Monday, December 13, 2010

A Death at Boone's Dock

The view from my living room this morning was picture perfect.  I was inside in 70 degrees of warmth and the crisp dock down at Turtle Haven looked much better than usual.

Usually the look of it makes a person hesitate to step on it.  An inch of snow, however, doesn't weigh much.

Hidden Lake looks to be only about three or four acres in area.  There are eleven houses on it, some less lucky, goosewise, than others.  The Visiting Goose Association came for a visit last week and augmented the local flock by hundreds of additional birds.

I much prefer ducks to geese.  Ducks are friendlier fowl, I think, and by all appearances, the keep their poop off people's lawns.

The unlucky neighbors have vast, sloping lawns that offer great sun exposure, and so those lawns are black with visiting geese this week.  The honking of the geese is audible up here at the house.  At night when I take Lola out for her bedtime constitutional, the geese are apparently guffawing about something only geese know about.

Sad to say, one of them appeared dead this morning, laid out apart from the community of warmth and fellowship on the right side of the picture, one lone, solitary, private expiration.  Was it from disease, poison, or a fatal lack of insulation from single-degree cold last night?  Much as I don't want the water fowl to foul my lawn, I don't wish them death apart from the succor of companions.  Alas for this one.  One less member of the chorus down at Boone's Dock on the Duckworthy Estate at Turtle Haven.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lake Margarita

Hidden Lake has been frozen the last few days.  This morning when I got up I saw ducks keeping the circle of unfrozen water open, while the visiting geese watched from the ice's edge.

The ice on the right was curiously white and crystaline, looking like salt on a Margarita glass.  So today, Hidden Lake is Lake Margarita.

Today was the warmest day of the week, with 50 degrees predicted for the afternoon.  I wished the ground were dried out enough to fire up the rototiller again, but it's still too moist from the big rains we had more than a week ago.  After I painted the master bedroom, I went Christmas shopping.  Meanwhile, Steve and Tim worked on the second of two new windows for our big living room.

There's Steve Brandt finishing up the frame for the 4-foot-wide window that will replace a redundant, 6-foot-wide sliding door.  The frame was perfectly square, but the opening wasn't.  That's no surprise. This house is a case study in careless construction.  Steve has corrected innumerable faults as he has rebuilt the bathrooms and shaved floor joists to give us level subfloors.

Now the frame's in place.  It's not ready for the window, though.  Steve has a pair of laser levels to check the frame before he screws it in place.  Part of his framing is compensation for poor construction of the house.  His new frame adds strength and stability to an unsatisfactory area of the original frame.

Voila!  After many small adjustments to the window's aluminum frame, it achieved a "perfect" fit to the wooden frame.  Steve was satisfied and happy with it six hours after he removed the sliding glass door.

The reason to hire a meticulous builder is so you don't lose sleep worrying about the project.  Steve is phenomenally good.  It's an education to watch him work.