Ventured to North Carolina to help my Mom with her fixer upper. A tall task since it has not been lived in since the 1970's. The goal is to fix the house and barn and it will be a place for her in the winter and in the summer a guest house for vacationers.
I knew it was going to be a hard week when we entered the drive way and there was a tree that had fallen across it. She had mentioned it was there, but I was thinking "it's in the South, it's probably a pine tree - no trouble - the Johnsered will cut thru it like butter." No such luck, it was an oak tree. It was all that my 16" chain saw could do to saw it up into pieces small enough to manhandle out of the way.
The first night was very rough. Some of the windows were broken out and the mosquito's were out in force. I think the citronella candles were a scent that beckoned the mosquito's rather than repell them. The first order of business the next day was to get some window screen and tack it across the windows to at least slow them down.
Oh and the Ace hardware where we got the window screen was unique - they also stocked wine. So we joked that you could go there and get a box of nails and a bottle of Chardonnay. It's a small town the hardware store also had a packaging/shipping operation on the side - so the owner was hustling and doing what it takes to keep customers coming in the door.
The house itself is an old tenant house and they used to farm tobacco on the place. There are still tobacco lathes in the barn. Now it is overgrown and suffering from neglect. I was surprised that the tree's were mostly oak and maple with a sprinkling of pines. The plan is to have the place logged and plow that money back into the house. Hopefully the hardwood will bring a better price.
Our job was to take off the rusty tin roof and replace it with a modern metal roof. The South side went plenty easy, but the North side was more work. Some of the wood was rotted and had to be replaced. And poor Dan took a tumble when he fell thru the joists to the first floor. One of them had a rounded top instead of being cut square and his foot slid right off. A scary moment - I heard the crash and I was on the roof and he was working in the attic. I bent down and peered inside and didn't see him. So went down to the attic and looked down at the new hole in the ceiling. I could see his legs - but they weren't moving.
So I gave a call and he answered, so that was a relief - at least he wasn't knocked out. I came down and asked him where it hurt. Found out that the worst of it was his ribs under his arm - a big bruise about the size of a softball. A few other cuts and bruises, but that was the worst. I offered ice, tylenol, but he moved around a little - sat down and took a break and within 30 minutes he was back up top, working thru the injury.
Anyway we were able to get the roof mostly done. There were a couple of end pieces that they did not give to us - and the local Lowes did not have that color in stock. They just cover the ends - so the main roof is good for now. Oh, and we got a gate up to keep out the curious.
Now we did have a neighbor stop by to see what was up. Turns out that he trains Bear Dogs for hunting. Not only that, but he claims to have killed 3 bears on her property! I was warned that there were bears in the area, so I did bring a hunting rifle. And Grandma Susan did see a live bear about 10 miles away from the place while driving back to her motel. But my understanding is that they generally avoid humans and if you are in the woods to make a lot of noise and even if you are by yourself the guy said to talk - they recognize the human voice and will keep their distance. The problem is when you surprise them. If I am in the woods by myself I will bring a whistle and blow it every 50 feet just to be on the safe side ;-)
We did see some interesting wildlife - a box turtle at least twice or maybe three times as big as any box turtle that I have seen in Ohio. A big lizard called a skink I believe their bodies were like 6 inches long or so. Max caught one and gave it a good shaking. It either didn't taste good, the tail broke off, or maybe it nipped him but he ended up dropping it. Oh and we saw 3 blue tailed lizards and a white frog - it was actually on the roof of the house of all places.
The week was not all work. We were about an hour and half from Nag's Head. So we went there to check out the beach. Very nice beaches but the area where we were at was abit bit touristy - we even passed a ferris wheel! Young Annabelle made friends with some girls and passed a ball with them and played in the sand.
We had a little excitement when Dan spotted a crab making it's way up the beach and went to catch it. The crab scampered for the nearest cover - under Becky's chair. She let out a yell and begged Dan to get it away while she lifted her feet. Then she did a 180 and grabbed Annabelle's bucket and caught the crab in it. We all got a look at the captive and then turned him loose in the dunes. But he started going back down the beach - my guess is that at the end of day when folks are leaving the sand crabs come up to scavenge what they can before the sea gulls get their fill.
We ate at a place called "Dirty Dick's Crab Shack." Their slogan was "Tell them you got your crabs from Dirty Dick's" Meal was pretty good and they had a nice craft beer selection. So it was a nice way to cap off the last day of vacation.
Folks in the town were very friendly, so that was a positive. A couple of people knew the old house back in the woods and were happy that someone was getting it fixed back up again. It was a tiring week at Grannies work camp - but productive. We got the roof on and when I stepped on the scale at home - I lost 5 pounds. When I go back in August, maybe I will lose the other 5 pounds that I put on this winter. Oh and a special shout out to our Boston Terrier - Max who chased the lizards and kept the bears at bay.