Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Super New Book

I got new reading material for a Christmas present. I've put a book cover picture in the sidebar. The book is titled, Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town, Dogtown. It's extremely well researched and written by Elyssa East.

I finished reading it tonight. Yep, that good. A real can't put it down book that wraps the history of Dogtown around the 1984 murder of Anne Natti in it's woods. While I admit to being fascinated with the unusual, and Dogtown certainly qualifies, I think most anyone with the slightest inclination towards history and the unique atmosphere of an island community will be as enthralled with this book as I am.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas

Any of you know how to read Finnish?We found this card in the Lanesville house. It is addressed to the long deceased V. E. Haapa Natti (subsequently Storns). A fitting card to post here. We've been feeding the large clan (flock) of Bubbas and Squirt has reappeared to steal what he feels he's due. He hasn't been very pushy about it as there are an abundance of acorns this year. Today, he was having fits just trying to get one peanut as the bluejays kept landing around him and dive-bombing him. Poor little Squirt was frozen in place and ducking!

Even more wildlife have been coming around. Some not so welcome...

On Sunday there was a lot of shoveling to do. Near the end of the day I shoveled the back garden walk near the birdfeeder and deck. As I scooped up a shovelful at the base of deck steps, I nearly sliced up a small, dark grey mouse under all the snow. He scurried out of the way and burrowed neatly under a nearby drift of snow. Eeeeeew. That makes me real enthusiastic about snow removal back there for the rest of the winter.

On a more interesting note, today after Squirt and the Bubbas were finished with their feasting on peanuts, a hawk landed on out deck railing. Wish I had had the camera handy.

I wish you all the best of the holiday season and I'm so thankful to have you all visiting here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It May Look Pretty, But...

it's no fun to shovel or drive in. Here are the requisite photos of what I woke up to this morning.The initial shoveling was backbreaking. With drifting the snow depths were from 0 to 18 inches or more.As noted by the snow plastered against our sliding doors that go out to the deck, it's blowing a gale outside. I spent about an hour and fifteen minutes with my first shovel out. I'll be back at it again shortly. My face is so red it looks like I spent an afternoon in the sun. Only in my dreams. 'A' has to be at work at 2 p.m. I was sort of hoping she'd call in sick since she has a sore throat. No such luck.


I'm dreaming of a sun-drenched Christmas,
Where temps are eighty and above.
Turquoise waters and orange blossoms,
And palm trees swaying are what I love.

Sigh again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Can't Say I've Been Bored

Just so you all get to see what I've been keeping busy job board in my workshop is pictured above. It's from the beginning of November up until the present. The two left hand columns show key work. Each job is a three to four day turnaround time. Some of the individual jobs are multi-part, therefore requiring up to one weeks shop time. Divide all that in to less than 60 days! The upper right hand column is devoted to tunings, estimates, and small in-home repairs. The lower right hand corner lists upcoming repairs, minor and major and some known January jobs. Although getting all the key work out on schedule can be, and has been for the past couple weeks, stressful, I really like seeing so much work coming in.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


'Tis the season. Last December my work was down by 75% from the previous year. The piano business was really taking a hit from the down economy. This December, well, I think folks have finally gotten fed up with doing without. I'm presently swamped with work. So much so that I have postponed two new customers to having more involved work done after the new year. I tuned a somewhat decrepit, yet tunable, Welte - Mignon studio 'mirror' piano on Friday morning. It needs three hammer flanges (doubling as damper flanges) repinned. Things are playable and he agreed to schedule the repair for after the holidays. Friday afternoon I went to take a look at a Starck console. Just needs tuning (pretty routine). It does need new key tops. I'm scheduled to go back on the 30th to pick up the keys.

So what's the deal? I've got 12 hours days worth of key jobs in the workshop for the next week - at least! A rush job of key bushing, ivory repair, and backcheck releathering for a regular customer. Key tops and bushing for a new customer. Two sets at once of key tops for another newbie.

So far.

In shipment, due to arrive next week, three more key top jobs and one key bushing job. Next week I also have a tuning and repair on Tuesday morning.

I am sooooo tired. It'll all get done. On time. Somehow.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

At Least It Didn't Snow

But it was sure a yucky day.

We had our first snow of the season early last Sunday morning. That didn't amount to more than a dusting, but it was annoying to have to scrape the windshield. For the past couple of days the meteorologists have been predicting a doozey. "Watch out, we're going to get a major snow storm," was all I heard on the weather. It started with heavy rain in southern California (thanks Scribbs) and spread itself halfway across the country with snow in New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, then Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and the upper midwest. Today was our turn.

But not here.

It's very rainy and very, very windy. Very grey and gloomy. Squirt and Squeaky had their breakfast in the lee of our big oak tree.


Drive a few miles to the west or north and they had snow. Up to 10 inches in some places, but NOT HERE! Of course, we have huge puddles and the wind was blasting so violently that a cement weighted sign in Stop & Shop's parking lot blew over doing some significant paint damage to the hood of a shiny, black Mustang parked in front of it. It was a small enough sign, on a metal post, with a circular mass of cement about a foot thick and 2 feet in diameter. The metal post did the damage. Yes, I braved the wild and wet storm to go in to the store to tell the manager.

So, now we're all home, nice and cozy. Thankfully, I've got key work in to keep me busy with more arriving tomorrow and Friday. Dinner is cooking, the Christmas decorations are all out. I'm heading for the living room to stare at the tree.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Free For All

Last week, on a weird fluke, 'A' decided she wanted to pick up the daily newspaper. Upon turning to the Rockport page a headline caught my attention. Over a week later, I don't remember the exact wording of that headline, but it indicated an interesting article to be read below it. The article was about the planned upgrade and 'restoration' of the Rockport Community House AND it clearly stated that the building would be open on the following Saturday for residents to TAKE anything available that they could use. WOW!! A free sale!

The Saturday rolled around and I really didn't feel like rolling out of bed early. The words FREE STUFF kept rolling around my brain, so I did roll out. I thought it would be best to beat the scheduled opening time of 9 a.m. by about a half hour. Folks in this town are known to line up well ahead of time for bargains. I was first to arrive so I waited in my truck and watched the door. When one other 'shopper' arrived, I headed for the door. There were two rooms set up with an assortment of items. Tables, folding chairs, glassware, desks, file cabinets, an electric keyboard, stove, refrigerator, and assorted miscellany. Some neat stuff that I really didn't need.

What I ended up with was a large, and very heavy, folding screen covered with old and cracking Naugahyde, a very nice, newish, tall folding chair, an iron candlestick, a roll of white plastic tablecovering, and a Mission-style oak plant stand that needs refinishing.The picture is rather blurry, but it beats the other one I have which is way too dark! (No, I'm not taking another.)

Then I went on with my morning.

After dropping 'A' off at work at 11 a.m. I thought, oh well, might as well stop by and see what's left. The two ladies in charge of the give-away were getting ready to leave as I entered the main room. They hung around while I loaded up two metal shelving units and a collapsible, rolling clothes rack.

So...I haven't a clue what I will do with the folding screen. Right now it's a bit of a divider in the workshop. The tall chair is down there as well. It will be good for the craft shows next year. The candlestick is awaiting a good spot. It may wait for years! The roll of plastic table covering is sure to be handy, even as a dropcloth. The plant stand has been taken apart (it needed a reglue anyway) and will be refinished this winter. The shelves are in use in the workshop as is the rolling clothing rack which has been equipped with window screening which all the ivory jewelry is hanging on, covered in clear plastic, for the winter. For craft shows it will be the new stand for the ivory process photographs that I have as a backdrop.

Free stuff is great.