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Lake ride and anniversary!

First off, I want to wish John a very happy anniversary!  18 years ago we finally got hitched and I couldn’t have picked a better person to spend the last 18 years with :D



Coincidence – this photo was in a bunch of pictures we brought over to the new house today. 

Saturday was too nice of a day to spend it all doing rehab, so we decided on a ride to the lake!  Colors are just starting to turn. Probably they will peak in the next week or two.  







It was really a bright and sunny day.



It was worth taking the early part of the day off for riding!



Now that the tourist season is pretty much over, the lake is peaceful and quiet.



While the tourism is great for the economy, it is nice to have the lake back to locals – especially at the most beautiful time of year.


A few trees are turning now.  The orangey colors are one of my favorites of the fall colors.



We stopped at the Lake George Baking Company for our treat and they had this sign posted:






Pumpkin cupcake with maple frosting!  So good!  We sat in a couple Adirondack chairs and enjoyed a gorgeous day.  There might have been a donut consumed, as well…

We did have to get some rehab work done, so we headed home. Nonstop, actually! 



31 miles and it was soooo good to get out for a long ride.  We have been working really hard for the last 6 weeks.

Rehab  progress this weekend: 



Sink in, but not hooked up yet.  That will happen this week. We are also getting the fridge and stove delivered this week.  It’s almost a functional kitchen!

What’s Blooming!

My in-ground mums haven’t bloomed yet. It’s funny how all the little pots for sale everywhere are in full bloom and the ones I have actually planted are not blooming yet.


My new hydrangea at the Manor is looking beautiful!



I really hope I don’t kill this plant. I need to do a lot of reading up on these.  Also near the hydrangea is something my sister found the other day on the fence in the corner:


I think his super powers are the only thing holding this bit of fence upright, along with the string…

Another bloom came out on the darker delphinium:



The butterfly bush is sending out tiny little blooms at the end of the season:



Snapdragons are also blooming:



Here is a better picture of the sedum in full color:



I hope to get some foliage pictures this weekend. Trees are starting to turn around here.  

Kitchen update!



Marble going in.  That will be the project for most of the weekend, that is for sure.  There is a lot of tile that needs to go up! However, there will be some biking. The weather is going to be too gorgeous to pass up riding :D

Finishing the flooring

Marching in slow progress.  We were hoping to be able to move into the house this weekend by our anniversary, but looks like it will be the weekend after that.  Not too bad for timeline, though!

Roof is finally all fixed and now I can go and do transcription work from the new house during the day without all that noise.


We tested the radiators this week and they all work with no leaks, thank goodness. Our boiler is really old and we need to decide whether to replace it or possibly invest in one of those ductless split heating/cooling systems.  Since the walls are cement and we have radiator heat – puttting in a forced air system is totally out because installing air vents would be a problem. So, it is either new boiler or the ductless.  The ductless system would be nice because then we would have air conditioning!  So, we need to get an estimate on the cost of that. A new boiler is around $10,000 (super ouch!!), plus another couple thousand for the chimney liner. 

This week most of the time was spent on the flooring and coating the counters.  The flooring went in pretty easily.  I have installed tile, laminate, vinyl and now engineered wood floor.  The only floor we haven’t done is hardwood :D


This flooring has an underlayment already attached to it, so we didn’t have to put that down. The cork planks cut much easier than laminate and we easier to install, although some boards gave us problems for unknown reasons. We did find a lot of pieces with chipped edges, though. Probably a whole box worth, so that needs to get returned.

It took 2 days for us to get flooring in the kitchen and nook areas.  


I am loving how the floor looks.  I put my chair in there just for fun.  It’s not going in there permanently.


I like this floor enough to put it in the little alcove off the living room (we call it the North room) in the future. That is the only room with carpet in it and I really, really like this cork.  I like the color. It is very quiet to walk on and cushiony.


Lots of attention paid to the counters this week, too. With the Waterlox, you have to let it dry 24 hours between coats and it needed 4 coats.  It didn’t take a lot of time to actually put on the coats, but there is a lot of downtime waiting. We can’t put in the sink or tile until that gets done.  I am pretty pleased with how it is looking, though.


Backsplash should be started on Friday or Saturday.  Yippee!

Plumbing always seems to be the bane of my existence.  The previous owners took the shower handle (why??) and finding a replacement has been the biggest PITA ever.  


Plumbing parts are very brand specific and after finally figuring out the brand, we cannot seem to find anything that fits this particular stem. It would really help if these parts were labeled so that it could be matched, but they aren’t.  This is one of those things that should be easy, but isn’t and is incredibly frustrating.

We took tonight off from the rehab to do a few other things. After 2 weeks of going down in flames for football picks to start the year, I finally won this week!  Woo Hoo!  I decided to try something really different:



5 Guys!  This was pretty good. You don’t see burgers on the blog hardly ever.  I don’t generally like to eat ‘corporate’ meat as we call it, but I wanted to try this.  John got a grilled cheese sandwich LOL!  I don’t know if I would go back again, but the fries were awesome!

Then it was shopping time. Birthdays coming up in the next week and appliance shopping!



I will be glad when money stops going out faster than it comes in, that is for sure!

Slow cooker potato chowder

It’s fall and that means time for soups and warm meals!  I made this soup on Monday to get us through the next couple days.

Potato and Corn Chowder

This is a super, super easy recipe.  I used this recipe as the basis, but had to cut the ingredients down because the original wouldn’t fit in my 6-quart crockpot. I don’t remember if I posted this before, but if I did it has been a long time.


  • 3 pound  potatoes with skin, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 an onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces of frozen kernel corn
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces of milk (I used 2%)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in the crock pot except for the  milk.  Don’t worry, the liquid will not cover all the potatoes and this is okay. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours.
Using a potato masher, mash some of the potatoes, but leave the soup somewhat chunky.  This will thicken it up.  Stir in the milk and let it heat through for another 5 minutes or so.  If you want a thinner soup, add more milk. Then serve with optional crumbled bacon or cheese (or both!).
This makes about 11-12 cups of soup.

Counters and 1 balloon

Another weekend come and gone. We managed to do some nonrehab stuff this weekend, too, which is a good thing.


Saturday started with rehab, of course.  Here is another look at all the scapholding set up to repair the roof.




They are working on the valley up there and will be reslating the roof over the porch.  So glad I don’t have to be up there.  You know those things that you would never think of doing yourself? That would be roofing for me. I do have my limits :D

See that pipe on the roof waaaay up there in the middle of this picture?


That’s where they were last week.  Scary stuff. The back porch is also getting redone (which is why those wires are hanging there).

I was inside working on the counters while John made what seems like the millionth trip to the hardware store.  Sanding and sanding and sanding:



I have my game face on (kinda scary, actually):



I actually got interrupted while I was sanding by someone at the door. I thought maybe my sanding was too loud, but it turns out to be a former owner of the house. The owner previous to the one that got foreclosed on. He saw the sale notice in the paper and came to see his old house.  I took him on a tour and he was telling me what he had done to the property and all the things that were missing that the foreclosed owner took out of the house, like the California Closet systems and the French doors.  This gentleman was waxing very nostalgic about the house and said he would have bought it back if he had known it was on the market.  After I went back inside, he was leaning against his car and talking on his phone while looking at the house.  I have to say that it would not surprise me one bit if he approached us to buy the property  – but he can’t have it! LOL!

We spent some relaxing time in the afternoon with some coffee and a jazz duo:


This was the weekend of the Adirondack balloon festival.  We decided to stop by on Saturday evening, although it was breezy and we didn’t think any balloons would go up.  They didn’t fly, but some inflated a little bit:



This is how hard they were pulling to control the balloons in the breeze.



Darth Vader was there, though!


Darth had his own balloon, but it didn’t fly Saturday.  At least it was nice to get outside and walk around and away from the rehab.

We were able to do our usual 20 mile ride for breakfast on Sunday.  Doing that ride makes it feel like life isn’t quite so crazy, you know?  I do love my routines.  Except I forgot my phone, so no pictures.  Not to mention I missed that my mother texted that she wanted to meet us for breakfast. Oops.

Back to counters. Crack filling and sanding:



Kim asked what we will be sealing the counters with and it is this product:


After a lot of research, I chose this product for a few reasons.

A. It is food safe once it cures.

B. It is water resistant (not waterproof) and won’t turn white if it gets wet.

C.  Since this is a wood countertop, chances are it will get dings and scratches. With Waterlox, you can sand just the damaged part and add more Waterlox. Using poly and you would have to sand the whole counter and reapply. 

I’ll have to let you all know how that works out :D

And an historic moment at Radiance Manor:


The moving of 2 plants!  This is the 100-pound rose bush and my razzmatazz coneflower.  They are just in the ground. Probably not their permanent homes, but I had to get them over and transplanted so they have a chance to get some roots established.

This week we will be sealing the counters and putting in flooring. Getting close, people!


What’s Blooming!

I still have blooms in the garden!  The mums haven’t even opened yet.  We had some frost last night, which I think nipped some of the annuals (mainly my potted vines).

Annual Salvia:






Black-eyed Susans still going strong!



The Autumn Joy sedum has darkened up quite nicely.  It was really sunny when I took this photo. Normally I like morning light or evening because the colors come out more.


The burning bush is starting to turn!



One of my tippy pots has a late flush of allysum:



I also noticed my campanula are blooming again. These plants had so many blooms this year!




This weekend I will be moving over the rose bush and the razzmatazz coneflower to the new house.  I don’t have any place ready for them, so I am just going to clear a spot and put them in and hope they make it.  It’s getting late for transplanting.  I might have to shift them around next year LOL!

Those of you on FB might have seen this pic of the work being done on the roof.



It’s quite the elaborate set up to do the slate.  I am glad this roofer is experienced with slate, although he is spendy (and he talks too much!! LOL).  It’s painstaking work and hopefully they will be finished by Tuesday.

Inside, we have been working on the counters.  I am in sanding mode now:



Lots and lots of sanding to even out the counter.  I started with 50 grit and will be moving through finer and finer grit to get it smooth. This counter might actually work LOL!

Little gifts

Life has been a blur lately.  It is a little better with only 1 job and the rehab, though  – so there is that.  We are trying to do that last push to get the kitchen done so we can move in.  That and the shower upstairs are the things that have to be done before we move in.  I had been going in and working from the new house and then would do rehab stuff when work got slow, but today the roofers were at the house and a chimney sweep and I knew it would be too noisy for me to concentrate with work, so I stayed at the current house with my work partner:


It’s been pretty bleak on the selling side.  There just is not any activity in the market and our open house was a bust.  It’s just not a great time to list a house. The right buyer will come along at some point, but it could be many months down the road.

We escaped with major costs in other places in the new house, but the roof and the chimney are what hit the pocketbook.  The slate repairs are expensive (but hopefully we won’t ever have to worry about the roof again).  This is not a job I would want to do:


That’s 3 floors up from the back of the house. Yikes!  There are 3 spots getting fixed. One is the house roof itself and then replacing the roof on the back and front stoops. Closeup of the slate that will be going up:


Also, we need a new chimney liner to the tune of $2-3K.  The chimney is used for venting the boiler for the radiator system, as well as the gas fireplace, so it has to get done.  Sometimes it just makes you angry at how poorly some people treat their homes.  Delayed maintenance will get you every time… or get us, in this case.

Fun stuff lately:  I received a nice gift in the mail that was unexpected.  FB friend Rachel sent me a book to read to help decompress from the renovations and work stuff:



Very sweet gesture and just about makes me forgive her for being a Steelers fan ;)

John got me a little present just for fun when he was ordering something else for himself:



My sister and her family went to Maine, where Colleen had to buy this for us because of the name:



Pixie approved!

Latest rehab projects:

Working on the cabinet doors for the radiator cabinet:


Removing the middle of the doors for this step, which was kind of fun and no turning back now :D

Also, the countertop is going in:



Our mantra is “We will get through this, right?” :D

It’s fall and kitchen doins’!

It’s officially fall! Even though it really isn’t fall LOL! Pumpkins are in the store and they are mammoth pumpkins this year.

The picture doesn’t quite do justice to the size. These have to be 25 pounds. Big enough to wrap your arms around! And they are only $5.99 each.  Unbeatable.  Must have been a good pumpkin crop this year.

We actually put the heat on in our current house.  It was in the low 60s in the house. That’s really too early, but temps are going to drop into the 30s tonight!  Jeez!  Our new house is so solid with brick and cement walls that the temperature seems to regulate better and we didn’t need to turn the heat on yet.

We even had to really bundle up for breakfast riding as it was in the 40s:



Of course, lots of rehab this weekend.  You know how I was saying how progress was inching along? A lot of that is when you do the behind the scenes stuff, it looks like no progress happens for a long time.  This weekend some big stuff got done and we are starting to put in some finishes.  The hardware arrived and it makes me soooo happy!


And the pulls:



I just love it!  It’s called Reed and Ribbon in antique copper. It matches the copper finish faucet set:


The reason the wall looks like that is that is where the tile backsplash will be and I didn’t want to waste paint on wall that is going to be covered up.

We got the underlayment on the counters and the glue is drying:



Those green cans are fragrance and essential oils for John’s business.  They are 25# cans and great for weighting the counters.  The dishwasher is in and fitted, too.  We were worried the door hardware would get in the way and it just squeaks past …phew!!  I need to do a post on our cabinet hacks, too.  John totally impressed me :D

Dry fitting of the granite composite sink in the underlayment:


New light fixtures.  I fell in love with the schoolhouse lights a while ago and knew I wanted them in this house.  One for the kitchen:



A smaller one in the nook:


Of course, when I removed the old fixture it shows a ring and now I have to paint the ceiling.  Always something extra…

Let there be light!



As a reminder, here was the old kitchen:





While we worked in the kitchen, I had my mom work on stripping wallpaper in the dining room.  That’s the job du jour for anyone who dares set foot in the house LOL!  We pay in lattes, so it’s all good.

On the agenda for this week will be building the wooden countertops!  Woo Hoo!


What’s Blooming!

It sure is feeling like fall now.  There is that cool feeling about and mornings have been downright chilly!  I have just a few pictures for this week.

My geraniums:



The last gasp of butterfly weed (asclepis):



Still more delphinium.  I sure got a lot of blooms out of these this year!



I had some leftover coleus when I made my tippy pots, so I just stuck them in an extra pot and let them do whatever:



I like the color of this coleus.

It’s been such a busy week – well, the past 4 weeks  – and I haven’t had much of a chance to get into the garden.  I am going to have mums in bloom soon!

We hope to get to see some of the Jazz fest in Lake George this weekend. Tomorrow might be kind of rainy, but we will go anyway.  Here’s to another weekend!

Random thoughts.



You all know how I love the NFL.  When the Ray Rice thing came out originally months ago  – I gave it the serious side eye because while we didn’t see what went on in the elevator at that time, it was obvious this woman was hit hard enough to be knocked out in there.  I didn’t understand the delay in the suspension or the short length of the suspension for what to *me* seemed obviously a serious assault. Now, she chose not to testify against Rice, which is hard for me to understand, but I know that DV victims have a commonality in this regard.  It bugs me when people call her a gold digger.  I think if she was true gold digger, she would have sued his ass then and walked away before getting married.  Staying with someone capable of this kind of violence is common among DV victims. Now the whole tape came out and it was like the NFL said, “Golly gee,we knew he hit her, we just didn’t know how hard it was. Now he must go!” as their excuse for why Rice wasn’t canned in April.  Like her being dragged out of an elevator unconscious wasn’t a sign? Hello???

Of course, this isn’t just the NFL where this happens.  I think that if there is a silver lining to this, it would be the opportunity for the NFL to be a huge, huge player in opening discussions on domestic violence, bring those cowards into the open,  and stop blaming the victim.


Breakfast at the table:


John and I are eating all meals at the dining room table now.  Normally I eat breakfast at the computer and work, but I read a book that has  you eating at the table when you eat  (that I will talk about in a few weeks when my life settles down some).  I am now not tracking my food, either, which is a big change for me.  I don’t mind tracking food, but I am trying out not tracking going along with the book and seeing how I do.

It’s starting to feel like fall around here.  This is at one of the local coffee shops:


Rehab is inching along.  It seems like it is really hard to make progress during the week because we both have to work.  It just goes tiny bit by tiny bit.  The upper part of the kitchen is looking much better now:


The lower half still has a long way to go.  We are setting up the lowers and having to modify cabinets:


Hopefully the cabinets will be done this weekend (for the most part) and we can start working on the countertops.  We are both pretty tired right now.  It’s just the kitchen that needs the hard push to get done.

We are having someone come work on our roof starting tomorrow.  It’s a slate roof and we knew there were a couple of leaks that need repair.  It’s expensive, but there was so much deferred maintenance on the roof (and the whole house) – it will be very worth it.  John was able to negotiate the price down, too – Go John!  We have lucked out with expenses on things like the electrical, plumbing and heating, so to only have the roof be a bigger expense so far is a good thing.

I’ll end with a gratuitous Pixie shot:


This is her laying behind me on the couch.