at arms length. But darn it if they don't worm their way into my heart anyway.  This one is the sweetest little lamb you can imagine. She spent a good part of this afternoon lying at my feet enjoying a good dose of monkey grooming while visiting with guests. 

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And this one. Seriously, look at that face. How could you not love that?

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But this one. This one knows I love her and she works it to her advantage every day. 

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"Well we're not stupid, you know. We've seen how this operation works."

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Where the Sidewalk Ends

The neighbors two doors down have a rooster. I can hear him. I've never met them but one has to believe they must be good people if they have a rooster. I have a feeling I'll have to wander over sometime soon and introduce myself.

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(This is actually a photo of one of the roosters at Conner Prairie. I've not taken to wandering over to the neighbors barn to take pictures of their chickens... yet.)

They are allowed to have a rooster because, like us, their land is zoned agriculture. Even though we are somewhat surrounded by urban sprawl, our properties are grandfathered in and have never been annexed. You see, we are part of what they call the "gentleman farmer" historic district. A stretch of victorian homes built in the 1880's and 1890's for the more successful businessman or retiring farmer. A good portion of the homes here still have the acreage they started with. One I know of even has roughly twenty acres, yet from the street you would never know it as historic downtown is within walking distance. At the time this house was built though,  it was considered to be in the country. In fact, here is a 1925 photograph clearly showing the farm fencing and remarkably few trees. 


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There was a barn here not long ago.  This was a painting of the back of the barn. According to the neighbors the small lean-to section on the left was a chicken coop. The lawyer tore it down. I doubt he liked chickens much. If I had to guess I'd say the feeling was mutual.

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Not All of the Details Are Pretty

Some are downright scary. The house came with a giant petri dish of West Nile virus. Attempts at draining it have been made, none of them particularly successful so far. We keep plugging away at it. The future of the petri dish has yet to be determined. 


This week's major project though focuses on the attic. Not so scary you say? Ah, but you don't realize what lies beneath.

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(Insert shocking Psycho music here)

Old knob and tube wiring. Having it isn't necessarily a problem, but in a big old drafty house you want WAY more insulation than this. Before the insulation goes in we need to fix everything that needs fixing in the ceiling because finding it under the new insulation later would prove a bit challenging. All of the current cellulose insulation needed to be pulled out and put aside to expose the old wiring. An electrician is coming out this week to bring the wiring and the boxes up to code. 

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He has a list of other items throughout the house to correct as well. The former resident was a bit of a do-it-yourselfer. At some point he must have taken a Creative Wiring 101 course at the hardware store. Luckily he left the push button switches alone.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

With Old Houses, It's All in the Details

And this place is crawling with details. Let's start at the top and work our way down shall we? River rock and shells from the nearby river adorn the front of the house. The small windows with the divided lights are the attic windows. Notice the facia board is carved and painted.


Other gables are shingled. If you look closely there are two rows of odd shaped shingles in the middle. I never noticed that until just now. When it comes time to paint I think those will need to be a contrasting color.


The keyhole window... it opens. Seriously. Very, very cool. The divided lights are stained glass. If anyone knows what those metal rods are sticking out, please let me know. It is a mystery to me.


Just below the window the front porch takes center stage. This photo shows the only two missing pieces of the fretwork. The missing ball is in the basement, so really only one tiny piece needs to be remade, everything else is still here. 


I think this side is even nicer than the front. 


But this little porch just off the dining room might be my favorite. I see a wicker chair and a fern in that little round part. 


I've lived here for almost a month and I just noticed that this porch railing is completely different...


than the front porch railing. I discover something new every day.


But out of all of it. This field stone foundation is my very most favorite part of the house. It's a shame we don't build them like this anymore.