Thursday, February 28, 2013

Building and Bicycling

And yet again Saturday was another cold day to continue building the house. So once again I bundled up in layers of clothes and stuffed hand warmers inside my gloves.
And as I left the house I looked up and saw a huge turkey vulture hunched on top of the bakery roof looking back down at me. I got up as close as I could to take photos and failed to even start to intimidate him. He really wasn't bothered, just sitting and posing as I snapped the shutter.
At the house, we were a bit thin on the ground with volunteers which wasn't surprising with the cold spell we've had lately. I was thinking to myself that I'd rather still be tucked up in my warm bed with Kota and Rosie. But Val and Pam were there as well as Jamie the electrician so I knew we'd have some laughs.
Val and I carried on with electrical work while Pam started learning about plumbing and was soon laying pipes throughout the house like a pro.
I'm not sure how we got on to different references for the toilet but I mentioned that a commonly used and much loved term in England was The Bog, so Jamie promptly wrote it above the door.
I was pig tailing the exposed wires at the outlets, and here is an article explaing that:
Jamie followed after me checking my work and our wiring from last week and then capping the outlets once he had confirmed that they were good to go. Val and I finished our task by early afternoon and were very pleased to be able to get away and head home, but I was caught as I tried to scuttle out and had to sweep upstairs before I could escape. I did this willingly enough as poor Krysta who usually does this was at home sick. I left Pam finishing her pipes and didn't feel guilty about leaving her as I knew she'd be going home shortly too. We'll be very pleased when we get a warm day to work through, these freezing conditions really dampen our enthusiasm.
On Sunday I wallowed under the covers for as long as the cats would allow me, but I could hear their empty food bowls clinking in the kitchen as they shoved them about wailing pitifully, sounding like it had been days rather than a few hours since they'd last eaten. But I was glad once I was up as I realized that it was a beautiful day with the sun shining and no shivering as I opened the door, letting the cats out and a gentle breeze in. I decided to check out the trails of a park that Val had told me about, Whitney State Park in Warrenton. But before that I decided to use some of my energy on housework. The warm sun must have given me an urge to do some spring cleaning because before I could think twice I was vacuuming,  cleaning out the fireplace and washing all the hardwood floors. I put a new saddle on my mountain bike and then threw it on the back of Stuart. I got to the park and found a few vehicles there but couldn't see or hear any people. I decided to follow a mud trail rather than a wider fire track and set off.
I had to remove my sunglasses as the trail was very bumpy, large rocks, tree roots and logs as well as puddles and thick mud were par for the course and I had to concentrate fully on staying upright. Talk about jumping in at the deep end, it was very intense but exciting too as I bumped, crashed and splashed my way along the trail. I have to admit that I was impressed at how comfortable the bike was with my new saddle and the shocks on the front forks really removed a lot of jolting from my ride. I rode across a muddy creek, albeit not as fast as I would like. I'm so used to riding my racer with its thin tires that I can't quite fully trust these thick knobbly ones on the mountain bike just yet. But I was secretly impressed with myself at how well I did, even pedaling fast up muddy hills. I shall definitely come back here to ride especially with it being so close to home.
There was also a wonderful old wooden house on the fire track so I stopped to investigate. The photo above with my bike standing next to the house was taken precisely 1 second before my bike fell over. I stupidly put the bike stand down in mud so of course it would fall. Having had 3 motorbikes in the past I should have known better and put a flat rock under the stand.
I got back to the car and found the parking area full, but I'd only seen a couple of people so I have no idea whether this place is popular more for riding bikes or for walking. I'm sure future visits will give me an idea.
On the way home I stopped at an abandoned house I've driven past many times.
Its pretty gables attracted me but the house itself was completely trashed inside and falling apart which was a shame. I've driven past many times looking forward to the right moment when I would stop and explore it, but my exploration took no more than 5 minutes as I walked inside and around the back. Sad that such a pretty house has no chance of being restored. Walking back to the car I noticed that the wind had picked up and once again had icy fingers that picked at my hair. I heard toads across the road trilling from the frozen pond but chose the warmth of the car rather than walking across to investigate. Another time. I wanted to be home in front of a blazing fire and as I pictured the crackling logs I realized that I was tired. But happy that I'd enjoyed a warm day in the fresh country air.

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