Friday, October 12, 2012

Saturday in October

Early October in New England is like living in a calendar snapshot. We are lucky to live in a part of the country where others only visit on their weekend stays.  I took the photo above at Tully Pond, probably our favorite paddle. The freeway this time of year is jammed on Friday's with Jersey, Connecticut, and New York plates headed up here--then headed south again on Sunday. But this is what we wake up to daily. For twenty-six years this has been our home. (We consider the four years we lived in Arizona, just a short vacation from the cold.) The short beauty of bright orange and red fall days will give way very soon (way too soon for most of us) to the bronzes of the oaks that hang on through Thanksgiving.  I do love bare trees, though.  Their forms and blackness against a grey and lavender fall sky--stunning. I wish I had my daughter's and her husband's gift with a camera to get it right. A goal.  (And with that, also, forgive my crazy picture sizes and placement.  I seem to have forgotten how to work this.  Soon I will be doing this from a Mac and that should help me--They say). We will soon see all the structures that had vanished into the leaves in the spring finding us saying stuff like: "Did you know they had a pool back there?"  "Whoa, who knew that house was that big?!"  "I never even knew there was a barn on that lane."  "You know, I've never driven up that road before; Let's do it!" 
So my grandson, C, came to visit and spend a little time out of the city last Saturday. We picked up a few little sugar pumpkins at the farm stand at the end of Main Street. But Saturdays are a work day when you own a house that is 162 years old.  It is time to paint some very high--read extremely scarey and dangerous--portions of the house that got ignored when we painted the whole rest of the house.  C said "You could get hurt."  Yes. So take a look at the project.  (We did not finish as hoped during this week, as it kept raining on our scaffolding and us.  So tomorrow, another Saturday, we hope to get 'er done so that we can enjoy some Saturdays to come paddling and hopefully, very soon, holding our first granddaughter who appears in the blog as a bump under the striped sweater of her mother, our youngest child.  She is blessed to have Christopher for her big brother.  He will take good care of her and teach her how to run and iPhone or any other Apple device.

Rocky Ridge Farm Stand,  Main St. Northfield MA

C taking a bite out of the crate
before choosing a sugar pumpkin. He bites a lot
of things that he shouldn't.

Mom gave him a lift in to choose

Just a guy with his pumpkins.  That shirt would make a good jack-o-lantern, wouldn't it?



Painting. The clapboards are original to the 1850's house.  The left section was built with post and beams from some other, even older structure.  Upcycled in 1850.  But old means lots of love and labor. Under the white, the house was once a nice yellow.  Imagine this whole house being moved by horses from a location down the hill in town.  That is what happened in the late 1800's.  We had to finish painting the top of that center scaffolded section, and just to the left around the corner and the little dormer that is our "studio" upstairs.  All very hard to reach.  Scaffolds and long poles are the answer.  The front was done with a power bucket cherry picker kind of carnival ride.  But that will not fit behind the house.  So this is the project.

The whole house from the beeyard.  J is just a speck on the scaffold from here.

Because the yard is very steep close up
to the house, it seems that you are much
higher than you really are up there.  This section
of the house has J's office downstairs, and mine just
above his.
My job is the second
platform from the bottom.  I could go
out my office window and avoid the
ladder climbing.

You can see how dirty that side up high is.  The back was the
same.  Scaffolding and a very long extension brush are needed.
And nerves.
Looking south from my mailbox. 
Old houses need constant upkeep.  That high eave on the
side of the big part of the house never got painted when
we did the rest.  This is the time to finish the job.
Looking east across my front yard.
I love this maple.  It is my first site
every morning out my window.
And the front door has a new coat of yellow paint.
I grew tired of the traditional red.

One of my little Welsumer cockrels out on the front walk.

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