Thanksgiving in Carlisle, 2016

Thanksgiving here in Carlisle was fun and relaxed.   My parent’s and I enjoyed a wonderful turkey, succotash, potatoes and cranberry sauce dinner that my Mother prepared in splendid fashion – verrrry good!

Today (Friday after) is a bit cold and rainy – but we met the Maryland Collins’ and went over to look at my house.  We had a good time checking everything out (including some off trail adventures through the prickers to look at the neighbors Mack telephone pole truck – complete with hydraulic grapple and telephone poles).  I had a great time discussing the thought processes behind the design, Deck House, the land and just plain old catching up.  Thanks guys!

Very much a day for a fire in the fireplace later!


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Celebratory Dinner at the Colonial Inn in Concord

Now that the Town has issued my Occupancy Permit, it was time last night (Saturday) for a celebratory dinner.  My Mom, Dad and I went over last night to the Colonial Inn and had drinks and dinner in the tap room (one of the older parts of the Inn).

We had a very good time – things were lively without being crazy.  The Inn looked like it was completely full (the parking lot behind the buildings was 100% full at least) and there were a lot of people coming and going.  We think there were a lot of tourists with some locals mixed in.

This might be normal or it might be because yesterday, the town of Concord unveiled the installation of the ship’s bell near the war monument of the USS Concord.  The USS Concord was an Omaha Class Light Cruiser, built during the 1920’s and she served through WWII.  She was decommissioned in 1946.  According to Wikipedia, she fired the last shot of the war – how anybody knows this, I have no idea – unless it was purely ceremonial?  Apparently the ship’s bell has been in the basement of the Concord Library since 1946 and they have been working on getting it installed since 2005 or so.  I haven’t seen it yet – we were over at Vanderhoof’s hardware about an hour before the unveiling and it was causing quite a bit of traffic congestion, so we didn’t hang around.  I will try and get a picture of it at some point.

Here is a link to a picture of here, in the Panama Canal Zone during the War

USS Concord

The Inn itself is a kind of a neat place – 2016 is it’s 300th anniversary.  I asked our waitress if they had any commemorative T-Shirts or what not for sale.  She said no and it was a total missed opportunity on their part!  Clearly they are not fully up on the idea that they should be a merchandising machine with an Inn attached 🙂

From their site, this is a quick bullet point history.  If you are reading this from out of town and you are coming out to Carlisle or Concord – this is a good place to stay – very central and it is a nice walk to the Minute Man National Historic Park and the Old North Bridge Battlefield (plus it is only a few minutes drive to my house and my parent’s house)


Learn more about our Inn’s rich 300 year history with these key facts and dates:

  • 1716 – Concord’s Colonial Inn’s original structure was built.
  • 1775 – One of the Inn’s original buildings was used as a storehouse for arms and provisions during the Revolutionary War. When the British came to seize and destroy the supplies, the Minutemen met them at the North Bridge on April 19th for what became the first battle of the American Revolution. The event is commemorated every April with a parade near the Inn and a ceremony at the North Bridge on Patriots’ Day.
  • Early 1800s – Parts of the Inn were used as a variety store and a residence.
  • 1835 – 1837 – Henry David Thoreau resided with us while he attended Harvard.
  • Mid 1800s – The building was used as a boarding house and a small hotel, named the Thoreau House after Henry’s aunts, the “Thoreau Girls.”
  • 1889 – The Inn as we know it today begins operating. Situated on Concord’s town common, known as Monument Square, the Inn is surrounded by landmarks of our nation’s literary and revolutionary history.
  • 1900 – The property was given its current name: Concord’s Colonial Inn.
  • 1988 – The Inn is purchased by German Hotelier, Jurgen Demisch.
  • 2012 – The Prescott Wing undergoes a top-to-bottom restoration.

So what is going on now with the house?

I ordered towel rods, toilet paper holders and what not from Amazon but they are on a bit of a back order.  Toilet paper may be better off in the vanities from a space and streamlining point of view – more thought needed there.  Shower curtain and rod for the guest bathroom too.

I also, with my Mom’s help, am getting Armstrong Hearth and Duct (New Hampshire) to do a giant vacuum clean of the duct work.  The idea is to clear out anything that may have managed to work its way into the duct work, despite all the precautions Paul and team took (dust mostly).

Then it is have movers move everything over from my storage locker.  I am thinking that my bureau would go in my room and the books and what not would go in the garage – but I may rethink that.  Book case systems of course too – lots and lots of stuff to do!  But no need to have everything done at once – step one will clear the way for step two!!!

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Occupancy Permit….? Achievement unlocked

Very quick update here – Paul and I spoke today and the Town has wrapped things up and as of today, I have my Occupancy Permit.  All permits in order – we are done!

Paul – awwwwwesome work sir!

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Picture heavy post after missing a week of posts

I was wrapped up last weekend in doing work trying to continue momentum for my occupancy permit and I never got around to posting anything.

All permits are complete, except for the occupancy permit. The Carlisle Fire Chief has requested that the we fill in some gaps in the documentation around the common drive way due to what appears to have been some gaps in what was passed to him from the prior Chief.  We have rounded all of that up except for the documentation that the maintenance agreement for the driveway has been maintained.  Stamski and McNary has agreed to do the inspection and provide documentation.  Their commentary was that:

  1. The sight line for inbound fire trucks along Bedford Road was blocked by my new mailbox (which it was doing but I had not noticed),
  2. The brush had encroached a bit on the driveway and
  3. There was no house number at the point where my driveway split off from the common driveway.

Last weekend I resolved all three.  To simplify things, I completely removed the mailbox (I will get a PO box or continue to have mail sent to my parent’s place and figure something out later if I get a mailbox out in the future).  Then I trailered over the Billy Goat brush hog and chewed through the blackberry bushes.  Finally, Dad and I got a 4×4 pressure treated post, a post hole digger and some house numbers and I installed that.  Fingers crossed this is the last item before the final permit

Last week we also took my Dad’s old racing shell (which had de-laminated) over to Ted Van Dusen for repairs and donation to a youth rowing group in Holeyoke along the Connecticut River.  Ted runs Composite Engineering and they build a lot of the racing boats for a LOT of Olympic teams.  A run down place on the outside but amazing on the inside.  Definitely different from our place!


In other news, Paul’s team laid down coat 3 of 3 on the hardwood floor, pulled the tools and stuff from the workshop, is working through their punch list – AND – this weekend, did the final layout of the loam for the lawn.  This includes laying out the large rocks along the property line between me and Kimball’s.  It looks great!!

Before shots of the shop and looking at the “front yard”

Now here is what things look like on the outside after this weekend’s worth of work

And on the inside things are truly wonderful

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Prepping for fall and house update

Fall is definitely coming.  While not every day, we are getting more and more frost in the morning.  But the lawn is still growing due to the recent round of rain, most notably the very, very mild brush we had with Hurricane Matthew (basically about 30 hours of steady rain and almost no wind).

My Dad and I took the opportunity to do some prep work yesterday – we went to Great Road Farm and Garden in Littleton and I bought a snow blower and we also made arrangements for them to pick up my Dad’s snow blower and repair it (broken starter cable – which is riveted into the machine instead of bolted/screwed – so a bit more work than we are really looking for).

Based on last year’s meager snow fall, it looks like the extended roof and eves design is going to be great to keep walk ways clear – but the snow will be coming off the roof.  When it does, it will end up in compacted piles in ways that are not going to be easy to deal with by the driveway snowplow.  So we went looking for a snow blower that has a bit more oomph than the low end, with ice augers to chew through frozen junk a bit more easily.  A lot of the home equipment places around us have closed as the eastern part of Mass. appears to have collectively decided hiring landscapers is better than doing things for yourself – so we had to go westerly to Littleton.  Great Road Farm and Garden seems to be going great guns however and they had what I was looking for.

I ended up with a Husqvarna ST324p – which has weights to keep the front end down and plowing through the compacted snow instead of rising above and power steering (good since it weighs almost 400 lbs).  Hopefully it will work well.

We also ended up deciding we needed to mow the lawn again at my parent’s house (our normal routine is that I use the push mower on all the slopes and hard to get to spots, Dad uses the John Deere to hit the general area mowing)

Whats going on in terms of the house?

Things are progressing in very small increments.  The Bank’s assessor finished their report – all we need to do at this point is to get the certificate of occupancy and update my house insurance and the final payment to Paul can take place and the construction loan auto-converts to a mortgage.

Getting the occupancy permit is turning into a project in and of itself.  The house has all the permit sign-offs but the Carlisle Fire Chief is looking to collate and gather all the paperwork around the common driveway and the culverts over Page’s Brook that have been generated since the early 1980’s.  What was desired by Chief Flannery was a bit unclear to us for a while, but we a hoping we have a path forward now and are almost done.  This is the last thing holding up the occupancy permit (fingers crossed – that we know of !!!)

Paul still needs to put down the last coat of finish on the floors, spread the loam around and grass seed (while it is still getting warm enough during the day for it to germinate!) and other small punch list items and then we are done.  From there, it is let everything settle for a week, purchase and have Hunter Appliance install the refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer and then pull everything from my storage locker and put it in the house.


Speaking of Hurricane Matthew.  The day after it blew past Massachusetts, from my office in Boston I had a great view across the harbor and into the bay side of Cape Cod.  There was a very strongly defined band of clouds visible as the sun came up.  A few hours later, it had all blown through to the north and you could see to the horizon – crystal clear – it was pretty neat.

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Fall is not here yet – but you can see it from where I am standing

Fall in Carlisle is coming – no leaves are turning yet but you can feel it in the air.  The weather this weekend is fantastic and that crisp mid-60’s feeling that New England gets around Halloween.  One of the things I missed while living deep in the city in San Francisco is the smell of Fall.  Hay being brought in, leaves turning, the wild grapes ripening on the vines.  Two weeks ago, when I was mowing the lawn on the swamp side of my parent’s house, I could definitely smell the wild grapes ripening.  The same while I was installing the mailbox – there are small wild Concord Grape vines in both locations.  The smell is one of harvest and is something I am really looking forward to as things go on at my new place.

I promised, in return for taking out a line of ratty white pines on the property line between myself and the Kimball’s, that I would place obvious property markers along the property line.  We agreed that I would put in grape arbors – and also plant some trees on their side of the property line – type to be determined, but hopefully apple?

My plan is  to use the big boulders remaining from blasting to periodically dot the property line and then mount vineyard equipment and plant native Concord Grapes  (see the link to Ephraim Bull’s story on how he developed the Concord grape.  His original vines are still growing a few miles down the road).  The University of Maine has some great videos on Youtube about how to grow and manage grapes – but there is a really fantastic person who does work on Youtube – Dr Tom Zabadal from Michican State University.  He produces very interesting and watchable videos.  The intent is that I will produce a very defined property line and have some visual blocking of the old dairy barn and structures – but not block the sun coming in from the south.   And wonderful harvest smells of course!

My parent’s and I took a ride over to the house yesterday and just hung out in the living room enjoying the quiet – it is a very, very quiet space.  Sitting on the window seat was wonderful.  Then we took a walk from Kimball’s parking lot down around the other side of the old mill pond from my property and over and around Bates Pond to see how much of the house you can see from the dirt road into the pond and the trail.  Right now the answer is ‘not much’ – but that will change a little as the leaves fall.  But still, it is very private.  Walking around Bates Pond on the Carlisle Trail’s Committee trail, we were surprised to see signs of active beavers – there are a few trees felled by beaver around that are pretty old – but this is brand, brand new sign.  Pictures below.

Fall and Harvest – Welcome!  Winter – feel free to get a slow start 😉

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Ah junk mail, how I love thee, let me count the ways…

Grin –

Mailbox and street number out on Bedford Road is complete.  Paul found a stone engraver who was able to add my house number to the existing granite post at the end of the common driveway (My parent’s and I struck out with two different sources).  I bought at Vanderhoof’s Hardware in Concord an extra large US Postal approved mailbox and from Concord Lumber some spray paint and a 4×4 post.  A quick trip to Woodcraft Supply for some exterior grade penetrating oil (and an opportunity to drool over all kinds of tools) and I was all set.  Over the last weekend, in a lazy sort of way, I put a number on the box and built a post.  My Dad got some iron rebar (for reinforced concrete) and I drilled a hole in the end of the post and drove the remainder into the ground.  The idea (given to me by one of the neighbors) is that if it gets hit by the town snow plow, the rebar will give or bend – but the rest of the post and mailbox will survive the impact (and on my Dad’s advice, the mailbox itself is not actually screwed down – it is just a tight fit on the wood undertray).

Seems to work pretty well – the only real issue is that it is a bit wobbly because the dirt is pretty soft – but lots of rocks and a stone wall – so a bit difficult to get a firm seat.  I wedged some rock around the post and seems ok – we shall see how it does

The stone engravers did really well to match the other house numbers by the way.

This week we got the fire permit and I believe the Board of Health has now signed off.  There may be few more inspections to do – but Paul believes that we can get an occupancy permit next week?   The Conservation Commission still needs to review and sign off on the pre-conditions – but they normally apparently like to wait till you have grass sufficiently established that you have mowed it twice before doing that.

Deck Acorn, according to Paul, is looking forward to finalizing their pictures so they can post it to their website.   The Bank is sending around their appraiser in the next few weeks and I can convert my construction loan into a normal mortgage and start paying principle – good stuff

Not sure when move in date will be – but it definitely is getting closer!

Pictures below.   Off to San Francisco next week

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Home machine works – computer nook work surface

My computer work area is off the main hallway to the back of the house and I am planning on it having a wall to wall birch plywood surface.  To make it sufficiently stiff, I am going to reinforce it with an aluminum spine.  Echoing the kitchen island, I hand milled this weekend a T-bar extrusion.  Deburred and polished but it still needs to have the machine oil fully cleaned off and mounting holes drilled (though I need the fasteners too – so I will get them first and then measure).  A fun project

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337 Bedford Road – House number is up!

Thanks to Moda Industria the house number is up!  You may have seen my prior post about the house number – sorry if that was confusing as I used a generic picture of the STYLE of house number I was going to use but not my actual number or color.  Because there is so much red and orange on the exterior of the house, and the number by definition needs to draw the eye towards it, I went with Capri Blue powder coating.  I think it looks great and Paul, yet again, did a great job mounting it

The number itself is very heavy duty and weighs in over 15 pounds I would guess (10 at least).  I really like the floating layer

In other news, things continue to progress.  Bathroom fixtures continue towards completion – but are hard to photograph.    The first 3 (of 4) shots below are of the master bath with the walk in shower.  The last shot is closest to what you see in person when you are there.  I think the accent stripe of pumpkin tile really worked well to break up the monolithic white tile.  The last photo is the guest bath/tub combo

It has cooled off a bit here and I have started working on my new computer nook table.  Milling some custom aluminum myself for this furniture item.  Shots soon hopefully of that 🙂

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Big August ’16 photo update on the house progress – Post 3 – Interior

Not a ton to show here compared to the site work but I thought it was differentiated enough to show in a separate post


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