Tag Archives: Living in Maine

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.

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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!

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!

 

We Are In!

Last night we slept in the house for the first time. It feels great to have some space and “real” heat (rather than space heaters).

We still have a lot of work to be done but we can live in the house while it’s done – and it may be just in time for our first snow storm overnight.

Tomorrow the moving company delivers all of our stuff from Florida. We are eager to see what we own after seven months! We got rid of a lot of stuff before we moved, things that we knew we didn’t want in our Maine house … and tomorrow it arrives.

Our replacement cupboard and counter tops should be coming this week, too. It’s so nice to have a kitchen with more than a one-burner camp stove! Ned’s new stove/oven is so fancy I don’t even know how to make it work … I want to bake so I guess I’ll find out.

We’ve been horrible about writing lately and for that we’re sorry. Chronicling this adventure has been a priority but lately we’ve been busy. Ned has been working in the house and I’ve been working at the yarn shop and teaching knitting. I’m eager to get my studio set up so I can work at home – I have a quilt to finish and a sweater to finish before December 13th! I’m on a deadline!

More pictures soon, we promise!

Fracturing Wells, Digging Ditches … Closer

Glorious Fall Days on Messalonskee

Glorious Fall Days on Messalonskee

There has been a lot of progress and not without a couple of bumps. But we are hoping against hope that we will be able to move into the new house in the early part of November. It’s getting a bit chilly up here in the cabin.

This morning temperatures were in the middle-20s and it’s not expected to get much warmer today. We have both space heaters running in an attempt to keep the pipes flowing with water and all of us warm. Even the electric blanket didn’t feel warm enough last night to this pair of winter-newbies and it’s still only fall! The one comforting thought is that even the locals, Mainers for their whole life or most of it, are turning on their pellet and wood stoves … And some, their heat!

Cabinets ... One of the bumps

Cabinets … One of the bumps

Our kitchen cabinets were ready about a month ago but we weren’t ready for them until earlier this week.  They were delivered and filled up the living room! When our contractor had installed a wall of the uppers, I realized they weren’t what I thought we had ordered. I wanted cabinets to the ceiling. No wasted space. And for some reason the kitchen designer had order 30″ uppers (not even close to the ceiling) and when our contractor found the mistake and spoke with her, we got closer (39″) but no cigar. In addition, two cabinets were the wrong size … even according to our plans. Luckily, they can be exchanged.

imageThe trim around the windows and doors is going up on the first floor. It looks wonderful. The wood has gone up on the ceiling in the master bedroom and just needs to be varnished. It’s beautiful! Just what we wanted.

Yesterday Central Maine Power arrived to hook us up so we have electricity! This is a big part of the last important steps- getting all of our Utilities connected. We are hoping to get our ditches dug for water and propane in the next couple of days and then Dead River can bring our gargantuan tank in. Initially they were going to bring us two 120 pound tanks … After we asked them to come out, it changed to a 1,000 gallon tank. We didn’t think they’d like to come down here in he middle of the winter. The wells will be “fractured” later this week. They’ll be sealing them up somehow and pumping pressurized water into them to try to find crevices that will break open and give us more water. Our area is so rocky that nobody really wants to try to drill a new well. This man was the first of several companies who agreed to come back and help us. We are very grateful (and I’ll find out his name and give home a plug later!)

imageOur tile is going up in both bathrooms. It’s wonderful to have Chris on the job with his great sense of comedy … He even hung a sign for us when he tiled the floor of our shower. I admit to laughing out loud.

We are running two and sometimes three space heaters in the cabin. I had taken the curtains off the windows to clean them thinking that we wouldn’t “need” them again. I may have been wrong. It might be nice to close them to keep some of our heat inside the cabin. It’s anything but air tight!

Snow on the cabin steps

Snow on the cabin steps

The leaves have peaked and are all falling down. While all the locals are cleaning up their yards, ours is still cluttered with construction equipment, beams from the old house and wood and metal scraps. We had some snow flurries on Sunday. Early by all accounts. I even missed my Macoun apples this year.

We are getting closer.

Welcome Fall!

View From the Porch

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We sat on the front porch for the first time the other evening. We were noticing that the swarms of motor boats have become sparse and we haven’t seen any hummingbirds for at least a week. The songbirds have filled up at the feeders and headed south. The Canada Geese are starting to arrive and as of today, so are the cooler temperatures. Ned remarked that we have our lake back. (Well it feels like our lake!)

We are getting a lot done on the house! The cedar shingles are nearly complete and the floor of the front and side porches are finished.

Kitchen is (sheet) rockin'

Kitchen is (sheet) rockin’

Today the Sheetrock guys arrived and got most of the first floor done. It’s remarkable how efficient these professionals are. We are so enjoying seeing what the house is going to look like with walls!

We have ordered the kitchen cabinets and they will be delivered in two weeks. The range hood is in the house and the vent to the outside is installed. The plumbing and electric are roughed in. The bath tub in the guest bathroom upstairs is also in place. The security lights outside are in place. It’s remarkable!

Tomorrow the Chore Store crew will be framing the porch roof on the front of the house. And maybe the side porch, too. The majority of the siding has been bleached. The trim is all stained and touched-up. It’s time to order the appliances! Soon we will have Ron return with his digger to dig the gas, plumbing and whatever other ditches need to be dug. The gas and electric will get connected and we will have a boiler installed to provide us some heat. We are going to need it!

We turned on the space heater in the cabin this week. The mornings, in particular, have been chilly for us. We are out of practice!