Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Good News
Celia with one of the twin tiger kittens
We have kittens at the EH!!!  Maude's taking good care of her three little ones who are now ten days old.  Ethel's litter was born yesterday - there appear to be 6, possibly 7 (including at least one calico!).  And because my husband we are softies, we've also adopted twin tiger striped brothers that were dumped in a ditch.  Anybody need a good kitty or 4?

Not So Good News
Preservation Ohio recently announced their list of 2011 Ohio's Most Endangered Historic Sites and the Seneca County Courthouse and Seneca County Museum both made the list.  (The courthouse for the fourth time.)  At a recent meeting of the Seneca County Commissioners, Commissioner Jeff Wagner "made a motion to seek bids for courthouse demolition, but there was not a second. [Wagner] said he would have been remiss had he not made the motion."

Related and Better News
Following up on my earlier post, today's local newspaper reports that at their most recent meeting, the county commissioners "voted 2-to-1 to not sell the museum or any contents, including three paintings possibly created by the Hudson River School art movement."  As for Mr. Wagner, the most civil thing I can write here is to quote a Facebook user who said, "there is a certain political movement that wants to bulldoze the past; at the same time they claim to revere the past."

Not So Good News
It poured rain here again last weekend.  Somewhere around 4 1/2 inches overnight Friday into Saturday.  Although there's a footer tile around the house for the gutters to drain into, it is obviously not large enough to handle the volume of water these summer storms pour into it.  We're slowly accepting that we're going to need to dig it up and replace it with a larger tile.  We also have a new 6 inch deep gulley at the end of our driveway.  It's obvious that a permanent solution to this problem is going to involve more tile.

Since some might be wondering - The basement had water coming through the walls, but with the bypassed tile still in place the sump pump was able to keep up for the most part.  I've not ventured down to check the stone bridge, and I'm not planning to either.  There's nothing we can do for now so I'm trying to just not think about it.

Bragging News
Cecilia was completely thrilled with the cake I made for her 6th birthday.

(Charles thinks I'll have a hard time topping this next year.  I suspect he's right.)

Bat News

This year's crop of baby bats took wing earlier this month. I spent a couple of nights watching them fly out of the bat houses.  The babies are easy to identify, not only because they are smaller, but also because they flap their little wings so much more quickly than the full grown bats.  They're really rather cute.

In other bat news we have bats back in our attic.  Although the majority remain in the bat boxes, a fair number have noticed a small gap in the very corner of the eaves.  We had a local tree-trimming company lined up to come out with a bucket truck to install another one-way bat door, but they had to cancel because the truck was needed to clean up storm damage (see a few items above).  I still need to call and reschedule this.

Bad News
When we contacted the neighbor who told us last February that we could take siding from a barn on his property to let him know we were about ready to use the salvaged siding he apologetically told us he has sold his farm (and aforesaid barn).  This will obviously delay work on our shed.

More Not So Good News
Taking a good friend up on her offer (see the comments to this post) I went to Lowe's prepared to order roofing for the shed.  Only to find out that they can not match the 24" seams on the current shed (16" is the widest available). 

This next bit is a little difficult to explain.  There is a 14" strip on the original shed, immediately above where the new awning joins the old roof, where a previous owner removed the old standing seam roof.  Because I rebuilt the new awning using the old one as a pattern, this 14" strip still remains.  The transition strip available to change from 24" seams to 16" seams and to make the change in pitch only covers 7".  After considerable discussion with the salesman we had four options:

1 - partially dismantle the awning I just built, extending the joists and increasing the pitch so that the new joists would join the original roof at the top of the fourteen inches instead of the bottom;
2 - remove the rest of the standing seam from that side of the building and replace all of it with new 16" standing seam;
3 - use flashing to cover the remaining 7" so the resulting roof would have 24" seams on the top, 16" seams on the bottom, and a seven inch strip in the middle with no seams;or
4 - leave the remaining standing seam and shingle the new roof and the 14" strip above it.

I've tried to talk myself into #1 but I just can't.  #2 would double the cost and labor required for the job and that's something that we're not comfortable doing at this time.  If we went with #3 that flat seven inch section in the middle of the roof would drive me absolutely crazy.  So shingles it will be.

Expect it to be a couple weeks though before I resume work on this project.  As this post shows, I've got a few other issues demanding my attention at the moment.  And I've got kittens to spend time playing with and cuddling as well.  : )

Sunday, July 24, 2011

And The Sun Will Rise

Although I should have gone to bed early last night I stayed up to watch all four hours of the 25th anniversary performance of Les Miserables.  I'm tempted to watch it again tonight.

Sorry about going MIA.  Life has been dropping a lot in my lap recently and none of it's been much fun.  But rather than dwell on anything unpleasant here I'm just going to put up a couple pictures of the last little project I completed here before the current annoyances cropped up.

Here's the before:

And the after:

There's grass planted where I took out the scrawny half-dead lilac, and ivy planted under the remaining lilacs.  The electric box and meter are necessary evils.  Since we have to read it every month when we pay our electric bill, I laid a path of field stones to the meter.

And because she's so darned cute, I'll include this picture of Tiny the Cat:

Like me, she's obviously quite enamored with the Einsel House's deep windowsills.

Friday, July 8, 2011

$268 and 40 Rounds of Buckshot

It's amazing what you can find on the internet.  It took a little digging, but look what I found:
(you'll need to read my last post to fully appreciate this)

That article was printed in August of 1938, which is actually 10-20 years more recent than I was expecting.

I also found a gem of an article from 1933 which related that a 15 year old local student was "suffering from extensive buckshot wounds" inflicted when our curmudgeonly neighbor "fired a shotgun at a group of boys in his melon patch."  Mr. Frankenfield didn't skimp on retaliation for raiding his garden.  "Twenty leaden pellets were removed from the boy's face and more than 20 more are still buried in his head, neck and arm, too deep, according to physicians, for removal....Physicians said he would recover unless complications arise."

Finding these articles made my day for several reasons.  Beyond the fact that the first article basically confirms the oral history as passed on by our octogenarian farmer, I'm also quite tickled to confirm the identity of our bachelor neighbor.  I smiled as soon as I read the name 'James Frankenfield'.  I was hoping it was him.  Although the Frankenfield name hasn't come up here at the blog in the past, Jim Frankenfield will play a starring role in my next house history post....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Picking Berries

Last Thursday after work my mom and I took the kids to the woods just south of us to pick black raspberries.  These are the woods with the old log cabin in them.  I called the property's owner first to double check that it was still okay for us to pick berries there and he said sure (as long we leave the cherries on the front cherry tree untouched - they're for his wife's pies).  Although I'd been through the woods several times, the draw every other visit was the log cabin.  This time it was the hope of a raspberry pie. 

The fields surrounding our house have been tended by the same farmer since the 1940's.  Now in his eighties, he loves to chat with Charles and I, sharing stories of our house and the people who lived here before us.  He has also shared stories about the old cabin next door.  According to our farmer, the last person to live in the cabin was an older bachelor whose hobby was gardening.  He is said to have kept a large garden behind the house where he grew all kinds of fruits and vegetables.  When the bachelor died the garden was left to grow wild.  The vegetables eventually died off, but the raspberry bushes thrived, spreading through the woods around the cabin.  Our farmer will smile as he remembers breaks taken from the field to pick a few berries ("as big around as my thumb" he says holding his hand out in front of him).

The berries are not quite that big anymore, but there are so many of them that it really doesn't matter.  Any semblance of an organized garden is long gone, but I find it telling that even today the raspberries are all found in the front half of the woods surrounding the old cabin and barn foundation.  Once you pass the cabin the raspberries bushes become fewer and fewer and the last third of the woods has almost no berries.

Cecilia quickly tired of picking berries (too 'pokey' and too many daddy longleg spiders), but Neil was a tireless berry picker. We picked the first berries to ripen this season, so I plan to take Neil back in a few days and there should be even more raspberries ready to pick.

While there I also took some pictures of the old barn foundation:

According to our farmer, the barn was burned down by a hired hand who felt he had been underpaid for his labor.  When the fire was discovered neighbors from throughout the area came to help, but the barn was a complete loss.  And with everyone's attention focused on the barn, it was only after the fire that anyone noticed a ladder leaning against the back side of the house.  The window at the top of the ladder opened into the land owner's bedroom, where a large sum of money was missing from a bedside dresser.  Only with this discovery did all of the gathered neighbors realize that the hired farm hand had been conspicuously absent during the chaos of the fire.   He remained conspicuously absent afterward as well.

And, since I'm still completely fascinated by it, here are more pictures of the abandoned log cabin:
(I think you should be able to click on any of these for a larger view)

 In the 1896 atlas this whole area is shown as cleared land.  I suspect that whenever the house was abandoned the entire property was abandoned (apparently sometime before height of the Great Depression because REA electricity never reached the cabin).  Nearly all of the trees in the woods surrounding the cabin today have trunks that are less than a foot in diameter.  The only exception was the old tree pictured at right which stands about 20 feet from the southwest corner of the cabin.

Yesterday after working outside in the heat most of the afternoon, the kids and I washed our black raspberries from Thursday's expedition and just before bed we all enjoyed still warm from the oven black raspberry pie with vanilla ice cream melting against it.  It makes me smile to think that raspberry bushes planted and tended by an (apparently stingy) old bachelor a hundred years ago or more are still bringing pleasure today.  : )