summer's end   23 comments

There’s no denying that summer is coming to an end. The leaves on the maples are just beginning to change colour, and the last lingering hummingbirds seem to have departed a couple of days ago. Nights are getting colder. The only heat source in the house – a portable fan heater – struggles to keep the chill at bay in the old living room which I use as bedroom and headquarters for all that happens here.

This morning, I reinstalled two sets of rebuilt windows in one of the upstairs rooms. When I first arrived here back in April 2010, many of the glass panes throughout the house were cracked or missing. The window frames were in tough shape – sprung apart with peeled paint and chunks of missing glazing putty. I removed the worst of them to rebuild. This summer, I got started on the upstairs windows. When my mom and brother visited in August, mom worked on the first two sets of windows, removing the putty and panes of glass, scraping the frames down to bare wood, reglueing all the joints, and then priming the frames ready for me to install new glass and final coats of paint. It was so nice to put the windows back in place this morning. I shot a few photos from inside and out. I have one more set to finish up and install – hopefully within the next couple of days.

Work continues upstairs where I have been replastering the badly damaged walls and ceiling. I am about an afternoon’s work away from finishing the third room – an L-shaped room with a large gable window looking down upon the woods along the river. The floor is made of planks, some of which are of very good width.

The room has required many hours of work as it was in very rough shape. It probably has not seen much use since this poster was tacked to the wall, perhaps sometime around 1979.

This will be the third room finished, not counting a long hallway. There remains one unfinished room which will have to wait for my return next summer.

Another project which is coming along quite well is refinishing of the staircase. I scraped through several layers of paint on the treads, risers, handrail and newel post. The treads and risers are going to receive a sort of folk art paint treatment. I am just getting started on that and will not have time to do much before I close up the house, but at least everything will be ready to carry on when I return next summer. The newel post and handrail are very handsome now that the are scraped back to the natural wood. I intend to varnish them.

The outside of the house has progressed quite well, but it looks like I will have to leave a section unfinished as the weather seems to have turned and next week’s forecast promises rain almost every day or two. That’s okay. In truth, I am feeling ready to pack up my tools for the season. With the cooler, damper nights, arthritis is taking its toll on both Sabrina and me. Time to make a hasty retreat to the desert.

It’s been quite a productive year. Although there is still a huge amount of work remaining, I feel that this summer’s projects have made the house more inhabitable.

Now it’s time to get back to Ontario, and from there, to make the long trek to southeast Arizona. I look forward to the stronger sunlight and arid desert environment, and to get together with good friends.

Written by bev wigney on September 22nd, 2011

23 Responses to 'summer's end'

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  1. Hey Bev

    Looking Good !!!!!!!!!! I didn’t expect anything less from you, I like your flower garden…….safe journey to Arizon this winter !!!!!!!! cheers YF’s Ed and Sharon Cavanagh and family

    Ed Cavanagh

    22 Sep 11 at 6:51 pm

  2. You’ve done magnificent work on the house, Bev, and I have no doubts you’ll keep after it. But it is time for a break, I think, and some time to regroup and recover (I do SO understand the arthritic joints!). I hope I’m able to finally meet you while you’re in Bisbee this time around. My new life awaits in just a bit over a month! I have lots to do after the formal transition, but then I plan to hit the road. No idea the direction, but at some point I hope to have pizza and Mexican food with you in Arizona!


    22 Sep 11 at 6:55 pm

  3. Looking good! I am glad you will soon be heading to warmer, dry weather. Keep us posted on your itinerary, please. I meant to ask you before and forgot – it seems in several photos during the past 2 summers that the taller section of the house, the narrow part that contians the door (2nd photo), is leaning toward the rest of the house. Is this due to a foundation shift? I wondered if this has caused cracks in the plastering of the walls over time.

    So, it is in your genes? Your mom has the same building/repairing talent that you do?! You have really accomplished so much – it must feel great to look around and see such progress!


    22 Sep 11 at 7:04 pm

  4. Happy trails … to you (and the dogs)!

    Larry Ayers

    22 Sep 11 at 7:18 pm

  5. Ed – Thanks!!

    John – Thanks! I’m looking forward to getting together when I get down to Arizona!

    Sky -The tower is not straight. It isn’t the cause of the wall cracks. Most of that damage was caused by leaks in the roof which were let go. The roof was repaired and reshingled before I bought the place. I think the problem with the tower is due to the way it was constrcted. As far as I can tell, the tower was probably added on after the house was built. The foundation is sort of added on and also has a giant boulder inside f it -something I have seen happen pretty often with old houses – they would start digging out the foundation and find a huge immovable boulder somewhere inside. A friend in eastern Ontario had an 1850s stone house with a boulder the size of a small car in the middle of his basement. Anyhow, lots of funky things about this place, but they are all a part of the character and typucal of some of these old structures.

    bev wigney

    22 Sep 11 at 7:19 pm

  6. Larry – Thanks! they should be happy traios. As always, I look forward to being on the road for awhile.

    bev wigney

    22 Sep 11 at 7:20 pm

  7. You will be leaving everything looking just great this season Bev, I am sure you are happy with all you accomplished. Now, on to your warmer climate, have a safe trip and stay in contact along the way. I hope that you and Sabrina and Sage have an enjoyable winter there. Look forward to seeing pictures and hearing all the great activities you will be enjoying into the fall and winter months in the warmth of the desert sun, while we are freezing up here lol Safe journey! Kathy 🙂


    22 Sep 11 at 7:36 pm

  8. Bev, you should be very proud of all that you have accomplished….I know how handy you are with the hammer, staple gun and paint!!!! We were at the Richmond Fair, on the weekend and thought of you and Don. We watched a little of the sheep show, but didn’t see any goats – it must have been on another day. They are no longer using the Old McDonald’s Barn, which is sad. We worked hard, but I enjoyed every moment and learned how to use a hammer properly, working with you . I am looking forward to seeing you in Arizona. When do you leave and which way are you taking. We are crossing through Sarnia on Oct 9th and will take I80…maybe our paths will cross on the journey. We are going to stop at a lot of the parks that you recommended. Safe Travels!!!


    22 Sep 11 at 7:47 pm

  9. Kathy – Thanks! I will definitely try to stay in touch, although I may not be in contact as much while on the road. This is going to be a quicker trip than usual – I didn’t want to be on the road as long as Sabrina is probably getting too old to be roughing it in the van for several weeks. Also, I am kind of tired and looking forward to getting down to Bisbee.

    Judy – Yes, don’t we have some memories from our Farm Experience ’90 days at the Richmond Fair! Ha! It sounds like we very well might cross paths on the trip down. I’ll try to keep in touch to let you know where I will be. If there are any parts of your route where you want to know about campgroinds, let me know. I found a few new ones on my way east last spring. Most were pretty near the freeways. I hope to reach Bisbee by around Oct. 25 and be there until the end of March. I’m still not sure of my route. I had sort of thought of crossing into NY and going through Erie, Pennsylvania and on down on a diagonal through Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, etc… Not sure though. The other possibility would be crossing at Sarnia, or maybe even taking a more northern route, crossing at Sault Ste. Marie. I will see what the weather is like everywhere and figure it out from there. Stay in touch. Looking forward to seeing you in AZ this winter! (-:

    bev wigney

    22 Sep 11 at 8:00 pm

  10. All looking very finished. How I long for paint on the walls and ceilings! Lorraine did a lot of nice painting downstairs, but we’re using the upstairs, and I’m too insecure to undertake painting and spackling by myself, and Aleta has no discernable interest in modifying the appearance of her surroundings.


    22 Sep 11 at 9:11 pm

  11. Hi Bev

    Wow I am always amazed at how much you have accomplished. The house looks great I think the stairs will be wonderful. I can imagine you must need a break from the constant construction projects. Enjoy your journey I will look forward to hearing about your adventures.



    22 Sep 11 at 9:54 pm

  12. fred – It’s actually not as difficult as you might think to repair damaged plaster walls land ceilings. I have learned some tricks over the past two summers. Also, I don’t concern myself too much over getting things really smooth. It is more about making the surfaces clean and paintable. Several people have visited and seen the upstairs and really liie how it turned out. My brother, who has traveled quite a bit in Europe, says the walls look like the venetian plaster work he has seen. I like it – not too textured, but also not the boring flatness of drywall. If I get some spare time some day (ha!), I could probably show you how to make the repairs you would like to see.

    Guy – Yes, I am feeling like I need a break. I got a lot more done than expected this summer. Now, I feel like I am running out of steam. when I get feeling that way, I know it is time to put away the tools and do something else for awhile. I have a good deal planned for this winter. More about that later!

    bev wigney

    23 Sep 11 at 7:02 am

  13. Bev, your progress is truly amazing! I love what you have accomplished there. The house is starting to look quite homey and definitely cared for. The staircase is grand! It’s wonderful that your mother and brother came for a visit, and helped in such hands-on ways.

    Glad to read that you are finishing up for the season and getting back on the road to Arizona. Looking forward to the photos of your journeys. Let us know if you are heading this way.

    robin andrea

    23 Sep 11 at 10:21 am

  14. robn – Jt was really nice having my mom and brother here fro awhile. This was their first visit and now they look forward to coming back next summer. They love this region. I too am glad to be getting close to leaving. This morning, I moved the wooden bed frame and mattress from the guest room and reassembled it in the van. Now i can begin to pack for the trip. Still plenty to take care before I can leave though!

    bev wigney

    23 Sep 11 at 11:14 am

  15. The house looks wonderful, Bev. The place is returning to its pristine state of being, and one can almost feel the waves of contentment radiating from it. Round Hill House will rest easy this winter and be waiting for you to return next year. I smiled, thinking of you and your mother working on those fine old windows upstairs, repairing them, getting them back into their right condition and proper place – they seem like eyes, and happy eyes at that.


    25 Sep 11 at 3:42 pm

  16. I love the first picture.

    Funny about the hummingbirds. We have had a big flock all summer. Weekend before last, there were easily a dozen at a time at our one feeder. One fill-up didn’t last the whole day. My wife refilled it sometime on Monday, and it was still nearly full on Friday. Sometime over the last week, all the hummers packed up and left. Maybe yours gave them the word as they passed through.

    My cousin and her parents (in their 90s now) recently moved from the vicinity of St Petersburg, Fl, to Sedona. During the summer I checked the weather there occasionally and wished I was there.


    26 Sep 11 at 4:01 pm

  17. Cate – Those upstairs windows do look like happy eyes to me too. A year ago, a neighbour’s daughter looked at the front of the house and said it looked like a dragon’s head and pointed out the features on the architecture. I dound that rather interesting!

    Mark – I love that picture too – and the cool “aerial view” of the front garden from that particular window! Sedona has beautiful weather much of the time. So does Bisbee – it is very moderate year round – hot for awhile in summer, but friends tell me that the evenings are very comfortable. Funny how the hummingbirds suddenly disappear. I am seeing the odd straggler, but they seem to just stop to get a sip of nectar from a flower and then zoom onwards. This is one of the last stops they can make before crossing the Bay of Fundy, so I’m sure they appreciate any bit of nourishment!

    bev wigney

    27 Sep 11 at 9:27 am

  18. The girls look so beautiful as usual. Your house is becoming a home now and that picture of your garden and the chair looks so lovely and serene. It makes me want a place of my own far out in the country. I am such an introvert that all that peace and quiet appeals to me. Plus room to stretch your legs out and for dogs to run. Take care dear lady.


    28 Sep 11 at 2:13 pm

  19. Your new/old house is looking like a home inside and outside, with loving energy evident everywhere. Especially like the photo of Sage and the stairway and that you will be doing a folk art paint treatment there. And I like the way Sabrina glows in the September sunshine. Good to see how your creative energy is manifesting in the form of house and surrounding land. Will be curious to see how your energy moves you as you travel to Ontario and on to Bisbee for the fall, winter, and early spring.

    Kind wishes always,


    28 Sep 11 at 10:20 pm

  20. Bev, amazing transformation of the house … well done! You surely deserve a bit of a break and some sunshine at this point. It was great to see you in the spring and perhaps we will be able to have a repeat performance of the GLLC next April/ May when you get back. We too head south in a while and will follow your blog with interest from afar!

    Safe journey and have a great winter.



    30 Sep 11 at 9:11 pm

  21. So good to see your house looking trim and snug – it may not resent your leaving it this year as it did last… It’s just turned cold here, but there’s still an autumn’s worth of exploring and plein air painting to do. Too bad we must leave much of our household moving and organizing undone until after our culmination event on Nov 24. We plan to make a seasonal move too… back to the white house next door, though I can’t really visualize leaving this house, with its full pantry and great gas stove. We had the wood heater in the living room burning all day. It’s been our coldest day so far, and wet too!

    Safe travels back to Ontario and on to Bisbee! Perhaps we can connect briefly while you’re here, and share a campfire somewhere in the South Nation watershed?


    1 Oct 11 at 10:22 pm

  22. Cherie – This is, indeed, a peaceful spot much of the time. I was unsure of the location as I was looking for a more isolated property. However, the lay of the land combined with quiet neighbours, has made it an ideal choice!

    am – Thank you. it does feel like my energy is becoming bound to that of the house and that there is a growing feeling of connection. I notice this particularly in the upstairs – perhaps because I have spent so many hours working up there over the summer. I’m looking forward to this autumn and winter. There are a few events coming up once I get to Bisbee. It feels like these back and forth trips help me to grow a little more each year.

    susie – Yes, I am very much looking forward to some rest and sunshine. What you see in the house photos represents many long days of work – often 10 or 12 hours of work, almost 7 days a week. I will take the winter to rebuild energy and plan for next year’s season’s work on the house. I hooe to see you next spring, although I will be in Ottawa in a couple of days, so let me know if you will be around and are available to get together.

    aleta – I’ve been reading about your cooperative project with SNCA. How exciting! I would love to come out to wherever you are working, so I’ll try to arrange that with you in the next few days. Take care and maybe see you soon!

    bev wigney

    2 Oct 11 at 7:53 am

  23. This informative article is a good strategy to really see the quilting process in action , wonderful work !

    Teena Homrich

    4 Jun 12 at 4:07 am

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