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Monday, July 18, 2016

around the house a.k.a. keeping it real



So, early spring this happened...  
ouch :(


The terrace was expanded and completed as we were finishing up the barn renovation HERE in the spring of 2011.  (You can see the "renovation photo story of the terrace" HERE)
Later that summer hurricane Irene tore through New England and the wall was never the same.  I cannot complain too much however, as the initial tracking had the hurricane coming directly through our small village.  To see our location as a red dot on a weather tracking map being in the direct line of the hurricane was a fear I will not soon forget.  Irene changed course the night it was to hit southern New Hampshire and instead went on to devastate Vermont.  The damage to Vermont was shocking and heartbreaking, so I really can't complain that my stone wall was damaged.




The excavator man who did the initial stone wall and terrace wall came to repair the wall after Irene, but over the last several years there was more settling and movement of stones in the walls.  While perforated plastic pipes were placed in the initial construction for water run off  Dan decided that french drains would help abate the settling situation by addressing the rainwater drainage issue.  I had no idea how this wall would be repaired.  When the wall was initially built the huge granite cut-stones that were set into the grass for steps down to the garage/motor court hadn't been placed yet, so it was not like we could bring an excavator in to do the job.  Dan contacted the man who did our french drains around the farmhouse and after weeks of calling him, he comes out, agrees to the job and then drops the ball and is a no show.  At this point Dan decided to do it himself;  he had a plan.  I didn't ask how the plan would work as the whole situation was really bumming me out, so I put on my "rose colored glasses" and decided it would be fine!  On a walk with the girls a day or two after deciding he would do the project himself we had a very fortuitous chat with a neighbor.  Adam had just graduated summa cum laude and was taking the summer off before going for his masters in business.  He casually mentioned wanting to work some for extra money, but didn't want to work all summer long.   We knew he was a really good worker and that Dan would need help on the project, so it was a win-win!
This is cute Adam doing the dirty job of digging the trench for the french drain.  To say he is a hard worker is a ridiculous understatement; he is a nonstop powerhouse.  Millennials get a bad rap these days, but this one has an amazing work ethic.  That he and Dan worked so well together made the whole project go smoothly.




The trench for the new french drain.




 They followed the line of the original drainage pipe, so basically we now have a french drain set over a perforated drainage pipe.  They found the original pipe had been completely crushed where the pipe drained from the wall, so the new french drains should rectify the situation.  Yay Dan!




Look at those crazy piles of pea gravel.




Another drain was needed running from the north french door of the barn room to the corner of the stone wall.  The pre-made corrugated french drain pipes are from Lowe's and made the labor on this trench so much easier (at least that's what I heard;)  







The rebuilding of the stone wall.  Gotta love a handy (and cute) husband!




I decorated the yellow fertilizer spreader on the back of Big Blue with some large caribou antlers.  Doesn't it look nice?!!!! :)  I'm just joshing with you!!!  Though some who know me would totally think I would do that:)  The antlers have been in the garage forever, needing some rough ends cut  and they ended up in spreader to get them out of the way!  During the project Dan would drive Big Blue (on back roads:) to a rock quarry about 5 miles away to get scoops of stone for the project.  On one trip someone stopped him to ask him what he had in the spreader! 




Of course it was super hot on all their work days.  This day was 88 and wicked humid.  I was in charge of ice water, iced tea, lunch and beer, aka "mason juice" delivery to the job site :)  I was also in charge (self-appointed, of course) of reminding them to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.  What would they have done without me?!!!;)




Making the finishing touches.  Ah- mazing repair!  I'm so proud of Dan, and Adam too- he had never worked with stones and was a natural.  They did a craftsman-worthy job on the wall.




The boys finishing up spreading the pea gravel.




I took this photo as I was sitting in a chair with a margarita "stupervising" and "helping" them finish up.  I think they really appreciated my contribution:):)!!  As I wrote on IG... this is how you know you are old- when you have a cute 21-year-old working shirtless, at times, for you and all you can think is "Is he wearing sunscreen?!"  lol  Hence the sunscreen on the table, cuz no he wasn't!!!  There will be no sun damage on my watch;)




The two cuties congratulating themselves on a job well done!
After getting his MBA Adam has plans to go into medical device/medial equipment sales, so if you or someone you know needs a super smart, personable, creative, extremely hard-working, all-around good person and cute salesman I can put you in touch!




The "almost" finished wall;)  Still some tweaking to do, but it's back together and stronger than ever.  We had a big rainstorm this afternoon and the new french drains worked like a charm!
(this photo is really pinky as I just took the photo at dusk and the sky to the east was very pink)




With the terrace back to its former glory we can now get back to cocktails on the terrace enjoying views like this!


Now, on to the next big project... which is having several sides of the farmhouse painted.  As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, "It's always somthin' !"
What have you been up to this summer?!


46 comments:

  1. I love stories like this. Isn't it surprising sometimes what comes out of something simple like a walk and meeting up with the neighbour. Likely Dan and Adam learned a thing or two from each other through the process, and most importantly they forged a bond that will continue.
    And how lucky are they to have lunch, beer and sunscreen provided on a tray - good on you.

    What have we been up to ? - we just returned from our honeymoon. Three weeks in beautiful Ireland.


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    1. Congratulations Katherine!!! So happy for you! xxojoan

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    2. Just read your wedding post Katherine- you were a stunning bride. I swear you look like you and your daughter are sisters!! Gorgeous wedding. My best to you and Richard!!!

      (to my other readers, if you are reading this go to Katherine's blog and see this gorgeous bride!!)

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  2. We are no stranger to hurricanes here!! They can be scary and devastating! I am glad more damage wasn't done! Your wall looks great!! Kuddos!!! xo Leslie Sinclair

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    1. Thanks Leslie! Y'all have had quite the weather this past year:( Hope no hurricanes this season for you or us;)

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  3. Glad you could find good help and get it put back together quickly. Looks like the the job was done right! I'm always busy tweaking outside- summer and my gardens make me the happiest! We've had a bit of a roller coaster with the temps here but that's okay- it's been a good summer so far and that's a good thing!

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    1. So happy to hear you are having a good summer Liz. Yes, always lots of tweaking outside!

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  4. Joan,
    What a great job the guys did. How many days did it take, start to finish? It's nice to have a young, capable neighbor. Fun post.
    My mister is reconstructing our patio cover. It's coming along nicely.
    xo,
    Karen

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    1. Ummmm, lets see- they worked on and off on it (on Dan's days off) for a good two weeks. Don't you love a handy husband?!!!

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  5. How interesting that my husband did the same work your assistant Adam wants to do. It's a wonderful career.
    What have I been up to? Babysitting for my new and only grandchild!!! I just beg his parents to go out all the time. I love having him all to myself. :)
    Dianne

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    1. So happy your getting all that grandbaby sugar Dianne! Happy summer! xxo

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  6. I feel kinda funny saying this at my age but I just have too.... Dan ROCKS that OREGON shirt!! tee hee
    Great job guys!

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    1. Ha Ha, I didn't notice the Oregon shirt until you wrote that! Very true! And GO DUCKS! ; )

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    2. omg... y'all both made Dan's day/week!!!! Wish you could have heard him when I read him the comments!:) Dan thanks you both Vicci and Heather (and yes, Go Ducks says Dan;)
      I totally agree, especially considering he's 62. He's always blowing people away with his age as they think he's in his early fifties:) His response is he gives credit to his "much younger wife;)" good husband!!! I've had him wearing sunscreen, moisturizer and eye cream for a good 20 years, and it has paid off!

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  7. Great job! This Summah has been busy!! We recently moved to NH from TN - just North of you. We are in the throws of remodeling our existing cottage and adding onto it. We have already completed my art studio, garage and mudroom. A new addition is currently going up on the other end. We have had a blast searching for great old architectural pieces to implement into the new along with old doors, light fixtures, hardware, etc. So much FUN! I have enjoyed your blog for years. I am putting marble counter tops in the new kitchen! (Despite EVERYone trying to talk me out of it!) 😃 Thank you. xo Marilyn

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    1. summah!!!! how exciting Marilyn! How are you liking NH?! Where all y'all? Good for you for standing your ground on the marble!!!

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  8. 'Morning, Joan! I love it when I see (a) a new post from you, and (b) the post is about one of your projects. What you and Dan have done is amazing ... you know that, right?

    Our summer project has been to continue renovating the gardens here at 'The Manor'. We did the smaller ones last year, and this year we are motivated to tackle the BIG one, The Rose Field. As of now, I'm locating and digging the roses that remain in the ruin, and Steve is cutting the mess to a manageable level with his walk-behind bush hog. Seeing progress on a big project like this fuels the motivation, which leads to more progress. Win win!

    Give The Girls a big hug from me!

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    1. You are so sweet Connie, thank you. Actually, I know understand when so many people over the years have said my posts exhaust them at the thought of what all we've done, as I look back on pictures now and am TOTALLY exhausted!!!
      You're summer sounds very busy and physically tiring, but fun! I'll pop over to check it out.
      girlies thank you for the hug! xxo

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  9. Hi Joan: Yes, we experienced Irene first-hand and remember it well. Fortunately, no damage to our home but everywhere else was a mess. I think your title to this post so appropriate. Not that I want anything bad to happen, of course not, but I think we all look at your home and life and think that it's always so beautiful and nothing could go wrong. I'm old enough to know that's just dumb. But I'm glad you got it all fixed and you have such a hard-working husband and neighbor. Joan, I don't know about you, but I thought I worked hard until I moved to New England. Seriously, these people, no matter what their age, aren't afraid to tackle anything. We've got neighbors in their 80's still taking care of their barns and property themselves. I admire and need to learn from that. Bev

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    1. hi Bev,
      I totally get that. It's sometimes hard to balance posting real life with not wanting to be a debbie-downer about things around the house. I like the farmhouse to be a quiet place for relaxing and calm and enjoyment when people visit both on line and in person. And I'm thinking no one wants to hear things, like right now, we can't get a single contractor (for about 4 different projects around the house) to call us back.... sooooo frustrating. So much negative in the world, so I just try to keep things on the positive side here. Also, sometimes when things are happening around the house that are not good I just can't talk about them until they are resolved (think my rose colored glasses;). Like last year when we had to have the well dug deeper in the middle of that icy winter :O Actually I will be talking about that in a future post, but it was all so painful it took me a while to be able to talk about it:) So glad your house wasn't damaged by Irene. We still see so much damage when visiting VT, xxoj

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  10. much older sister susanJuly 19, 2016 at 8:31 AM

    Adam is a doll! Our Dan so handsome!!! We miss you so much! How many days did the project take? Looks back breaking.

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    1. Yes, that's what we had young Adam for;):) It took a couple of weeks working when Dan was off.

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  11. We are working on downsizing. We are blessed with a house on a beautiful lake but much, much work has to happen between here and there.

    I thought you might like to hear that our rescue dog comes home on Saturday. He is a Chi/ Basenji mix, 4 years old, a tiny 10 pounds. He is sweet and loving. Picked up as a stray and rescued from a kill shelter, he does not seem to have ever lived in a house before. We are counting the days until he arrives. I am in many ways happy that he is a local rescue as there are many here needing homes, too.

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    1. Lana!!! SO happy to hear you have found a local rescue that will have a wonderful new life! What will you name him? Where is the kill shelter?

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    2. His name is Cortez but that seemed so huge for such a small sweetie so we are calling him Corey. He came from a kill shelter in Cherokee County, SC. He has stolen our hearts.

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  12. "wicked humid" I love it! You are now officially a fellow New Englander! Tina

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  13. Wow! Awesome job those guys did! My daughter works for a company called 180 Medical. It's a fairly new company that is growing fast. And from what my daughter says, they are always hiring, and have locations across the United States. Just thought I'd pass that along.

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  14. Yes, it is always something! Love your terrace and the gorgeous stone wall!!

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  15. My thoughts and feeling on the project are: 1) totally worth the effort. 2) wow, that is a lot of work. 3) many hands make light work, but in this circumstance, it is still heavy work. 4) how proud you must be of Dan and Adam!

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    1. hi Tina! Yes to all the above!! Hope you and your family are well. xxo

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  16. Nicely done and easy on the eyes with a side of humor! Love it

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  17. I'm so happy to see Dan back up on his feet doing house projects, and of course, excelling at them! Next time you have Adam over to do a project, invite me over for lunch. Just saying. :)
    xo,
    Artie

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    1. ha! I know, right?!!!!
      You're so sweet my friend, hope you are well. xxo

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  18. Joan,
    I need Adam at my house.... so many projects/maintenance/upkeep. Your terrace is looking great again and just the spot for looking at your beautiful sunsets.

    Judith

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    1. Judith, I will send him your way ;) He's such a great worker. Dan's been having him mow this summer too, so Dan can work on other things around the house, and omg... he's such a perfectionist about getting his lines straight!! love it!

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  19. That stone wall is amazing! I have no idea how they could move those massive stones! How wonderful that you found Adam and that he and Dan worked so well together. They sure were lucky to have you to keep them hydrated and without sun damage:):) We have been doing some small things around the house and yard and Joe is working HARD on the train room!!! It is going to be amazing! Can't wait to share it.

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    1. hi Pinky! The stones are crazy huge. Imagine the work of moving them prior to engines??? Sounds like you and Joe are having a great summer- so glad!! xxo

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  20. Joan!! Your wall looks Ah-mazing!! It is always such a treat to read your very entertaining posts! Guys like Dan and Adam are hard to come by these days. What a treat to have them both! I will come weed your flower beds in exchange for a margarita on that gorgeous patio! I've been keeping busy finally painting all of our dark woodwork white! It is transforming! I'd love for you to pop over and take a peek! Cheers to beautiful sunsets and margaritas on the terrace! xox, Emily

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    1. Offer accepted Emily! Margaritas it is:)
      Just visited and your house is so beautiful!!! Still coveting those dog statues:)

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  21. Hello Joan, Although you and Dan must have been disappointed with the storm damage, I believe that Dan was secretly glad of a new gargantuan project that required super-herculean efforts (and machinery) to pull off. As always, the results are impressive and inspiring.
    --Jim

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    1. hi Jim! Ha, you are probably right;) Dan was just quoting you the other day! Remember when you told us we do ordinary things and turn them into larks!!! Love it still and thank you for that!!! xxoj.

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  22. I absolutely love this post! I've been obsessed with your blog and would love if you would check out mine! The web address is www.theuglydresser.blogspot.com

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