Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Visitors! Visitors!

Look at this radiant couple! We would never have guessed that Jamie and Leslie Plesser would be our first visitors from Minneapolis to brave the wilds of Tennessee, but we couldn’t have been more pleased! Perhaps they look radiant because they spent their 12th wedding anniversary on glorious Flat Top Mountain, which is awash in full, lavish fall colors. They’re on a road trip, hitting all of the great sights from Nashville to Asheville. Lucky for us, Flat Top falls right in between.

For those who don’t know, Leslie is a photographer (check out her fabulous work at shuttersmack.com) and designer, and is the brilliance behind Vita.mn, the Star Tribune’s weekly entertainment mag, and Jamie is all about social media at Best Buy and the dude simply oozes cool.  The two are what I call hipsters. They dress hip. They go to concerts five days a week. They live in a fabulous Linden Hills home. And, best yet (for Nick), they’re dog people!

We did our best to give them the full Flat Top experience. The 75-degree blue skies didn’t hurt. Nor did the cinnamon, lime and auburn glow of the fall canopy.

In return, they brought us all sorts of treats (from Trader Joe's nuts to a big fat Vogue magazine).

Thank you, Jamie and Leslie, for braving our little life experiment in the woods.  You delighted us. Happy Trails, and pass the word on: It wasn’t that bad, right?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Winter? Bring It!

Remember our old wood stove? Lemme remind you of the rickety rust bucket that broke every safety rule in the book:

When we moved here, every night that we fired her up, I was convinced we would burn down our new little wood-frame love nest. Seriously, I couldn't sleep. So we bought a new stove in June ... and of course, waited until two nights of 35-degree temps to install it.

Now, I was all fired up to pay for the install, because it involved: 1) climbing our steep metal roof, and 2) somehow getting to the smokestack up to where it enters the house, which was 18 feet above the living room floor. But Mason -- "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" -- Cook wouldn't even consider hiring out the $500-plus job.

First we built a raised hearth and tiled it and the wall behind the stove:

Then Mason built scaffolding that extended out from the loft bedroom, so he could perch a ladder atop it and reach the ceiling:

Then came the fun part. (Warning: Professional thrill seeker. Do not attempt):

Now it's hard to see, but we had two lines (ropes, you landlubbers) tied around the little wood ladder laid flat on the roof and thrown over the back side of the house and tied to two trees. The ladder gave Mason something to kinda lean on and sit on while perched on the steep roof. Needless to say, the man slept real hard after those two days topside.

And the finished product?

And the beautiful warm flames now licking at our feet?