With a hint of coolness in the evenings that promises a fall and winter after this blistering summer, we've had a renewed energy around the farm to do things, inside and out.
That's included some of the basics that have been left undone for a time: installing the reverse osmosis water filtration system in the kitchen, finishing out the wiring in the storm shelter so that you can walk in and flip the lights on, and the dehumidifier can run in there when necessary. (Shelving also added for food storage, inspired by my little sister's paranoia.)
But there has also been time for whimsical.
Some hangers, old maple saps set in mahogany, design inspired by u.William.
The projects haven't been limited to home. The hotel and apartments always need a little something.
Handy-dandy clothes hangers in the apartments that I haven't found cool old wardrobes for yet.
Copper splash guards for those Mississippi deluges that will find any opportunity to point out a weak spot in an old building's defenses.
The kid's bathroom is gearing up for a complete tear out and replacement with a tiled wet room. In the meantime they have been sans-sink since the last time they stopped theirs up with toilet paper and whatnot, and I removed it. (The sink, not just the blockage.) So an interim solution until the inspiration builds up and we attack this room.
The playground overhaul at the elementary school. A successful local businessman and school board member took the concept and kept pushing, easily quadrupling the budget with his own time and effort and material purchasing. He dug out the old dilapidated wood playground structure with a backhoe, and pulled in the electric company and their drill rig to help set posts for a new one.
Coming together. We'll be out there setting the slides today. All the swing seats, chains and hardware have been replaced and/or repaired, the seats on the seesaws are all new, there's fresh mulch under all the equipment, and there's a joe box (big metal locking toolbox) onsite that is full of balls and jump ropes. Early feedback from the teachers and the kids is that recess is much more fun.
Alexe has been hankering for a larger garden. We are flush with lovely rolling land, a bit short on flat spots that are an easy walk from the house. This right here was the only candidate, and there was a tree in the way.
And then there wasn't.
After a week of drying in the blistering heat, we spent an evening as a family feeding the branches into a fire.
It may have been the longest joint project we've ever tackled as a family.
I couldn't stop smiling all evening.
The stump was stubborn. Even with a tractor, it resisted a simple scoop and flip.
We had to go full-on dig out.
With much grading, setting two cast iron tubs as a retaining wall and future planters that will be invisible once they're filled and sculpted into the hillside, and a round of plowing followed by discing, the garden took shape.
Followed by fencing with heavy gauge metal mesh that I'm hoping will minimize the number of chickens wandering through, and will keep the dogs and goats out. Also used the last wheel gate from Mr. Harding's collection, found in the barn.
We're hoping to have a visitor for the fall, and in preparation I finished running the utilities to the airstream. It now has water and power.
After seeing the pantry-pond at Monticello, I wanted one of those. And everything is easier with a tractor and some time.
Slowly filling her up, and there will be lots of landscaping before she's done. (I have my eye on the surplus stone from the Bank facade renovation; there seem to be a couple pallets of extra stone blocks out there that would make a lovely ring around this. Waiting to hear back from the contractor.)
There's a spot in the kitchen where the on demand water heater and plumbing pipes are visible. Alexe both always wants to cover it with a curtain to cover it up, and has categorized it as a clutter-able spot. Once that happens the piles of random things start building, and while the view of plumbing never bothered me, the wicker baskets full of old magazines, blankets, and empty milk bottles do.
A quick trade with Mickey, a pile of mahogany from my stash for some of the wide-plank heart pine from his stash.
A bit of sanding, some polyurethane...
Some barn door hardware, and there is now a lovely section of shelving that rolls to the right if I need to get to the plumbing. (Note the hangers mounted on the chimney.)
Meanwhile, Alexe tackled the kids' rooms. She has previously painted their rooms and done the odd bit of wallpapering. This time she painted the ceiling a light pink in Annaliese's room, and did the incredible stencil work all around. She then did a major clean-out of the pack-rat's collection of stuff, reorganized the shelves, and moved the furniture around.
Moving furniture is one of Alexe's favorite things. That sense of newness simply from sliding some objects around a room is always therapeutic. Unfortunately most of our house has an obvious layout, so she needs to get her fix in the kids' rooms. And she does, seasonally.
In Caspian's room she painted two walls this lovely blue, and stenciled the West wall. And reorganized the furniture, and did a similar clean-out. Both rooms look great, and now I'm on deck to put up some crown moulding.