Monday, June 24, 2013

The island project!

It's been a busy few weeks since we got back from the Whites. A visit from Brandon's parents, and a visit to his aunt and uncle this weekend at Reid State. Alongside putting in a garden (twice, thanks to Brody digging up the first one), clearing out more areas and replanting, and just keeping on top of things in the house.

One long-standing project that was finally finished today was the kitchen island - an odd island, but fixed so we couldn't move without redoing the floor. The laminate was also peeling in places and an end strip had come off the counter edge - though the entire kitchen is far from high end, the island was making it look worse. So we decided to give it a coat of paint and change the counter-top to a butcher block wood top, and extended it out so we could actually fit stools under it. The long term goal is to paint all the kitchen cabinets an off-white color, but for now, at least the island is done!

The island, as we started back in March. 

Emptying the cabinets. 

Painting in the kitchen - as a) it was too cold for the paint to cure quickly in the basement and b) too many cats in the basement to have it come out without cat hair.


First coat of super sticky primer, and already it looks better. 

Three coats of a green and it's looking great, though it didn't really go with the green counter-top! 

A gift card to Ikea = a butcher-block countertop! We cut it with our friend Peter's help, so we actually have some more pieces to install elsewhere too! 

The dogs, helping. 

And the final product. Large enough for two of us to sit behind to eat breakfast! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Birthday weekend in the Whites

 This weekend, despite a somewhat wet forecast, we headed to the White Mountains in New Hampshire to camp. We're glad we went, though the first night was wet, the sun came out on saturday and sunday, perfect for some Barkley sized hikes and a drive up Mt Washington (Brandon had never been). We left Brody at home (he's too much of a nut in a tent!), and gave Miss B. some one on one camp time - she's such a hoot in the tent, settles right away, cuddles up in her blanket - pretty darn cute.

Barkley surveying the scene. I think she approves. 

We bought a new tent last year in a sale - one that would be a little bigger for car camping than my compact 2 man. It's pretty neat - from LL Bean (of course!) - it has enough room for two larger thermarests and plenty of space for Barkley and bags; and it has a mesh vestibule on the front, which also has sides (for rain), though no floor. There's enough room in the vestibule for two chairs, and all the cooking equipment - it was perfect for the first night in the rain - we just sat in there, cooked, drank and watched the water...

View from the tent - Crocker Pond - one of my favorite campsites in the Whites - just 7 sites, all wooded, and most with a view of the pond. 

Barkley Bear all wrapped up in her blanket for the night. She quickly shed it though, as it was quite warm, even though it was wet outside. 

The next day started a little overcast and drizzly and quickly moved on to sunshine - so we started with a short 1 mile hike around Glen Ellis falls. Paved and footpaths, and the perfect size for Barkley.
Glen Ellis Falls

Hiking pup.

Nice footpaths made this hike an easy one. 

Self Portrait. 

It started to get toast out!

So we headed up Mt Washington - which despite it being in the 70's at the bottom, was cloudy, rainy and in the 50's on top! 

But - there was no queue for a picture by the sign! I've hiked up this mountain three times, and never got a photo with the sign, because the line is always too long! 

Barkley looking out.

The next day we took in some more short hikes around the Kangamangus Highway, including a stop at our now favorite Sabbaday Falls. 

A toasty Barkley stood in pretty much every pool on the way to cool down. 

Sabbaday Falls. 

Self Portrait! 

More falls. There are some beautiful waterfalls in New Hampshire! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013


After a great weekend, it's been a bit of a sad week. We said goodbye to D'Argtanian this week, a sudden illness sent him to the vets on monday, and by tuesday he was gone. He was only 2, and quite the kitten, but had always been ill from various intestinal issues. The thought is that one of those infections got up into his liver. Poor thing, and definitely quieter around the house.

This weekend we're headed to the White Mountains, taking the dogs camping for my birthday at my favorite White Mountain campground. The weather looks so-so, so here's hoping it holds out!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Make way for chickens....

Super busy for the last few weeks. Finished up teaching a Histology course at the Darling center (just need to grade!), which went really well. The last two weekends have been prepping the yard to take some trees down, the weather has been pretty spectacular the last few weeks - warm temps and some good rain for a few days, which the ground desperately needed after a very dry spring. The last two days have been SUPER humid, which was not good planning for a day to take trees down, but hey, what can you do....

Our awesome friend Peter came over to take two large trees (one oak and one pine) down that were pretty close to the house, but more importantly where we want to eventually put a shed and a chicken coop and run. Because Brody chases (and eats) chickens, we have to fence in a good size of yard (and put his electric fence around the pen). So the plan is to fence out into the forest, but give them some place to get some sunshine too. This is likely a project that will come to fruition next year, so this year is just prepping the area and getting a good size chunk cleared of underbrush and leaves. Today was in the high 90F's, and 80% humidity, so it was a good sweaty workout!

The area before, just off "Pie Alley", where the strawberries and rhubarb reside. 

Taking down the underbrush before Peter arrived. We chopped a bunch into firewood to dry and burn in a firepit we're busy creating in another section of yard, using stones reclaimed from in the woods. 

After roping up into the woods, Peter takes down the first tree, with Brandon on the come-along. 



And down! 

Brandon and Peter attaching ropes to the second tree, a tall pine tree. 

I got to operate the come-along for tree #2 - the tree fell straight down the wire, perfect! 

The dogs were relegated to inside, but they weren't complaining staying in the cool....

The area after - hard to see in the afternoon light, but much clearer. 

Just two large trees to break into firewood for later. Maybe we'll get a wood fireplace one day...:)