Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Come on in, the Water is...

... months away from going into the pool. Here are a few more pictures.

I managed to work some on the pool Sunday between the 5K Riverfest Run that Rowan ran in as part of Girls on the Run, (she finished in a very respectable 41 minutes) dance rehearsal, the GOTR banquet and the season opener for my D league softball team.

I was able to find the entire perimeter. The pool is roughly a right triangle. I had thought it would be more kidney shaped. Each "leg" is about 8 feet long and the "hypotenuse" is nearly 12 feet. The shallower side of the small end that I completely excavated is 18 inches deep. It appears that it will get deeper as I dig toward the wide end.

All the dirt I dug I dumped into the garden. After I finished around the outside I realized the irony that I am recreating Helen and Bess' steps, in digging around the edge first then digging out the middle.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dirty Pool

I really was not planning to start yesterday, honestly! I had plenty of other outside projects that needed my attention;

  • burn winter deadfall
  • move walk planks into garage
  • make a splash block for southwest corner where water overflows the gutter
  • fence up the peas
  • drag brush to ravine

You get the idea. Well I actually completed those, and with an imminent deadline for a 15 page paper staring me in the face (I'm taking a grad class this semester) it took only the gentlest of nods from Lisa "Maybe we should get rid of some of the junk near where the old pool is?" to get me started.

I thought I'd just see what is still there, so at 3:30 in the afternoon I started to dig to see if I could find the outline. You can see the cement wall in that shot

After I dug a little more it looked as though the wall was intact

I was under the impression that the walls had been pulled down when the pool was filled in. I had to have a place to put the dirt as I was taking it out. Fortunately 2 weeks ago I built an enclosure at the end of the garden for potatoes. Lisa cut our seed potatoes and spread them out in the potato enclosure, I ended up dumping 10 wheelbarrow loads of dirt on top of them.

After supper I dug down to see if I could find bottom. by checking with the original picture I knew I had found the perimeter of the bottom smaller end.

I don't have any additional pictures right now, but I could now almost sit down where Helen is in the picture above.

The additional 5 wheelbarrow loads of dirt went to other spots in the garden and the compost pile. I'm guessing it will take at least 50 more wheelbarrow loads to excavate the pool.

BEST NEWS: Since the dirt gets WETTER the farther down I dig I'm certain that the bottom was not broken out either. The below ground portion looks to have been painted green.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Tired As Hell" Helen's Diary Again

April 21, 1934

Cleaned aquarium. Worked on pool. Sprayed trees, washed hair, made 4 doz. cakes and decorated them.
Tired as hell.

Here is a photo of cleaning the pool:

The caption says "Spring '34" so it may have been this day. Bess and Helen finished the pool in 1933. Here it is in progress:

Some day we will dig it back out.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Vindicated by the USGS!

Both Lisa and I were awakened to the sound of one of the cats hitting things up on her dresser this early this morning. She got up to shoo it away and there wasn't a cat there. She then went on the bathroom and I noticed that the bedroom door was hitting the antique iron we use as a stop to hold it open, and that the bed was shaking. I quickly looked over at the clock which said 4:43.

When Lisa came back I said we just had a tremor. Lisa laughed said, "Yeah, right." and went back to sleep. I checked the news online this morning and my internet provider's news had this story

5.2 earthquake rocks large region of Midwest

By my calculation we are more than 300 miles from the center of the quake. With the quake starting at 4:37 and our clock being a few minutes fast I'm guessing we felt it 3-4 minutes after it hit in Illinois.

Thank you, U.S. Geological Survey!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

HELEN's Diary!

I've posted from Bess' diary before, but haven't ever posted from her daughter, Helen's. Here is a post from 1933 when Helen would have been a senior at the University of Iowa:

APRIL 17, 1993 Monday

Up at 9. In town, shopped. Made divinity. Made over sleeves of green dress. Had Progressive party 8- 1:30. Williams, Olsens, Williams & here. Marg, Izzy, Hilly, Ilse, Self, Bob Mudge, Tom Miller, Ippen, Carl Drumm. Bob Mudge kissed me in the kitchen on a bet.

Wow, I'll need to go read more of her stuff more often!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A VERY Brief Follow Up

When writing about our previous garage I forgot to add a picture of it. Here it is:

The retaining wall on the right hand side continues another 8 feet inside the garage making for the tight right hand turn into the rest of the room.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Not the FIRST Crazy Garage Idea I've Had

Given the enthusiastic response the the garage lift idea I have to admit this wasn't the first crazy garage idea I've had...

At our previous house we also had a garage "situation" The original single car garage was built under the front of the house. There were retaining walls on both sides of the hillside in front so we drove under the house into the garage. Any new car we considered had to come home first to see if it would pass the "driveway test"

What was unfortunate was that the garage "room" was actually an el, that is you drove in and off to the right was full space the rest of width of the house (roughly 18 feet or so. The problem was you could not get a car into that space (and in essence create a two car garage) because you couldn't make the right hand turn to get to the rest of the space.

One day I realized that if I could find something like a railroad roundhouse turntable and got a small enough car (VW bug or Cooper Mini) I could have a two car garage.

We moved before I ever acted on that impulse, but this time I don't forsee going anywhere soon.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Milestones, Rituals, and One Crazy Idea


Last month marked the 3rd anniversary of the blog. March 2005 seems like a lifetime ago, but at the same time it feels like it was only last week. This post is the 200th for the blog too.


I planted peas last weekend. My oldest daughter helped, meaning that now a 6th generation of our family has planted them since my great-great grandmother brought them to the U.S. from Luxembourg. Here's how they looked in the 2006 Foxcroft garden:


I've been thinking about the garage. I've straightened it, but it still needs LOTS of work (as does the exterior of the house!)I've been reluctant to start anything, because it is a small single car garage.

I broke down and looked at new garage plans, and found some that would be aesthetically pleasing, but would hate to give up the yard space, and shudder to think of the cost of removing the HUGE black walnut RIGHT NEXT to the garage:

So I went back to the garage plans site today and found this:

Behm Garage Designs

It's a single sized garage WITH A LIFT! You can drive the first car in, raise it up and then DRIVE IN A SECOND CAR!

This is great, I can restore and keep my historic garage, AND get two cars in. It's got to be cheaper to buy a lift than it would be to remove the tree and build a two car garage.

As my neighbor Mike said when I showed this to him tonight, "How are Lisa and I going to know when you've really gone senile?"