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Warning!  This entry is somewhat (okay, very) image-heavy.

Also, Warning for the Phobic:  There is a picture of a large wolf spider in the wildlife pictures at the end. 

The final destruction did not happen (though gutting did).  Rain, lovely, moist, life-giving, infuriating rain negated any possiblity of using a front-loader in the massive amounts of mud, unless we wanted a construction vehicle doing triple axels Blades of Glory-style right next to the new house.  No hole could be dug, and there's still a folorn shell of a house standing next to the new one.

In other words, when the machine rental guy calls up and says "uh, you might not want to do this", listen.

We did, however, have some friends over, and we (okay, they - I don't do much in the way of physical labour) ripped off drywall with great abandon.  Most of the house is now gutted, and by the time the new destruction weekend comes (the 10th of November), pretty much anything that can be salvaged will be, and there'll be a partial shell, bare roof, and some random bits of bathroom and kitchen left.  This weekend was probably the last time I'll see the old house looking even partially recognizable.  Fortunately, the extra time before total annihilation means that the Buckingham guys can take more of the historical stuff, including the rest of the roof slates, and hopefully a bunch of the framing in the Tavern room.

I arrived Thursday afternoon to find the historical society guys had taken off the floorboards in the Tavern room and upstairs bedroom.  By Friday, they had removed the stairs to both bedrooms, and the floorboards in our bedroom:



And we got to discover how huge the beams for the house are.  See that sill beam in the first picture (the one running under the doorway)?  That's about 18" square heart pine.  There's another one just as big underneath it, and similar ones on each side of the room.  The floor joists aren't pegged, they're so heavy they don't shift.

The floor joists, in fact, are the size the framing sills should be.  The joists can be half that size.  This place is massively over-engineered (but that meant even centuries of rot didn't disturb it).  Everything is heart pine - of a kind that is now extinct in the USA (logged out of existence).  I thought it was all oak, since it didn't have any knots, but it's apparently all heart pine.  And fantastic stuff.  Solid as a rock.

On Saturday, our friends got to work on things, and new house stuff got done as well as gutting:

Kirsten and Harv making my new pantry shelves (thnx guyz!  I has storage!) - they later helped put in the French doors to the master bedroom.


Cindy plays monkey on the rafters, ripping down drywall, while Kirk pretends Cindy isn't ten feet up on 200 year-old joists.

...And Kirk battles (and fails to kill) the whale (it was painted on concrete).

Some crazy construction happened once upon a time - see these corner posts?

There are four of them - they're each one piece of wood cut into a vee shape.  Not two nailed together, one.  One massive piece of wood.  What were they thinking?!

I finally got to see the dimensions of the crawl space Alan and Craig got into when they checked the floorboards underneath the Tavern lo, these seven years ago:


That second one is the hole they crawled through.  The original room had a horrible blue carpet and a 1" particle board underlayment (!!), so we couldn't tell what shape the floorboards were in from above.  They crawled under, we took a chance, and they were great.  Six hours with a circular saw, prybars, and a lot of sweat revealed beautiful heart pine tongue and groove boards that are now going to be used to restore/build houses on a living history site.

Hellooooo, tax write-off.  Come to mama.

What was I doing?  Futzing around in the rain, and taking pictures.  We has persimmons, and we used to has bees, apparently:


Also, every mud-dauber wasp in the entire county:

Yes, those are all old mud-dauber nests.

It's always been wildlife-intensive on the farm - we had spiders, toads, butterflies, and vultures this past summer:



All irresistibly drawn to the house (even the butterfly came in).  Not to mention the cows:

We've had some good times in that house.

The Cat's Perch Inn - 2001-2007  

Rest well, old friend, you did your job right well.


( 25 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Oct. 29th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)
When the distruction comes, I think we need a "before" and an "after" picture.
Oct. 29th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
Totally. :)
Oct. 29th, 2007 01:38 pm (UTC)
Beams... joinery... destroyed...

Oct. 29th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
Not destroyed! Taken and given a loving new home in a century-appropriate (c. 1800) building museum!

Not sad! Good! Happy! Don't cry!
Oct. 29th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
Whew!! It would be almost criminal to destroy those beams.... 18" heart pine? Holy cow.
Nov. 2nd, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
An, the joinery was really, really simple. The corner beams just utilized simple stub tenons. The floor beams were significant overkill (at 4"x8"). Actually, most of the construction technique was simple and over-engineered. Except for where the weather had gotten in, that place was one stout structure.
Oct. 29th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
Have to admit, I feel a twinge of sadness here. =( Hmm, should have hit you up for those stair treds - been wanting to replace my modern plywood w/ aged, wooden treds.
Oct. 29th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
You'd have had to be quick - Bob says the Buckingham people got a real gleam in their eyes when they saw the stairs. They took all the doors, and even our ratty old woodstove (to heat the museum's office). They were ecstatic when they heard they'd have an extra two weeks to work.
Oct. 29th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)
The "heart pine" is probably old growth Loblolly pine. Very slow growing, very dense, very rot-resistant. Excellent for house sills, joists, flooring, etc. Also remarkably fire resistant. The species still survives, but is usually harvested long before it develops that hard heart wood.

Great to hear that it's going to be used again in appropriate buildings. It'd be criminal for it to end up on the firewood pile.
Oct. 29th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC)
I think that's what they meant. You can't get it any more, because there aren't any old-growth trees that age left. It's perfect for building because the termites won't eat it.

Oh, no! We'd never burn it! If we had kept it, though, it would have been hard to store without deteriorating - we don't have anywhere big enough to keep it.
Oct. 29th, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
I just can't wait to see your house when it's done. And I agree a before and after would be great.
Oct. 29th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
Great to see all the recycling for a good cause. And I love to see de-construction photos, learn so much from them. Our walls are lath and plaster, kind of cool, but a real learning curve for repairs :).

And you have persimmons! Our local season was not so good, fortunately my mother has some frozen from last year for this year's traditional thanksgiving persimmon pudding.
Oct. 29th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
I have several small persimmon trees, and one rather large one absolutely covered with persimmons. I'll be checking out the crop this weekend after the frost (since we'll be down briefly for a wedding).
Oct. 29th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
I have persimmons, too, and no idea what to do with them. But they sure look purty in a bowl!
Oct. 29th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
They make lovely jam (use a strainer to get out the seeds), and they eat well fresh - as long as they're fully ripe. You should be able to squeeze them slightly, and have the skin break (they should be very soft and a bit wrinkly). If the fruit is unripe, it will have an unpleasantly alum-like taste and effect (I have direct experience of this!).

The best way to harvest them (I am told, and it works) is to spread a tarp under the tree (optional), shake the tree, and collect the windfalls. If you have to pick them, they won't be ripe enough. And they're best after the first frost. :)
Oct. 29th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
What she said about the ripeness. Oh, man an unripe persimmon is enough to make you seriously reconsider the wisdom of persimmons' being human-edible and -tasty. But a ripe one's quite good, with an almost buttery aspect.
Oct. 29th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
My ones are very sweet, almost plum-like. They're different from the Asian persimmons you can buy in the store, definitely. This is the first year ever I've been down at the farm at exactly the right time to get some, so this is my first year eating wild persimmons! :)

I want to grow more because Luna Moth caterpillars like the leaves, and we have had LM sightings, both of moth and caterpillar.
Oct. 29th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
I have a good bread and a good cookie recipe I can send you once I have my cookbooks unpacked next week.
Oct. 29th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
Sad doesn't even begin to express how I feel about seeing it gone....
Oct. 29th, 2007 06:27 pm (UTC)
What in the world are you doing with the spider on your ARM! Gahhhh. I'm all for live and let live (I capture and release myself) but somewhere other than my person.

Gah (shudder)
Nov. 1st, 2007 12:30 pm (UTC)
That would be my husband, telling me to take the picture before it got nervous and bit him. I managed to catch it in a cup, but touching it was entirely beyond me. :)
Oct. 30th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
nice critter photos. I like wolf spiders, actually.
Oct. 31st, 2007 10:05 am (UTC)
Off topic message regarding Cassocks
Hi, I'm Scott Crawford, one of the living history folks from Missouri that marched around at Jamestown on anniversary weekend.
My little bande here in the Ozarks is trying to decide on a cassock design. The sleeveless buttoned blue cassock at the top of your page on military cassocks looks like it might be a great design for Missouri's hot weather. Were did that design come from? Do you have a pattern for it? Also, what kind of cassocks do the folks at Gardiner's Co. prefer?
Oct. 31st, 2007 10:12 am (UTC)
Re: Off topic message regarding Cassocks
Oops - my contact info:
Nov. 1st, 2007 12:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Off topic message regarding Cassocks
Gotcha. Sent off a message this morning.
( 25 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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