Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Buick Open as an Economic Indicator

We made it without a single incident. Everyone must have read about about the hose and didn't want to chance it. There were 2 ladies who trespassed but they were both carrying small children and also each had one in tow. I can't for the life of me understand why someone would take such small children to a golf tournament.

Several of our friends parked at 'The Gear' and they all said that attendance was down....a lot. I also noticed that our neighbors, who allow people to park in their yards for a fee, charged less than half of what they have charged in the past. Normally they charge $3.00 Monday through Wednesday, $5.00 on Thursday, $10.00 on Friday, $15.00 on Saturday, and $20.00 on Sunday. This year they charged $3.00 all week except Friday when they raised the price to $5.00, and Saturday and Sunday was $7.00.

Normally I pick up at least 3 or more Buick Open plastic beer cups each day. I also usually pick up at least 10 used tickets and numerous scraps of paper such as programs, cigarette packs, etc. This year the litter consisted of 1 used ticket.

My husband and I usually laugh at the number of extremely drunk people we see every year. Some people stumble by the house several times in their search for their vehicle. This year....not one drunk or even slightly intoxicated individual. We also did not hear any clapping or yelling from the 17th hole, which is notorious for it's rowdiness. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/golf/2008-06-27-3120458807_x.htm

So lets recap...lower attendance, less beer drinking, cheaper parking prices, and less enthusiasm. Next weekend I will be in Ohio for the King's Royal Sprint car race, at that time I will observe the beer drinkage and t shirt buying. If those two actions are also down......I will then know we are in trouble economically.

One thing that hasn't changed is the need for everyone in a sport car to squeal their tires when they leave their parking spot and pull out onto the road. Seems there is not a male alive that cannot hold back.....including my son. My son and daughter in law came over for a visit in their 1986 Buick Grand National. They rarely take it out of the garage but in honor of the Buick Open they felt the need to tool through GB and show off their ride. So when they left he not only burned rubber on our driveway...grrrrr.....but when he pulled out onto the street, he launched it a good one. He does that because he knows I hate it. LOL I told him I don't do that with the Tracker when I leave his house in Fenton. That reminds me....I forgot to tell him his turbo spooled up nicely but sounded terrible when he lifted.

Today all the semi trucks were leaving with all the sky boxes, porta potties, golf carts, bleachers, and hospitality tents. It normally takes a month to set up and about two weeks to tear down and get back to normal. Yea for normal.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Without Tiger...it's still a Zoo

It's that time of year again.....Buick Open time.

I understand the positive aspects of having a PGA nationally televised tournament played here. The economical impact for the area is worth the additional costs incurred for the city and township. All the television air time and print press give the area needed exposure. But for us here at Gear Acres it's a big hassle.

The tournament lasts basically a week. It's a total frenzy from Wednesday through Sunday. On Monday I was unable to make the right hand turn into my driveway because of people on golf carts. Anywhere else this would be no big deal. I could wait and let them pass but because I HAD to let them play through, so to speak, I was forced to sit on a road with a 50 MPH speed limit just over the crest of a hill in a blind spot. I've been hit before while waiting to make a left hand turn into my driveway and now have bulging discs in my neck. So I was unhappy having to wait. I then pulled into my driveway, stopped, and went to the mailbox where I was nearly run over by a bright blue Rolls Royce. They obviously had spent some time in the clubhouse. They won't be the last intoxicated person I see this week either.

I was probably the only person excited that Tiger Woods was not going to be making an appearance at the Buick Open. I feel bad he is hurt and needed surgery but the crowds are much lighter when he isn't playing.

So this weekend if you are so inclined to watch golf on TV, look for me. I'll be the crazy lady spraying the garden hose on trespassers. I'll wave at the blimp so you know it's me.

**If you haven't guessed by now, I'm not a big golf fan. Watching golf is like watching paint dry or grass growing, the only difference is that you have to whisper when you are watching golf. But then some people like to watch fast cars go in circles or fast cars go in a straight line so why wouldn't some like to watch men in plaid chase a little white ball????? To each his own.....just stay off my grass!!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Treasure Alert!!!!!

While I was weeding the hosta bed by the road, a round flat object caught my eye. I found it about 6 inches from the second fence post. approximately 1/3 of the photo from the right side.

At first I thought it was a plastic bingo marker but when I rubbed off the dirt I realized it was a nickel. It was rather difficult to tell what type of nickel it was. At the time I was just pleased to be five cents richer. But then I caught a glimpse of the buffalo.

I had to wait until I could wash off the dirt before I was able to read the date. I was surprised that when I viewed my new found nickel using a magnifying glass that it read 1915.

It's fascinating to think about all the hands that have touched this coin. What is REALLY interesting is the coin was minted in 1915 but my home was not built until 1937. The coin doesn't appear to have circulated for 22 years before it was lost. Under what circumstances was it lost???? Could there more????

A quick Internet search found the following information.

In 1915 the postage for a domestic letter was two cents, a post card 0ne cent, and the non domestic rate was five cents. That's in comparison to today's rate of 42 cents for a letter and 26 cents for a postcard.

1915 President Wilson 2006 George Bush.

1915 $ of new home..$3,200

1915 avg earnings...$687.00 2006....$34,926

1915 high school education 13.5% 2006 85.2%

1915 number of cars 2.5 million 2006 237.2 million

1915 gallon of gas 25 cents (seems rather high, because I remember gasoline was 25cents when I was in high school in the early 70's)

1915 % of women who worked 23% 2006 59%

1915 home ownership 45.9% 2006 68.9%

1915 median age 24.1 yrs. 2006 36.2 yrs.

1915 average life expectancy 54.4 yrs 2006 77.8 yrs

In 1915...we were involved in WWI, movies were silent, and the Model T was the car of choice.

Check out this website for Buffalo nickel info and a cool Buffalo nickel giveaway contest!!!


*****I have to pass this comment along...one of my co workers was reading my list of 1915 facts and said "geeeess...good thing you didn't find a dime, you would have had to write a book." Also everyone had to look at it with the magnifying glass. Needless to say.....not much engineering was done this morning, but we all now know more than enough about buffalo nickels so it wasn't a total loss.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The theme is magazines

Here's another themed post for my three blogs. All three blogs will be about magazines.

I subscribe to quite a few magazines. I receive a professional discount so it is hard for me NOT to try a new magazine.

There are some magazines that I have subscribed to for eons. Traditional Home and Martha Stewart's Living are two that come to mind. Others that I enjoy that are rather new to me are English Home and Southern Accents.

I've been extremely disappointed with several magazines. Home and Garden comes to mind. H & G is no longer in publication, but up until at least a month before the last issue they were sending me renewals and including subscription cards in the magazine. Unfortunately I had renewed until 2011. Instead of issuing a refund they have started sending me Domino magazine. Domino is not a bad magazine but it is NOT my style nor do I feel is it the style of long time H & G readers.

The issues of H & G, during their last year, were increasing sub par for a long time magazine of this caliber. Specifically was the issue with the blue glass chandelier against a gaudy peach background. It was if the editors were trying HARD not to sell issues.

Another magazine I love but recently had issues with is Old House Journal. They insist on sending me renewals (in official bill appearing form) every other month. I dutifully pay because I love the magazine and do not wish to miss a single issue. Finally I looked on the cover and noticed that I have indeed paid through 2012. I sent a quick email voicing my concern and received a reply that they would in the future send just one renewal notice. "Thank you Old House Journal."

I also sent them an email stating my frustrations with the fact that they focus primarily on Victorian and Craftsman homes. Victorian/Craftsman houses are wonderful lovely structures but the magazine is Old House Journal not Old Victorian/Craftsman Journal. I also mentioned that not only do they focus on those two home styles but have now started adding mid century homes completely bypassing homes of the 30's and 40's.

Below are photos of some of my current favorite magazines.

Of course This Old House is a long time read. It is one of those must save for future reference magazines.

Read my other two blogs to see what I'm reading concerning gardening and cooking.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blogging lull....yes.....working lull....no..

I've been 'advised' that I need to update my blog. Seems my friends can only tolerate me not blogging for a month max, anything over that time frame.....I better get typing FAST!!!!!

OK...here's my excuses for not keeping up with the blog, as of late.

I was diagnosed with 2 bulging discs in my neck. This is a result of when I was rear ended waiting to pull into my driveway nearly 2 years ago. Because of this, I have not finished the windows (glazing/painting). I need to paint them, then install them, and THEN glaze them. This will allow me to look straight ahead instead of bending my neck and looking down. OK...everyone say...'poor thing....we feel your pain.'

It keeps raining so the weeds keep growing (flower beds) so I have to continually weed and cannot make any progress on anything else. OK....everyone say....'poor thing.....I feel your pain....I'll come over and weed for you.'

I fertilized the lawn and now it grows grows grows so I mow mow mow. But it's green.

R and I have been busy with the excessive paper work needed to retire. YES...you heard it right RETIRE!!!! R will retire in July. I will retire January 1st, 2009. He keeps counting down the days. I will continue to work 6 days 10 hours until the very end. Grrrr.

I am appalled at the volume of paper work needed to retire. Rollover papers, termination papers, pension papers, birth certificates (retiree and spouse), marriage certificates, social security card, and drivers license.

R has already decided he wants to volunteer at the March of Dimes. I'm not committing to anything until the house is done. We will have plenty of time to volunteer at a later date. R is 56 and I am 53.

R has been rebuilding the fountain area. He temporarily has installed the fountain just for measurement purposes. I can't wait to see it completed. Here's a photo taken about a month ago. He's made great progress since then.

Here's a photo taken more recently. May not look like there was a lot done but take my word for it.......there was.

We were just finishing up with the mowing on Sunday when the sirens went off. 4 minutes later the wind was blowing a constant 50 mph and branches/leaves were blowing every where. I was shocked at how constant the wind was. It carried on like that for at least 20 minutes without letting up.

After the storm I headed to the Torrey Rd address. I was driving down Baldwin Road when I saw a car parked on the opposite side of the road. A police cruiser was pulling up behind it with it's lights on. On closer inspection, I noticed a power line or cable vision line wrapped around the driver's side mirror. Egads!!!!

My son and daughter in law were without power for a day and a half. They live in Fenton, the town that was hit by a tornado last fall.

I have also been busy planting heirloom tomato plants. We will be up to our ears in tomatoes by August. Red ones, yellow ones, white ones, green ones, black ones, pink ones, orange ones, stripped ones, round ones, pear shaped ones, ox heart shaped ones, big ones, and little ones. I feel like that guy in the Forest Gump movie......coconut shrimp, fried shrimp, raw shrimp, etc. LOL.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bigger is Better

Bigger is better when it comes to TVs. Just ask my husband. We discussed purchasing a plasma TV for over the fireplace in the family room/library/study. He sometimes feels left out of a lot of the decorating/remodeling decisions, so I said, "why don't you research that and get some prices." Well he hopped right on that assignment and before I could say, "what did you decide would work best?" we had this..........Don't look at the mess, this room is used for storing lumber, cedar shingles, and apparently 2 Christmas wreaths that have yet to make there way to the basement.

You can imagine my surprise when I realized that we were now the proud owners of 55 inches of plasma HDTVness, oh and least I forget.....plus Bose surround sound. Gotta have a sound system......what better way to hear the Detroit Lions lose with....than surround sound.

So imagine my surprise again when yesterday morn (10am) there came a pounding on the front door that about knocked me out of bed (didn't get home from work until 5am). When I opened the door, I was met by a startled DHL driver....he acted like he had never seen a sleep deprived woman in pink flannel pajamas at 10 in the morning. What could be so important that he couldn't leave the package on the porch???? Well, it was my free LCD TV. In all it's 23 inch absolutely free glory. Twenty three inches???????? I thought it was suppose to be 19 inches. Instead of sending a 19 inch LCD Samsung TV...they sent a 23" LCD Samsung TV. I did a little price searching online. This particular TV's cost is somewhere between $529 to $699. Not too shabby for free.

So now...this fall when R is watching the Lions lose and apparently the Tigers this summer (grrrr) on his 55 inches of TV, I will be able to watch America's Test Kitchen in the kitchen on my 23 inches of free LCDness AND burn something on the stove all at the same time. All will be right with the world.

TVs....where would we be without them?????

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The theme for today is raking

I've decided that when possible I will post on all my blogs (3) using a theme. Today's theme is raking.

Raking.....as in raking it in....and that is what I did today.

Today I turned in my Coke Points for a 19" LCD TV that I will use in the kitchen at The Gear. Free stuff must come in threes because I also cashed in my Speedy Rewards for another $25 gift card from Lowe's. And last but not least, I cashed in my Pepsi points for 5 free DVDS.

Not too shabby......

Monday, April 7, 2008

I Feel Like David Letterman

Sandy, a fellow Michigander and blogger of Curley's Corner fame, bestowed upon me an E for Excellent Blog. Thank you very much. Wow, first time in my life I was thrilled with getting an "E"!!! She asks that by accepting this Excellent Blog Award, I agree to award it to 10 more people whose blogs I find Excellent Award worthy. I can give it to as many people as I want but that I please award it to at least 10.

So here goes. It was very difficult to narrow it down to 10 because I read a wide variety of blogs. Some I read for the knowledge I can gain from them. Some for design inspiration for my own home. Some I read because I'm intrigued with their decorating style even those it may not be my own style. And some I just like to read.

The blog that got me reading blogs, Casa Decrepit. I am so happy that Ayse is done with school so she can blog more often. I just happened upon her blog several years ago and spent days reading about their troubles with a contractor hired to do extensive foundation work in earthquake country. I can honestly say I would not have been able to handle it as well as they did. Ayse and Noel are hands on people with two of the cutest dogs. Check out their blog and their new irrigation system totally designed and built by the two of them.

DYI Diva. Damn...this chick does it all without losing any of her femininity. So young to have already figured it all out. Check out her blog and her etsy site to get an insight into her artistic abilities. Don't forget to check out her BADASS pergola. Don't worry Mom, that's what she calls it. Also I promised myself that I would buy myself one of her handmade brooms as soon as I finish my kitchen. The girl is talented.

One Woman's Cottage Life. Oh my, she has the most gorgeous red kitchen cabinets imaginable. I love her ceiling. Now how many times in your life are you probably going to tell someone "I love your ceiling."??? Probably not many, but I love hers. She also has this little white ceramic bird that shows up in a lot of her photos. It took me a while to realize that she didn't have 52 of those little birdies. Check out her blog and now her esty store. She's the purveyor of the most delicious looking faux desserts on the planet. I gained 5 pounds just looking at it.

Curley's Corner. Sandy always has the most appropriate joke. I don't know if it is because we are about the same age and from the same area but I can relate to everything she writes. Check her blog out for inspiration.

This Old Crack House. Another one of the first blogs that I read. Gary's been going at it for 7 years restoring a very large Victorian in Dayton Ohio. He does the vast majority of the work himself and if you need to know ANYTHING about shellac...well, he's the guy to ask. And whatever you do...do not click on that button.

The Petch House. Here's another guy restoring a Victorian era home and doing the work himself. Read his blog to hear about how he salvaged floor tile and bead board from old buildings to install in his home. He is currently in the progress of getting his home on the National Register. Read his blog and you'll soon see he has an eye for detail.

Redemption In Corktown. Another home restoration blog from a fellow Michigander. Read his blog to hear how he is bringing an old neglected home, in Detroit's Historic Corktown District, back to life with the help of some wonderful friends. Read about the maze of paperwork needed to restore this beauty in a city that has had it's fair share of woes lately. You'll be inspired.

Bangor Bungalow. Shhhh, don't tell them...I'm stealing their shelf design for my kitchen. If you're into bungalows check out theirs and don't tell them I'm taking their shelf design idea.

You Grow Girl. Here's a gardening blog written by a young women who can grow anything in anything. Check out her blog for gardening tips and ideas or better yet, buy her book titled, You Grow Girl.

And last but not least, another blog I've read for a long time House in Progress. Aaron and Jeanne not only have a great blog about the restoration of their Chicago bungalow but they are the originators of the Houseblog Network. How they take care of a website dedicated to home improvements blogs, restore their own home, and raise a cutie called Grace is beyond me.

OK, there you have it, my top ten blogs. Hopefully all those that are mention will continue what Sandy asked me to do. Congrats, keep writing, and I'll keep reading.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Did it go according to 'The Plan'?

I have been so busy, I haven't even had a chance to read all my favorite blogs lately.

Thank you Sandy for the 'This blog is rated E for Excellence' award. I truly appreciate it. I have been mulling around my top ten list in my head. I almost feel like David Letterman. I will post my top ten favorite blogs this weekend. It will be very difficult. I read a variety of blogs. But thank you again Sandy.

Waaaayyyy back just before Easter weekend, I made a bold prediction of what 'we' were going to accomplish during our time off. Let's see how we did. But before I give you a run down, I want to remind you of something. It was a 4 day holiday weekend but by 3:10PM of the first day I still hadn't done a thing. Actually I think when I wrote that I was still in my pajamas. So in all actuality it was a 3 day plan not a 4 day plan.

1. Do a walk around and see how well 'The Gear' survived. Done.

2. Take new photos for future reference. I have a few new photos but it was so windy and cold that I just wanted to get warm.

3. Check for buds on fruit trees and inspect for damage. Done. Trees look good, no broken branches or apparent dead branches and all trees are still standing straight so they must be rooted fairly well. We removed the remaining stakes and twine.

4.Trim fruit trees. Done. Removed all downward growing and crossed branches.

5.Looked for signs that tulips made it through the winter. Done. They were just barely poking their little pointy heads out of the ground.

6.Work on windows. Well we did and we didn't. We worked on different windows. We had removed the 3 bottom sashes in the dining room earlier in the year. They are stripped but the glazing is like concrete. R remarked that it didn't even smell like the other glazing we removed. We both feel that it is not glazing compound because it just doesn't appear nor smell like the other glazing we have removed. So the answer to item 6 is yes but no.

7.Sort through tools and organize. I'll answer that one when I quit laughing.

8.Measure for wood for deck. Nope. Couldn't find tape measure. See item #7.

9. Buy cedar shingle bundles. Nope.

10.Load stumps. Ahhhh no...they were still frozen solid.

11.Pick up twigs and branches. Done.

12. Burn twigs and branches. Heck yes. That's how we stayed warm enough to work outside.

13.Remove center wall in potting shed. Nope.

14.Burn wall with twigs. Nope.

15.Rake leaves out of flower beds. Yes yes yes and I even trimmed 50% of the rose bushes. See garden blog for verification of said raking.

OK...let's tally this up. 15 items on the list. 7 completed. 2 were iffy. 6 were a big NOPE. Just a quick calculation (guesstimation) and I'd say that was around 50%.

All in all not too bad for a late start and brutally cold weather.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

'Old Man Winter' wins by an Avalanche

It's snowing again. The weatherman is forecasting 4 to 6 inches of snow tonight. Yep, that's not a typo......4 to 6 inches.

My sister emailed this photo to me and I think it sums up my feelings perfectly.

I give up....Old Man Winter wins!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter themed painting

I purchased this oil painting because I immediately liked it. It was only after I owned the painting and had it on the wall that I noticed so much more.I've learned over the years that some art work is meant to be viewed at a close range and others from a distance. This is one that needs to be viewed from a far.

This photo does not do this painting justice. Up close the details are completely gone and from a distance there is far more detail than what is showing up in the photo. Also the true colors are not coming through either.

I was told the artist's name when I purchased the painting but I did not write it down. It is signed with stylized initials and the numbers'38, indicating 1938. At a later date, I plan on cataloging my artwork and at that time I'll investigate the artist's name. But in the meantime if anyone recognizes the initials, I would be grateful for the insight.Happy Easter everyone.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House

A couple of weeks ago I ordered Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House DVD and a first edition copy of the book. This book and the subsequent movie were based on an article in the April 1946 Fortune magazine written by Eric Hodgins originally titled Mr. Blandings Builds his Castle. The Tom Hanks movie called The Money Pit is a remake of the original movie Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House.

I loved this movie for several reasons. I've always enjoyed Cary Grant's movies and I thought he was adorable in this. I really liked oogling all the 1930's and 40's decorating. If you're a fan of New York City, the first part of the movie has some great footage of Manhattan.

It's nice to know that contractors have changed very little in over half a century. I swear I've heard some of these same explanations from past contractors I have used.

But the real bonus of watching this DVD was that I now know what type of hinges to buy for the windows I am restoring in my sun room. Right there in their architect's office were my windows with black L hinges.

Also I was so coveting the art deco lights on either side of their apartment's bathroom mirror. I think I'll watch it a couple more times because I am sure I missed something. I wish it was in color but alas it's a black and white movie.

I'll give the movie a thumbs up for it's great footage of 30's and 40's interior design and personally relevant plot line.

But now I want to eat some ham. You'll need to see the movie to understand. Also the book is slightly different than the movie.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Plan

Here is 'The Plan' for the holiday weekend.

1. Do a walk around and see how well 'The Gear' handled this past 'fairly harsh' winter.

2. Take new photos of the outside of the house and surrounding yard for future reference.

3. Check for buds on fruit trees and inspect for damage.

4. Trim fruit trees.

5. Look for signs that the tulips I planted last year survived.

6. Work on the windows.

7. Sort through tools and organize, so that we can find what we are looking for in a reasonable time frame (same day preferably same hour).

8. Measure and buy wood to start framing the two small landings we need to add to the deck.

9. Buy bundles of red cedar shingles to re shingle front of house.

10. Load stumps into trailer to take to landfill.

11. Pick up twigs and branches that fell during the winter.

12. Burn twigs and branches.

13. Remove center wall in the potting shed.

14. Burn above along with twigs and branches.

15. Rake leaves out of flower beds before plants start growing.

Well, it's 3:10PM of my first day of my four day vacation and what have I done???? NOTHING

Note to self.......DO SOMETHING!!!!!!

Chasing threads

R finds the stuff. Jan takes it apart.

This is the mechanical part of the oak desk chair. After dis assembly, I used paper and tape to protect the machined areas during the next step which was sand blasting. Once all the parts were sand blasted and the loose grit removed with an air gun I inspected all the parts. One of the long threaded bolts had damage to the threads. I had several options for restoring the threads. One was to use a thread chaser which is similar to a file but has four sides with different spacing between the teeth. Or I could use a die and run the bolt through the die to clean up the threads. Either method requires that I use a thread pitch gauge to determine the pitch (threads per inch). Here's a closer look at the damaged threads and the thread pitch gauge.
Here is the button die that I used to clean up the threads. The long file shaped tool is the thread chaser. When using a button die or tap always use a lubricant. I use tapping compound but you can also use a 3 in 1 oil if you don't have tapping compound. Depending on the severity of damage, you may need to back up (reverse), clean out the debris from the die and start again. After I chased the threads I re sand blasted the bolt to remove any residue so that primer and paint will adhere to the bolt.
Here is everything reassembled and ready for primer and paint. At one time someone must have broken the spring and replaced it. The spring that is currently there is the wrong size spring. It is the correct length but the diameter of the spring is too small and does not seat itself correctly on either end. R will have to shop around and get the correct one.

This weekend we will glue the wood part of the chair where the individual pieces are loose. I'll wait to stain and clear coat when I am using the stain on something else. For those interested...the chair was manufactured by the Colonial Chair Co. in Chicago.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

R finds a chair

R finds lots of stuff. Over the years he has found at least 4 four foot long levels. Usually in the location of traffic corners. It appears that they fall out of construction trucks when they turn the corner. Amazingly none of the bubble levels are broken. Now on the other hand, I can accidently drop a level out of my hand 3 feet from the floor and of course the glass breaks. But for some reason the levels that R finds can fly out of a truck going XX mph, hit a concrete road, and still not break.

Here's his latest find.....

A solid oak desk chair. The pieces of oak on the seat need to be glued and it is missing the casters. The metal adjuster and attachment plate under the seat will need sandblasting and a coat of paint. Then some stain and a clear finish and it will be desk worthy again.

I guess I should mention that he found this sitting next to someone's trash. Seriously, when I drive by people's trash...all I see is trash. We were driving along one time, when he says, "Did you see those theater seats in the trash back there?" Me, "Huh? where? what do you mean theater seats?" So he turns the truck around and sure enough in the trash were 4 art deco movie theater seats. It was a 4 seat section with a decorative art deco cast iron design on each end. The seats are padded and fold up. Our plan is to build a raised 10" or higher oak platform and attach the 4 seat section to it. We will then install it next to our pool table for seating while shooting some stick. The seats will fold up and out of the way while you shoot. Both the table and chairs are from the same era 1920's-1930's.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Water Fowl Alignment

Phew....I made it. I worked 12 hours everyday (7days) last week and only had to drive home in freezing rain once. But I see that there is a weather advisory for tonight. Lucky me. Spring cannot come too soon for me.

Since I have been unable to actually work on the house, I've had to live vicariously through other people's blogs. Thank gosh everyone is staying busy or I would be bored. Keep up the good work.

This is the time of year where you really don't want to start a big indoor project when good weather is just around the corner and being outdoors is calling your name. That is where we are right now. So the next week or so is sort of a spring time prep period for us. I guess you could call it a 'water fowl alignment period'Speaking of water fowl alignment...I've been busy setting up the garden and kitchen blogs. Not much in content as of yet, but just laying out the blog gives me a headache.

On the Tony front......well....let's just say....grrrrrr and leave it at that.This is not the reason they call him 'Smoke'.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday Free Stuff

I was dashing out the door on my way to work when the mail truck pulled into the driveway. This usually signals...PACKAGES! So I delayed leaving for work because I wanted to see what goodies the mailman had for me. Guess what? It was free stuff!!!

A free wide screen DVD from Pepsi Stuff.com and a electronic version of Sudoku from My Coke Rewards. Probably didn't need either one, but I do like Johnny Depp...he makes such a sexy pirate and well I am a novice Sudoku player and they don't make an eraser big enough for me to complete the advance puzzles.

I added a new link under Fav Links called Cool Steals and Deals. Check it out.

On the home front...the snow is melting. I am hopeful that maybe next week I can look around outside and see how the exterior of 'The Gear' survived another winter. R has been busy picking up twigs and fallen limbs once they are exposed by the melting snow.

Window work has stopped again as I am working 12 hours all this week. But in the meantime I am revamping my blog. I've decided to start two additional blogs, a gardening blog and a cooking, kitchen, and recipe blog. The cooking blog will be the result of having to do something with the mass quanities of produce that will grow at Gear Acres. If this year's crop is like last year's, don't look for much cooking on the cooking blog. I felt that my house blog was straying from the restoration of Gear Acres and this should allow me to limit the house blog to just house related topics. The same goes for the garden and kitchen blog, though sometimes there will be cross posts. So many things to talk about and so little time to blog.

I'll let everyone know when I start posting on those blogs.

Oh and just an FYI...I have not been busy removing all the Goodyear tires from my vehicles. This week Tony starts in the top ten. Let's hope he finishes well and stays out of the Nascar trailer after the race. Go Smoke.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

More info on sand blasting

Here's a little more info on sand blasting for those interested in purchasing blasting equipment.

First you will need a air compressor. The small portable air compressors commonly used for air nailers will not work. You will need a unit with a large storage tank. The larger the tank the less the compressor motor will need to run. This will save electricity, extend the life of the compressor motor because it will not need to run as often, and there will be less noise.

Blasters comes in two varieties. Cabinet style that contains the abrasive inside a cabinet and can be set up to reclaim used abrasive. The other style is a hopper style which is a total loss system and is used outdoors on larger pieces such as patio furniture.

Your first inclination is that the cost far out weighs the amount of use it will get. Not really. Your compressor will have numerous uses. Pneumatic tools are great. They have an abundance of power and can be used in damp situations (no electricity). How many times have you wanted to sharpen your lawn mower blades but you haven't the time to remove the blade or blades, sharpen it or them, and then reinstall. If you had a pneumatic hand held grinder you could pull the spark plug wire, lay the lawn mower on it's side, sharpen the blade with your grinder, reattach the plug wire, and start mowing. You will be able to do that really quick if you install a quick disconnect air line outside. Then when you are done mowing your yard, you can blow the grass off the mower deck before you put it in the garage. Then blow the grass clippings off the driveway with this and you'll be inside watching the baseball game before you know it.

Blasting units use a variety of abrasives from course to fine. The type of abrasive used is determined by what you are trying to remove and what you are removing it from. Glass bead and silica sand are two that come to mind. If you blast soft material such as brass you will lose the shiny appearance. Blasting also will give a surface some 'tooth' which will hold paint. If you blast cast iron or cast aluminum vintage light fixtures and then clear coat. They will blend nicely with the new brushed nickle and stainless finishes.

Blasting not only removes paint but also rust and in the case of car parts baked on grease and oil. If you are using a unit that reclaims the abrasive do not blast oily greasy parts as it will contaminate your abrasive. Also all abrasives wear out. You'll notice after a period of time that it takes longer to remove paint etc. This is because the abrasive has pulverized into dust causing it to lose it's sharp edges. Think about what sand at the beach looks like upon close inspection. Each grain has multiple sharp edges. That's why after a day at the beach your feet are smoother. We generally use play sand in our hopper style blaster. The reason being that it is inexpensive (cheap) and we can just sweep it into the lawn when we clean up. Most people use glass bead in the cabinet style units. Also remember when using the hopper variety to wear a protective hood to protect eyes and keep abrasive substance out of your hair.

When setting up your compressor take into consideration noise. Some people locate their compressors in the garage and then run the line to their basement work shop. The most convenient way to plumb your compressed air is to run your piping completely around your workspace. Every 10 feet or so place a quick disconnect. You can even run a line overhead with a quick disconnect over work benches. If you can plumb for water then plumbing for air will be a breeze. The good part is if you have a leak after plumbing...you won't get wet. Also if you run a line outside you can easily air your tires up or inflate the inflatable kiddie pool.

Tonight I sand blasted a cast iron mailbox that I intend to place by the kitchen door. It is made by Griswold of Erie, Pa.
After about 30 minutes of blasting the mail box looked like this.

I used a brass brush and razor knife to loosen some stubborn areas and I will probably blast it one more time before I prime it. I'll wait and paint this when I paint the light fixtures.

I was asked if I was using an online source for information on how to blast. No, I'm not. Fabricating is part of my job as a journeyman. At a later date I'll talk about the week long metal fabricating class I attended. The week before I took the class, Jeff Gordon's fabricating crew were there perfecting their technique.

Tony is starting 25th tomorrow in the race in Las Vegas. Good luck and goooooo Smoke.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Sand blasting is a blast

Today I disassembled the small art deco era hanging light fixture that I purchased on eBay. Here is what it looked like before I attacked it with a screwdriver and pair of Channel Lock pliers.

It appears that someone removed the original paint and then decided to make it 'better' by painting it black, purple, and teal green. Some portions of the fixture are solid brass, the majority of the body of the fixture is cast iron, and the chain links are steel.

The ceiling canopy was left unpainted but the lacquer was peeling and there was paint splatter around the edge. It appears that this light hung in a room that was painted a shade of calamine lotion pink. At one time the interior of 'The Gear' was painted that same color. Pink must have been very popular in the 40's and 50's because I have read other house blogs that mention that same color.

The canopy was also out of round and had several dents. I used a wooden dowel that was rounded off on the end to push out the dents. The edge of the dowel was used to straighten out the rim of the canopy. The canopy was placed on it's side on the table and I rolled the dowel along the interior edge until the canopy was round again.

I am pointing to the dent in the photo above. The dent actually shows up better in the first photo. Below is a what it looked like after I fixed the dent and sandblasted it.
I snapped photos as I disassembled the fixture just in case I didn't have time to reassemble it this evening. Notice that I put the screws back into the holes. There are two reasons for this. Number one....it keeps me from losing the screws. Number two....it keeps sand out of the holes and allows me to sandblast the screw head at the same time. I lied.....that's three reasons.

Sandblasting is a time saver. I could have used stripper and a brush to remove the paint or maybe boiled it overnight. But in the end, the total time from start to finish was 1 hour and 45 minutes to disassemble, remove dents, sand blast, and then reassemble.

Here is a photo of the fixture reassembled. I will wait to paint this fixture at the same time I paint the wrought iron lantern for the foyer. I am waiting on the canopy I bought for the lantern which will also need sand blasting and painting. I will then rewire both light fixtures.

Here's a few sand blasting tips.

If you keep getting shocked because of static electricity make sure your ground wire is firmly attached. Standing on a rubber mat may also help with this problem.

Always wear glasses even though the sand is inside a cabinet. Be aware that sand is on the parts and will get on your hands when handling the parts. Keep your hands away from your eyes.

You may want to wear cloth gloves to handle bare metal pieces. This will keep moisture from getting on parts that will be painted. Also freshly sandblasted cast iron will start to rust if left exposed to moist air. During summer months it may be necessary to immediately prime or clear coat raw cast iron to prevent surface rust.

Always allow the cabinet air to settle before opening the door. This will keep sand from becoming airborne and inhaled.

Use compressed air to clean sand off parts. Some cabinets have a nozzle inside the cabinet for cleaning sand off of parts after sand blasting. You can also use a new clean dry paint brush to brush off sand. Never aim compressed air at exposed unprotected skin. Never use compressed air to clean sand, sawdust, etc. off your clothes. I know we all do it, but it's a big NO NO. Doing so is a sure fire way to get a particle embedded in your eye. OUCH!!!!

Metal isn't the only material that can be sand blasted. You can etch glass with a sand blaster. Use vinyl contact paper to protect the areas that you wish to remain clear. You can achieve various degrees of etching by sand blasting some areas twice and some areas only once. The only limitation is your imagination.

Sand blasting is a blast. Try it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm lost...can this GPS help me?

DHL delivered the GPS (TomTom One) today. It looks cool and came with a suction cup mounting device for the windshield, a USB cable, and a car charger. It is missing one thing though.....a 12 year old kid to explain the gadgetry to me. I'm completely lost. Do they have a GPS for confused people? You know for people who are electronically challenged?

The 1930's era Better Homes and Gardens magazines that I purchased off eBay arrived today. My how things have changed. One of the issues has a photo of a front door and it's a Dutch door. I have several in my home. Two interior and one exterior door on the back of the house. When I stripped the front door and the door jamb, I noticed that there were witness marks indicating two additional decorative straps in the center portion of the door. This would indicate that the front door at one time was also a Dutch door. I have no idea where that door is now. Our front door is 40 inches wide and the 3 Dutch doors remaining are 36 and 32 inches wide.

The mailman also delivered a package today that contained a cast iron hanging light that I will hang over my sink. I will take a photo before I disassemble and sandblast it tomorrow. Currently it is painted (not original) garishly. I will return it to satin black to match the other lights I have purchased. It was rather difficult t0 find a hanging light that was small in diameter. This one has cool square links. I purchased a French wrought iron chandelier with crystals for over the kitchen table.

I've been thinking about that double drawer dishwasher. From a mechanical standpoint...that is twice the parts to breaks, twice the electronics to screw up, two times everything. Maybe the regular style dishwasher would not only be be more economical (cheaper) but also more durable because of fewer parts. Now from a 'green' standpoint, a traditional dishwasher uses more water. But then it uses the same or close to the same amount of electricity. So maybe I will just get the regular style and try to only wash full loads. By purchasing the traditional style dishwasher I will save $$$$ and that's green....right????? The money I save on the dishwasher purchase I can use towards the purchase of a new trash compactor.

I see that the Internet sports sections are all abuzz because of the towel Tony Stewart is auctioning off for charity. Gees where have they been??? We knew about that a couple of days ago, right?

More snow is in the forecast. Should start just about the time I leave work tonight and fall until I get to work tomorrow. I thought winter was on the downward spiral last Sunday when I went outside with just a sweatshirt on. I guess not.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shhhhh...don't tell Tony

The vast amount of miles I drive has produced at least three good things.

OK let me clear this up before I get a rash of emails from my friends (who refuse to leave comments but email me instead!!!). I know they are gift cards to Lowe's and Tony drives for Home Depot but come on.....they were FREE!!!!!! Yes....free I tell you!!!! When it comes to FREE stuff what can I say.......I'm easy.

Well anyways...I decided to cash in my points at Speedway Gas Station. So now I am on a quest to see how inexpensively (cheaply) I can purchase a 2 drawer stainless dishwasher. I know I can obtain a 20% coupon from Lowe's. The dishwasher I want is the Fisher & Paykel 24-Inch Double Dish Drawer for $1400.00. So that brings the price to $1120 minus the $75 in gift cards bring my current cost to $1045.00. So far I've saved $355.00


I could purchase the Bosch24-Inch Integra™ 300 Series Dishwasher for $798.00. I already have purchased a Bosch cook top. Let me see what my cost would be........calculating........$563.40 is the cost with a savings of $234.60. That's a big difference.....I'll have to think this over.

I won't need to purchase this appliance until the summer so maybe by then I will have used enough gasoline to deplete another oil field and obtain another $25 gift card.

So let's just keep this little nasty Lowe's secret between the two of us. No need for Tony to know that I'm cheating on him. I'll wear a #20 shirt when I go to Lowe's to purchase my dishwasher. I do have some scruples.....my God I don't want them to think I'm a Jimmy Johnson fan!!!!!!

Speaking of Tony......two in a row in the Nationwide Series and a 7th place finish in the Cup race. Tony is currently leading the Nationwide Series and is 3rd in points in the Cup Series.

Go Smoke!!!! Hey I'm a fan but even I wouldn't want this item.

Window update......Roger invested a hour filling and sanding. Myself......well I had good intentions Sunday night of finishing the last glass install but Pride and Prejudice was on. Come on...it was Mr. Darcy and that twerp Mr. Collins. I didn't like Mr. Collins when I read the book many eons ago and I still don't like him. AND thank gosh they don't have that entailing anymore. Well anyways.....I was sidetracked by Mr. Darcy and really only worked on them for an hour. If they ever make Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert into a movie, I'll never get anything done. You do know Flaubert had a foot fetish, didn't you?

Time invested 2 hours. Total time invested 36 hours and 40 minutes.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

You say tomato, Dan Quayle says tomatoe!!!

I have been reading blogs from bloggers who are out in their yards and gardens preparing for this years crops of flowers or veggies. Well to you bloggers I say....#@&%! and the lawn tractor you rode in on.

This winter has really been...to say the least...stressful. We have had an abundance of snow and when it is not snowing, it's grey and windy. So when I read a blog from a blogger in a warmer climate (which is anywhere but here) and they have proclaimed that winter is over and summer should be starting in two weeks....well it's depressing.

First of all lets clear one thing up. Winter is not the 1 week of the year when you had to turn on your electric heat. Winter is when you turn your furnace on in October and it doesn't quit spinning until May at which time you turn on the air conditioner to remove the excess humidity from the air. That is winter.

Winter is not counted in weeks. Winter is counted in months or 1/2 years if you live in the extreme north.

Winter is not designated so just because you had to wear a coat. Winter is when you wear a t-shirt, sweatshirt, hoodie, topped with a triple down coat and you still complain that you are cold.

Winter is when you get hoodie hair instead of hat hair.

Winter is when every pocket in every coat, sweater, and pair of jeans you own are filled with wadded up Kleenex. Yes, Kleenex...here in the north we don't say tissue. OR...TP..sometimes it's easier to carry a roll than a box. No really. I'm woman enough to admit it.

Winter is when you reach into your pocket for change (coins) and when you open your hand you find, a wadded up Kleenex or TP, a Hall's cough drop, pocket lint (from when you washed your jeans with a wadded up Kleenex in the pocket), and 4 pennies (economy is bad).

Winter is the time from when your nose start dripping in October (allergies from moldy leaves) until it finally stops dripping in April. Summer starts when your nose starts dripping in June because of allergies and stops when your nose stops dripping in September when the flowers die back. Only to start dripping a week later when winter starts again.

If you have proclaimed your 'winter is over', all I have to say about that is.....we here in the north probably would have wore shorts and flip flops through your entire winter. Winter indeed!!! Pshaw!

Those of us in the north wear our winters like a badge of courage.

"I remember when the snow was so high you couldn't read the stop signs."

"I remember when it was 20 below and you had to get up out of bed and start your car in the middle of the night, to make sure it would start in the morning."

"I remember when it was so cold Fido wouldn't go outside to pee and just held it until spring."

"I remember when my mother would bundle (yes bundle) us up and send us outside to play. But we couldn't move so we just stood there."

"I remember when we had to rake the roof because the snow was so deep."

"I remember when it was so cold my eyeballs froze." No...really sometimes you can hardly blink it is so cold.

I know what you are saying..."What the heck does this have to do with a tomato and Dan Quayle?"......I'm getting there...don't rush me, I'm on a rant.

So that brings me back to tomato, tomatos, tomatoes, whatever. One of the places or events I would like to attend one day is the Tomato Fest in Carmel, CA. You know the place where Dirty Harry was mayor at one time. I'd like to taste some of the more obscure heirloom types tomatos.

So anyways I was at the Tomato Fest website and found this poster.

I thought it was a hoot. I may have to order it for my kitchen. "Let me see, I know I have 4 pennies here.......somewhere.

Gene wrote...I remember when it was so cold, they canceled school (our school district was always the last to close for snow so we didn't have too many 'snow days', but I do remember the 'cold day' or two.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Foyer light after sandblasting

I spent about an 45 minutes sandblasting the soon to be foyer light.

Here's the before photo. Notice all the rust and peeling black paint.Here is a after sandblasting photo of the light fixture. Notice that all the paint is gone. There is still a small amount of rust left. So far I haven't noticed any broken welds or cracks.

I think one more sandblasting session and the light fixture should be ready for priming. I will hold off on the final coat of black satin paint until I locate a ceiling canopy for this fixture.

Hope everyone enjoyed the lunar ecilpse tonight. If you missed it, here are a few very poor quality photos I took during the eclipse. The sky was clear but it was about 11 degrees......brrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Foyer light

One of the first pieces of 'real' artwork I purchased was a watercolor. My friend purchased this watercolor at an auction (early 1990's) in it's original frame. Both her and her husband hated the watercolor but loved the frame. The frame was OK but I fell in love with the watercolor. We split the cost and for $35.00 I had a wonderful piece of artwork. That painting is the inspiration for my foyer. I'm sorry the photo does not show the full painting. There was a glare on the glass and this was the only angle that didn't produce a glare. But back to the inspiration. Notice the hanging light??? It appears to be iron, probably wrought not cast. The glass appears to be colored probably slag. On eBay I came across a metal lantern similiar to the above light for less than $20.00. I could see by the photos that it had some rust but that's OK I like to use the sandblaster.The light came with clear bumpy glass. That glass will be replaced with the same slag glass (swirled pale lavender,cream, medium purple) that matches the other hanging light fixtures in my home. I am in the process of sandblasting the light and it's taking longer than expected. I'll post a photo when it has been derustified.

So now I am in search of a cast ceiling cap/canopy to use with this light fixture. If anyone know of a cast brass, aluminum, or iron ceiling cap/canopy let me know. I seem to only come across pressed metal cap/canopys and I believe that would not look quite right.

Before anymore asks.....the frame was a copper gilt Arts and Craft frame, more than likely from the 30's. I wish I had the frame, but not for this painting. It was just a cool frame.

My taste in art is pretty board. But the vast majority of my pieces are from the 30's and 40's and are in the impressionism and expressionism styles. I have one large pastel that will hang over the fireplace in the living room. It is not signed nor dated. But due to the large size I have to believe the frame is original. My plan is to have the frame restored. Hopefully at that time they (who ever I have restore it) can determine age, maker, or both. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's a cool maker like Newcomb-Macklin. The frame looks to be in better condition in the photo than in real life. The corners are coming apart and need some gesso/plaster work.

Please do not pay any attention to the cobwebs/dust. We are currently using the living room for storage.

This is my mother's favorite. Just kidding. She says...."it's gross!" Who knew she was an art critic.

Well racing season is upon us. Congrats to Tony Stewart on his 3rd place finish in the Daytona 500 and his win in the Nationwide series. On a side note. I didn't like the long hair at first but it's growing on me. Get it??? Growing? Oh nevermind. Gooooooooo Smoke!!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008


It's official, I'm sick of winter. I've had enough of shoveling, driving in horrendous conditions, and the constant bone chilling wind.

It's not fit for man nor beast...I mean peacock.

This is how Weenie and Mr. Peacock spend their afternoons. Weenie chilling in her bed, complete with leopard print blanket and Mr. Peacock....just chilling. Sometimes they will be nose to nose...I mean nose to beak. If you ask either one of my cats, "Where's Mr. Peacock?" They will look out onto the deck and then look at you with that look that says, "he's out there in the cold....stupid bird."

Beenie on the other hand can't be bothered with such things as a big stupid bluish purple bird. She's too busy napping on her blanket. She's prefers the 1930's chair complete with faux sage mohair.

Beenie says, "I'm not moving until someone finds my other colored contact lens. Until then I will keep my eyes closed." Beenie was a feral cat that my husband brought home. The vet advised him to have her put down because "she won't ever be any good." She's a sweet kitty.

All I know is Beenie, Weenie, Mr. Peacock, and I are all ready for spring.

* I should clarify why Mr. Peacock is out in the cold. Peacocks will not go into a building. They prefer to shelter themselves from the wind but in a place where they can get away from a predator. Our biggest concern is foxes. Mr. Peacock roosts high up in the trees during the summer. In the fall, winter, and spring he usually sits under the overhang by the kitchen window or under the deck by the windows of the lower level. We leave the light on (like Motel 6) to hopefully keep the predators away. His estimated age is at least 10 yrs probably closer to 14 according to people who know pea fowl. They estimate age by the length of their tail feathers. He appeared about 5 years ago and he's been happily making his rounds everyday since then.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A heartfelt but sleepy birthday

Well here it is...another Valentine's Day.....and another birthday.

I was so tired today, that when I woke up (working 12 hrs+long drive=lack of ZZZ's) I could barely focus on my present from R. He knows what I like and this year was no exception. I am now the proud owner of another piece of Roseville. This is a new color for me. It's slightly grey but yet slightly lavender. It will look great when the kitchen is finished and I have shelves to display all my Roseville, Hull, and Weller pottery.

On Sunday, my son and daughter in law gifted me early. Seems they read my blog and remembered that I said I really wanted another palm sander. Well lo and behold, I am not the proud owner of dual palm sanders. Stand back the saw dust will be flying.
How lucky can a girl get? Tools and American art pottery all in one day. Well she can get luckier. At work today, a co worker's wife baked me a cheese cake filled with cherries and topped with chocolate and more cherries. Ummmmm good. Thank you Pam and Bill.
I feel a nap coming on.....LOL. What a day. Inbetween all the good stuff, I had to renew my driver's license and plates. When I arrived at the Sec of State's office there was only 1 car in the parking lot. Yippee. Not so fast. When I reached in my glove box to retrieve my proof of insurance, the only ones I could find were expired. So I then drove halfway across the county to the insurance agent and had them print a new current proof of insurance. I then drove back to the Sec of State's office and wouldn't you know it....they were busy. So I took a number and sat down. They called my number and when I was ready to take the eye exam I realized I didn't have my glasses with me. I had purposely made a list of all the items I would need today to facilitate all my errands. On the list was "don't forget eyeglasses". I left the note on the kitchen counter. Obiviously I should have put "don't forget list" on the list. Luckily she let me retrieve the eyeglasses from the car and finish the exam without going to the end of the line.

Too many things to do and not enough time. I guess I can sleep when I dead.

Thank you to all my family and friends for the cards and gifts. Now I need to take a quick power nap.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Old books for ideas and inspiration

The last couple of years I have been buying old books for the sole purpose of looking at the photos for decorating ideas.

My home was built in 1937 and though it is a Cape Cod style home there really isn't a distinct Cape Cod style of interior decorating. Nor are there a lot of examples to look at. The 1930's included the Great Depression. A time in which decorating your home was not the most important item on your agenda. You rarely run across a home built in the 1930's. Gear Acres was built in the time frame after the depression and pre World War II, which was another time in which Americans were vastly preoccupied with things other than decorating.

At the book stores I see numerous books on Victorian, Mission, bungalow, Arts and Crafts, and now even mid century styles. Authors have completely bypassed the 1930's. So I have resorted to old books published in the 1930's and 1940's for design guidance.

Gardening books from that era offer many photos of home exteriors and landscaping. Several of the interior design books from the 30's and 40's explain why we are now stripping paint off of our wood trim and reinstalling removed design elements. It's both horrifying and amusing to read their thoughts about why removing that built in buffet and extensive oppressive wood trim is the right design choice.

This week the postman delivered these books.
Starting on the left....How to build a house for under $3,500. I purchased that book to glean structural information. Hoping to gain a little insight into how and why they built the way they did. The book in the middle...Injurious Insects....has great photos of insects common in the garden plus a 'way cool' cover. In an attempt to stay away from chemicals in the garden, I'll read and see what they used in 1914 to curb their bug infestations. And last but not least a cookbook.....Ruth Wakefields' Toll House Tried and True Recipes. I purchased this book with nothing more than the intent of gaining a good recipe to get my "snack on". I was shocked when I opened the book to find a photo of Toll House. Seems that Toll House is a Cape Cod.......the decorating Gods work in mysterious ways. *For you Pepsi drinkers...save caps and cartons for codes to get free stuff from Pepsi. http://www.pepsistuff.com/