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Posts Tagged ‘Sunset’

Diary #528

It appears I’m not the only one who wants to protect her skin from the sun; as I was taking a short break in the shade, Chekhov snapped this picture with Jonathan, Shiloh and Orville all clustered behind me.  (I think the dogs were under the deck, which is now a considerable area).  It’s not that it ever gets all that warm here; we’re fairly close to the Pacific Ocean, so the climate is quite moderate.  But standing out in the sun is still a lot less comfortable than a nice shady spot.  In case you’re wondering, that’s the door to the wellhouse behind me; Grace asked me to take it off Saturday so she could move around more freely in there while connecting the new main power cable and the subsidiary lines to the breaker box, and if it starts to get cold before we have the bathhouse sealed up, we can always put it back.  This is the section of fence that was temporarily rerouted (yes, I know it’s slacky; it’s only for a few weeks) to keep the animals from getting too close to the construction site; they aren’t bothered by the sound of power tools, but they’re often curious about what we’re doing and I don’t want anything falling on them, especially once we start on the roof of the second cottage.  We should be starting that cottage week after next; on Thursday I need to return to Seattle for about a week, then when I return I’ll put the cottage foundation together to get ready for the main construction.  Chekhov’s going to finish the last section of the new French drain while I’m gone, and Grace is already working on the designs for the roof; with any luck we’ll have it done before the rainy season starts again in October.  And then we can find some better use for that shabby old door.

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Bathhouse 11

With the last of the posts in the ground (as of last weekend), we’ve finally got the entire footprint of the annex laid out!  This picture was taken from my office window upstairs; the slight fuzziness is because the window has a screen.  Toward the bottom of the picture are the posts you saw in last week’s picture, which was taken from the ground facing toward the house; at the top of that picture the window this was taken from is visible.  The reason the posts at the back of the structure are so much taller is that the ground drops as one moves toward the trees, and the half-posts we were using before aren’t tall enough to reach the proper deck height once they’re planted in the ground, so we need to use the full 8′ posts (they’ll be cut to the proper height this weekend, so you’ll see that in a forthcoming column).  If you click on the picture and enlarge it, you can also see the paddock gate in its new location (compare to this picture from two weeks ago).  When I took this picture late Sunday afternoon, we still hadn’t finished the new French drain, but we did it this week (its course runs directly up the single row that’s clearly visible here).  We also ran the main electrical cable to the breaker box in the existing wellhouse structure (it’ll be rebuilt later) and started on the deck surrounding the hot tub; I’ll show you some of that next time.

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Diary #527

Are you familiar with the Ameraucana breed of chicken? It’s an ornamental variety, bred because it produces blue- or green-shelled eggs.  When I was buying chicks a few months ago, Jae wanted one, and she finally started laying last week (a month behind the layers, but that’s not surprising because that’s what they’re bred for).  It’s so nice to have fresh eggs again; we’re up to about a half-dozen a day, enough to have all we want and still give plenty away.  And until they reach full maturity, there’s all kind of crazy variation in size, shape and even contents (we’re getting several double-yolked ones a week, and they’re always obvious because they’re much larger than other eggs).  A few green apples are starting to fall off the trees, too, and Orville seems to like them; I’ll wait until they’re ripe to eat any myself, thanks.  And I think I’m going to get a cider press this year, too.  Right now I’m really busy with building the extension, but that should (knock wood) be mostly done by the end of the year, and then I can settle down into a mostly sedate rural life, running into town for appointments with regulars and continuing my writing and activism from here.  It’s not really a lot to ask for the latter days of a very tempestuous life; I only hope the gods, the Fates and the world agree to let me have it.

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Bathhouse 10

What a difference a few days can make!  I returned to Sunset last Friday, and within an hour was removing the braces from the posts.  Chekhov was already working on temporarily rerouting the paddock fence to keep the animals away from the construction site; I helped him move the gate, then on Monday we extended the fence east of the buildings so as to create more grazing area.  On Saturday I put down plastic and spread gravel over the phase 2 area just as I did with phase 1 at the beginning of June; the reason for that bare path to your right is that it’s where the new French drain will go.  Later Saturday afternoon Grace directed Chekhov and me in marking all the posts at cutoff height, then we cut them all level.  Even one of the old square posts holding up the back porch awning was cut down to size after we installed a steel support Grace fabricated to do the post’s job until the awning comes down.  On Sunday we measured out the locations for the phase 3 posts and dug ten of the post holes; we also built a handrail for the ramp and planned the construction of the deck around the tub itself.  This weekend, we’ll put in all the remaining posts; I want the concrete to have time to fully cure before we start the second guest cottage, which we currently plan for August 23rd.  And Grace wants the joists for this section of deck built before she puts in the main cable, so that’ll be in the next few days as well.  And I’ll show you as much of it next week as I can get into the shot!

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I’m starting to run back and forth to Seattle more often again.  Back in April and May I spent most of my time at Sunset, and I still do; however, instead of staying there for weeks on end, I’m usually returning to Seattle after about 4 to 10 days, accomplishing whatever it was I needed to do (clients, beauty appointments, etc), and then heading back to Sunset after perhaps three days in town.  When I returned to my apartment a week ago today, my blue girl surprised me by having burst into flower during the week I was gone; I also found a DVD waiting for me, sent by a kind reader for my blog anniversary.  That’s how I plan to keep things for a while; since there’s not much reason to be in Seattle most of the time, I’d rather be working on my house than fighting traffic and enduring half a dozen sirens a day.  And because I’m not in Seattle as often, it’s a pleasant little change of pace when I visit.

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Bathhouse 9

Between last week and the week before, we set all the posts for the second phase of the bathhouse project; we also set new posts so we can move the paddock gate, which you can see in this picture, farther away from the house (because the extension will block the current gate location).  Everything else we’ve done in the past couple of weeks wouldn’t really show up in pictures; that list includes leveling the hot tub, building a lower ramp from house level down to ground level in front of the shop building, taking down Jae’s yurt in preparation for moving it to the other side of the bathhouse complex, running the basic wiring in the first cottage, and taking inventory of the second cottage kit. I’d really like to continue installing more deck next, but unfortunately that’s going to have to wait until the concrete around the posts cures more thoroughly so we can remove the temporary braces, cut the posts all to the same height, and put in the joists; we also need to dig a new French drain, put down plastic and gravel in the area you see here, and run the main power cable to the new breaker box (the cable actually arrived Wednesday).  But after all that, there’s going to be deck on top of everything you see here; it’ll be nice to be able to walk across the area without maneuvering around construction and having to worry about falling into holes or tripping over the water line!

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Diary #525

A year or two ago, Jae bought me this rose bush as a thank-you gift for taking her on a bunch of errands; at the time it was a wee thing planted in a demitasse cup.  But I transferred it to this pot, and since then it has lived on the windowsill of my incall.  But as you can see it has grown too large for the pot, and since I’m spending most of my time at Sunset now, I brought it out here when I returned from Seattle early last week.  In a few days I’ll pick a good place for it and transfer it to the ground.  But it’s not the only thing that has moved out here due to my increased presence; on my previous trip back to town I moved the old desktop computer I use for my emails and book publishing, so that I could finish Ask Maggie, Volume I (uploaded to the publishing site yesterday).  I’ve transferred my default mailing address for several things to the farm, and yesterday was also my first appointment with my new doctor; Grace recommended her, and I was pretty tired of being blown off and overcharged by the doctor I was previously seeing at one of those big corporate clinics in Seattle.  So I guess you might say the rose bush isn’t the only thing being transplanted from Seattle out to the coast, and may we both thrive out here.

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Bathhouse 8

In the first few days of the month, we built the deck between the existing house and Chekhov’s cottage; he was in town doing some repairs for his lady friend, so it was just Grace and I (mostly her planning, mostly my work).  Then on the 4th, we built the ramp up from the level of the house floor to the bathhouse deck.  I’ve actually always preferred ramps to stairs, plus Grace has difficulty with stairs and none of us are getting any younger.  It was a lot of fun working directly with her like this again; we built a deck together 17 years ago in Oklahoma, so there was a lot of laughter and teasing while we worked.  In case you’re wondering, Grace wants to leave that rickety old awning in place until we build a proper roof, so the tools can be protected from the rain in the meantime; it looks like crap and is far too low, but doesn’t leak.  Anyway, at the beginning of last week, Chekhov and I set the posts for phase 2, the area between his cottage and the shop building; I’ll show you what that looked like next week!

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Diary #524

On Thursday, the second cottage was delivered; it takes up quite a bit of space on the floor, but I have a really big garage.  This time the pieces were less well-arranged than last time, so it was very difficult to do the inventory.  But we eventually got it all sorted and staged, so it’ll be ready to assemble when we are.  That will probably be sometime in August; we still need to put in the posts that will be under this cottage’s footprint, dig a new French drain, prepare the area with gravel, level the hot tub (which we’re probably doing this week), run the new electrical line (the cable has been shipped but hasn’t yet arrived), move the paddock gate and Jae’s yurt, and build the deck up to the edge of the second cottage.  And I have to run to Seattle at least two or three times in the next month or so.  Now do you see why I’ve been posting the bathhouse construction updates on a two-week delay?  It’s not that things aren’t going according to plan, because we’re about where I expected to be (if not a little ahead); it’s that a lot of the work for the rest of this month won’t really show in pictures.  And that’s not even counting the press to get Ask Maggie, Volume I out on time for my self-imposed deadline of July 31st.

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Generous Gents

Nearly every established sex worker I know has had generous clients buy big-ticket items for her, and I don’t mean frivolities like designer handbags and 500 pairs of shoes; I mean substantial items, like a central air conditioning system, furniture, a car, that sort of thing.  In my case, the most outstanding example is my farm at Sunset.  I was able to buy it outright thanks in part to a generous parting allowance from my wasband Matt, and another of my gentlemen bought me the truck Grace and Chekhov used to haul everything we own from Oklahoma to Washington.  Once it was no longer needed, I used the truck itself as barter to pay a hired man who has done a great deal of work for me, from setting up the jacks to level my floor, to digging drainage ditches, to helping me rebuild my chicken yard, to helping Chekhov and I build the guest cottage.  And of course Chekhov himself has been incredibly generous; not only did he buy both guest cottages and all the lumber for the bathhouse project and the bookshelves, he’s also bought me a number of new appliances and tools.  And of course he’s not the only one who’s bought me tools; many of my readers have purchased them for me from my wishlist, and this one in particular has seen very heavy use!  Another of my gents tips me with a Home Depot gift card every time I see him, and those have purchased many more tools and supplies.  These kinds of gifts may not be the stuff of male fantasy like fancy lingerie and expensive jewelry, but they mean far more to me: they are allowing me to create the comfortable home I plan to spend the rest of my life in.  And every time I look at my bookshelves or use my hot tub or just walk on the deck built with gifts from my gents, I cannot help but be reminded of their generosity.

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