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
As I stir up the gray paint, I
discovered Rick's 'message' from
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
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.
What a windy, restless night! After hitting 30 two nights ago, I don’t think
it got below 65 last night!! We were
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!
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
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
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?
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
A beautiful evening. Happy Hour, visit with Barb, and catchup
Click HERE for all the Seaquist Mansion pictures (It's worth it!)
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.
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
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!
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