The House has not Changed Much on the Outside

20191127_135740Nope- still looks pretty much the same as it did in my last post as far as the outside is concerned.  Of course, there is a little snow on the ground, but not too much actually.

20200217_141405But, it sure looks different inside!   Sorry for the mess, but welcome to our little cottage.   5 1/2 ”   of rock wool insulation in the walls.   A double layer of  rock wool insulation in the ceiling, along with an inch of foam board.  =  R50 in the ceiling – just what the code officer was looking for!     This is the main room in the house – the sink island will be up against that half wall.  the other side of the half wall is the living /  dining area.

20200217_141419Same room from the opposite direction.   Refrigerator and counter to the right of the hall and  stove and counter to the left.

20200217_141401you can pick out the gas  – looks like wood stove in this pic.   this will be the main source of heat in the house.   we will see how much heat makes it to the bedroom!

20200217_141344soon this will look a little more like the bathroom that it is  🙂    just ordered  a 60 inch shower stall – designed for  living in place.     When i built my last house, I laughed at an older friend who told me not to build a two story house because it would be too hard to maintain when i got older..  now I am older –  this is a one story house with  a wide hallway and a bathroom that is spacious.  We will be able to get into the shower long after stepping into a tub will become problematic!

two shots of the bedroom.   there is just one closet in the bedroom , but there is a second closet in the hallway that will  for clothes as well.

20200217_141337looking down the hall from the bedroom.   the bathroom and a small utility closet is on the left,  the  clothes closet, laundry area and pantry are on the right.

This is a house designed for two people who enjoy having guests for dinner.   The kitchen and adjoining storage spaces will be a great place to cook and bake.   But everyone will have to go home after dinner because we don’t have a guest bedroom!    Actually,  in Phippsburg I guess it is fairly common to have “bunk houses”   In a few years, we will add one to the property so that our family  and friends will have a place to  stay.  In the meantime, we have our RV that we used at the campground which will serve as a “guest house”.

For the astute builders who may be checking this out.. yes,  sheet rock usually goes on the ceiling first  before the walls – but we are installing bead board on most of the ceiling, and that requires a gap between the edge and the walls, so  it will work out fine to finish the walls and then install the ceiling later.  The bathroom and closet spaces already have sheet rock on the ceilings 🙂   Lots more to do, but I am pretty pleased with how things have worked out so far.   Stay tuned for further progress!   jt




Closed in by Winter


The goal was to have the house closed in by winter so that I could work on the interior between now and spring.    Thanks to a lot of nice fall weather,  that has pretty much happened!    In addition,  we made significant progress last Wednesday in terms of outside improvements.   The excavator showed up bright and early, and I was at Lowes at 6:15 am, picking up a few last minute items in order to make the most of the day.   This was the scene when I showed up at the house site.

Jeremy spread out the material that is piled in front of the house, and then he began to dig a trench from the front left corner of the house, across the driveway, to the spot by the road where the electrical service will go underground.    He also dug a trench from the house to the well.

In the first trench we laid in  a run of 2 inch conduit  (used for electrical service)  and two runs of  1 inch conduit  as well as a water line.  I had glued up the sections of conduit the previous day  so that we simply needed to roll it into the trench and cut the final length.   The water line is intended to provide water to our RV which now has a new parking space all of its own just to the right of the driveway.    We will also run 30 amp service through one of the one inch lines to service the RV.    With a one bedroom house, it will be nice to have the RV as a “guest room” .     The second  1 inch line will be reserved for future use.

We drilled through the foundation and laid the water line for the house along with electric line for the pump in the second trench.   This was my first experience of drilling an inch and a half hole through 6 inches of concrete…  it takes a heavy drill to handle that job.



While Jeremy moved material around, I worked inside the house, installing the last of the 20′  ceiling joists.   There will be minimal wiring in the attic, so I should be able to install insulation up there in a short while.   And, I can now build the interior walls.  There aren’t too many, so I am expecting that to happen pretty quickly!



At the end of the day,  things were starting to look like this.    You might note that we moved the shed that we built in the spring around towards the back side of the house.  Jeremy also hooked up the septic line between the house and the septic tank.

It was a very productive day.   It is amazing how much can be accomplished when the right equipment  and an experienced operator shows up!


Fall is Here


They say that we might actually have a dusting of snow at the end of this week, but our fall has been absolutely wonderful.  Summer was filled with lots of projects here in Georgetown so there were stretches of time that we simply had to put the Phippsburg house project on hold.   I have had the opportunity to spend some serious time there over the last week or so, and the push is on to get things closed in before the temperatures take a dive for good.

As this picture indicates, yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day!  The sky was blue and the temperature was just right for working outside.   I took this picture at lunch time.  By the end of the day all four of the front windows were in place.


Today was not quite as bright, but it was still a good day for working… at least till the rain came in the afternoon.  But, by then I had all of the paper up on this near gable end, and the fifth window in place.   Half of the windows are in now.   My goal is to finish the windows and the doors within 2 weeks.   This morning the fellow who has been doing the site work stopped by, and we made plans to finish up that portion of the job by the time Thanksgiving rolls around.

A pressing need now is to take a few loads of trash to the dump – if all goes well, I might get that accomplished tomorrow.    I should really spend more time at the end of each day, sweeping and organizing the refuse, but I am finding that there is little energy left for such things these days!

On a side note, I stopped in Bath today to pick up some glass panels that we had ordered for a job in Georgetown.  The woman at the desk took me into the shop and opened the door there to make it easier to load.  When she saw my van, she asked if I was building a house on Lewis Way.  It turns out that she is our next door neighbor there –  the world is rather small.. especially so in the mid-coast area of Maine!


Progress on the Phippsburg House


At the conclusion of a flurry of activity spurred on by the imminent annual spring closing of roads to heavy vehicles I showed up to the site and saw the foundation of our new house for the first time.   And then we took a quick trip to PA to check on family.  When we returned I got a call from the excavator – only two days left before he would not be able to take his trucks on the road, he wondered if I was ready to install the drain pipes.  I wasn’t, but, of course, that is not the answer that he wanted!  I showed up the next day,  and began installing drains, and, when that was finished, we filled in with stone…


and then backfilled the outside of the wall.  It is amazing how much material one can move in a short time with a machine that large.h2

The next job was to install the mud sills.   This was a cooperative effort on a sunny day – Janet helped with the drilling and bolting of the sills. h4

It is always satisfying to  check off one of the hundreds of items on the list !


Next came the floor joists.. this did not go quite as quickly as i was working solo.   Beautiful sky –  quiet – a wonderful place to work!


One joist at a time….


and then , all of a sudden, another item is checked off the list!

Today I returned with a van full of  subfloor panels.    It pays to be patient and to get the first sheet right….


The shadows sort of indicate that a good number of hours passed between this point…


and this point!   I was a little sore as I packed my tools away in the van,  and I was thinking to myself that I had imagined getting done quicker.   But, when I got home I looked up the weight of  one 4 x 8 sheet of adventech sub floor and found that it was 70 pounds.. and I was carrying and throwing those around all day .. and I am not 35  any more  🙂   So I guess I don’t feel so bad!

I have ten more panels to pick up and install, and then..  well, it seems like our plan of action at this point will be to cover everything up and hold off  for a while before we actually begin to frame the house.

Spring has arrived in Maine, at least along the coast, and there is a long list of items that need attention in order to prepare for the summer season in Georgetown.   It looks like it will be a busy and fun summer, with lots of projects to keep us occupied.  But  still plenty of time to entertain friends, so call us up and let’s make plans 🙂

Not a quiet Winter

wharf in snow

We have not had much snow in Georgetown so far this winter, but last weekend a storm swept through the area and left its mark.  The wharf looks pretty quiet, but there are still a few lobster boats in the harbor, and we have enjoyed some wonderful gatherings with folks from town.   Tomorrow is the monthly community pot luck at the Community Center which is just down the road.   And, the Tuesday night open mic  event has started again at the Robinhood Meeting House.  So, we are not lacking for things to do!

We still go to the beach from time to time – even when it snows…  and so do the crazy surfers!  reid state park winter

It was really cold at the beach –  like  -10  wind chills, but on the way to take this picture, we passed some cars with surfboards laying by them and folks inside trying to warm up.

rsp waves The tide was out, but the surf was pretty whipped up – I bet they had a good time.   We only lasted about 10 minutes before heading back to the car!


And, after dreaming about a house in Maine  since we bought land in Phippsburg back in 2014, we decided to bite the bullet and charge forward.    For the past few years, we have been gradually clearing a spot for a house, but  now the big machines have moved in.  It is amazing how much can be done  quickly with the right tools.


if the weather cooperates,  we may have a foundation in before the town closes the roads to heavy vehicles –  an annual event when the ground starts to thaw and the roads begin to heave.  The truck ban can last a month or so.   We have our fingers crossed.    At some point in the future, I will take a picture of the house which should look something like this

house plan

we will  see!   keep posted.




Apple Cider Time!

cpgrindinglast year we dropped by the neighbors for a quick visit during there cider pressing weekend..  and we immediately made the decision to return for the full day this year.. so glad that we did!     If you study the picture above, you will quickly figure out that this is no ordinary cider pressing operation.   In fact , the entire set up is based around using bikes and people power to drive the machines at each step of the process.   In the picture above, two cyclists are working together to run the machine that chops up the apples..

The apples that are being loaded into the hopper have just come through a washing process that is operated by a single cyclist.    cppresing I have to apologize for the lack of clarity in this pic..  i was riding the bike as i took the picture…  this is the station that does two things..  it provides the power to operate the pump which presses the cider.. and it also  runs the grinder that you see in the foreground..   what is the purpose of grinding corn when running a cider press?   you  might ask..

cplunch can’t answer that question at the moment because it is lunch time!   you will note that this is no small operation..  lots of folks show up for what has become an annual event.. people from California, Michigan, and lots from Massachusetts where Ben, the inventive mind behind all of these machines, went to school..   who would have imagined  that a degree from MIT could lead to a story like this!

While lots of folks were sorting, and washing, and crushing , and pressing apples,  a few were busy preparing a huge pot of vegetable stew  and when “lunch time”  was called, there were a lot of grateful, hungry people ready to eat..  note the use of a cooler to keep the stew hot…  great idea….

cpciderthe effort proves to be well worth it..   there will be cider for everyone to take home…   this is a wonderful example of community gathering and working together for the common good…  nothing like it to generate a sense of camaraderie and satisfaction  and well-being..

During the afternoon, a small group has been working in the back of the barn..  preparing a huge pot of chili ,  apple crisp, and , perhaps you have guessed it,  corn bread!   Now you know the “rest of the story”  as Paul Harvey would say..    not only did we grind corn, but also rye which went into the corn bread as well…


CPdinnerTime to celebrate a job well done..  and to eat lots of chili , cornbread and  apple crisp.. with fresh cider to boot…

I can’t make a lot of predictions for the year 2019, but I sure can tell you what we will be doing towards the end of October  a year from now 🙂      Thanks to our neighbors, Emily and David for sharing this opportunity with us…   Life is good in Georgetown!

Reid State Park – Georgetown Maine


We have been evaluating life on Georgetown recently… one of the items that is surely on  the positive side is the fact that we are  just 10 minutes away from Reid State Park which happens to be an awesome gateway to the ocean..   ( also a wonderful bike ride when the weather is conducive ).

Today we went to the transfer station – formally known as the dump –  this is at least a weekly social event here on Georgetown as it is elsewhere in New England – but maybe we will leave that for another post sometime!   On the way home we decided to swing by the wharf at Five Islands – I did not take any pictures there, but we were greeted with  the scene of waves crashing around the islands and immediately decided to head to the beach.   We were not disappointed.   I wish that I was able to load movie clips on this blog – the waves were the biggest that I have seen in our time here on the island..


huge pieces of driftwood were strewn all over the beach..  not the kind that one would collect for a bonfire, but instead, the kind that would demolish the bow of a fast moving boat!


somewhere out there in that large breaking wave there are two surfers –  as we made our way down to them  we watched as the front half of one of there surf boards washed up on the beach..  they were Colby students, and I think it would be fair to say that they had been pretty beaten up on their ride in.    I don’t believe that the one whose board was still intact had any desire to head back out in the water!

It was a great day to visit the beach – a wonderful reminder of how fortunate we are to be able to live on Georgetown Island…

Goodbye Summer 2018


One of the projects that I worked on this past summer was this deck in the front of the cottage that we all home – at least for the summer… We have actually had a number of  mosquito-less mornings and evenings to enjoy on the deck..   but just last week we began the move from this cottage to the one where we will be spending the winter.. our second in Georgetown.

During the past few weeks we have enjoyed the opportunity to get on our road bikes  Our first ride was to Reid state park.  it is just 6 miles away, the the distance suited us just fine for the time of day that we left.   I did not have my phone on the ride, so no pics to share.  But we did get to explore the Todd’s point beach for the first time.. it is about a mile beyond the beach that is closer to the park entrance.

Our second ride was the park loop road at Acadia.. we took a day trip up to Mt Desert to visit our friends at the Mt Desert Campground.   It was a beautiful day and so enjoyable to visit for former colleagues there.   The ride around the loop is about 22 miles… It was crowded – and traffic was heavy till we got beyond Thunder Hole.. but after that the roadway was pretty easy to negotiate… These are some pics from that ride…



we had a packed lunch along with us, and stopped at this turnout to eat…




We have so many fond memories of the 3 seasons that we spent working at Mt Desert Campground…   a beautiful spot to live and to play!

Our most recent cycling trip was on Westport Island..  the tip of the island is only a mile or so away from where we live..  but it is about a 45 minute drive to get there by car.   We decided to park at Norm’s used car sales and to ride from there..   that made it about a 22 mile drive.    Westport Island is off of rt 1 near Wiscasset.. you really will only end up there if you are intending to go there..  it is a quite town with very few businesses, so the traffic was fairly light compared with the road down to Georgetown.   It was a great afternoon.. beautiful weather..  nice road surface..  a perfect ride.    We met some folks along the way – talked about life on Westport Island..  and even made plans to return the following Monday evening for  pizza at the  Squire TarBox Inn!    I have just a couple of pics from the ride..

a beautiful example of New England architecture..

fp3and a place to buy our next pie…


Some of the other pics that I took did not turn out so well…   the  pizza on Monday night was delicious..  there was a band playing some blues music , and a nice crowd of locals who obviously appreciate the opportunity to have a place to socialize on what is otherwise a very quiet island..

Another trip that we took recently was to Monhegan Island.. this was not a trip for bikes, but rather, an opportunity to do some great hiking..   A few years ago I posted about a trip to Monhegan with some students…  this was Janet’s first visit.   The weather report called for a foggy morning  which would clear with sunny skies by afternoon..  that never happened, but it was perfectly ok.. we enjoyed  the mystique that began with a 10 mile boat ride through the fog.. to land on this small island, known for its appeal to artists..    it is certainly an experience!

fp9this is a shot looking down on the landing.. there is a great little cafe there  where we got a sandwich and soup while waiting for the boat on our return…

we headed out on what I suspect is the typical hiking pattern of a counter clockwise direction around the island.. fp12

the hiking is great.. lots of cliffs on the east side of the island..  it can be pretty dramatic..


we made it a good way around the island and then headed back to the village via the Cathedral Woods trail..   we picked this one because it is known for its fairy houses..



it is so neat to see the creativity that folks put into their creations…

On the way back, the boat captain took us close to some shoals where seals like to  rest on the rocks..   we saw a bunch of them… and then we filled out a customer satisfaction survey on the boat, lured by the prospect of winning a free trip.. which we never win..  except, wait.. Janet Thatcher.. yup.. she won.. looks like we will be heading back next year!


I just took this photo yesterday..  the light of summer is gone… fall is definitely in the air, even though we still have a number of beautiful days ahead of us… we know what is coming, and it is time to prepare..  maybe a little more wood for the stove ( there are still some standing dead oaks around)   putting the summer clothes in bins and getting the warmer ones out… finishing up some painting projects while we still have some warm air…  all in all,  Life is good in Maine!      comments or questions?     email me at

Summer 2018 – where did it go??

s1Sometimes I get to the end of summer and lament the fact that I fell short of reaching the goals that I had set for myself at the end of spring..  I almost caught myself doing it again, but putting together this blog post has made  me realize that we actually packed quite a bit into the last three months.   The picture above was taken at the wharf at Five Islands – it was the opening weekend of  5 Islands lobster company, and it seems like forever ago!

s2On of our jobs last fall was to plant bulbs around the meadow and along the stone walls..  these lasted a long time and brought us a great deal of pleasure…  perhaps this photo pre-dated the actual summer.. but it needed to be here just the same!

s3an early summer project.. the big brother to the shed that I built at the campground two years ago..  we needed a place to stuff some stuff!

s4 perhaps we did not use the kayaks as often as we would have liked, but we did have some great paddles –  early morning and later evening when Robinhood Cove was still…

s5it wouldn’t be summer without strawberry shortcake!

s6sailing on Boston Harbor in the evening with a friend… what a treat that was…

s7sitting on a bench in Harvard Yard, watching prospective students take tours…

s8Tuesday evening  open mic sessions at the Robinhood Meeting House…

s9enjoying a visit with friends from our old neighborhood in PA.. just had to take them to Pemiquid Point…

s10an evening sail out of Boothbay Harbor  on the schooner Eastwind ..  there actually wasn’t an easterly wind that night..  in fact, very little wind from any direction.. but so pleasant just the same…

s11cleaning oysters.. that is what one does when living at an oyster farm!   the work can be a bit tedious , but the view is awesome and there is usually company and stimulating conversation…

s12a visit to MacMahan Island.. just a hop skip and jump from the landing on Georgetown, but it is a bit like going back in time….

s13enjoying views of sailboats, eagles, herons  and seals from the deck..

s14spending time with family.. this is my grand daughter, Wren,  enjoying her very first concert.. Old Crow Medicine Show  at the L L  Bean outdoor concert series…  oh yea.. that is my son Erik too 🙂

s15 a visit with Aunt Sue and Uncle Allen..  and dinner at 5 Islands on a foggy evening…

s16a few stops at Round Top Ice Cream in  Damariscotta …  we found that  we can buy their ice cream by the half gallon at a local ice cream shop..  total pleasure….

s17Watching my step daughter, Aria,  interact with my grandson, Maris, and his new friend, Willa…

s18visits to Reid State Park – just a few miles down the road..  a favorite destination…

s19 sunsets over Robinhood Cove  from the porch…

s20using very local materials to build a raised bed for a garden for next year…

s22adding trim and cedar shingles to  the barn that was raised on the property this summer…

s21it wouldn’t be summer without peach shortcake either!


s24it is exciting to be able to begin harvesting tomatoes from the garden, but, at least in Maine, that also signals the end of summer… out of nowhere, Labor Day was upon us.. and just like that the traffic will begin to diminish as the summer visitors return home..

It has been a productive summer…  and the barn work will continue well into the fall..   there is plenty to do to prepare for winter..  more firewood to split and move ..  painting to fit in before the temperature drops too much..   and planning ahead for next summer.. who knows what opportunities will present themselves!  I hope you all had a wonderful summer too – would love to hear about it..

Five Islands Lobster Company


Five Islands Lobster Co opened this weekend – I guess that the season has officially begun!     For the next month or so, it is only open on weekends, and the menu is limited, but  opening day deserved some attention, so we  went down and  enjoyed some french fries ( missed the chowder since we got there late in the day)   and the view.

When we pulled up, I pointed out the fog bank that appeared to be way off in the distance.     We placed our order and Janet picked up  an application –  just for the fun of it…   and I took another picture.


is it my imagination, or does that fog bank hiding behind the islands getting closer….

We enjoyed our french fries with lots of ketsup..  and then Janet got down to the business of filling out the application –  nothing like  a summer job that one can bike to!

And then I looked up…


I wish that I had a video showing just how fast the fog was moving in.. it was a sight to see..


From clear and sunny to    grey, and misty in a matter of just six  minutes….   mariners beware!


wasn’t there an island over there just a minute ago?

Do you remember filling out your first job application?   Turning it in with all sorts of anticipation and hearing ” We will let you know if anything is available..”   or some such response.

Janet turned in her application  ( with just a little french fry  grease on it) , met the owner and had a job in 5 minutes..  faster than it took for the fog to roll in..  she starts next Saturday..