Thursday, March 24, 2016

Highway to Heaven

This stretch used to resemble the craters on Mars. Sweet, sweet gravel.

The one and only thing we wish we could change about living in the backwoods of Flat Top Mountain is the 2.5-mile-long dirt road leading to our house. Well, this week 0.75 miles of our wish list came true, and we are celebrating beyond belief. Just look at that photo above!! Spectacular.

Here's the story. We've been writing every government official possible for the past several months. We knew we were tilting at windmills, and indeed, the two officials who bothered to get back to us both let us know it was considered a private road and we were on our own. (Whatever happened to "No taxation without representation"?) It was up to the landowners on either side of the private road to fix it. At this point we should mention that one stretch had gotten so bad, that we took to dumping bags of quick-set concrete into potholes that were swallowing up our Jeep's front end.

For several weeks, we pursued an alleged process to request that the county take over the road. But after three weeks of un-returned phone calls, we had basically given up.

Then came last Monday. HOLY HEAVY EQUIPMENT!!! Apparently the wealthy landowner who owns both sides of the first stretch owned up that he was responsible for it. A dozer, a grader and truckloads of gravel later, WE COULD NOT BE HAPPIER!

Now, warning to all those considering a visit, you'll still do some rock-climbing to get here. But man, that first 0.75 mile is lovely.

Nick the Dog, loving the spring sunshine.
Mr. Daffodil says it's spring.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Waking Up to Spring

Signs of spring, until the deer ate every last one.

We are slowly shaking off our winter coma and coming to life again here on Flat Top. After two months of daily afternoon naps and long stints reading, it was almost hard to break the habit. But our first 70-degree days have helped.

Mason's first burst of spring energy was spent in the bedroom. Get your mind out of the gutter -- and into our closet! Finally, after five years of hanging our clothes on a piece of electrical conduit, Mason installed honest-to-god closet rods. Soon we'll have the whole closet area walled off with curtains, so our unmentionables will no longer have to be mentioned on our home tours.

My energy was spent in the garden, of course. The cold-weather seeds (carrots, greens and peas) are already in, as are the onion sets, and just today the arugula pushed out of the ground! Next winter I vow to get a cold frame set up so I can have fresh greens throughout the winter. Supermarket greens are officially appalling; I thought I'd have spinach this winter, but the bunnies living under our shed had other ideas.

Speaking of wildlife, we've become a deer haven. No plant has been left untouched, and the lawn may not need mowing for quite a while.  They come just as the sun sets. Front yard. Back yard. They're adorable, but ... One day we had 11 visit us at once!

Somewhere in there I also found time to do some painting. The kitchen chairs are now a muted yellow (Mason said, "It doesn't look nearly as horrendous as I thought it would"), and the ceiling of the guest room is white, in a bid to lighten up that room a bit. And while not returning to the three-day grind at the garden nursery, I've picked up a few landscape design jobs and hope to pick up a few more.

I wish I had more secrets of the woods to share. Spotted a whippoorwill today; Mason threatened to shoot it (he REALLY hates those things). Luckily it should be at least another month or so before they start their mating song.