Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's Been Awhile

The studio, alas, is still not finished. All the rebuilding of the upstairs, overlaid onto the holiday season, set us back on the schedule. It didn't take a lot of time to cut and trim this little tree. The angel is less than 2" tall. I was looking for some silver string to use as a garland when I found a sub-miniature christmas light necklace - with flashing bulbs! The whole opreation, from harvesting the tree to trimming it out, happened in about 45 minutes on Christmas morning. We could never have gotten away with this when the kids were home!

Harvest Home
Then there was the apple butter story. We got a few bushels of apples, intending to make cider, but the schedule never worked out. During one of the earlier cold snaps, when we had the wood stove going, Julia made apple butter until she ran out of jars. The slow cooking is the secret.

However we did get enough of the great room done to have a ceilidh in the north half last Saturday. All told there were about 50 who came to our annual 12th Night Bonfire & Music Party. It ran from darkish until midnight or thereabouts.

Holly Morrison has written a great review on her blog.

I Get Stoned
Back in late November I went to the Restore in Bath for a bucket of ceiling paint and came back with a Majestic fireplace. This is a hazard of going into that store with a positive balance in the bank account. We used our own granite for the hearth base (Harper's Wood is built on the remains of an 18th century quarry).

I was looking on line at various fireplace surrounds to get some ideas when I saw a fireplace done out with polished stone. We were originally planning to use our own rough granite, but seeing how the light reflected on the polished stone, and realizing that a flat surface would be easier to put things on, i.e. coffe cups, potted plants, objects d'art, I cogitated on where and how to get some polished stone.

Have you ever wondered what the countertop people do with their sink cutouts and trimmings? Mostly they throw them away. I tracked down a company that had a dumpster full of stone that hadn't been dumped in their back 40 yet so we went on a cruise to Veazie and got as much as we dared. $10 per piece or $100 for a pickup load. If you have good springs this is an outstanding deal!

We got some black/white/gray granite and some yellow stone that looks like it belongs in a Manhattan men's room. This is piled up in the yard; what I used for the fireplace was black granite and African river bottom conglomerate. The African stone was about 10' long and 16" wide, waiting to be taken outside and dumped. We broke it to fit in the truck. The big piece was long enough for the hearth top and we used the rest for the top center of the surround.

I had originally planned on covering the rough edges of the surround with the mantle trim, but the longer I look at that edge, the better I like it. I looks sort of like a mountain range. I'm thinking of ways to retain that edge when I do the mantle.

Coming Attractions
We're gearing up for the annual Renfeast at the local high school. This is a combination concert and meal done by the choirs. We have been doing this for several years now. Early on there were only a couple of dozen kids involved. Last year there were over 80! Over the years they have accumulated a whole rack of resplendent costumes. The boys have figured out that if they sing with a choir they not only get to wear tights and capes, but get to hang out with girls in bodices.

The end of the month we hit the road for our winter tour. I'll do some posts from the road.