Friday, June 28, 2013

And Now For A Brief Intermission

Living & Dining Room photo taken 6/28/13

I am going to take a  short break from working on this blog to spend time doing a little creative writing for my other blog Pam's Coffee Conversation.  So, I want to take this moment to wish my Canadian friends, Happy Canada Day (July 1st) and my friends in the US, a very Happy Independence Day (July 4th).

Dining Room photo taken 6/28/13

Dining Room photo take 5/6/13

As you can see from the photos, contractor Lanny Johnson and his team of subcontractors and next generation assistants have  made amazing progress with restoring a house that many people would have chosen to just gut and rebuild from the ground up.

However, when a house has a good foundation it is worth restoring.  This has truly been a team effort.  I am so very proud to be able to play a small part in this undertaking.

If all goes according to schedule, next week the archway will be installed and painting will begin.

In the meanwhile, I will continue to document the restoration of this beautiful home in the middle of America.  So long for now from the house at 30th Street & 4th Avenue in Kearney, NE. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Let There Be Light and Floors, Doors and Baseboards

Hello again from the house at 30th Street & 4th Avenue in Kearney, NE. Thanks to the guys at Mostek Electric we have light.  YAY! 

A lot has happened since my last post.  In addition to installing new flooring on the main floor of the house,  Garringer Flooring applied the same golden oak stain and flooring covering to the upstairs floors.   Those floors were not replaced but simply sanded, stained and sealed.  The results were better than even they expected.

Of course, while the flooring contractor was working on the floors we were essentially locked out.

So to pass the time, the contractor,  Lanny Johnson decided to focus on the garden.  Lanny and his trusted assistant, yours truly, took on the task of extending the existing sprinkler system from the lawn out to the curb area.  This also provided me with an opportunity to see just how well contracting paper functions as a weed suppressant.  After I weeded sections of the yard, I covered the ground with contracting paper then cover the paper with the grass,  shrub clippings and in some areas back filled dirt.    This was hot, dirty and sweaty work but, as I told Lanny, it beats sitting at a desk for 8 hours under artificial lighting any day.   I do, however,  desperately need a manicure.

And if that wasn't enough excitement, the team from Sutterquist Cabinetry began installing the kitchen cabinets.

I told you that it's been a busy week.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Quick Update from 30th & 4th

 The week is already off to a very busy start.  However, I wanted to share this very quick update on the progress of the house at 30th & 4th in Kearney, NE.

The flooring contractor has finished the downstairs floors and as you can see, they are beautiful.   The photo on the left shows the bare wood floors.  The photo below shows the floors after they were  treated with golden oak stain by Diamond Vogle and then coated.  To protect them from damage they've been covered with contracting paper.

While the work is going on in the house, we are also working in the garden.  When you haven't been able to live in your home for a year things in the yard can get a little too unruly.  This week I expect to be doing a lot of weeding and removing trash trees.  I'll also be testing the effectiveness of using contracting paper as a weed cover as well as using the mixture of vinegar, dishwashing liquid and salt to kill weeds. 

 I've tried the later at the other house and it actually does seem to be quite effective.

By the way, I did finish sanding all of this primed wood.  Whew!  But these little details will make a big difference.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Perennial Hope

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." -- Albert Camus French-Algerian Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher.

The preceding quote by Albert Camus has always been one of my favorites but it has never had more meaning to me than it does now.

While the team from Garringer Custom Flooring of Kearney is installing the new floors in the house on 30th Street, my days have been spent sanding and painting the rosettes. plinths, corner stakes, trim and baseboards that will be used to create the window casings, trim and baseboards in the house. 

Do those rosettes remind you of anything?  :-)

Each one of the rosettes, plinths, and other wood pieces will be sanded, painted with a primer coat and then sanded again to a smooth finish before it is installed and painted again.  This is definitely not work for anyone worried about their manicure, getting calluses or having old looking hands.  I've already worn out one pair of workman's gloves.

 This task may seem tedious and boring to some people but for me it has been cathartic and in many ways akin to the Buddhist practice of using singing bowls for meditation. I have found that there is something very rewarding about taking a piece of wood and sanding it to a beautiful smooth finish.  This week has also been a pleasure because I've been working outside and enjoying the view of a perennial garden coming to life.  I love perennial flowers because they are nature's way of reminding us that something that may appear dead for a season can come back to life in the spring. 

This year I missed seeing the crocuses and hyacinths and daffodils that my mom had planted in her yard. For me, they always signaled the return of Spring.  If they had bloomed before I left, I didn’t notice.  While I normally appreciate the peaceful stillness of winter,  this past one was simply dreary,  devoid of peace and seemingly endless.   
Seeing Spring blooms were among the simple joys that I feared had been lost to me forever.  It was nice to be reminded this week that seasons do change.  .

The following photos provide you with a quick tour around the gardens. Enjoy



Bleeding Heart

Cottage Roses

Cottage Roses

Cottage Roses

Bearded Iris

For more photos of the garden and this home restoration project visit:

Also, I've recently been inspired to relaunch my other blog Pam's Coffee Conversation. Trust me, it won't be the same. I've changed.   This time I'm be chronicling my foray back into writing poetry and fiction.   Stay tuned.