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