Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Snow House

Whew!!!  We got some last minute Christmas Eve snow today.  Its that beautiful kind that falls softly.  And there's not too much....just enough for the sleigh to make a soft landing on the roof tonight.   
WARNING!  If you cant stand the white stuff, don't look at the following pictures.  They will not make you happy.  


Merry Christmas and thanks for reading!

  jenny rosie

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Bit about our house

Well I've been blogging for a little over a year now and I've just realized that I havent written very much about our house.   Just like a person, it has its own story to tell and secrets to keep.  The tale of how we came to be homeowners is just a small part of its story. 

Once upon a time......in 2005 Bill and I found ourselves in a very unique position nestled between a rock and a hard place.  In an attempt to save money, we were living in a house owned by his grandmother (and had been by her father, grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather before her).....funny thing is, she lived there too.  Grandma told Bill that she wanted him to have her treasured home when she was gone.  She kept her house so nice and we were honored that she would trust us with caring for it.  Somehow....its all a blurr now....we thought it would be a good idea to move in with her while she still lived there.  This arrangement, while looking great on paper, turned out to be a little more difficult than I had planned. 

 Bill was starting up his business and shortly after, I gave birth to our son.  We had just about no money, Bill was working crazy hours, and we were living in two bedrooms upstairs...with a baby.  I think the hardest part for me was that Grandma's house was right on a very busy road in a mixed use area.  I hadn't pictured raising my family in a housed sandwiched in by used car dealerships (rocks) and old motels (hard places).  But here we were and I was trying my darndest to make the best of it.

Our rescue arrived one day in the form of my sister, Peg.  She didnt know it (heck neither did I) but I was going to take her to see this little brick house for sale in the village down the road just because it was cute. 
And I would never have the guts to go alone. 
And just because it had been on the market for over a year. 
And just because it looked lonely. 
And just because why not even though we're not shopping for a house. 

I'd asked around about the house and had heard bad things...like the ceilings on the 2nd floor were only 6 feet high.  Anyone who knew of the house referred to it as Mary Morgan's house.  Aparently, Mary Morgan was the little old widow who lived in the house for many years.  I'm still not sure if she was poor or just really cheap (or both) but she was the last citizen of our village to have electricity run to her house.  She also tore down every out building on the property and lived in one room in the back of the house heated with a coal furnace until the day she died. 

When I heard these stories, I should have run the other way.  Of course, it only made me want to see the house more.  I have a penchant for all things old and sentimental so I instantly felt a connection to this place.  It had a history. 

Peg and I pulled into the driveway of this little house and were deciding whether to run up and take a quick peek into the windows when the neighbor walked up and told us to go right in.

There she is, sis!

"The house is unlocked because the owner really wants to sell it." she said.  "Go right in.  Really, its okay."

So in we went.....My sister and I.....I who had no intention of moving out of grandma's house and hadn't spent one second planning to check this little square house out.
Well, some of  the rumors were true.  There were no old barns or sheds, Mary had lived only in the back part of the house but the guy who currently owned the house was fixing it up and had torn off the old addition and built a new kitchen and bathroom.  Hey that was good, right?  The ceilings upstairs were normal....sort of.

The Master bedroom with its "exposed cupola" complete with boarded up windows and bat access.

There are so many parts to a house from the roof to the cellar but this is what I remember seeing the first time through.  Wide pine floors,  tall windows everywhere,  brick walls that were at least 2 feet thick, two fireplaces and a beautiful back yard for our kids. 

big bright windows in every room!

The owner really wanted to get rid of the house.  He had started to remodel but was selling it "as is".  There were wires sticking out of the walls, Plywood floors in the kitchen and bathrooms, no ceiling in the dining room or kitchen and exposed drywall throughout. 

Kitchen Cabinets crafted by the Amish....a definite plus!

The optimist can look at this and say, "Would you just LOOK at the potential!" 

The optimist's husband, the plumber looks at this and says, "Why the $#@& is the bathroom plumbing on the outside of the dining room walls?

I knew I couldn't tell my practically minded, contractor husband that I had just seen the house of our dreams.  He would step 3 feet into the house and look past the floors and fireplaces and just see all the work.  Well I took a chance and "nonchallantly" mentioned that Peg and I had gone to check out "that little square brick house in town just for giggles."  Somehow he was interested in hearing about it which was the open door that I hadn't even dared hope for. 

We were just saying, "Our first home should have a mailbox with a poor excuse for an American flag painted on the front of it." Perfect!

Two weeks later we were sitting in the realtor's office signing papers to put an offer in on the house.  There were so many obstacles in our way.  We didnt have the money for a mortgage payment,  The owner had already accepted an offer from someone else who was just waiting on the financing from the bank,  the unfinished electric and siding prevented the house from passing inspection.  I really couldnt believe what we'd gotten ourselves into.....

The remnants of the little room Mary Morgan "inhabited"  while she let the rest of the house go to pot.

....but the house was selling for the prettiest little song I ever heard.  Somewhere in all of this, We paid off our car and, poof, we had enough for a montly payment.  The owner permitted us to finish the electric and siding on the back of the house.   It truly just all fell into place.  Sadly, reader, this wasnt even the hard part. 

One reason the house was so cheap was the treacherous staircase.  No mother in her right mind would let her child use these...GAH!
Yes and the vines strangling the electric service accompanied by the bashed in window were a big selling point.  I look at these pictures from 7 years ago and declare my 2006 self certifiable.

The only closet in the entire house was at the top of the stairs...how does one achieve that wall color?  Is it even a color?  I like to call the old rug padding slouched on the floor, "The Twins"

We still had to tell grandma that we werent carry on the family tradition of living in her house anymore.  That part is a blurr too except that Bill came home for lunch and I made us egg salad sandwiches.   Grandma should've known something was up because I never made egg salad. 

She took it like a champ.  I think she was shocked and even disappointed but she loved us and knew what it was to have dreams (I think that she was also kind of glad to get her kitchen back to herself).

We moved in two days before Christmas, 2006.  I bought a little potted tree at the grocery store and declared that was all the present I needed.  We had a house of our own!  Oh how sweet that sounded!

So, here we are at 85 Virginia St, pinching pennies, rewiring, drywalling, painting, planting and making memories along the way.   Just the other day, out of the blue, the pumpkin, sitting in our half-finished kitchen,  looked at me and sighed, " I love our house, mommy." 

In the future, I hope to write more about what we've finished, what we're working on and what we plan to do.  This blog is, after all, named after our house :)

Thanks for reading

 jenny rosie

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Finger Lakes Fridays.......Planting Time

Well, incase you couldn't tell by my previous entries,  I'm mostly in total love with where I live.  In the 12 years I've inhabited these parts, I've endeavored to know every road, back road and unpaved way around.  I've started studying barns and silos, the different colors, shapes and sizes of cows, and what is planted and when.  By now, Bill knows better than to take the same route twice when I passenge (new word) his car.  The more I see, the more inspired I become.

Inspired to what?  Well for right now, inspired to grow more stuff in my own back yard and learn all I can about growing good things. 

The past two weeks I've been out and about with my daughter and a camera knowing that this is a very busy time for farmers. 

Its time to plow

Its time to spread the "Honey"...love, love, love the smell of that by the way.

Its time to plant

....to begin tending

Incidentally, Its also time to shear

I cant help myself.  The simplicity of it all calls to me.  I'll drop the pumpkin off at school in the morning, fully intending to drive the 2 minutes back home and begin the day. Instead, me 'n the sweet pea roam around, north, south, east and west hunting for sheep, horses, secret farm roads and new streams to follow.

The lyrics of the old Rich Mullins song say it well

Be praised for all Your tenderness
By these works of Your hands
Suns that rise and rains that fall to bless
And bring to life Your land
Look down upon this winter wheat
And be glad that You have made
Blue for the sky and the color green
that fill these fields with praise

thanks for reading

  jenny rosie

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Lets Get Outta Dodge!

Hey kids!!!!  Lookey what we have here! 
It's spring break
We've been cooped up all winter
Its the first beautiful day of the season and
Daddy is out of town working all weekend. 

What we have here is the perfect opportunity to GET OUTTA DODGE!

Lets do this on the cheap....yes, fun can be done with none....money that is.

Lets drive far enough away today that the landscape, the houses, the water names are different....lets go to Albany!!!!


Get in the car you two!  I'll lock the front door, jump behind the steering wheel and make some dust on the way out of the driveway! 

I'm gonna hold the steering wheel with one hand and point my camera out the window with the other and hope I catch something. 

Lets make a pit stop in Utica....they've got a really cool train station! {and clean bathrooms}


Here Punk, take the camera and snap a few!

Okay now!  finish up your snacks....One more pic..... 
Cheesiest smiles, now!
ALBANY is calling!

insert soft elevator rumba music while a train roars past outside the station.....



Camera back in hand because here comes the Beach Nu...... 
What the????!!!!

Where in the world did the Beech Nut sign go????!!!!! 

Aw geez!  I've been wanting to show you two that landmark.

What's that you say, Punk?  You wanna see more trains when we get to Albany?

Well sure!  We can do whatever we want today....not in Dodge are we?

What did you just say?  This is only the second CP engine you've ever see in your seven years on this planet?  Well shoot!

Everything looks different here....they have rivers {Mohawk and Hudson} instead of lakes.

On our way, we see that cities and towns are placed carefully at river bends and in valleys.  Every town we see has a big ol' run-down factory at its center surrounded by skinny, steep pitched, worn out houses; each one trying to crowd the others out and be the closest.  The rivers are not for recreation; they are shipping routes used for sustaining these tiny communities....how positively industrial!

There are a few small farms here and there, each with a broken down barn bordered by tiny fields...

I think the word "hardscrabble" is a good word to describe this place.

Well I know you guys are too young to notice this but mommy sure does feel entirely different in this place....I kind of like it. 

Maybe because I feel like I've stepped back in time or because the mountains make me feel a bit lonelier than our own gentle rolling landscape at home.  Albany is definitely old...but she's beautiful!

Well before we head back, lets make one last stop at Washington Park and get our wiggles out...
Toss some stones in the pond while you're at it

Climb that hill, soak up that good sunshine

In fact, soak it all in.  Monday is almost here.  Back to school, back to routine, back to laundry, back to early bedtimes and homework....back to Dodge.

thanks for reading
  jenny rosie


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

This Boy...

Our Pumpkin just turned 7 years old....

He wanted an Angry Birds birthday party

He invited his friends from school.

He was hoping for an airforce jet.  This marks the first time he didnt ask for something train related for a gift.

He got the Chronicles of Narnia instead.

He is extremely disappointed that he is 7 and has not lost any teeth yet.

This boy is our firstborn.  We've experimented on him, lost our patience with him, misunderstood him, let him down, forgiven him countless times, bear hugged him even more. 

He's the one....

....the one who unlocked the door to love in our hearts and the one who changed us from merely a couple to a bona fide family.

For six and a half years, he has generously and unknowingly shared his Halloween candy with us.

He's let us sit in the stands and spectate as he navigates his firsts.  He's fiercely independent and cautious; all at the same time.

He reminds me of a little lightbulb....partly due to the shape of his face but mostly because I can see that he sheds his very own brand of brightness wherever he goes.

Lately, when he's excited, he's been raising both fists in the air and jumping up and down....in Rocky Balboa fashion.  I have to turn my head away to conceal my chuckles.

He is the embodiment of wide-eyed innocence, un checked enthusiasm, and if I had to pick one, I would say that his go-to emotion is anxious.

I love how fuzzy his hair feels under my fingers right after I've buzzed his head with the clippers

I cant believe how often his finger and toe nails need trimming.

I marvel at the thoughts and concepts that come out of his lightbulb shaped head.

The best is when I see him in his own world.  When he's whispering to himself or just sitting under a tree in the back yard and staring up at the sky or when he gets into a book.  I can see that deep down he is content and excited about just being him.


I'm so grateful for that. 

Sometimes, I'm not quite sure what to do with him when he gets too silly, or when he's lost his patience with something.  This boy keeps me on my toes. 

I know the day is coming when he wont let me be in the bathroom when he's "going" or when he'll be spending increasing amounts of time at his friends' houses or when he wont let me kiss him goodbye when I drop him off at school. 

I love ending my day by sitting on the bed in his darkened, quiet room and memorizing the crescent shape of his closed eyes.  In my mind, I revisit the day with him.  I recall the times he astonished me, exasperated me, and made me so proud to be his mommy.  I run my fingers through his cropped head one last time and whisper, "Oh this boy."

thanks for reading....

  jenny rosie