Kitchen hearth


Posted: September 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: excitement, fun, heating, kitchen, progress | Tags: , , | No Comments »


We’ve started laying the kitchen hearth!!!!! The weather has started getting crisp and cool, and now that we’re living here it feels like time to focus on getting the woodstove in. Evenings are feeling pretty chilly around here. Before we can set up our woodstove we just need to build the hearth to set it on.

So we have these beautiful blue penny tiles that we got back in may. First we looked up size requirements and clearances for our stove. Drew up plans, then taped out the hearth plans at actual size on the floor using green painters’ tape. Ripped out the yucky vinyl flooring in the spots where it was covering up the hardwood flooring. Measured, cut and screwed down cement board.

dogs love to help with renovation projects cement board

laying down cement board. with some help from pups.

We were lucky enough to have some handy visitors at this point, so Gaurav’s partner Caroline pitched in and helped out a whole lot! Before mixing the mortar we had to build a temporary wooden frame to keep the edges of our hearth nice and neat. We did a dry run first, just to figure out how all the tiles fit on the hearth. Then mixed the mortar and slathered it all over the cement board, trying to get an even layer all over, which turned out to be a little harder than expected.

caroline helps measure tiles

Caroline measuring tiles

spreading mortar!

spreading mortar!

And then laid down the tiles! This also turned out to be a little tricky, and we didn’t get them quite perfect, but we did a pretty good job for a first time. We had to let the mortar dry for a while (we gave it a full 48 hours since the weather’s so rainy) and then mixed up the grout. We picked a greyish color called Sahara Beige. It’s a pretty good match for the tile color, I think. Grouting was fun! The whole project was fun.

laying the tiles on the mortar tiles are set and waiting for grout

laying tiles on the mortar; tiles all set and waiting for grout!

grouting the hearth grouting the hearth

spreading the grout

grouting the hearth grouting the hearth

wiping off the excess

It’s really our first project actually building something finished, rather than just demolishing or doing behind-the-scenes stuff like wiring and plumbing. (that stuff is fun too but the results aren’t quite as spiffy.) Now the fancy-looking hearth looks wildly out of place in our messed-up, gutted old kitchen. I still haven’t really worked out what our kitchen will look like, haven’t decided on paint colors or anything. So I’m a little unsure whether this fancy hearth will fit in with the rest of our kitchen, hopefully it won’t stick out too much.

Now the grout’s dry, I think we need to put on a sealant. Then take up the frame and then set up the wood stove! Hoping to have our first fire by Sunday, when the weather’s supposed to turn cold again. And soon we should put some molding around the edge of th hearth. We’re thinking it should be hardwood so we’ll have to make it ourselves, in my dad’s workshop.


walking in Mike’s woods


Posted: August 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: dogs, fun, nature, neighborhood | No Comments »


walking in Mike's woods Laika

walking in Mike’s woods, Laika in the big meadow

Our next-door neighbor Mike owns almost 40 acres of land out behind our house, and he’s always encouraged us to go out and explore his land. There’s a dirt road leading out behind his house, and a network of paths all through the woods, and a huge meadow that he’s been working hard all summer to keep mown and cleared. I can’t believe it took us until mid-summer to finally get out into the woods behind our house and start exploring, and I’m so glad we finally did. I’ve been taking the puppy out for walks most days, it’s easy to pass a whole hour or two wandering and looping around all the paths and splashing in the stream and exploring the woods.
In other news, I got a “polaroid” type app for my iPhone so that’s why all my iphone snapshots are now fake-polaroided. Its kinda silly but… since my iPhone photos always come out smudgy and cruddy-looking anyway, it’s funner if they at least look old and cute…


the new puppy


Posted: June 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: dogs, excitement, fun | No Comments »


Laika Laika

what a photogenic little peanut

Here’s Laika! she’s so cute!!! We couldn’t survive for long without a dog. I didn’t want to rush to replace our lost pups too quickly, but we realized that summer is really the best time to start out with a new dog, and we just fell madly in love with Laika’s cute face on petfinder. Right now we are just fostering Laika, we haven’t formally adopted her yet. She has a really tenacious urinary tract infection that hopefully will be all cured after a few more weeks of antibiotics, and then if all goes well, we will finalize the adoption. She seems just as healthy and happy as any puppy, she’s been a crazy little monster all morning and now she is napping sweetly at my feet. Laika is around six months old, she’s a rescue puppy and she was brought up to Maine from a high-kill shelter in Arkansas. Nobody knows what she is, she was billed as husky and german shepherd but we’re thinking she could also have some australian shepherd, maybe even a little bit of beagle? for sure she is 100% puppy. She’s only been with us for a day and a half, but so far I can tell that she is CRAZY about food, any and all of it, she is smart as a whip and busy busy busy all the time. She seemed to fall in love with us just as quickly as we fell for her! She’s an expert counter browser, she knows her name and usually comes when you call, she’s very very curious, she likes chasing butterflies and chickens and trying to climb into the dishwasher, she doesn’t know how to fetch yet but I’m trying to teach her.


visiting friends!


Posted: May 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: fun, life | No Comments »


Andrew and Vickie (and Shea) from Troy, New York, AND Drew from Montreal, all came up to visit for a weekend and we had a great time and got lots of work done! It was just great to see them at a moment when we were feeling really sad and needed to be cheered up.

andrew & vickie at diana's baths drew & mike at diana's baths

andrew & vickie at diana’s baths

We spent some time in Limington, had a leisurely lunch at our favorite spot, Krista’s in Cornish, and finally explored one of the hiking trails in the local Francis Small nature preserve. Next morning everyone helped us drag off a few loads of junk to the dump and then load up the truck with firewood to bring up to Intervale. We had a really nice day and night in Intervale, cooked good food and relaxed, unloaded and stacked that firewood, dragged an old washing machine out from the basement and off to the dump, then went to visit Diana’s Baths for a lovely splash in the very cold river. Not quite swimming season yet! Back to Limington the next day, Andrew helped Mike and Richard install extra support beams above the kitchen doorway while Vickie and I laid waste to the upstairs apartment in the ell, dragging out years of garbage and debris and ripping out the shower stall, then moving on to my studio, where we did some ceiling repairs and then to our bedroom where we ripped out a bunch of particle board from the floors! Thanks to all for the great help and good company! :)


Midge’s Ice Cream


Posted: March 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: fun, neighborhood | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »


Midge's Ice Cream

just opened for the season!

This cute little place is right down the street from our house in Limington. Perfect for biking over there on a warm summer evening. We’ve driven past it a few times and I always think “I can’t wait til they open!” So as soon as we saw the lights on, we stopped in for a taste. I had a “moose on sugar,” that is, Moose Tracks ice cream on a sugar cone. I believe Midge herself took my order.


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