Monday, July 6, 2015

Big Valley Vista - in the rain

It isn't often that Scott and I get a Saturday off together and even more unusual for us to get an entire weekend to go hit the highways and byways. The last two weekends the stars aligned for us, we headed north... romped in the woods a bit... and then spent time with my parents before heading home.  It really makes for a good weekend for all of us. Forest time + family time = fun time... every time.

This past weekend we added our new vehicle to the mix... it was the maiden voyage for the dogs in the XTerra... I kept it dog hair free for less than two weeks but one of the reasons we chose it was because there was room for the dogs....

Big Valley Vista was our target for the July 4 trek. When we woke up to rain and fog, no one in the house was disappointed. In fact...  I was hopeful it meant very few people on the trail. The short loop we planned is easily accessible from Route322 and there is certainly a more direct route than the one we took but the joy is in the journey for us...

Leaving home, we headed up 74 and stopped at Waggoner's Gap Hawk Watch at the top of Blue Mountain. This is a 20 acre piece of land owned by the Audubon Society. We'll have to return another day when there is less fog. Based on the beer cans, hawk watching isn't the only activity that takes place at the tower.

We followed 74 to 75 then 333 to 322. The traffic was minimal. The rain started and stopped several times. The dogs slept most of the way.

A red truck was running in the roadside rest when we pulled in to access the trail head. We put on our rain gear and unloaded the dogs. All of a sudden, the gentleman in the truck got out and said he wanted to meet our dogs. Clara and Otter were both polite. We made small talk with the guy. Turns out he was from Lititz and was headed to Potter County to mow the yard at his cabin. He and his wife had been up the week before and it rained the entire weekend and they were disppointed and said they should have just stayed home. Hmmm... Scott and I talked about this a little later... I cannot imagine being disappointed about being rained in at my cabin in Potter County. To us that sounds just about like heaven. But anyhow...

We hit the trail and were not surprised to see that quite a bit of the trail was covered with five or six inches of water where originally no water crossing existed. We quickly came across the former turnpike ...

By the time we crossed this old turnpike streambed, it was evident that the waterproofing in my right boot had failed. 

The nature trail from the roadside rest joined the Mid State Trail about 100 yards from this photo. The MST never fails to challenge me. This ascent was particularly difficult because the rocks were very slippery. Somehow we managed to unknowingly choose the best route for this loop hike. Coming down those rocks would have been even more difficult. 

The view at the Big Valley Vista was not impressive, but the forest was so beautiful that the effort was well worth it. It smelled fabulous and everything green nearly glowed. The raindrops on the evergreens looked like tiny diamonds. 

We remembered to take our gorillapod and the rain slowed enough to take this photo ..  well -- we took two photos but the other one was not fit to share with the public...  that's another story completely. You have to look real hard to see Otter. 

This rock pile was just beyond the vista. We tried to make sense of what it might have been but came up with nothing. 

We signed the trail log. I need to come up with a quote to use with my trail log sign ins. On this hike I used a portion of one of my favorite Muir quotes, "The mountains are calling..." 

There were not many rocks on the descent to the car. We saw one of these little guys. (This is not my picture, but one I saved from an internet search.) The one we found promptly crawled underneath my boot and stayed there until I carefully lifted my foot and walked away. We were worried the dogs would step on it so we didn't stick around to take a photo. 

Red eft - terrestrial stage of the red-spotted newt

Our next find was this mushroom...  it really looked like a boob so I had to take a picture of it. 

The final 100 yards to the car was across this meadow. The crown vetch was rampant and I'm sure on a sunnier day it will be filled with pollinators. 

We left the roadside rest and made a spur of the moment decision to drive on Sand Mountain Road and head toward Bald Eagle State Forest. 

The rain continued to fall and traffic was unpleasant on the state forest roads. Even with all the rain, many people were in a hurry to get somewhere. We pulled over several times to let others pass us so we could enjoy the journey.

It wasn't long until the roads turned to this...  just packed dirt and a little gravel. We saw fewer people on these roads and it was a great chance to try out the 4WD. 

We stopped at Poe Valley State Park for some maps and the ranger there was awesome. She gave me some more maps and we talked a little about camping in state forests and the local state park campgrounds in the area. We headed to Poe Paddy State Park and hoped to see the vistas from Poe Paddy Drive but access to Poe Paddy Drive from the bottom was blocked. It was evident that the road was more like a steady stream flowing down to Penns Creek. We turned around and regrouped...  

Fortunately the state forest roads were very well marked and the maps are excellent. We wandered some back roads for a little while before getting on Route 45 and heading east. 

It was another great day to wander and then wonder where we will head on our next adventure. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

So close to being complete.....

While this isn't the greatest picture, I like how it shows the embroidery on the curtains. We will have the same curtains on the closet doors. For now, we are waiting for a call from Boscov's because they only had one of the 84 inch panels. 

The sheer curtains were a bit too sheer for the closet door. I had hoped that two sets of sheers back-to-back would do the job, but alas... you could still see through them. So I headed out to find inexpensive twin size flat sheets. I tried Boscov's because I had to return the other set of sheers. Then I tried Target and Kohl's and none of them had simple, inexpensive white flat twin sheets. As much as I dreaded it, I had to go to Walmart and it was a terrible, terrible experience, but that is another blog completely.

Once I got the sheets home, it involved a total of six runs through the sewing machine and I have the perfect linings for the closet sheers. We used old clothesline props and hardware we already had in the basement for curtain rods. I wanted to mount the curtains inside the closet because I really like this wood work. 

No longer see through... just have to wait on that other panel from Boscov's to finish this door.

Time to put the bed together! Scott did an great job cleaning up the box springs.

 We covered them with a piece of scrap carpet and then put the dust ruffle over that before putting the mattress on the bed. 

Putting the linens on was a challenge with the bed against the wall like this so if we used this room regularly, the bed would have to be positioned differently for sure.

Quilts from people we love! I would like to get some white sheets and pillowcases for the bed but what we have works for now. It is a 3/4 size bed so I'll have to order the sheets online. I would also like some decorative pillows, perhaps I can do a little embroidery to tie in with the curtains.

Clara and Otter definitely enjoyed the room without the furniture. There was just so much room for activities! 

We have a few more details to complete but the room is definitely available for visitors now! You can step into the room and forget what year you are in. That was Scott's goal and we have accomplished it! I'll post more pictures of the absolute final project as soon as we tie up the loose ends. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Down to the details now!

The first part of today's guest room re-do is about a delightful surprise in my mailbox! Yesterday I received this beautiful dresser scarf from my Aunt Shirl. She found it in a vintage shop! Thank you! Having special pieces like this in a guest room helps fill the room with love!

This past week I also had a minor setback. The spots on the iron bed that were sanded down to the metal rusted. So... there will be more sanding today, then some priming and hopefully a successful end to the antique bed painting process. (The bed springs also need the rust tended to. That could be a time consuming project today.)

Last night for our date Scott and I went to the fabric store (after delicious wings at Arooga's) to look for curtain fabric for the closet and the window in the room. This provided yet another surprise! We really couldn't find a fabric that we felt was perfect. The fabric we did agree on -- didn't have enough on the bolt to complete the curtains. The cost of the fabric we liked the most made the project out of our reach. To add insult to injury, I was so excited about the closet space that I forgot to measure the window... arrgghhhh....

With Boscov's on the route home, we stopped in to see what they had for curtains. In the past I have been pleasantly surprised by their selection. Alas!  We found the perfect curtains! We came home to measure the window and ... we have a winner! I will be heading back in there this morning to make the purchase.

Scott removed the tape from the heating and woodwork and we rolled out the carpet to cut the carpet pad.

After the pad and rug were in place, there was time for one last round of wrestling.


Time to hang some clothes on the line, eat some homemade whole wheat banana nut pancakes and get busy!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Almost ready to paint the floor

We unrolled the rug in the room to be sure it would fit. Clara and Otter seemed to like it. In fact, we found them in there whenever the door was left open. We found this rug on It was made in the U.S.A., and shipped from a company called Colonial Mills, Inc., Of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. 

After we were certain the rug would fit, we rolled it up and removed it and finished painting the walls and trim. 

The lack of carpet didn't seem to deter the dynamic duo. As long as we are in this room, that is where they want to be. 

The foot of the bed, before and after the first coat of paint. I had to paint in the basement and it is humid down there so it will be at least another day until I can put a second coat of paint on it. It was kind of sad to be painting over that bright, sunny yellow. That is the color Kate chose whens he had this bed in her room in elementary school. (She had the walls painted dark blue and there were suns and moons painted throughout the room.)

The head of the bed. I think it might take up to three coats of paint to get the coverage I am looking for on the bed. I am a little concerned about how rusty the casters are. They might have to be replaced.

Most of the tape has been removed. Unfortunately the angle of the sun makes taking pictures difficult at this time of day. I am still seeking peace about the blueness of the walls, but the fact is ... it is finished and I am ready to get this room put back together so we can get the rest of the house back to normal. 

This wall was just finished this morning so the trim tape will need to stay up until tomorrow. 

We will replace the electrical components today and the lights will go up. I am excited about seeing the lights installed with the painting finished. 

Maybe we will have a finished product in the next three or four weeks. I still need to clean up the box springs for the bed. They are very rusty. I also want to get some wooden slats for the bed frame for added support. The weather looks better for painting beginning next week with much lower humidity and temperatures. After the floor is finished we will decide if we need to seal it. 

The final piece of the project will be the curtains for the closet door and the window. With all the colors in there now, I am leaning toward white curtains and perhaps I can embroider some small blue flowers on brown vines/branches to tie it all together with the other colors in the room.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Holding my breath...

Scott started painting the walls today. They are blue... very light blue... I am not getting good vibes from it...

My thoughts are that there will be too much blue in there....

Scott said if we turn the quilt over to the printed side, it won't be too much blue.

If we turn the quilt over to the printed side, I think the rug will look ridiculous.

Not really feeling the excitement for the end result all of a sudden....

I should have stood my ground on either the wall color or the rug...  giving up both of them is changing the look I wanted to achieve completely.

Using a different quilt (a plain white one) on the bed as the primary bedspread might be an option, with the blue quilt as an accessory.

There is hope.

I am upset that I am being selfish about this project. I need to let it go. It is just a bedroom.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Remodel update...

The tedious prep work is nearly finished. Scott did an amazing job stripping the window frame woodwork. I almost hate to cover it with paint but the rest of the trim in the room isn't nearly as beautiful and it would look bizarre with everything painted but that window.

Today we will finish washing down the ceiling, walls and floor.

We could certainly be painting before the day is over.

The rug arrived yesterday so we can start considering colors for the floor paint.

I'll soon have pictures to post.

In the meantime, I am searching for vintage dresser scarves and maybe even some pretty embroidered pillows. We haven't found a suitable "nightstand" for beside the bed yet. I am still leaning toward an industrial stool or an old small ladder. We hope to get to Refindings again soon. We are also looking for interior shutters for the window, although I am not going to hold off on finishing the room if I don't find them. I can make curtains instead.

Stay tuned!