Raise the Roof!

When the lead builder promised me that once construction began, it would move swiftly, and we’d have a weather tight structure in 10 weeks I didn’t believe him.

It’s not that I thought he was lying, it’s just that I couldn’t imagine how two workers alone could actually build a house.

When we realized there was a confluence of disparate events that rendered the main garage unable to fit the car lift it was designed for, I was certain we’d lost our window for the house to be finished by winter.

But, here we are in early August and the builders are raising the roof. Literally.

And mad props to George Abetti and Geobarns for their communication and swift action when we realized there had been what might have turned into a fatal error in executing the design.

One of the key elements of this project was to allow for storage of 6 cars, including a car lift to allow Neil to do his own automobile maintenance. As such, one section of the garage needed to have 12 foot ceilings to accommodate the lift and the posts and to allow him clearance to work beneath the cars.

Well, when the foundation contractors went to pour the concrete, they realized that because of the way the land broke, and they way the clearing had been done, they could actually pour lower walls. They figured the rest of the height could be made up for with the wood. In their calculation, this was an excellent turn of events because it would be cheaper for us.

Unfortunately, they hadn’t effectively communicated this to the build team or the designer and it had serious ramifications.

The beams had been ordered to fit the specs BEFORE the concrete pour and the resultant section of the garage ended up a foot too short for the lift.

Cue panic and distress (Neil) and concern (me).

In a burst of emails between us, George, and the onsite build staff, the Geobarns people apologized, took complete responsibility and promised to fix the problem. And they did it in a way that wouldn’t cause a major delay or require tearing down of what had already been built.

Do you know how unbelievably rare that is in today’s world? I am so impressed with the Geobarns folks. To find a designer and builder who have an aesthetic that jives with yours is hard enough, but to find a team that operates with the highest of ethics, humility, and honesty? That’s priceless.

Weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds, and weeds

Corn, corn, corn, corn, and corn – If you’ve seen the movie “Second Hand Lions” you’ll recognize the reference.

I’ve never lived in a place that had a farmers co-op. There is one in Hardwick, MA and we joined as shareholders one of our first weekends there. Right now, I feel like a major fraud whenever we shop there. I’m no farmer. I am skilled at ignoring plants to death. But Neil is a master at growing flowers and vegetables, from seed, and with lots of TLC.


These lovely flowers are growing in the area we fenced in for the pups. To me, they look like miniature daisies and I didn’t want to pull them out, but the dog run was overrun with them, so Neil had me play plant-slayer with him. We decided to leave clumps of wildflowers AKA weeds, to make it look a bit like a meadow, but with places for the dogs to ‘go’.



I know these are Queen Anne’s Lace. I also know that Neil is very allergic to it. How do I know that? When we were first dating, I picked some wildflowers from near where I lived to give him a bouquet. What I gifted him with was a bunch of allergens. 😉



The “carnage” after clearing out the dog run. I was all pleased with myself over the work I’d accomplished. Then Neil told me it would have to be done again. And again. And again.

Apparently, weeding is a never ending task.

Who knew? Not this city girl.


We actually accomplished a lot this weekend, aside from the tiny progress we made in weeding. We bought and put together outdoor patio furniture and an umbrella and it’s like having an outdoor living room!

Some assembly required. . .

And speaking of assembly, the foundation work is done and the leveling is complete. Here’s a photo of the build site ready for the slab pour!

Next up: Framing the actual building! Wheeeee!

The slow march of construction time

We’re closing in on the end of June and we have little progress on the build to show for it. Some of the delay has been because of the unusually wet spring we had in New England. It’s hard to move dirt when it turns into mud in the torrential downpours. Part because of communication lags between the excavation phase and the foundation phase. Part because this is a small project compared with the larger commercial projects our contractors also are responsible for, so when the choice is between pouring concrete for a large building or a subdivision versus our garage project, it’s not hard to see why we’re still without a foundation.

But we have footings, and we’ve heard from the builder that the foundation will start to be poured tomorrow. Keeping fingers crossed.

The other way of measuring time is by watching the seasons progress. When be first bought StarField Farm, it was deep winter, full of stillness and silence.

Now, we revel in the sounds of birdsong, wind rustling in the trees, the brook gurgling over rocks, frogs and crickets in the evening.

And everything is green.

Green all around
Summer green

The peaches on our 3 trees are getting noticeably larger each time we spend a weekend here. They are now about 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter. The last weekend we were here, they were about half that size. That was the day I culled about 25% of the fruit on the trees, lest the weight of the peaches bring the limbs down.

culled peaches
These were the peaches we culled from the trees. :sob:




Last night, just as I was remarking to Neil that I was disappointed that I hadn’t seen fireflies, they started sparking in the low light of dusk. We watched from the back porch as the fireflies were replaced by the distant wink of stars overhead. I think we even saw the ISS zip by.