Thursday, January 28, 2010

Country girls

While we were out on our walk last weekend, I saw evidence that the girls have truly acclimated to the country life. Things beyond the puddle jumping. I saved these little tidbits for a separate post.

Abigail spotted this stump, which we had sheared of its dead limbs a few weeks ago. It has now been repurposed:

On previous walks, we've observed bones from a long-dead cow. The girls have decided to collect the bones in a pile, with a goal of reassembling them into a skeleton. The bones are kicked along...

to the collection point. Quite a project! Gotta envy that 5-year-old ambition!

And lastly, I spotted Abigail crouched down, studying something intently.

I followed her gaze, to find this:

A moderately fresh pile of cow poop, covered with yellow flies. I never see these flies on anything other than poop (thank goodness!).

After a time, Abigail asked me if the pile was getting smaller. Very perceptive, I thought.

Yes, Abigail. This is one of the few instances in life, where the bullshit actually decreases over time, but not by much!

Monday, January 25, 2010

After the rain

Last Saturday was the first real break after a series of five storms pounded CA, one after the other. Needless to say, we were all anxious to get outside and enjoy the day.

The family property totals 52 acres, so there is a lot of room to wander. There is a seasonal stream and waterfall to explore after a rain.

The girls wanted to follow the stream to its origin, which led us toward the back of the property.

From there, we caught views of the house that we don't often see.

Of course, the stream just petered out in a marshy area, with several attractive puddles. Mae dove right in.

Her rainboots made her fearless...

despite the fact that they had a few holes in them! Abigail had Crocs on, and was content to watch the action.

Mae had a fantastic time.

She was unstoppable.

Until suddenly she realized she was cold and wet and wanted to go home

So we headed back toward the site and beyond, to my folks' house, where we could run a nice, hot bath.

Thank goodness for Grandma and Grandpa's house!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The taping whirlwind

Amidst all the other strange weather we had this week, the taping whirlwind blew through. It consisted of four men, scaffolding, and a few simple tools. Four hours later, they were gone. Mark seems satisfied with their work, so...I am too!

These guys are a different crew from the guys who hung the rock, who are different from the ones who stocked. Every task is specialized.

The guy standing at the base of the scaffolding had the specialized task of pushing it around the room while the other guy stood on top.

I hope OSHA doesn't check my blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Za Dungeon

Yes, one of the features we have built into the house is a dank, dark dungeon. Great for disciplining the kids, AND storing wine!

The dungeon...a.k.a. "the crawlspace" is a stunted floor underneath the main floor, leaving just enough room to belly crawl around and check pipes and wires. Observe...

It used to be a dirt floor down there, but Mark has laid a 15 mil layer of plastic, and now we are working to seal it around the edges. Ultimately, it should be vapor-tight. Now here is Mark working diligently on...something. Actually, he is posing per my request, showing me how to caulk the plastic lining to the wall, which is my job for the day. This is the tiniest corner, but there are fewer ducts to deal with.

Now HERE he is going about his normal business...cutting stuff apart. Doesn't he look happy?


And here he is posing for his ABSOLUTELY LAST PICTURE. Could his expression say that any more clearly? I just wanted to show the entrance into the that too much to ask?????

Not the most inviting space in our new home...yes, it's a dungeon, but it's OUR dungeon!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

REALLY ready to rock

It all happened last week as predicted:

- the heating guys finalized the system, and the house is now warm & snuggly
- the sheetrock was stocked

AND, I had to make some progress on my assignment to choose paint colors. But in order to choose paint colors, I must choose cabinets, and flooring, and countertop, and THAT is no easy task!

Here is the sheetrock, piled up around the house:

Here is me, striking an alluring pose in our two-person shower. Yes, we'll be close, but that's kinda the idea, right?

Here's the front porch we built. Eventually it will be replaced with the wrap-around country porch, but that is at least a year away. We had to get this up for the guys bringing in the sheetrock. It is STUR-DEE! Handrails were not a priority for the week, however.

And lastly, here is some progress on the kitchen. Mark and I agreed to do hardwood throughout the living room and kitchen. If we do hardwood on the floor, I like painted cabinets. After that, it's pretty much a free-for-all. The trim will be white, and...I know this will shock everyone...the appliances will be WHITE. No black or stainless. I know, nobody does white anymore, but I like it over black, and I couldn't imagine paying more money for stainless only to cover it with magnets and flyers, and lists, which is an essential part of my lifestyle. So...there it is.

The rock shown here is what we've chosen for the fireplace. I liked a lighter rock as well, but it didn't have the impact when I put it in my computer simulation.
No...really. That's what happens when nerds decorate.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ready to rock!

Um...I mean sheet rock. Dry wall. Whatever.

This week is a big one for "the site". We have the heating guys coming Monday to complete installation of the ground source heat pump. They should have us up and heating by Wednesday. We need to get the house conditioned and warm before we hang drywall. Mark found a sub that he likes for drywall, within our budget, so we're grateful not to do the heavy lifting. They will stock this week, then start hanging next week. It should take about 2 weeks to hang, tape, and texture. After that, paint! Argh! I have to go...many decisions to make!

But first, take a look at the insulated interior. Here we are looking into the kitchen and loft. Doesn't it look much more...finished?

The fireplace in the living room. Eventually a flat screen TV will go over it.

The front door. The piano will go in the right hand corner. I asked Mark to build me a little half wall beside the front door, which you can see here. The idea was to set off the entry area, and provide a space for a bench and shoes (we are shoe-taker-offers, but that is another story). As a huge fan of the GREAT ROOM and OPEN SPACES, he wasn't thrilled with the idea, but he did as I asked. Imagine his joy when I asked him to make it wider so I could put stuff on top! Oh yes...happy days!

And here is my kitchen island and the dining area (not really a room). Look at all that beautiful sunshine!

OK, now I REALLY have to go and think about paint. And cabinets. And flooring. Bye!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year

This weekend wrapped up the two weeks of Christmas break. I was glad to see that the girls were anxious to go back to school--they really seem to enjoy kindergarten. But as the vacation came to a close, we (I, mostly) consciously savored those last few days together. We also had a couple of nice surprises.

On Saturday morning, Mark's brother John called and asked if he could come over and help out (play with) Mark. He jumped in the car, was here by noon, and boy did they have fun! Check out this rig they used to put insulation in the ceiling...a platform built off some scaffolding. Doesn't it remind you of that clip that has been going around "Why women live longer than men"? Mark should get just a little higher by standing on a bucket!

John got to perform the deeply gratifying task of handing stuff to Mark...

and carrying around big pieces of wood.

A nice break for him, considering he is the COO of an international company! He was only here for 24 hours, but they got a lot done, and had some good man time too. Elsewhere on the ranch, there was another surprise:

This little guy showed up, and we weren't even aware the mother was due! Dad went back and checked his records, and sure enough, at some point we knew she was pregnant, but it just slipped off the radar. The mother really didn't look that big.

She's a sneaky one.

While we were out and about, the girls rediscovered the rope swing. Sometimes they share really well, and this was one of those times. They jumped on together and had a blast.

They laughed and laughed.

A great way to end a vacation, don't you think?