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Storm Damage

We had a very localized bit of bad weather yesterday. I suspect it is what they call a micro-burst of wind, along with a lot of rain, but it lasted less than a half hour. We lost some trees, a few neighbors lost branches, and power was out for three hours. When Sharon was out earlier today, she did not see damage except nearby. We think a tree or power lines came down across the road, as traffic yesterday stopped for a while.

screened room and patio mess

screened room and patio mess

I also probably lost the screened room I had on the back patio. The legs were under some big concrete blocks, but the wind just lifted it up and flipped it. A wrought iron bird feeder crook caught one leg and the screen, and was bent flat to the ground, but held onto the structure. Quite a few tears, will have to see if they are repairable, and if the framework has not been too damaged. It is too wet around it yet today (soggy clay) to try to pick it up.

tree down on back property line

tree down on back property line

Everything happened in a narrow path along one side of the property. One small tree between my house and the building next door came down. The biggest surprise was a very large pine in Sharon’s front shade bed, snapped at the ground, missed plants, including the Bradford pear, and cleared the corner of her house by less than 5 feet. And neither of us heard it fall. As seen in the picture, it was a pretty big one to fall. Maybe the branches cushioned it enough not to hit too hard.

pine down in shade garden

pine down in shade garden

side view of tree

side view of tree

I guess we’ll be looking for someone who wants free firewood.

Slow Summer

I have actually taken a vacation, went to a Mensa convention in Boston to see friends. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold, so I slept a lot more than planned, but I had some meds with me that kept it from being too bad. A friend and I drove up together, as she is now retired and wanted to visit family in the area, and her husband is still working. It was a good way to test her limits on driving alone. She now knows she can do it, but with 2 nights on the road to be safe. We had a good trip. On the drive back, we were able to reach Roanoke the first night, so had a house instead of a hotel – very convenient. The Boston hotel where I stayed overlooked the Charles River, and from the 29th floor we had a great view. We were able to upgrade to a Club Room, giving us access to the Club Lounge with a good continental breakfast and appetizers in the early evening, beverages, free wi-fi, and a slightly larger room. The three of us rooming together agreed it was well worth the additional cost.

Charles River, Boston

Charles River, Boston

another view of Charles River

another view of Charles River

It seems like I’ve hardly been home – actually, over 6 weeks, I was home for 2. I hope to stay here for a while. The cats are still nervous when I leave the house.

I found, after a letter from the IRS and much tracking-down on my part, I made an important mistake on my return concerning my pension, so I owe them money – for past 2 years. One year’s I sent off and will deal with the other next month. Very unhappy, but it was my mistake.

With the house sale on hold for now, I am reconsidering what I will be doing for a bigger house. Sharon and I talked about the possibility of adding another dome wing to this, and rearrange some usage. I am very seriously going over this idea, as it would be much more affordable, and I really don’t need the rental income from this first dome, and it would take a while to re-cover my investment. So far I have not found any reason it would not work for me. In fact, by just adding a dome with living room, master bedroom, and bathroom, with a smaller mudroom to connect to the existing structure, I would save a lot of money. I would use current kitchen, laundry, turn tiny living room into a pantry, and bedroom into a guest room and craft room. I’m actually rather excited about this plan.

After all the rain one year, super cold the next winter, and now a fairly dry summer, after a heavy rain I found a couple more leaks in the dome – but they appear to be from normal house settling, and repainting latex over them should take care of it. I expect it to eventually stop settling, like most homes, even the house in Roanoke had a couple new wall cracks show up after a five year drought, and nothing worse in ten years since.

I am learning to use a smart phone – I got a refurbished model when I got a second phone with a South Carolina number. I like it enough that I seldom use the old phone. I do not expect to wait for my old house to sell, I will make the switch over soon, just need to work on letting friends and businesses know. They put out an app for the convention schedule in Boston, and I really liked having a listing that was updated regularly and fit in my pocket. I am a convert, but as a techie, I did expect that.

New Plans

Hi everyone, a couple of things for me to plan, but otherwise I have been taking things slowly. The house in Roanoke has had little done. I went up right after the last snow (last month) but had injured my back and found I could not do much. I abandoned plans and came back to Seneca. A wasted trip, but I am feeling good again. Now I am trying to coordinate taking someone with me to work on the roof and the yard, and help drive back with a load of furniture and stuff that I do not want for staging the house. I did buy a small shed to hold the furniture, plus the rest after the house sells, until I build another, slightly bigger, place.

I have been doing a lot of chain maille jewelry. I find I am really enjoying it. There is something soothing about the work, with the rubbing together of ends of jump rings, and putting together the pattern – reminds me of the way knitting soothes with the needles swooshing together and the pattern forming. Now I have had a number of friends encouraging me to go ahead and sell my jewelry. I am seriously considering it, am looking into what I need to do to start. I will probably start with a page on Etsy, but will let everyone know when it happens. It would be nice to make enough money to keep investing in more material. I do not want to work too much at this, or it will lose its appeal, besides, I am retired and do not want a full time job again.

earrings and bracelet of chain maille with beads

earrings and bracelet of chain maille with beads

The other item for long-term planning is a party in August 2017. A friend announced that there will be a total solar eclipse occurring over Seneca in late afternoon on a Monday. I think this calls for a long weekend party for friends from all around, especially outside the range of the eclipse. We will plan something.

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2017Aug21Tgoogle.html

Short-term, I am looking forward to, and saving towards, two vacation trips this summer. One for a family wedding in Chicago at the beginning of June, and one for a convention with friends in Boston at the beginning of July. Things will be busy.

Brr!

Wow it is so blustery and cold today! Temperature is 37, with wind chill to about 27 and gusts up to 40 mph. That wouldn’t be so bad, but I had to run outside to catch my porch – it is only a metal framework with a nylon canopy – I took the screening down earlier this fall. The wind has been pretty high in the past, but today even the heavy concrete blocks on the feet did not hold it down. I was lucky I was home and sitting just inside the back door when it started to move. I was freezing before I could anchor it briefly and go back inside for additional clothing, especially gloves. Very difficult with one person when the wind is trying to rip the fabric away, but I was able to get it off and inside the house. The framework I was able to walk back to the porch (it had blown about 8 feet before I caught it), and it should be okay to leave in place. The wind must be from a different direction, or a lot stronger, as I hear the flap on the bathroom fan rattling, a new sound.

Porch framework without canopy - rockers down from wind.  Cold but gorgeous sky.

Porch framework without canopy – rockers down from wind. Cold but gorgeous sky.

I put up insulated draperies this week, over both doors. The heater seemed to be running all the time, and I felt it needed a little help keeping the cold out. It does make the inside feel a bit smaller, but they will come down once the weather warms up. I’ll see with the next electric bill if they are helping.

The crew was out just before the holidays to take care of installing Sharon’s gas heater – which we LOVE – and to change the outdoor faucets on the line to my cottage to field faucets, which allow the water to drain back underground when shut off, preventing freezing. I am so glad we got that done before this weather change, I sure don’t want any more water pipe breaks.

Soup weather – I have been working on quite a few crock pot recipes, and actually enjoying the cooking. I expect to have a full freezer before long, as I don’t want to get tired of a recipe, so I portion and freeze it after a couple of meals. I hope won’t have to go out in the bad weather as often. I am not a fan of winter, but am making do – snuggling under a soft and warm throw with a book is good.

I hope everyone is staying warm during this freezing spell.

Fall or Winter

It’s nice to be at home in Seneca again. I stayed in Roanoke for 2 1/2 weeks, with the crew to work on the house. I got to see a few friends, but stayed close for questions. I just couldn’t get into the area of the basement to sort and toss stuff, but will do so next trip. Looking at the landscape here, I feel like I’ve been gone a lot longer. There are so many leaves down, and we’ve had a couple of rainy and windy days which keep bringing them down. It just feels chilly.

rainy fall day with most of the leaves down

rainy fall day with most of the leaves down

I brought back some extra vinyl flooring that was used in the kitchen, and I like the colors for the dome. It has gray like the walls, a warm yellow shade, and red like the clay that will be tracked inside. Since the stain and sealant have not worked out, I need to do something else. Once we can move all the furniture outside, I think putting down vinyl will be the best choice. I will be talking to someone in the flooring department before making a final decision, of course.

Sharon has put down landscape timbers and added gypsum to the soil in the area where we plan to plant blueberry bushes. We have discussed using a sort of hoop house frame to put up a barrier against birds raiding the ripening berries – we don’t want to share. It will be in a central location, hopefully easy to pick. Blueberries usually are. We are planning to have a freezer full, after a few years growth. Articles we’ve read recommend snipping off buds the first year, to give the plants healthier start. Discipline. Besides, the plants are rather small at planting.

bed for blueberry planting

bed for blueberry planting

We may be delaying fruit trees, cannot decide the best location. We have to be careful not to plant too close to the next construction site. Between sufficient sunlight, compacted soil, equipment for construction and the septic system, which cannot be too near tree roots or edible plants, we are hesitant to plant. I think Sharon is going to plant a small section of strawberries, but I only want them in raised beds. Vining fruit like cantaloupe, on the other hand, I will likely plant next spring.

Bad weather – has been really cold last couple of nights, but warmer last night with more cloud cover and rain. I see 2.5 inches in the gauge since yesterday. At least the ice has stayed at higher elevations. It is still not weather in which I want to be out and about – it is so good to be retired and not required to get out in the nasty weather. I do miss my attached garage in Virginia, but not the weather they are having now, wintry mix and high winds.

Hobbies

Lately I’ve gotten back to being more interested in my beading hobby. I really enjoy beadweaving. This is not weaving like fabric, although sometimes it is done on a small loom, but just stitching of tiny glass beads on thread. There are many stitches that have been used over the history of this art, and lately new bead shapes are being developed to add yet more interest to it. Czech beads have long been the standard, but in recent years there have been a couple of Japanese companies entering the market and refining the product. I think this has helped with new colors, then shapes, and overall interest. Here’s a couple of my favorite necklaces.

bead necklace

bead necklace

beaded  pendant

beaded fuchsite pendant

As much as I enjoy working with beads, it is another activity in a sitting position, so I have to limit myself to prevent sore joints. I find I am not as interested in spending time on a necklace, since I’ve retired I don’t often dress up enough for wearing them. I am working on earrings, though, with an occasional bracelet. Once the house situation settles down, I hope to do more designing of my own items. I am also exploring wire working with beads. This has been something I’ve not had time to try until a recent dabbling, and I am enjoying it. I definitely need new tools for this.

This is as bad as yarn for knittersĀ  (another hobby of mine) – acquiring the pretty beads or yarn is a terrible craving, and we all have big stashes. I tend to prefer to knit in winter, partly because the colder weather inspires, and partly because I want off-season from cat shedding. I don’t want pre-knitted cat hairs in my clothes, as I pick up enough normally. I have a beautiful blue mohair yarn for which I am looking for the right pattern for me.

The next hobby I’ve promised myself is to learn to spin yarn. In October, near the Asheville airport, the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair is held. http://www.saffsite.org/ I would like to be able to take a class there this year. I do not plan to acquire a large traditional spinning wheel, as there is no space left for it. There are smaller devices for spinning that I’ll investigate. Unfortunately, all are a bit beyond my budget for now, so I’ll save and look for used equipment if I enjoy the process in class.

And It Keeps Raining in SC

I have come to expect rain on July 4th since I’ve lived in the South, but this year was ridiculous. We haven’t had a dry day since I came back from Roanoke this week, and I think there were only a few periods of no rain today. At least with the extremely heavy downpours, I was able to verify we have stopped just about all seepage in the dome. I only saw a few moist spots (not standing water) under doors, and it was a heavy rain. No fireworks to enjoy this year.

rainy holiday

I stuck my arm out the front door for this, a bit crooked, but I stayed dry

Here in Seneca we have a new roof on our shed, with overhang for the mower. If it is ever dry enough, the landscaping will be done, then painting the dome outside.

new shed roof

new shed roof

The next big project is, of course, preparing my old house for the market. The good news is that sales in the area are picking up and so are prices. The bad is that I hate to let it go. It is the first house I have owned, plus I’m only the second owner of this 73 year old place. I am still convincing myself it will soon be loved by someone else. I have finally selected more neutral paint colors and started toning down my more saturated colors. I am making good progress on packing and tossing, and expect I’ll have a garage sale of some sort.

I found the wallpaper border in the dining room is well attached and will need to be steamed off. The border in the living room is stuck better than I thought, so both rooms will require a steamer. They were nice and decorative, besides covering up my messy ceiling to wall paint edge, but I don’t plan to use any wallpaper in my future.

I have had a nice milk chocolate color in the living room, to keep the south side room cooler in summer. It has been very cozy, but I changing to a much lighter tan with grey undertones. I painted the small entry, which is mostly trimming in around 4 doorways, and I do like the color – see below. I may do the dining room the same, too.

repainting living room and entry

repainting living room and entry

The hallway, kitchen and bathroom have all been done recently and will stay the color they are. The front bedroom is now an aqua, but very saturated and more shine in the finish than I want. It will be replaced with a sage in an eggshell finish. This took about 5 samples before I found the color I liked, but the large patch I have on one wall is very good. The back bedroom has 2 walls of a wheat color and 2 walls of terracotta color. It has pleased me, but I will paint over the terracotta, with either the wheat or white. This room is on the north side and is better bright.

Last weekend my neighbor removed a junk tree that has been growing between our houses. They even cut branches via my attic window, slowly reduced it in manageable chunks. There is a lot of light shining in now. Here’s a view from my bathroom window as they were working on it.

tree removal, person with chainsaw to left branch

tree removal, person with chainsaw on left branch