Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

The theme tree

We don't have a tree yet. A Christmas tree, that is. There are lots of other trees littering the yard with leaves and needles and branches and whatnot.

And yesterday or the day before -- it all blurs together -- I took a hike to the back acres and clipped armloads of fir and cedar branches which I then fashioned into a very uncraftspersonlike wreath complete with glittery button adornments. It graces my front door. It's Christmas decoration and plenty of it for now.

The girls are trying to convince us that the lack of a tree in what is now mid-December represents a hardship of some sort.

I think it's the lack of a working vacuum in a house full of construction debris, barnyard flotsam and various forms of 90-year-old flooring that best personifies my personal predicament.

In other news:

Madeleine, Sarah and Grace continue to dance themselves silly in preparation for The Nutcracker ballet. The chickens and ponies and bunnies and dogs have their respective nests and stalls and dens in perfect order. Sometimes I hang out in the barn just for the organization of it all. Oh, and for the cell reception. (The other night I was sitting on the hayloft stairs, visiting with a girlfriend on the phone while watching my breath crystallize in the frigid air. My cocoa cooled quickly on the stair next to me. A cat, not mine but left by the previous owner, thought the cocoa must be a delivery of Christmas cheer from house to barn. I didn't argue.)

This weekend, a tree.

Next week, Sugar Plum Fairies will dance on stage.

Next weekend, family.

Christmas in all its mystery and wonder will arrive Chez Suite. I know it will because love never fails.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Seriously. Some insulation would be nice.

Oh. Did you come here for some December prettiness or a farmlike update of how I tackled the trio of ancient apple trees just before it was too late to prune or did you perhaps want to hear all about how 17-month-old Salvador will enunciate "up," "truck," "ball" perfectly clearly for his dad but never pour moi?

Check back later maybe.

Today my inspiration is this: I'm getting real.

Does anyone see the toilet up there? It's supposed to be out of the frame, to the right, where the new Suite upstairs bath will live. And straight ahead? That's the library.

Imagination helps. So would a little insulation.

We are still having fun even if we have to wear outerwear, well, indoors. It's been Western Oregon cold here, in the low 20s at night and high 30s all day. Crispy clear with a side of Jack Frost on the shady side of the house and barn. I have been ever so grateful that our new barn has automatic waterers and heat tape on the supply lines. This morning the big girls ventured to the end of the horse pasture, where we have a boggy little pond that Mr. Suite is excited to return to wetlands. Lo and behold the pond was frozen!

This never happens here. So the girls decided to ice skate in their boots and of course you know what happened next. Luckily it's all of a few inches deep at the edges.

So, in slightly warmer news, the new library will be about 12x12. One wonderful feature of this new old house is its decent room size, by "old house" standards. The master bedroom is 14x13 and boasts a 9x9 (!) walk-in closet. Of course to continue with the "getting real" theme of the day I have to tell you it is currently doubling as Salvador's bedroom. Each of the other two bedrooms houses two girls currently and while a new dormer bedroom is planned for Salvador, it's out there in construction phase eighteen or so. After a lot of discussion we decided turning the current attic space into a library is priority number two, right after finishing safety issues including the open staircase.

My "dining room" is a pass-through that houses what used to be my kitchen table... because my dining table doesn't fit. My "office" is an unheated back porch that used to be a laundry room. My laundry room is also a bathroom in the shop. My "family room" and "formal living" are one and the same.

The creek runs crystal clear under deep cover of fir, cedar and maple trees. A spring high on the hill feeds it. The apple trees and cherry trees are neglected but charmingly gnarled. The girls' rooms are paneled in 1970s paneling that they lovingly and happily painted Martha blue and sea glass green. Because new drywall in the bedrooms? That would be phase twenty-nine of the remodel.

And it's my dream. That's getting real.