THE $3000 RASPBERRY ~ 12 AUGUST 2016
It's been a very busy week on the farm! I went up last Thursday, and though I didn't plan to, stayed a whole week and got home yesterday. Rick was coming to help on Friday and I wanted to make things as comfortable as possible for his weekend stay- good help is hard to find! So I made eggplant parmesan, zucchini tea breads, pickled beans, and had cherry tomatoes- mostly things from his beautiful home garden- which I prepared at home and took with me. Each week he's been creating a harvest offering when I get home and it's such a delight to use all the wonderfully fresh things from his garden. His thoughtfulness even includes a chocolate bar!
The most immediate push was to get things ready for the NEW FLOOR (yep, you read right!) throughout the entire house which is starting on Monday, August 15th. Because of the unevenness of the existing tile and hearth, I decided to opt for luxury and hire Lumber Liquidators to do the whole job. Rick and I have installed yards of flooring in every renovation and at home, but this was my treat for me.
I still had a lot of framing to do in doorways- which were widened- and everything had to be up off the floor.Since the delivery charge from Home Depot is $75 a trip, I had ordered a lot of building supplies which almost covered the entire living room floor and the plan was to attach everything to a wall or ceiling over the weekend. Also I promised the electrician Dave that I would clear out the attic so he could move around easier- well, that never did happen- but with Rick to help, I thought all things were possible.
Sullivan County has a very nice public dump. At home we just put our stuff on the curb and the garbage men come and take it away- trash and recycles are the only separated items. In Sullivan County, everything is separated and put into a different pile- metals, corrugated cardboard, other cardboard (like cereal boxes) construction debris (my favorite and most visited area), plastic and glass, food garbage, electronics, recycled oil, tires, etc. The people who come there are very devout and walk from container to container separating out the items for disposal. I really love that people are so invested in responsible garbage disposal. In fact, I made a judgment that this is a great community- based in part on how the garbage is handled! For a county service, I hear it's so well organized, they actually make money by selling what can be recycled and it improves our tax situation. Occasionally, you will see an item (kid's toy or lamp or piece of furniture) with some useful life still left in it, gently put to the side and someone will pick it up and take it home. For 10 weeks I've been depositing my contraction debris here, but for this all-out war-on-garbage, I knew we had to be able to dispose of a lot of stuff efficiently.
In case you haven't seen one, this is a Bagster, offered for your convenience from Waste Management- and I have to say, it's a really great invention. The bags are sold at Home Depot (around $30), you pack them up, and go on-line to pay for and schedule a pick-up. Easy-peasy. Pick-up within 3 days and your construction debris- or kitchen remodel, or yard clean-up is gone! The pick-up charge is different in different areas, but in Eldred it cost $189. to have it removed- about the same as I would have paid at the dump at $25/carful, but a whole lot easier for me.
We started loading the Bagster with the sliding glass door- the miserable, broken tracked, screen fall out, one side seal broken, ugly sliding door- which was finally replaced with my beautiful, old, solid wood door which was inside the house. After 2 disappointing arrangements with contractors who promised but never showed up, Ed Gavalla from Jesse G's Nursery and Landscape, who's team installed the deer fence, sent his son to do it for me.
Jesse did a great job. Ed had sent me photo of the finished project earlier in the week, but when I pulled into the drive it was so beautiful to see. Finally 7 weeks and 3 contractors later, the door is in the right spot to reorient the "front" of the house from the road side to the driveway side and the door looks like it was always meant to be there! Everything rests on the completion of something else and the new floor, electrical stuff in the entry and the walls in the bunk room couldn't be completed without the door being in place. So finally, I could move forward!
When Rick arrived on Friday, the first order of business was to figure out why the irrigation to the raspberries wasn't shutting off automatically- though I did manage to figure out how to manually turn it off. Then we put luan underlayment on the closet room ceiling- short just 2 small pieces to complete the job. Then we sheet rocked the entry ceiling which is now open to the bunk room. It was a lot of arm raising, but we finished that and the brightness of the sheet rock compared to the dull and dusty wood ceiling that was there before is so cheerful. It's hard to offer a friend comfort when the whole house is topsy-turvy- building supplies scattered everywhere, no air conditioning, no couch just hard folding chairs to relax on and no stove to warm the foods I had made (cold eggplant is really very good, though!). Instead, Rick offered me the comfort by taking me out to dinner followed by evening rides in the country in his air conditioned car and laughing a lot at the seemingly endless fixes needed around the farm. It was a weekend of good progress and happy memories.
When Rick left on Sunday, I decided to stay on- we hadn't finished everything for the flooring guys and the flooring had become a beacon of progress to me. It had to be done! So I started by finishing the tongue-and-groove wall boards in the bunk room- just 4 boards short of finishing the room. I moved the ship lap boards which are to go on the great room walls to the wood shed , finished the door opening to the pantry and closet room and closet in the closet room, sheet rocked the main kitchen wall (which was quite disgusting), and moved the 18" kitchen cabinet to create a space for the stove relocation.
I love this house so much- this broken down, always needing a cleaning, perpetual challenge of a house. And I think it loves me too because it leaves me gifts. While widening the closet entrance in the closet room, I found a thimble- always a handy thing for a seamstress. It's not real silver, but it is elegant and fits me perfectly. When I was cutting out the kitchen cabinet to relocate the stove, I found a recipe book underneath and the picture on the front is a raspberry dessert- it looks yummy and may prove to be fortuitous!
And the farm offered up the first berry of my planting- a gorgeous, plump, firm berry, the only red one in the patch! I'm sure this was the best tasting berry ever! Between the fence, the plants, the rototilling, straw and compost, I have a $3000 investment so this berry is at least worth that. But it's like the commercial- the first berry, priceless!
While driving to the farm, somewhere in north Jersey, I passed a Sunflower Maze so on the way home, I decided to stop and find out what that was.
Turns out, it's a field, about 5 acres, planted with sunflowers and some corn and the farmer takes out some growth to make a walking lane for kids and adults alike to get lost in there and find their way out. Being partial to a play-on-words, the idea of a sunflower maze with corn (maize) amused me. I love sunflowers, and have always wondered how to make a field of them profitable- here's the answer to my imagining! They have a beautiful set-up with porta-potties, picnic tables for groups, cut flowers for sale, hand painted sign boards of sunflowers with the faces cut out for kids to have their picture taken with their face in the hole and it's all done beautifully. They charge $10/adults and $5/kids. It seems like a real money maker to me, and a clever way to bring more people out to celebrate nature.
I'll be stopping there as long as it's open for cut flowers- I just loved it!
Ultimately, I got the ratty old carpet pulled up from the great room and my job for the floor installers was complete. As it turned out, I had flipped my time around- I was going home on Thursday for the weekend and will be back to the farm on Tuesday.
Thank you, friends, for your interest in my project. What ever your "berry" may be, I sincerely hope you're enjoying every minute! Sandy