Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis the Season

Yep, those are our toes, keeping warm in front of the wood stove. These days, it's our favorite place in the world, because it's COLD out there.

Pretty though. It's like a church out there, and quiet and beautiful. I just got out quickly to feed the so hungry birds. Jim got out and took pictures in the fresh bright morning air. It's just beautiful, and a day and a half later, the snow's still on the trees. It's amazing, and sure does put you in the holiday mood. Merry Christmas to our friends and family.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's Going to Be a Greenhouse!

Jim and I have had this project in the plans for quite a while now, and it's finally coming together. We're adding on an eight by sixteen foot addition to the south side of the house to be a combination greenhouse, sunroom, solar heat collector. Since we don't have a lot of building experience, there's a lot of time spent just planning, reading and studying options, and talking over what we really want from this space. It has taken several months to actually get something started, but Jim has kept drawing and redrawing plans, and it's finally happening.

Our goal here is to have a place to collect solar heat during the daytime and vent it into the house to help out with winter heating bills. We'd also like to use it as a solar room in the winter time as a place to sit in the light and help fight the winter blues, and also to extend the growing season here in Northern Indiana. If we could harvest some winter veggies, or salad greens, it would be wonderful too, but we're not sure just what to expect. Anyway, it's very much a work in progress, but here are some pictures so far, and it's just wonderful to be able to see this much happening at this point. Hopefully we'll have the roof framed in by the end of the week and be able to at least drape it in plastic this winter for some solar heat gain.

The pictures, in order, show: the footers laid out with Jim fastening the last of the rebar to reenforce the foundation, Cement truck delivering the wet cement, Jim adding bolts to the wet footers to bolt the sill plates onto, fitting sill plate boards into place, side wall framing and door framing up and Jim leveling the door frame out.

Autumn Miscellaney

Boy, does time pass fast! Seems we just got back from Vermont after a marvelous visit and we had to hurry into all those tasks involved in closing down the house for winter. Preserving the last of the goodies from the garden; finding delicious magical pawpaws hanging ripe on the trees along the road; burning the brush pile out back to clean up the summer's prunings and dropped branches, and filling the woodpile for winter's warmth.
And then all of a sudden it's snowing, and Jim and Anna are outside dancing in the snow and catching flakes on their tongues! Holy Cow the time goes fast!
That lounging picture of Anna is how she reacted to her new little chair and the big fluffy warm robe to keep her comfy. What a ham!
I'll just post a lot of pictures without much explaination, and let you sort of catch up with our lives.

As the weather gets colder and snow piles up outside, our lives contract and the center of the house becomes the comfy chairs in front of that glowing warm stove, and each day ends with a glass of wine and some time to just watch the flames.
Of course, that's in between Jim's greenhouse project and carrying in wood, and selling on ebay and......subjects for the next posting.

Life is very good these days.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Last Day in Vermont

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and even we wanderers have to get home to Indiana. We spent a last day visiting, helping a little more on the house, Jim got to hike a few miles on the nearby Appalachian Trail, and Lora and I went to a few yard sales to find some bargains. After meeting up one more time at the house on the riverside, Lora and I explored the outside of Wilson Castle, a beautiful old home on the outskirts of Rutland, while we waited for the restaurant to open. It was really something in its time, and even though it's crumbling, still something to see.

First find was a huge old Douglas fir, I think, which prompted the usual reaction in me---Gotta go hug a tree! Where's Kim when I need my tree hugging partner? It was so big that the branches sheltered a 20' in diameter space underneath with room for two picnic tables and generous space to spare. Lora snapped my picture in this necessary ceremonial getting in touch with the soul of yet another big tree.

I'll just post the pictures without text between, but they show fancy brickwork, wearing away, vines growing through a basement window, the main entrance, with eagle statue guarding it, and the side entrance, with beautiful blue stained glass above it. What an amazing house that was, and today, it'll make the perfect place for the haunted house they're planning soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beautiful Vermont-Water on Rocks

What a gorgeous day! We all took a ride on a pass over the mountains, a place called the Kancamangus Highway, or something like that. With frequent stops for photos, we took our time and explored so many different versions of water-running-over-rock.

Just beautiful! It was a cool moist day, which brought out the best in the amazing fall colors we saw.

In these pictures are, Jim wandering to the top of a waterfall, John at the bottom of the same waterfall, Lora in her usual pose behind a camera, and lots of beautiful places. The last one is of Rocky Gorge with an incredibly rushing narrow plume of water. We read a story of a young woman swimming champion who was drawn into the cataract, and trapped in a space under the falls, to be held there for hours as the cold water rushed past her. She was finally rescued, almost by accident, when the rescuers were searching with hooks for her body and brought up her almost dead body and were able to revive her. Brrrrr.

The Beautiful Spot by the River

This place that John and Lora are building their new home in is just the most beautful place in the world, or at least one of them. We spent one whole cool, sunny day working around the place, and I had time to wander around with my camera a little. The first thing I notice, each time I step out of a car at that place is the noise of the river. It's constant, and changing, and just a joy to be near. As I move along the bank, it's quiet here, rowdy there, shallow and trickling or rushing between two big rocks with a roar.

It's wonderful to think that these two people who are so dear to me will have this joyous music to accompany their lives as long as they're here. And it's even better to know that we're always welcome to come visit.

The river is different each time I wander near.
John and Jim worked together to put up the heavy beam braces for the deck, and Lora and I spent time prestaining the soffet and facia boards green.

Lora planted a lot of wildflowers around last year and they've come up beautifully. I have no idea what most of these are, but they're all just wonderful. Look at the strange red seed head! Gotta look them up yet.

I even found my own thinking spot. There's a short moss covered stump, near the tiny feeder stream that wanders around their property before emptying into the river. The tiny brook is only about a foot across at this point, but has its own little chuckling rapid as it pours over some smallish rocks. It makes a very comfy, quiet spot to stop and think about ..... stuff.

Friday, October 03, 2008

More Wandering Vermont

What a beautiful part of the world. Lora drove and I rode along, through small towns, quaint little villages, over mountains, and by rivers and streams. The weather is cool and rainy and it seems to bring out the brightest colors and crispest edges. Today we walked a labyrinth and some paths in a place dedicated to spirit walks. I walked the Pagan path, and it was so peaceful and filled with small gems of natures splendors.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

On the Road Again

Hello-it's been a while since I posted anything here. Apologies to you all, but while we're home, it seems like sometimes there's not much to post about. Anyway, we're on the road again, and there's lots of great stuff going on.

We first attended the Indiana Green Party Annual Congress, to meet with other Greens, and share plans for the year again. We always love spending time with our Green friends. who are always so marvelously caring, that we leave filled with new knowledge and energized with ideas to make things better.

Immediately after the Congress, we headed east to visit friends in Vermont. We love it here, and seem to have arrived at the height of fall color. It's just gorgeous here, and the friends are just as warm, welcoming and wonderful as ever. So far we've spent an evening in a favorite pub, and had a terrific dinner.

Then yesterday they drove all day and let us ride along to see amazing spots along the Kancamangus Highway. It goes through National Forest land and the overlooks are breathtaking. We took over 100 pictures of misty rain falling on wet rocks, amazingly colored trees and water rushing over rocks. Just gorgeous, and the amazing thing is that each place we look at is more beautiful and in a different way than the last one.

We ended the evening with dinner in a little Greek restaurant where we all had different meals, mostly totally unknown to us, and we could trade tastes and learn about new dishes. I had Moussaka, just because I loved how the word felt on my tongue when I said it, and it was delicious.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Grazing for Dinner

I always love this time of year, when I can take my handy garden basket and wander out into the garden to see what's available for tonight's dinner. We eat such healthy meals this way, trying to keep up with the best and freshest things that are just coming on ripe.

Tonight we had a nice piece of fish, and from the garden, added a small yellow summer squash, flavored with olive oil, garlic and fresh chopped basil and grilled, and sliced red and yellow tomatoes, a few green beans, and some cucumbers, sliced thin and flavored with vinegar and sugar and a little fresh dill. A handful of nasturtiums made the table look pretty.

Add a good bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and an aged sharp cheddar for an after dinner finisher and life just couldn't be better. Oh, and followed up by the blueberry pie made from our own blueberries, and baked by Jim. Great stuff!