Life here at Fayrehale continues to be multi-faceted busy!!
We had a Goose setting on eggs. No way to know when she actually settled on her nest with 8 eggs so we just waited patiently. This past Sunday she presented us with 8 goslings! 8 for 8! The Gander is an American Buff and the Goose is 1/2 American Buff and 1/2 Sebastopol. The cross fixed the less than pleasant dispositions our Sebastopols had and gave us some curly feathers. It will be interesting to see how these youngsters feather out as they are now 3/4 American Buff.
New birth in both the plant and animal world makes my heart sing.
The Lilacs have come on fast, as Mother Nature speeds to catch up after a severe winter and a late spring. They are on schedule for a peak presentation this weekend, Memorial Day weekend. The weather predictions are for cool so they should last nicely. I need them to, as I need a new banner picture for Shops at Fayrehale with the lilacs in bloom between the sign and the entrance. It is certainly time to replace the winter snow image!
Lilacs have always been a favorite. I have planted and left collections everywhere I have lived. The best collection is here in Vermont with us now. Over 45 varieties and more than 55 bushes. The property is perfumed by the fragrance of lilacs. As you can see we have wood to stack! 3 cords dumped in the front yard and another 3 cords in the driveway. The driveway pile will be stacked first as we need the area for customers to park.
We are fast approaching our one year anniversary for opening Shops At Fayrehale: Antiques – Christmas – Gifts
We opened July 4th weekend last year and this first year has flown by.
The Icelandic Roosters think the railing is a roost installed for them:)
………….and they will come right in to the Shop if I am not careful!
This first year for Shops At Fayrehale has been good. We already have people returning from last season. We developed online shopping for Shops At Fayrehale over the winter. We needed to turn a rough. cold winter into a productive one! We have found and added FOUR new Artisans and with their individually crafted pieces, expanded the Ornament Selection. Temari (Japanese String Balls), Gourd, Quilted and Felted Wool ornaments join the great selection we already offered!
As some of you know, the winter wiped out the plumbing in this 1840 house we call home! Since December, 2014, I have lived a Colonial lifestyle, carrying water up from the cellar in buckets and jugs and rather than a trip to the outhouse, a 5 gallon bucket by the wood stove!
Working with the plumber now as repairs are made and we plan for more winters like the last. As with all projects in old homes, we found that we have to do some work on the bathroom floor. After taking out the toilet and sink, which we are replacing, I looked under the linoleum, hoping to find an old wood floor and instead, found a black and decaying particle board floor!
SO — it will be a while before we have the new Toilet and Pedestal sink installed. Work will progress so we have hot and cold water to first floor tub & shower, hot and cold water to the kitchen sink and the outside faucet functioning so I can use the hoses.
The sink and toilet will remain stored in the dining room, shut off valves installed on their feeds, until the floor and other renovations are finished in the bathroom. We are very fortunate to have a fixture source that offers higher end fixture close outs and were able to pick these up for 25% of original cost.
As we do this work, we are switching to an electric hot water heater! Three strikes and the Lemon (expensive) gas hot water heater that we have is OUT! This meant we need to run electricity from the breaker box in the barn across the Ell to the far side of the cellar under the main house! Our Plumber suggested that we do it and save significant money! Having done it, I would hate to have paid a professional to do it!!
Of the several possible route choices, we decided to take conduit along the inside of the front porch that connects the barn to the main house. A few feet along the side of the main house we can enter the cellar through the old gas heater vent! Tom was here to help and it took us most of last Saturday. We had to measure, cut and assemble the PVC conduit and then disassemble and feed the pieces over the wire in reverse order. Seven 90 degree joints were the most time consuming as we thread 50′ of wire through. The straight pieces were a breeze until we got to the last 25′ straight section which was epoxied together from another project. No need to epoxy the rest. Once the wire was in the conduit, we installed from the front (barn) backwards to the main house.
A good job to have done and one that puts us that much closer to running hot water!
I will never cease to marvel at the 21 day process that takes an egg and results in a healthy strong chick. These Icelandic chicks are from our fertility check hatch and are being raised to stay here.
The only other significant news concerns the ending of a special chapter in my life! For several years, I was an active and very involved volunteer for Shops On Star located on Star Island, an island in the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire. My most significant accomplishment/contribution was finding an Artist who could paint porcelain In the Style of Celia Thaxter!
She lives on her mountain top in New Hampshire and had a Star Island connection from her youth. I searched unsuccessfully for three years before I found her. Her pieces are properly signed and annotated, but otherwise nearly impossible to distinguish from the original pieces that Celia Thaxter did herself!
Shops On Star is now under new leadership and headed in a different direction that does not include locally sourced, Artisan produced, selections like this fine porcelain.
Last week I took a trip to visit the Artist who has painted the Porcelain In the Style of Celia Thaxter for Shops On Star to deliver, personally, the news that Shops on Star will no longer be carrying this historic porcelain once the remaining inventory is sold on Island this season.
The highlight of the day, having deliver my news, was seeing the Aster place setting (minus the luncheon and salad plates which are not finished yet).
This phenomenal place setting is part of a specially commissioned dinner service which the Artist will continue to fulfill and will ultimately have 14, 13 piece, place settings — all different Celia designs PLUS a large selection of platters, covered and uncovered serving dishes and a large tureen w/ under platter.
As you may remember, this follows the Woodbine and Rosa Rugosa place settings.
Woodbine Rosa Rugosa
Porcelain Dinner Service Place Settings In The Style of Celia Thaxter
This pretty much brings you up to date with the varied activities at Fayrehale. I would expect the next posting to be weeks out when the garden is well under way and I am back to sleeping out in the tent!
Life is Busy, Life is Good.