Walk in the Pines

We crossed our creek to our pine forest today to plant some pignut hickory nuts, willow oak acorns and beech nuts. The pignut hickory nuts came from a walk we took on Christmas day at Betsy Bell Park here in Staunton. The acorns came from downtown Richmond and the beech nuts from my mom’s in Maryland.

Notice this ridiculously large vine wrapped around this tree. It’s probably japanese honeysuckle. We’ve started trying to rid our property of this invasive species. It totally covers the trees and kills them. Total eradication might be impossible. We will do our best.

Dave sees a bitty crayfish in the creek.

Three Layers of Wallpaper in the Dining Room

I just couldn’t take it any longer. Last week we started taking down wallpaper in our dining room. I knew there were at least two layers and we found that there were actually three layers.

Wallpaper doesn’t hide cracked plaster.

Seeing this 1920’s wallpaper for the first time.

We found a razor blade stuck to the wall beneath the chair rail. I’m confidant this chair rail isn’t original and it isn’t going back up.

I made the first rips and then Dave got out his tools and got to work.

We’ve filled many bags.

Isn’t this gorgeous. It is a block print. The ink runs as soon as we spray it with the warm water and vinegar solution.

Some evidence of plaster repair over this paper.

circa 1970?

There used to be a stove here and they did an awful job of patching. The area around it bows out noticeably. Fortunately, we have a plasterer coming out this Friday about some other work so we will show him this too.

doggie break

This is a good pic of all three wallpapers. I think the top layer was circa 1990.

Just as I suspected – the crown molding wasn’t original. We can tell because the first two layers of wallpaper go to the ceiling, but the last layer stops short. It seems to me it was around 1990 that chair rails and crown molding became popular again.

I thought the crown molding was overkill with these beautiful french doors.

This wall needs a lot of love.

Fashion might not be the only reason they put up the crown molding. Looks like they had to do some plumbing work here. This will have to be patched because the crown molding isn’t going back up.

Dave uncovered some patterned wallpaper on the ceiling. I think I’ve seen that patterned wallpaper is back in style.

I’m excited to get the walls repaired, primed and painted. I’m going to get a test pot of paint called Tomato Cream Sauce – a little bold for me but I’m going for a warm, cozy color as this is the room we gather most often with family and friends.

Fruit Tree Pruning

I woke up early yesterday and took this photo of the old elms in our front yard.

In the afternoon Dave and I pruned our pear tree. This is in the front yard. You can see the elm branches above the pear tree. As usual I forgot to take a before photo. We were very aggressive – shortening the tree, cutting off the water shoots and generally thinning it.

While Dave finished taking down the mistake of a fence we put up a couple years ago (below), I started pruning this apple tree in the orchard. It has been very neglected.

Yes, forgot the before photo. The fence just didn’t look good and it wasn’t functional (keeping the dogs in the yard) because we haven’t put up a fence in the back. Plans for any fencing are on hold. Basically, the dogs go where they want. Duke stays on our property – frequently roaming into the brush beyond the pasture and coming home full of burrs. Len visits the neighbors – giving them a look like they are on his property. Given his weight gain I expect he also visits the property behind us where they host dinners and bluegrass dances every Saturday night.

two white pines in the back yard

This is the apple tree when I finished with it. Lots more to do. You can see what I cut off in the foreground.

Sadly, we no longer have chickens. Well, we have them but they are in the freezer and the stock pot. We started having a predator problem in the fall – well, maybe in the summer, we just didn’t notice until the fall.  This week we were down to just three hens. We locked them in the coop and waited for a relatively warm morning. That was today. Maybe we will try having chickens again when Dave retires in a few years.

Getting some much needed rain today. Hoping for a good snow fall in February.

Christmas

We put up the Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. Samantha and Luca were here to help.

The weather was mild which was nice for putting up the outside lights.

Damian helped, too.

Making cookies the Saturday before Christmas.

Erin (aka Soupy) was here for computer help and was happy to roll up her sleeves (and don an apron) to help with the baking.

A special Christmas Eve

Photos of the Week

I’ll just lump these last several photos into one post. Good to get caught up!

Love the color of the leaves on our little chestnut oak planted a year ago in front of the barn.

Dave was away this week visiting his mom in South Carolina. Len missed him and would whine for him every so often. I’ve learned to ignore it.

Early morning frost on elderberry leaves.

A very old Norway Spruce.

It grows between the house and our two story shed.

Cottonwood Tree

I identified this tree – pretty sure it is a cottonwood – in the corner where the backyard meets the orchard. Then I found two more – another in the orchard along the property line and one down by the creek.