Tag Archives: Guest House

The Final Stretch and Struggle

Sunrise

Sunrise

The last couple of weeks have been a struggle for me because I’m getting impatient to get in the house. The weather has been getting colder (and then warmer and then colder) and the little cabin is not really a warm place even with (sometimes) three space heaters blasting away.

The cabin pipes that have always had the water drained from them by now and I’ve been feeling the pressure to close up this cabin. It’s been six months since we moved up here (both from the big house and from Florida) and we’re feeling the need to stretch out!

We are finally in the final stretch of building our home and it can’t happen fast enough as far as I am concerned.

We sent back the washer and dryer that we purchased because they were way too big for our laundry space. There is a lot of mechanical stuff that needs to go into our utility room and we are already wishing that the utility room was bigger. *Sigh*

We are still waiting for our replacement cabinets to be delivered. I think we had both expected to hear from Home Depot in advance of their delivery about how they intend to make good on the near-disastrous kitchen order but there have been no calls. We expect the cabinets to be delivered early next week. We are crossing fingers and toes!

Our intrepid ditch digger, Ron, came back to dig ditches for our water and gas lines. The water line has to be at least four feet deep so that it doesn’t freeze. With our rocky ground at the side of the lake, we were very lucky that we have Ron who found a few more big rocks but got us all dug out and ready. Of course, that meant that our driveway and most of the yard were a muddy mess when it decided to rain … and it rained sideways here … but Ned pulled out some of the boards that we’ve been keeping around “just in case” and made “bridges” so we could get in and out of the cabin and across the ditch to the new house.

IMG_5715After many false hopes, we finally found a well company that was willing to help us. We are so grateful for the successful “fracturing” job by Rolf’s Well Drilling and we are happy to report that we have lots more well water! And now we have a new pump in the well and the new water line is in place. We’re all ready (almost) to hook it up in the house!

The boiler is in the utility room with the storage tank. We still have to add a water holding tank to the mix. It shouldn’t take long to get the radiators in place on the second floor and the heating unit for the third floor and then we will be able to finish sealing the pine floors and ceilings. It’s too cold to do a good job without heat! (Although it may warm up again next week which would be perfect timing and we could open the windows to let the stink out!)

We’ve had some difficulty with Dead River Company coming when they say they are coming but we finally have the gas line in the ground and they are scheduled to return on Wednesday with our new 1,000 gallon tank and they’ll be able to hook us up if the heating equipment is ready. I’d hate to think about the phone call that I’ll make if they don’t show up as they say they will. I’m working double overtime to not stress over their rather poor record so far. I’m trying to trust the process and breathe.

Stair Treads

Stair Treads

We have been polyurethane-ing all the pine for the trim and stairs. That’s a lot of wood that needs two or three coats with a sanding in between! Both Ned and I have been “painting” and we are not done yet.

The wood floors are finished on the second floor (with the exception of the bathroom) and the third floor is almost there. Once the third floor floors are done, the ceiling will be done and then we’ll have more polyurethaning to do!

The concrete floor needs to be stained before our stuff can come out of storage. That will not be a difficult job but we need to clean the concrete thoroughly, “etch” it with something so the stain will adhere and then stain and seal it. We’ve picked our stain and are ready to go … when all the other pieces are in place.

Today Tom came out to put the deck at the entryway on the house. We officially have a front step. Yay!

Our outside lights and two of the three kitchen pendants are in the house waiting for the electrician to get them hung. It’s bizarre to walk into the house and have lights on! We’ve ordered the balance of the outdoor fixtures and the ceiling fans and they should arrive pretty soon. Once they’re all in, the electrician is pretty much done. We do need him to provide a hook-up for our new generator, too. I am hoping we never need to use it but when you’re at the end of a dirt road, in Maine, in the winter … well, suffice it to say, it’s required. Ours isn’t fancy but it should keep the refrigerator and boiler going and a few lights on!

Salvaged Flooring Resurrected as a Wall

Salvaged Flooring Resurrected as a Wall

Ned has finished the wall in the front entryway. These are the salvaged floor boards from the old house. They’ve all been sanded and will be sanded once more now that they’re hanging. We both loved the idea and we both love the result! A nod to those who have walked the floors in the past.

We have a move-in date of November 19th. A Thursday. And Ned’s younger daughter is coming for Thanksgiving. Not a minute to waste!

 

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We get to LIVE here!!!

Our View … From the Guest Cabin

Our View … From the Guest Cabin

I’m sitting on the porch of our guest cabin this morning in my pajamas marveling and how lucky we are to live here in this beautiful place. I have to pinch myself!

Lots of progress is being made on our new home. We have a lovely new footing and frost wall in place and after waiting for several days to make sure that it’s cured, we are back-filling it now with rocks, sand, crushed rock (to come) and compacting it. Yesterday and today, the back-filling has been happening. If I understand correctly, there will also be some flooding which will push all the sand into places where it’s not going. We want the foundation of our slab to be completely stable so this part of the process is critical.

Before and After

Before and After

Ned and I took a little ride in our canoe on Sunday to get out on the water and to see our house from the lake. While the angle of my photo isn’t the best, the progress is, at least, visible now. But there is still a huge hole where the old house sat. Coming home in the canoe, there’s no big white house to use as a point of reference. It’s still a little bit sad.

While we were out on the lake we also met some new neighbors, Janna and Peter, who moved here from New York after being “summer people”, too. It’s wonderful to listen to the stories of others and see them flourishing here on our lake. It’s in reflecting on their success that I (we?) can also see that we are building a wonderful life here and we are excited about our future. I know we are simply astonished each day when we open our eyes and see our magnificent view and wonder that we get to live here.

What a privilege. We are so blessed.

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.

IMG_4747

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.

Settling In

The Humming Bird Feeder is found!

The Humming Bird Feeder is found!

We’ve been settling in and getting the ground work done so that when the time is right (and the conditions are right) the demolition of the existing house can happen. It will likely be sometime during the week of the eighteenth.

The electric company came out today to inspect the new power line set-up that our electrician put in and it’s a go. They’ll all be here on Friday to do their thing. We are having the electric in the guest house upgraded so it will be to code and we can run a space heater and a hair dryer without the fear of popping the circuits or, worse, having a fire. The last time anybody actually lived in this guest house was in the mid-to-late 70s before personal computers or all the personal electronic stuff that we now “need”. It needs to be upgraded and safe!

This little cabin is a lovely place to sit and relax and enjoy the birds and the lake. We’ve got the humming bird feeder filled up and the humming birds have found it. We watched a hummer flying in an upside down arc over the tree branches in the yard today. I’ve never seen anything like it. That little bird flew back and forth about a dozen times. It was marvelous to watch.

My sister-in-love and brother and their three boys gave me a beautiful potted plant for mothers day and Ned hung it on the corner of the guest house so we can enjoy it. Planted flowers make it feel like home! Ned bought me a beautiful forsythia bush that we’ll plant within sight of the kitchen window so that when spring comes next year, I’ll be able to enjoy it and remember.

Ned has begun to take out the windows that we want to salvage and before we know it, it’s going to be time to have the propane tank moved. That will be the end of our cooking in the old house … and the end of the house, as it was. We both find ourselves feeling very, very sad about the old house being demolished but we still look forward to seeing the new house going up in its place.

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!