2013 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for our blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2013.

Click here to see the complete report.


Have you moved your subscription yet?

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Just checking back to be sure we don’t lose you. Remember (2 posts ago) I told you that we would be moving to our regular website (www.bedfordlandings.com). I posted today and didn’t want to leave you behind. There is a FOLLOW button to press in the new site to re-enroll.

Here is today’s post.
Karen & Jack

It was a Bonding Experience

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Some of you recall reading on this blog one year ago about our move to Smith Mountain Lake.  Our movers weighed our stuff (that now we fondly refer to as JUNK!).  It weighed 8 tons.  Stashed away in three storage units, there has been little chance to retrieve the file cabinet and several other items that were supposed to have been delivered to the hangar instead. Storage Unit A is our largest and is 30 feet deep.


This week, Jack decided he needs that mantle after all that I blogged about a few weeks ago.  He needs to frame in for it and the propane folks need to install the gas logs. So in 90 degree weather, we went to the storage units last evening.  First we checked Unit “C” since it is climate controlled and a cool place to be on a hot day.  In Unit C is the piano, Jack’s RV10 engine (for the next plane project), art, mirrors, and mattresses. No mantle.  Next stop Unit “B” the overflow unit where  we can see all the way to the back.  No mantle.  So we had to tackle the Unit “A” in the photo above.  We had visited good old Unit “A” in search of Jack’s kilt a few weeks ago and found it in a wardrobe box only 10 feet in.  We took out that same 10 feet of boxes and JUNK and could not see the mantle.

As a kid, I loved to climb trees and as a teen, I loved gymnastics.  Well, I was able to revisit these two skills. I used that barstool (in the photo) to climb on top of the entertainment center then went overhead from desk to sturdy workbench on top in a space of about 18 inches.  The sweat started dripping them streaming off my entire body.  Unit “A”was a hot box; but with flashlight in hand, I was determined to at least locate that mantle.  It was against the back wall (yes, 30 feet deep) and nested in it’s legs was a bookshelf.  In the bookshelf were nested boxes.  But I found it.

Now it was Jack’s turn to help me move off  boxes and bring up the bookshelf so we could get to the mantle. We found a roll of paper towels and mopped sweat!  I pulled and he pushed that bookshelf over the total 30 feet of stuff in the unit. He stayed back to strategize about retrieving the mantle.  I was glad to be the first out to the fresh air and grabbed a gatorade, regrouped, breathed, then went back in.  I passed him the gatorade and together we rescued the mantle!  We loaded it in the truck and brought it back.  I never saw the file cabinet. Hmmm!

Later that evening we were patting each other on the back for being determined and not giving up on that task!  It was a marital bonding experience (as much of this project)!

Today is the day you need to go to the new blog and re-enlist to get blog notices.  I don’t know how to tell you how to do it but I will dual post this episode and tomorrow, I will blog from the new site (CLICK HERE: http://www.bedfordlandings.com/blog/ )

Tomorrow you get to hear all about our new steps to the second floor!

It’s Like Dominoes


It’s Like Dominoes.

It’s Like Dominoes


Building a house is like playing a game of dominoes.  Everything has to fall in place in order.  Here are a few examples:

The roofers can not start until the stonemasons have completed laying the stone for the chimney on the roof level.  Thus, the roofing material has been delivered and is sitting in the yard ready to go.   The stonemason completed the outside of the chimney yesterday (6-5-2013) so now the roofing can start.  Only it’s raining today (thanks Hurricane Andrea!) and nobody wants to slide around on a wet roof!

Note chimney of stacked stone.  Stone will be carried down that entire wall.

Note chimney of stacked stone. Stone will be carried down that entire wall.

The stonemasons could come inside to start working on the fireplace on this rainy day if only the fireplace insert had been delivered and installed.  But alas, the fireplace insert is coming tomorrow. Here is my silly sister in the fireplace like Santa (who’s house, I might add is across the lake and ready to move in, but she still lives in Florida! see her blog )

Santa Sherry

Santa Sherry

The gas log fireplaces for two of the upstairs bedrooms could be installed if only they weren’t so heavy to carry up the ladder.  The steps will be installed next week so they left them downstairs!  This photo shows the site where the steps will be installed and the ladder we climb many times a day in the foreground.


The lovely timber mantle will be installed once the fireplace insert is installed and before the stoners* begin.


When building, you have to install the tubs and showers before you build the walls or they won’t fit in the door.  We got that order right and have the tubs and showers on site now.  Jack and I have built the bathroom walls in the twin rooms upstairs (the Forest Room and the Fishing Rooms).  Here is a picture of the Forest room and me using the nailgun.

Note tub-shower INSIDE framed bathroom

Note tub-shower INSIDE framed bathroom

Really concentrating!  Looks like I better start using botox on those wrinkles!

Really concentrating! Looks like I better start using botox on those wrinkles!

We have also built the wall for the Fourth Room bathroom and are working on the Flying room bathroom.  This picture shows the Fourth Room bathroom with the jetted corner tub that is on the backside of the common area upstairs.

Jetted tub ready in 4th Room

Jetted tub ready in 4th Room

And although they aren’t dominoes, you can see my new dice that I made to go in the 4th Room.  The 4th Room will be the largest and will be referred to also as the Honeymoon Suite.  The décor will be White on White with pops of color. So anything white like these will reside in the Fourth Room!

Dice by Karen!

Dice by Karen!

So here is a composite of what we are looking at from the hangar porch.


This weekend, we are singing two concerts with the Lakeside Singers.
(see: http://www.smithmountainartscouncil.com/ls-home.html )

One concert is Friday night at 7:00 and one is Saturday afternoon.  We have wonderful friends and family to come to the concert and spend Saturday night with us!  Let us know if you can come as well!

Sunday morning, Jack will be donning his kilt and playing “Highland Cathedral” on the bagpipes at church.  This will be a first for this small church but we are excited to share his talents with the congregation.  Of course the residents of Franklin County will be able to hear them too!

Lastly, The new webpage is almost complete and ready to launch at www.bedfordlandings.com.  The BLOG will be part of the webpage and be moving slightly so you may need to re-enroll to get the blog e-mails.  I will post once more to this site to tell you to move over to the new website blog.  Thanks for caring enough to follow along as we build our dream!

Karen & Jack


* I called them “stoners” once or twice and realize that doesn’t sound so flattering. I want to be correct and refer to these skilled crafts people as the stonemasons they are!

Can you hear them?


I often hear music in my head.  Tunes stick with me.  Jack and I are singing with the Lakeside Singers (concert is June 7 & 8 if you want tickets!) and we rehearse on Tuesdays.  This year we are singing a great variety of  music including show tunes, Beach Boys, Abba, patriotic and more.  After rehearsal, I may have West Side Story (“I want to live in America”) or Wizard of Oz (“Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”) in my head.  On Sundays after church, I get the anthems that the choir has sung stuck in my head.  Bill Weisser calls these “ear wigs.”  Well as we have been working on the house, I have movie “ear wigs” too.  OK, so I am a bit (well maybe more than a bit) OCD, but now that the chorus of the 17 year cicadas is growing louder, I hear myself saying a line from “Silence of the Lambs” Remember that scene? In this clip, Lectern touchs on an unpleasant memory for Clarice, then later haunts her with the phrase “Can you hear them Clarice?” 

Anyway, The singing cicadas make me think, “Can you hear them?” We are finding their little bodies laying around.  I haven’t tried to fry them yet but I understand they are a delicacy in some countries.

17 year cicadas have been underground for 17 years until now!

17 year cicadas have been underground for 17 years until now!

It was so wet this week and still raining today.  Muck boots are all that will do when it’s like that.  The mud is like quick sand!


And we have to stabilize the ladder with contraptions like this. Don’t try this at home!

Balancing uneven ground to stabilize the ladder
Balancing uneven ground to stabilize the ladder

 Despite the mud, yesterday and the day before, I was on ambulance duty in case Jack had a chain saw accident as he reduced the height of the desk posts to accommodate the deck joists.  But it reminded me of the scene in Christmas Vacation where Clark Griswald saws off the newel post.  As each post top falls, I hear in my head, “fixed the newel post!”

Each time Jack dons his protective gear and takes the chain saw up the ladder, the portion that is sawed off, spins and falls just like in the movie!  Sorta funny but highly dangerous!  Again, don’t try this at home!  We were lucky. No injuries and all the posts are cut!

Note the rope tied to this post going up the center of the picture. A skilled photographer with a rope in one hand and a camera in the other took this!

Note the rope tied to this post going up the center of the picture. A skilled photographer with a rope in one hand and a camera in the other took this!

ok- so I have a perverted sense of mindfulness and entertain myself in my head.  Don’t you?

As well, this week, we are signing contracts on all of those estimates I have been getting.  We contracted with New Design Stone (Sandy Shelton) for the chimney and enlisted Elegant Designs by Sheryl for the kitchen.  Tomorrow I am visiting Prosource in Roanoke to relook at the flooring I thought I wanted 8 months ago and today I am hoping to visit with the propane people and sign a contact with them for running gas for fireplaces in the rooms.  I had to look high and low through my old photo albums to find a picture of the mantle I had refinished several years ago.  It is in storage and now Jack needs a measurement to frame the wall for it.  I finally found its before and after on Facebook!


I found this old mantle for $50 and refinished it.

Here is the AFTER photo.  It will be used in the room called the Fourth room which is white decor.

Here is the AFTER photo. It will be used in the room called the Fourth room which is white decor.

This weekend, we are headed to the Indianapolis 500.  We will meet Jack’s two brothers there.  His younger brother, George writes a popular blog with all of the facts you would ever want to know about the race.   Maybe when we get home, it will stop raining and I will have the earwig “Back home in Indiana”  (sung by Jim Nabors) in my head!

Indoors-Outdoors/ Birds and Mamas


Mainly this week, we have been busy getting 3 estimates for each big job coming up: roofing, siding, and stonework.  Also, Jack has erected a mess out back that he says someday will be a deck.

Decking framework

Decking framework


And he is ready to cut holes through our beautiful guest room ceilings to put in vent pipes.





The Heating and Air Conditioning crew from Cundiff has been in running HVAC on all floors.

HVAC hvac2

Shawn came again this week to help finish framing in the Master Suite and we got garage doors.


I started staining the front door and I like it although this photo doesn’t do it justice.  It will all some together soon.

front door

I am not a big bird fan and we have had several birds try to nest!  We gotta get those windows! (see last week’s blog re: The Window Debacle)

Bird droppings in photo. Ick!  We had baby Carolina wrens and now we have red head barn swallows.

Bird droppings in photo. Ick! We had baby Carolina wrens and now we have red head barn swallows.

This weekend is Mother’s Day.  Friday, I got a bit of nostalgia about my Mom on Facebook and thought I would just share it here too.  Many of you know Mom is in assisted living in Roanoke, VA.  She’s a trooper but in remembering Mom’s Day, I just had these thoughts.

Even though she doesn’t know my name
I can see it in her eyes that she loves me.

For many years, I had to think up special gifts to show my love. But now gifts mean little. She even has difficulty even figuring out how to open a package.

She is still alive and for that I am thankful. She doesn’t know it’s Mothers Day. She doesn’t know that March 22 was had 83rd birthday or that March 7th was my birthday. She doesn’t know that she has grand children and great grand children who are making an effort to reach out to her this Mother’s Day.

She can’t tell you who the President of the United States is or the name of her daddy. But she still can show emotions; she has a twinkle in her eye and a dance in her step. She calls me ( and about anyone else) “baby.”

She taught me to be proactive and organized. She taught me to complete tasks and be honest. Not all aspects were positive. She held grudges, she angered easily, and she had some biases. But it is even through those examples that I learned how to form my own values.

One thing I do know is she would fight tooth and nail for the rights of her children and work really hard to sustain important relationships. I miss my mom and who she was. I honor her for facing Alzheimer’s with honor and dignity and only hope that someday I can look in the face of Cancer like my Dad did… with strength; or look into the face of Alzheimer’s with the ability to continue to step one foot in front of the other and still smile and call strangers “baby.”

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms. xoxox

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