Saturday, March 30, 2013

Meadowlark Cabin: Finished???

"Finished" is a tricky term.  We will never be "finished", and I know that.  The truth of it is, I am never satisfied sitting idle and as soon as I am "finished", I will dream up something to do so that I am not "finished"!

However, we are staying at the cabin off-and-on during this week (spring break!)... and we do have chairs... and beds... and floors... and electricity.... ya know, most of the stuff one needs in order to be mostly comfortable.

I took two personal days off of work mid-March to move into the cabin.  Here is a quick before/during/after of the living room:

We do NOT have a kitchen or bathroom just yet.  Although the kitchen is ordered and we will be picking up the cabinets next week.  In the meantime, we will set up a makeshift camp kitchen, which is what we've done for the past four years anyway!  Also, we will continue to do our "necessary business" on the chemical camp toilet... just like we've always done.  No biggie!  .... and we will continue to refresh our deodorant, brush our teeth, towel wash critical areas and call it a day.  Again, no biggie!!    The bathroom will come... eventually.

But for now, do you wanna see around??  I will give you a small tour of some of our accomplishments and some of my favorite things.

the world's smallest bedroom -- my sleeping nook!  cozy little bed tucked into the corner with vintage feedsack quilts.  above the foot of the bed is a photograph I took two years ago of male bluebirds fighting over a nest box.

the other side of the world's smallest bedroom --  an old beat-up antique cabinet for clothes storage, an old farm stool and an antique mirror so aged that it is almost useless for looking at one's reflection!

a close-up of my photography (above the bed)

another view of the bedroom.  I ADORE the casement window!  I had to plan carefully to have it installed in just the right spot so that my head would be safe from drafts, but yet I could see out the window and listen to the dawn bird chorus in the early hours of the morning!

view of bedroom from kitchen (more of my photography on the wall)

the empty corner straight back will be the future home of our wood-burning stove (the only source of heat in the cabin)

my bookcase!  I love these books and can easily sit and look through them for hours!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Meadowlark Cabin Update

Much has happened since my last update on September 16, 2012. Click here if you'd like to read the previous update.

I think I can, I think I can.... 
Slow and steady wins the race and we have worked faithfully three days per week since late last fall to complete our cabin by this spring!  Exactly one year ago, I vowed to create a place nestled at the edge of the woods, where I could submerge myself in a world of nature and watch the most exciting season unfold before my very eyes: SPRING! 

It is the second week of March and I know we can do this!  The goal?  Spring Break at the cabin... for real!  Settled in and living and breathing in a world that is a bit more "me".

What we've done since my last update on September 16th:
  • insulated the entire cabin (ceiling and walls)
  • stained and installed 20 pieces of beadboard for the ceiling
  • put up all interior walls
  • trimmed all of the windows
  • installed both bedroom doors
  • installed overhead light fixtures in two bedrooms
  • installed wall sconces in two bedrooms
  • installed a massive ceiling beam at the pitch of the living room vault
  • installed ceiling support beams in the living room vault
  • created attic access from Julia's bedroom ceiling
  • installed ceiling fan in living room
  • trimmed both sides of the living room peaks with cedar shingles
  • installed carpet in both bedrooms
  • installed hardwood floor in living room and kitchen

What needs to be done before opening day:
  • floor trim installed
  • light switch and outlet covers installed
  • kitchen light installed
  • bedroom doors painted, front door painted

To do this summer:
  • purchase (or scavenge! :) refrigerator and stove
  • purchase, stain, and install kitchen cabinets
  • plan kitchen counter top
  • install sink and faucets
  • lay brick hearth in living room corner, install woodburner
  • begin bathroom

 A view of the ceiling BEFORE all of the finishing details..... 

 ...and here is what it looks like now!  Cedar shingles at the peak, wooden beam at the top and support beams at the side, plus our fan... and also, the windows are trimmed!

 A view of the kitchen before hardwood installation.

 Dad and Phil laying the VERY FIRST ROW of HARDWOOD!  yay! We've waited for this day for so long!

 Two days later, they are laying the VERY LAST ROW of HARDWOOD!  yay! again!

 I've gotta add:  It may LOOK like I'm JUST the photographer, but rest assured, I swung that rubber mallet and beat that nail gun for nearly the entire length of the floor.  I have the beat-up-blistery-bloody hands and aching back to prove it!  But I love hard work!  I measured the boards, ran the table saw, beat the boards into place, and whacked 'em with the hammer!  There is no "man's world' in my world!  But ya'll already knew that about me, didn't ya?!

 It was a long and tiring weekend!  Tough on everyone.  Julia and Cici did their best to stay entertained by making art projects out of construction scraps.  In the above photo, you will see Cici with a lovely hair bow!

 .... and here is Cici wearing the hair bow...

 ...and Julia wearing the hair bow. 

Spring Break at the cabin?  I sure hope so!  This summer at the cabin?  DEFINITELY!

I think I can, I think I can.....  I know we can!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How it all looks from here....

What a trickster of a storm!  No surprise, considering it was a March storm, and March storms aren't to be trusted one bit!
Late last night, I doubted all reports of the coming snow.  After all, it was spring out my window... clean fresh air, balmy temperature in the mid 40's, a gentle rainfall.  Heck, I even heard reports from fellow nature nerds that there were salamanders and frogs on the move last night.  Now THAT my friends, is a true sign of the season's change!

Alas, the snow began to fall sometime in the wee hours and stuck to our roads like a big sloppy mess of marshmallows.  Pilings of it all over the place.  This morning, like every morning, Julia and I followed our routine of opening her curtains and welcoming the day.  She exclaimed that "snow got everywhere" and "there's pixie dust on Mommy's car!".  Right she was! Snow was everywhere!

Since I was gifted a day of my spring break early, she and I had a few decisions to make.  You see, in my world, spring break is for birding, hiking, garden prep, creative projects, and all things meant to renew oneself after a long season of darkness (both literally and metaphorically).  And since today (a spring break day by all accounts) was unplanned and most un-springlike, Julia and I had to make a few adjustments.  We decided to do a little window-birding (which we do all of the time)... and window-watching (which we also do all of the time).   BUT we did NOT do any window-washing (in case you were wondering).

We looked out the windows and considered ourselves lucky to live in such a wonderful place!  We have trees around us... and birds and nature!  We can look at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains from our windows.  There's a really cool old building across the street that serves as the Legion Museum.  The old Hocking Valley Railway Station is within view of our front door.  There are old houses to see with slate roofs in geometric patterns, castle-like pediments atop historic buildings on the west end of the square, and the beautiful cross nestled in the hills off to the northeast.  All of this from our house windows!  What luck!

And the people!  Yep, we've got them too... out of windows, we can watch dogs happily bouncing along with their humans, kids riding bicycles, babies being pushed along in strollers, and a good amount of people who have a special blend of characteristics that I will kindly refer to as "miscellaneous".

...and now I will share with you "THE VIEWS"! 

dogwood tree in the backyard - view from dining room window

apple tree which serves as the feeding station for cardinals, titmice, finch, and chickadees (and  house sparrows!) - view from kitchen window

the same dogwood as above, only viewed from a different window

some type of evergreen, which I believe to be a juniper... the largest  juniper I've ever seen actually.  It started its life as a shrub, but now is a tree!

same shrub/tree as below, but viewed from above through large window in the stairwell

apple tree in front, magnolia in background ... viewed from stairwell window

the stairwell window.  I adore it!  It has the original stained glass shutters that can be closed nightly.  Phil and I hung the antique painted owl window just recently.  I bought it about six years ago at a flea market.

Julia's view, from her bedroom window, of the backyard and that same dogwood tree

view of the hills from Julia's bedroom.  Just beyond that hilltop is a sizable vulture roost.  We often watch them take flight in the mornings... and return in the evenings.

Legion Museum across the street... front door sidelights.

view of the hills from my bedroom window.  The Hocking River runs along the bottom of that grouping of hills.

Sure, the town life wears my battery down each and every day.  And yes, I would mostly rather be at my cabin far away on the edge of the woods.  But for today, I like it all just as it is, and that feels nice.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hello Corner Craftsman! we meet again!

Short of it is, WE MOVED!  yep, moved!  Up and moved!  True, I didn't see this one coming from a mile away.  I am normally the ultra control freak and planner, but this one caught me by surprise.  Such is life... for those who can learn to roll with the waves and ebb and flow with the tide, life is easier.  I'm not hinting in the least that I've leared to ebb and flow with the tide, but I make a conscience effort daily.

To make a very long story micro-short: my parents decided to move to the country...Burr Oak Lake to be exact, where their hearts have already resided for years.  Phil and I decided to move across the street into the house that my parents were about to leave after a 20 year stay.  The decision came fast and easy... mostly.  I knew it was the right thing to do and I had a list of "pros" a mile long to prove it, but oh how my heart ached to walk away from my beloved Brick Lady.  I shed tears and questioned my sanity, but kept my head on straight and continued forward with the knowledge that change is often uncomfortable for our species.  I actually love healthy and progressive change... even if it stings a bit.

I packed up The Brick Lady last fall.  I left her for good the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I walked across the street with 734 boxes on my back and began to unpack.  A little more difficult to pack, than the 734 boxes of junk that I swore I didn't have, was the 28 loads of bricks that I KNEW I had!  Oh no... don't think for a New-York Nelsonville minute that I would leave my brick collection behind. Phil and I gathered those bricks during a tough phase of my life.  Each time we brought a brick home, I symbolically removed a brick from the wall that hid my spirit.  Those bricks mean something to me and they were coming along for the move!

every last brick had to be dug up from the ground and loaded in the Subie Wagon

This grouping of bricks contained my collection of "backwards N" and "backwards S" Nelsonville Blocks.

"circle bricks" which originally came from Phil's old house in Chauncey

perhaps the most painful to remove (both physically and emotionally!).... the garden pathway that Phil lovingly laid from "flower brick"

Dad calls these "bowties".  They are a bit rare, but we have a nice size grouping. 

The bricks all made their way to their new home. They are in a big heap of "promise" right now, but soon they will line the pathways of my new gardens!

Yes, I used to live in my new house long ago.  My family moved to the red brick craftsman on the corner in 1992.  I spent my senior year of high school and a bit after living in the craftsman before I left town to finish college at Wright State.

Full circle I've come.  I'm typing from my laptop that is stationed in my new studio, which was my old bedroom back in 1993.  The place is a lot different than it was back then.  The old carpet and paneling have been gone for quite some time.  Dad replaced the kitchen a few years ago.  All of the original floors have been restored to their original glory.  I've painted the walls and changed a few things.... but mostly it is the same.  The same charming craftsman bungalow lovingly built back in the late 1910's.

My Brick Lady is across the street.  A new tenant lives there now.  I hope she likes the crooked floors, the squeaky staircase, the drafty window, the crumbling plaster in the closet, ....and all of the glorious charm that held my heart for 7 solid years.