Thursday, April 20, 2006

The new homestead

Every time I go visit my parents, something has changed. When I visited last November for Thanksgiving, they had installed cabinets and (finally!) a sink in the kitchen. Up to that point they'd been drawing water from the bath and toting it out to this contraption they had leftover from their days as restaurateurs -- an old salad bar cold table. It worked fairly well as a sink, except that it wasn't connected to a drain pipe. So dishes were washed in basins in this thing, then the water was schlepped back into the bathroom and flushed down the commode.

The cabinets, by the way, were finished by my Mom--in more ways than one. A lot of the people associated with the building of this house are Amish, and there have been a few miscommunications due to the fact that German (Old, Swiss, High German) is their first language, though most of them speak English very well. Mom and Dad had asked Andy (the carpenter) to leave the cabinets unfinished, meaning "don't paint them." Well, he didn't paint them. Nor did he sand, attach hardware or doors. He built the cabinets, shelves, and drawers, and left them "unfinished," as requested. So Mom spent a large chunk of autumn doing all of that before she could get to what she'd meant by finishing them -- painting them either a brown so dark that it's almost black ("espresso," I think that's called) or an antique white.

But as I say, that was done last November. This time it was the bath room that's looking more pulled together. More storage, and a funky toothbrush/soap/cup holder made out of brushed nickel that looks like a plumbing fixture. And huzzah! Knobs on the doors to the bathroom and the bedrooms! Previously, Mom had taped over the knob-hole of the bathroom door (for privacy's sake, much to my Dad's amusement. As if he's going to peep at her), which meant that if you shut the door all the way you had no way to open it again and you had to ask someone on the other side to let you out.

On Easter Monday, they'd decided the weather was such that they could start the heavy carpentry-type stuff again. Dad's been installing a radiant heat system in the floors. This cabin has a cathedral ceiling in part of it, so baseboard heat made no sense--the heat would leave the units, climb right up the wall and hang out at the roof line. Instead, the heat will come from piping in the floors, and heat the place from the ground up. Slight hitch: you can't use the system until all of it has been installed. They've spent the winter using propane space heaters and kerosene heaters, and lots and lots of layers of clothing. Brrrrr.

So Monday, I helped Mom shift everything in what is currently the dining area into what is currently the living room, after moving a few pieces of the living room to other parts of the house. With the floor clear, Mom and Dad then proceeded to lay down the wooden guides (that Dad designed himself) for the tubing of the heating system. Pip (their dog) and I stayed in the front bedroom, where I knitted and Pip sat on the bed, facing the doorway, watching the sub-floor get built. Every time Dad came into her line of sight, she wagged her tail. It was funny. Poor dog. She is not a fan of change, and that's all they've been doing for at least two years now--change in small increments.

There will be more later. I've promised G a blog entry with pictures of the horses that cleared the land, and that will need a bit of an explanation. It's way too much to add to this post. Let me leave you with a picture of how things looked outside as of last August.

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