Tag Archives: home

Ice (almost) Out

We are watching the lake and waiting for ice out. The water is getting wider every day. Last night we made a bet. I think ice out will be 4/29. Ned says 5/2. We’ve bet a nickel. We’ll see who’s right.

The last two days have been warm here on the shores of Messalonskee. We have spent the better part of both days in the sunshine working in the yard and getting ready for spring cleanup. There is a lot of spring cleanup to do – we lost a tree last winter in the high winds and there’s a lot of raking to do. We never got the flower pots in before the dirt froze so we have that to finish, too. We could use a full time gardening crew! (Not likely  to happen!)

Ned has also been planning and chipping away at some granite that he found under the old house. He’s going to make a bird feeder. When the demolition of the old boathouse was complete, he used the backhoe to move the boulder to the front corner of the house. Now he’s decided to move it to the center of the garden nearest our driveway. He’s been “noodling around” a plan to move a 1000 pound rock … yesterday he worked it into its spot. Using a winch, some chair, a sheet of plywood, and some logs he moved the rock across the yard. I watched!

Ned is rebuilding our boathouse with Tom and the Chore Store. They’ve completed the platform on top of the old concrete foundation (a slab was poured late last fall under the old garage end) and then up went the walls. Another day and we had a roof. Watching a building being stick-built is really amazing. Tom and his crew do a great job and Ned is thrilled to have a sturdy building again. He will use the back end as a workshop and the front will still be our boathouse in the spring, summer and fall. We hope the big dock spiders have gone out into the woods never to return.

Today Ned went for his first “swim” when his waders weren’t as long as the water was deep. It was a cold shock for sure! Never the less, he persisted in getting the scaffolding up so that he could wrap the front of the building with whatever-the-wrap is. I wish I could tell you that I have been involved in the process, but I haven’t. I’ve been busy working at the Yardgoods Center while my boss is out of town.  I’m tired from being on my feet and sore but I still love working in the yarn shop!

Our Florida friends are still asking us if we are ready to leave Maine in the winter and if we regret moving up north. The answer is still and unequivocal “NO!” We are so thrilled to wake up in this beautiful place every morning. We love watching the birds return to the feeders, watch the ducks arrive back on the lake. We loved watching the Bald Eagles on the ice all winter long. The feathered loons should be returning soon. The human loons have taken their ice fishing shacks off the ice for another season. It was a good winter and we continue to feel so lucky to live here.

March 2018 – In Like a Lion

IMG_2532The snow started last night around ten o’clock (pm). I woke up at some point during the night – maybe it was when my husband, dreaming, kicked me in his sleep? – and wondered if our power was still on. I didn’t hear anything but didn’t want to get out of bed either.

IMG_2533This morning when we woke up, the snow was falling heavily and several inches were on the ground, although, with the wind, it’s hard to know exactly how much we have. The porches are all snow-covered. The lights and screens are, too!

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As of ten o’clock (am) it’s still coming down and we’ve (the royal we, I have to give credit to my husband who takes care of my little dogs!) cleared a “spot” for the little dogs to go outside and husband has gone out to fill the bird feeders. We have feeders around the yard and have recently added a thistle feeder for the finches and a cracked corn feeder for the squirrels.

IMG_2537We have seen our first flocks of goldfinch and red-winged blackbirds. We have lots of birds in the winter … juncos and our year-round chickadees and all sorts of wonderful woodpeckers. Watching the birds is something I’ve loved since childhood. My dad was a bird watcher. He taught me everything I know about wild birds. I know he’d be thrilled to know we are carrying on his tradition … and the tradition of “fighting” with the squirrels!

March has come in like a lion! It’s beautiful!

 

Time Flies!

I can’t believe that there’s a crispness in the air already! The summer is flying by … and this weekend is Labor Day already! How is it that time flies by so quickly? I decided to choose a few pictures of the summer from beginning to end to show you what’s been going on at our house this summer.

It always makes us happy when the loons return to Messalonskee!

Duck family! We had two families this year.

Kids visiting … tubing is always a favorite activity!

Little cousins visit from the West Coast. They all loved visiting Blueberry Hill with Uncle Ned.

The rope swing is a lot of fun – even for the adults!

One Early Morning

A bit of knitting on the dock.

Another visit from the kids and the grand-dogs. Their favorite activity may be an evening “cocktail cruise”.

The BBD (Big Brown Dog) is happy in the sun on the porch. So are we!

8/28/17 The first morning where there is fog on the lake. The evenings are getting much cooler.

It’s been a wonderful summer and we look forward to the rest of the summer days. And the cooler weather of fall.

We are so fortunate to live here!

Ice Fishing Season

img_7877It’s here!

Well, actually, it’s been here for several weeks if not months, but this is the first time I’m writing about it (or anything) here.

Ice fishing huts have popped up all around us on the lake. The ice is more than 18 inches thick according to Ned’s last drilling attempt this morning. His drill bit is 18 inches long and he didn’t get to the water this time. Amazing!

Last weekend we saw a pickup truck drive across the lake from the Sydney boat landing to just in front of the Lakeside Adventist Christian Campground. Several people got out of the truck to set their traps. Brave souls!

It sure it beautiful!

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!

It’s Coming Back

I’ve been too busy working to blog about the house going up but there has been a lot of excitement around here every day! We’ve got walls and it’s starting to show us what it’s going to look like and how we can place furniture in our rooms!

First Floor Coming Along!

First Floor Coming Along!

I thought it was exciting when I came home and the first floor was all closed in with the plywood. I could finally see the size of the windows and where the front door would be. Before this I thought it was going to be small. Ned even went and measured the slab one night because I was so worried that we’d built it too small. It was spot on! The door you can see is the one that will lead to the screened porch. The two smaller windows is the kitchen and the large window is the dining room. All of the rooms are in the same place as in the old house. It’s basically the same downstairs floor plan it’s just more open!

And then one day I came home and climbed up a ladder to stand on what will be our second floor.

View from my Atelier on the Second Floor

View from my Atelier on the Second Floor

With some of the exterior walls up, it’s going to be a phenomenal view of the lake through the big windows on the front of the house (and the sides, too!) We have to have a bunch of bedrooms available because we want our family to come visit (and friends, too.) Each room on the second floor will be able to sleep our friends and family. Only one will be a dedicated guest room. The other will be my studio and the third will be Ned’s TV room. Although we discussed moving the TV up to the third floor and expanding my studio when we saw the size of the third floor former attic space.

IMG_5171The best day of all was when I saw the roof of the house rising above the woodshed roof again. There has been a hole there since we took the old house down and nothing felt right. But it’s coming back and all is right with the world. I got a ride with our contractor in the lift that we’ve rented to get the wood up to the roof without having to carry it. What a blast! The view of the house from the air is amazing and the view of the lake from the top of the house is phenomenal. Ned’s office space on the third floor is going to be the best view in the house.

Pinch me! We get to live here!

Walls are Going Up!

IMG_5103IMG_5102I worked very hard to take down walls that I put up over the years when I was in therapy. Walls act as protection from hurt in a psychological way. They also can physically protect you in a house building way. All of this is to inform you that we now have walls.

Despite a really warm Maine summer day today, Tom and his crew and my handsome fiancé built more walls. We have framed the first floor. I can now get an idea of how my bedroom will look. And the front hall. And the huge windows in the living/dining room. It’s really exciting to see it all coming together.

IMG_5100Tomorrow they will add the beginnings of the second story. I know that when I get home from work there will be more progress to see. More walls will be going up. I used to think I was making progress bringing walls down but now I’m excited to have walls going up. Ain’t life grand?

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.

Not Insentient Matter

rear dusk

“Our house was not insentient matter-it had a heart and a soul, and eyes to see with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benedictions. We never came home from an absence that its face did not light up and speak out in eloquent welcome-and we could not endoorknobter it unmoved.”
-Samuel Clemens

kitchen