Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 2009 Reflections

The house is quiet again - the wind howling the only disturbance. It was so much fun having the kids here this year. Everyone enjoyed the food, gifts and company. For the first time, we had the sounds of small feet in the hallway, too.
Here are some pictures of the party - I think the quilt and mixer were the biggest hits!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Finally enough seats

With 2 days to spare - we finally have enough seats for the family! For the last few years (since we moved and started to build our passive solar house), we have had to use the lawn chairs when family came. And we were always one bed short.

As of Monday this week, we have a new sofa couch and recliner. I am sure the younger generation will be pleased.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

What if Climate is a Big Hoax

This Joel Pett cartoon is what I have been trying to say for YEARS - from USA Today!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Behind the Red Doors

There used to be a song - "Behind the Green Door", but in our house it is "Behind the Red Door". We decided to liven up the bedroom and bathrooms by painting the doors a shade of red. I like it, especially with the wood walls. Here are a couple of pictures which show how much difference the background can make. (ignore the odd door stop in the bedroom, ha)

Now, Dave is just finishing up the final woodwork and we are having a built-in utility sink made for the odd corner in the back hallway. It should be done by the first week in December. If our couch and chair actually show-up in time, we will be "finished" for Christmas. What a present!Technorati Tags: , ,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cabinets nearly done

We have been planning for our built-ins since we designed the house. Finally this summer, we got the designs to our cabinet maker, MidMaineFurniture. I posted when he set the pantry - which is now fully in use. This week, we finished the built-in bookcase, computer table and bathroom cabinet.
More pictures.

We only have one more "corner" to fill - the utility sink is now under construction!
The bedroom and bathroom doors can now be finished as well as the woodwork that abuts the cabinets.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blended stone

Our front door has needed an entry for a long time. Not for guests (usually come through the garage or the study door), but for the dogs to rest, ha.

We decided that it was too difficult to make an even area with all natural stone. So, purchased some concrete patio stones in a natural color. Dave used a bed of sand - can't do much in that area since it is over the styrofoam around the foundation - but that same styrofoam keeps it from freezing and heaving in the winter anyway.

We did use natural stone to finish it off and hope to continue some work in this front with raised beds - maybe next Spring.
There are pictures in our Gallery - check here.

September already?

I just took a quick look at the blog and discovered that it has been two months since our last post. We have been busy with the garden and outside chores, but are now slowing down as Fall approaches. It was a bad year for gardening - very very wet early and cool most of the months. The corn is small and just today we discovered the borers are starting to take their share. The tomatoes managed to contract the blight that has been infesting potato fields in northern Maine as well as tomatoes around us. They rot as they ripen and there will be no juice or sauce made from this poor crop. Dave planted pumpkins and they seem to be doing well - now, what to do with them to save for the winter?

Inside we did make continued progress with only some baseboard and trim to finish before saying, "Done!" The bathroom towel cabinet and end of hall bookcases are nearing completion. That will leave the table in the study and a utility sink at the back entrance. Who would have thought it would take this long to really finish this place?

We are thinking about ways to use renewables to supplement our hot water. Propane is our one fossil fuel use and it would be great to see it at least dwindle. Stay tuned.

I think I have some pictures on the camera and will see if anything is worth posting - hopefully, I can get back to this more regularly.
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pantry - day 2

Larry, the cabinet guru, arrived around 8 am and set to work on the pantry. It isn't easy to get everything level and mounted in a concrete house. But, he did a marvelous job. From the first placement of an upper cabinet for measurement through mounting the doors and finally the hardware, it all went smoothly.

The glass inserts in the top doors came out even better than we anticipated. You can see what is behind them, but it is not as obvious as clear panes would be - just subtle hints of the goodies that lie behind.

We used the same hardware as is in the kitchen which, along with the hickory, ties the two together nicely.

The two end cabinets (wine rack, waste-can and dogfood bin) will have slate tops to match the counter in the kitchen. Those will need to be ordered now that we can make the templates.

Day 3 - finish the regular kitchen (faux top covering the rangehood pipe and trim around the hanging wall). I'll post final pictures then.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

from blank to pantry

Although we have been happily (and environmentally consciously) living in our bermed house for a couple of years, there are a couple of things that have been on hold. The largest of these finalizing projects was our back hallway pantry.

We designed the cabinets and went back to Mid-Maine Furniture to build and install them. They will match the hickory in the kitchen and include some etched glass in the upper units. Hopefully, the glass will keep it from looking to massive and dark. Today, the transformation program began. Out went the open plastic shelves to open up the area .

Since the concrete floor and walls are not exact, it took most of the day to level and place the plinth.

Then we set the bottom units on for the night.

Stay tuned - tomorrow we continue.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

K9 Tribute on July 4th

A video tribute to the Working Dog. Dogs have been by man's side in every major conflict since the Seminole Wars.
composed by datransitcop
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Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Adventures for an Old Dog

Today Sophie decided that 10 was not too old for a Leonberger Lady to have a new adventure and make new friends. I just wish her new friend had not been so prickly and that she had not made such a close friendship so quickly.

Yes, the Princess got a snout full of quills - and I got an emergency trip to the 24 hour pet clinic (which is over an hour away - sometimes living in the hills of Maine has pitfalls). I was so upset that I forgot to take a picture - and I hope there isn't a next time.

We were walking with Milos on leash and Sophie moseying along behind when the boy went into full alert and the lady headed for the woods over my direct command! It only lasted a minute until she was back on the path with a full nose of quills. Of course, she had no collar and Milos was going crazy and she wouldn't walk and when I yelled noone heard me and.....

I managed to get her back to the house. We got most of them removed (needle nose plyers - a must have) before I headed down the road. So she was not in much discomfort on the way - but nevertheless............

I worried as she has laryngeal paralysis symptoms and I feared they would need to sedate her, but luckily that was not the case. We managed without - and she is presently resting after a good dinner.
Just another day in the life of a big dog on a big lot with big plans. And I am exhausted!

Monday, May 25, 2009

In the Swing

The swinging grill is back in operation!  There is just nothing like grilled meat done over an open fire on a real swinging grill!  We started the tradition learning from our friends in the Hunsruck of Germany - and have "carried the pole" ever since.

Memorial Day 2009 marked our first swinging meal at the solar homestead.
A beautiful day and a great meal.  See the chef in action: 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Springing into Action

Wow - almost 6 weeks without a post. Things have been very hectic here in Maine as we move from winter to Spring, Mud and Summer - the black flies have appeared already.
Since the house is nearing completion - still some window trim and doors to install, there isn't as much to report or document. Our pantry is under construction - I'll post some shots when it is finished (goal of July).

Dave did get our oldest son involved with cleaning some brush - one of his first back-hoe experiences.

The latest project is a swinging grill pit - we have missed it so much since we moved. There is absolutely nothing like chicken marinated and then grilled on a wood fire while resting on a swing grill. We have the basics ready:

The other big project we are starting this summer is some "beautification" of the front yard. The plan is to install raised beds for small veggies and flowers, a picket fence and a small patio and entry way (natural stone or some man-made stone). We need to take care in design with the piles of snow in the winter. The material for raised beds is causing some consternation - what is best (natural, of course) but durable?

Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Earth Hour

Switch off your lights for Earth Hour on Sunday March 28 8:30pm


Join the world in "voting" for energy policies and a future for the earth.
Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming

8:30PM local time, wherever you live on planet earth. Saturday 28 March 2009

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Covered to the final corner

The last tile is down!

There is still final sealing and grouting to take place - but Dave has managed to tile the entire house laying the final tile this afternoon. It seems a looong time ago that he started at the other end in the study. It certainly turned into a knee bruising challenge.

Everything looks great - we are anxious to get our room completely finished and start sleeping in our bed again.

The documented last tile:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Warm stove - blowing snow - enjoying bermed home

Milos in the tunnel from our front door - looking pretty sad. on TwitPic
Over 2 feet of blowing snow made a tunnel out of the front lawn. It has even overwhelmed the "snow-monster Milos".

Dave has been on the tractor for over 3 hours clearning the drive and now I hear him pushing snow off the roof. Obviously, no school today which expanded our winter vacation (due to snow, ha).
The Tulikivi is warm and the cocoa hot - things could be worse.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Wonderful World

To make my Friday the 13th end on a fabulous note - and usher in Valentines Day for all loves in our world.  Here is a video to make you smile:

Thank you: http://www.youtube.com/user/saks61Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, February 09, 2009

Another bedroom floored

It has been a long time since we have posted another step toward completion. But, today we move to only one room with concrete floors. The 2nd bedroom has been tiled - we used a grey slate which I think Dave did a great job laying. I am sure our guests will appreciate not waking up to concrete during their next visit.

One more bedroom (ours) and then window and door trim - it is getting close.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

2 Leonbergers -more than twice the fun

A dog post.
Tomorrow, my female leonberger turns 10!  See Sophie's page.

Why is this important? Because giant breed dogs age quickly - she is in her mid-70's human years according to many "experts".  I brought her home in the cabin of a United flight from Cleveland, OH to Portland, ME ten years ago.  She was so quiet in her carrier (all 18 pounds of her), that many didn't even know there was a puppy on the plane.  Since that day, she has stolen our hearts (see tribute on above page).  Just wanted to say "Happy Birthday".

We also have a 4 year old male - Milos's page.
He is a lover and takes very good care of his "Queen".  We celebrated his birthday at the end of December.

If you have pets,  give them hugs tonight and remember they depend on you!

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Visual comparison

Signing the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003

Signing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Removing the countdown

Today America experienced an event that made history. The inauguration of our first African American President. A man who is friendly to the environment and education, Barak H. Obama. The future will be difficult, but I have hope again.

image from http://msnbcmedia4.msn.com