Katrina Cottage Makeover

October
29
2016

It’s a present day blog post.  We are still living above the garage in John’s office/guest room.  I have to admit it’s not as bad living here as I first thought.  The builders knew we needed the Crab Shack  makeover done quickly because we had friends from Florida coming for four days and we wanted them to stay there. John named this endeavor “Operation Jesse.”  Meanwhile we were settled in to the little garage apartment.  (Emphasis on little.)

IMG_1353

Well, they are not done in the Crab Shack, but it is finished enough so that our friends could be comfortable. Our “stuff” is still all around the perimeter of the rooms, but the couch and chairs and tv are usable, as is the bed and the new bathroom space.  There is still spackling to be done upstairs in the loft, and painting and electric work in the main room of the cottage, plus the big new closet has to be finished.

But, we’re moving forward at least.  I don’t have access to my computer – writing a blog on the Ipad (for me at least) – not so easy.  So, take a look around at how the Crab Shack a/k/a Katrina Cottage is evolving:

 

Our old kitchen

Our old kitchen

 

Wall is where kitchen was

Wall is where kitchen was

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 500

Old bathroom

New bathroom with tub

New bathroom with tub

 

Mudroom then

Mudroom then

 

Mudroom so far now, with doorway to new "addition"

Mudroom so far now, with doorway to new “addition”

I set up the new closet space with a cooler and coffee maker:

Mini kitchenette

Mini kitchenette

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All the comforts of home, huh?  We’re thinking we’ll be in the garage another week.  Jesse and Pam are leaving Sunday, and we hope to be back in the Crab Shack ourselves by next Saturday.  I’ll let you know.

Enjoy the sunset!

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Green Metal Roof

October
21
2016
Roof going up

Roof going up

It’s July here in blog-time.  And HOT!  Very, very hot….here on the Eastern Shore it’s 98 degrees and with the heat index it’s been up to 105!  And these guys are installing our green metal roof!  To their credit, they work all day, taking their lunch in their air-conditioned cars and dousing themselves with water from the hose once in a while.  I feel badly for them, but we’re happy the work is progressing.

Little Choptank 2016 G July 001

We have a green metal roof on the Crab Shack and we’ve been very happy with it.  It’s rated for winds over 200 mph – and let’s hope we never have to test that! It’s the heavy gauge, which again, is great for us, but a little tougher to install.  To be honest, there are a couple of things about it I wish were different.  In the bedroom of the Crab Shack, when it rains it’s a little noisy.  Not so much in the living room, I guess because the ceiling is so high in there.  The other thing, in the winter when we have snow or once in a while ice on the roof, it slides down the metal when the sun warms it up and crashes to the ground.  It’s loud and would be dangerous if you were out there under it when it fell.  Now I know why they have those little stoppers on some roofs.  Makes sense.

Little Choptank 2016 F June 235

Little Choptank 2016 G July 025

The cupola looks nice with the roof all done.  While this was going on, we were working on the gas fireplace.  We love a real wood fireplace, and we’ve had them before.  Now that I think of it, we’ve always had a fireplace.  In Long Island we had a wood fireplace, in Pennsylvania a wood one also.  We eventually added an insert to that wood fireplace because the room was so big and the ceiling so high, and it was HOT in there, even in the coldest, snowiest winters!   Then in NJ we started with wood, but Chrissy and I would cough whenever John lit a fire.  We even raised the chimney because it was too short and we thought that was the problem. It helped a little but not enough. We finally decided to change to gas, and that’s when we found out the flue wasn’t positioned right and was actually too shallow so the smoke would seep back into the room. Converting to gas solved the problem and actually converted us to believers.  We’ll have the wood fire when we build the outdoor fire pit.  I know just where I want to put it!

Here's the spot for the gas fireplace

Here’s the spot for the gas fireplace

And our front door arrives!

Little Choptank 2016 G July 073

Little Choptank 2016 G July 076

Front door installed

Front door installed

It’s always something, isn’t it?  The plans from Lars (the house designer) called for a mahogany door – at a cost of $12,000!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t really need a $12,000 mahogany door.  So we went with the white.  Then, the side lights he called for were a little wider – something that would have to be custom-made.  It was supposed to be a 7 foot door and instead is 5 foot. If I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know it wasn’t as big as it was supposed to be.  Looks pretty good I think.

A real-time update:  We are staying up in the little “apartment” above the garage while they are working in the Crab Shack, it’s a little crowded, but isn’t that bad.

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I’ll be glad to get back into the Crab Shack though, even without a kitchen.  I’ll be back next week as we move along on our building process.  Meanwhile, enjoy the sunset!

Little Choptank 2016 G July 202

Changing the Katrina Cottage

October
13
2016

Little Choptank Nov.5 to 7, 2011 078

Lots going on around here in real-time.  We are packing up the Crab Shack, the kitchen and bathroom and mudroom that is, because the builders are starting in here on Monday.  We’re going to live in John’s office, which is above the garage.  It also serves as a guest suite – it has a daybed and a bathroom of course.  So we’ll be living up there for as long as it takes them to finish up in here. (Hopefully a week to ten days.)

Plus it’s my daughter’s birthday tomorrow and we are going to VA for a day trip to celebrate!  It’s also my cousin Irene’s birthday – so it’s a double celebration! Busy, busy, busy.

Little Choptank 2015 J October 262

The plans call for them to break through in the mudroom and add double doors into the back hallway of the “addition” a/k/a the house.  This was the requirement to make it an addition….only the one entry.  Then, they are tearing down the wall of the bathroom in the Crab Shack where the sink is now and re-configuring the bathroom (except for the shower) to make it bigger.

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 500

We’re also adding a tub – which actually was the cause of much conversation as to what tub we would get.  We were going to get one of those beautiful stand alone tubs, that was our decision for a long time.

Capture.2

Then we realized that a lot of the guests who would actually use the tub would not find it that convenient to get into and out of.  So then we went to a drop in tub.  They are also beautiful and we’d have the tile surround and have Fernando (lead builder) make wainscoting to go in the front.

Here was my vision – not the tile all the way up to the ceiling, but maybe a third of the way.  The shower and tub placement are like they will be in the Crab Shack:

 

Capture.4

 

So we went to Seaford, Delaware where the plumbing showroom was (had great Pizza there at Sal’s by the way) and gave Karen from Elegant Designs Showroom our plans to make sure everything would fit.  Well, surprise, surprise and not in a good way….we don’t have room for a drop in tub!!  So if we want to completely change the floor plans (a definite NO) then we had one choice – a slide in tub.  A plain old tub.  It’s a little fuzzy but here is a picture of the new configuration of the bathroom and closet – where our kitchen is now:

Capture

I was a little disappointed – a “little” in this case meaning “very.”  There’s no room for a tile surround or the wainscoting, although we’ll still have tile around the three sides of it.  But let me tell you, by this point in the project, even though it’s been a very good experience and we’re still happy with the workers and the work, we’re a little tired of it all.  So, we bought the tub and moved on.

The rest of the project is moving along – although slowly it seems.  Everything takes longer than you think.  Everybody says it on a building project as large as this, and it’s so true.  When the actual building started – in March – John thought they’d be done by his birthday – early August.  There’s a reason why we say he could be the president of the optimist club.  I thought they’d be done by my birthday – early October.  But now, we’ll be “thankful” if we get in the house by Thanksgiving!  We’re going to spend it at Chrissy’s in Virginia anyway.

So, next time we’ll be back to the progress as it moved along in July – putting on the metal roof.  Meanwhile, enjoy our sunset.

Little Choptank 2016 G July 089

 

 

Progress on the House

October
3
2016

 

I just found out today that we have to move out of the Crab Shack in two weeks!  I don’t think I’m mentally ready for that, although truth be told, there isn’t going to be a whole house to pack up, just the kitchen and the mudroom. But still.  We won’t have a kitchen anymore until the house is all completed.  And we are moving into the garage – where John’s office is.  Thankfully it has a comfortable day bed and a bathroom.  And a coffee pot.  Phew!  It’ll be a little tight and a little inconvenient (little in this case meaning a lot) but we’ll be here on the property, can keep an eye on what’s going on, and of course we can still come into the Crab Shack when the workers leave to get clothes or whatever from the bedroom.  Plus my cousin Irene and her husband Gene said we could stay with them at their (new) house up in Easton if we get sick of the garage.  So we have a back up plan.

 

Goodbye cute little kitchen

Goodbye cute little Crab Shack kitchen

I know I mentioned it before, but what we are doing is adding the house to the Crab Shack as an “addition.”  We’ll have (as allowed by the town’s rules) one access from this building to that – in the mudroom.  And by doing it this way, we were able to be grandfathered in to keep the house closer to the water (setbacks have changed since we built the Crab Shack). And we won’t have to get whole house sprinklers.  Also, of course, it was a less costly project than putting in a new road and new septic and a new well. You’ve heard my story about how expensive that was going to be.

 

The new doorway into house will be right where window is now

The new doorway into house will be right where window is now

 

Before I show you what was going on next (we’re up to the end of June) I have a question I’d like your opinion on.  Our builder told John this morning (I wasn’t there then) that they are going to run the wood floor from the front door to the back the long way.  Like this:

Floor going from front to back the long way. (picture from Houzz)

Floor going from front to back the long way. (picture from Houzz)

 

Now I think if he had asked me, I would have said to lay it so it goes side to side.  Like this:

Flooring side to side

Flooring side to side (picture from Houzz)

We have a long hallway, and a big great room to the back wall of windows and doors.  It seems like you’ll see the all the lines where the boards meet and it will make it look even longer….and in this case, believe me, it’s long enough.

I’ve been reading up and mostly people say it’s a matter of opinion, although some architects and builders do recommend laying it perpendicular to the floor joists.  I’ll have to ask Rodney (our builder) how our joists are running.  What do you guys think?  Long way or side to side?

Okay, one last thing – well, two things -  before I move on…..here’s a pet peeve I want to rant about…..you go on a site to order something and specifically check the box that says, “I do NOT want to receive emails and promotional materials from you” and then you get them anyway!  Argh!  Why bother asking me if you’re not going to pay attention to my answer!!

Also, I want to order the Jill mirror from Ballard (I’m sure you’ve seen it, it’s one of their most popular pins) and a canvas picture of a boat for the back hall – the shipping is $71!!  Seventy-one dollars!  Yeah okay, the mirror might be heavy, but the canvas picture isn’t that heavy.  Seventy-one!  I still can’t get over it.

 

Okay, so back we go to the progress – at this point we didn’t have a ton of decisions to make – they really had all been made already.  Lars, the house designer, had everything written on the plans, and in this case the plans were everything!  With Thom, the builder on the Crab Shack project, we or he would just change things on the fly and it was no problem.  But I guess every builder is different, and probably, using the plans like your bible is more the norm.  We didn’t realize how nice it was NOT to have to make 99 decisions on the spur of the moment!

 

Here comes the windows!

Here comes the window!

We knew of course that these were big windows.  But you can’t really appreciate exactly how big till  you see them next to a person!  They are gigantic!

Copy of IMG_1084

Copy of IMG_1085

They got it in

They got it in

Only two more to go!

All in, safe and sound.

All in, safe and sound.

They were also building us the cupola this month.

That's a frightening height to be building from.

That’s a frightening height to be building from.

 

Little Choptank 2016 F June 221

The cupola is actually centered in the front, but of course the back didn’t frame up the same way.  Lars warned us it would be off-center in the back, but we really wanted it so we decided we were okay with it.

Front and center

Front and center

Off center cupola and the rest of the windows and doors in the great room.

Off center cupola and the rest of the windows and doors in the great room.

Here’s the great room windows from the inside:

Little Choptank 2016 F June 186

Nice, huh?

IPAD Photos Sept 30 2016 8728

A lot of progress was made in June.  I felt sorry for the guys some days, it was such a hot a humid summer!  Many days with the heat index it was over 100 degrees!  But they kept working!  Good job, guys!

Enjoy the sunset, and here’s a little guy John found in the driveway:

Maryland terp!

Maryland terp!

Little Choptank 2016 G July 207

Building the House Continues

September
22
2016

 

View from water

View from water

So this work was going on in early June, and the building was moving along nicely.  Right after the roof trusses went in, the plywood on the roof went on – very quickly.  The sooner they could get the house closed up the better.  We lost so much time in the early spring because of rain!  The house got wrapped and the plywood went on and it really started looking like a house.

Weatherproofing

Weatherproofing

The guys started weatherproofing the roof, adding this black paper which is supposed to stick.

Front paper is done

Front paper is done

It’s supposed to stick……but this kept happening…..

Wind kept blowing the roofing paper off

Wind kept blowing the roofing paper off

The guys had to go up there and fix it three separate times!!  Finally they put up boards and nailed them in.  The problem with that was now when we had a torrential rain (which we sometimes do) the water came in and there was water on the floor!  I was very worried about that.  I mean, once that paper is up, it’s not supposed to leak, right?

I asked Fernando, our main builder…he said it would be fine.  I asked our GC Rodney, and he assured me it would not leak when the real roof went on.  I made him promise – and he said if it did he’d fix  it for us. (Didn’t convince me though).  I can’t tell you how many times I asked John.  I was driving him crazy I know, but sometimes there is just an issue that bothers you and it’s hard to let it go….it just didn’t make sense that if it was leaking now with the paper on, that the water wouldn’t get in later.  I mean we have some rain down here….sideways, horizontal, upside down…you name it, we have it.

Laying down on the job

Laying down on the job

I took this picture from the “kitchen” window of the Crab Shack.  We still had the window in then, and as you know, we are attaching the new house addition to it.  As an aside, when we spoke with an architect first about joining the two buildings, she had this “breezeway” let’s call it, as an open space, maybe a couple of chairs and a table,  maybe a window seat, but really not too usable.  But Lars, the house designer we ultimately went with, made excellent use of the space, adding a bathroom, a closet for the water heater, a window seat and my laundry room here in this space.  Brilliant!

So, while the roof wrapping, house wrapping and window work was going on, the electricians were inside wiring the house.  Lars did have an electrical plan…thank goodness.  The draftspeople who drew up the plans for the original stand-alone house that was too expensive to build (read about that here) didn’t include an electrical plan because they said all the codes are different.  How different could it be, he lives one county over.  But I’m so glad Lars put them in because to figure out by yourselves where all your electrical outlets and lights go would be a nightmare!!  We had to decide some anyway, and it wasn’t particularly easy.  The electricians were a big help with it though.  Here in the previous picture, Darren was waiting for the wires that were coming through from the outside.

Now it’s mid June – the windows are just getting started…….

Master Bath where vanity will go

Master Bath where vanity will go

John's walk-in closet

John’s walk-in closet

 

Our bedroom. On the side of  the house

Our bedroom. On the side of the house.

Our bedroom - Water side

Our bedroom – Water side

 

Side view

Side view

Along with the work that’s going on (in June) it’s gardening season.  John built me a beautiful garden last year – it was our first spring as Maryland residents. (If you’d like to read about my garden, you can read about that here.)  I learned a bit, what doesn’t grow well here, what had so many bugs and worms that I don’t want to deal with them again, and what did great.  I’m still learning, I’ll change a few things next year also.

Swiss chard did great

Swiss chard did great

The arugula, spinach and kale also did great, but once it gets hot (and it really gets hot here) they seem to die off.

Finally, some zucchini

Finally, some zucchini

I had beautiful zucchini plants last year, but only got two zucchini!  When I read up on it, I found out I didn’t have enough bees to pollinate them.  So this year I started my zucchini from seeds from Burpee that said it didn’t need bees to pollinate…and I was happy they were right!

Cukes

Cukes

This was a cucumber plant I bought at the store…by Bonnie.  It was terrible!  Last year I had so many beautiful cucumbers (a Burpee plant) that I was giving them away to strangers.  (Sadly I’m not kidding.)  But this year, this “burp-less” variety had tons of flowers, but only a handful of cucumbers.  It’s off the list for next year, that’s for sure.

Cherry tomato, beets and corn

Cherry tomato, beets and corn

I decided to give a small amount of corn a try.  It’s a small garden, I didn’t want to dedicate too much room to it, so again, I bought seeds from Burpee for a variety that’s for containers.  We had it once (it was delicious) and then a racoon got in the garden and ate the rest!  Something might have happened to that racoon because he’s not around here anymore.

 

Jalapeno and poblano peppers

Jalapeno and poblano peppers

They did great last year and they’re great again this year.  Now I have to make poppers!  I mean how many jalapenos can you eat?

Eggplant

Eggplant

Eggplant don’t really love it here.  I get 2 of them per plant.  The Asian eggplant did great last year, but I found we don’t eat them that often so I didn’t grow them this year.  The white ones don’t want to grow at all.  I had two on a plant, but they turned yellow and were hard as rocks.  But we did have some yummy eggplant parm from the regular purple ones.

And so, till next week…..enjoy the sunset.

Little Choptank 2016 F June 076

 

The Framing Continues – Roof Trusses

September
14
2016

 

View from the drone

View from the drone

Here’s an awesome picture John took with the drone.  I just love these type of pictures…..it’s opened up a whole new world of photography to me…and it’s so fun!

Where old house used to be

Where old house used to be

All that hay and light green grass is where the old house was.  (You can read more about that here.) On the other side of our fence is our neighbor Noelle.  She’s selling her place….if anyone is interested.  :)

Anyway, the guys worked very quickly on the roof trusses, it was amazing!  Lars, our house designer (he wasn’t an architect and he wasn’t a draftsman) used to manage a roofing company, so he felt using trusses instead of building the roof piece by piece as you go was better for us, with all the peaks and roof lines.

Little Choptank 2016 E May 116

Little Choptank 2016 E May 121

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Little Choptank 2016 E May 137

And the best part was they were all done in two days!

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Here you can see the entrance to the property, and our metal building.

Little Choptank 2016 E May 156

 

Little Choptank 2016 E May 166

Little Choptank 2016 F June 003

roof truss.1

From the front with the “Crab Shack”…..

roof truss.2

From the back…..

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I was surprised to find out that almost 4 out of 5 new homes built in America use manufactured roof trusses to frame the roof.  It replaces the conventional rafters and ceiling joists and enables a builder to construct homes that have more complex roof and ceiling designs and do it quickly and accurately.

 

Here are some of the advantages:

Trusses can span long distances and eliminate the need for a lot of load bearing walls.

It’s less costly than stick roof framing because it can be made of shorter lengths of 2 by 4’s.

It can be designed for many different roof styles.

They are designed by engineers and will meet the roof load and building codes.

They can be erected quickly.

Well, we are finally on our way.  So many decisions have to be made in the next few weeks and months, some rather quickly.  And anybody who knows me will tell you, I do not like making snappy decisions.  I like to research, and to mull.  The definition for that is perfect – to think about deeply and at length.  Yep, I like to mull about my decisions.  Of course, since we’ve been planning on building for a lot of years now, some decisions are made.  Others have been made on the spot.  Scary!

Come back and take a look at what they are….and maybe even help!

Little Choptank 2016 E May 095

The Building Begins

September
7
2016

 

Delivering the Wood

Delivering the Wood

You can imagine that this was an exciting day for us.  Our house (now it’s actually called an “addition” – more on that later) was about to start.  After so many years and so many plans, and changes, and money… here it is….the day!  This guy – we named him Mr. Happy – never smiled.  We figured he hated his job…but we were ecstatic!

Three days later our builders arrived.

The Beginning

The Beginning

Little Choptank 2016 D April 127

Little Choptank 2016 D April 130

Every day there was some progress – all that took about seven days, not counting the weekend.

 

More wood deliveries

More wood deliveries

 

The plywood starts

The plywood starts

 

Meanwhile, John and I decided we wanted to build one of those mileage directional signs.  We had pallets around – some of them pretty beat up, but we were able to salvage a lot of pieces.  And using Pinterest as inspiration, he cut some into shapes, others just with a point, and I painted them and looked up mileage.

Little Choptank 2016 D April 090

He cemented the post down by our little beach area, I think it came out pretty good!

When the plywood was done, the next step was the walls!  I know, we’re getting a little nutty here, but this was thrilling!

Little Choptank 2016 E May 043

Little Choptank 2016 E May 046

With the framing going up, it really started looking like a house.

View from the water

View from the water

 

There’s the Crab Shack, cute, little Katrina Cottage.  If you’ve followed along you already know the cost of building the stand-alone house in the middle of the property wound up being too expensive. (You can read about that here) And if we wanted to do a stand-alone where this “addition” is now, we actually wouldn’t have been able to!  Rules have changed, and we would have had to build farther back from the water. There were also many more rules and regulations that would have to be met…such as sprinklers in every room.  Now sprinklers are a good idea, don’t get me wrong.  But we feel they should be the choice of the homeowner.  They are also very expensive, AND…down here, we all have wells for our water.  The well would not be able to keep up with the demand if there should be a fire!  So, some people (we’ve been told) have added huge tanks to hold water!  At great expense!  Crazy.  So, we went down to town hall to find out if it would be possible to “add-on” to the Crab Shack, and even though we all love it, we are changing it a bit inside and adding our “house” to it!  More on this in a future post.

So as the framing is getting worked on, we get this delivery….roof trusses!  The truck was gigantic, the driver was extremely adept at maneuvering, and then he just lifted the back of the cab and let them fall off!  I was shocked!  But don’t worry, they were fine.

Roof trusses

Roof trusses

 

He just drops them!

He just drops them!

 

Next post, we’ll see the trusses getting installed, and some more awesome drone pictures!  Come back and see!  Meanwhile, enjoy the white heron and a beautiful sunset.

Little Choptank 2016 G July 012.jpg cropped

Little Choptank 2016 G July 089

 

 

 

It All Starts with a Good Foundation

 

 

August
31
2016

 

The project finally begins!

The project finally begins!

Yeah, I know.  It’s been awhile.  Don’t remind me.  First nothing was going on.  Then everything.  I will try to get back on track here and update you all with the progress.  And progress there has been!

The first thing that goes on when building a house, of course, is the foundation.  I never knew what went into it, cement I figured, but I never gave it too much thought.  But seeing the progress day by day, it truly was amazing just how many man hours and how much material went into what is underneath my house, stuff you are never going to see.

First they marked the area with red paint.  Thank goodness it didn’t rain before they came back to start digging!

Strings and red paint

Strings and red paint

And it begins!

And it begins!

They start prepping the site

They start prepping the site

 

 

Believe it or not, it's very precise

Believe it or not, it’s very precise

During the few days it took to do all these trenches, it would rain. It was very slow going for a while because they would have to wait for it to dry out before any more work could be done.

Then, they accidentally cut our water line and a temporary fix was done – a hose.  Which we are still using until it’s time to start working on the well.  Believe it or not, the pressure is better now!

Hose being used for water to the Crab Shack and the electric  line is covered up for protection

Hose being used for water to the Crab Shack and the electric line is covered up for protection

 

Next rebar goes in for support.

Little Choptank 2016 C March 188

Little Choptank 2016 C March 189

Next comes the cement….

IMG_1187

What couldn’t be poured directly from the truck had to be moved with a large metal bucket.  It was very labor intensive!

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After all the cement was poured, again the rain delayed the process.  The workers had to clean off the cement a few days!

Little Choptank 2016 C March 260

So, it mostly dried out, and now the dirt has to be moved and the site cleaned up.

IMG_1261Little Choptank 2016 C March 271

Okay, now after the site it cleaned up, there are red lines drawn on the cement, and in come the cement blocks!

Little Choptank 2016 C March 319

Little Choptank 2016 C March 326

Little Choptank 2016 C March 334Little Choptank 2016 C March 355

They build them and level them, you would think it’s easy, but with laying the mortar just so, and leveling them off each time, it’s a tremendously labor intensive process.

Little Choptank 2016 C March 378

IMG_1351

Next they “parged” the outside area of cinder blocks.  It’s a cement plaster that makes a smooth surface.

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Next came piles of dirt and they rolled on a black tar-like substance….waterproofing.

Little Choptank 2016 C March 387

Little Choptank 2016 C March 390

Little Choptank 2016 C March 399

More metal is inserted to make the blocks even stronger…..

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And here comes the inspector….

Little Choptank 2016 C March 396

So, all was well and good, and the work continued.  So far this took about a week to ten days.  The dirt is spread…..

Little Choptank 2016 C March 417

Little Choptank 2016 C March 419

Here is an awesome picture of the entire foundation with the dirt all finished.  John took it with our drone.  You can see the area between the Crab Shack (Katrina Cottage) and the new addition. We wanted to join the two buildings and hopefully this area, which will have a bathroom and the laundry room, will look like it belongs.

The area (grey-ish dirt) to the right of the pool was where the old house was.  We bought the property knowing it had to be knocked down, although it was more expensive and a much bigger production that we thought.

Little Choptank 2016 C March 451

So at this point, we thought the foundation was finished.  But it wasn’t.  Now it needed rocks!

Little Choptank 2016 C March 487

Little Choptank 2016 C March 490

You see the concrete blocks sitting around in piles…. now it’s their turn to get cemented….

Little Choptank 2016 C March 556

And so, finally, finally the foundation is complete.  It took a month from the time the foundation started to the day we got a wood delivery – so the actual building could begin!

Little Choptank 2016 C March 557

Come back next week to see the progress.  Enjoy the rainbow ( a good omen in my opinion) and the sunset.

Little Choptank 2016 E May 024

Little Choptank 2016 C March 292

The Best Garden Ever!

March
27
2015

 

Well, that is to say it will be OUR best garden ever.  Right before Christmas John started building our garden.  With several acres to work with, the first decision was where to place it.  Close to where the hose is for sure – no one wants to depend on the rain or shlep the watering cans!  I thought I’d want it close to where the house is going to be, but it is actually too early to tell where the best spot for that will be, and also there is no water set up there yet.  Okay, so close to the garage and close to the Crab Shack.

Building the Garden

Building the Garden

This will actually be our first raised bed garden!  We had a small garden on Long Island when we were first married, and because the ground was so easy to work, and we had the sun all day long, and I suspect because it was small enough that it wasn’t overwhelming, that was our best garden so far.  We had a large garden in Pennsylvania when we lived there, but the soil was as hard as rocks.  It actually was all rock.  We worked some areas of it, and things grew, but as you can imagine, they struggled.

 

Paper to prevent weeds

Paper to prevent weeds

Our garden in New Jersey was manageable enough, and we worked in a lot of good soil, but once all the trees bloomed, it was too shady for any award-winning vegetables.  I usually did pretty well with herbs, had plenty of basil for my pesto, but the tomatoes and peppers were …eh, just okay.

 

Shells for the garden floor

Shells for the garden floor

But we have very high hopes for this garden.  John and Mark (our friend) put shells down on the “floor” of the garden to also discourage weeds.  I love to garden, but I don’t like weeding.  And I’ll try anything to avoid having to do it.

Shells all done

Shells all done

Then John started on building the boxes.  And I started researching what we were going to plant, planting dates, how much room plants need for good root growth, along with soil and fertilizing requirements. What fun!

First garden box

First garden box

By the time we finish for this our first year, with all the lumber, the shells, the soil and the plants and seeds, our first tomato will have cost us $1,000!

Raised bed garden

Raised bed garden

We have four so far

We have four so far

We have one more large box to build, and two more waist-high ones.  Then our garden will be complete.  I’ve already planted a few cool weather things, garlic, peas, and a few rows of arugula.  Isn’t it cute?

Garlic and arugula

Garlic and arugula

I’ll keep you posted as to our progress.  And I’d love to hear about your gardening plans!

March Sunset

March Sunset

 

What’s Going On

July
9
2014

 

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t written in a month or so. And by “month or so” I mean since May. Our move is getting closer, and we are getting busier.  But here’s a run-down of what we’ve been doing.

We took a little vacation in May, and went to one of our favorite places, Montauk.  It was our anniversary….35 years!!…so amidst all our other work, we decided to take the time to celebrate.  It was wonderful!  It was right before Memorial Day, so the crowds hadn’t arrived yet, everything was open for the season, and best of all, the prices hadn’t gone sky-high yet!

Here's the view from our room

Here’s the view from our room

We stayed right in town at the Royal Atlantic, and truthfully, I’ve never seen Montauk so empty!

The view to the left

The view to the left

The fishing was a little off due to the long winter we all had, but the weather was just great, cool in the mornings and nights, and hot during the day.  Just what we wanted.

View to the right

View to the right

Here is a view of the place from the beach…..

Royal Atlantic on the beach in Montauk,  Long Island

Royal Atlantic on the beach in Montauk, Long Island

 

We saw the world’s biggest flip-flop in town:

Montauk Anniversary Trip 049

Here’s the famous Montauk Lighthouse:

Montauk Lighthouse

Montauk Lighthouse

We also walked around the outside of the Lighthouse on the water side, the large boulders placed there for that purpose are really amazing!  That was some good planning there!

Boulders surrounding the Montauk Lighthouse

Boulders surrounding the Montauk Lighthouse

And here’s a familiar sight when you gaze out to sea:

Fishing boat

Fishing boat

And if you were more adventurous:

Shark Cage Diving

Shark Cage Diving

We weren’t.  We spent our time fishing from the safety of the beach and drinking margaritas.  We also ate out every night.  There’s a Chinese Restaurant in Montauk called Wok and Roll.  If you bring them the fish you caught that day, they’ll cook it for you.  They offer about 10 different ways they’ll prepare it, the place is very popular.  We didn’t have our own “catch” to bring them, but the dinner was delicious anyway.

Earlier in May, I was busy helping our tenant move out.  We have a little condo in town where my mom lived for six years before she passed away.  Our tenant was pretty good, we had a few bumps along the way,  but she’s on state aid,  she doesn’t drive and she needed some help getting around to look at new apartments.  The state also cut her rent allowance, and finding something acceptable was a little difficult.  So, I’d take her around to look at apartments, and finally when we finally found one, we had to go back and forth for her to look inside the apartment, pick up paperwork, drop off her state papers, sign the paperwork, get back the paperwork for the state to look at, and pick up the keys.  Could these things have been done in fewer trips??  I would have thought so.  But no.  All different trips to the apartment, which is not that close by,  and we had to make “appointments,” we couldn’t just pop in for them to hand her the keys.  Anyway, when she finally moved,  we had to clean up the apartment to put it on the market.  It’s a cute little place, it’s the first floor unit at the end on the right side…. and there aren’t that many condo places in this town, so hopefully it’ll sell soon.

Condo

Condo

My mom had wall to wall carpeting,  so we actually never saw what floor was there.  We were happily surprised to find a wood floor, which we had refinished!  It’s looks really nice!

Bedroom

Bedroom

Our tenant was a smoker, so the kitchen cabinets were kind of messy.  They cleaned up pretty well, I think:

Kitchen

Kitchen

Our realtor was very happy with the before and after, so she’s optimistic it won’t be on the market too long.

Also, in May and June, we made trips to Maryland, bringing down some “stuff.”  Stuff you don’t want to pack up and take the chance it’ll get broken.  But of course while we’re there, we get to enjoy the place!  Our daughter Chrissy even came to visit during one of our trips there, and that was a treat!   We all went fishing, and Chris wound up catching this stingray, which we later learned is one that they are trying to get rid of!  It eats the crabs and oysters that are the livelihood of the watermen down in the Chesapeake and it’s tributaries.  We didn’t know it at the time… we let him go.

Chrissy caught this ray

Chrissy caught this ray

We fished a couple of times.  One calm day we spent out in the Chesapeake.  We caught a few fish, some were small and we threw them back, but we had a few keepers.  There was some interesting boat traffic:

The tanker and the fishing boat - sounds like a children's book

The tanker and the fishing boat – sounds like a children’s book

 

John found a terrapin in our driveway, so he brought him down by the beach to show me.  He sat there for a minute all tucked in his shell, and then ran as fast as he could to the water.  It was hysterical! I didn’t think a turtle could move that quickly!

Turtle

Turtle

Run....run for your life!

Run….run for your life!

Safe at last

Safe at last

We enjoyed our sunsets:

Little Choptank Sunset

Little Choptank Sunset

Afterglow

Afterglow

sunset

And we enjoyed our dinner:

Fish cooked on a plank, farmer's market tomatoes and corn, and mini potatoes roasted on the grill

Fish cooked on a plank, farmer’s market tomatoes and corn, and mini potatoes roasted on the grill

And of course, we’re also packing up and getting our house worked on.  We just had the garage painted and epoxy put on the floor.  It looks terrific, I wish we’d done it years ago!  And…my cousin finally sold her house, so they’ll also be moving down in a month or so.  Such excitement!  Such a new adventure for the four of us! We can hardly wait!

choptank sunset