Bob & Ellen's Excellent Adventure

Black Sheep Tower House

November’s Chill

November 15, 2020 The last few days have been a wrapping up of outdoor chores – it is hard to believe that just a few days ago it was Sunny and Seventy. The leaves are definitely all off the trees now, and with the November winds picking up, the leaves have settled thickly into their winter resting places – up against the rock wall and in the corner by the garage door! A few weeks ago I had been looking at backpack leaf blowers, and ordered one from Home Depot on line (the store shelves were bare), because a whole lot of other people came to the same realization as me – get rid of the leaves now, or they will be there until spring! Our neighbor Than had rented a big blower for a day and offered to share, but since I had this great new Echo blower sitting in a box, I was inspired (shamed, to be truthful) to put it together and fire it up. I did do my research on all brands, but here’s a plug for Echo – in the fall of 2003 I bought one for our Maryland house (all trees, no grass) and it has been super reliable for all these years, but I must say the new one is more powerful, starts with 2 pulls and is proving that the 18 year old version was getting a little tired… but we do need one in both places (we are afraid that is going to happen with a lot of things….) Anyway, too bad I didn’t take a before picture, but after an hour or so, the door and walkway, drain, nooks and crannies and driveway are leaf free, and just in time before a dismal, cold rain began to fall. It would have taken forever with a rake.

As a reward for working hard on a yucky day, Sydney and I were off to Sandy’s house for dinner. Bob was working in Maryland, and I was due to drive down to meet him, so this was a chance for Syd and I to get out and socialize. As an “elder dog”, Sydney has her own ramp to get into the back of the SUV. Once upon a time she could leap up effortlessly, but these days she is happy to trot (trundle) up her ramp, letting her person do all the work of setting up, folding up and storing, each way. Bob says that I am “her person”, but it looks to me like she is a fickle bitch and loves Sandy just as much, especially since she has a warm oven, comfy rug and she cooks delicious food with heavenly smells!

The next morning, cold and damp, the big lift finally left. I stayed inside and took my photos from the window. Seemed a bit like the season’s end, you know, when you haul the boat out of the water for the winter, or put the trickle charger and cover on the car. But, I still had a day left before leaving, and things to do. We would be gone for a week or so, it was now below freezing every night, and we had to figure out what would be at risk, or where we needed to “winterize”. The oil tank room (remember the carpenter ant debacle from the summer? * don’t forget there is a great search feature in the sidebar) also housed the hot water heater, and was open to the unheated main house. There was a doorway, but no door, and our info was sketchy on how that would play out over the winter. My quick fix before leaving was to McGuyver a door with some foam panels I found upstairs (dirty like everything else), a weird double bungee cord I saw hanging about, and a few nails and a hammer. Why not? Had to be better than a sharp stick in the eye, as my dad used to say. You can see my mad skills (haha) come to life in the photos… It worked, and mostly mouse proof too!

Remember the double front doors of the main house? I found a box filled with various sizes and types of weather stripping (cold and probably 15 years old, but still sticky) and was custom trimming them to fit, when I was surprised by some old friends randomly driving into the driveway. What? Judy and Miriam, long time Porsche club partners in crime had arrived! They weren’t really up to climbing the stairs to the tower, but got a tour of the garage spaces and learned a bit about our plans for the renovations. They were very helpful however, in guiding me as I carefully pushed (with my neighbor) the trailer out of the garage. The Trailex open car trailer is very lightweight, made of aluminum (fitting for the house, wouldn’t you say?) and weighing maybe 900 lbs, 14′ long and pretty easy to roll around. The steering was the tricky part because the trailer is 8’4″ in width and the garage doors are 9′ wide. Not much clearance on either side, and you have to go in or out straight, but no problemo. I prepped everything for the morning and left the trailer unhitched overnight because I had to take our Sydney and all of her beds (including the heated one) and “accoutrements” over to Sandy’s in the morning before leaving. Syd was having a spa vacation where she would be completely spoiled laying by the fireplace, lounging around while watching wild turkeys through the sliding glass doors, eating home cooked morsels and getting belly rubs upon demand… Meanwhile I was freezing my fingers off hooking up the trailer, locking up the house and preparing for a long drive (with an empty trailer) to Maryland in the wind and cold rain (it was horrible). Nine hours later, I was home with Bob, having a glass of wine and take out dinner. ūüôā

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