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helwen: (Due Consideration)
The carpenter was finally able to come last week to work on building stairs into the basement. He's squeezing the job in between other obligations, but they're mostly done -- enough that we can use them. I expect he'll finish them Monday or Tuesday (some risers and the railings). Really nice to be able to get to the basement without going outside and heaving the bulkhead doors open! They're really nice and level, too...sigh :)

Hopefully we can get more work done on closing up the porch tomorrow. We were hoping to do some over the weekend, but yesterday morning was farmers market plus I left briefly to get a flu shot; the first swing dance lesson at the community hall was in the afternoon, followed by some regular house stuff and a nap. Then L brought in a packet from TIAA CREF that was sending their condolences on the death of my mother and forms I would need to fill out as a beneficiary -- excuse me? I knew immediately from the date on the letter that it was wrong, as I had spoken with her since that date, but otherwise the packet seemed legitimate. So of course I called and she picked up, at which point L left to take care of the chickens while I let her know about the letter. This was the third incident this week -- she still has to track things down to the source reporting her as deceased, but it has to do with Social Security. It's complicated, but hopefully it'll all get sorted out in the next week or so.

A couple who are friends of ours decided not to host their usual Halloween party -- I suspect life is being a little busier than usual, as we don't see very much of the husband these days -- so she proposed going to the party at Diva's, a club in Northampton. Interesting time -- neither L nor I have ever gone to a club. Closest for me would probably be going to The Blue Wall at UMass, during one of the sci-fi conventions, back in my college days. I couldn't go to bars back then even when I was old enough, because smoking hadn't been banned in restaurants and bars yet, and there was no such thing as a no-smoking area at bars.

We dressed up a bit for it but the pics another friend took probably didn't come out (Steampunk). If I can, I'll get dressed up again at home for a pic there. Good thing was that I was able to do test runs on a tulle skirt/tutu and also my creative lace leggings and they both worked. The lace is uber white so the leggings light up well under black light. :)

There were some creative costumes there, and people seemed to be having a good time. One of the highlights of the evening for me happened right at the beginning, actually. Everyone was being carded at the door, and the fellow looked from my card to me a few times before letting me in -- we think the age indicated by my card clicked for him when he checked L's next and realized by our costumes that we were a couple. :D

Left before the costume contest was done -- it was pretty late. As it was, we were up late enough that my eyes are light-sensitive this morning. Hot shower has helped sort out some of the general achiness, and I'll get in a good soak in the tub later today.

Late morning is hay delivery, eggs to deal with, piano to measure. Should be back at the house in the afternoon to do what we can there (including that bath for me!), choir practice in the evening.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Sunday night was China Night at Mt. Holyoke College. Our kung fu school did demos to lead off both Act I and Act II and were really great! I've always enjoyed watching the demos, but they've definitely upped things a notch, some great choreography happening that's helping to showcase people's skills even more, and show a lot of the variety of things that happen at the school.

Monday night L and I went to kung fu for the first time in a while (esp. for me), for forms night. Lots of good stuff, it was great to be back. Neck and shoulders got so tight I woke up with a splitting headache in the middle of the night; aspirin and a bit of shoulder massage by L helped, and by early afternoon things were all sorted out. Guessing that a soak in the tub _after_ class might be a good idea!

Also, broke a tooth Saturday - no, not doing kung fu, just having dinner. Anyway, it wasn't being a nuisance so didn't call the dentist until this morning. They were able to fit me in this afternoon and now I'm good to go for awhile. So, not a lot done on the office today, but did unpack a large box, happened across the lightswitch place I wanted to put in the office, and neatened up the wall around the switch with some joint compound.

Tomorrow should be more painting in the office. With any luck, we might be able to start setting up the office properly later in the day. Although we may want to deal with the gaps above and below the baseboard the sellers put on the outside wall first....hm... I'm afraid that painting was about their only good house skill.

Tomorrow night is weapons night; hoping to knock some more rust off!
helwen: (Due Consideration)

Did more painting of the office.

Went to kung fu dress rehearsal for China Night. One of the backstage people can't make it because of the date change (event delayed by snowstorm Nemo).

Went to Home Depot and failed to find some things, but we did get a new mat for inside the house's driveway-side door, a shower caddy, and a curtain rod. Then off to G'fld Famers Co-op for feed and scratch for the chickens.

Took down one of the old curtain rods and put up the new one in the downstairs bathroom, and shortened the curtain I wanted to go in there. The old curtain rod is way too large scale for that little room and will mostly be put up in the office over the double-window.

Baked a whole chicken -- rubbed with salt, garlic and cardamom, and made carrots and parsnips w/ a little olive oil, black pepper and ginger. Chicken and veggies were local, all of it super-tasty. More of that yummy chicken to look forward to later this week :)

Sunday (so far):

Got up early for morning ritual and stayed up to do more painting. With the cold weather I've generally been getting up for ritual and then going back to bed for another hour, but with China Night happening this evening and things to do before then, I really wanted to try to finish painting the walls. I'm going to tentatively call them done, but we're going to look at one of the walls later today and see if I got good enough coverage over the bright green that was on that wall. Also painted one piece of trim with some of the paint that came with the house to see how it looks, and we like it, so trim is next!
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Was originally planning for a house warming party in February, but between the weather delays and an aunt who wants to come but will be away during the original planned time, we're moving it to late March. Saturday, March 23.

Been coming up with some ideas for finger food stuff to serve (GF), although looks like I'll need February to do some experimental baking.

For the easy stuff, any good GF crackers out there? I don't eat a lot of grains in general, so I haven't bothered to try out different crackers. These need to be suitable to go with things like slices of cheese or smoked oysters. Thanks!


Jan. 7th, 2013 11:01 am
helwen: (Due Consideration)
- Still moving. L disassembled the barn loom yesterday and we moved it -- all but the warp/back beam are currently in our little barn for now. Living room and two bedrooms are cleared. Kitchen is nearly done, bathroom is half done, pantry is about 2/3 done. Office is maybe 1/3 done. Still have things to move at least from the attic to the back attic, but the back attic has been mostly cleared, so there's definitely room to do that.

- Internet guy comes to the house tomorrow (Tuesday).

- Yesterday we started the process of closing in the front porch, with the hopes of turning it into a temporary greenhouse. Challenging working with that large a piece of plastic!

- We also celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary by going to see The Hobbit (2D). A few liberties taken, but overall we enjoyed it.

- The shower curtain ring project has begun. The old system was 3/4 plus a straight rod on the wall. The 3/4 section was suspended on only two rods and the pieces were press-fit. The new one will be significantly better.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Made it home from the family farm last night, and after L shoveled for 2 hours this morning, we made it back up into town. Plows of all sorts are out there, keeping busy. I am currently at Elmer's, L is at the farm plowing out emergency access for the house, checking on the boiler, etc. I stuck a protein bar in his hand on the way out from Elmer's so he has at least something in his stomach. He'll have a proper breakfast when he gets back here.

From the way it's coming down, I expect he'll be plowing out at the family farm again later today, at least once.

I managed to get some shelving setup, a bookcase leveled, and a portable shelf into a cabinet before we left our house this morning, as well as putting some things away. Just fiddling on the laptop right now, so figured it was a good time to post.

One of my many projects will be making a magnetic board, as we've found such a surface to be useful. The fridge has a brushed stainless steel front, so we can't use it for that.

We also discovered last night that the dishwasher can't hold our largest plates. We've mostly been hand washing anyway, so those will stay on the hand wash list. The washer is an interesting one... two drawers, so you can use just one and use less water. And yes, we have tried it and it works quite well.

Not sure what all I'll do at the farm today, as I don't think I have much in the way of packing boxes there, and with the snow I don't really want to move a whole lot anyway. Probably will re-organize the back attic a little, to make space for things to come down from the attic. The back attic can be accessed from the back kitchen, so if we don't get everything out of the attic and apartment by end of month, we can at least move stuff to the back attic and be less intrusive as our niece and nephew move in. Hm...and maybe I can do some puttying of screw holes and the like. Yeah, plenty to do :D
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Still moving along. Have electricity, phone, gas (stove top and dryer), and tv all set. Internet still to go. Well, and heating oil too, but we have a little time for that yet as there's still half a tank. Bed is set up.

Made a few loop potholders... a guy came into the hardware store hoping for one of the owners to help him out with making a couple for his wife for a gift but she's too busy, so she offered to contact someone else to do it (me). Hey, every bit helps :D

Time to go, g'night all.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Actually, quite a few bits today. Dairmait/D came and helped with both the morning and the afternoon trips to the house. We used the minivan and one of the farm's pickups. In the afternoon we also had Eli and Emma, and her Suburban. Tried to focus more on the larger/heavier things, but also smaller boxes of stuff, clothing, et cetera went. Oh, and some of the indoor plants and a few that were hanging in there on the front porch...

We'll definitely be continuing back and forth between the houses for the next few weeks, and especially this week, seeing as we don't have internet set up there yet. Although hopefully L will have this coming week off, which would help with that part.

Also, time soon to bring over building materials, so we can start closing up the barn.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Signing has happened! Had a couple minor glitches but they're resolved. I need to take the first load of stuff over to the house. Yay!

Am hoping to get a strong back or two sometime during this next week or so... some things I'm not strong enough to help L move. Meantime, there are plenty of other things I can and will move!


Dec. 10th, 2012 10:44 am
helwen: (MacGyver)
We have an actual time set for signing, so I guess it's safe to post now that Lyle and I will be closing on a house in Ashfield on Wednesday, December 12, 2012.

House is 1800+ sq. ft. of living space, partial basement, small barn, and 6 acres of land with a stream running through it -- a bridge will definitely be a project, down the line, although it can be crossed on foot.

General outline of schedule after closing (assuming no more surprises):

- Start moving things in from then with the goal of living in the house by Winter Solstice

- Painting in two rooms (not entire room in either case, just the hot pink and lime green accent areas in one, and the dark blue on the upper half of the other)

- Close up the barn, which involves rehanging a door, replacing a door sill, fixing the windows, and closing up the carriage wall

- Building chicken nesting boxes

We'll be moving primarily what's in the farm house over the next week or so, but also some things from the family farm's barn. The print shop will probably have to wait until spring, along with a lot of other things in the barn; I'd like to have a chance to organize things.

I think we can move everything out of the apt., attic, and back attic by the 20/21st, but likely we'll still be moving things out of the barn after then, if anyone feels inclined to come help us out with any of the above ;) And if a miracle occurs, we might even have a tree this year, which would be lovely!

Still trying to figure out where to put some things, in my mental picture of the house. The cold pantry is the biggest challenge. We're probably going to use part of the basement, at least for now, although we're going to need to undo some of the work the sellers did in sealing it up (not enough air circulation). We'll figure it out, along with other things that will present a solution once we've lived there for a while.


Nov. 28th, 2012 09:27 am
helwen: (Default)
Light dusting of snow on the fields today. It snowed lightly a good part of yesterday and into the night, which is why I expect it's still here this morning...

Minor holdup on the house. Safety issue with basement stairs, which the sellers have to get fixed by a professional. No, they really can't build it to code themselves; their repair effort is likely why it failed. Then the appraiser has to come back and re-inspect, and then the lender will finance a mortgage for the house. Hopefully the sellers can find a builder who can replace the stairs quickly, and hopefully the appraiser will be able to schedule quickly. We shall see.

Still packing, but slowed down with other things going on -- minimum goal is one box per day.

Various joints and muscles are still at issue, but at least nothing is in spasm and in fact I've made it through a couple of kung fu classes this week and plan on going again tonight. Must, must, MUST soak in a tub before then!

There's more, but that's it for now. Have a lovely day everyone!


Nov. 20th, 2012 11:00 pm
helwen: (Default)
No tanka today. Got the official Title V report today; another step done. Nothing new going on, just the usual dealing with eggs and packing and stuff. We picked up our turkey today, from Manda Farm, so there's that... and uh, yeah, I guess that's it.
helwen: (Default)
Hurry up and wait
Make the calls and send the scans
Sellers bid fell through
Closing date is pretty tight
Now there may be extension.


Yeah, I need to work on other stuff...this house thing is eating my brain. On the plus side, we actually made it to another kung fu class last night; been a few weeks. Left shoulder is being obnoxiously tight; we'll keep working on that...
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Still trying to get the ginger potted up and indoors. Weather and a cold have slowed me down, and now I've run out of right-sized pots. L's going to build some tomorrow... We both still are under the weather. I did finish the first row and have put up 11 pots, two of which will be coming into the apartment for the winter. Using that row as a gauge, I'd say I have another 25-30 pots to go, using regular pots. L will be making wood rectangular containers, so about half that number...

The weather should hold for a few more days; hopefully that will be enough. If any of my more, um, enthusiastic(?) friends is interested in helping to get this plants potted, please feel free to come on up!

Stayed home this weekend instead of going to the kung fu seminar we'd signed up for, which turned out to be a good thing, as one of the pipe fittings for the water supply to the chickens failed Saturday. Since we were home, L went to check on the hens sooner than he otherwise would have, and found a small flood. He mucked out most of the wet stuff between Saturday and Sunday while I took over most of getting eggs ready for delivery in-town and to choir practice.

On the plus side of being under the weather, when I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with my ears starting to ache, I headed for the herbal meds first instead of the "modern" ones. Echinacea, Goldenseal, and Elecampagne. Got me through the rest of the night and through today. Guess there's hope for me yet!

An interesting thing happened today. I was perusing the house listings this morning and commented on how wouldn't it be nice if the folks of the place we'd placed a bid on (Apple Valley Road) were to suddenly decide that maybe they would come down to a price we could more comfortably afford... and then this afternoon we got a call from our realtor, who'd gotten a call from their realtor...hmm...
helwen: (appledoor)
A long day at the farm... minivan was mostly already loaded the day before, so off we went to the bank and then to Chicopee to drop off cash and our cooler, as Phred had kindly agreed to pick up our share of beef for us. We decided this year to try out a share with a group of people who do this every year -- 25 lbs. of various cuts of grass fed beef. It should be interesting to try -- it even looks different than store-bought, dark red instead of pink. I very rarely buy beef, between mad cow and having more than enough iron in my blood. But the grass fed have a safer, healthier diet, and get to roam around in the pasture (at least the ones around here do). Anyway....

- We brought up another load, of course...
- L finished wallpaper removal in the "spine chiller", where the office and probably part of the library will be, and I primed the walls.
- L off-loaded the windows and screens in the barn (we saved the old windows when we had them replaced in Holyoke -- future greenhouse/cold frame materials).
- L went back to Holyoke and got another partial load of stuff from the house, including some dishes and dishwashing liquid, so we can use our own cups for water instead of borrowing them all the time.
- I painted more of the dryer room/little fiber arts studio. L came back and took over the last bit of painting as my arms were giving out. Finished off the can, have to buy a quart to finish the room.
- Took care of the last load, picked up the beef, went home, collapsed.
** Somewhere in there we had lunch with Marian, Doris, and Bonnie (B's working the festival). Some good chats here and there with Doris, one of my SIL and L's sister. **

- Mom called to have me call her, and we chatted about some of the stuff that's been going on this month (computer problems, and other, more complicated things). Things are finally settling down, thank goodness.

- Collapse again for the night!

*** Ooo, almost forgot to mention one of the best things about the day. We left the farm house and went out into the night. Crisp, cool, clear. The waning moon was shining bright, caught in the branches of the topmost trees of the hills across the field. On the drive down from Ashfield, down the winding road, we played hide and seek with the beautiful moon.... yes, this is one of the things I definitely look forward to, living at the farm. Clean, clear air, wooded hills, visiting the spring on the hill, and a garden and studio with amazing views.
helwen: (me1)
Saw the orthopedic surgeon this morning. Because the last shot improved things for a while, but now things are starting to return to their previous state, this means apparently that there is a tear of the labrum, a lip of connective tissue where the shoulder ligaments connect to the edge of the socket that holds the ball of the upper arm bone into the socket of the shoulder blade (definition compliments of Univ. Sport Medicine page in Buffalo, NY).


So, they're going to see about getting insurance approval for an MRI, and then we'll schedule an MRI. It's quite likely they won't be able to the damage or much of it, because the connective tissue will be right up against the ligaments, etc., but they have to try. I'll be getting a shot of stuff to help light things up, as it were, before the MRI. Yay.

Then a consultative meeting in later October to see what the MRI says, and arrange for surgery, etc. Yes, I know, I know. Surgery is no fun, and recuperation to even semi-usefulness will take months. Full recovery will take a year. Yes, it will be extremely inconvenient -- there's never a good time for this sort of procedure, not if you're a busy/crafty/hands-on kind of person like me.

But what's the other choice? Not having the surgery means I'll have to take anti-inflammatories every time I weave for more then an hour, or want to garden or move things or paint or biking up hills..... and some things would be off-limits forever, like archery, fighting, or doing medium-to-deep-tissue massage for more than 20 minutes, or regular relation massage for more than a couple of hours. Depending on who you are and what you do on a regular basis, this type of injury, and even the acromion hook, can be lived with indefinitely. I'm just not one of those people.

[EDIT: That should be "relaxation massage", not "relation massage". I'm NOT that kind of massage therapist, thank you.]


Ah well, on to something more fun -- Weaving! The table loom is warped up once again, and I've started working on another scarf as of last night. It's a finer gauge of yarn than the Shetland, and a touch softer too, but I'm getting the feel for it. I should be able to turn out at least a couple more scarves by next weekend, hopefully up to five of them. We'll see, since I'm supposed to be finishing a painting as well :D


Termites taken care of as of yesterday. Electricians are here today to replace some wiring in the back basement's exit area. Yay!
helwen: (me4)
Window is repaired, and only $50. Yay! Purchase and Sale agreement signed, also yay. Talked to realtor about the attempted break-in and how we're making the house look more inhabited between now and closing. Turns out that there are people who are breaking into houses they think are empty and ripping out (literally) all the copper piping. Scrap copper's selling at $2/lb. now. I'd heard about the stadium lighting somewhere in the U.S., and the irrigation system in CA, and of course the people who fry themselves trying to steal wire off high-power transformer stations, and then there was that closed factory where the thieves thought the power was off...it wasn't. Ick. Anyway, it hadn't occurred to me that there was enough copper in a residential house to be worth the bother. Desperate times indeed.

We made a trip with a very full load Friday evening, and just before we went up, L was finishing up his work day, so I went out to the studiolo to see about winding yarn for another warp -- I could use some more scarves for the festival. I fiddled with the cotton/linen/silk blend stuff, but it was indeed quite fiddly. So, I looked over the yarns I'd saved out for weaving this fall, and chose a lovely rust/red/green/gold wool yarn to work with. It's mostly the rust/red color, with little bits of the other colors - very autumny, at least if you're from New England.

It was wonderful to be winding warp again. The weaving process is an interesting one, full of order, discipline, creativity, with the potential for disaster at every turn for a little spice. For instance, measuring out the yarn on the warping board, you create lovely parallel lines zigzagging across the board. And yet all it would take for a problem to occur is for you to miss going around a post or for the yarn to slip off a post. The tension is supposed to be as even as possible on your warp grouping, so that you can be sure each end will be approximately the same length (avoids waste). Life is like though, isn't it... you do your best to plan things out, to handle things carefully, and then something unexpected happens. Sometimes you can adjust quickly, sometimes not.

Working with this particular yarn, as the parallel lines formed and caught the afternoon sunlight, it was like capturing a part of the sun itself. And as I went through the repetitive movements, I could finally feel that I was settling down from dealing with the attempted break-in, retrieving the calm, sense of order, and joy of life that I need for juggling all the things we have to achieve this autumn.


Today we moved a bunch of plants up to the farm, and L started breaking ground for them. Some are in, the rest hopefully tomorrow. Warren and Susan have moved a lot of stuff to their new place, and were working on cleaning out rooms from the west end to the east end. So we were able to do a lot of wallpaper removal (using Marian's steam paper remover machine), etc. Did some patching and a little mudding. Warren suggested priming and then mudding, because the walls are old and a little crumbly (tiny, tiny little bits come loose as you're trying to put on a smooth coat of joint compound). So tomorrow we'll try that, instead of mudding then painting.

We're also going to bring some furniture and a few boxes up tomorrow. I don't want to spend an hour or two going up and down stairs, but it would be nice to get some more things up to the farm.


Concentus practice at 6pm tomorrow also, so we need to get up there early so that we can get home in time. I'm bummed that we won't be able to celebrate the equinox with [livejournal.com profile] gwynt_y_storm and others tomorrow, but with the excitement we had this week, I'm feeling the need to get a lot of things done as quickly as possible.
helwen: (Tower)
As anyone who reads my LJ regularly knows, L and I have been working like crazy, sometimes with help, on renovating the house for sale, and packing and moving stuff. As time goes by, we're getting more tired, less able to bounce back. But things are getting done, thankfully.

Good news: final negotiations have happened, and buyers signed the Purchase and Sale agreement last night. That doesn't mean we're completely in the clear, but it's a good sign. We still have work to do on the house, including the mason is here to work on the chimney top and on the basement pillars today, and the termite guy will be here next Thursday morning.

Bad news: We were so tired last night, we didn't hear a person break into our house, sometime between 11:30 p.m. last night and 6:30 a.m. this morning.

Good news: Nothing was taken, and the only damage was the window needs new pins, a basket got broken, and some apples got bruised.

We have a pedestal dining table, which was tipped over. We figure the thief got the window open (in a way that suggests familiarity with how these windows are constructed), then stepped onto the table, not realizing it was a pedestal-style. The table tipped over, spilling the basket of apples and sundry other items all over the place. The thief panicked at the noise he was making and left.

Of course we called the police, and detectives dusted for fingerprints and such. Looks like the thief wore gloves. He/she is a smoker (put cig out against the outside wall of the house), but we couldn't find a cigarette stub. Might have been a fresh one, so the thief put it out and stuck it in his/her pocket.

We've put in a call to the people who originally installed these particular windows, to get it repaired. Also, we'll be pointing out to them the theory one of the detectives had on how the window was opened.

So, a bit unnerving. Our neighborhood rarely has any crime on it. There've been three other incidents that I know of, in the past 11 years. We expect having the For Sale sign and having taken down the curtains to be factors. L's going to look for shades that will fit the two front windows. And we'll have the porch lights on at night for a bit.

I'm tempted to put up a note telling prospective thieves that all of our tech is outdated....

We'll definitely be moving more things up to the farm this weekend though, and possibly sooner as well.

Ah, well. It's sunny out, no one was hurt, and there's work to be done. We have much to be thankful for!
helwen: (Laundry)
We do have a bid on the house, and the house inspection, termite inspection, and appraisal all happened this morning. Good thing too, as there is in fact a few termites under the front porch. A previous owner had left a pile of wood under there (not pressure-treated) -- L says they were laid out kind of like a floor, perhaps so people didn't have to kneel in the dirt under there. So we will have to have spraying done, but only around the porch foundation, as very few have actually gotten into any of the wood of the house itself. Phew! We still have some other things to do at the house as well, or have done, but it's getting there.

The mason came this morning as well, to look at what would be involved with repointing the chimney, and also a new cap for it, and a little work on the basement support pillars and such -- all safe and functional, but we want to make sure it's all good for the long haul.

L did a lot of electrical work Friday -- cutting baseboards for the living/dining room, including the holes for the existing outlet boxes to come through, then mounting them. And I think the downstairs bathroom ceiling light went in on Friday also.

Once the buyers have a chance to look over the house inspection report, we'll discuss items and see who's willing to do what.

One more inspection to go, on October 2nd -- smoke/CO2 alarm inspection; all the alarms are installed and are brand new, so not worried about that. Thank goodness!

Meanwhile, also getting ready for Ashfield Fall Festival (Oct. 6-7). Also in October, Franklin County Fiber Twist (20-21) and New York Sheep and Wool Show (27-28) -- assuming life doesn't take a left turn at Albuquerque...

Hopefully it will all go smoothly, and we can proceed to close on October 12.
helwen: (Default)
The CT couple are coming back for a second viewing tomorrow.

Keeping fingers crossed!


helwen: (Default)

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