I just can't seem to post on a regular basis lately. I've been busy cleaning up after our recent electrical update. Dust seems to have settled in every nook and cranny, including the closets where the lights had to be replaced. Most of the furniture had to be moved to give access to all the outlets and light fixtures. Slowly I'm getting it all back where it belongs. I must say I rather enjoyed the spacy emptiness of rooms without beds, but I'm not sure my kids would appreciate having to sleep on the floor when they come home for visits.

Yesterday was occupied with making grape jelly. My husband paid a visit to the family farm this past weekend where he picked grapes that grow at the end of the barn. Some of the vines are seen here early in the spring before leafing out. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the laden vines.

This year was a bumper crop. I made two batches, one of which didn't set properly. So I now have both grape jelly and grape syrup. So it goes. Oh well, the syrup will be great on pancakes or over ice cream. It still tastes delicious! The labels are compliments of How About Orange, which you can download yourself here.

I'm introducing a new category to the blog which I'm calling WHAT?  It's for things that strike me as utterly ridiculous. Today's entry is a $199 toilet brush called the VIPP 11. So yes, it is sleek and shiny with a nice design. But for almost $200 it had better be able to clean the toilet by itself! Wait, make that the whole bathroom. I can think of better things to do with my money than that. It's not the kind of thing I like to leave in sight anyway. A toilet brush as a status symbol? No thanks. Not that my blog is sponsor worthy, but if it ever is I'm safe in saying they won't be contacting me now, will they?

Do you have any WHAT? things to spill? I'd love to hear about them. Have any pictures of the bounty of your gardens? Been finding any produce left on your doorstep by anonymous friends and neighbors? Zucchini for instance?



The roofers continue to bang and pound but by tonight we should have a new roof on the main part of the house. The two porches and garage will get done on Monday. It's looking nice so far. We've made a slight change, going from a plain black roof to a variegated gray. Not a huge change but I think it will look better. Our house is a grayish blue although we may change it when we have the house painted next spring. We'll be poring over paint samples this winter trying to make that decision.

I never thought I'd get excited about a new roof, but considering the condition it was in it will be a big improvement. Also, when we had the roof done 20 years ago it was all done by one guy and he did a shoddy rush job. He was getting married that coming weekend and rushed to finish it. I went around the yard and driveway afterwards picking up handfuls of discarded nails, raking through the grass with my fingers. He also left behind sharp scraps of metal flashing and other garbage. Our three children were all little at the time and I wasn't happy at all! Remarkably he's still in business in the area.

Today I'm working on a little basement project. I know my husband will think I'm a little OCD when he sees it. I'll fill you in with the next post.

Plans for the weekend include more house projects, a trip to the farmer's market, cedar plank salmon and grilled vegetables, baking an apple pie, a few glasses of wine and attending the annual parade in my hometown. Fall is definitely here. We had our first frost already on Wednesday night. Last weekend it was close to 90. How quickly things change. What are your plans for the weekend? Work or play or a bit of both? Whatever you do I hope it's a a good one. Back on Monday with the details of mine.


Holy Ceiling, Batman!

Or should it be "holey ceiling"? Ok, that's a little cheesy, but makes more sense when you see this:

That, my friends, is the ceiling in one of our bedrooms with a two foot square hole in it! We had electricians in to update the wiring. Our ninety year old house had the original knob and tube wiring which is rather scary stuff. Especially considering that all our upstairs outlets weren't grounded and that is where we have the majority of our computer equipment. Unfortunately, Mr. Ted, who was the original builder/owner of this house, figured there was never going to be a reason to go in the attic and so never made an access opening. In the sixty years he lived here that proved true I guess. Until now.

We were expecting the attic to be a horror chamber full of dust, bats, and cobwebs but hoping it might contain a hidden treasure or two (that has always been my husband's hope anyway) which would help pay for all the work we're having done. Surprisingly it turned out to be quite nice up there. Not usable nice but quite clean. There was no evidence of bats or any other critters. We have lots of squirrels in our neighborhood that are constantly running across the roof so we worried about those. And we occasionally hear bats in the ceiling. My parents have had experience with squirrels and they can do a lot of damage. Amazingly there weren't even cobwebs. Just a nice thick, but uneven, layer of insulation.

See that vent in the gable? Notice anything? Whatever bozo later added that and at least one other vent (there are 4) took the lazy route by cutting right through a supporting stud! Real smart. That's the only surprise we found. No stash of money or old treasure we could take to Antiques Roadshow. 
(UPDATE: My brother informs me it's not a supporting stud, so I guess our house isn't about to cave in after all.) 

Here's another picture showing our old brick chimney. 

We don't use that anymore and the part above the roof was removed last time we had the roof done. In the basement there is a small door at the base of it that was used to clean the chimney when necessary. Our kids used to think that was how Santa got in the house because we don't have a fireplace. They were pretty worried when we had it sealed up. I can't remember what we told them but Santa continued to come much to their relief. Also, in regards to the attic, our daughter used to think there was a door in the back of my husband's closet to get into the attic. I'm sure it's some tale my husband told her. She used to go in there trying to find it, to no avail. 

The electricians finished up and left us with a few other repairs to be made besides the big hole in the ceiling. Our lathe and plaster is old and crumbly so a few other cracks and small chips were made that will require fixing. 

Today roofers have arrived to tear off our old shingles. Then insulation guys will do their thing before new shingles go on tomorrow. Here's what the old roof was looking like. After last winter's heavy snow the shingles started curling drastically. 

That's actually on the garage, which was the worst. It's a miracle we haven't had any leaks.

It'll be nice to have all the drilling, sawing and banging completed by the weekend in order to enjoy some peace and quiet around here! At least for a few weeks anyway. Then we'll be having new windows installed and someone in to repair all the plaster. That will be a big mess I'm not looking forward to.