Wednesday, July 31, 2013


We've made decent progress on the covered porch remodel over the past few days. All of the windows on the front side of the porch now have rough framing, and this morning Josh removed the wood plank siding on the sections where it will need to be replaced to accommodate the windows.

We poured a cement step at the entry to the porch area, and are now waiting for it to dry. Eventually the step along with the cement slab and foundation will be covered in large blue stone pavers (at least that is the plan for now) and a stair railing will be added.

The pavers I have my eye on are similar to these, although I don't know if we'll be able to work with pavers this large. Ours may be smaller in scale.

I also finished priming/painting/razor blading one of the doors for the porch and the second one just needs razor blading on the window panes. I did not bother with painting the very bottom of the doors, as they will be trimmed an inch or so to fit the doorway space. I will touch them up at the end.

As usual, Riley and Fern were total slackers the entire time.

Useless :)

Tomorrow morning I am taking the train to New York City to hopefully finish designing/sewing my wedding dress with my friend Marie. It remains to be seen whether we can finish it in three days. Hopefully I'll return with a dress in hand, if not I need to figure something out in a hurry. I bought a cheapo backup dress, but I don't love it. Fingers crossed that Marie and I can pull this off. We've changed the design idea several times. I am now leaning toward something like the dress below but without the eyelet fabric. Totally plain, I know, but that's me :)


Monday, July 29, 2013

Wild Blackberry Season + Garden Update

The garden has been going nuts. The wild blackberries in our yard are starting to ripen, we're picking cucumbers, lettuces, basil, and small sungold tomatoes from the garden, and in a few weeks we'll have squash, black krim tomatoes, melons, and pole beans.

We picked a bowl full of blackberries today and made plans for a jam or berry crisp, then promptly ate the entire bowl.

Four large cucumbers have been harvested from the garden.

The morning glory planted by the arbor has taken off.

Orange lilies and mystery pink roses popped up all over the yard a few weeks ago.

The sungold tomatoes have been turning ripe, but never make it back to the kitchen. It's too tempting to eat them right on the spot while weeding.

This photo is from a few weeks ago, and the garden is even more lush now.

Hard to believe we started with this only two months ago...

We really haven't had much trouble getting our plants to grow and thrive this year with the sunny/hot/rainy summer we've had. No deer, rabbit, or other critters have made it past the fence that we can tell. Japanese Beetles have been the only issue so far. We hung a trap on the arbor and have caught hundreds, but hundreds more are still in the garden eating the leaves and leaving little holes in everything. Anyone have tips for keeping them out? Something that doesn't involve chemicals or pesticides? Any info would be very much appreciated!


This past week we were very lucky to have not one or two, but three visitors show up to help with the house!

Josh's mom came mid week to help sand and prime doors and windows for the covered porch. Together, Melanie and I managed to sand four large double paned windows and sand/prime two doors. With all of the nooks, crannies, and corners on these doors and windows, it was no small task.

The doors, shown below, are solid wood and were picked up at a flea market for $30 each. It was tempting to refinish the wood and keep it natural, but with the severe weather these doors will see we opted to prime and paint them with a deck and arbor paint. The wood doors will replace our current chain link doors, one of which you can see in the picture.

The doors are primed now, and I will add a few coats of paint this week then scrape the panes with a razor blade to finish them off.

After Melanie left, Josh and I worked on leveling a new spot on the side of the house to stack cord wood. Our pile had been stacked against the side of the house all winter, and for reasons I won't bore you with now, that was a bad idea and the pile needed to be moved. After digging a level plot for the new stacking spot, we made a run to the gravel pit and ended up hand shoveling our gravel into the back of the Tacoma because the pit operator was busy elsewhere. If you ever want a really good workout, go ahead and fill up the back of a truck with gravel using nothing but a shovel. I don't think we'll be doing that again :)

Once the gravel was spread on our plot, it looked like this:

On Saturday, Josh's dad, Peter, and Peter's friend Arnie showed up to keep the progress going. Josh and Peter worked on framing out the windows, while Arnie and I cleared a large pile of cord wood off the porch and relocated it to the new stacking spot then applied linseed oil to fourteen 2' x 6' x 12' rough cut hemlock boards. We'll use the boards to make raised beds in the kitchen garden on top of the rock retaining wall.

Don't mind all the saw dust on the panes. Once we add window molding, a few coats of primer and paint, then wipe down the panes, these should look pretty nice. We have four large windows like the one shown above and four smaller windows for the sides of the covered porch. Josh and Peter figured out the framing on Saturday, and now it is our task to finish the job of installing the framing for the remaining 7 panes. Lots of work!

I'll be back later this week with a progress report. In the meantime, I want to thank Melanie, Peter, and Arnie for your amazing help this week and for keeping us motivated. You all are the best!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Saint-Gaudens + Edgewater Farm

Yesterday it felt like we just could not go wrong. After our jawdropping visit to the farm in Cornish, NH, we stopped by Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site on a tip from the farm's owners. We had the dogs with us, so we couldn't go inside the buildings, but once we stepped inside the grounds we did not want to leave. The estate includes an atrium, bowling green, extensive gardens, walking trails, a stable and ice house, numerous studios and galleries, a temple, and a pond.

The site is the former home of Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), the son of a French shoemaker and his Irish wife who emigrated to New York City when Augustus was an infant. Augustus grew up to be a prominent sculptor and artist, eventually teaching and traveling the world to work on commissioned art. In 1885 he came to Cornish to rent an old inn for the summer and loved it so much that he eventually bought it in 1892. The site is now a national park, and has been preserved beautifully. For more info, check out the website.

And now a few pictures!

↓ The "Little Studio" building
↓ The main house, known as Aspet

↓ Courtyard inside one of the galleries

↓ The grounds had beautiful long range views

↓ The giant honey locust tree in front of the main house was planted in 1886
After our visit at Saint-Gaudens, we stopped at Edgewater Farm Stand in Plainfield, NH to browse their beautiful greenhouse and have lunch. Edgewater has one of the nicest farm stands I've ever been to. Their produce is displayed in beautiful terra cotta pots, and the building has high, wood beam ceilings with a number of large sky lights. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

It was a pretty fantastic day all around. If you ever find yourself in the Cornish, NH area, both Saint-Gaudens and Edgewater Farm are lovely spots worth taking time to see. We have already promised ourselves to make it back to Saint-Gaudens on a day we can leave the dogs at home and spend all afternoon exploring.

*This is not a sponsored post.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cornish Farm

You all are in for a treat today.

Josh's mom, Melanie, came up from Boston for a few days to help us with house projects and see a house for sale in nearby Cornish, NH. Josh's parents are considering moving to New Hampshire or Vermont when they retire (they currently live outside Boston), and occasionally they come up to see homes and land for sale.

We went with Melanie to see the house this morning, and all three of us had our jaws on the floor throughout the tour. The house sits on over 100 acres, and was a tavern back in the late 1800s. It has a giant brick fireplace in the kitchen, a number of original, preserved features such as hand done wall murals, original doors and hardware, and beautiful wide plank floors. The property also includes a sugar house, barn, pond, potting shed, wood shed, garage, and acres of cleared pasture land. The previous owners did an amazing job preserving the original charm of the house, and also added a beautiful wing off the side. I wish I'd had time to photograph it all, especially more of the inside, but we were moving so quickly that I only got one or two really nice ones inside the house.

Needless to say, I am selfishly hoping they end up in this house :)

The front of the house

The back of the house

The master bedroom - the light in there was incredible

Master bath (photo is from online)

The barn, surrounded by hand stacked stone walls

Inside the barn

View of the house and barn from the pond

The sugar shack

One of the many views from the house

On our way back into town we stopped by the St. Gaudens National Historic Site, the home and studio of famous sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, which also blew us away. I took some photos there, too, and will be sharing them tomorrow on the blog along with a few shots of the beautiful Edgewater Farm we stopped at for lunch.

But that's not all!

Josh's dad, Peter, arrives Saturday to help install windows in the covered porch, so with any luck I will have some nice photos to share on Sunday or Monday of porch progress. We may also go back to the house for sale in Cornish, NH for another look if we can convince Peter to go :)