Tag Archives: home

other crafts

Neil and I tackled a different kind of craft project last weekend.

power saw

one involving slightly more lumber and 100% more power tools than you might see amid my other ramblings.

We needed a new box for storing our firewood. The majority of it gets stacked on the porch. But having to go outside every time we need to put another log on the fire gets old fast. Especially in the really cold spells when NOTHING makes us want to go outside except double dares and the need for more firewood.

new drill

Also, this was an excellent chance for Neil to play with his birthday present – an new cordless drill!


We’re not the best wood workers ever. Wait, I take that back. I’m an inexperienced wood worker, and Neil’s not so much a fan of the power saws. The man can do amazing things with dove tail joints and chisels (woodworking is a class they teach at his college)

But for a box that’s going to take the abuse of 4 cords of fire wood passing through on the way to the stove what we really wanted was something durable and rustic.

becky in a box

Also large. This is a very large box.

The comparisons to my first sweater are startlingly easy to draw. The materials are solid and rustic. Good quality but not the fanciest out there (brown sheep lamb’s pride and knotty NH white pine respectively) The edges aren’t straight (in either case). I got exactly what I wanted, but I can see plenty of places for improvement. I know just enough to try my best, but don’t have quite all the right tools. I don’t own a square, I was marking square edges on the lumber with a book. I didn’t own a yarn needle when I seamed my first sweater.

The major difference is I don’t see myself building enough boxes to really learn the fine details of the trade. But that’s just me. Neil’s dreaming of a wood shop in the basement now…

even in australia

Yesterday was one of THOSE days. Things just didn’t go as planned. We needed to go pick up a dresser from a friends’ house. They’re moving and need to be out by the end of the month. There was a thunderstorm rolling in, but we looked at the clock, looked at the sky, and decided we could make it before the storm hit.

No such luck. We ended up BOLTING from our car to the house through the hail and whipping winds. We took the dresser apart (it has a mirror/shelf piece on top) and down the tight stairwell as the storm roared outside. Luckily (?) the storm had shifted to just steady rain and occasional thunder as we carried the dresser to the car.

It fit in the car, but just barely, and the tailgate didn’t quite shut. Neil tried to give it just a little shove- and the corner of the dresser shattered the rear window.

So now we’re driving home through the tail end of the storm listening to rain and broken safety glass patter down into the car, and the new dresser.

We got home to discover the power was out. We cleaned up the broken glass as best we could. Got the dresser (still full of glass, Neil will vacuum it out today) inside and covered the tailgate of the car with a shower curtain. We had cold leftovers for dinner (and a much needed beer)


Today I woke up to find my corn took a beating in the storm too. I don’t think anything is uprooted. I think the squash and beans supported the stalks a little. I’m hopeful that I can stake them upright again.

Everyone has terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, even in vermont…

guest room

Ever since we moved into this house we’ve been making changes to make it our own. It didn’t need much serious work, but it had been a rental for 15 years and as such all the wall were white, the appliances old, the yard poorly maintained…

We’ve made a lot of really good progress, but we have two rooms that have been completely neglected. This is one of them:

guest room

For a long time the guest room was just a place we stored boxes of stuff. Any actual guests ended up sleeping on the couch in the living room, at the mercy of our over-affectionate pets. Finally we got a nice futon in there, so at least guests now have a room with a door. But that’s about it.

guest room2

No other furniture, and a lot of extra stuff still in storage in the closet. This room is my next house project. We’ve already peeled most of the floral wallpaper down. Unfortunately it seems all the wallpaper in this house was sealed permanently to the sheetrock. We’ve painted over some of it. For whatever reason this stuff chose to come down on it’s own, but it took the surface of the sheetrock with it…

We’ve sealed the fuzzy peeled cardboard looking surface, but it’ll never be completely smooth. So I’m planning to do some kind of textured walls. It’ll either be textured paint, or (and this is what I’m leaning towards right now) a base coat with a complementary color sponged over it for texture. The other bedroom is a peaceful green, and the craft room is brown and blue. So I’m thinking of green and pale yellow for the colors. Light colors should also help counteract the overhanging wall which could make this room feel small and cramped in the wrong color.

I also need to change that ugly light fixture. When I changed the one in my craft room I discovered it has no grounding wire. I don’t worry about this fixture as much because it’s rarely used. And furniture. I believe it’d be nice for a guest room to have maybe a chair? Or bed side table? Something…


come on home

How many nights must I wait for the sound
of your footsteps falling on familiar ground?
And how many stars must I count
’till another sun comes up and brings the hope that you’ve been found?
‘Cause it’s been one whole year since duty called your name
and you kissed your newborn daughter and your only son.
You said time would go by fast
by October you’d be home with us at last
’cause the war would soon be won.

Come on home, I feel winter coming on
and I need you here to help us see it through.
Come on home, supper’s cooking on the stove.
Did you know we always set a place for you?
Every night we always set a place for you…

Come on Home, by Susannah Clifford Blachly.
You can listen to this song right on her website.

I hope everyone is with the ones they love this holiday season.

snapshots from home

With all the traveling we did in November I have to say I’m really looking forward to a quiet, cozy December. One with lots of knitting in it!

I think our animals have been feeling neglected with their people so far from home.

upsidedown critters

I mean, don’t they look soooooooo pitiful? Clearly we need to spend more time with them…
(you’ll have to excuse Neil, he’s not feeling well. He’d be mortified to learn I’m putting this picture of him on the interweb)

appropriate footwear

Tuesday evening I got home to find packages! My new boots had finally arrived!

pink boots

Turns out this was a Good Thing. Tuesday night into Wednesday saw some of the heaviest rains since I moved to this part of Vermont. Roads which I have never seen flooded were. My drive to work was halted at this point, after the section that was narrowed down to 1 land, but before the third “really deep” flooded point.

hogback rd flooded

Neil made it into Johnson where he took some photos of an old mill building, of course these buildings were built close to the river on purpose…

woolen mill flood

In fact, if you flip through these photos from the Burlington Free Press you’ll see about half of them are from either Johnson or Jeffersonville – both downtowns flooded. No lives were lost, but the damage is only beginning to be counted.

some flooded areas

That house on the ridge between the two towns is where my house is. These are the times I’m glad to live on a hill. Especially since it’s raining hard again today.

sunny saturday

yes, these photos are all from last saturday, sometimes I fall behind. But it was soooo pretty I couldn’t resist spending the day outside

with my knitting, and a book.

Neil joined me, he was brewing up an IPA

It’ll be tasty* as the spring warms up, I’m sure!

Watching the chickens mill around and try to figure out how to steal some beer grains provided good entertainment


Jake and Reggie spent the whole day outside, rolling in the dry grass, and finding bones that we’d gotten tired of tripping over and threw into the woods.

Apparently nothing tastes as good as a bone you’ve found in the woods.

Moxy took the important job of holding down the blocking sweater so it wouldn’t blow away.


And peanut hung out, chased invisible things, and stiffed the breeze.

*Super hoppy beers are not my favorite – but Neil is pretty good at making things with hops that are still pretty mellow. He’s good that way!

Why do you suppose?


It’s that time of year, when the snow melts, the rain starts, and the springs bubble forth. And Neil and I start making cheesy jokes.


Hey Neil, how do you suppose they came up with the name Waterville for our town? Oh I don’t know, it’s not like we have any WATER around here or anything… The crazy part is most of these streams flow year ’round – even in the dead cold of winter. But it’s in spring when the water starts to bubble and sing that we notice them most!

All around

This morning had some pretty neat things


april sunrise
a sunrise


and turkeys

Almost time

I was SO excited to start my garden seeds last weekend! Then I pulled out my seed box to get my winter squashes going and discovered I had used up the last of several packets of seeds last year and forgotten about it. I thought I had more tomato seeds, more winter squash, more snap beans – but apparently not. So Neil and I made up a list of all the things we wanted to grow and trekked to the feed store (it’s not really a trek, it’s one of the closest stores to our house. But it felt like a trek for some reason)

2011 seeds

Just as I was about to rip open the bag of soil and get started, I thought to check the calender one last time. The problem with northern VT is that our last frost dates are pretty far into what the rest of the world considers spring. I love the Freeze Climatology info put together by NOAA. They don’t just give you an average last frost date but explain the medians, percentiles, and extremes.

The earliest I’m supposed to start any of these seeds is 6 weeks before last frost. That means I’m not starting anything until April 9th. I made myself a timeline so I won’t forget, or try to get a head start again next weekend:

April 9th (6 weeks to last(hopefully!) frost):
Start cabbages, broccoli, marigolds

April 16th:
Start melons, indoor start flowers

April 23rd (4 weeks before last frost):
Start winter squashes, start tomatoes

April 30th:
Start cucumbers, summer squash
Move broccoli and cabbage seedlings to green house
Direct seed lettuce, spinach, chard (may not be needed, the ones in my cold frame look like they survived!)

May 7th:
Direct seed snap peas, spread wildflower seed? – assuming the weather’s cooperating…

May 14th (1 week before last frost):
start strawflowers, columbine inside

May 21st:
Direct seed bush beans, dry beans, sunflowers, snapdragons
Transplant most veggies and flowers

June 4th (2 weeks after last frost):
Direct seed sweet corn, edemame, basil

June 11th:
Transplant tomatoes

Why no, I don’t leave for the whole weekend very often in the spring, do I? May 21st will be the big weekend, the rest of these are fairly quick tasks. But as soon as all this $*(#&! snow melts we need to get started on preparing the front yard. We have to fix the giant (150 year old pine tree stump sized) divots so the land can be brush hogged once a year before we put the wildflower seed down. And I have plans for a fenced in front yard this year. I’m going to let the chickens free range wherever they want, and fence them OUT of the human areas so hopefully there will be less poop on the patio.

I’ll be putting the tomatoes outside every day the temps reach 65 or more, but I always bring them inside at night. I did this until the middle of June last year (putting them in bigger pots when needed) and oh boy did they TAKE OFF. Much better then trying to nurse them along outside in the cold.