Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Trek 2016 3: TEXAS Week 2

Monday, March 21
Mason Build Day 6

            COLD this morning – the outside thermometer is hovering around 30 degrees, but the heater worked fine – must have been operator error the night before!  There is frost on the truck window we have to scrape before we can leave!  The golf course is covered with a light coating! 
As I stir up the gray paint, I
discovered Rick's 'message' from
last Friday! 
            We pick up water and ice (!!) and get to the job.  A new couple has joined us from the Alice, TX build.  Veteran CAVs, Shirley and Richard Harvey.  I got voice mails that Barb Ludwig will be coming in tomorrow.  All the ‘extras’ are being sent over to the Rehab house at this point. 
Rick works to fit the supports.
            A whole crew is sent inside to paint ceilings while Rick is tasked with finishing porch trim and I get the gray siding paint out and ready to go.  More siding is delivered this morning (evidently we were shorted on the previous delivery), plus Greg asks that a dozen trim pieces get painted, some in baby blue, some gray, some white!  So basically I paint with Bea and Judy most of the early morning.  The sun is warming things up enough to be able to paint!
Paul, completed with chew in his
mouth, describes the auction
process to us. 
One of the first cows to come through. 
            Today is the day of the livestock auction and you can hear the cows down in the pens mooing away.  At break time 7 of us walk over to the auction barn and meet Paul (our lunch host last Friday and former Habitat board president) who owns Superior Auction.  Paul isn’t involved with this local auction, but he spends a half hour explaining the whole process to us outside in the sunshine before we head inside to watch an hour of fast paced auctioneering.  Rick and I estimated that over $100,000 transpired in the time we were watching.  They move the cows through every 30 seconds (max!) and rarely could I even tell  for who or for what amount the sale transacted!  Halfway through Rick and I figured out that the two digital monitors on each side were showing the weight of the
Long horn!
previous cows (they are weighed AFTER they are bought).  So I started guessing how much each cow weighed – came close on several, but off by 100 pounds on others.  (That was during the calf portion when weights only varied from 300 to 600 pounds!)  We saw some long-horns, a few BIG bulls, one old heifer with teats that practically touched the ground.  Some were being bought for pasture and summer grazing, some bound straight for the slaughter house.  Paul said there are 180 of these small rural auctions throughout Texas.  Pretty interesting!
The big bull
       We left at noon and walked back to the jobsite (only three to four blocks away).  Everyone left today for lunch except Rick and I!  After eating I got back to my unfinished paint work of the final porch ceiling blue trim pieces.  Rick spent a somewhat frustrating afternoon trying to make some porch details fit right and look good.  He has decided he doesn’t like finished carpentry when it is right out front!  A little caulk and paint will make it look good! 
          After I finished the blue, there were three people rolling gray siding, so I spent my last 45 minutes cleaning brushes and rollers (which involved at least 10 trips inside the neighbor’s fence to get the faucet turned on right and then turned off!)  
          Lazy afternoon playing catchup on pictures, happy hour, and evening.  Greg made a fire during happy hour which felt good!  Yes the sun was shining, but it was still cool with the breeze that was blowing.  Each day this week is supposed to warm up a little more.  We got word from the boys that they arrived in Death Valley earlier this evening.  They will have all day Tuesday to explore!
Walking back from the auction, I stopped at a field thick with Texas paintbrush.  So pretty.  

TUESDAY, March 22
Mason Build Day 7
View today's pictures

Check out Rick's porch trimwork!
            A beautiful morning, brisk, but warming!  Jack’s birthday!  Rick and Al made GREAT progress today on the porch trim.  By the end of the day as Bea and Frances finished the siding on one side, the house is really getting a ‘finished’ look.  The trim is really coming together.  Inside, the paint crew got all the living room and hall finished, plus one of the bedrooms almost done.  Each bedroom is a different color, selected by the family. 
            Judy and I worked together most of the day putting up siding.  We only managed to complete 3 rows by the time we had to fuss cut around the bottom of 3 windows.  The cuts did NOT go smoothly and I am not particularly proud of how they look in terms of a good fit, especially at the bottom of the window.  But both Pam and Greg gave oks on them, so…..
Our wall of siding....
      Lunch today was at the Methodist Church again, hosted by ‘The Study Club’, a group of women in town who meet monthly and basically raise money for the library.  At least 20 club members came and provided the meal and ate with us.  It was wonderful!  Rick especially enjoyed the blueberry bundt cake, to the tune of 3 servings.  He hugged the lady who brought it! 
Giant yucca blossom
at park entrance
            We stopped at the Chamber of Commerce after work to pick up some postcards and talk with the gal.  She was a wealth of information and very friendly.  The Seaquist House tour was moved until Thursday afternoon.
            Gypsy Barb showed up at Happy Hour time and promptly gave me a new tie dye shirt she picked up somewhere!  She will be working at the Critical Repair house helping with the painting this week.  Rick took a walk and discovered the Nature Trail and I walked out to the entrance to take some pictures.
            Laundry this evening and visits with Barb.   A beautiful evening out. 

Entrance to Fort Mason City Park
Bluebonnets growing in a patch at entrance

Wednesday, March 23
Mason Build Day 8
VIEW today's pictures

            What a windy, restless night!  After hitting 30 two nights ago, I don’t think it got below 65 last night!!  We were hot! 
Solar panels installed
Rick and Al on columns
            Today is forecast for the upper 80’s and I can believe it!  We make our ice, water, and post office stops and then get busy on the job!  Rick and Al are still working on the front porch trim.  I have been reassigned to work with Frances on the front siding and Bea is working with Judy on the rest of the side siding.  Frances and I struggle initially because the siding marks on the wall don’t line up as you go around the corner!  But we finally decide to move forward and hope the corner works out – we HAVE to keep the front of the house level! 
Our morning endeavors. 
            Excitement for the day is the arrival of the solar panels for rooftop installation.  Four guys come to help out/learn the process along with Angela and Jake.  By the end of the day, 3 of the 4 sections are mounted.  Shirley and Richard continued painting inside the house. 
            For lunch today we head over to a private home near the Catholic church (near our water stop) and wow – what a spread!  Their dining room table is huge (Rick finds out later it is built on top of a full size pool table!) plus several other tables set up.  Delicious food plus desserts.  This family hosts a meal once a year! 
House is starting to look 'finished'!
            After lunch, Frances and I slow down as we are now working on top of the windows and doors which involves many notches, etc.  We get one board up and another partially marked.  So much of the porch is being ‘written as we go’ which makes the process a bit difficult. 
Angela and Jake with 'gifts'!  
            Quick walk along the nature trail with Barb and OP when we get home – a chance to catch up abit – shower and a quick trip to Lowe’s for more tomatoes and avocados for tonight’s dinner at Keith Kahn’s house.  We pick up Barb and take her out with us to their 22 acre spread just 2 miles south of town, split by Comanche Creek.  Keith has a thousand gallon cistern catching rain water under his shop, a guest house, patios and pavers, keyhole veggie gardens, and a lovely home FILLED with antiques.  His artist wife Sue is a big fan of Van Gogh.  Bea makes home-made tortillas for all (delicious and warm) and everyone brought stuff to go with them.  Jake and Angela had gifts for everyone and then Chuck presented them with a few gag gifts.  Since they are 30 years younger than everyone else, they take quite abit of ribbing!  A very pleasant evening with gracious hosts.  We have an invitation to come stay in the guest house ANY time!  Just call!  

Front of Kahn house...with bluebonnets! 
The bluebonnets growing right in the middle of the paver patio! 

Guest house with brickwork from old Fort Mason stones
Blooming pincushion cactus on patio
Sunset as we leave with contrail lines

THURSDAY, March 24
Mason Build Day 9; Seaquist Mansion Tour

            BIG wind storms again during the night including a little rainfall on one (not that amounted to anything, however!)  I wondered if the trailer was going to hold together.  And then there was the sounds of talk radio….loud….from about 10 until 2 (or so, I didn’t stay awake!)  Turns out this morning we got a confession and huge apology from Jake.  He was working late engraving and didn’t realize Angela had turned on the outside speakers for his trailer.  He had it turned way up so he could hear over the engraver, not realizing the rest of the campground, including his tent sided neighbors, could hear it all! 
Back wall we are siding. 
            Visible progress is happening on site!  Keith found the needed part this morning and brought it over so Jake and Angela could finish installing the last solar panel.  They worked to finish the siding on the front of the house gable so the roof can be finished.  Chuck and Pam were doing all the top siding panels and other details, Rick and Al still out on the porch, but they also were siding by afternoon.  Frances and I finished the last two boards on the right front and then four of us were sent to the back of the house to do the top of the wall between the roof lines.  Bea and I went up on the scaffolding, while Frances and Judy cut the boards and handed them up.  While I waited, I finished extending all the lines on the greenboard from the middle to the edges.  By end of day, we had 3 more rows up.  Finish on Friday!!! 
Wildflowers in neighbor's field
            Everyone left for lunch and Rick and I had a quiet hour to ourselves.  I took a lunchtime flower picture in the neighbors field and then called Mom for a quick check.  The boys are spending the day with Rachael before heading northward again in the morning. 
The Seaquist Mansion
            After work today, Pam took Al, Judy, Rick, and I through the Seaquist Mansion.  She and Greg volunteered there over the winter as they are restoring the building, so they had a key and could give a ‘tour’!  This is an 1880’s gem of workmanship.  We visited all three floors and then down into the catacombs of a basement.  There is a giant stone water cistern adjacent that used to have a windmill on the top.  The Seaquist family owned the building until a year ago, but in later years they all lived in the small stone house next door!  I can’t imagine the money that will involved to restore – new
Second floor wrap-around porch and deck
electric, new plumbing, wall coverings, etc.  There are 15 stone fireplaces, the original kitchen is in the basement off a narrow servant’s stairwell.  Stained glass everywhere.  Fascinating to compare the open
Alcove of unknown purpose
shuttered windows and screens to allow airflow during the hot months with the design of the Geiser Grand.  On the third floor we found a ballroom with ‘viewing gallery’, a pool room, bar, and poker/game room.  And a tiny, stained glass alcove off the bar and ballroom the purpose of which is unknown?  Meditation?  Tryst? 
            We had to leave a little sooner as Rick was scheduled for a haircut at 3:30.  We found the gal, Francis, in a little shop behind the post office without problem. 
            A beautiful evening.  Happy Hour, visit with Barb, and catchup time! 
Click HERE for all the Seaquist Mansion pictures  (It's worth it!)

FRIDAY, March 25
Final Mason Build Day 10
The trailer quickly filled with debris.  
Fish Fry!    See ALL of today's pictures

Nailing in the last one! 
            Our final day of the build and it will be just a half day, as we are breaking off around noon.  We start out with clean-up and load all the scrap sheetrock, siding, sheathing, etc. into the trailer for Dave to take to the dump eventually.  Then painting 9 more boards of siding for our use, plus Rick and Al are siding, and Jake and Angela (although they didn’t finish the front to the top because they concentrated on getting the porch roof done where it abuts the gable).  Bea and I were up on the scaffolding while Judy and Frances continued to cut and deliver our boards.  Around 12:15 I popped the last nail into the top peak of our last board!  We finished the back end of the house!!  While we waited, I took pictures of 'letters' to complete a Mason 'title' picture!  
Back gable siding crew: Bea, Ginger, Frances, Judy
Inside corner of Rick's front porch
            Inside is painted, the front porch is just about done, solar panels installed, roof installed, siding all but done.  The last phase will come in Sunday and have all the exterior caulk and final coat of paint to do, cabinets, etc. inside, and that final punch list.  But we got a lot done!! 
Stephanie's family gather for fish fry at park pavilion.
       Back to the trailer and change of clothes before we walk over to the pavilion for the family fish fry.  We meet Stephanie’s sister, Diane and her husband Robert – owners of the burned Ischar house, plus her brother Mannie and his wife.  Mom and Pop are there as well.  The menu is strictly catfish, fries, and hushpuppies!  Guess I was expecting at least a cole slaw salad at least!  But the fish was delicious and I enjoyed my first hush puppies, which are fried corn bread nuggets.
Catfish cooking
The Odeon is lit up as we leave the movie. 
            Back to the trailer at 3pm to relax for the rest of the afternoon.  I worked to clean up a few things and then sort out the pictures from the build and get them emailed out.  Barb and Chuck were over to chat for awhile and we all decided to go to the movies tonight at the local theater and see Risen  - the Easter film from the centurion’s perspective.  Rick and I to the movies AND popcorn and candy for $10!  Enjoyed the movie. 
Easter bunny that hopped
over to Barb's trailer
            And incredible sky as we arrived back at trailer at 9:30.  Clear and cool, but the stars are so bright and distinct.  About half the group will be leaving tomorrow, and then several of us on Sunday.  The park is full and we hear there could be more rodeo events going on tomorrow.  If I hear horses neighing in the morning, I’ll know that is accurate! 

Saturday, March 26
Exploring Mason, TX!
See today's pictures HERE

            Well, we didn’t get moving too quickly this morning.  A little time with Barb before she left around 9:30 (she brought over an Easter avocado!) and then laundry time!  Watched a few folks depart and expected the park to fill with rodeo folk again, but only a few horse trailers this week and nothing in the arena. 
Sculpture next door to Santos. 
Adirondack chairs made from
wine barrels!  
            We went out to lunch at Santos Tacqueria….Rick chose more wisely than I in ordering a Chile Releno Gordita.  He thoroughly enjoyed his meal.  I had an ensalada – the chicken was a little too spicy for me and there was mostly lettuce and tomatoes.  No sour cream, no avocado, just very plain.  Ah well! 

Uncut topaz at
Square Museum
Mason Co. Courthouse and the Square
            Then it was time to poke through the shops of the Mason City Square.  We checked out some art galleries, antique shops, the Square Museum, plus a walk down to the Collectors Shed where they have all the metal sculptures as well as a huge  cut topaz stone.  The only purchase we made was an English/Spanish Children’s Bible for Amilio.  Fresh water, gas in the truck and a visit to the Ischar house to check out the paint colors….bright, very intense!  It took us a little while to find the Fort Mason site with its officer’s quarters rebuilt on the hill overlooking the area. 

Fort Mason Officer's Quarters
View of downtown Mason from fort hill
            Back down to the campground.  At least 3 new CAVs have pulled in.  Some might have to boondock cuz the last three of us aren’t leaving until the morning!  We cleaned up the trailer, Rick unhitched the sewer lines, and we’ll easily be out of here by 8 in the morning.  We have decided to forego the Sunrise Service in Art at 7am, in favor of the 8:30 service at the Methodist Church here in town. 
            Beautiful sunset tonight and pleasant evening.  We have said goodbye to most of the crew.  I will start a new post tomorrow.  
Final sunset in the pecan grove.  

No comments:

Post a Comment