Friday, November 21, 2008

A Sad Tail

So, as you've read in the earlier posts, our newly installed frost wall was covered with a waterproofing tar. No big deal. The morning following its application, I went outside to fill the window bird feeder and stepped in the still squishy tar as I stepped on top of the frost wall in order to reach the bird feedr. Ick. Dammit. It didn't really stick to my shoe (I don't know why), so no worries. Well, Maxwell, our cat, LOVES to go outside now that he lives in the country, and when he hears the front door opening he shoots to it hoping to get out. No big deal. So on the same morning as my tar encounter, I let him out when I take Mickey to the bus. And I leave him out. Later, I hear him yowling to be let in, so I let him in. I don't notice anything right away, but shortly after I notice he's walking funny. Holy Shoot! He has walked through the danged tar and has come in and walked through his cat box. What a mess! I called the vet and they said to buy a bottle of Goop to clean it off. Well, I have to go to work, so Tom goes to find the Goop. The hardware store does not have Goop, but they do have plain old mineral spirits, which the hardware store lady says will work as it got the tar off her cat. Well, the mineral spirits softened the tar but it didn't get it off. The vet had said not to let him eat the tar, so I covered his feet with Mickey's old socks.

I was beside myself. So, Saturday morning I called the vet again to report my lack of progress and they said to bring him in. I did, and $385 dollars later I was able to bring him home, a little worse for wear, sedated and shaved in the darnedest places.

Poor guy was NOT a happy camper. We had to give him give him antibiotic that didn't make him feel too well. For days he creeped around the house showing no interest in the great outdoors, but now that weeks have passed, the outdoors holds the same level of interest for the little bugger as it did before, but he isn't going out. Not till the work is done outside and it isn't so ding dong cold. And that tar is good and set!

Imagine if you will . . .

Now that the drainage has been installed and the foundation frost wall poured, tarred, insulated and covered, the framing of the two back rooms is now moving right along. What you see in the picture directly below are the openings for the two windows on either side of the hoped for fireplace, as well as the opening for the French doors that will lead onto the hoped for reclaimed brick or field stone patio.

Here is the view from inside looking at the imaginary fireplace flanked by the two windows.

Here is the view out the French doors onto the imaginary patio.

Here is the view out the east windows of the den looking up the hill to the timberline. Imagine the mounds of fill are beautiful flowers.

And here is the view into the pantry which will separate the kitchen from the den.

And this is the view into the kitchen standing in the archway between the kitchen and the den. The pantry is on the left of where I'm standing, the French doors to my right and behind me.

Woody Woodpecker?

I couldn't believe it! We had a new visitor to our feeder and I actually had the camera in my hand! Of course, when I saw the bird I instantly thought, "Where is that camera?" Kind of like looking for sunglasses that are perched on top of your head. Anyway, what we have here is a Hairy Woodpecker. There is another woodpecker called the Downy Woodpecker, but the Downy has spots on its tail and this one does not. You don't see that in this picture, but I have some lesser pictures that I'm not posting that clearly showed the solid black tail.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

As Grandma Foon would say . . .

Now where was I? Let's see. I told you they poured the foundation wall on the north side of the house. Well, they have since tarred and insulated it, and as you can see, they have filled the trench with the back fill.

They have poured the foundation walls on the south side of the house . . .

. . . and have tarred and insulated them as well.

They have laid more drainage around the east and south sides of the house . . .

. . . and have decided to lay drain pipe UNDER the basement floor (needless to say, there are springs under the house that they're trying to contain.) Below, you see the "tunnel" they have created under the concrete base for the new foundation under the dining room extension. There will be a blue pipe laid under the basement floor which will come out through that tunnel and connect to the rest of the drainage. The white pipe you see above it is the pipe to our septic tank.

The blue pipe you see below is the pipe from the septic tank to the leech fields which are under our front yard.

To build the new foundation under the dining room extension, they used Styrofoam forms which, once the concrete is poured, are left behind to act as insulation for the new wall.

Here's the new "doorway" from the basement into our new and unplanned for wine celler!

And each day when I come home from work I'm reminded of Grandma Foon whose reaction to the progress would undoubtedly be, "It just gets worser and worser!"

In all the digging, they have unearthed lots of enormous boulders.

There are plans for these wonderful boulders, but just in case those plans do not come to fruition, I'm going to keep them secret.

So, now that all the trenches have been filled in . . .

. . . Lindsay has begun to take off all the top soil from the north yard. He will then lay all the excess fill from the trenches onto the north yard and then cover it with the top soil. When he is done, the north yard will be flatter and the drastic slope which now exists between the front and north yards will be softer.

It's a House Finch!

I've made my determination and our newest visitors to the feeders are male and female House Finch. There are several birds that look similar - House Finch, Purple Finch, and Grosbeak. The male Grosbeak has more red than our birds, and our book says they're a summer bird, and since it's 15 degrees out now, my guess is it isn't summer anymore. While the male House and Purple Finches are similar with their red coloring, the male Purple Finch seems to have a pointy head while the male House Finch seems to have a round head. So that's my determination, they're House Finch. Now if I can just get some better photos of them!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Village of Southfield

I thought I'd take you on a scenic drive through the village of Southfield, starting at the beginning of Norfolk Road and on through town to where it all kind of peters out just south of Canaan Southfield Road. Blink and you'll miss it!

The grave stone of the gentlemen who built our house, Howard Augustus Cook.

While this looks like a church - used to be Baptist - it is now a private residence.

Our mail is not delivered to our house, basically since we're essentially three doors down from the post office. So we come here to pick up our mail from our post office box. The post office is in the old Turner & Cook Buggy Whip Factory. The "Cook" in Turner & Cook is the man whose grave stone you saw earlier in this post and who built our house. The Buggy Whip Factory is now an antique center.

One of the tenants of the Buggy Whip Antique Center is Farm Country Soup. When you go into the shop, no one is there. You simply help yourself. And as you can see from the notice below, buying soup from Farm Country Soup is on the honor system.

This is the Church Hall next door to the United Church of New Marlborough, which is separated from us by a vacant lot, a lot on which used to be the James Cook house. James was the father of Howard Cook, the builder/owner of our house.

Built in 1794 . . .

This house used to be the school house and is catty corner across from us. Wouldn't that have been nice for Mickey?

Us . . .

The home of our lovely next door neighbors, John and Victor . . .

This house is across from our north lawn, but is nicely hidden by all the trees . . .

And here we come to the inside end of the village . . .

And just outside the end of the village are these two houses. From here on, the houses are fewer and farther between.

Of all the beautiful places in the Berkshires, I consider us fortunate and lucky to have found our house in this quiet little village.