Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

It’s That Time of Year

September 16, 2010

Wood delivered to our house. September 15, 2010.

In her blog Wednesday, Betsy told about the chimney sweep who came to give our chimney its annual cleaning.

Yesterday the reason for needing our chimney cleaned was delivered.  A dump truck dumped a load of firewood in our side yard.  It seems strange that firewood was delivered on the hottest day we’ve had all week, but that’s the way it worked out.  Now I’ll get to keep warm by stacking it.

This is actually wood that we will burn next year.  We purchase our wood a year in an advance so that we can season it and it will burn well.  We do go through quite a bit of firewood each year.  Our fireplace is in the Great Room and puts out enough heat to keep that room nice and toasty even on the coldest nights.

Wood that has been stacked and ready for use this year. September 15, 2010.

The picture above shows our wood pile with the wood we will burn this year.  I’ll have to split some of the thicker pieces so they will burn to the satisfaction of my Beautiful Bride, so this wood will warm me twice — once when I split it and once when I burn it.

Oh, well, Betsy is happy that this wood will keep me out of trouble for a few days at least.

I Wasn’t Looking for This Type of Water Flow

December 14, 2009

Plumbers at work in our front yard. October 13, 2009.

Let me begin by saying that Betsy and I had a wonderful weekend waterfalling in east Tennessee and western North Carolina.  We saw several new waterfalls and had a wonderful hike on Friday.

The weather forecast for Saturday night and Sunday was very iffy — there was the possibility of ice, sleet and rain and/or snow.  So we decided to come on home Saturday evening instead of traveling on Sunday.

It was after dark when we pulled into the driveway and the first thing we saw was water flowing across the driveway.  We both remarked that there must have been a lot of rain, because we hadn’t seen water flowing across the driveway since I built the new wall in the front yard.

HOWEVER …

When Betsy went to check on her bird feeders on the back deck, she noticed that the deck was dry.  She then noticed that we had no water in the house.  So, flashlight in hand, I checked the front yard and saw water gushing up through the cover of the water meter.

We called the water utility and a man came out to turn off the water and check the problem.  He found a crack in the line leading to the house about three inches on our side of the meter (sigh!).

They came to the rescue!

To make a long story short, our friendly plumbers came by Sunday and fixed the line and turned the water back on.  They also told me where I could get the tool to turn off the water at the meter.  If I do that, any leaks while we’re gone have to be on the utility’s side!

The Joys of Home Ownership

July 28, 2009

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I usually take part in the My World meme on Tuesday, but I’m skipping this week.

When I woke up yesterday (Monday) morning, I had my day all planned out.  The front lawn needed mowing, there were weeds in a periwinkle bed that needed to be pulled, and I had more work to do on a retaining wall I’m building along the road.  With luck I could get much of that work done before it got uncomfortably hot outside (summer has returned to the Plateau).

Then I went into the kitchen and turned on the lights . . . only half of them came on.  My day went down hill from there.

Don’t get me wrong — I really like our house and think it is just about perfect.  But the lighting in the kitchen is one thing that I would change if I could.  We have two eight-foot long fluorescent light fixtures in the kitchen, above a drop-down ceiling composed of  plastic ‘screens’.  To get to the fixtures the first thing that needs to be done is remove some of the screens.

I hoped against hope that the problem was just a bad bulb, but switching bulbs between the fixture that worked and the fixture that didn’t work produced no change.  The bulbs were fine.

The next possibility was a bad ballast.  We’ve had to replace the fixtures since we’ve lived here and we got our replacement fixtures at Lowe’s.  So we wrote down all the numbers we could find on the old ballast and headed to Lowe’s.  Of course the old ballast was no longer available, so we purchased an ‘equivalent’ ballast and headed back home.

I was able to get the new ballast into the fixture without any problems, but that’s when I noticed that the wires weren’t long enough to reach the two ends of the fixture.  Much experimentation showed that there was no way I could attach the ballast to the fixture (necessary to ground the ballast) and get the wires to reach both ends of fixture.  So I did some splicing, taped all the splices well, and put everything back together.  I put the bulbs back into the fixture and flipped the switch.  All the lights came on . . . FINALLY!!!  Now all I had to do was put the drop-down ceiling back.

Of course once that was done, the day was practically over.  Needless to say, I didn’t get much done on that list I had in mind when I woke up.

Maybe we should consider renting.

At Least I Don’t Need to Mow There Now

July 6, 2009

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I’ll be the first to say that I really like our house.  But there is one thing about it that is giving me increasing problems as I get older.  Our house (and lot) is lower than the house next to us.  Our lot is lower than the lot across the street as well.  The result is a fairly steep drop from the road to a depression in our lawn which serves as a path for runoff water after a hard rain.

That slope, on each side of the driveway, has gotten steeper with each passing year.  It is just hard to mow.  The area around our mail box was especially hard to mow.  When a house was built across the street, that mailbox was put next to ours and made a bad situation even worse.

Since I’m always looking for ways to avoid work, I built the small retaining wall and built up the area between it and the road enough to put in some plantings.  Right now it contains hens and chicks (sempervivum) and periwinkle.  We’ll probably add some pansies for color in the fall.  The wall  extends about six feet before tapering out where I can mow without any problems.

Now I just have to come up with a solution to the other side of the driveway, where the slope steeper and longer.

Our Woodpile is Shrinking

January 22, 2009

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Our woodpile is shrinking.

This cold snap, and an earlier one in November, have put a dent in our woodpile as you can see from the picture above.

We usually have a fire in the fireplace when the temperature drops below 40°.  We have a fire because a certain blonde in my life likes fireplace fires and also because it helps warm the house.  In the past we’ve had fires mostly in the evenings while watching TV, but it’s been so cold for the past week that we’ve tried to keep the fire going through the night.  I’m not sure if it will help us make up for TVA’s rate hikes, but the heat usually comes on only in the early morning about dawn.  When we get up we get the fire going good again and the heat usually goes off for the rest of the day.

We get our wood cut to length, but I usually split some of the bigger pieces.  That gives me something to do during the day.  I can get even more exercise by carrying the wood from the woodpile to the garage.

We try to maintain a two-year supply of wood so that it has plenty of time to age before we burn it.  So although this year’s pile is dwindling, we still have plenty of wood.  But in spite of that I sure would like things to warm up.

My World # 14

January 19, 2009
Our roses in the snow.  January 19, 2008.

Our roses in the snow. January 19, 2009.

This is my posting for the My World meme, which last week had 102 people sharing their worlds with us. To join in, click HERE.

As most of you know, my beautiful bride loves snow.  She has been disappointed by the lack of snow this winter.  But we finally got some during the day on Monday, as you can see from the picture above.  So Betsy is now feeling a little happier, although she’s hoping for an additional 3 or 4 inches!

I have to admit that I’m not as enthusiastic about the snow as Betsy is.  The picture also shows a part of one of our rose beds, and the roses sure do look cold.  I want to see them green and in bloom!

Snow on our jasmine bush.  January 19, 2009.

Snow on our jasmine bush. January 19, 2009.

I know Betsy would like to have more snow, so I tried to make it look as if we had more snow than we actually did by taking this close up of snow on the jasmine bush.

My world this week was gray, cloudy and cold.  I’m hoping it will be brighter, sunnier and warmer next week!

My World 11

December 29, 2008

To day I want to share a small, but very important part of my world — our home in the Glade.  It’s not a very big or fancy house, but we sure do like it.

We saw the house for the first time in August, 2002.  The picture below shows us what sold us that first time — the great room.  If you click to make the picture bigger you’ll see that there is a fireplace (which gets a lot of use in cool weather) and the doors opening out onto the wrap-around back deck.  There is a third patio door to the right of the pictures.  The three doors provide wonderful ventilation in the summer.
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The picture below shows the front of the house on the day we closed.  We were so excited — he had a retirement home!  We used the house as a weekend hideaway until July, 2003, when we moved up here full time.
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Since then, we’ve made some changes — mostly on the outside of the house.  This next picture was taken this year, and shows some of the changes we’ve made.  As you can see, we’ve added a flagpole, three circular flower beds (only two are visible) and the rose beds on either side of the driveway.
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This last picture is of the larger of the two rose beds.  I’ve included it because I like roses and because I am already thinking about Spring (don’t tell Betsy!).
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I hope you enjoyed the tour of my little corner of the world.  To see more of the world, click HERE or on the logo below.

mwtblack

What Is She Trying to Tell Me?

December 27, 2008

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As I’ve mentioned before, Betsy and I give each other Christmas ornaments at Christmas.  The ornaments usually commemorate a major event during the year or convey a special message.

This year Betsy gave me a very cute ‘Honey-Do List’ Santa.  As you can see in the picture above, Santa is carrying a ladder and holding a very long list of things that need to be done.

My first reaction when I opened the present was “Isn’t this a cute ornament”.  My second thought was “What is she trying to tell me?”.

On Christmas morning Betsy told me to stop being paranoid and enjoy the day.  After some hesitation I took her advice and we had a marvelous day.

Ah, but the day after Christmas arrived.  And what did I do?

1.  Replace the large wind chime torn apart by last week’s storms.
2.  Repair the three wind chimes less badly  damaged in those same storms.
3.  Replace a roof shingle we found in the back yard.
4.  Remove the leaves that Betsy raked from the front yard.
5.  Remove a blooming dandelion Betsy found while raking leaves.
6.  Replace the lanyard on the flag pole in front of the house.
7.  Repair and reinforce a small retaining wall that had fallen down.

Honey, can you please find me a sleeping Santa ornament for next year?

My World 10

December 22, 2008

The rain and then the cold have kept me inside most of this past week, so my world has been pretty much our house and preparations for Christmas.  That’s what I want to share with you.

Our Christmas tree is a memory tree.  Many of the ornaments commemorate significant events in our life together (such as our first Christmas or new home) or souvenirs from our travels (such as ornaments from Williamsburg.
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Although the tree is the largest of our decorations, we do try to remember the true meaning of Christmas.  Christmas is so much more than shopping, presents or parties.

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We have a fireplace, but it doesn’t have a mantel, so our stockings are hung on the bookcase with care.  I hope Santa will find them and that he will decide that we’ve been good enough to fill them.  You don’t think those stockings are too large, do you?

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You can see the nicest feature of our great room (at least in winter) on the left of this last picture.  A fireplace was one of Betsy’s requirements for a house and we both certainly love this one.  It gets a lot use in cold weather.  Not only does it help provide heat, but it gives us a wonderful place to enjoy a relaxing cup of tea.

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To see more pictures from around the world click on the logo below or visit My World.

mwtblack

My World

December 15, 2008

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This is the first time I’ve joined the My World meme.  To see pictures of our world from many different places, click  on the  logo or above or click HERE.

I thought I would share an after dark view of Christmas here in the Glade.  I think this is a beautiful area any time of the year, but it becomes magical at Christmas with all the lights.

The Glade sends a bright welcome as you enter.

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Some homes have elaborate displays.
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Homes on Lake Canterbury give a double display of lights.
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Another lake-front home decorated for the season.

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This is our house.  It’s not as fancy as some, but the Spirit of Christmas is alive and well here.

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Additional pictures of Christmas in the Glade can be found HERE.