Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday, January 29. 2016

Darin stopped by alone this afternoon, used his propane torch to finish drying the concrete blocks around the crawl space, then tarred the outside, and wrapped the whole thing with a thick-ish plastic sheet. The plastic sheet has bumps on it that will collect and funnel any water along the walls and down to the bottom of the outside of the crawl space.

He's going to ask the county inspector to stop by on Monday after which the site will be back-filled with reserved dirt. Darin's going to use the sand piles which were left over from installing the geothermal system to fill in the space under the new porch.

On Tuesday the wood should be delivered for the studs. Clicking on the photo will enlarge it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Darin and Greg worked on the crawl space today in spite of the extreme cold. Insulation was applied to the inside walls. The water barrier cannot be applied to the outer wall until the cement blocks are dry - maybe in a couple of days, perhaps Saturday. The extension near the front of the photos is for the fireplace. If the water barrier is applied on Saturday, then the guys who dug the hole for the crawl space will come on Monday to back fill along the outer walls.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Violet was a rescue cat I adopted just before I left Royal Oak. Few visitors get to see her; she's very shy. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

On Saturday Darin's friends began construction on the crawl space. My new living room will not be large. This week work should start on the floor, the water proofing, back filling, and maybe the framing.

The moon behind an icicle hanging from the roof.

The harbor in Port Sanilac.

I didn't go to the Novi dog show this year. The weather was good enough but construction concerns kept me home. Dr. Alan Dorfman was very helpful in previous years. I'm sorry I missed him this year.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016

I went with Jennifer for breakfast at a coney joint along M-24 in Port Huron/Fort Gratiot (I don't know where one city ends and the other one begins.)

 Afterwards I visited her in her new home and we played with her dogs.

She gave me a copy of Elke Landrock-Bill's fantastic new book: -

Cover Photo
Dranga Aska Bergrós
Ágúst Ágústsson, Hrefna Sigfúsdóttir
Elke Landrock-Bill
Contact Information: -
Breeder's website: -

When the sun shines, it lights up my whole house - which is good for SADD and the plants. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

First Light and Greg & Darin's ceiling and my two new work benches - fantastic.

The insulation won't go up until the support wood and walls for the sitting room are up. It's been bitterly cold - of course. It's winter and January and Michigan. January and February are the "hard months" here.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

First light today ~

Because the dogs wake me at around 5:30/6:00 A.M. every morning, I see some wonderful first lights. They go outside to the bathroom first and then they get their breakfast. Once or twice a week I am often on the road to Sandusky or Harbor Beach for my own breakfast before the snow plows have removed ice and snow from the roads. Most of the time I see only one or two cars/trucks on the way. Depending on the timing, there are sometimes huge stainless steel milk trucks carrying milk for yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream, etc.

In the winter I don't get phone calls from friends who are happy to visit when the weather is nice in the spring, summer, and fall. Do I get lonely? Yes and no. I read a lot in the winter; however, the rest of the year I am too busy when I can actually work (it's not really "work") outside. The dogs keep me busy and happy now. I talk once or twice a week with my brother David and his wife Carolyn who live in Rhode Island. Jennifer calls me several times every day with dog world news. I hear from Kathy bi-monthly. They complete me.

I have three neighbors immediately to my north: a Royal Oak architect couple with a cottage they modernized and visit during nicer weather; a retired dentist who grew up in Royal Oak but had his practice not far from here and his wife who teaches at a community college not too far away; and a new neighbor who works at a credit union on Woodward near 11 Mile in Royal Oak and has children and grandchildren. They are fixing up the cottage they bought last summer. I hardly ever see any of my neighbors in the winter. I do see the USPS lady as well as the UPS and FedEx folks. When it snows, Rick plows my driveway and the common road in that I share with my southern neighbors.

Can you identify the bird in the two photos below? In my north forest there are four suet feeders which are visited by chickadees, several species of woodpeckers, and two species of these birds. One crawls head first up trees, the other goes head first down. I love my camera but it does not have a telephoto lens. Clicking enlarges photos a bit.

It has taken about a week for the concrete to set on the floor of my new crawl space. Last week after it had been poured, the cement blocks for the walls were delivered from Port Huron. I LOVE watching the progress.

Darin and Greg came up earlier this week and worked in the west end of the pole barn. Progress! The two work benches are done and the ceiling is almost finished. I bought some curtains for the two new windows and I hope Darin will hang them for me when the walls are done. " - - - the kindness of strangers." (Except at this point they are not strangers but it's still a good T.W. line.) Greg has asked if he can bring his family up next summer - of course!

Workers don't come often which is expected and normal but a little frustrating. I have had seven major construction projects in my life so I am well aware of how things work; I am patient and understanding.

Holidays are unhappy times for me. I just try to get through them.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years must be endured - alone. There are so many programs on TV from Thanksgiving through the end of December that remind those of us who are alone that holidays are for family and friends - those sad syrupy, specials that start out unhappily and then end with crowds of happy people sitting down to a big meal at a large dining room table - sigh! Who do they make those movies for? People who have gatherings like that are with their families and friends and therefore don't watch them. Those of us who are alone do watch them unfortunately.

My spirits lift considerably after January first when the plant and seed catalogs arrive. I start planning my gardens. This year for the first time in a long time I will plant a few vegetables - maybe. I know I have rabbits and deer but I'll try anyway. (The soil removed for the crawl space and spread around the front of my house looks like it might be quite good! Perhaps a fence around it to keep out the rabbits? Hope does indeed spring eternal.)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

On Tuesday concrete was poured for the crawl space under the new sitting room. Winter's here - finally. I don't know how long this cold spell will last - this time not long I think.

Tuesday night was very cold here, the concrete flooring was covered with insulated plastic sheets in order to set. The cold continued all day Wednesday.

On the right of the house in the photos below is the garage. I suppose the new addition which I call a sitting room might be called a living room by others. It will be large enough perhaps for a sofa and a couple of chairs. The disadvantage of the house as it is now is that I don't have a front door for guests, deliveries, etc. The following photos are hopefully for "before" and "after" shots. As always, clicking on photos enlarges them.

The piles of dirt will be put back into the excavation after the walls of the crawl space are up. Much of the removed soil has been spread in low spots in the front yard. I'm glad the ground was frozen; it could have been a real mess otherwise.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sitting Room

Yesterday they dug the hole for the crawl space under the new sitting room. Before the house was started I thought I would add an entry way/sitting room and plans were made. Yesterday the work started.

First Light

Footprint for the Crawl Space

Today they're coming up to pour the concrete. In order to dig first they had to locate and then avoid: the wire from the satellite dish for the TV,  the wire from the other satellite dish for the internet, the city water line, the propane gas line, the septic tank line, the geothermal line, the line for the well water (leading to the pole barn from near the beach), the land line for a phone - that was never installed. The county inspector showed up to make sure everything was kosher. Darin's real good at that!

Greg worked on the West End today too.

The north windows are in and the framework is up for the walls and ceiling. The West End is going to be my workroom. The basement under the house is only about a third the size of the house - just enough for the water heater, furnace and a little bit of storage. I have needed a place to store work tools and a place to work with them, dog crate storage, X-pens, extra paintings, a dog work area, etc.

Honest! It's not that cold. I Ching, Violet, and Kria. They cuddle like this even in the summer. Often Kata joins them so there are four furry animals in that chair - which happens to be my favorite reading chair. It swivels, rocks, and the high sides make comfortable arm rests.

Lots of birds the past few days because of the extreme cold.