It’s a funny thing when Rick and I start brainstorming about the projects we want to take on. Our ideas have a way of growing and expanding.
After our first winter living in Tunbridge, we decided that we really wanted to have a garage (so that we would not have to dig/chisel out our cars every time we had a snow/ice event). But why pay for just a garage when, by adding a rental unit on the second floor, we can make back the construction cost? So while we’re at it we asked Dick Robson to design in the perfect apartment for a law-school student, and asked George White & Company to build it. Rick hatched a brilliant scheme to document the project, so you too can follow along with the progress on the construction cam .
Time for another brain dump, this time from Sarah’s cranium:
So, how’s the weather?
After not one, not two, but at least four April snow storms, the weather has finally warmed up enough to melt the snow and ice and turn the grass green. While we enjoyed winter, we’re more than ready for spring. It’s time to get outside, get grubby and sun-burnt, and finish a few projects we started last fall, like preparing an area for our first vegetable garden, and ripping out the last of the wild blackberries to make way for some creeping juniper in front of the house. If we’re industrious, we may be able to get a fall crop of greens in this year. Meanwhile, we’ll have our CSA subscription this summer for our supply of fresh vegetables.
Last week, Alison stopped by for a visit on her way around the country on an extended road trip. It was a lot of fun meeting her after reading her blog for years. Meeting Maude was also great, and introducing her to Haley was hilarious (for the humans). To Haley’s credit, she was generally respectful of Maude’s space and kept the obnoxiousness under control fairly well. Alison, Rick, Maude and I also got to enjoy the first fire of the season, under the benefit of a bright, clear night.
The sectional sofa we ordered in February arrived yesterday. We were overjoyed at the prospect of finally having something comfortable to sit on in the living room, especially something that holds two people and two dogs comfortably. So overjoyed were we that we got absolutely nothing done yesterday…no shopping, no errands, no cleaning, and no gardening. We did get a lot of talking about decorating done while we watched the NFL draft. No final decisions have been made about the living room, and it seems unlikely that we’ll be able to finalize a plan for the space until we put up a banister on the open-sided staircase, to replace the sideboard/bar that currently serves the purpose of keeping the dogs from jumping off the fifth step, and which I’d like to move into the living room, since it doesn’t really fit in the kitchen. It’s much more complicated than it needs to be, this decorating business.
We’re also having trouble deciding where to hang all of the art we have. I think this is left-over “renter’s syndrome.” I don’t think Rick or I have ever completely decorated a place before, and so making choices about paint colors, furniture arrangements and locations of artworks on walls is a bit overwhelming. The most “done”room is our bedroom, which still needs touch-up paint and new curtains, among other minor details. Still, we’ve at least chosen the colors in there and most of the furniture is either in place or on order.
In other news, we’re making slow progress on the garage/apartment building project. The next step is to test for and design a septic system for the apartment (an easier and more cost-effective choice than trying to get a permit to tie the apartment in to our existing septic system). We’ve been waiting until the end of mud season to get an excavator up our driveway, so that we can dig test pits, conduct percolation tests, and hopefully find a suitable place on the property for the new system. Once the septic is finalized and our permit is approved we’ll be able to move forward with the design of the building itself. The finished structure will most likely resemble a barn from the outside, except for the possibility of a second-story balcony off of the living room of the apartment. We’re also hoping that we will have enough room in the budget to convert our current electrical system over to solar (for both the main house and the garage/apartment). Much of such budgetary flexibility will have to do with the amount of sweat equity that Rick and I are able to put into the new building – tiling, laying floors, hanging drywall, installing trim, and other finishing work. Here’s hoping that all of the hours we’ve spent watching HGTV and the DIY Network will pay off!
I am out of work again
Since last August, I had been working at a cafe in South Royalton. This was somewhat because I needed a job; partially because I needed to talk to people and stop annoying our dogs; but also because the experience was expected to help since Sarah and I were thinking of buying the place. Without going into details, after many months of negotiations we decided not to pursue it further. So the cafe was sold to others, who understandably decided to run the cafe themselves and save the cost of paid staff. So as of February 16 (yep, my birthday), I am out of work. So the hunt for a job begins again. Any leads are appreciated.
I have plenty of pro bono work to keep me busy
In December I was asked to join the board of directors at Friends of the Morrill Homestead, the nonprofit group that helps oversee the Justin Morrill Homestead in Strafford, Vermont where I have been volunteer gardening since last spring. Each Board member is asked to sit on two committees, so I am now part of the garden committee and the web/technology committee. The latter is where much of the work comes in as I have volunteered to host, design and manage the group’s web site, which has not been revamped in nearly 10 years. There’s a lot of work to be done, but I am looking forward to it. As much as I have been enjoying the snow and lovely winter weather, I am also eager to start working in the Morrill gardens—as well as our own…