Friday, July 30, 2010

Still Here

I'm still here.  No disaster has befallen me.  Nor have I been swept off my feet and whisked away someplace exotic by my Prince Charming, or declared the Powerball winner, and I wasn't invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding.  (Apparently neither was the President, but that's a different story.)  Nope, it's just an ordinary variety of temporary chaos that's struck my life this week and gotten in the way of blogging.  But don't worry, everything's okay.

This weekend I should have some time to devote to house-related and infinitely more fun stuff.  Remind me to tell y'all about Louis Cat's trip to the vet and who I ran into there, how I "patched" the holes in the kitchen wall, my score at an antique mall on the way back from St. Louis, and my co-pilot on the trip home from work Thursday morning.  Oh yeah, and remind me to take a photo of the fence with a real camera.  That other pic doesn't do justice to WTB's fine fence-building skills.

Tune in Saturday.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fence Project, Day 9

WTB sorta promised not to work on the fence while I was sleeping...but he did not promise that he wouldn't mostly finish it after I went to work last night.  Therefore, WTB is still a man of his word.
Crappy pic taken with my phone.

That's what the fence looked like when I came home this morning.  Done except for cutting down the posts, making a gate and hanging it.  Oh, wait just a minute—I have a voicemail from WTB.  He wants me to get a screen door spring and two hooks at the Orange Store before I leave The City to come home tomorrow.  So he finished the gate tonight, too.  What a guy.  I should do something nice for him and Mrs. WTB.  You know, he mentioned a couple of days ago how much he likes Corky's BBQ in Memphis, Tennessee...and I happen to know that they'll ship their famous ribs and pulled pork anywhere in the U.S....I do believe the FedEx truck will be stopping at the Coal Miner's Despair (WTB's name for his house) some time in the very near future. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fence Project, Days 7 & 8

Yesterday, in between working at his real job, White Trash Bob and I picked up the stuff to build the fence, laid out a plumb line (or whatever you call it) around the yard, and dug the post holes.  Wait, that's not entirely true.  After he saw that it took me about five times longer to dig a post hole than it does him, he dug all the post holes.  I dug half of one.  And I provided emotional support and encouragement while WTB dug 8½ post holes by telling him he was staving off osteoporosis and heart disease by doing so.  I'm not sure he appreciated that. 

And then today, in between working at his real job, WTB came over and we set the fence posts.  All of them.  During a heat advisory which I will not complain about because it was, after all, my idea to build a new fence in the middle of summer.  WTB asked me, "Don't you ever get great ideas when it's 70 outside?"  Apparently not.
About two hours after we set the last post and WTB explained to me that I would have to water the concrete later tonight, the sky darkened and huge rain clouds rolled in.  We ran around covering up the concrete with junk from my yard.  And then it poured rain and we were under a tornado watch.  "Never mind about the watering later," WTB told me. 

As soon as the concrete sets, we'll attach the picket fence panels to the posts.  Y'all heard me say "we", right?  I go back to work Wednesday night and my next day off is Sunday.  I tried to extract a promise from WTB that he would not attach the panels to the posts without me.  He made a vague sort of "uh-huh" answer in reply.  Who wants to bet that, while I am sleeping, WTB will finish the fence by himself? 

Monday, July 19, 2010


I am in love.
Not with a boy.
But with a kitchen cabinet.
This kitchen cabinet:
I spied it at an antique mall and it was love at first sight.
Mostly because of this:
(The decorations on the front of the cabinet,
not the cat on the top of it.)
And then I saw the price tag. 
It's such an incredible bargain that I must whisper it: 
 two hundred dollars.
I know, right?!
So I called White Trash Bob and said breathlessly,
And he said, "A really cool Hoosier?  For two hundred bucks?  I don't know about that." 
Clearly, the man was skeptical.
But then he saw it.
And then he said, "Holy crap!"
And, "Let's get this thing home before somebody realizes they priced it way too low!"
So we brought it home.
I'm putting stuff in it and trying to decide
what I should put where.
Louis thinks I should leave the top shelf for him.
Here he demonstrates how neatly he fits on the top shelf.

I remain unconvinced.
But I let Louis stay there while
 I pulled the countertop out all the way,
cut up five pounds of peaches,
stirred up some batter,
folded in some blueberries,
and made a peach-blueberry cobbler.
I love peaches,
and blueberries
nearly everything about summer,
and this cabinet.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Minty Fresh

This used to be a brand-new pack of gum...

Until Libbi found it.

Oh least her breath is minty fresh now.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fence Project, Day 6.5

(It's 6.5 because we worked just half a day.)

We spread out grass seed and covered it with straw.  This means that it probably won't rain for a week now.

Straw spread over grass seed...
and The Pile

I broke down and photographed The Pile of debris from the fence, because tomorrow afternoon it will be gone.  And of course I want to remember how terrible it looked.

Someone asked me if I found anything interesting in the yard.  Yesterday we found these:
Found not with a metal detector,
but with a shovel.
A horseshoe.  Those round things are barrel hoops, all that's left of a barrel that someone (probably the Kellys) had out by the stable.  I am keeping them.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fence Project, Day 6

Warning:  This content of this post may cause drowsiness.

In other words, it ain't exciting...but it is progress.

WTB came over today and we yanked, dug and hacked the rest of the roots of the honeysuckle vines and mulberry bushes out of the yard and dragged them into one gigantic pile at the corner of the yard.  A pile which I cannot bear to show you, so I cropped it out of this photo.  We found that the edge of the patio goes all the way to the end of the house.

Then we shoveled and raked until the dirt was nice and level, because with all this rain the ditch where the fence used to be was in danger of becoming a moat.  Not the kind of water feature one would wish for in a cottage garden.
We discovered a sidewalk under all the mess on this side of the yard.  I thought I found an ancient monolith placed by the Druids, but WTB kindly explained that it was only the concrete footing for an old fence post.

And I constructed this by stacking up all the cinder blocks and bricks we found in the yard:
Beautiful, isn't it?  We call it Blockhenge.  I can see it soon becoming the subject of a Craigslist posting.

And tomorrow is another day...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Might Be A Tight Fit

Me:  You don't think Libbi can fit between the pickets of the new fence, do ya?
WTB:  How far apart are they?
Me:  Four inches apart.  I was thinking that I might have to staple hardware cloth to the bottom half of the fence.
WTB:  I don't think that she can fit through there.  That's pretty small.
Me:  Only one way to find out, I guess.
WTB:  Tell ya what, when we get the new fence put up we'll try to shove her through there.  I'll push, you pull, and then we'll know.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Harkelroads House

In the early 1980s, the National Register of Historic Places folks came to Lexington, Missouri and did an inventory of all our historic structures.  As a result of that inventory, some of those structures were individually named to the National Register and four areas of Lexington were named National Register Historic Districts:  the Commercial Community Historic District, the Highland Avenue Historic District, the Wentworth Military Academy campus, and the Old Neighborhoods Historic District.  Every week I plan to share at least one house from the National Register inventory with you. 

The Harkelroads House

"Circa 1840.  Two story brick painted white Greek Revival; L plan with one story side porch on the east, bay window on the west.  Ionic porch across front added circa 1900.  Double end chimneys.  Victorian cast-iron fence; significant brick outbuilding to the rear."--National Register of Historic Places inventory listing

I don't know much about this house, but I think it's beautiful.  It's located in the Old Neighborhoods District about a block and a half to the west of mine.  The pretty yard and the landscaping really set off the crisp white paint and green shutters of the house, and I love the bunting they put up.  Originally this house was probably unpainted brick and would have had a smaller porch that covered just the front door, in keeping with the Greek Revival style; however, I don't think the paint or the porch detracts from this house at all.  Can't you just see yourself enjoying a cold glass of lemonade while sitting in one of the wicker chairs on the front porch? 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Negative Ned

“Well, remember what you said, because in a day or two, I'll have a witty and blistering retort! 

You'll be devastated THEN!”

--Calvin (of the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes")

Like Calvin, I can never think of a good comeback when it's needed.  Take yesterday, for example, when one of my neighbors stopped as he was driving down the alley and said, "Wow, your yard looks really bad!  I mean, really bad!" To which I replied, "Thank you, Captain Obvious."  So I came across like a 12-year-old. 

What I wish I'd said is this:

Hey, Negative Ned, did you forget that I work night shift three or four nights a week?  That means that at least half of one of my days off is usually lost to sleeping, and sometimes—like this past weekend—I get ordered in on overtime, which made me lose not only most of Saturday because I worked Friday night, but all of Sunday and most of  Monday because I had to work OT Sunday night.  And did you also forget that the city dump is open only from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, which is convenient for no one except the people who work at the dump?  And did you know that the dump was closed Monday?  Because I didn't, at least not until after my son and I packed four bags of yard waste and as many sticks, tree limbs, and honeysuckle vines as his truck bed could hold and drove over to the dump only to find the gates locked.  Speaking of my son, he works nights too down at the jail, and finding a day when we're both awake after 8 a.m. and before 3 p.m. so that we can haul all this trash to the dump is well nigh impossible.  


You know, Ned, you need to turn that frown upside down.  Have an attitude of gratitude.  Allow me to offer a few suggestions of things you could do instead of being snarky to me.  First off, I see that you have a flat-bed trailer that you're pulling behind your grocery-getter.  And earlier today I saw that it was loaded down with tree limbs and other yard waste.  Since it's empty now, and the dump is closed, you must have a place where you can legally dump yard waste.  Instead of griping at me that my yard looks really bad, how about you offer to haul some of this to wherever you dump your yard waste?  Unless, of course, you're dumping illegally somewhere, and if I find out that's the case I will not hesitate to report you to the Sheriff's Department.  


Maybe what you need, Ned, is a little stay-cation.  You could have a nice picnic at Riverfront Park.

See, there's the shelter house over to the right.  You'll have to park the Soccer Mom Transport Vehicle up the road a piece and swim over there.  I hear the fishing off the picnic tables is excellent.


Or maybe you could take your boat out on the river and relax for a little while.

That's the river between those two lines of trees in the background of this photo.  Just thought I'd try to be helpful and point that out to you, since there's a whole lot of water where it's not supposed to be.  Watch out for all the debris in the river while you're out there.  We saw a set of bleachers drift by a few days ago. 

Maybe your problem is that you don't take time to enjoy the little things in life, Ned.  Like this lil fella right here.

Snapping turtles are good companion pets.  Really, Ned, they are.  I can just imagine the two of you having many happy hours together in your boat.  It might take you a bit to train him not to bite, though.  


You let me know how it goes.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Withers House

Christine asked about the red house in the background of the photos in my recent posts.
The small red house right next to the alley was originally the summer kitchen for the big house that is, from this vantage point, behind it.  That summer kitchen is now a bed & breakfast operated by my neighbors who live in the big red house.  This isn't the best view of the big red house...which looks like this from the front:
Sheesh, that's a gorgeous hunk of house, isn't it?!  It was built in 1854 by Marquis Withers.  Our entire neighborhood (South Street and Franklin Street from roughly 13th to 20th) is the Old Neighborhoods National Register Historic District, one of four historic districts in Lexington, Missouri.  The other three are Wentworth Military Academy, the Highland Avenue neighborhood, and our downtown commercial district.  Some of the houses in the District are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and I believe this one is.  I wrote about the history of the Withers House here and here in detail, but long story short, the land where my house is now used to be the Withers' small orchard.  The Kellys bought the lot my house was later built on and the lot next to it from the Withers family. 

My neighborhood is full of beautiful old houses, and I love looking at them as Libbi and I take our morning walks.  Maybe I should take my camera with me next time.  What do you think?  Would you like to see more photos of the houses in my neighborhood?