Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm Going to Choose to Take That as a Compliment....

A couple of weeks ago I was out working on the shed when I noticed a vehicle pull into the end of our driveway.  It stopped at the end of the drive, but looked like my parent's vehicle, so I figured they were picking up the mail and would then come up to the house.  But no one got out of the car and it never progressed up the drive.  Just about the time it dawned on me that it was not my parents, the car backed out and drove (very s...l....o....w....l....y) down the road. 

I'm going to assume they were just admiring the house and not scoping the place out for less savory reasons.

But whoever that visited a couple weeks ago was just completely outdone.  10 minutes ago Cecilia looked out the window and said, "We have company!".  Sure enough, a silver minivan was coming up the drive.  I slipped on my shoes and went out to greet our visitors, but as I opened the door they were already turning around.  I began to walk down the sidewalk anyway and sure enough, just between the barn and shed the van's brake lights came on.  I got about half-way to the van (they had to see me) when the driver let off the break and took the rest of the lane at a pretty good clip.  They headed north out the drive.

I'm not sure what to think.  I'm guessing they just came up the drive to get a better view of the house, but I admit I'm puzzled (and a bit concerned) nonetheless.  I've got a few tools I've been keeping out in the shed, but they'll be locked in the house before nightfall tonight.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Guest Post at Old House Dreams

I want to thank Kelly at Old House Dreams for allowing me to author a guest post on the Seneca County Courthouse.

I mentioned earlier this year the county commissioners’ attempt to close the Seneca County Museum and auction off its contents. Thankfully the museum now appears to be safe, but the county’s 1884 Beaux Arts Courthouse remains on the chopping block, with bids for demolition set to open on November 8th.

So please head over to Old House Dreams, and if you feel compelled please consider contacting the Seneca County Commissioners and urging them to save this irreplaceable building.

Artist's depiction of renovated courthouse

Friday, October 7, 2011

More Salvage

I'm anxious to return to our shed this weekend, but before I do I wanted to put up one more post about salvaging from the old Second Empire brick house.  I've made a total of six trips to the house, which sounds quite impressive until I admit that four of those trips were made in our 10 year old Ford Ranger and it doesn't take a whole lot to weigh the back of that little truck down.  Still, I have a decent pile of material from the old house that will live on here at the EH.

Gathering salvaged bricks from the house isn't quite as simple as it may seem.  The walls of the old house were three courses of brick deep, but only the exterior layer of bricks were fired.  The two inner courses were made of (cheaper) unfired bricks.  These look almost identical to the exterior layer but they are porous.  I remember nearly twenty years ago when my mom laid her first brick walkway only to have half of the bricks disintegrate after a couple winters of the freeze-thaw cycle.  I would rather not repeat that experience with my own brick path.

As the picture at left shows, it was easiest to gather exterior bricks by taking apart the few sections of wall that were still intact.  And although it's difficult to tell in the pictures, I could also identify exterior bricks by the color of mortar on them.  This appeared to be lime based (white) on the exterior course and clay (?) based (tan) on the interior courses.

Back home and neatly stacked, my brick supply for next summer looks like this:

My seven salvaged stone lintels are stacked just beside the bricks:

I'm thinking that when we tackle rebuilding the stone bridge I will try to incorporate these lintels as steps from the bridge down to a path along the creek.

I also brought back three large corbels pulled from the wreckage, and two matching baby corbels I found on my last trip.  These are obviously not the right style to try to incorporate into the Einsel House, but I think they should make some amazing supports for shelves in the shed. 

Finally, one last picture from the old house.  When I climbed up on the pile of rubble I was shocked to find this section of the old mansard roof still partially intact:

There were three different shapes of slate shingles incorporated into this roof - rectangle at the very top, diamond in the center and hexagon at the bottom.  I have such a difficult time understanding how someone could look at this house and not think it was worth saving.