Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bonus Season

Certainly is one of your chillier sub-freezing mornings. A hard frost on everything. Heatmor burning nicely though, still a couple of logs burning in there as we overslept this morning. Whoops.

Lady Luck was on our side at the Habitat Store last night. We found exactly what we were looking for: An old, metal, salvaged magnetic bracket and plate (the kind from old furniture, that holds a swinging wooden door shut) and a neat looking, old brass drawer handle. Measured to the exact spot we wanted to mount that stuff, and did so. Crossed the plumbing access hatch off the list.

The exposed stud was finally finished off, too. I like that 2x4. We left it for a couple of reasons. One, a year and a half ago when we were putting the drywall there we didn't know how we were going to deal with this 2x4 that was sticking out a quarter-inch too far (we now know enough to tell you that this isn't a structural piece, just a partition wall post, and we could have just removed it). The other, and better reason that we left it exposed is because in my mind it's the color of the house, the color of its bones. For about nine months when there were no ceilings or walls, all we had was the old, dark brown wood with all its scars and stains. This is our truth window!

We took a quick break for dinner and then nailed up the trim around the kitchen-side of the posts and beam. The longest piece, which covers the drywall edge along most of the length of the beam, was fabricated on the kitchen floor by gluing a corner piece the length of the trim, forming about a seven-foot L piece. We were impatient and short on clamps to use wood glue, so we used up our fast-drying epoxy. The results weren't as fine as we had hoped; the glued-on piece was slightly warped and didn't always sit flush with the wider piece. So once it dried, I got the block plane on it and evened it out. Erika hit it with another coat of paint. We nailed it up, and then nailed up the final vertical piece.

Looks good! We need to do a little touch-up work to it before we can cross the "trim around the posts and beams" off The List, but we're getting close!

- John

Monday, December 1, 2008

And we feasted

It was a glorious Thanksgiving, the first big party we've had in our house that wasn't a work party, and a beautiful celebration.

We had, at various times, three and six and nine and twelve people at our house. Lucky numbers? Mary and Paul came over on Wednesday while I was home for Baking Day: we spent a fun two-plus hours slowly touring the house, and it was so awesome because they've been embroiled in their own house project for more than two years—it's way bigger than ours and has involved a lot more rotten luck than ours, so they are the rare guests who truly understand what it means when I pull down some denim insulation in the basement and say grandly, "Here's our tubing." They love our place and asked good questions. Then they left and I made a green-tomato-mincemeat pie, two other pie crusts, tomato sauce and a lovely pumpkin bread.

Wednesday night my family arrived and we ate the sauce over pasta and sang songs 'round the table to Seth's magic strumming and split a chocolate bar. Dad slept in the attic and was reasonably warm—hey, this heat system's really working! Thursday we launched into a frenzy of cooking: I made those pie crusts into sweet potato pie, Mom made peanut soup, John made biscuit batter, Mary and Archie and Paul came over, we made cranberry sauce and stuffing and a chicken and salad from the garden. We ate some pepper jam and brie on crackers and hot cider. John got a fire going outside; Seth split some wood. I picked some things from the yard for a centerpiece. Alex and April and Penny arrived and the kitchen became a freight train: John baking the chicken and the biscuits and making honey turnips, Mary making mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts, April unveiling her beautiful rolls and a Crown Roast with beet stuffing and a pumpkin cheesecake! We had peach honey for the biscuits! Wine! Vermont specials (equal parts maple syrup and whiskey, hot)! Coffee with Grand Marnier!

We are thankful for good food, our house, our family and our beautiful friends.

Saturday and Sunday, alone again, we rode the wave of the Thanksgiving Challenge right on into the January Challenge, a month early! Bought a few pieces of trim, cut 'em up, painted, and threw in the plumbing-hatch project while we're at it. This is the little door that gives access to the shower/tub plumbing, just in case. We made a nice one from ½-inch plywood and painted it to match the wall, then added cute little fleur-de-lis hinges. Too bad most of it will be hidden behind furniture. Tonight we'll be nailing all these trimmies up and we'll put some pix up soon.

- Erika