I haven’t contributed an article to The Red House Project since September. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say, it’s mainly been an overloaded work schedule and not any time to sit down and write. Plus I have to admit since I sit in front of a computer for sometimes 12-14 hours a day, spending another hour or two writing about the Red House is difficult.
We came up to the Red House for spring break week to hopefully speed the renovation process up a bit. Lynn has finished painting the main guest bedroom and is currently working on the second, smaller one. It was a fairly big job since he had to take off all the moulding in the room, then put it back on when he finished painting. In the process, he also made all new baseboards which I think look very good.
We also managed to get our kitchen (finally!) painted and even have two of the four appliances we need (that would be the dishwasher and the gas stove) delivered this weekend. We still need a new fridge and a microwave, but I’ll have to hold off buying those other two things for now. I’m extremely pleased with the way the kitchen turned out (a lovely bright white) and now just have to think about cabinets and possibly a kitchen “island.”
We’ve also started work on the master bathroom. In the beginning, there was a small room (probably a nursery at one point) next to the master bedroom that I had used as my office. Once we realized that we’d have to walk through a guest bedroom if we needed to use the facilities, we decided the room should really be converted into a master bath if we could find someone who could do that without breaking the bank. We’ve found that someone and the contractor we’ve hired managed to tear out the walls and floor boards and start all the plumbing necessary to put in a toilet, a shower and a vanity.
I’ve been with Lynn for 35 years and little did I know that he was very, very particular about toilets. We have lived in four different homes together (this being our fifth home), which means four different bathrooms over the course of our many years together! I, however, didn’t realize that he had a thing about cleaning the bottom of the toilet – you know that part where all the dirt and dust collects when it sits on the floor! Which led us to buy the only model available that didn’t have all the plumbing visible on the outside but was tucked nicely inside for a very clean look.
All I can say to this is, it just better work, especially since we had to haul it from the store into the car and from the car into the house including up 3 deck stairs! Who knew a toilet would be so heavy (the box said 90 pounds, to me it felt like 190!)
While the snow has melted on the property and it looks like our landscaper even mowed the back meadow at some point last week, there’s a lot of pruning and clean-up work that has to be done.
The fact is that besides planting the garlic, I don’t remember what else I planted or what survived this brutal winter. I know I have to take the hay off the garlic (put there in the fall to protect the crop) and at least rake up all the rest of the debris (including some old pumpkin vines!) I also looked for some signs of asparagus peeking up through the ground but I saw nothing. Also, even though I thought I planted as many garlic cloves as last year (over 70!), right now it appears that maybe half that number are coming up. What did seem to “spread” were my wild strawberry plants so if we can get to enjoy them before the bunnies and the deer that roam the property, I think they will be a very sweet treat.
Chives that I grow in a big wooden barrel are always abundant, so I snipped a few and threw them into a batch of scrambled eggs with goat cheese one morning.
I did spend most of an afternoon raking and even pulling up weeds when I realized half way through that weed pulling was an enormous waste of time before anything is planted. I did, however, make repeated trips with the wheelbarrow dumping dead “things” to our compost pile and since I haven’t been doing this kind of manual labor since last fall, it reminds me of what a great workout it is! (Meaning I was sweating like a dog.)
Also walking the property I came across tires that had been tossed into the bamboo as well as ramps that were in the forest on a path up to the waterfall. First, I pulled the tires out from the tangle of bamboo.
Then I picked the ramps (digging them out with a pruner actually). I did have a thought that they might be poison-ramp look-alikes but figured what the hell. So I brought them in the house, washed them off, and plan to eat them for breakfast with a couple of fried eggs.
Besides the ramps, there are other little signs of spring, daffodils that I don’t remember planting in a certain part of the garden have come up and when they do bloom (hope we’re up here to see it), they will be very pretty.
As I was walking the property though and seeing the signs of spring ever-so-slowly emerging, my heart kind of sank at the house itself. While we’ve made every effort this past year to keep the renovation moving (inside at least), the outside looks awful, and the only thing I can say is I feel really bad for my neighbors. We need a new roof, new siding and a new front walkway as well as entrance. I guess I need to apologize that this is what they have to look at day in and day out!
On a different note, I went into town the other day and low and behold the supermarket is scheduled to open next week! When I inquired at the drugstore as to what day this will actually happen, the cashier told me they would be opening the store on April 21 to anyone who donated $5 to charity (what charity she didn’t know) giving people the option to “walk around” but not shop until the following day. For some reason I thought this was particularly funny; it’s almost as if the supermarket were being granted some sort of museum-like status. What were they thinking? Letting the townsfolk walk around and “oh and ah” at all the shelves stocked with different brands of soup, cereal and bottled water?
Speaking of museums, our handy Proctor Silex burner, the one thing that’s managed to cook our food these last four years, we think is worthy of being its very own installation piece. I’m thinking of taking off the legs and mounting it on one of the walls at the Red House, not only as an objet d’art, but also as a reminder of how very far we’ve come.
In case anyone is curious, this is what the new stove looks like. Yes, it’s gas, and yes, the oven is slightly smaller than the one we have on Long Island. I’m already thinking of what the first meal should be…