a taste of summer   29 comments

It seems that summer has arrived here in Round Hill. Nights are still quite cool, but days have been warm and this week threatens to be quite hot. I continue to work away at things here – both indoors and out. Instead of writing much in this post, I thought it would be fun to share some photos taken over the past week or so (click on all photos for larger views).

To begin, the above photo was taken down by the river. As you may recall, I have been cutting trails through the property and have cleared four access points to the shoreline. This is the one that I can see from my bedroom window. The photo was taken about three-quarters of the way down the hill. From my room, the chair looks quite tiny. Anyhow, there is now a steep but walkable trail from the house to the river. It’s a nice view. One of these days, when I actually take some time off work around here, I may actually go down and sit in that chair.

This photo is of a rusty cast iron tripod that I found while clearing trails back in the woods. As I work my way through the property, I constantly unearth objects. This is the largest as yet. Mostly, I find glass bottles, tin cans, metal pans, and occasionally reams of the most horrid looking “barbed tape” fence wire which I carefully remove and wind into hoops to be stowed in a safe place. The history of this property has something to do with the stuff that I unearth. Behind the old house, there was once a barn, and on the hillside down to the river, an old cooper’s shed where barrels were once made for shipping apples from this region. Down by the river, on a lot which is now severed from this property and owned by a neighbour, there were once two large factory buildings for the Round Hill Woodworks. Only one building remains. It was the general store for the village for many years, before eventually closing down and being sold off. In any case, with so much activity on this property, it is really no surprise that objects are unearthed almost everywhere I look. Kind of fascinating.

If you are on Facebook, you’ll already know that I spent last Sunday removing three large windows from the second floor level of the house. Last summer, I made an unsuccessful attempt to remove the rotten old storm windows from the upper level. I soon discovered that the windows were not only attached by the regular screw bolts, but that they had also been nailed to the sashes using huge common nails (ggrrrrhhhhh!!!!).

There was no way that I could get proper leverage to extract the nails while standing at the top of a ladder, so I decided to leave the job for the winter and figure out a different way to get the old windows off the house. This time, I tackled the job from the inside, first removing the inner windows which all need some repair work anyhow. Then, I used a crow bar to partially pry each window away from the sash. Once there was a crack of open space, I threaded some cord around each window and tied it to a nail I hammered up above the inside window frame. Then I finished prying the windows out, catching them as they swung out and down, but stopped from crashing to the ground by the cord. With the windows now out of the way, I can do some repairs to the sashes and the upper siding and finish painting the upper level exterior before summer’s end.

My modus operandi for working on this place is to tackle several jobs at a time. I know that probably bothers some of you. Why not start one job and just work at it until the very end? Well, that wouldn’t suit my personality too well. I like to have several irons in the fire at all times. There are practical reasons as well. Sometimes it is too hot to be working on the trail building project, or it’s been raining and the exterior walls are too saturated to paint, so I need an indoors job. That’s what the above and the next few photos are all about. As some of you may remember from last year’s work program, I repaired and painted the downstairs but stopped about half way up the staircase. Now I am carrying on into the upper level. The above photo is of the long room with two windows that look out onto the front garden (the same window openings featured in the photo further up this page). I like this room very much and intend to turn it into a studio at some point – maybe around the same time that I go down to sit in the chair by the river.

Anyhow, the condition of the walls in this room are not too terrible, other than at one end where the plaster is off the lath on the sloped ceiling, and there are planks that were covered with wallpaper which frames a rather spooky closet. The rest of the ceiling is peeling and requires scraping – all similar to the Room of the Scary Wallpaper which I worked on last summer.

There is a square tower room as well, and it is almost ready for painting. There are two more bedrooms and a long hall on the back side of the upper floor. They are in rather dreadful condition and will require *a lot* of work. I don’t think I will get to them this summer.

Anyhow, here is the same view of the *proposed studio* after most of the wallpaper has been scraped away and the first coat of plaster applied. It is already looking much nicer and brighter in the room and my imagination is busily creating visions of a nice studio with a work table, easel, cabinet for paints and brushes……… Well, I shall get there eventually.

Now, lest anyone think that I don’t take the odd day off, The above photo will prove you wrong. On Saturday mornings, I usually tear myself away from work for an hour or two to visit the Annapolis Royal farmers’ market. Generally, I buy a couple of soft pretzels and fruit turnovers, then poke around looking at everyone’s stuff. The above insulators were acquired over a couple of weekly visits to one of the vendor’s tables. At some point, I hope to build a little glass shelf upon which they will sit at the top of the now-absent windows of the partially-plastered studio room. Do you get how all of this works? It’s all about building up a series of carrots leading from one job to the next. Somewhere at the end of the string of carrots, there is a chair by the river and several colorful insulators displayed on a glass shelf.

Okay, I know what you are thinking. What on earth is this photo about? Well, this is a photo of the next major town north of here – as depicted on a postcard dated circa 1900. It is one of about two dozen neat old postcards in a scrapbook owned by my next door neighbour. In my *spare* time (what’s that?), I have been scanning the cards, along with an old post office register book that was kept by her uncle from 1894 to 1931. The point of this activity is to preserve these relics for posterity. Once I get a bit more *spare* time, I hope to contact the local historical society to find a safe, permanent home for the old postal register – where it might prove rather useful to genealogists and historians of this region. For those who are interested, I have put .jpegs of all the postcard scans in an online gallery here. Hope that link works.

Now, believe it or not, I do manage to remember to stop and eat occasionally. Of course, by the time that happens it is usually around 7 or 8 in the evening. A week or so ago, I decided it would be nice to cook the odd meal on a barbecue. Only one problem – no barbecue – as I gave the old one away when I sold the farm. However, I had noticed a small kettle type barbecue on sale at the local grocery store, so I stopped by and bought it, a bag of chunk charcoal, and a bunch of vegetables. The barbecue came -unassembled – in a large box weighing 25 pounds. At first, I thought to leave assembly until later in the afternoon – after all, the instructions said it would take just 10 to 15 minutes to assemble the unit. However, some rational part of my brain quickly deduced that there was no way that 25 pounds of barbecue parts were going to fit together and be ready to cook in 15 minutes. About 1 hour and 15 minutes later, the barbecue was ready for charcoal. The asparagus and the long strips of a sweet red banana peppers proved to be especially good.

Of course, no long, busy day of work would be quite complete without turning on the UV lamp and firing up the camera gear for an evening of mothing. Listening to Loons calling, Barred owls hooting, coyote howling, raccoons fighting over vegetable scraps back at the compost bin while you photograph moths can be so relaxing. With any luck, I get a few nice moths like the Pachysphinx modesta in the final photo. It’s a good way to wrap up the day before catching a few hours of sleep in preparation to start all over again in the morning.

Written by bev wigney on July 17th, 2011

29 Responses to 'a taste of summer'

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  1. That view seems magical to me. And peaceful. A motivational carrot indeed 🙂

    Boo Mayhew

    17 Jul 11 at 1:01 pm

  2. It’s really starting to come together, Bev! Amazing how much you have improved the property in less than two seasons. I do hope you make time to sit in that chair and enjoy the view, the scents and the sounds!


    17 Jul 11 at 1:12 pm

  3. Boo – Yes, it actually is quite magical! One of the new access points to the river is quieter and by a spot where the river tumbles down over some rocks. When I go wandering around in the back part of the property, I sort of can’t get over that I am here. Quite a few people around here thought I must be a bit wacky for buying the place, but I just love it.

    Ed – yes, it actually is starting to come together. Another couple of summers and I should be able to goof off and not work most days. Still plenty to be done – things that aren’t too apparent in the photos, but I’m patient – better to keep up a slow, steady pace than burn out trying to do to much in a summer!

    bev wigney

    17 Jul 11 at 2:33 pm

  4. “My modus operandi for working on this place is to tackle several jobs at a time. I know that probably bothers some of you. Why not start one job and just work at it until the very end?” – Because you’re working in exactly the same way Beavers and natural history museums work, and who would want to argue with success?


    17 Jul 11 at 3:05 pm

  5. …also those hardware cloth screens over the windows of the Store were put on in anger with 6-inch common nails, so we know how hard they can be to extract from a ladder.


    17 Jul 11 at 5:45 pm

  6. I share your habit of getting involved in several projects at once; doing it any other way would drive me crazy! Do keep that motivational carrot of the chair by the river clearly in view. But don’t let it wait until everything is finished…use if as early and as often as you need to!


    17 Jul 11 at 5:49 pm

  7. fred – Very true about beavers and natural history museums! I suspect that a lot of the things that I find nailed to this house were “put on in anger”. The history of this house is very odd. It went through a terrific number of owners compare to most other area houses from the 1860s.

    John – There’s another good reason for working on several projects at once and that it gives a chance to rest different muscles. About two days of sawing branches andvweed whacking and it’s time to rest the back and shoulders and find something else to do – like sit on a chair by the river!

    bev wigney

    17 Jul 11 at 6:20 pm

  8. There is a wonderful rhythm and pattern to this post and to your days in Nova Scotia. Love the cleared space by the river, the beautiful rusted tripod, the views from inside to outside with a studio in mind, the colorful insulators, the splendid postcard slide show, the tasty dinner, Sage stepping out from behind the moth curtain and the wonder of moths after dark.

    I’ve been checking these Nova Scotia webcams regularly. Love the light.



    17 Jul 11 at 10:16 pm

  9. what an enjoyable post! I do hope you find time to relax in that wonderful white chair soon, you really cleared that area well! The tripod is fascinating to me, as well as the insulators.. my Grandfather had a penchant for collecting those.. and you know I love that sphinx moth 🙂


    18 Jul 11 at 12:48 am

  10. A wonderful array of photos that outline your progress. It is obvious to me the carrot is not finding time for the chair at the end of the day but the feeling of progress along the way; the journey IS the rewaard. The windows look daunting, so many and none of them willing to release their grip on time. What a special place, I’m sure the house and its voices from the past are happy you found them.


    18 Jul 11 at 6:29 am

  11. Wow, Bev, this post really captures the fullness of your days. I really don’t know how you do it and am always a little blown away by what you accomplish with your two very capable hands. I tend to be a single-minded purpose kind of worker, staying pretty much on one project, but I recognize your work methods in how Roger gets things done. He’s got the water heater project, the drip irrigation project, the new microwave project, the woodshed project, and the new door project… all going at once. I wish I had some of that way of working in me.

    robin andrea

    18 Jul 11 at 10:07 am

  12. am – There is a rhythm to the days here in Nova Scotia. It is one if the most important things about being here – the day moves from one phase to another, with the work changing with my energy levels. Hardest work is in the morning, afternoons are for less physical and more contemplative work, evenings for cooking and mothing. I go at my own pace and choose work based on the weather and how I am feeling. It is a quiet way to live – kind of monastic, I think. I had lost the link to those webcams, so thanks for posting them here!

    Cindy – Glad that you enjoyed the post. I like to be able to share some of my world with everyone!

    armin – You are so right – the journey IS the reward. I have always felt the most satisfaction and pleasure as I work on a project. Completion was always kind of secondary to how it feels to size uo a project and then out it into motion. I knew you would well understand. (-:

    robin – There are some practical advantages to working on several projects at once. One has to do with matching the day’s or hour’s work with how your body is feeling. Some days I will pick uo a certain tool and think, “This does not feel good.”. If at all possible, I will move on to some other job. The times when I buck that feeling are just the ones when I slip on a ladder, cut myself with a chisel, etc… I think we have to listen to our bodies when we are doing this kind of work. The other thing that I have found, and I am sure roger has found the same, is that when I have a few projects on the go, I can take time out from one to think about how best to proceed, which material might work better, a novel experiment, etc… Here is less pressure to carry on when you haven’t got things completely worked out in your head. Also, and this may be a personal thing, but I have days when I just feel relly good about working on some task and it will go suoer smoothly and in much less time than if I had forced myself to do it a couple of days before when I was feeling less enthusiastic. So much of what I do is dependent on knowing myself and recognizing when the time is right to work on this or that. The patience to wait for the right time Is something that has come with age, I think.

    bev wigney

    18 Jul 11 at 10:35 am

  13. Hi Bev, I too am managing several projects and enjoying the summer – especially as the island off the north shore of Lake Superior is naturally air conditioned with the lake temperature currently about 55 deg F. Mind you, in this heat wave that is blanketing the continent we are shrouded in cooling fog tinged with wood smoke from the 100 or so forest fires burning on the mainland. I was out on the lake yesterday and the islands kept disappearing one minute in dense fog that dissipated the next. Convinced me to start taking a gps with me to find my way home. Regarding your postcard photo, am I the only one who noticed the driver was defying the written instruction to keep to the left, and risking being fined? Maybe he couldn’t read, but I’ll bet the photographer could. With that evidence the law could have taken the poor guy to court! Must be a story there 🙂

    Jim Poushinsky

    19 Jul 11 at 9:45 pm

  14. The link to the old postcards works just fine. It would be interesting to see current versions of those views.


    20 Jul 11 at 4:58 pm

  15. Jim – Yes, I had noticed the carriage on the wrong side too – and thought it might be meant as a bit of a joke to photograph it that way. The print is not in reverse either as the church is still in that spot, aothough the bridge and paved road make it all look quite different.

    Mark – Some of those scenes are similar, but I am sure that many have vanished. The railway trestle bridge at Clementsport still exists, but a neighbiur just informed me that a contract has just been given out to have it demolished. I would like to get over there to photograoh it if it is not too late. Maybe I’ll take a drive over in the next couple of days.

    bev wigney

    20 Jul 11 at 5:57 pm

  16. Watching how everything at Round Hill is coming together is wonderful, Bev, and I did enjoy your Sphinx. Loons and barred owls and coyotes, sigh…


    25 Jul 11 at 9:06 am

  17. Hi Bev
    Wow you are making great progress on the house after a lot of hard work. It also sounds like you are whipping the property in shape I am amazed that you have the energy left to tackle your moths. The insulators are really beautiful, I dug up lots of fragments of them and old bottles when I was in archaeology and the colours could be really stunning I am sure your window will be lovely. I will have to use the carrot approach to get moving again on some stalled projects around here.
    All the best for a great summer.



    26 Jul 11 at 8:54 am

  18. Hi bev,

    Can you identify the moth on this link?


    I immediately thought of you.


    27 Jul 11 at 9:33 am

  19. Cate – Is is nice being able to share how things are coming along. Helps to keep me at least a littke connected to the outside world!

    Guy – Sometimes the mothing does get a bit short-changed as there are evenings when, after a day of very hard work, I can’t eve force myself to go outside to shoot photos. Energy is a problem and sometimes I think I am just operating on will power! (-:

    am – I just poated the following note to loren’s blog:
    The moth in the third photo is a Spear-marked Black Moth (Rheumaptera hastata) and goes by the common name Argent and Sable Moth in Europe. The larva is a defoliator or birch trees. There can be some variation in the black and white markings as seen in the examples on this page:
    Here is some additional info about it.

    bev wigney

    27 Jul 11 at 10:25 am

  20. Beautiful moth pictures. I’ve never thought of actually hunting them, but I might have to do that if I can find any as beautiful as those.

    Also, thanks for identifying the moth on my site.


    27 Jul 11 at 10:42 am

  21. Thanks so much, bev! (-:


    27 Jul 11 at 12:08 pm

  22. Thanks for the glimpses of your daily work on your place! I love that tripod; it would be great fun to come up with a use for it. Nice insulator collection, too; when I was a kid I’d buy them for a quarter apiece at junk shops around town. I liked the diversity of colors and designs. I wish I still had that childhood collection!

    Larry Ayers

    1 Aug 11 at 10:54 am

  23. Larry – Thanks! Yes, the tripod is neat. I did find a use for it — as a base upon which to set the dragonfly sundial which my brother gave to me a couple of years ago. The two pieces look great together. Oh, too bad you don’t still have that insulator collection. They are now so collectible. I treat myself to one now and then — they are one of the few things that I will splurge on. I think of them as a reward for all the work I put into the house week after week. Just think. I will work really hard from morning to night every day for a whole week in exchange for a fifteen dollar glass insulator!! 😛

    bev wigney

    2 Aug 11 at 11:13 am

  24. wow – so much work, so much progress, bev! i am always impressed and amazed by your success. i am reminded of how i know NOTHING about structural work. 🙁 the view you have is so peaceful! it is great that you can enjoy from several locations.

    when i was a child my aunt heated colorful insulators until the glass cracked internally. then she glued 2 of the same color together, each upside down to the other, with a gold ring between them to stabilize the adhesion and balance the weight. she made beautiful candlesticks with them.

    looking forward to more photos of life in your corner of the world. looks like you are having a good summer. you bbq makes me hungry! yummmmmmmmm.


    3 Aug 11 at 1:09 am

  25. I absolutely love seeing your home morph! You have done so much work! More than anything, however, I am really enjoying your photos of moths and such. I am inspired to put out a light and see what comes to visit….


    4 Aug 11 at 3:28 pm

  26. Hi Bev,

    I am so happy to have “found you” again. i had you linked at the side of my blog, but when no posts showed up, thought you had stopped blogging. Finally, today (a week into my holiday), it occurred to me to open up your last post to see if there was any clue as to what had happened to you, and sure enough, there was a new link. Now, I can have the fun of catching up the missed posts!

    I have zero house building/renovating skills, and perhaps because of that, am all the more fascinated to read about and see your process of reviving your new home. I’m in Vancouver now, but lived in N.S. for three years (part of the time in LaHave, and the rest along St. Margaret’s Bay, Hubbards.

    I have a deep love for the land, ocean and wildlife, and your October post about the shrieking people in the campground really resonated. I bike to work along the seawall and over the Lions Gate Bridge, and during the winter/rainy season, find that many of the cyclists/walkers that I meet share my attitude. But now, with fireworks, festivals, picnics, events – visitors seem to come with the attitude that they can do things I hope they might not do at home. I wonder if it’s that they haven’t figured out how small the world is.

    Anyhow, wonderful to read or your adventures and progress. Take care! Carol

    Carol Carson

    12 Aug 11 at 12:49 am

  27. Always your wonderful eye for balance and beauty.

    Oh how I love your moths.

    I have trouble with getting perspective.

    How big is that lovely moth?


    17 Sep 11 at 4:49 pm

  28. Cathy – Pachysphinx modesta is a very large moth. When it flies near, it seems more like a bat. I checked and they!have a wingspan of up to about 12 cm (approx. 4.75 inches). When you hold one, the body feels quite a bit like a mouse.

    bev wigney

    17 Sep 11 at 4:58 pm

  29. Yikes! ” . . .like a bat .. . . . feels like a mouse .”

    Nothing very ‘modesta’ about a 4.75″ wingspan 😀


    17 Sep 11 at 6:43 pm

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