Sunday, December 6, 2009

Whew, It's Been Way Too Long

I can't believe it has been over a month since I last posted anything here. Can you tell it is getting close to Christmas? Hopefully your Thanksgiving was a blessing for your family. We had a wonderful time going to my brother's home. We had not all been together for Turkey Day for so many years, especially wonderful to have Mom there with us. Now we are really excited about Christmas. For the first year, Amanda and Mike will bring the girls up here to celebrate with us. That means GG (my mom) will be able to be part of our entire Christmas weekend watching her three great grand daughters, what can be better at Christmas than little children?
Winter seems to have finally arrived here at Loon Lake. We had a few weeks of delightful Indian Summer with lots of sunshine and warmer temps. But, now we are seeing tiny snow flakes and skims of ice on local ponds. Know eventually the cold temps will take hold of the lake and provide the ice for winter sports fun.
Our renovation project continues to progress. With Poppy busy days up at the office in Nappanee, his ability to work on things non-stop has come to a halt. Now it is the weekends when he makes his best progress. We have almost ALL the drywall hung. The only places to complete are where the old transitions into the new. We have one wall in the master bathroom water closet where we have left it open to the utility room for a pass through during construction. This means that wall in the utility room, which takes in around the furnace closest also is the largest section that still must drywalled. Last week we had a fellow come in to give us an estimate on finishing off all the walls - taping, mudding and sanding all that drywall would take Poppy FOREVER to do. So, with a crew coming in it can be done in less than a week and Poppy will save all his energy for the finishing work to do with trim, doors, etc.

Here you see the stairwell fully drywalled, all but the last section that will go over the bedroom door and connect to the front lodge wall eventually. One of those areas of transition.

These two photos taken the Friday after Thanksgiving show the front wall of the lodge room mostly drywalled. What a difference this made, the room seems so much larger now. He did this the day we hosted the neighborhood euchre group that night. Made a mess, but he did help clean it up in time for our guests!

This weekend Poppy has been working on the transition between the lodge room and the new section along the front wall. He moved the door that used to lead into the temporary walk-in closet. The door was moved to the back side of the "closet" area where we broke through that wall to access the new section months ago. This will allow him to drywall the rest of the front wall of the lodge room.
Here he is hanging the vapor barrier over the insulation.
Here you can see the relocated door to the back of the closet. It used to hang right there where the 2x4 is still on the ceiling from the framing of the wall that enclosed the doorway.
With the door open at the back of the closet area, you can see the stairwell in the new section that leads up to the bedrooms. This whole area will eventually be opened up to create the area leading to the new hallway at the bottom of the stairwell, outside our master bedroom and the half bath. Can't wait til this is ALL done!
A parting shot for tonight, this beautiful full moon seen through the bare branches of the winter trees. Later in the evening it was sparkling off the entire lake making things all aglow!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Where Have We Been?

Oh, we've been around. Just seems so busy but not with much that exciting. It is hard to understand just where the days and weeks go, time sure does fly by when you have so much on a "to do" list. The weekend after the chili cook-off party, we had the annual PPP. That is known by many around the lake as the Pier Pulling out Party (or in about April, the Pier Putting in Party). This starts with a pitch-in breakfast about 9 and then many hands make light work. Several men and a few women don waders and tackle the cold lake to remove piers, rafts and boat lifts for the winter. When it is the autumn PPP, it is a bit bittersweet, as we hate to see summer end and give the lake back to Mother Nature for a rest period. But, in the spring we joyfully gather to "take back the lake" at the official kick-off to summer fun. That was the 17th of October. Then, that following week Grandmommy took a short road trip down to visit the grandchildren for a few days. What fun to hold the new little one again and see how much she had changed and grown already. Then, when she returned for the weekend, we had two nights in a row with euchre parties to attend, another non-summer activity here with the year round folks. Last night for Halloween, we attended the annual costume party at some good friends' home. They go all out with decorations everywhere you look, each and every room of their home is decorated and there is always loads of fun seeing what costumes are created each year.

Yesterday afternoon Poppy caught this photo, which we thought looked a bit spooky and very appropriate for a Halloween day. He was outside on the deck and Sammy was inside looking out the patio door. The reflection created sort of a surreal image.

Then, when she does come out on the deck, she loves to chase the blowing leaves and eat them. Thus, she is not able to come out much. She just doesn't understand that leaves are not for eating.

Speaking of leaves, here are the hardy few that are still clinging to the one maple out by the lake. Last weekend almost all of them fell in the front yard and we spent a few hours clearing them up. It took forever to burn them, as after the heavy rain we had on Friday, they were still awfully wet. It was more like smoldering, smoking leaves most of the day.

But, as you can see, today there were still a few hardy souls of the maple variety and the beautiful sunny day made for a perfect back drop to Poppy's photo. We spent this afternoon raking, blowing and burning those that had finally fallen in the back yard and hopefully they are about all down.
The finishing of the new section continues to progress well. We are nearing the end of hanging drywall. The master bedroom is about done and then all we have left is the stairwell walls and inside a few closets upstairs. But, before we got the stairwell drywalled, we had a big project to tackle. When the contractor did the stairwell he took the stair treads right out flush with the wall studs. This makes drywalling the stairwell very tricky. So, to make it right, we tackled the big project of rebuilding the stairwell. In the photo above you can see how the treads as they were done originally. We started with the lower section of the stairwell, the first six steps below the landing where it turns.

Here is a shot of the "after" on the lower section. You can now see that the stair tread is spaced out from the wall studs leaving space for the drywall sheet to drop right down along stair edge and also allows for the wood trim board that will also be installed along the steps. It was work, but will be worth it as we finish this section off. Tearing it apart was much harder than putting it back together. But, we worked together and got it done easily.
Here you see Poppy at work as we began to tear down the top section of five steps. The spots you see are the dust particles floating in the air as he pries and pulls and hammers this step loose.

By the end of the day yesterday we had the upper section torn apart so we could begin to redo it. Today we had a bit of time after the leaf raking to install the boards that are the spacers and the stringers are back in place. So now all we must do is trim down the risers and stair treads so we can reinstall them to finish off this job. Then we will continue with the final drywall and feel like we have accomplished A LOT! Can you see why I haven't been here to blog lately? We are just so busy. Poppy has been quite busy during the day with his new job so he is not here to work near the hours he did this summer. So, the weekends see the bulk of our progress and they have been chocked full of social events we don't want to miss. Hopefully I will be back soon to share the finished drywall photos.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Fun, Food and Fellowship

Fall is definitely here and last week's full moon was just beautiful rising over the opposite shore. For three nights in a row we watched as this giant orb lifted from among the trees to shine almost like daylight and reflect off the lake with brilliance so awesome.

Then, as beautiful as the nights were, one morning God's handiwork was just amazing with a sky of dozens of colors bringing forth the sunrise. Poppy could not resist catching the wonder of it for us to enjoy on those drab, gray dark mornings to come.

As you can see, the wonderful colors reflected in the water making a lake of pinks and purples, calm and still as glass.

With the cold nights our leaves are quickly changing and our red maple we planted a few years back is a great example of the fall foliage.

Since this time of year brings a halt to the fun ON the lake, we must begin to make our fun in other ways. Thus, this weekend was the first of many social events. We partnered with our neighbors to hold a Chili Cook-off at Loon Lake Lodge, followed by a Barn Dance at Loon Lake Resort, which sits right next door to us.

In this photo you can see the festively decorated barn across the road where everyone migrated to as their bellies were filled with chili. But, first we all congregated in our new attached garage. The turn out was wonderful, with over 40 guests squeezing in to grab a sample of a DOZEN different pots of chili. We were not sure how many entries we would have in the chili cook-off and were so happy that many guests tried their culinary talents on pleasing the crowd. Each person had a small bowl of each of the twelve chili pots and recorded their impressions on a ballot sheet. Then, after they had sampled them all, they were to vote on their favorite. They were all good and it was fun to realize there are so many different ways to make chili taste just a little different than the next.

Here you see the one row of crock pots as everyone eagerly dipped in to get a helping.

Folks then found a spot to sit or kept eating on the run as they visited and went back for the next helping to sample.

We were blessed by a beautiful day yesterday after two days of almost solid rain. By evening it was getting a bit chilly and only a few braved sitting out on the driveway but the chili kept us warm from within.

Once all the votes were in and the ballots tallied, we were able to announce the winner. The winner received a hand made apron embellished with his status as 2009 Loon Lake Chili Cook-off #1. This culinary genius is also an auto mechanic and real estate agent. A true jack of all trades. He proudly wore his apron for the entire barn dance and said when he got home he would strip down for bed and maybe put it back on to wear all night. What a sight that would have been!

The barn dance was fun, but there was not a lot of dancing. A few square dances with just one square, a few more line dances with everyone trying to follow those who knew the steps. There was just one "belly rubbin" song as this couple likes to refer to slow dancing. Here "Stickman" and "Two Beers" strut their stuff. It was fun watching one couple as they did some fancy 2 stepping and appeared they had done it a lot together.

Today saw us back to work as usual. After sleeping in and a nice big breakfast, we got busy cleaning up the garage. Once that was back to normal, Poppy had me holding the ladder as he got on the roof to blow the eves clean of the leaves and he eventually hauled out the power washer to clean the north side of the siding from the scuz that builds up in the constant shade. All this green mold washed right off and it looks much better now.

He followed that up with a power wash job on the deck and then he planted some spirea bushes out front to begin our landscaping. Lastly he lit a bon fire and was burning up scrapes of wood and a few leaves he raked from the front yard. It is almost 7 pm and he FINALLY came inside for a shower and supper of leftover white chicken chili I made for yesterday. I have a large pan of apple crisp to pop in the oven for a warm, yummy dessert later while we watch The Amazing Race or the football game. It has been a great, full weekend and although I hate to see summer over, I do love this time of year. We have social events on the calendar for the next three Saturday nights, so we will be plenty busy with all our Loon Lake friends!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Buttoning Up Further For Winter

With autumn in full bloom we know how vital it is to finish all the things on our list that prepare us for winter's blast. So, last Sunday we got the rest of the siding hung on the front porch wall. It looks so nice and we can't wait to get the rest of the house sided next spring. Here you see Poppy relaxing with Sammy once we had all the mess cleaned up and were done.

Today we tackled the blow-in insulation in the attic area above the master bedroom. This was quite a messy job and I think I got the harder end of this job. Here you see Poppy as he directed the hose to distribute the insulation as it blew out.

Had to laugh when I saw him, check out the close up view. Then I went inside and saw myself in the mirror. I was just as bad, we both looked a bit like snowmen from the dust created by the fibers.

Then he caught me working very hard. I had to tear open each bag and pull it out chunk by chunk. It was firmly packed in there and my arms are sore tonight after separating and dumping 28 bags! This went into the hopper and the paddles further separated it and blew it through the hose to Poppy upstairs.

Did I mention how loud the hopper was? Should have ear plugs, but I endured it OK. My bandit-like look kept SOME of the dust from my nose and lungs, but don't think it worked quite as well as Poppy's mask. It was the last one and I generously let him wear it. Didn't know he was going to catch me on film!

Tomorrow we have two walls in the walk-in closet to drywall and one wall in the utility room. Then we can move my washer and dryer back where they belong so I can do some laundry. Then we can also hang the two florescent lights in the garage, probably a full day's work. We are making great progress and know every weekend brings us closer to completion. But, we also often wonder, will it ever be all done? We'll keep you posted on our progress, thanks for coming by to check in.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two Big Steps Forward

As autumn approaches, we are eager to complete projects that will help us prepare for winter. One BIG goal in this whole remodel was to have an attached garage, which will make winter and cold weather all that much easier. Now that the garage ceiling is drywalled, we were able to get the garage door opener installed. In the photo below you will see Poppy's initial progress last Friday. While I slept all day (I worked both Thursday and Friday nights 3rd shift) he tackled a quiet job (no hammering while I sleep is the one thing I requested this summer). He got the wiring installed for the electric garage door opener. Of course he had not thought about this wiring before we hung the drywall. But, fortunately he was able to access what he needed from above by removing one piece of drywall in a bedroom. So, all the wiring was ready to mount the unit and attach it to the door.

Here you see the button to push as we come out through the utility room to open the door. (Exciting, huh? But it is when you are used to a garage and go through a winter without one!)

This afternoon he finalized the installation. Works great and is so quiet. Now we just need to be able to put the cars IN the garage. All in due time!

Our other current project we started on Saturday. We have been eager to get the front porch wall sided to match the new section. We got started Saturday and worked Sunday until we hit a point where we needed a special piece to go around the outside electrical outlet. Today I picked up the piece so we can finish it up this weekend. It will look so much better and the whole house will be totally sided. Well, it may still be TWO different colors, but at least it will be sided and snug for winter. Our plan is to reside the old section next spring after making a few changes in windows and roof line on the existing section of the house. Again, as our motto has been this past year, "all in due time!"

Hopefully early next week I can post a photo of this finished project so you see the completed look of the porch. Our weather and days for sitting out enjoying the porch are drawing to a close and we savor every day when it is warm enough to sit and relax there watching the lake go by. This was our "living room" for most of the summer!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Short Report

I want to try to do a better job of keeping things up to date on here, so wanted to report on the past few days. Last week after Shell headed back to NC, it seemed sort of lonely around here. Now here it is mid-September already! You can tell autumn is almost here, as leaves are starting to fall, many are turning on the edges of the branches and in the morning you should see the heat coming off the lake. As the nights cool off into the 40's and 50's, the mornings hold beautiful sunrises with the mist blowing over the lake as warmer water meets cool air. Right now I am looking out on a beautiful evening with the sinking sun shining on the opposite shore. It looks like it is raining on the lake but it is only tiny minnows jumping out of the water as they try to avoid the mouths of the hungry larger fish. Such an amusing sight to behold. But, enough of the scenery, let's take a look at our progress of the past few days!

Shell helped Poppy get started on the master bedroom walls. Now we have gotten two of the four walls totally hung and half of the north wall done. We have also moved the drywall leaning against the last wall so now he can finally get to the electrical outlets and switches that need finalizing. We will insulate this last wall to help keep our bedroom quiet from noise on the stairway and the upstairs bathroom, then we can drywall that final wall. In the photo above you see Poppy finishing up the front wall under the windows.
Today we accomplished the last ceiling job. With the help of the trusty drywall jacks, we got all the garage ceiling hung with no snags. Now we can install lights and the garage door opener, which will be very nice. Maybe someday soon we will actually pull cars into the garage!! That will be one very HAPPY day for Poppy! I know this will definitely happen before the snow flies! We are hoping to get the front porch wall sided to match the green on Saturday, so I will definitely post photos once that is done. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Even More Progress!

Despite how busy we've been the past few weeks, we have made marvelous progress here at Loon Lake Lodge. However, before sharing our construction progress, let us take a moment to introduce little Jillian Claire! I spent last week down helping out the new mother and getting to know Jillian much better. It was a wonderful visit and I was thrilled to be able to help out.

Of course I also loved being with Elizabeth and Kate too, they are such darling little girls adjusting to having a baby sister. On Thursday Poppy was even able to join up with us on a trip to the Children's Museum. He had driven a school bus trip down for the day and so we ventured out to meet up with him at the girls' favorite place. He loved watching their enjoyment of all the attractions. Here the three of them worked the Rube Goldberg display to make the pool balls travel the distance and return to go again.

I returned to the lake Friday evening in order to prepare for Labor Day weekend and all the festivities. Saturday we were busy finishing up the drywall in the back bedroom upstairs. Then we worked to clean up all the dust and mess for our company arriving the next day. Late on Sunday afternoon Michelle arrived for a short visit. We were deeply disappointed that Richard could not join us too, but he is quite busy with his schooling, teaching and research at Knoxville where he works towards his masters degree. Shell was amazed at our new wing of the house, which she had only seen in photos. While we waited on her arrival, we got most of the garage ceiling insulated and just kept on working. Not much rest for the weary!

Monday morning early Amanda and her crew arrived for a day at the lake. Here the sisters sit and catch up a bit while watching Libbers play in the sand and shallows. It was so good seeing them able to spend a little time together. It does my heart to good to see how close these girls have grown as adults
Of course, this was Jillian's first visit to the lake. She was all dolled up to be introduced to the extended family. We had my brother and his family here for the late afternoon and evening to celebrate Mom's 85th birthday. It was great to see everyone. We had not been all together for over a year. Here are the cousins all smiling after a big meal awaiting birthday cake.
On Tuesday it was just Shell with us, as everyone else took off Monday night. I had to go to town for a while in the morning and when I returned, Poppy and Shell were busy hanging drywall. Here they are working on the walls high up in the master bedroom.

She is a work-horse, so strong and able. As you can see, Father and Son...ah, um daughter, are very proud of their accomplishment.

So, to summarize, we have all the drywall hung upstairs except inside the closets where we will use up smaller pieces when finished with the walls and large areas. Our bedroom is coming along quicker than expected and today we worked to hang yet several more sheets on the walls. It is very exciting to see it coming together.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Photos of our Progress!

WOW, has it really been over 3 weeks since I last updated this blog? So sorry, but our lives seem to be so busy lately. And, without the camera to document out progress, didn't seem too exciting to tell you what was going on when I couldn't show you. So, since Poppy bought a new camera the other day, thought I would get back on here. But, before updating you on the progress at Loon Lake Lodge, we must share the excitement of adding yet another member to the family. Jillian Claire was born last Monday, August 24 at 6:44 in the morning. Mother and baby are doing great. She joins big sisters Kate (who turned 2 August 6) and Elizabeth (who will be 4 on October 8!) so they now have their hands very full with three little ones. We drove down to see her and help keep the others this past week and it made for a week that flew right past. I am going to go help with the girls and new babe next week, so I promise to post some photos of Jillian, as well as her adoring sisters when I get back home.

Now, here is what we have accomplished here. When I last posted I reported that the furnace closet had been finished off inside. Well, now we have an entirely new heating and AC system installed. This new geothermal unit will keep us toasty warm and comfortably cool whenever we need it. Plus, it is tucked away back in the new utility room, so when it runs we won't hear it. But, even if we are in the utility room you can't hear it run. The old geo unit was under the stairwell in the family room and when it kicked on we had to crank up the volume on the TV to hear over the loud rumbling. This new system will be so wonderful!! The guys were here for an entire week getting this all installed and all the new duct work done. This closet will eventually have bi-fold doors to hide if from view. All in due time!

Next, the upstairs hallway is about totally drywalled. We have framed in a doorway to create a storage closet on the one side of the hallway, utilizing the wasted space created by the knee wall. We also will have a desk area recessed back into this area off the loft at the top of the stairwell. Hanging the drywall on these angled ceilings and all the can light and electrical plugs/switches made for some time consuming measuring and figuring. This view is looking from the loft area down the hallway. At the end is the doorway into the back bedroom. The doorway on the right is the other bedroom and the doorway framed on the left goes into the storage area. Where the drywall turns the corner there at the right leads into the bathroom at the top of the stairwell. I think I have Poppy convinced to hire someone to come in and mud and finish off all this drywall, as it will be one HUGE, messy job. Money well spent, plus we will then have the textured ceilings we want.

Some of the trickiest and toughest drywall to hang was over the stairwell. This was up two stories and I wasn't sure we could even do it. Well, last weekend with the help of one strong neighbor friend, they got the ceiling hung above the stairwell. This photo is from the vantage point at the bottom of the steps looking up. They positioned these leftover beams across to create "catwalks" on which to stand, then they could be out over the stairwell to access this high space. This picture is actually quite confusing if you don't know what you are looking at, but you might be able to figure out just how treacherous it looked from my viewpoint as I prayed no one would fall!

These next two show the upstairs bathroom. Poppy has started to tape and mud this room, as we hope to have the vanity set and shower/tub functional next weekend. The only part yet to drywall here is inside the linen closet. This first view is looking into the tub/shower, stool area, which can be closed off by a door from the rest of the bathroom. Linen closet is the area there to the left without drywall.

This is the other view of this bathroom, looking in from the hallway. The left side of this divided area will house my top loading washing machine I will use specifically for felting knitted projects. I want him to put a cabinet above the washer for storage. Then, the middle portion of room will be the vanity and sink. We started with a full wall between these two and decided to take it down to a half wall so it would not seem so broken up. Glad we did. The blue up in right hand corner near ceiling is where vanity light will hang, with mirror below. Just to right of this area is the linen closet seen in the other photo.

This week we accomplished one BIG task. On Friday we rented drywall jacks with plans of hanging the drywall on the bedroom ceilings upstairs and MAYBE the master bedroom too. Well, since the master bedroom is a 10'6" ceiling height, he needed the extra tall jacks. This meant they were too tall to use up in the bedrooms with 8' ceilings. (great planning Poppy!) So, we tackled the master bedroom ceiling, which also must be done in order to do the blow-in insulation above that area. However, we had 12' sheets of 5/8" drywall, which are very, very heavy. There was no way the two of us could lift these big sheets up on to the drywall jack, which was about shoulder height. Another poor planning on Poppy's part. He just did not anticipate all of these things. But, don't say that Poppy is not up to any challenge. He soon went to the garage and brought in his old block and tackle pulley system. After hooking it over the main beam of the master bedroom area, we devised a way to hoist up each sheet of drywall high enough to get it on the lift. We could never have done this without the wonderful help of our kind neighbor, Tom. He came over six times to help when we had a full sheet to hang. The smaller 4' square sections we could handle the two of us. In this photo you can see Poppy after fastening up the first section after it was successfully hung. But, notice the chain hoist in the photo, that was our lifesaver! Thanks Uncle Art...who sold us the block and tackle with a sailboat some 30 years ago!

Here was the drill, as I caught the last sheet hoisted up with the camera. This was a piece narrower than the other large ones, as this was only a partial width. But, you can see Poppy and Tom steadying the sheet midway through the process of hoisting it up. I stopped to snap the photo, then hoisted it on up to their shoulder height, then I rolled the lift under it so they could sit it on the rack. I'm surprised they were smiling, this was hard work! I think the "spots" that look like water spots on the lens are all the dust that was floating around in the room all day.
This was a great application for the Roto Zip tool the kids gave Poppy for Christmas. He is "zipping" around the can light in the first section that was hung. This was much easier than measuring and figuring just where to cut that hole prior to hanging the piece. Thanks for the nifty tool!
Here is Poppy screwing the final piece in place. Ah, a job well done!
So, now we plan on renting the regular height drywall jacks tomorrow in hopes of getting the ceilings of the upstairs bedrooms hung. I am leaving Tues. to spend the week helping with the baby, so if we want it done before Labor day when the kids will all be here again, tomorrow will be the day. Wish us luck! I'll be back as things progress. Thanks for stopping by! Come on up to Loon Lake and visit us here at the Lodge. We'd love to see you all!