Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Spruce Street - bricklaying and sanding, sanding, sanding

Work at Spruce Street is steady. The progress report to date: bricks filled in chimney (where oven and really ugly mantle used to be), sub floor replaced and ready for new flooring in the kitchen, main floor (kitchen, living and dining) scraped, scraped some more and then sanded and sanded some more (READY TO PAINT!), the back yard has become a really nice place to be - post tree felling (have grass under foot and a blue sky above), the upstairs bedrooms and hallway have nicely refinished oak floors, and last but not least.... the mysterious SMELL seems to have dissipated (we hope for good).

Before tree felling October 2007

After tree felling - July 2008

More photos of Spruce Street for July

Paddling the Mystic River

Renovations at Spruce Street and a productive garden have limited our time on bikes and in canoes. We did get out on the Mystic River recently with Mark, Jen, and Don (Jen's Dad). It was a still Saturday morning, and nice to share the river with friends. We have paddled the Wood- Pawcatuck rivers on the CT-RI border so it was good explore the tidal waterways in Mystic as a contrast. We saw lots of jellyfish in the river... eek!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

RIP: Tom Jones

Sadly this week we said goodbye to Tom Jones, the goldfish. He had been with us for over two years and added lots of joy to our lives. We'll miss you Tom! R.I.P.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jen's Summer Berry Pudding

As if having a friend with a backhoe isn't enough, having one that is married to an amazing cook is even better. Jen, Mark's (of backhoe fame) equally talented other half, called this evening to ask a favor. She needed help with a left-over Summer Berry Pudding that "had to be eaten the day it was prepared". Unfortuntely for Bruno, who was on a lay-over in Detroit at the time, he missed the best summer berry pudding ever!

Moving Mulch

We have found that plenty of mulch in an organic garden is essential for healthy plants and veggies, and for keeping weeds under control. We were long overdue for a thick layer of mulch, so we had 10 yards delivered this week. That is a lot of mulch. Fortunately we have a friend with a backhoe. Mark, who was the engineer behind the oil removal at Spruce Street ( volunteered to help.

For those worried about what Mark owed us for the 100 gallons of heating oil.... we can sum it up this way.

The cost of ~100 gallons of oil....$400
The cost for a massage after moving mulch by hand (for 2)....$200
The cost of learning how to drive a backhoe.... PRICELESS!!!

You can see more photos of Bruno and Sheri driving a backhoe at the link....

Blue for the Blues

After years of loosing all of our blueberries to the birds, we managed a First Place Ribbon for our blueberries at the North Stonington Agricultural Fair! Many thanks to Michael and Janel for sending the tulle that they used to decorate the room in the cultural center where they had their wedding (see previous post We also won a few other ribbons as well! The tally:

Blueberries - 1st
Lavender - 1st
Potatoes - 2nd
Onions - 2nd

We will follow up with a lavendar photo, it is spectacular this year.

Friday, July 18, 2008

July's "Tune of the Month"

Its hot and very umid, and we're listening to one of the best cross-genre albums for a long, long time. Alison Krauss (of bluegrass fame) and Robert Plant (of Led Zepellin) team up for a memorable album that just has to get your feet tapping. Sheri had the good fortune to see them live earlier in the summer - what an experience!

Next update from the North Stonington Fair. Did we win prizes for our fruit & veggies, or not? Stay tuned!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Less Stress at Hangman Hill

We have embarked on our first real investment in furniture since moving to HHR nearly 9 years ago. An Ekornes Stressless love seat and chair combo arrived today. We are pleased that we can offer a way to counteract the stress associated with the uncertainty in the economy, the rising price of fuel and threat of global warming with some new ergonomic furnishings for the felines.

Berry Special Face of Produce

The produce has been berry abundant in the Hangman Hill gardens. The strawberries, raspberries and black currants are featured in this month's Face of Produce along with snap peas. The potato flowers in her "hair" should put you on the edge of your seat thinking about next month's FOP.

The Price of Oil at Spruce Street

Renovations at the house on Spruce Street continue with the landmark event of the removal of an old oil tank from the basement. The tank was filled with oil prior to purchase of the house only to discover the oil furnace was essentially dead. We made the decision to switch to a gas-powered furnace since gas was already plumbed for heating the water in the house.

The problem, what to do with ~100 gallons of oil and a smelly, old oil tank? We struck a deal with our friend Mark. He could have the oil in exchange for help with removal of the tank once emptied. After Mark siphoned the oil, in 5 gallon increments, he engineered a custom dolly that made quick work of a rusty old oil tank. We won't miss the smelly tank, but will miss Mark's visits and encouragement over the last month during his trips to Spruce Street to retrieve heating oil.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independece Day

We are celebrating a Friday away from work, a lovely summer day, and our independence from the British (well one of us!) with berry picking, a long bike ride and a cookout with Mark, Jen and their extended family.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Two Uses for Tulle

Many thanks to Michael and Janel who sent us the Tulle they used for their wedding. We created a lovely enclosure for our blueberries which in years past have only been enjoyed by the birds at Hangman Hill.

We have been enjoying raspberries, strawberries AND blueberries in our cereal thanks to the Tulle, and Michael and Janel.

Remember to reduce, REUSE and recycle.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day !!

Happy Canada Day to all our Canadian friends. We miss you all!

In the words of Stompin' Tom "It's Canada Day, Up Canada way, On the first day of July. And we're shoutin' hooray! Up Canada way. The maple leaf forever!"