I have attempted to replicate a photo I posted on the Autumn Equinox 2017, and about two weeks after that original photo was posted, our house had burned to ashes in the Nuns Wildfire. In the many months following the fire, it was that very post that I gazed at with such a heavy heart of grief and longing. But today is the day of days! As I photograph the same angle of the new rebuilt house, at same time of day, on the same day of the year, I recapture the warmth of that moment again, as the lazy equinox sun sinks low in the afternoon to the west. I feel like I’ve come full circle, having just posted it up to date, home again with everything in its place (sans ceiling fan and squiggly iron rail), not quite finished but very cozy. I am kind of collapsing into a fuzzy warm celebratory mood, a bit weary of the long journey back to my House of Light & Shadow, although I am nothing but colossally grateful. Happy Equinox everyone!
I have begun collecting little treasures from Autumn ; a leaf from a Black Oak turning gold, a curl of Madrone bark, and a freshly fallen Douglas Fir cone. It was almost a year ago in Autumn that I found this novelty . . .
Now the vintage Four Posts are finally kitted out with a mattress and bedding, and so I’m going to fling off my shoes and curl up on it with some strong coffee in a demitasse, made in a jezve (my thing lately) with fresh shortbread just out of the oven, and contemplate which small quilt I will attempt to make first from “Civil War Legacies” by Carol Hopkins.
The loft room (still without a door as you can see), the kitchen, and upstairs bathroom are the only rooms in the house able to be used thus far, while the main part of the house remains a mess of building, tile dust, and tools. But there is rumor ringing through the rafters, that we may move in this coming weekend, or should I say move out of the tiny house . . . fingers crossed!
The phoenix has landed. I sit peacefully at my laptop parked on the large pastry board in the kitchen, while Emma naps near me, claiming her floor space in the kitchen as she had always done before. As I mentioned last post, we passed the final building & fire inspections, and now we can slowly move in over the next few weeks. I have spent the morning consolidating the construction area to one end of the downstairs floor, and vacuumed, so it feels so much more like home now. All in good time the finish work will get done; doors will be hung, furniture will fill in, although much more sparsely, and things will be again clean, complete, and calm.
Emma is comfortable in the kitchen, most surely she knows she has come home? This of course, is reaching the other side of the bridge to us, having Emma bring us home.
I will be posting more of the usual knitterly & spinnerly things against the backdrop of the rebuilt house as it takes shape, the floor plan nearly identical to what it was before, but with changes that are almost insignificant now. We are all three worn, bedraggled, and *very* tired, but we are home.
It is a very exciting day! 1. We passed the building inspection of our house, which is a resonating “yeehawwww!” echoing through the ridge tops, rattling all those stick-like burned trees with a joyful ring! I just went up to give our very talented builder Ryan a big handshake and made him a last celebratory cup of coffee-in-a-jar, as I did through all the cold weather last Autumn, Winter & Spring ~~ but in the new kitchen. I will miss him, for he has rebuilt our house and been around in our lives for four seasons now. 2. Today has rained a second time in three days, a gentle early morning rain, and a good soaker, so I am feeling utterly relaxed because I can (almost, but not fully) shake off my wildfire worry for a little while. 3. Autumn Equinox is coming very soon, my favorite time of year, and with the full moon waning, and with all the damp spicy forest smells that are about I just can’t imagine a better mood. Got coffee? 5. Yes, I have coffee. Buttered toast?? 6. Yes, yes, lots of buttered toast. All these reasons to post a very sincere Life Is Good in the closing.
Okay. Some of the things which are not so exciting: We won’t be moving into our house for a week or so, because it just isn’t ready, although the building company has completed their agenda and all inspections passed, we now have the weeks rolling out ahead of us to do the finish work at a less stressed, and more leisurely pace, such as installing all the interior doors which will be so nice! Also, there’s a formality of a county engineer approving our new road we had to put in to comply with all the new fire codes, but that is like nothing to keep me from feeling we are there, we have arrived. Likely in a couple of weeks we can begin inhabiting our new home, even if it takes another year to be fully finished. But you can bet that I will be spending all my time in the house doing things I have had to wait to do. Oh, such as start a quilt, or pot up some plants and put out on the new deck, and get a mattress in the loft room so I can take restorative naps while contemplating the complexities of new knitwear designs! Boy do I need some restorative napping. I was about to go seriously AWOL last night that we couldn’t move in THE DAY of our inspection, or the weekend coming… was frothing at the mouth and my eyes bugging out… but (sigh) after the rain came again, and I had a good sleep on it, I rise today with determination to celebrate this monumental accomplishment with nothing but gratitude.
Another thing I have put off but am now keen to do is to finish painting the kitchen the sienna glaze over the pale yellow (faux old building, like I did in the loft) and paint the bedroom upstairs over, from a what-was-I-thinking green, to a calming mossy green. And you can bet I want to finally start a quilt on my new old sewing machine. Not just one, but a series of little lap quilts to start, and maybe a table runner and the like, nothing too daunting as I overwhelm so easily these days. The things I look forward to most of all I can start doing, for there is room and freedom enough to do what I like in the house now is setting up the ironing board — one of those old wooden ones which was given to me from an antique shop right after the wildfire — and learn ironing the old fashioned way like my mom used to do , and iron the linen clothes I’ve been squirreling away in boxes to keep away from the wild mice in the shed, and one by one . . . (wow, this is so emotional) . . . hang the washed & ironed clothes on my (re)collection of old wooden cleaner-advert hangers, on a long closet dowel, and even with room to skate the hangers around! To wash the sheets and then ritually hang out to dry on clothes line in the clear Autumn breeze, then make the bed without a worry of so many lurking spiders and without my having to tromp on the bed as I make it (as it is done in the tiny house) ~~~ O, dream of dreams, what ecstasy that will be!
I have learned in these last near two years, what is fundamental to my life.
Just as the days when I use to backpack for a week in the High Sierras, when in those wild days of trekking in harsh and exposed high altitude environment what etched into my memory most was perspective of what is essential and what is luxury. Essential only is a bed, food, water. The rest is luxury I tell you! Running hot water from a faucet, a flushing toilet, a stack of cast-iron pans to cook on, clean sheets on a freshly made bed, and a good amount of ink in a pen with a small bit of paper to write ~~ all elements of pure opulence by comparison! Oh, and buttered toast and coffee. I have everything I need for the high life of luxury, because I have experienced a complete perspective overhaul.
Truth is, I’ve been composing this post while waiting for the county building inspector to drive up, and wasn’t going to publish until I got word that we passed the inspection — so this is a breaking news bulletin! Life is as good as it can get about now. Thanks everyone, for reading up on my blog, and a round of hugs to All ~~ but especially Ryan!
All posts Rebuilding
We finally got the bathtub that’s been sitting in the woods down at the tiny house for over a year, up on to the 2nd story, all ready for the plumber who is coming tomorrow. We brought it up on a pallet with Jeff’s relic of an old Ford tractor, then we did it just as we had on our first build 15 – 20 years ago; using straps and a come-along tied to a post, to pull the tub up the ramp into the house, then again, tied to a main beam up in the rafters to lift up on to the second story level, and maneuver into bathroom by hand. These photos make it look easy, but there was a :hellofalotof: grief involved, and the event completely shattered my day, even though I managed to get a few photos before and after the worst of it. However, Jeff remained composed, and was on to the next project before I could blink. It is a wonderful little slipper bathtub, and once in its landing pad, I am surprised to see how roomy the space seems! (click 1st photo in mosaic to see slideshow).
I should mention so that there is no confusion if anybody hasn’t been following this epic journey homeward; do see the hyperlinks at the top of the post, and you’ll get the idea. Furthermore, although I was adamant about moving the tools of my trade up into the loft room at the soonest possible date (which was end of June) and it gives the impression that the house is ‘moved into’ , these photos of the bathtub arrival will sober anyone up to the fact that its still a major construction zone, and there is months of work to do before we have it final inspected, which still is an illusive date that I can’t at all even guess at presently. But, appliances are arriving slowly, one by one everything is going into its place, and life is good.
My friends, I feel nearly back home because I have moved all of my tools of the trade into the work space that I have been without for what seems an eternity, and it is ready as ever to begin productive times. As posted a few days ago , I have been busy moving into the new loft space, things I acquired since the wildfire; furniture from odd thrift & antique shops, now all packed to the gills with needles & tools, as well as wonderful yarns & delectable fibers to blend and spin. These things which had stored in places frustratingly inaccessible for over a year, now are all very very much in my reach.
Waiting to get back on with Tweed Chronicles, as my home-made custom blending board #2 is ready to resume blending experiments . . .
And I do want to become better at photographing too. And oh look! It is the ledge of ledges, beneath the south skylight, is nearly as before . . .
The place of hundreds of photographs of knitteds past . . . here my long missed endlessly artful friends Light & Shadow announce their official return!
In the weeks and months ahead the house will slowly get finished, you will see it all happening in the backdrop of things as I post about this & that, then one day almost without notice, months down the line, we will be moved from the tiny house up into the rebuilt house again, and life will be something like “before”. I feel a deep gratitude to those of you who encouraged me along the way, through the worst in the wake of wildfire and beyond.
Now I think it is time to resume the work that I love, and I am overjoyed knowing that the most important things are at long last, here. Everything in its purposeful place, and life is good.
I have disappeared for a few days from my usual talkative places, but have been working very hard finishing the walls of my loft room studio. After six days I have just the affect I wanted, a look of weathered exterior walls of an old building, which makes for a very interesting photo background, and begs to have some interesting old hooks mounted.
Since last Tuesday I have plastered with Emma’s fur, painted two coats of primer, two coats of base color (with a quick sanding between coats of color), then finally this morning rubbed a faux finish with a watery semi-gloss sienna tone. Here is the base color, nearly salmon . . .
The end result is a bit different than before, but hopefully the same warm terracotta mood as before, however, I do think that I may put in some more ‘veins’ of sienna color in the big wall, after this all dries . . .
Apparently after six days I am still not finished. Of course, I refined my method as I went, so the first sections are a bust and must be painted over and refinished; a bit disappointing, and definitely anticlimactic, but I can’t settle for ” almost right “, its either right or its not right. I just can’t wait to move my yarns and tools of the trade into this space, and yet I have to wait until the room has had the electrician finish so that I may begin to occupy, which is realistically in July. So still some weeks still.
Fun Fact: Did you know that in old days horse hair was put into plaster to reinforce the plaster? So Emma’s fur in this plaster (although in artful clumps) isn’t far from the old way of doing things.
Our construction folk won’t be here this week so I’ve decided to plaster the loft room by myself, incorporating Emma’s fur into the mud. The style is haphazard, but excellently artful and as this is my studio room as well as guest room, that suits everybody just fine.
I will go over the surface with a damp sponge to knock off the sharp high spots, and then the many coats of paint will completely soften the rough surface, and be less “hairy”, and hopefully end up looking rather old-architectural style. Most importantly, part of Emma is now embedded in the walls of the room, and that means a lot to me.
Just for the sake of interest, the tree pictograph ” Po ” continues to be a photo opportunity, and in itself, a marvel!
And with the rest of the week ahead all by myself, I’m going to see if I can get the room painted to my liking, as before; an undercoat of primer, then a couple of coats of the lightest tones in the fir (a peachy tan), with the deepest tones in the grain to be rubbed on for glaze (a sienna brown).
Knots and crevasses in the wood make mysterious pictures and words. Tree pictographs. What do you think this beam in the loft room is saying? Wood speaks, sings, and I am sure this word is going to give meaning to something, on down the road.
Look here, the loft room just waiting for me to move into it, it is beckoning me to come inside with all my newly collected tools of my trade. About now I am ecstatic because things are really happening! As I post this, the plasterer is about finished with the taping, and tomorrow will be back to perform his artful texture.
Now looking through the doorways into the loft room, I am so much more encouraged than I was back in February, with a Then & Now post. These are rooms taking shape, rooms that have impacted my life, and will again, in a deeply profound way. So many times I would photograph through the front doorway, and capture the bliss of the woods as if through a magic portal, and post here on my blog with a thought of the day. And now we finally have a front door exactly as the former door was.
I do feel a great sense of release of the unbearable heaviness of loss and of waiting. It is such a tremendous gift that I am even here posting these progress photos with you, about something that feels so much like a death & rebirth in a span of a few years, but ripples out into my life in the furthest way, arousing a constant resonating gratitude.
♥ ♥ ♥
” Po ” . . . to me, in this moment,
translates to ” peaceful offerings ” from the mountain.
Stay tuned, so much is happening now, and I will no doubt be back very soon.
I have just been up to the house and its a lovely morning to photograph the new loft room progress, after the sheetrock has started. I am so pleased about this beautiful space, and I think it may even be more lovely than before, as there are a couple improvements made. I am completely obsessed about this room, and work space to be! ((click 1st image to go to slideshow))
Do you recognize that ledge, on which I took so many photos of knitted things and yarns? I just wanted to post these photos, but its time to get back to my frantic sock knitting, but thanks everybody for your comments, and I promise to be talkative again on the flipside of my sock-knitting May-nia.
These sock and mitts blockers are outstanding in quality and workmanship, they are made from a woodworker from Ukraine, and I recommend them one-hundred percent if you’re looking to get some. They can be found on Etsy at Alex Workshop Design. As for the mitt blockers, so lovely, and just look at the way the thumbs tie on so that you can slide the mitten or glove over the palm & fingers with ease, then slip the thumb in last.
I am already envisioning my next glove design, and am pretty excited about my new blockers. I felt purchasing some proper blockers to photograph my knitwear accessories was just bound to happen eventually. Abelene is just over the moon about the new Feet & Hands by the way, and just can’t wait until I dress them up with forthcoming socks, and future mitts & gloves!
♥ ♥ ♥
House Update Addendum
I am shifting gears for future Jenjoyce Design Studio Loft (a.k.a guest room, lol) move-in date. A lot of backstory, some of you have followed the details since the wildfire, but rather than get bogged down in that mire, I’d like to focus on the positives. I long to be hyper productive as I remember I was two years ago at this time, with everything I needed at my fingertips, and know I will be again, as soon as I get my crafty gear up to the house, even if it is woefully unfinished workspace, I know time flies and I can establish a new level of productivity. Oh, the latest photos of the loft . . .
The subfloor still is not in place, but the roof is on and windows all in! My old friends Light & Shadow are taking over the house already, playing their magic among the beams.
As soon as the drywall for this room is finished, plastered & painted, I am moving my gear and the furniture I’ve collected for this space IN. Jeff agrees that is okay, so with fingers crossed that might be in June? Forget the final inspection sign-off and full move-in, as Jeff and I are left with a heap of work after our builders are finished with theirs, bumping the official house move-in until who knows when, as late as late Autumn. Jeff is so overwhelmed with his workload from his job and the house, so I really have to ease up on forecasting anything. All I can do is be positive about this one room, remain in good spirits and be ready to hit the ground running as they say.
Some photos from the archives of the original loft room . . .
My familiar old space back then, again soon to be, and I have decided it is good if I post often about the progress of The Loft, even if the rest of the house progress is going slow, so expect addendums to be more frequent. I have far less stuff now, of course, and am visualizing the room to be kitted out with the essentials only, and I’m so looking forward to seeing that develop minimally.
Signing off with a massive spring downpour of rain!
A cause for celebration because the roof is finished! Most of you out there have no idea what a difficult process it was to get to the point of being ready for the roofers to come, through the gusts of wind and rain, all through winter and early spring, up here in the wild where everything is quite a bit more challenging. But with a sigh in my heart I can now relax, and the next inspection can proceed with roof complete, ready for some serious action to begin in the weeks ahead ; windows and sliding doors will all be in place, and the rooms will begin to take shape with drywall and upstairs subfloor too, covering the plumbing, electrical & mechanical chaos. Soon the elements of the house’s layout & personality will be recaptured.
Meanwhile, it was utterly heartwarming to know that Emma is still a hit on my blog, and although she can’t walk very well, she is a stellar napper, and still keeps me company through the days. Thank you everybody who attended Emma’s little birthday celebratory post last week, and for you who would like to take a peek in the archives, all posts Emma’s Birthday are here.
I thought I’d post a little about the progress of our house rebuilding!
The most exciting thing is that half of the openings in the roof for the sky lights have been rough cut and light is already pouring in and illuminating things in a most magical way.
Compare the original house skylights of Then …
to the rough cut openings of skylights of Now.
Fantastic! I recognize my dearest of old friends Light & Shadow, among the beams.
Oh how I have missed them!
Its been a really late spring folks, with gobs of beautiful rain, and it is still a bit chilly & breezy, but now the perpetual deep blue skies & sunshine is on its way! The foliage from the year-old shoots from burned trees are growing rapidly, and the flowers are bursting open everywhere . . .
Soon will be siding and roofing…
And at the same time Jeff is now rebuilding the deck, with a little bit of my help. Rebuilding has been slow going all winter, and while our county beurocrats have not shown any effort to hasten things, our dedicated few builders commuting from far away have stayed through the worst of storms, and have remained positive and encouraging, so now at last it looks like things will speeding up.
I meditate everyday on being ‘back home’ in our rebuilt house, setting up my loft room and setting new lofty goals for myself ! It is so comforting and gratifying to see how much it looks and feels like our original house, after all it is the very same kit, and its easy to feel like its all just a dream, which I am soon to wake from. I am amazed at some of the blog readers that have commented, apparently keeping track of me and the progress since the wildfire , and that is so heartwarming. I am getting a clearer vision now of the next equinox being a time when I will be a busy bee reacquainting myself with my old routine again.
But do tell me, how is the weather where you are?
All posts Rebuilding
This morning I’m dreaming about white lace in an Irish cottage window, so utterly timeless and beautiful. Just a lace stole draped over a simple cord would do excellently. Isn’t a curtain like this so much the same as a bridal veil, crisp and bright with the virgin morning light peering through, promising a day as good as it gets. Maybe a Golden Fields or an Aria shawl would be the perfect window curtain. I must find some white linen fine yarn, and like an expecting mother knitting baby clothes, instead I could be knitting a lace curtain for my future (rebuilt) knitting loft. What a lovely thing to think about !
The near future so full of promise , yet I have been just quiet and contemplative through astonishingly cold days of January & February, while so much rain fell, and a couple times it snowed, one which I posted about. March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, they say. Patiently I knit at the table, next to napping Emma, knowing very soon it will be the vernal equinox. Building progress is so much slower in winter, and in the wild. Presently the house is a maze of wires and pipe and venting….
The house weathered the winter without a roof,
covered only in the first sheer layer , and then plastic through the worst storms of the year.
Oh, but the windows, they will surely be installed soon.
I know that in a blink it will be finished. I am hoping that by the Autumnal Equinox of this year I will be living in the house once again, picking up where things were left off, which I think about constantly now. I ponder about where life was just before the wildfire; what I was working on, what was making me excited, what had I just accomplished, what designs was I thinking of, and patterns was I writing and ready to test knit, how far was I walking in the days, what was influencing me, and what great new recipes was I inventing . . . etc. I so very much enjoy contemplating this blissful time which is destined to come back to me. But six months? Maybe longer … or sooner? We can’t know for sure, and so “maybe” is such a fickle word. I know in my head this is not far off, but in my body and heart I am so exhaustively constrained existing in a tiny space, and once again having rooms wherein to move about will be a massive improvement to life, and will send me into a euphoric state! I am so very grateful for being able to cocoon in our tiny house up in the charcoal forest for this epic waiting period, although I am so very ready to come out of hibernation.
As I stood just this morning inside of newly framed wall of our future master bedroom, looking through the door-to-be, I recalled this photo above, taken October 2016. One year later, nearly to the date, the wildfire destroyed everything, but I think by this coming October I’ll be looking at a very similar scene. We won’t be able to replicate the antique Windsor chair(s) , but I do recall distinctly the color of the paint in the room to be a shade lighter than the color “Monet’s Garden”, and that is indeed something to go by. Yes, going to paint it the same shade if I can help it. I know I’m really asking for an emotional hit when I peruse the photos of our house before the wildfire, but its all a part of rebuilding, and we’re having to consult these old photos often to build the same house, or nearly the same ~ things just change, like sixteen years of the timbers deepening to that beautiful dark honey shade… there are times that I feel so homesick and just want to go home to it. Rebuilding just takes so much time up here in the wild, especially through the winter, but the builders are wonderful, post & beam experts commuting from far away and staying over in Napa on week nights, trying really very hard to recreate our original home that we built ourselves, regardless of the code changes like sprinkler systems, the list goes on. Wow. I am overall just really grateful. October 2019, two years after the wildfire, I will take that above photo again, mark my words.
All posts Rebuilding.
Knitting in a room is a theme I love to post about, because to me its as if rooms can speak silent nurturing words, or be as a listening friend, and even fill me with inspiration. Such was this original loft room, which is nearly half way built again. If I can ignore the dim light, the sprinkler system plumbing over the subfloor, the rough cut opening which will be a window again soon, then I can imagine how it will be.
Those of you who have been following my posts since long before the wildfire, might recognize this spot on the stairs, the most photographed spot for countless knitted things were on this shelf wall at the top of the stairs, with the bright southerly sunshine pouring in from a big skylight. But right now everything is quite dark for the (six) skylights have not been cut out of the roof yet, nor the windows uncovered from plastic to keep the rain out. I am hoping next time I post about rebuilding it will have the light pouring in that I was so fond of !
Until then, I have placed a chair upstairs in my loft room to be, and I can walk up from the tiny house as often as I like (when the builders are gone) to climb the stairs and sit and knit in the room that I am swiftly falling in love with all over again.
I’ve been pondering a lot lately about how much of my life feels like a work in progress. Fortunately the house is ~ finally ~ in progress, but still I can’t even guess as to when it will be a finished thing. I just hope that we don’t move in and then take another several years finishing, like the … um… first time we built it. I recall sharing in this post, November 2012 when we finally put in the upstairs finished floor, and I finally gave my loft its finished paint coat. That folks, was nearly eight years after we had moved in! When we moved in January 2005, the living room was still a work shop, yup, we were living among chop saws and rip saws, and the like. I am so worried that this will be a repeat performance, but I know I should not worry, because it is a whole different experience this time around.
Now for a much easier thing, a knitting work in progress.
I can at least force myself to think about stitches to distraction, even if it does border on a sometimes extreme perspective in life where knitting is my meditation, medication, and dedication (oh, and revisiting Fishwives Shoal is proving to be quite the challenge!) I am hoping to be finished with this by my birthday in a few weeks. It would be a great present to myself to have knit this special yarn bought back when, this yarn that was among the few sentimental yarns I took with me when I fled the wildfire (although I brought none of my knitteds) and now I can finally make it into a knitted form. When I consider all historic elements of this project ~~ this yarn, this design, and this room ~~ it really is quite fitting that I should put importance on this small stole, for it represents a sort of cycle, and coming around to the origin of things.
Check out the original stole I blocked in the original house loft room, the very same space as the the top photo is showing to be again some day…
I don’t know how I can manage to post the past & future photos of my loft together here without drawing tears (now that is progress!) but the theme really is asking for it. This idea of accepting life to be a work in progress, and all we hold dear, for if we were not working in progress, how unchallenged & bored would we be. Anyway, after the holidays now I finally have a quiet little recess to explore unfinished projects, big and small, but mostly pondering what that means, and how leaving things unfinished is not good for me. It feels great to seek out this historic yarn I took with me, and to have the opportunity to finish it at last, and to post these photos of the house being built and anticipating my creative space coming together again. The house will be done in a blink, and there’ll be me next year at this time thinking & worrying about other things.
Hi, its me Abelene.
I am wearing Jen’s latest knit of a beautiful cowl she knit from Golden Fields Lace pattern. Some lucky lady is going to find this under the tree. It is made from Cascade 220 Sport, in my favorite color of light grey!
Jen says you can knit one for gifts for all the women & dress forms in your life, so be a pal and go find some yarn and needles and cast on! Jen will really appreciate it, because she’s really laid low, struck from the plague & on a short course of strong antibiotics. Actually she has gotten a nasty sinus & upper respiratory infection due to sanding beams last weekend if you can believe it!
It is this beautiful sun-bathed north-facing alcove that has put her down for a stretch…
No more sanding for Jen!
She is happily dreaming of the months ahead when the house might be closer to finished, but for now Jen wants me to say that she hopes you all are enjoying the beautiful Solstice time of year when things up here the Northern Hemisphere are at their most dormant stage. Nothing but dutiful resolutions to come in months ahead, so cozy up in these dark shortest days of the year while you can.
Ta ta ,
Quite literally, many things here are getting wrapped up, so to speak. The biggest and most important of course, is our house, and the timberframe is swiftly becoming enclosed, that is wrapped, while road construction is making great progress too as dumptruck after dumptruck of base gravel makes its way up the mountain from the quarry.
Secondly I am about to close in on the last quarter mile of 880 yards of Unspun yarn I made in the end of October. In fact, I have been putting together a lace stole & cowl design using this yarn, and the pattern is all ready but for the finish photo, all awaiting on the speed which I can wrap up this project! I am hoping for it to be ready by the end of this week, and then there will be a lovely simple & satisfying lace pattern available for holiday knitting!
Next we’re wrapping up November, with only four more days to it, then its already December and the big wrapping up of 2018! I tell you, in the recent couple of weeks I’ve had a transformation in attitude; I am no longer feeling sad and sorry for myself, but really excited, and my panic episodes calming, as the tide changes to feeling abundance and gratitude coming my way. Its been a difficult year since last November, but I am so very excited for 2019 at last, with all that it promises. And until then I am loving the loud rumbling of road-making machinery, merged into the cacophony of air compressors, nail guns, and hammers, so while so much excitement is here at last, I want to enjoy every moment! I just know that in a blink the day is going to come when we migrate from this tiny house 500 feet up the road into our new rebuilt house. I am very content for life as it is, knowing that time will be here most certainly by the coming of next summer solstice.
In closing, over the Thanksgiving holiday the rain came in a big way, wrapping up another epic dry season, transforming the dry moss into lush moss, life drinking it in, miniature rain forests growing thick carpets on the wood and rocks, and bringing a verdant mood to things. Loving that and giving thanks indeed.
About a week ago I posted first of the posts & beams in Timberframe! I think the most photogenic and magical part of building a timberframe house is when the posts & beams go together, against a hopeful blue sky.
Most days have had thick smoke in the air from yet another dreadful wildfire northeast of Napa County, but yesterday the breeze shifted and some blue sky was showing, and the tops of many of the trees are somewhat healthy looking in spite of their charred trunks.
The timberframe should be finished this week and I am already totally and completely in love with our new house.
Watch this space for old familiar interior shots, as next the house will become enclosed, racing the clock as rain is expected next weekend.
♥ ♥ ♥
See all posts about our building our timberframe house HERE.
Now that the posts & beams of the house are going up, I am in a creative mood about what will go inside the rooms. A couple of days ago I found this old oak double bed frame, and I’m really enjoying fixing it up. It is very solid, relatively inexpensive and worth every bit of work I put into it.
It will go in the Loft Room, replacing an old tarnished brass bed I had forever, but I have convinced myself that I love this much better than the old one, for I love the feel of wood, so sensual and natural.
I spent several hours scrubbing every surface with #0000 (finest) steel wool and a beeswax citrus cleaner, scrubbing off a layer of dirt & old lacquer, resulting in a satin finish with golden oak highlights! Although it could use another scrubbing, I am reticent for I don’t want to lose the depth of patina in the grain & crevasses.
A few cracks in the posts and flakes lifted from the veneer of the side boards, but I am absolutely totally in love with it. I will be looking for old quilts now to dress it with, perhaps making another someday, but for now I am envisioning blocking out lace stoles the whole length of it!
As most of you know its been a very long and difficult wait from losing our home to the wildfire last October 2017, but now the posts & beams coming together with alarming speed! It is the very same timberframe … Continue reading
Best thing I’ve seen all year, our Emma laying on her floor , and back home.
Now for a little catch up on the house construction!
Do you recognize my signature view of the mountains?
Foundation poured, and floor joists going up , photos just taken less than an hour ago, during the workers’ lunch break.
Then a few hours later….
Watch this space, things are really happening now. Next week construction starting on the road (we’re forced to put in a road to rebuild!) and also starting next week will be the posts & beams of the timberframe going up!
♥ ♥ ♥
Emma is thirteen & a half today!
Yesterday I took Emma out for a little walk, although not very far. I’ve been rather quiet about things going on with Emma, but now she is on the mend, I will mention that she seems to be slowly recovering from a serious illness which came on in the first days of September rendering her completely unable to move on her own, and with very little appetite. I thought I lost her and was enormously miserable for weeks as I nursed her , but now she’s able to walk a little on her own, getting stronger every day, and eating a lot!
My constant companion Emma ~~ she’s such a soldier!
2:30 pm, on day one of rebuild. Excavating really deep for footing (the county building codes are so over-kill now). The first time, in early summer of 2000, Jeff and I did this by ourselves, not even half this wide or deep; Jeff operating a simple little back hoe, I moved the dirt in his lumbering old Ford 420 bucket front-loader, and lots of using pick and shovels too, and it took us a long time. Three men digging and moving dirt, with foreman, Jeff, and five miniature Dachshunds standing by, the excavation will be finished today!
Hearing the excavator scraping away against a very rocky volcanic earth for a new foundation at 7 o’clock this morning was absolute music to my ears, and watching the gradual additional equipment arrive up one by one on our dusty road is just making me blast off into an orbit of happiness. I welcome the noise of production finally, over the deafening silence of waiting . Starting rebuild construction, twelve days short of a year since the wildfire, and no more waiting! I have in fact, made a celebratory apple crumble to bring up to the workers this afternoon, when things settle in a bit. Here’s my totally improvised recipe …
Jen’s Apple Crumble (from the Tiny Oven)
Sugar Mixture: blend 1/2 cup brown and 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside.
Apples: Peel, core & quarter 3 large tart apples. Blend 1/2 of sugar mixture with 3 tablespoons flour then into the apples, place in bowl and set aside.
Crumble: In small processor, grind 1 cup of rolled oats (or just use quick oats), empty into large bowl. In processor blend 1/2 cup cold butter and 1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour, finely as for pie crust, and add to oats. Add the rest of sugar mixture in with flour & oats and toss with just enough ice cold water to make it bind a little when pressed together, but much of it still very crumbly & loose.
Assemble: Press a little more than half the flour/oat/sugar mixture into bottom of an 8 or 9 inch square baking dish. Layer apples evenly, but not touching dish, then sprinkle the rest of the flour/sugar mixture on top. Sprinkle additional sugar on top to taste.
Bake at 350F until crumble is golden and apple layer begins to bubble. ( In our Tiny House tiny oven, most things burn, so I waited until the fruity syrup began to bubble before taking out of the oven, at the risk of a little burn)
Frantic artful ‘good mood’ music because things are shifting into action! Meaning that we have been issued our building permit finally, after a grueling long wait, and house rebuilding can start at last! The Autumnal Equinox is Saturday, and I am going to celebrate!
This music reminds me what I have been missing, a familiar manic wave now only whispering, approaching me without touching, as if to assure me of its return, and that all will be in a far better place very soon.
Oh, and this trio just hits the spot doesn’t it! Be sure to listen to Trio Brasileiro videos as they queu up, because these tunes are deservedly among my favorites and might become yours too!
Yesterday took a turn for the worse for us. The previous Friday we were told we’d have our permit, and too soon did we think we could just start building. Our building permit got held up because of yet another detail some engineer at the county building department was chewing on ; we now have to change the plans to do more fiddling, as we have done several times already, until its become utterly impossible & ridiculous. This means more time to wait, and worst of all , more money to build, and it also means more debilitating frustration in our lives, but we are coping and won’t give up. Our county building administration is notoriously harsh and very difficult to get a building permit through on the best day, and don’t for a second think they are in any way being lenient to the many who have lost our homes to the wildfire, now 11 months later. Our contractors are ready to start, we have the batter boards & string line up for the foundation elevation, and had the foundation sub-contractor up here spraying lines in the dirt and scheduling a start as soon as permit is issued. Since its costing us more, we’ll end up having to do more of the building ourselves, and live in this teeny tiny space longer. Not really glad about things right now. I’ll let you know when things really start, as many of you have no doubt been wondering. I’ve just put this out there so family & friends will have an update ~~ apologies if I seem like a complainer, I’m just angry and at a breaking point.
Jeff has built a bridge from logs he salvaged from the loggers’ waste, and he hoisted them cross across the small gully which heads over to the garden in now what I am calling “the path of least resistance” with planks nailed to the top from old boards, it is an excellent & rustic installment to the woods and I am super pleased with it! I helped only minimally, as I did the original “wedding bridge” which was burned in the wildfire. A new bridge & my sooty knitting trail has of this morning been improved inexpressibly for the better! Emma inspected & approved…
There eventually will be builders at work making their presence felt in my quiet seclusion, and this lovely little bridge continues me my private trail out to the garden without having to walk up the road to the house where the chaos will be going on, and down to the garden from there. Planning ahead brilliantly! A short-cut to the garden, a bridge to bliss, a bridge across difficult terrain, so metaphorical. The garden is life, and inspires me in its quiet little way with bees bobbing about, fluttering butterflies, and small little birds bathing in various bowls and cups sitting about, as well as a fat wild dove flocks bombing about on occasion… tall seedy foxgloves still standing through the perpetual heat. I chase away the drought with my series of old-timey sprinklers, sitting beside them in the mist as I soak in the moist air and knit. It is a very rustic & secluded spot of calm, where one is really fairly hidden away.
I am trying to settle into a productive life of a busy recluse, and I have been thinking about things. Post trauma disorder has changed things a bit. I will very likely never get over that day of wildfire, for at that time forward is etched into the rhythm of how I experience life, and its injury as much a part of me now as anything could be. That blink of time when I hurriedly drove off in my car with Emma, my mandolin, recordings of my music compositions, a small box of photos, and a few clothes, my computer, and a tote full of my needles & favorite yarns to keep me busy in the days following — while instantly regretting other things which I forgot, so much from my life. Those things which seemed to define me were suddenly gone, especially those rooms, spaces which were integral to my happiness.
But let me tell you how I’ve been thinking about things, about feeling glad and comfortable with realizing that the only real thing I can ever own, and the only thing which defines me, are my accomplishments. So that is why I strive to live the busy life of a hermit in newly built hermitage, and the rooms will be far less cluttered and intriguingly sparse, so that I can build on my accomplishments. My family, and short list of close friends will allow me this reclusive life. I would like to add that I appreciate all of my pen friends from around the globe with whom I have kept company and shared my days in a more secluded way, I am ever so immensely grateful to my knitting fraternity!
♥ ♥ ♥
This morning we got out earlier than we have been.
I am hiking solo now, but sometimes I’ll drive up the road a little ways and give Emma a ride, then she waits in the car in a nice shady spot.
She still looks so healthy, but she does not like to walk very far. Isn’t she just beautiful?
Today I had my Nikon and took some photos of regrowth in the landscape. New shoots emerging prolifically from burned trees everywhere!
The wildfire burned so much foliage and shrubs on the ridge that I’ve been finding old dump sites and old roads long abandoned too, but mostly, trees are making a come-back , and the flowers bloomed as ever before…
On the way back to our Tiny House, stopping where our house “was”. Do you recognize the landscape beyond that I so often photographed from our deck?
Many trees I am finding , are still alive with green crowns, so all is not lost. In fact, the big black oak which shaded our house and most of the deck in the heat of the summer afternoon, was so badly burned we thought no chance, but now it has green sprouting out of ash-grey trunk! The wildfire brings so much perspective about potential of regeneration, that I must witness this as I walk through the seasons. I’ve put all my focus on the hill before me, and knitting as I go.
Life is good.