Tag Archives: we get to live here

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!

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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!

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!

 

Welcome Fall!

View From the Porch

image

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!

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!

Slab Day is Here – An Update

Red Pex, Blue Foam Insulation ... in time for the 4th of July

Red Pex, Blue Foam Insulation … in time for the 4th of July

Last week the radiant heat pipes were set into the house. It was fun to see the grid of rebar and the red Pex pipes all in place. Air-tested, no leaks. I can’t wait to walk on them. We also met with a man who will be acid staining the concrete when the house is closer to being done. We’ve decided that we’d like to keep it simple and stain the concrete floors as they are. No tile or other for coverings are needed on the main floor. Upstairs we’ll have wood floors and baseboard heat.

We had the privilege of watching two bald eagles fly over our 4th of July picnic down the road. The first one landed in a tree by the house and we listened to the crows squawking and the eagle’s weak peeps. There was another big bird, too. The neighbors think it may be a golden eagle, we wondered if it was an immature bald eagle. But whatever it was, we all were thrilled to watch the big birds on Independence Day. And we’re all so glad that they’re living around our lake.

Yesterday Ned saw a big furry something in the lake. He took out the canoe to and found it was a dead raccoon. Bloated and stiff. What do you do with a dead raccoon? We didn’t want to let it rot in “our” lake. He buried it in the yard behind the boathouse. We’ve been having too much fun to blog.

We are making progress on the house, however! Today the slab got poured!

I marvel at the ability of the concrete truck drivers who can back their huge trucks down our challenging driveway backward with finesse. And the team of guys who, up to their ankles, can spread and smooth wet concrete with apparent ease. A real team.

The A Team (aka Arthur's Team)

The A Team (aka Arthur’s Team)

Arthur at Work by the lake. Ned watching and filming

Arthur at Work by the lake. Ned watching and filming

The pouring started at just a little bit past 6:24am this morning. Arthur our wonderful “cement guy” (my lovingly and respectfully coined phrase) was here bright and early to do whatever he had to do  and before I knew it, the rumble of the concrete truck could be heard. I had to get dressed for work quickly and grab my coffee so that I could go out and watch the big event. (I dressed so quickly that my underwear was inside-out!) It’s truly impressive to watch the team of men, concrete truck drivers, and Arthur’s team of five (including Arthur) in a time-proven process, communicating in nods and waves. A shovel-full here, half a barrel there and then making sure it’s all level and smooth. Sometimes with a machine and sometimes by hand. Amazing by my estimation.

Tonight it’s raining and will keep the slab cool and moist enough to slow the curing process and we’ll have a good, hard four-inch slab on which to build our house. I can’t believe that the next step is to raise some walls.

To my eyes, the house looks tiny. Tiny enough that Ned went out tonight to measure the slab. I’m happy to report that my eyes are wrong and it’s just the right size.

Woo! Hoo!

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.