Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
December 2010

Zoning. Approved.

We had our official zoning hearing tonight.  It was in a cemetery.  That was interesting.  Not actually out among the graves mind you, but in the office.  Weird that a cemetery office doubles as the meeting headquarters for a township zoning board.  In the end, however, to be tacky, we weren’t buried alive.

We have been approved to continue with the bed and breakfast.  Yes, I get it, we should have done this before we started all the renovations and forming the LLC, but what’s done is done.  And we shall continue, heads held high.

And what made it even better, some neighbors showed up to give us their support.  They sat through a zoning board hearing to offer words of support for us!  That is nice.  Super nice.  And I shall repay them with the gift of viewing llamas and looking at funny ducks walking around.  Yes, I am very much like Mother Theresa.

In other news, the Amish have finally arrived and started building the barn.  More on that to follow…

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Desolate winter.

OH, winter.  You are a beast.  You are a monster.  You are my lover.  Everything changes so drastically when you come.  Certain birds actually fly thousands of miles to avoid you.  Other require the seeds at my bird feeder to supplement their meek diets.  You’ve forced the horses next door into greener pastures, away from my daily sight.  I hate you for that.  But your snow gives incredible joy to my puppy.  I love you for that.

You have threatened my tractor with your cold temperatures.  I have had to feed him antifreeze and cover him with a tarp to protect him.  In summer, he can be free.  You are forcing the deer to come closer to the house in search of food.  But, without you, I wouldn’t have seen that awesome stag!  My poor chickens are confined to their coop most of the day, forced out into the freezing air in search of corn and sunflower seeds.  And you freeze their water.  That’s a pain in my ass.

Your snow forces me to wear socks and boots.  It’s amazing how your millions of individual snowflakes can so easily make their way into the holes of my knock-off crocs.  Your ice forces me to be careful.  And made Donnie fall and have his iphone hit him in the face and give him a bloody lip.  (I’ll admit, that was kinda funny.)  The over-cast skies and clouds full of snow could give a lesser person a seasonal disorder.  But I am stronger than that.  I will survive.

I’m getting llamas ole’ man Winter.  Yeah, llamas.  They like to stand out in the snow and aren’t afraid to get a few flakes on their back.  Take that!  I’m baking bread and making soups and loving the scent of my rosemary tree.  I’m starting my tractor to keep him running smoothly.  I’m watching Christmas movies and wondering if Danny Kaye was really gay?  Know this, you won’t get me down.  Spring is coming!  And I didn’t plant all those bulbs for nothing!  Greenery will reappear.  Warmth will once again embrace the farm.  But we will live with you, because we respect your importance and know that without you, a snowman would be a hell of a lot harder to make.

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More wallpaper removal.

Ugh.  Back to more wallpaper removal.  I feel comfortable stating that this job, pulling sticky strands of paper coated in a gel outlawed in California because of it’s cancer risks, is the worst in the home improvement portfolio.  I’ve replaced a toilet.  No problem.  Everyone poops.  A sink?  There’s amazing satisfaction when the water is turned back on without a leak – like you’ve found drinking water for the wagon train after a hot day in Kansas.  And painting.  I love it!  Because it makes things beautiful.  And can actually alter your mood for the better.

Sure, I know, wallpaper removal is a means to an end.  A way to get that beautiful paint on the wall.  But it’s tiresome.  (Although, it does work those arm muscles!)  And I can’t help thinking it’s somehow toxic.  My one joy…discovering what I may find under the paper.  Mold perhaps?  Oh, I’m giddy!  Plaster falling apart?  Pop open the champers!  And a wall that comes away clean from the striping?  Calgon – take me away!

Oh, don’t get me wrong my friends, I’ll continue to rip ugly wallpaper down!  I’m not afraid – I’m just sick of it.  But I will continue to fight the great fight.  And I will continue to destroy the ugly.  Drop ceiling…you’re in big trouble.

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Bought some ducks today…

I bought some ducks today.  They’re Indian Runners – and will be fawn and white.  They come in numerous colors, including black, chocolate, and blue (more gray-black), but the fawn and white helps show them off as best as possible.  I think they’re pretty sexy because they look like running bowling pins.  They originally come from Indonesia and lay up to 200 eggs a year.  Hello!  As states, they like swimming, “but they are likely to be preoccupied in running around grassy meadows looking for worms, slugs, even catching flies.”  Gorgeous!

They are coming in March.  I was told to buy your fancy, heritage poultry early as they are often sold out early from breeders.  I may have a poultry fetish.  I may need some help.  I want to see Black Swan, I just bought some baby ducks (yet to be here at Orchard House), and I want turkeys.  And quail.  And a peacock – because their feather uses are infinite!  I tried to order some turkeys today as well.  I could only order 15 or more.  That’s a lot of turkeys.  And they’re messy.  They’re dirty, dirty birds!

Today at Orchard House, we moved from rain to snow.  I was actually outside during this transition.  We are on an intensive outside schedule to get Bob Evans once and for all potty trained.  We have about 1 1/2+ inches and more is expected tonight.  Because it was snowing and picturesque, I had to leave the house, and brave the elements, to get my hot toddy making from the local store.  It was slippery.  It was treacherous.  But I have the scotch.  I can’t wait until I can send my ducks to get my scotch.  They are my minions.  I think that’s legal in Ohio.

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This week at da ‘house…

  • We have a new fence.  It’s much larger then the last, and allows us to open the carriage house door and let the dogs run free (in the fenced area, of course).
  • The ______ (yet to be named) room has been painted a beautiful shade of “Zen.”  For those of you who may be confused about that name, it’s a blue-ish green and looks fabulous!
  • Today…this very day…puppy pulled a book about llama care off of the dining room table and peed on it.
  • We are off to look at some llamas on Sunday.  They may be the newest members of the Orchard House menagerie.  Stay tuned as I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.  We must meet them first.  Two boys.  Geldings.  I’m thinking of Gilbert and Sullivan or Stephen and Sondheim for names.  Any suggestions?
  • Construction continues to run smoothly.  We have passed a heating inspection and all is on track for a carriage house entry before the end of the year.
  • Houseboy (a.k.a. Jimmy Brennan) came for a visit.  He helped strip the wallpaper in a bathroom.  He may be coming back, he may not be.  How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

An exciting week I know.  Don’t you wish your week was hot like mine?!  And this weekend?  Well, we are seeing the llamas as I said earlier.  Donnie has his choir presentation at Denison University.  I am finally going to eat at a Steak and Shake (I have coupons!).  And, I may, just maybe, buy a mattress.  Woo-hoo!

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