The rebirth of a country school

Month: October 2015

Raspberries on the Roof, and other misc things

The inevitable finally came, it’s time to seal up the schoolhouse for the winter.  It seems like summer just started!  Those of you that have a cabin, you know this day is always kinda sad, but necessary to protect the pipes from a winter freeze.

First up, we made an attempt to stop the drips coming from the belltower.  Fortunately, we had a very heavy plastic roofing mat that we hauled up there and nailed down:

Rubber Roofing

As we worked around the tower, how surprised was I to find not only weeds, but baby raspberry plants growing out of my roof!  Needless to say, I’m not planning a garden up there at this time – out they went.Raspberries on the Roof

The final product isn’t real pretty, but might help hold back the water for another season, crossing our fingers that we can afford a new roof in the spring! The highpoint (and lowpoint) in this particular project was when Kevin called down from the roof with “I have a keg in the basement…” to which I was immediately attentive, until he finished his sentence “…of nails you can go get for me.”  Dang.Rubber Trough








Next, we moved indoors to seal up some of the worst of the drafts.  Hoping this will allow us to work a bit this winter with a portable heater.  Note the fabulous and trendy orange – it’s the new cool color all 100-year old schoolhouses are wearing this year. Orange spray foam







Next, down to the basement, where it appears our opponents have gotten smaller but more tenacious this year.  This is a sheet metal cover (aluminum) that the chipmunks have CHEWED through!  Holy teeth of steel, batman!  Chipmunks: 1, Us: 0.

Teeth of SteelPlugged with steel wool, but I’m not holding my breath that it will slow them down.

Moving outside, did some wood gathering.  This is the leaning tower of death that we have been trying to pull down all season.  Janelle’s son Josh came up and did some amatuer lumberjack moves on it, and down it came.  Hooray!

Tree comes down








Lastly, the trailer needed to be cleaned out.  Interestingly enough, there seemed to be more in there than we ourselves put in.  Mysteriously, these appeared in a plastic bin, inside a pair of shoes.  Hmmm, maybe  Chipmunks 2:  Us: still 0.

Aw nuts

Harvest Time – the good, the bad and the buggy

I took a few weeks off to regroup and start to think about our next steps.  With fall here, the attention has turned to chopping things down.  I was greeted last week by the bean harvest – like proud parents, we watched ‘our’ crop get collected up and sent into town.


But as some of you already know, and we are for sure finding out, the harvesting of the beans to the south, means the sudden migration of millions of Asian beetles north.  And north is where the schoolhouse is.  I don’t have a picture, but have you ever seen a bug-rug?  The vacuum is working overtime.  Right now – Bugs – 1, Us – 0.

So inspired by the giant combine, I decided to do a little harvesting of my own.  Sumac being my primary target.  Yes, I get it’s not a traditional crop, but it’s taking over what someday might be my garden, so out it must go.  Here is the before…Sumac Before   .  Like any good battle, you must go in prepared with your armaments.  Here I go! Ready for Battle

Suddenly, I found myself surrounded, knocked back and held down by an aggressive growth of grass and sumac! It was a Sumac-Attack!  Would I ever get out?  Sumac AttacK  But fear not, eventually, with help from K, we emerged victorious!  Hey! We have a view!

Sumac after

After that, what’s the best plan of action?  Going fishing, of course!

Fishin  Our catch was mighty, as you can see, but as they say, a bad day fishing beats a good day working!



The Ramble

A fabulous day for a Ramble.  The 10th Annual River Road Ramble was absolutely perfect.  Perfect weather combined with tons of people stopping to see our progress and check out the school.  It was fantastic to see so many people we knew stop by, and to make so many more new friends.  Come back anytime – we love to have guests!

Credits to Debra Mishler Rush

Credits to Debra Mishler Rush







We started out a bit foggy – I was afraid to venture too far down the road on the morning dog-walk, for fear of never returning.

Foggy morning

It wasn’t long, and you all started arriving!  Some came for the sale of miscellaneous ‘stuff’ (thank you to all who took some away with them!).

Sale 2015

Credits to Russel Hanson







and some came to check out the inside.  I’d set up a display of our ‘Found Stuff’, interesting bits and pieces that were in boxes, in walls and in the ceilings; I find it intriguing – oh what these walls might say!

Found Stuff






Here’s a picture of 4 ladies that I found in one of the chests.  Third from the left is Miss Elfie, whose name was one of those on the lath and plaster we found a few months ago. Ladies Picture  Picture names











We even got some great advice on some of our structural questions – which is our biggest challenge right now moving forward.  We were so busy we didn’t get to talk to everyone we wanted to, but were able to find a few moments here and there.  Kevin and Grace (and Boo) spent some time talking to our farmer neighbor George about ‘Bean Science’, or, ‘How to Tell if a Bean is Ready by Chewing On It’.  The Bean Talk (we will need some practice).


A great day was had by all.  The coming weeks we can take a breath, and figure out where to go from here.

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