Thursday, August 28, 2014

A month of progress, and lots of visitors

The bathrooms on my side were finished a few days after my last post, and immediately I began to receive visitors: first was my dear brother for two nights. We went to see a New York based chamber orchestra called The Knights at Tanglewood. I had had 3 different members of that group stay with me in Boston while they were guest musicians for A Far Cry, a wonderful young chamber orchestra based in Jamaica Plain. We arrived at Tanglewood in a downpour, ran to Ozawa Hall, and when we came out, we couldn’t remember where we had parked the car!  The next day my brother, who is a triathlete, took a 30 mile bike ride, then we went to pick blueberries at Windy Hill Orchards (delicious!) then that evening we dined at a little restaurant in Stockbridge that I’d been wanting to try: Once Upon a Table, and we pronounced it very good.

Next came Mary and Ruth, two friends of my mother’s, for two nights, then three cousins from Ohio and Connecticut. They were intrigued by the stone wall building and took lots of pictures.  
My cousins Kim and Annie watching Terry and Kyle
We tried the Mexican restaurant in Great Barrington and liked it, but since we had feasted on our own home-made guacamole beforehand I can’t say how theirs is. (My test of a Mexican place is if the guacamole tastes like avocado.) We also went to Hancock Shaker Village and Naumkeag, both of which are wonderful.
My cousin Audrey in front of the
iconic blue steps at Naumkeag

We must share a Subaru gene

The day my cousins left, my daughter arrived with her husband and two kids. My grandson helped me sand the bookshelves I was trying to paint in between guests. 

Once they were all done, I was really happy to unpack the 25 boxes of books that had been waiting in the garage.

 My son-in-law and my grandson and I explored Tyringham a bit.  My grandson had remembered the fairy tale house there (Santarella) so we went to look at it, then took a little hike.  We were all intrigued with a rock formation on the way to Tyringham Cobble.

This weathered piece of marble looks like a rabbit
I had a break of a few days and then my quartet came for an overnight visit and pronounced the acoustics in my living room excellent for playing.  We also went to see Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Shakespeare & Company after a delicious dinner at Perigee, the restaurant just across the street from me.

A lovely young couple from France came via AirBnB to stay for one night, then Sonia, another chamber music friend from Boston, came for a night and a nice hike (without Laika: no dogs allowed) in the Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley Sanctuary in Lenox. When visitors come I rope them into trying out all the restaurants in the area. Unfortunately Sonia came with me to one that was mediocre: Michaels in Stockbridge.

My mother came again and we went to an outstanding performance of Handel’s Teseo in Ozawa Hall (we were going to join some other friends for a picnic at Tanglewood but it was rainy and cool, so we had supper here instead), and the next night we heard Emmanual Ax in the shed.  The next day was the concert of the little orchestra I joined earlier in the summer, the Stockbridge Sinfonia, at the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Whew, I've had a busy month! 

Meanwhile, as I was out gallivanting around with friends and relatives, slow but steady progress was made on the rental unit. Floors sanded and polyurethaned, painting all done but for a few odds and ends, bathrooms tiled, and kitchen cabinets installed.  Next week the countertops will arrive, then the kitchen appliances. Bathrooms should be soon after that.  Mike is working on the HVAC: his initial goal was Labor Day but it’s clear that’s not happening.

But of course the big question on everybody’s mind is how is The Wall coming along.  Terry and Kyle started from either end and worked towards the middle, where there will be steps going up to the upper part of the yard.  While they are working there is an earthen ramp so they can go up and down with their machines to bring down the rocks that they want to work with.

At this point the shorter, right hand portion of the wall is complete and the longer, left hand side is getting very near. 
This is the side they started on

The left hand side of the wall nearing completion
Soon they will need to bring down all the rocks they anticipate using on the steps, because once they start on the steps it will be difficult if not impossible to go up and down with the big equipment.

The left hand side goes behind the barn and turns a corner.  And what a corner they made: a beautiful curve, painstakingly put together. 
Terry making sure the curve is just right

I had been planning to put my compost piles in that space, but the wall is so beautiful that I’m re-thinking that.  I think I’ll put a small table & chairs or maybe a hammock there.  It will be a nice shady space in the middle of the day.

Now I'm beginning to turn my attention to furnishing and decorating the rental unit.