The East Side of the House is DONE!!!!!!!!!

First, I want everyone to know David and I are doing well.  We did stay locked down for two months, managing the vagaries of grocery delivery and baking up a storm.  Now we go to the store well masked and keep our distance.  A shelf inside our side door is the  spot where we would drop off and pick up things to and from our friends who live next door—Doubletree Chocolate Cookies are my favorite treat to share.

Well, after two months of reading, napping, petting cats and spending way too much time on the computer, I actually wanted to get something done on the house.  And so I refurbished a dozen six-pane window sashes and a pair of eight-pane (as well as doing minor work on half a dozen more sashes that had been done years ago.) For the old ones that meant popping out loose putty, removing peeling and alligatored paint, reglazing maybe a third of the panes and then sanding, priming and painting.  It took me the better part of a month to do that.

When I was all done we were able to finish the east side, as these before, midpoint and done photos show.  What’s the difference between the second and third photos?


See that white window in the attic?  Well, that’s a vinyl one and it’s slightly shorter than all the rest so we had nothing to replace it.  But then, during lockdown, the same person who gave us all the other windows—thank you Scott—called to say he had a few more.  Turned out one set was the exact size for the attic opening!  Took some time and effort to get it done — the “stairs” to the attic are really more of a ladder and you have to crawl for a bit until you get to the center where you can stand up — but we did.  And got it done before the heatwave that has raised the temp up there to at least 110 degrees!

No work until it cools down, so for now just happy for the heat to give us a good crop of heirloom tomatoes.  First time we’ve actually done it properly so will send some pics as we prepare for luscious BLTs.

We are doing well and staying home.

daffodils 2020

As you can see from the daffodils blooming in our front garden, Spring has arrived…along with Covid 19.  When I planted 150 bulbs late last Fall, I never imagined I’d be cutting those daffodils to bring inside so I had something cheery something to look at as the days turned into weeks and maybe even months.  But we are lucky.  We are both healthy, have reliable grocery delivery and three cats who are delighted we never leave the house.

Try as I might to work on my research for the Middle Passage Project, I just can’t bring myself to do anything but read, watch Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video, cook and eat.  I am sure I will have gained at least ten pounds by the time this STAY HOME order ends, but if so that makes me a lucky one.  I read the news in detail but have stopped watching Trump’s daily propaganda after my husband pointed out just how bad it was.  I do watch Governor Cuomo every day because he gives us facts and actually cares about the people working and dying.

moe and wine glass

Work on the house, which will involve ladders and saws, will have to wait for warmer weather and the knowledge that a trip to the ER if something goes awry will be safe.  Until then, when the sun shines late in the day I am sitting out with Moe who is always happy to share a glass with me.  Stay safe all.

Three years of work comes to fruition.

Last week was the dedication of the Middle Passage marker at the entrance to the Town Wharf, the place where Warren’s first slave ship left from in 1789. It’s the culmination of three years of work with Sarah Weed as co-chairs and main researchers of the Warren Middle Passage Project.  I wrote the marker and worked with the designer on the layout and graphics.  By far the most important work I have ever  done. marker

The perfect spot for a climbing rose.

In my last post, I promised readers more frequent posts.  I also promised myself that I would make yoga a part of my daily life.  Well, I’m two for two on how successful that has been, but I think the rose I planted less than a year ago makes up for it.

roses june 10 2019

Every once in awhile the right plant gets put in the right spot and then look out.  That’s what happened with this rose.  While an identical rose, planted just twenty feet away, is still leggy, this one has taken off.  It gets about an hour more sun than the other and is sheltered in a nook that keeps it warmer in winter.  The result is about 50 buds waiting to bloom right now, each a peachy pink with yellow center cabbage rose with an amazing scent.  I am looking forward to having breakfast Sunday with that window wide open.  It faces southeast so the sun should come pouring in, carrying the fragrance of sweet roses on the morning breeze.  

Finally, the yoga room is complete.

It has been five months since I last posted, so to those of you who have subscribed to this blog:  I am really sorry for my lack of posts.  We appear to be through with winter–knock on wood–and so I am stepping into Spring with a vow to post more often and make yoga as close to a daily event as possible.

If you remember last year, I was facing a room that needed lots of work.  Remember?  yoga2The ceiling had been ripped out, the wall reinforced with plywood and the corner post was one of two that would take many hours to scrape, patch, wet sand, caulk, prime and paint.  Then the wall and ceiling needed to be plastered by Ray followed by David putting up the simple baseboard and top trim that I requested.  From there everything got painted Linen White because I really thought I would be happy with a monochromatic space.  But I wasn’t and for a month I ignored the room because it seemed unfinished.  But then I decided I needed to warn the room up.  And here it is!

yoga march 2019The first thing I did was put up the mural you can see on the right.  It’s from IKEA and I liked the hazy monotone, almost like a hand painted mural….and it has a hot air balloon something I have loved since reading 21 Balloons as a teenager.  It was easy to put up with two pairs of hands and it gives that calm meditative feeling.  I painted the walls the cafe au lait we have downstairs and then the room seemed finished.  On the bench is a basket for my yoga blanket and blocks and I tuck my rolled mat underneath where the cats can’t stand on top of it and scratch the hell out of the rubber…this is a good thick mat and I want it to last.

This room has a working fireplace, but we aren’t going to burn wood in it.  Love the look, smell and sound of it, but carrying wood up and ashes down the stairs does not appeal to me, so we are going to make it gas with a fake log and all.  It will be nice for yoga, since the cold air that flows along the floor can sometimes make that Savasana a little too cool for comfort.  Namaste everybody.


The history of our house.

I was looking through this blog this morning and realized that the history of the house needed updating.  Lucky for me, I don’t have to go far to find that information since my husband has a website Old Warren Houses that includes his ongoing document research on the houses within Warren’s historic district.

Here’s the early history of our house, including purchase and sale, based on the Warren Book of Deeds, Vital Records and the Census.

Caleb Carr estate sold a parcel containing this lot to Josias Lyndon on December 10, 1768.  Lyndon broke that parcel into lots and sold lot 11 to Rufus Barton ($21 milled Spanish).  September 10, 1782.

It was at this point the house was built as the home of Rufus Barton and Prudence Cole.  She was the daughter of Ebenezer Cole who was a very prominent and wealthy citizen of the town.  The 1774 Census tells us that Ebenezer owned a woman who was at least sixteen years of age.  This unnamed enslaved woman might well have labored in this house.

By 1790, Rufus and Prudence were living here with six other white people, most likely their children.  Rufus Barton sold to N.M.Burr for $775 on January 28, 1797 and the family moved to Rensselaer, New York.

Nathan Miller Burr sold to William Eastabrooks for $1300 on October 7, 1799.   Captain Eastabrook/Easterbrook had just returned from an illegal* slave voyage on the “Betsey” to Africa that resulted in the enslavement of 79 Africans who were sold into slavery in Havana.  I have no doubt he used the profits from that heinous crime to purchase his home. He would go on to captain at least two more illegal* voyages: the “Racoon” from Boston in 1800 and the “Little Ann” from Bristol in 1806.  and the “Hannah” from Bristol in 1807. These three voyages accounted for the death or enslavement of 229 persons.  In 1817, the Captain died.

Two years later, on January 22, 1819, Seth Peck, administrator of the Eastabrooks estate, sold to William Carr and Joseph Smith for $365.  On July 1, 1824,  they sold to Abraham Greene for $400.  On October 7, 1828, he sold to Barnard Smith for $1000 and then just months later — January 13, 1829 — Barnard and Margaret sold to Turner Carr, shipwright, for $850.

*The RI General Assembly outlawed the involvement of any Rhode Island resident in the transatlantic slave trade; the law was ignored and enforcement was rare.


I am about to get my yoga room.

Today is a day I have been waiting for — the final plastering of my yoga room.  If that sounds like an indulgence, it is, but staying strong and flexible takes daily attention and yoga works for me.  Now this room is the one you enter when you come to the second floor.  All the other rooms open onto it so it functions as a big hallway.  These images show you the east side of the room with reinforced walls leveled to take the plaster.  The other walls are already done so this side and the ceiling will be today’s work.

The door on the left leads to the laundry room, the one on the right to a work space with a day bed that is a wonderful sunny room (remember this) that will allow me to work on projects yet keep the mess out of sight and away from inquiring cats.  The room also opens to the back hall (guest room/bath, the master bath) and the master bedroom.  That means two windows and five doorways so it makes sense to keep it an uncluttered open space.

Now if you are wondering what is going on with the floor, join the club.  For some reason the whole floor was screwed down with deck screws some time in the recent path.  Did the floor squeak?  We have no idea though we know the original wide pine floors are underneath.  We might pull the top boards up some day, but for now we will be layering rugs as you will see once it’s all done.

The only furniture I plan on having is the bureau you can kind of see on the right — it will be moved to the opposite wall — and a simple love seat that I will be reupholstering in a brownish linen.  Of course, there will be other details, but you will see that later.  Oh, and did I mention the room also has a fireplace?  We found an old mantel for it and have decided this is the perfect spot for a gas log and there is already a fitting for it within a foot.

I had thought I would need a TV to play DVDs but have since found a wonderful selection of yoga videos on YouTube so my laptop will do the trick.  Along with bringing me a peaceful space, I think it will be very good for the cats who have had to put up with an ever changing array of clutter on the floors in many of the rooms they live in — and we know cats DO NOT LIKE CHANGE  But they do like yoga and so this room will be one we can all enjoy.  Stay tuned for details.

We have reached a major milestone.

houseWhen we bought our house, it was covered in vinyl siding with vinyl  replacement windows.  We knew we were going to replace it all but knew it would take time.  First we removed the vinyl siding, took down the hideous carport and began to put the house back together.  A friend donated old six over six windows that had been taken out of a house just about the age of ours and I refurbished them over the course of two years.   WP_20150702_15_24_39_ProToday, the front and side of the house (except for the third floor window which is a different size so we will either build a new one or cover it in a pair of old shutters) are done.  We are proud and happy and will spend the rest of the day patting ourselves on the back!

house three quarter sept 18House front septenber 18house side sep 2018