Tag Archives: adventure

Wow! Lots of Activity

"Warner's"

“Warner’s”We have a lot going on here at “Camp Smedley”! 

 

We have a lot going on here at Warner’s “Camp Smedley”! Our house is nearly finished although I’d argue that it will never really be finished. Homes are a work in progress. Right? Ned and Tom have been working on the porch railings and the steps down to the yard. It’s wonderful to have our coffee on the porch again!

Last week the landscaping was started and it should be wrapped up on Wednesday with our sod going down. This is a huge project! As far as we know, there’s never been any “real” landscaping done here and many of the plants that we planted have not survived.

We hired Native Notions from Belgrade Lakes to do our landscaping. Matt’s design was creative and the plants were appropriate and hardy (and low maintenance). He really listened at our first meeting and delivered a plan that was just what we asked for. Thursday the crew arrived and went to work scraping the old gross yard away and then began to fill it back in with loam and the flower beds began to take shape. A couple of things that we particularly appreciated what that they installed a silt fence to protect the lake and were thoughtful of re-purposing the hosta and day lilies that were planted by Ned’s mother all those ages ago.

Here’s what it looked like before …

The yard on the railroad side of the house ... before

The yard on the railroad side of the house … before (with a little bit of Ned in the top corner)

Helen's Garden Before

Helen’s Garden Before

Lakeside Garden Before

Lakeside Garden Before

Every day when I came home after work I  was pleasantly surprised by the changes that I could see. It’s already a huge improvement and I can’t wait to see the finished project! I hope I took enough before and after pictures so that you can see what a wonderful job they did!

Day 1 - the yard on the railroad side after

Day 1 – the yard on the railroad side after

Day 1 - Lakeside Garden - After

Day 1 – Lakeside Garden – After

Day 1 - Helen's Garden - After

Day 1 – Helen’s Garden – After

One of my favorite parts, oddly enough, is the pathway of rocks around the house that will serve as a drip edge. It’s so pretty!

We are getting ready to have the whole family here for our wedding on July 30. Lots to finish up and clean up in preparation for our big event. I figure if we can live together in our little guest cottage for ten months and build a house without detesting each other we figured it’s time to make it formal!

Every day we thank our lucky stars to be here!

Snow!

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Winter has finally arrived in Maine

Winter has finally arrived in Maine.

We are fully enjoying every day on our lake, even as it gets colder and snowier! Each day the vista is a little bit different and equally beautiful. We can sit up in our bed and look out to see the early morning … sometimes with a sunrise and sometimes before the sunrise. Not often after the sun is up.

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We are early to bed and early to rise here. Perhaps because we don’t want to cover the windows (or haven’t yet). Or maybe it’s because we don’t have cable TV.

We were “worried” about getting in and out of our driveway and have been lucky so far. We seem able to get out after we clear the drive. The scariest part is making the turn on the hill. We each have a couple of hundred pounds of sand in our trunk and that may help. I have studded snow tires on all four tires, and am convinced that was a good investment. I think we’ll be going the 4-wheel drive way when we next purchase vehicles if, for no other reason, it will make us feel better.

Today the granite artist is supposed to be coming to “fix” our granite joints in the kitchen. I sure hope he can make them acceptable. We’ve been waiting forever to get it finished and I want to get the backsplash installed!

For now, suffice it to say that we are settling in and life is good. No question that we made the right move for us! We are so grateful to live in Maine!

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We did it! We live in Maine!

 

Beam-Strewn Yard With Tall Grass and All … Looking Good!

Sunshine!

Sunshine!

We’ve had a damp and humid patch that caused a little bit of stress here at Messalonskee Chronicles headquarters (the little cabin on the hill). When I went to put on a pair of “fancy” sandals, I noticed that my shoes were all covered in mold or mildew. A rough start to that day but we’ve managed to clean them all off and have purchased a little dehumidifier so it (hopefully) doesn’t happen again!

Lots of activity has been happening on our house and we are rolling along toward an occupancy date! Not sure of exactly when that will be, but we are getting closer every day. Meanwhile here’s what we’ve been up to …

Pipes for heat

Pipes for heat

The heating is being installed in the upper floors. We will have radiant heat in our slab on the first floor and baseboard heaters on the second floor. The third floor will have a plug-in unit. We expect to be super warm come winter! (And luckily, if we find ourselves feeling cool, I knit and have made and am making several warming pieces!)

We have also had our electrician here putting in all of his wiring. We have had to make some difficult decisions about where security lights will go and where we want the cans for the kitchen lights, etc.

lights will be nice!

lights will be nice!

 

 

We are grateful for every choice we are making because it means that we’re getting closer and closer to living our dream! (We hear that heat and lights will contribute to our success in Maine in the cooler months!)

 

Windows are here (and mostly installed!)

Windows are here (and mostly installed!)

 

 

 

Siding!

Siding!

 

 

 

We have had many (MANY!) deliveries by Hammond Lumber and we are continually amazed by the drivers who maneuver their big trucks loaded down with lumber, rolls of metal for the flashing and eaves and soffitts down our driveway BACKWARDS! A Hammond delivery is nearly a daily happening here and sometimes we get more than one delivery!

Painting in Progress

Painting in Progress

We’ve been painting the trim that will go around the windows and will be nailed up on the corners of the house. It’s going to look wonderful when we’re finished! It’s already looking better than we ever imagined (well, maybe we did imagine it but it’s amazing in person!)

If you’ve been by on the lake, you’ve seen the progress and many of you have stopped by to say hello. We appreciate your positive comments and looks forward to having a dock put in so you can come ashore and visit for a bit.

View from the Third Floor

View from the Third Floor

 

 

The view is breathtaking from the third floor … well, I think it’s pretty spectacular from every window! The doors arrive tomorrow! I hear we will be working most of the Labor Day weekend … and the kitchen should be coming pretty soon. We just need some plumbing roughed in and then an inspection by the town. We are making progress every day! How lucky we are!

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We are looking good! Beam-strewn yard with tall grass and all!

May 20, 2015, A Farewell

I haven’t written anything lately because I really wanted to leave space for Ned to have this blog as his platform. For Ned to be able to speak about his summer home and his feelings about it. To bid farewell to his beloved house.

IMG_4726The first bite of the claw-thing was almost physically painful. My heart ached. Even though I’ve only been here for eight summers, and one summer a long time ago, I’ve grown to love the house and this place. I have some great memories from times we’ve shared in the house.

I was here with Ned’s mother and step-dad and aunt and uncle in July, 1976. The first summer we fell in love. In 2007, I came back here, newly in love (and nearly divorced) having spent the last several years trying to figure out who I was and what I needed to do with my life. At 50 I hadn’t expected to find my first love and rekindle the feelings we’d had 30+ years before. We’ve had our families and friends visit, we’ve made some new friends. We watched a beloved dog fall asleep forever on the side porch and buried him at the edge of the woods. We’ve enjoyed our time together on the porch or by the wood stove, just being here.

IMG_4740When the house came crashing and crunching to its knees I knew Ned was hurting and I was hurting too. For him mostly. For me, too, a little.

But we’re looking ahead again and it’s exciting to think about building a house together. Building a home together. We have agreed on most details to this point … and have some more decisions moving forward. I know we both look forward to making memories with our family and friends in our new home.

Busy Bees – Making Steps in a Forward Direction

Progress!

Progress!

We’ve been trying to get settled comfortably in the guest cabin and a lot of steps have been taken toward our goal. On Friday the DEP called and our permit has been approved. We can officially go forward and tear down the old house.

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Big Antlers, new electric panel and our work/dining space

The electrician, Jeff, has been here quite a bit working on upgrading our electric in the guest cabin. Since the cabin was built in the early 1950s, the electric systems were not adequate for microwave ovens, space heaters and all the electronics that we travel with today. He’s been great and very professional. We are so grateful to have a safe cabin to call home for the next few months.

Sitting area and the new/old book shelves

Sitting area and the new/old book shelves

I’ve been doing laundry at the laundromat nearby and hanging it on the line. I will continue to hang laundry outside. 1) It’s better for the clothes. 2) It uses less energy … except for mine which is in plentiful supply most of the time, and 3) It’s better for the earth. Living as close as we do to the earth here, we are more aware of reduce, reuse, recycle. I also took a day and baked some muffins for Ned’s breakfast before we turned off the propane to the stove.

"Kitchen" … well, almost

“Kitchen” … well, almost

Our car titles are comfortably in storage (we think) and so we’re trying to figure out how to get duplicates sent to us in a timely fashion so we can register our cars in Maine. I’m going to get my Maine driver’s license tomorrow and then will mail a photocopy of it with the application for a duplicate registration. Remind me next time to get an electronic version … that would only cost $2.50. A paper replacement will be much more.

Ned’s been sawing away at the trees in the front yard with his new, bigger chain saw. Making great progress and lots of trips to the dump with all the branches. We took the old, old refrigerator from the wood shed to the dump and moved the old fridge from the house into the wood shed as a back-up to the little one in the cabin. We have completely emptied the house of all furniture and stuff. We’re leaving the double beds (mattresses) upstairs to come down with the wrecking ball. They don’t fit down the stairs. (We’re all wondering how they got up there in the first place.)

Yesterday when I was at work, Ned moved the book shelf from the living room and hung it up in the cabin living room. A wonderful addition to this space. We both love our books. I’m guessing that we’ll fill the shelves with books while we are living here.

The demolition was scheduled for yesterday but was rescheduled for today because the dumpster driver quit. We hear we’re all set for today. It will be very emotional taking down the old house. Bittersweet for sure.

Picture of the Day & A Different Perspective

We have moved up to the guest house/cottage/cabin and our perspective has changed a bit.

View From the Porch

View From the Porch of the Big House

Picture of the Day from the Big House

Picture of the Day from the Big House 5/5/15

We are cozy and sleep well with all the work that we’ve been doing. I haven’t heard a train (despite the fact that it is closer to my sleeping head than ever) in a couple of days but the bird activity on the near-empty feeder has been amazing and yesterday we believe we saw a juvenile Bald Eagle fly up the lake.

Ned moved the hummingbird feeder up to the guest house and a ruby throated hummer found us yesterday. We happened to be chatting with our neighbor when the bird came for food and was within an arms reach. We all stood stunned by the little bird.

Let the Destruction Begin

Let the Destruction Begin – Ned and Tom (our contractor) supervising Ron 

Yesterday was an emotional day for me. Ron (our excavator extraordinaire) came down with the little backhoe and dug a ditch where the electric to the guest house will go. (Underground is best here in snow country.) While he was here the boys took down one cluster of cedars and a birch down by the lake and two thirds of the cedar cluster by the screen porch.

Trees Coming Down

Trees Coming Down

We didn’t want to remove the trees but to satisfy the powers that be in our permitting process and because there is a “creek” on one side of our land, we offered to set the house back five feet and move it over a couple. The trees were making it difficult to get the machinery into position and block a lot of valuable (in the winter) afternoon sun. Listening to the cracking and creaking of the trees as they came down hurt my heart. The trees have been there for nearly all of Ned’s lifetime and all of the time I’ve come here … even way back when I was here in 1976. They’re nice old trees that have sheltered the house and provided a place for kids (big and little) to swing. We’ve enjoyed their shade on hot days. I cried like a baby.

Today my perspective has changed a little.

View from the Guest Cottage Porch

View from the Guest Cottage Porch

Not only are my pictures of the day from a different perspective, but the way I’m looking at the loss of our trees has changed, too. The trees will keep us warm in the winter (not this winter, next winter) and the view from the big house is so much more open now. And, until Ned gets all the wood trimmed and cut, the birds are totally enjoying hiding among the branches on the lawn. This is such a beautiful place and we can enjoy our little perch above the lake this summer. It may test us along the way but there will be such satisfaction when we move into our new house and our new view of our beloved Messalonskee.

Picture of the Day from the Guest House

Picture of the Day from the Guest House 5/8/15

Movin’ On Up

The Guest House

The Guest House

We spent today working on getting our stuff up into the guest house which we will call home for the next several months. It sounds “fancy” to have a guest house on our property but it’s really not.

When I first came to Maine to visit Ned and his parents, his aunt and uncle were living in the guest house. Clyde and Emily spent many summers in the guest house. We can spend one there, can’t we? We have a bedroom on the left side, a living room on the right side, a bathroom (with a scary shower) in the middle and a little screened porch. We’ll put the old refrigerator in the woodshed for cold storage because we only have a tiny kitchenette with a tiny fridge and two electric burners (no exhaust hood). Cooking will be limited and baking will be nonexistent.

The electrician is coming tomorrow to set up our “temporary service” that will give us electricity in the guest house that will allow us to use our computers and space heater and coffee maker and hair dryer and microwave (etcetera). After he’s done, the cable guy will come back to put the cable in the cabin so we can have internet.

We had a visit from the tax assessor’s office today. A very nice gentleman with his sense of humor intact. Not sure what he could assess at this point, but …

We bought some pansies for our whiskey barrel today. Tomorrow I’ll get them planted. It always feels more like home when there are flowers!

Picture of the Day and the Critters

Picture of the Day 4/30/15

Picture of the Day 4/30/15

Last summer when we were here, I posted a picture of the day on my Facebook page. It began as a reminder for me that this place was special and beautiful and alive with change. I could stand at the same spot on the porch and take a different picture every day. Amazing!

Also amazing, was the reaction that I got. People commenting on the beauty of the place, the view, etc. There were some who even made me promise that I’d do it again this summer and those who commented regularly about missing the pictures once we had returned to Florida.

Well, I’ve started it again and I am reminded that this place is different. I’m not sure what it is that keeps pulling us here and what makes us so much more aware of our surroundings, but I feel like this is my church. A place where I can go outside (or just lie in bed in the morning) and listen to God speak to me through the loon calls, the wind, the rain on the roof or the trickle of the stream. There is only one other place where I’ve felt like this and it was (coincidentally?) also in Maine at my summer camp. It was a special, spiritual place, too. Perhaps because I was authentically myself there and without the strong arm of my parents? Whatever it is or was, it makes this place  very special and it truly feels like home.

IMG_4580This morning we saw our “critter” swimming up the lake. We’re still not sure if it’s the same critter all the time or what it is. We know we have a beaver dam up the lake so it may be a beaver. We also have seen a muskrat family who was living in/around our boathouse. We’ve seen smaller critters, too, on the other side of the house that we thought were minks but we think they were actually something else. Our critter is difficult to identify at a distance when it’s swimming.

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Today we had a propane delivery so we are truly cooking with gas. The water pump is fixed (don’t ask how the acorns got into the water pipes!) and we have hot water and plenty of it. Ned’s been outside cleaning up the yard and cleaning out the garage so we can store the furniture from the big house during construction. He also hopes to get the water to the guest house working. Monk loves being out in the yard but today he’s tied up so he can’t take off like he did yesterday. The littles are inside barking at the leaves blowing. That’s enough outdoors for them.

My goal today is to clean the guest house and to do some baking. Since we won’t have an oven once we’re in the guest house, I want to use up the flour and other supplies that we brought up from Florida … waste not, want not! (That’s my dad speaking! LOL)

We are Mainers Now

Welcome to Maine

Welcome to Maine

We made it! Four days of driving and we crossed the Piscataqua River Bridge for the first time with the knowledge that Maine is our home now. I’ll admit to getting teary-eyed at the thought of being home!

When we got to the house yesterday, it was gray and drizzly but a balmy 54 degrees. It was colder in the house than outside but once the wood stove was blazing, we were all warm and comfy!

After a few hours, the sun came out on the other side of the lake and there was a beautiful rainbow to welcome us home.

IMG_4567“This is the million dollar view!”

I’m not going to chronicle the rest of our trip up other than to say it was long. Boq enjoyed the fluffy hotel sheets and we all enjoyed getting out of the car for awhile each night. Our last night on the road was spent in Westport, CT with my college roommate. We had dinner at the Duck in Westport where it’s rumored that celebrities hang at the bar. We didn’t see anybody famous but it was an interesting experience … and probably not a restaurant that we’ll run back to anytime soon.

IMG_4557We just walked up to check out the guest house and it’s chilly up there! I’d better get knitting because I think we’re going to need warm clothes and afghans! The biggest question for me is, what will I store all my yarn in? The burners on the little kitchenette seem to work and the space really is cute. We’ve got a couple of bureaus, a couple of chairs and a bed. (We hope the bed doesn’t sink in the middle. We’ll do a test-sleep soon.) Plenty of space for hanging clothes and we’ll bring Ned’s uncle’s table up for a desk/dining table. Add our coffee maker, microwave and toaster oven and we’ll be in good shape. We just need some fresh water!

Tomorrow I’ll start cleaning up there and my yarn will go straight up there. No sense organizing it twice! The internet was hooked up today and as soon as the electrician comes and moves the main service box onto the woodshed/future garage, we’ll move the internet to the guest house. We are making progress!

We are so lucky to be able to live here and we are eager to watch the lake as it changes with the days and the months and the seasons! Now, if we could get the water pump working so I can clean up the kitchen with some warm water! And perhaps have a shower tonight!?

Caravan to Maine (Day 1)

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Travel Day 1

We sold our house yesterday and left Florida.

Sleeping on an air mattress on the floor in a house that sounds hollow with three dogs is not highly recommended. Nor does it make for a stress-free day to start a long drive. But we managed to leave with our relationship still intact and our cars packed very tightly.

Day one we travelled to Florence, SC. When the parking area of your hotel is full of Harleys and a huge truck with very loud “boom boom” music, you should know that there will be a problem for two people who are road weary and just want a shower and a sleep before travel tomorrow.

Three phone calls later, the front desk got us moved away from the man with the very loud radio and his friends. Once we unplugged the refrigerator that sounded like fire alarms were going off outside, we hit the sack  at 1:00am, the bikers came back to roost with engines revving. I’m sure all of this will be funny when we have arrived home but it wasn’t funny knowing our longest travel day is today.

So, at 5-something this morning when Ned woke up, it was a bit early. But we will get an early start and arrive early. Hopefully, the next hotel will be quieter or it’s going to get ugly. I get less and less functional without sleep.

Monday our internet will be connected at the guest house and the electrician will be coming to separate the guest house electric from the big house panel. Our dream begins.

Bring on day two!