The Tail End of an Era

The Tail End of an Era

When we decided to take down the inside staircase (poor stunted irregular thing) in favor of the “outside” or porch staircase, we also necessarily committed ourselves to winterizing the porch, not just “some day,” but before this winter. I however was a bit slow on the uptake and didn’t fully recognize the need to properly gut the space until quite recently.

So lately a priority has been to figure out a way to move everything off the porch, and focus our efforts there — while our builder contractors continue on the exterior walls, roofs, and weatherproofing.

Yesterday and today we got that done, reorganizing all the tools and building supplies in the “inside” space (the living-room side of the now gutted dividing wall):

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Then we proceeded to tear out the remaining plywood walls and ceiling, and remove the insulation — which we knew would be mouse-infested.

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The corner of the ceiling above was literally the final refuge of a colony of mice that we had successively disturbed from higher locations in the porch and stairway ceiling. And we weren’t disappointed, as approximately eight mice — including several “younglings” who did not yet know how to wield their light sabres — bippity-bopped from joist to rafter, and poked their twitching noses up at us indignantly as if to say “Hey! That was my house!”

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They’ve scattered now — some I got outside with the bundles of heavily soiled insulation and allowed to run off into the tall grass — but house mice will have their hice, I suppose, so we have put down traps. On the other hand, there are not many inviting places left for them, since…

THE GUTTING IS FINISHED!

In other news we got the octagonal window out of the wall. If it had been in better repair we might have kept it as a quirky memento of the original house design, but I’m glad we didn’t, as its frame turned out to be infested with a small nest of carpenter ants. Gone!

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Have I mentioned the rabbits? We haz bunnehs. For their fur, which I hear can be spun and then woven or whatnot. Fibre arts. Angora wool is perfectly scrumptious, and we will have our own in due course.

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Pipkin and Hazel (both boy names from Watership Down, but here pressed into service as girl names. Or so we assured ourselves with a stringent rabbit-sex-organ identification exercise some months ago. You will point out that even the most stringent R-S-O I. E. has been known to err, and you would be right. For now we are crossing our fingers.) have settled into the dog pen, uprooting Sagan into a smaller cat pen, and Sagan is Not Pleased. Maybe we’ll let her go mousing tomorrow.

In other other news:

This is Queen Anne’s Lace season. The plants and flowers are prodigious.

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We hung a hummingbird feeder. They have not discovered it yet, but today was grey and stormy.

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Crowdsourcing Update re: the wall between the living room and porch: We are leaning heavily toward a design linked by Tes (thanks for everyone’s ideas!):

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In our version, the counter-height pass-throughs would not be as wide as these — perhaps 18″, with bookshelves on the lower section rather than cabinets. But the principle is there. We’re very psyched!

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