Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weekend of 7/26/09 - The Great Allegheny Passage

The weeks of summer are flying by and the days go by in a blur and seem to overlap each other. This must have been "dog week" at Jolico, as we had 3 wonderful dogs visiting with us, as well as a few humans. We started the week off with the end of Mike and Connie Mazerov's visit and a trip with them, Dick Diamondstone and Mike and Barb DeMarco to District Court 16-3-03 on Tuesday 7/21. For that period and for most of the previous week, Mimi McClintock was our houseguest.
Mimi is a black Standard French Poodle. Mo thinks she's quite a looker and Art calls her "Frenchy"! We love her dearly and Jolico Farm has become her second home. Here she is free to lounge on the couches, play with Mo's toys, wade in the lake and run like the wind. She and Mo compete for sticks and frisbee's and they spend all their time together, side by side, even when they are sleeping. Mimi spent a week with us from 7/16 to 7/22 and came back for a playdate on 7/23 because she missed us so much! She came for the afternoon and stayed for supper as she eats much better after lots of exercise and when she's eating beside Mo.

On Saturday we picked up Luke Robinson and his 2 Great Pyrenees dogs, Hudson and Murphy from the trailhead at Ohiopyle, PA on the Great Allegheny Passage. Luke and the boys are walking 2,400 miles over 2 years from Austin to Boston, to raise funds that will finance the first ever nationwide epidemiological canine cancer study. Their website, explains their mission, is where they post their blog and Twitter feed, and where donations can be made and items can be purchased in support of their walk. I have been following them on Twitter for some time now, and when they came through Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago and then literally into our backyard here in the Laurel Highlands, I knew I just had to offer them a night's rest in a real bed and a couple of good, home-cooked meals along with a shower for Luke and an opportunity to get his gear and clothes cleaned up. The weather over the last few weeks has been rainy and stormy and they all appreciated a roof over their heads, a soft bed and, for Murphy and Hudson, some time off-leash with the opportunity to run free here on the farm. We enjoyed having them with us and making a fuss over them. We returned them to the trailhead at Confluence PA this afternoon and saw them off on their way east.

They are hoping to make it to Meyersdale PA by Wednesday, at which time they will meet their ride back to Pittsburgh for some more events where they are scheduled to appear, before heading back to the trail and on to Leesburg, VA around September 1. They plan to be in Washington DC on September 18th. Future stops include Baltimore, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, NYC for Christmas, Hartford, Providence and Boston by May, 2010. We wish them Godspeed, and our prayers for a safe and gratifying mission. They are very special guys.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Week ending 7/18/09

Sunday evening and another week of summer is gone. Gone too is an old and dear friend, Patty McCurdy Pearce, who passed away on 7/15/09 with friends and family by her side. Patty became my friend when we were both 14 and found ourselves in the same homeroom at Peabody High School in Pittsburgh, PA. The date was September, 1960. We spent 4 years of high school sitting side by side, and have served on our high school reunion committee together in past years. Patty was a vibrant, witty, energetic, funny, flirty, beautiful woman who loved people and music and laughter and good food. At age 62, Patty died too young and too quickly from a raging cancer that had taken her life before she could even be diagnosed. Rest in peace, Patty. You were, and always will be loved.

On a happier note is the visit this weekend of dear friends Mike and Connie Mazerov from Houston Texas, formerly from Pittsburgh, PA. We attended a wonderful reunion yesterday at the home of David and Mickie Chatkin, that included friends of Mike who grew up together during the 50's and 60's on Lilac Street in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill section. Mike and Connie, along with Gerri Lockhart, will visit with us tomorrow and stay overnight until Tuesday when, with Dick Diamondstone and Barb and Mike DeMarco joining us, we will visit District Court 16-3-03 to watch Art in action dispensing justice.

Lessons learned or reinforced this past week: Live each day to the fullest and be all that you can be. Have no regrets in life. Never pass up a chance to tell someone that you love them. Good friends are precious. Good health is the most precious gift of all of the blessings that God bestows upon us, for without good health, life is not as sweet. In the end, love is all there is........

Saturday, July 11, 2009

News for week ending 7/11/09

We have come to the end of another busy week at Jolico Farm. Much progress was made this past week, though not without a lot of blood, sweat and tears! The floors are finally finished and all the baseboard trim has been installed.

I had called a local cleaning company to get an estimate on washing down the walls, woodwork and ceilings in 3 rooms and 2 hallways, as the grouting process had deposited a lot of dark dust on every surface. Two young men came to measure the areas to be cleaned in order to prepare a cost estimate for the job. They came on Thursday 7/2, and promised to call with the estimate 4 days later on the following Monday. Well, I never heard from them on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, so on Thursday (one week after they came to look over the job) I decided I needed to wash down the walls and woodwork myself or I was never going to be able to live in my house again!

So, I spent the day Thursday washing down the dining room walls, downstairs hallway and the walls going upstairs, as well as polishing the furniture, washing the windows and vacuuming and mopping the floors. It felt good to finally be moving in a forward direction, and the newly cleaned areas were so fresh and shining clean. On Friday I spent the day washing all the china and crystal and replacing the pieces in the china cupboards and unpacking and putting away the rest of the dining room housewares.

Today, Saturday, I cleaned the rest of the house, moving the furniture out from the walls and wiping down each piece with polish to rid everything of the fine dark dust that had settled throughout the house. I am down to the wire here as I have company coming for a visit tomorrow and I wanted to have everything back in place by then. The picture above of the new floors shows how great the job turned out!

Oh, yes.............on Friday the wall washing company finally called to give me their price for the wall-washing job. $1,200 to wash down 3 rooms and 2 hallways! I thanked them very kindly for their trouble and told them that, like the Little Red Hen, I'd done the job myself!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lovely New Floors

This has been such a busy week at Jolico Farm. We are in the middle of a huge flooring project in the farmhouse. We are replacing 1100 sq. ft. of carpeting with porcelain tile on the main floor of our home. Our entry hall, mud room/dog room, downstairs bathroom, kitchen and dining room are now all covered with beautiful chocolate colored tile but it's been a trying two weeks with 2 crews of tile artisans working in all of our rooms at once.

Poor Mo and Kitty. I think they have suffered the most with all the disruption. Kitty's litter box was moved upstairs and she has adjusted well to that. Mo heads outside as soon as the workmen arrive early in the morning, and he doesn't venture back indoors until he's sure all the activity has stopped for the day. He really dislikes the sound of shop-vacs and tile saws! I've pretty much stayed indoors, keeping an eye on the men as they do require a project coordinator, as well as the fact that it's been a rainy period here. I've also been researching in preparation for writing a grant for Bakersville Fire Department. They gave me exactly 10 days' notice on this one!

Art has been having a great vacation week. He planned to take this week off from work, as he does every year. He just didn't know that the flooring guys would pick last week and this one to lay our new floors. Art had ambitious plans to fix the water pumping windmill as it had a broken shaft at the top of the tower and he did accomplish this big job yesterday. He made many climbs to the top of the tower as Aermotor had sent him the wrong parts the first go-round. The new ones finally arrived yesterday and he was able to complete the job, so we are back on wind power for our water system.

Art also swept our main chimney, the one attached to our Tarm wood-burning furnace and he swept out all the clean-out doors and connecting pipes. He is always happy when he gets less than a bucket-full of ash and carbon because that means that our furnace has been burning efficiently. Yesterday he also spread 22 tons of gravel on the road down to our lake, after having cleaned the ditches out of last fall's leaf mold with the hi-lift bucket. It was the first stone we've put on the road in 8 years so this was a timely project, too.

Today we had problems when the men pulled the toilet out of the downstairs bathroom and the water supply line kept leaking water. After two trips to the plumbing supply store, Art got the correct parts and was able to fix the faulty valve, and the bathroom tile was finally installed. After grouting is completed tomorrow and the toilet is reseated, we can again use the bathroom. The kitchen should also be finished tomorrow and the fridge and range will both be placed back into their respective slots from the center of the kitchen floor where they are sitting right now. Needless to say, we picked up some pizza for supper tonight as we were not able to use our appliances to cook a meal.

Tomorrow should be a wrap-up day for the project with only a few small details to be completed into next week. The oak moldings and trim strips will be installed and the grout will be sealed. I can't wait to wash the grit off the new floors and everywhere else in the house that it seems to have coated! I will probably be cleaning all weekend but in the end, as with all major upheavals, this one will be worth it!