Rainout – Day 2 and counting……..

19Jul14 – Here we are all excited about the main deck finally going up and we’ve been rained out for 2 days so far.  Constant fog and rain, all day, all night with more on it’s way.  Oh well, we’ve waited this long, we’ll just wait some more…..

The Main Deck Begins… ;- )

17Jul14 – Ok, today is a really exciting day – work on the main deck begins!!  We’ve both been waiting for this for a very long time.  There is a lot of precision prep work which will probably take the longest to complete – I would guess.  We should be laying LVLs and floor joists by tomorrow.  That’s when the visual will come to life!

My Heroes of the Trees of Heaven Decimation

16Jul14 – Jeronimo and crew spent the day ridding our property of the majority of our forest of invasive Trees of Heaven.  MY HEROES!  This is one time I was delighted that a material delivery will be a day late.  Deck building starts tomorrow.  Today they tackled the heavenly trees! What an amazing difference…..

As Steve was readying to chainsaw a rather large heavenly tree, he came upon a hornets nest in the ground, along with the complementary kazillion hornets.  Quick thinking told him not to try & climb up the steep slope so instead he just let ‘er rip and slid all the way down to lower Creston Drive, chain saw in hand, as he encountered blackberry brambles, vines and 4 ft tall weeds (thank goodness he didn’t meet any trees along the way!)  He escaped with only 2 bites to his hand.  Now, I didn’t know that this was going on from up at the entrance.  All I saw was the four of them, then 3 of them running away up the mountain and Steve yelling “Oh, !@#$%” and disappearing down the mountain.  Jernonimo then frantically waved me to go get my car and rescue Steve.  I couldn’t get there fast enough, not knowing what I’d find lying by the side of the lower road.  Thank our luck stars, he was upright and walking, a little worse for wear, but ok.  There now is what appears to be a large bear track going down through the black berry bushes all the way to the road.  But that’s all our Steve’s doing.

Ah, life in the mountains.  You ‘gotta love it.

Moving on to the deck pillars! And, poision ivy isn’t all that bad….

15Jul14 – We have two crews on board again today and four jobs going on:  laying the conduit for electrical, working on the entrance stone pillars, putting up forms for the deck pillars (yeah!…Finally…), and weed whacking the gargantuous weeds on the East side of our yard.  That was abruptly stopped by a short but voracious downfall.  Eventually Steve will sic them on to the Trees of Heaven – I’ve come down with poison ivy on my forearms, those areas I uncovered because it got so darn hot whacking down Heavenly Trees in the underbrush yesterday.  Duh.  It’s not a very bad case of it at all.   Today, that is…..

Trees of Heaven – an impossibly healthy invasive; and digging trenches

14Jul14 – I’m finally tackling our very healthy orchard of Trees of Heaven.  They are prominent on the sunny slopes of the mountain. They are an invasive species.  Over time they will choke out the natural species that the insects, birds & wild animals depend on.  Oh no.

We have not done much about them the past two years as we weren’t concerned with the “yard” -  the Carriage House & the Maple Forest Cottage has had our attention.  But this year, they are huge!  So I donned my Trees of Heaven protective garb complete with my trusty sawzall and non-diluted super concentrated Round-Up. Once cut, by spraying the remaining sprouts, “trunks” for us, the chemical will seep into their roots and eventually prevent them from returning.  I should have taken a picture of the depths-of-darkness at the bases of our trees of heaven on the steep slope of our property as it goes down to meet the road.  It’s like a Jurassic Park jungle under there…  I’ll go back in tomorrow and do just that!

Photo Update….

13Jul14 – Here’s a new photo of the pillars and various & other sundrie things.  More tomorrow when the stone masons return….

Progress on the stone pillars

10Jul14 – The stone masons are making progress on our 3 entrance pillars.  The molds/forms have been removed and Pablo is hand forming the tops of them.  Stone work has started on the middle pillar!  It so fun watching the progression of our entrance.

We went back to the stone yard yesterday to look at two slabs that they picked out for our front steps.  We asked for some brown in the stone to go with the slate tile floor that will be on the porch & deck – they’ll make a great complement.  The owner, Nick, is giving these front steps of our Maple Forest Cottage to us as our house warming gift.  How perfect, and how thoughtful.

Painting and prepping for the entrance stone pillars

07Jul14 -Steve spent all of yesterday taping and rolling paint on the bedroom closets and upstairs bathrooms.  The rest of the house will be sprayed. It looks great!  Worth all those visits to the paint store coming up with the perfect formula for our perfect taupe.  The computer screen doesn’t do it justice.

Stone work is progressing on our entrance lower walls.  We are having part of the wall to the right re-done – it looks like someone threw pic-up-sticks on the ground.  “No problem,” the stone masons say.  Steve’s designing a mold for the cement base of the angled entrance pillars.  We noticed the original Maple Forest Cottage didn’t do this, but subsequent cottages have and we like the look.  The masons will be covering these with stone as well.

Got some exciting news – we will be starting our main deck next week!  Jeronimo, Jeraldo and Hugh have a break in their schedules and we grabbed them!  This is big for me.  All the “bones” of the house will be in place (well, we still have to frame the lower part of the porch), but the visual will be impactful!  Still lots to get excited about.

Prepping for Painting!

04Jul14 – Happy Independence Day!!

Today Steve & I began taping the bedrooms and LR where there will be paint color changes around the wood banding – maple & cherry on first floor, white painted maple & cherry on the upper floor.  This tape is the best!  It has a built-in plastic drop cloth of about 1′ so when you are spray painting it protects the surrounding area.  And it clings to the walls!  How cool is that?!

Fireplace stone work almost done and Blackberry picking on the mountain

02Jul14 – The stone masons are making great progress on the LR fireplace. They’ll finish what they can today.  We have to wait until the 1st of Aug to get our black stone hearth cut & delivered.  Then we ‘ll finish down to the hearth at that time.  Such a work in progress our Maple Forest Cottage is!

The whole mountain is covered in ripening blackberries.  I’ve been watching them since June 10th when I first tasted one on my morning walk.  They ripen first on the East sides of the mountain at the lower elevations.  I’ve been noshing on blackberries for almost a month now! I decided I’d share with others and picked about a gallon of blackberries along side the road this morning in less than an hour.  I had to stop myself!  There are plenty more to make all things blackberry…

Blackberry Crumb Cake
Blackberry and White Chocolate Layer Cake
Blackberry Crumb Muffins
Boozy Berry Parfait
Plum-Blackberry Cobble
Blackberry and Summer Apple Pie
Blackberry Pistachio Icebox Cake
White Chocolate Cakelets with Blackberry Cabernet Gastrique
Blackberry-Thyme Crumb Cake
Crepes with Blackberry-Rhubarb Compote
Apple Blackberry Thyme Jam

TennTucky Blackberry Cobbler
Blackberry Wine Sorbet
Blackberry-Peach Cobbler with Praline-Pecan Streusel
Blackberry Supremes
Blackberry Syrup
Fresh Blackberry Pie
Blackberry-Peach Coffee Cake
Blackberry-Apple Pie
Easy Blackberry Cobbler
Warm Blackberry Sauce Over Mango Sorbet
Blackberry-Apple Upside-Down Cake
Blackberry Cobbler
Very Berry Summer Pudding
Buttermilk-Blackberry Dreamsicles
Double Berry-Almond Galette
Peach-Berry Crumble
Winter Blackberry Cobbler

Am I a dessert girl?  Ah, YEAH, think so!!!