Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

We went to Cincinnati for the Christmas weekend.  Time flew bye as we were able to spend time with lots of friends and family.

Christmas day was spent at Nonna's.  I made her a calendar filled with family photos.  With the help of a friend I scanned some old photos to add to the digital photos we had.  I felt good about it since I was able to include images from 1940 to the present and they featured all of Nonna's family down to the most recent great grand child.  If you ever want to do this, I highly recommend Shutterfly.  They have tons of backgrounds to choose from and many templates also.  BTW, Nonna loved this gift.  Cousins, check it out when you are visiting.  There are some oldie but goodies in there.

Here is Nonna going through the months.


The Friday after Christmas, Kent, Jeff and I picked up Nonna and went to Uncle Joe's new house.  It is fantastic, and Ruth, as always, cooked up a delicious meal.  Plus it was great to see my cousins and their kids.  Jeff, Carolyn and I relived old memories as we tried to assemble the latest Lego set.  Tad and young Joseph helped out too.  The Spongebob Pineapple lasted about 10 minutes before it was crushed by a wondering ball.  After fixing it a couple times I gave up.  It was assembled for a short while and that it satisfaction enough for me.  Although it's fun to build the "set" it is more fun to use the parts and make something else.  I will leave that to the youngens. 

This is Grant eating a cookie.  Isn't he adorable.  Wait a minute, I don't remember seeing any cookies there...do I?... hmmmm.


After enjoying a round of disc golf in the beautiful weather on Saturday, Kent and I visited Roy and Tif.  Let's just say that I love baby Jade's hair.  It sticks straight up no matter what.  I think she is going to be a rock star.

After dinner we played wits and wagers (the game of the year, apparently)  It is pretty darn fun, so play it, if you have a chance.

Kent was playing around with the black and white mode of the camera.  Can you see the hair!



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

There may be hope.

And his name in John Groce.  

Yep, it's college basketball season once again.  After too many years of lackluster, Tim O'Shea left OU before we could give him the boot.  (Which is a-okay with me.)  Step in Coach Groce who has assisted at OSU (that other Ohio school), Xavier, and NC State.  

We went to our first game last night and OU beat Holy Cross in a close, exciting game.  Finally, it seems OU is working on an offense.  It's not pretty, yet, but there is some strong talent out there.  Defensively, OU is quick, sneaky, and scrappy.  This will go far in the MAC.  However, they need offense, and a pure shooter.  It seems like OU has always had a player who comes off the bench and lights it up.  I haven't seen that yet.  Last night there were too many in and outs.  And missed free throws.  Jees almighty, that is frustrating.  We are up by 3 with 42 seconds left and you gotta make those free throws boys.  

OU could become quite good in the next few years.  If that happens, I hope OU can keep this guy.  It's the curse of the MAC.  We bring in these young hopefuls, they turn our teams around, and how do they reward us... by going on to bigger schools.  Enjoy it while it lasts, folks.  

GO BOBCATS!

Monday, December 08, 2008

What's happening.

Well, it 's been a bit of time since we last updated.  As mentioned before, the house is moving slowly now.  Which is fine.  Because our lives are plenty full.

To catch you all up...

The big blue truck we just purchased a few months ago caught on fire.  It's totaled.  The dash and bench seat are a blackened charred mess.  The engine may be okay, so Kent is researching the next move.  Replace the cab?  Put the engine in something else?  Buy a whole new old truck? Buy a whole new newer truck? So many possibilities.

We went to South Carolina for Thanksgiving.  It was a good time until we tried to drive home.  Note to self.  Don't ever try to drive anywhere the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  

Now it's preparation time for Christmas.  I hope you all get what you want.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Random House photos

Since the weather is frickin' cold, we haven't done anything on the house.  And I know you are all jonesin' for an update.  So here are some photos taken over the last month or so.  But before that, I have to say Mother Nature, Gaia, or whoever is being a real bitch right now.  70 degrees a week ago and in the 20's now.  Not cool.  There is snow on the ground from 2 days ago.  Not much snow, have you, but the fact is that it is sticking around.  What ever happened to a gradual entry into winter.  

Okay, I had to get that out.  

Here is Kent during the digging spree.  Yeah, shovels!  Which reminds me, there still is digging to do to find the sewer line... ughhhh.  


PJ working the chop saw.  vrrrooommm.  Or rather ssscccrreeeeeeecchh as it cuts the wood.


Totally posed picture.  But I do work a bit in there, and most of it is good.  I am especially good at starting things.  Since I have to leave for work everyday around 11:30, the boys usually finish the projects I start.  And they don't have to redo that much of my work.

 Maybe this should be my facebook pic. hmmmm.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beams

This week we put up the beams that run down the middle of the house and will provide support for the joists.  These red oak beams will be exposed so care had to be taken to not scratch the wood.  Below, you can see the contraption we built just to lift the beam.  

(Insert funny tagline here)

Once the top beam was in place with a temporary support under it, we took the measurement for the permanent support beam.   We cut it, applied the little base to be able to nail it to the floor and up it goes.


and up...
Almost there...

Light at the end of the tunnel...


Yeah!  

Finished product (just like in the shows, looks like it happened in an hour, when in actuality it was the next day.)  Notice, too, the joists above.

As you can see, the one beam has been sanded and finished, but the other 2 still need the finishing.  Homework for the weekend.




Sunday, November 09, 2008

More on the house

Somehow, this past week didn't seem to be as exciting as the past few.  I think because putting in a whole deck seems like a bigger accomplishment than digging a hole and filling it with concrete and block.  But nevertheless, it's all progress.  Even if half of your work gets buried.  

Here is the ol' ditch, filled with concrete and block.  Ready for the walls.  


We are also getting the joists ready.  PJ and I streamlined the processing of these 2x12's on Friday.  He was sanding and routing them, after which I applied the linseed oil.  We got the majority of them done before I had to go to work at noon.  Check out the grain on these yellow pine 12 footers.  


The major beams that are going to hold up those yellow pine joists are pictured below.  They are oak cut and milled locally.  The beam on the right has been sanded and oiled.  The left one isn't oiled yet, so you can see how the oil will bring out the grain.  So pretty...


If you aren't familiar with Fast Orange, it is soap that many mechanics use.  It is gritty to get the oil and grease off your hands. I love it, too,  after working in the garden.... it gets all the ground-in dirt off of your hands.  The pump below is now stationed in the kitchen, since we are using daily.  It's a sign of hard work when you get to use the orange. 


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Digging, digging, digging...

With the weather so nice, we are getting the outside jobs done. That means digging.  We are putting a small addition onto the front of the garage, so that means more footers.  More footers means digging.  Thankfully, I haven't had to do much of it.  PJ, our trusty young worker, has been breaking his back, and Kent, too, has done a lot of work. Not only are we (or they) digging through that lousy clay famous in these parts, but the asphalt driveway as well.  

Here is Kent with the mattock tearing up the driveway.  


He's a strong boy.  See his veins poppin' out.  Okay, so it's not the greatest shot.  Take my word for it.  He's strong, for a skinny boy.


This ditch is about 32 linear feet and then 2 feet deep, or more.  That's a lot of digging.  Anyone need any dirt...



Tomorrow, the cement truck comes, and the footers shall be poured.  Then the block will be laid, and the walls can be built.  Excitement abounds!

Monday, November 03, 2008

VOTE !!!

Hello.

Lo and I want to say....

Here is a friendly reminder to vote.  Many of you have already fulfilled your civic responsibility, but for those of you who have not, please find time to get to the voting booth and let your voice be heard.

Who-ever you support... cast your vote.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fall 2008


Hello to all. 

Here are some pics from yesterday at work.  Lori has been diligently posting about our building project, which is terribly exciting for us.  We are looking forward to having a new living space that is better insulated with thick walls, new-safe electrical wiring, better lighting with passive solar heating, and normal sized ceilings.  

Here is a quick update about the house...followed by some pics of Fall in Athens and Halloween at the Bassett House.

Danny started working on the steps, which will lead up to the second floor.  PJ and Lori did some digging, preparing for a concrete footer as well as looking for our existing sewer line.  I managed to do a little bit of work earlier in the week, nailing in a few studs and running to the lumberyard for materials.  Our next projects include the following: applying a layer of protection/treatment to the deck, raising the interior rafters/ceiling joyce supports - which are huge!!! 6" x 8" by 9'feet long, solid red-oak beams.  Once those guys are in place, we can span the building with our 2" x 12" by 16' foot ceiling yellow-pine joyce.  
 

Here is a pic of Bassett House, in the background.


Bright oak leaves...


RoseAnn as one of the Pink-ladies from Greece.


KB - Gangsta for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Midweek update

So much is happening so fast, I had to put in update, so I wouldn't have a lot this weekend.

On Sunday we rounded up some friends to help us put in the big windows for each of the punch outs.  The photos below show a before and after shot.  In order, it's Mike D, my Mom, Jim K, me and Kent in the opening of the window. 

This is the final product.  Well, sort of final, we still have to trim and stuff, but you get the picture.  This window was frickin' heavy and tight.  We had to hammer it in.  Plus it's about 8 feet off the ground, so of course, I had visions of it falling off and crashing into a thousand shards of glass.  Thank god, I'm not a psychic. 



Now the house is fully enclosed.  If we get a wood stove soon, we can hook it up and have heat.  Woo hoo.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Building: Take Two

Here is your weekly House Building update.

I came home on Thursday and the boys had finished the second punch out.  They even put the kitchen table in!  This is going to be the dining area.  The big open window will face west and right outside is a huge lilac bush.  It will be beautiful in the spring.

This is the window seat punch out that was in the blog last week.  We are finally finishing it up.  PJ and I put the roof on Thursday and Kent finished up the siding on Friday.  Eventually, everything will be resided, but the T-111 will hold up for now.

The deck is finished to the point where we can stand on it to put in the windows.  We bought rough cut wood from a local miller.  It is some beautiful oak.  Can't wait to sand it down, and show off the finish.


Here we are just getting started.



Kent in action!


Here the deck is finished, and two of the windows are in.  This is a south facing wall, so we selected these windows to let in southern light.  We will put a short roof over the windows to shade the house in the summer.  But wintertime; let in the light.  

We still need a sliding glass door for the gaping hole there.  Baby steps...


PJ in action.  The glasses are good, young man, but where is your ear protection??!? (Kent is always on us about that.)



Thursday, October 16, 2008

Building Take One

Many of you are asking how the house building is coming, so I am posting a blog about it.  I'll include lots of pictures over the next few months, so you can keep up.

In case you haven't heard, the plan is to transform the garage into the new living space.  We are going to take the roof off and add a second floor for 3 bedrooms and a bath and put the roof back on.  The first floor will be a kitchen, family room, and entry way with bathroom and washer/dryer.

The starting dimensions are 24x24 feet.  We are going to add six feet out towards the existing house, a few punch outs, and a deck.  Our total living space will still be under 12oo square feet.  This is pretty small, but still bigger than the 800 square foot house we are in now.  Eventually, we will knock down the current house and make it a garage/storage space.

Here is a side view of the garage as if you were standing in Tony's side yard and looking west.  This punch out is going to be a window seat.  There will be one on the other side that will expand the dining area. 


The first thing we did was reinforce the posts from the garage on the South side.  Kent and I dug trenches 30inches deep or so and poured footers.  Let's just say that digging sucks.  I don't even dig in my garden if I can get around it.  But we have beautiful footers now.  Then we laid the cement block down and piled up the dirt.
In this picture, the deck is framed out.  This wall faces south, so we are putting in a sliding glass door where the big hole is in the middle and 2 big windows on either side.  This weekend we may get the wood to finish the deck.  Hopefully, we'll get the windows in next week.


I hope this video works.  It shows the inside.

video

If you call our house and we don't answer, we are probably outside working.  So stop by, say hi, grab a hammer...

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's harvest time

Last Friday I had the opportunity to help a local farmer with his harvest.  To be honest I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but my friends Jenny and Travis were going to visit Brandon at his farm, so I wanted to tag along.

I got to know Brandon this summer when he came out to play frisbee.  I had heard about his experiments growing these grains that aren't native to North America, but can be part of sustainable agriculture.  These crops provide the best bang for the buck, since they are all high in protein.  He received a grant to grow grains in southeast Ohio, to see if this is something that can be viable for the area.  He is growing amaranth, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat.  I only got to help harvest the amaranth and millet. (Oh yeah, and some heirloom corn that is going to be used at the local bakery for tortillas.)  

But back to the A and M.  The amaranth is beautiful with this intense maroon plant and flower.  Here is a picture I borrowed from some online source.  Some of the types are completely maroon.  Even the leaves.

After harvest, it must dry to make it easy to get the seeds out of.  Then it gets threshed.  Which is basically stomping the heck out of it.  Then you get to sift it through a mesh to separate the seeds from the rest.  This gets tough but can be meditative.  So the threshing part is more party like and festive.  Winnowing (the separation state) is more focused.

The same process goes for millet.  Though, we only harvested and threshed the millet.  Didn't winnow.  

So that was my farm experience.  

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dream

The other night I had very vivid dream.  I often have dreams that I remember but not as much as this one. You'll have to bear with me as I give background about the characters.  Although one character you will all know and I why he is in my dream, I have no idea.

It started out with me walking uptown, most likely to work.  I ran into Ryan Sittler, a guy on the OU frisbee team who was working with a local landscaper.  (Now this doesn't seem too weird because he works at a local farm, so landscaper/farm, same venue.)  He was removing some stumps in front of Stephen's restaurant, which is located across the street from where I work.   I stop and say hi, and Stephen comes out to say hello.  (I know Stephen from when I worked at the eye doctors.  He is a friend of my old boss and plus he's a fellow siciliano.)  We chat and then Stephen turns into Chris Collinsworth.  Chris is the coach for a soccer team that is sponsored by Stephen's restaurant.  Chris is trying to recruit me to play on the team.  Of course, I would love to play, but I am old and the knees aren't cooperative these days to play.  I decline, but he pushes on.  He convinces me by telling me that Jamie Landheer and Mel Sheetz are playing.  

A little background here.  Jamie and Mel are outstanding ultimate players that I dearly love to play with.  Apparently in my dream, I figure if they can play awesome ultimate, they can play awesome soccer.  So I decide to play.

Our first game comes up and the three of up don't even play in the first half. So of course we are losing by two.  In fact there is a young girl playing.  I have to doubt Chris' coaching abilities at this point.  However, I never get to prove myself, as I awoke, or moved on to another dream. 

Then I saw Stephen at the Farmer's Market the next day.  I didn't see Chris Collinsworth though.

Analyze that.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Kids!

Here are a few photos from a couple of weeks ago.  We were in Cincinnati to see my bro, who was in town for the first time since last christmas, and my cousin from Alabama.  I hadn't seen her in a long time either.

We all met at Nonna's house for an afternoon.  Mary Beth and Rex and Carolyn were there too with their kids.

Joey and Lucas.  A little out of focus, but I like it anyway.  They have an older brother too.  They are all lanky kids.  (who would make great Ultimate players, hint hint)


Here is Jeff with one of Carolyn's youngins.  Jeff was pretty good with the 3 Carmody kids.  They seemed to see him as a jungle jim.  Jeff didn't seem to mind either.


These two remind me of Jeff and I.  Two peas in a pod. 





We also spent a little time with Tif and Roy on Sunday before we went back home.  I love this photo of Hazel on her new swing set.  


The newest edition to the Stephen's family, Jade.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We are in it again!

The cool thing about having a friend publish her own webzine is that if you are lucky, you are asked to be in it. This time Kent got in on the action too.

Check out the link below. The picture of me is in the back of the old truck. One of the last rides we ever took in it too. Oh the memories...

getoutwebzine

Enjoy

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekend update

We had a productive weekend here at the homestead.  

Friday, I played a bit by going to an art opening at the Dairy Barn and Kent worked on the truck.  Oh yeah, we bought a truck.  A 1981 baby blue Ford F150 pickup truck.  Straight six, as they say.  It is frickin' big.  Anyway, Kent worked on that, I saw the quilt show at the DB, and I did make some homemade applesauce.

Saturday was a play day, mostly.  I went to the market, farmacy, kroger in the morning, while Kent got some more work on the truck.  (That was our work for the day.)  Then, we went to a cookout sponsored by the Off Campus Housing division of OU.  They were trying to educate the students on how to be a good neighbor and resident of the city.  Seems like a good idea to me.  Kent wanted to go since it took place in our ward and then the students could meet their representative.  

Then it was off to the Paw paw festival.  This was a very good time.  The music was fantastic and the food was delightful.  Mostly we chatted with people.  Go figure.

Last night we went to the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network's fundraiser.  Again, good music, great food, and plenty of shmoozing.  The band was the Randys and they played a wide variety of covers.  My favorites were the Louis Prima and Dean Martin songs.  

Today, we worked.  We are still working on the garage to get it ready for the transformation.  Mainly this means cleaning it out.  Boy, do we have a bunch of stuff.   Thankfully our neighbors came over for awhile to give us a break.  Then the winds started and we all took cover.  So far, no big branches have fallen around us, but we'll see.

That's our weekend.  Busy busy.  It is supposed to cool off tomorrow, and I think this town is looking forward to it.  It's been so humid here, the cooler weather will be a welcome relief.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I am a believer

Last week, I bought the required digital  converter box for our TV.  Since we don't have cable, we will need this to watch PBS once everything goes digital.  Well, I am a believer.  I thought this whole digital TV thing was hocus pocus.  A way to get people to buy more crap.  Well, my shows now come in crystal clear.  I can see every hair up Wes Cowan's nose on History Detectives, the cracks on the vase of Antiques Roadshow, and the winkles on Bill Moyers forehead.  Plus, we now get 4 PBS stations.  Apparently, WOUB has all these digital channels that I didn't know one could get.  So now I can watch Rick Steve's Europe on the International channel.  The others are a kid channel and WOUB Learns.  The Learns channel shows a lot of the history detectives and NOVA type stuff.  So who needs cable.  

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Final days in Vermont

Our final day in burlington was spent at the Beach.  It reached 82, which was warm enough to brave the water and throw a little disc.  We started with lunch.  A plentiful spread of cheeses, hummus, pesto, salsa, bread, carrots, and these delightful pita chip things, that I must tell Kroger to start carrying.
After beach time, we enjoyed dinner with Bryan and his fiance' Elizabeth.  We met BY long long ago, when Daron first went to Burlington and he brought this rag tag team down to Arctic Vogue.  BY was among the players and we have the joy of playing along side him in many a tournament.  I think we even won a few with him.  
Our last day in Vermont included a long drive down the spine of Vermont to visit our long lost friend Herbi.  Herbi worked with Kent at BH and we have enjoyed her friendship for many years.  about five years ago, she received her Ph.D and pursued a faculty position in up state NY.  Although we've seen her a few times when she came back to Athens, this was the first time we have seen her in Vermont.  And let me tell you, if you know Herbi, know that she is in her element.  Herbi and her partner own 10 acres of land on a mountain the overlooks another mountain.  Her garden is bountiful and the dogs (Yep, she still has ruby and spike) run free.  

Here we are chowing at the beach.  It was a little overcast at first but then the sun came out.


Herbster at home.



Spike and Rubes!!!


Btw, spike still chases the ball like it's crack.  Some things never change.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Disc Golf in Vermont

Last Sunday was our first full day in Vermont and we had plans to meet up with our friend Eric.  Eric and Kent lived together in Athens, and helped spread the word of Ultimate.  Now, Eric aims his discs at those pesky metal contraptions known as baskets.  So we set off on an adventure.  With Eric, it's always an adventure...

The course was sugarbush.  Sugarbush is a ski resort for most of the year.  But looking for summer business, they turned their mountainside into a 36 hole golf course and downhill mountain bike ride of death.  (Sure, I guess, it's fun, but from the looks of the protective gear those guys were wearing, I'll stick to Athens bike path.)  One 18 hole course is at the base of the mountain.  Base meaning, you are still going up and down.  The other course is at the top of the mountain and you play downhill.  To get to the top, you can walk or take the ski lift.  Unfortunately, I didn't wear my hiking shoes, so I took the lift with Daron and Cathy.  Eric, Kent, John and the dogs walked.  

We had a blast as the course was a combo of tight throws, and open.  One hole was 1200 feet.  Of course, it was all downhill.  But still it's hard to aim downhill.  Not used to that.  Here are some photos of the day.

Here's us on the ski lift.


Eric contemplating his next shot. Btw, Eric kicked our ass.  He's pretty darn good.


Kent and I on the top of the mountain.



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Vermont

Kent and I are in Burlington, Vermont, visiting our good friends Daron and Kattsee. The weather is wonderful, as we are getting a break from the 90 degree days down in Athens. Here has been in the 70's with blue skies and light breeze. The waterfront was gorgeous yesterday as we enjoyed our Kreemee ice cream cones while watching the people go by. I intend to indulge in more sweetened milk concoctions as the week goes on.

These photos are from the Shelburne Farm which is located just south of Burlington. It is a working dairy farm that produces milk and cheese from their Brown Swiss cows. They had a cheese making area where you watch them make cheddar. mmmmm cheese.

Here is Daron and Kattsee outside the Farm Barn. A great place to bring kids since they can run around with out getting into too much trouble.



Chillaxing on a hillside that overlooks the farm.


The Inn at Shelburne Farm. Very posh.


Here are some interior shots of the Inn.