rock house front

My Rock House Journal

April 15, 1998

First day at the Rock House! 

Gene and his crew of men arrived at the house around 3:00 pm.  They began cleaning off the fence line, cutting down weeds and bushes, picking up trash-paper, broken bottles, beer cans. 

I got to the house around 4:30 pm.  I picked up trash cans and cleaning supplies at Kmart. 

Marie and Daddy were at the farm.  Daddy was working on Mr. Anderson’s tractor.  Daddy said the main rear seal was gone, leaking bad.  To fix it you must tear down the tractor.  I will let Mr. Anderson know. 

Gene and I cut down two large holly bushes at the corner of the house, pulled up nandina bushes in front of the dining room windows.  I also cleared the ivy and periwinkle off the front steps so we could get to the front door. 

We’ve got a lot to burn! 

Got home about 9:00 pm. 

April 16, 1998

Couldn’t sleep!  Woke up at 4:16 am, finally got up at 5:18 am.  Washed clothes, cleaned up kitchen, fed my horse Lady and the cats.   Loaded up trash and took it to the dump.  Loaded lawnmowers, stopped at the store to get gas, picked up more trash bags and headed to the farm.  Got to the rock house around 9:00 am.

Stone cottage with ivy and gabled roof.

Gene and I cut down some huge red tips at the front porch.  Cleared away all the brush and put a pot of red geraniums on the front porch.  That looks much better! 

I’m getting ready to mow.  I know the rest of the week it’s going to be raining so I had better get the yard work done first, then I can work inside while it’s raining. 

Tried to mow the yard in front of the dining room windows.  I had the lawnmower raised to its highest level, still mountains of clippings.  I also found a copperhead snake in the grass.  He scared me so bad I chopped him up into little pieces.  But I also had a pleasant surprise.  There is an old tree stump right in the middle of this area.  I thought I would clear away the grass and plant some flowers around the stump, but much to my amazement I discovered a family of baby rabbits all huddled together.  They are so cute! I dare not touch them so the mother will continue to take care of them. 

Nathan came over to help me.  We cleared the front walk-now the stone is visible and the front steps.  I raked all around the front porch.  I dug up a spirea that was growing under a camelia and placed it in a space of its own at the front corner of the porch.  It will be white and fragrant. 

Nathan mowed more of the front and side yards-a major job!  I have never seen such thick grass!  We have already gone over it with a bush hog.  It’s going to take several weeks to finally get over the entire yard. 

I worked on the grapevine a little bit.  I pulled the sweet pea vines out and then planted some of them around the lamp post.  It can climb the post.  I think it will be gorgeous there! 

I found a bird bath top leaning against the pump house.  I brought it over to the side yard to the old stump.  Using some old rocks, I made a base for the top.  A good place for the bunnies to hide. 

The soil is wonderful, black, and rich from many years of composting.  How blessed we are! 

At the end of the day, I am exhausted but very pleased with how the outside looks as I drive out.  It looks like a home now. 

Friday April 17, 1998

Today it’s raining!!!!  A good day to clean the kitchen.  I stopped at the grocery store on my way to the rock house and bought everything I needed to get started.  The stove is first, and it is awful!  I pulled the stove out and cleaned underneath, the side of the cabinets and the back wall.  The metal bowls that fit under the stove eye are all rusted out.  I need to buy new ones.  I have used an entire can of oven cleaner and I need another one to finish the roasting pan. 

The refrigerator is next!  Lord Have Mercy! What a job!  Hours later it looks new and much cleaner.  The floors are next on the list.  A scrub brush and Clorox will do the trick.  Finishing up you can almost see your face in it now! 

Rustic stone house with bare trees and clear sky.

While I was cleaning the kitchen, Gene and Nathan were pulling up the carpet.  A green sculptured carpet is on top, then a layer of flat carpet with foam rubber backing is glued down to the hardwood floors.  Another major clean up job! 

I decided to see how the baseboard and molding would look under all that paint.  Wouldn’t it look grand to restore all the woodwork to its natural glory?  I must be crazy-more work!  

By the way, I noticed lots of birds, especially cardinals drinking out of my bird bath. 

Saturday April 18, 1998

Today Gene and I took Nathan to NC State University in Raleigh to the College of Engineering Open House.   It’s a big day for all of us! 

We got home about 12:30-1:00 pm.  Went by the paint store and picked up some paint remover and wood filler.  Time to go to work!  Gene came to help me. 

Next on the list was cleaning the bathroom in the boiler room.  Nasty!  That took a while.  I had saved a small white chest from the trash dump, cleaned it up.  Looks like new.  Fits perfectly in this bathroom for storage.  Cleaned the shower stall, put up new shower curtain.  Ready to use! 

Gene is working on removing all that foam rubber backing off the hardwood floors.  I suggested we try mineral spirits.  He tested an area.  It worked great!  He spent hours scraping up the foam rubber backing with a flat hoe blade.  We had bags of trash to haul off.  The hardest part is done, now the tedious work begins with a brush and scraper. 

I worked until 9:00 pm.  Tired.  Must go home. 

Sunday April 19, 1998

I rested a while this morning.  Got up at 6:30 am-fed the cats and Lady.  Made a pot of coffee, got the Sunday paper and was ready for my Sunday morning ritual which consisted of watching my favorite programs        

  • 7:30 am  Your New House 
  • 8:00 am   Martha Stewart 
  • 9:00 am    This Old House 

Loaded up the wheelbarrow, shovel, and mattock.  Stopped by the Winn-Dixie and purchased three beautiful rose bushes; a red Proud Land, a white John F. Kennedy, and a salmon colored one.  These will start my rose garden around the old stump in the side yard.  I will be able to see them from the dining room and living room windows.  If it stops raining maybe I can get them planted today. 

Monday April 20, 1998

Gene and his crew of men got to the house about 4:00 pm and began mowing the yard, cleaning out the side ditches, weed eating the bank and along the road.  I had to work at Tractor Supply until 5:00 pm.  I went by the paint store to pick up 6 more gallons of mineral spirits to use on the dining room and living room floors.  Time to get started on the floors again! 

We have a big fire going in the backyard with all the brush, dead wood, leaves we’ve been piling up.  All of us are taking turns feeding the fire. 

Gene brought us an old mailbox and a couple of posts so we could put it up.  He had his tractor with the post hole digger on the back and dug two holes across the road for our mailbox.  I still need to sand and paint the mailbox before we install it. 

I put three gallons of mineral spirits on the dining room and living room floors.  Letting it soak in while I work outside. 

black mailbox

Gene and I finished getting the mailbox installed.  I went back to the house and scraped floors.  Gene is ready for us to go home.  It’s getting late-9:00pm.  No dinner yet.  Stopped by the grocery store and got a pizza. 

Tired. Happy! 

Tuesday April 21, 1998

men working on the rock house

Gene left a couple of his men at the house to clean up the yard, cut brush and vines off the fence line, collect scrap metal and old fence.  We loaded the truck and went to the trash dump.  They wouldn’t let us put the old fence in the dumpsters.  We must take it to the landfill and it has to be covered with a tarp.  Took it back home and unloaded it.  We continued to work on the yard, mowing, and raking. 

Repairman worked on the boiler today.  He didn’t finish. 

I painted the mailbox black today. 

Wednesday April 22, 1998

Worked at Tractor Supply until 8 pm.  Did not go to the Rock HouseToo tired! 

Thursday April 23, 1998

Went by Haw River Flooring to check on a piece of carpet for the boiler room. 

Gene and I made a list of things we need.  We went to Lowe’s to pick up a door for kitchen cabinet, new drip pans for stove, three gallons of white ceiling paint, numbers for the mailbox. 

We put numbers on the mailbox.  Looks good! 

Friday April 24, 1998

Repairman installed a new driven ground rod so the lights wouldn’t blink.  Then he finished working on the boiler.  Lots of water in the floor. 

boiler in repair

I pulled up the carpet in the boiler room and dragged it out to the carport.  It was full of water.  What a mess!  I tried to scrape up as much as possible.   

Worked until 10:00 pm. 

Saturday April 25, 1998

Went to yard sales with Marie from 7 to 11 am.  Bought lots of stuff for the Rock House! 

Painted the ceiling of the living room. 

Dana came over and helped to sand all the woodwork. 

Painted the walls of the living room. 

Worked until 10:00 pm. 

Sunday April 26, 1998

Did some things at home this morning.  Fed Lady and the cats.  Cooked breakfast.  Got my coffee and watched all my shows. 

Went by the grocery store and bought another red geranium for the front porch at the Rock House. 

Forgot the ladder-had to go back to the house and get it. 

Finished painting the living room.  That strip between the ceiling and the wall was a real pain!   

Put a second coat of paint on the walls. 

Separated a pile of blonde and red bricks.  Placed blonde brick behind well house and started laying red brick for a patio walkway. 

Tired.  Went home about 7:00 pm. 


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