I am an Egghead. I cook on a Big Green Egg. I am known as Spring Chicken in Big Green Egg circles.. I also do a little woodworking. My wife and I recently moved from Spring, Texas to Covington, Louisiana. As such, 'Texas Spring Chicken' no longer seems appropriate. So as of today, 10/15/17, I have become Covington Spring Chicken.
It's hard to believe, but we've already had our second snowfall since moving into our New House on November 1st, only 78 days ago. And it has only been 38 days since it snowed back on December 8th. I'm guessing that's some kind of record for here.
Not only did it snow, it got down to 16° with a wind chill of 1° this morning. And Mother Nature promises even more of the same for today, tonight and tomorrow.
Even so, we sure enjoyed the view this morning.
It's way too cold to work in the garage today so I guess we'll just catch up on something else. I'm thinking Naps may be the answer. We sure aren't crazy enough to go somewhere.
As we get more and more comfortable in New House, there are two large projects that I particularly wanted done.
The first was to build a new outdoor kitchen, now referred to as New Coop, to not only serve as a place to cook on our Big Green Eggs, but also our Blackstone Grill, while also serving as a gathering spot for entertaining. I have the plans drawn and approved by the Homeowner's Association, the slab poured, the plumbing, electrical, and natural gas stubbed out, and I'm ready to get on with it as soon as the other major project is finished.
The other project is a freight elevator into the garage attic. Yes, an elevator - not one of those 'lifts' that work like a motorized 'sling.' I wanted something that was built strong enough and safe enough for me to ride along on the elevator if necessary.
The elevator project is now almost complete. Just some tweaking and cosmetic work remains and it will be finished.
It has already delivered its first load into the attic, a very heavy box filled with Mardi Gras beads. They were much too heavy for me to hand-carry up that flimsy folding attic ladder, so they remained on the garage floor, always in the way until they became the first to ride the Leroy Elevator.
I will make a detailed video of the Leroy Elevator's construction after I finish, but for now I thought I would share this short video of the elevator hoisting its first load into the attic.
Frank Smith (aka Frank From Houma in Big Green Egg circles) and Maria (aka his bride of nearly 45 years, navigator, and Traveling Companion) drove over from Houma to see New House and its current occupants. That would be us.
It was a wonderful surprise to see them again.
They also brought Poteet and Jolie who quickly discovered my chair. I like it too Poteet and Jolie.
Judy had some spaghetti and meatballs cooking when they arrived so lunch was served, followed by some good old 'table talk' that included some old times and new times. It was fun.
Naturally, they got the tour of New House, saw the desks we built, where the elevator will go and where New Coop will be built.
But they didn't come empty handed. Frank presented one of his cutting boards to us. It's beautiful and contains four species of wood.
As they drove off into the sunset we were once again reminded that except for the Big Green Egg, we probably would never have met them. But in a way it feels like we've known them all of our lives. Its a real pleasure knowing them.
We really, really wanted to be in our new house by Christmas. It's Christmas Eve and here we are.
But it isn't a "New House" any more as much as it is "Home."
Yes, we're getting more and more settled in each day. All those many boxes of 'things' in the garage are gradually finding a place that best suits their purpose.
So on this first Christmas Eve, we are taking a much needed break from unpacking so that we can celebrate our good fortune and all that goes with the spirit of Christmas.
Instead of working on Christmas Eve, we will join David and Michelle, and Chase and Cheryl at Joyce and Allen's for a traditional Christmas Eve celebration in their New Home. Then we will return here for our First Christmas in the quiet solitude of Our New Home.
On Christmas Day, we returned to Joyce and Allen's for a delightful Christmas Dinner. We were joined by neighbors who also brought food. We certainly had plenty to eat. It was fun.
I took a lot of photos during the two days and condensed them into this video. I hope you enjoy it.
First, let me apologize for not updating our move to New House sooner. As you can guess, we've been pretty busy getting settled. There were literally 'hundreds' of boxes to open and start looking for a place to put the items.
Some things didn't make the cut and ended up at Goodwill, or given to someone who wanted it, or sold, or tossed. Lots of stuff was tossed, but it was mostly junk to begin with. Some of it dating back to the late 1900's. Ha... that sounds strange, "late 1900's," but we accumulated a lot during our 29 years in Texas. And there are some treasured items dating back even further. Not all fits our new lifestyle in New House, so ......
There were a few surprises, some disappointments (mostly breakage), and lots of frustration, but it was clearly coming together to become everything we had hoped for in our new life.
The garage, of course, has been where most of this 'stuff' was stored until we could get to it. But first, we had to install garage cabinets to hold some of it. And we're still not through with that project. But we're working on it and hope to get it done soon.
Meanwhile, on December 8th, it snowed...
Yes, and it snowed all day long, sometimes with big fluffy flakes just like in the Hallmark Christmas shows. It was just barely cold enough that the snow managed to accumulate to as much as 4" in areas.
Yes, it was beautiful. And what a nice Welcome to Terra Mariae, where all the cottages looked absolutely beautiful, ours included.
And evidence of the snow was everywhere for four wonderful days.
Wouldn't you know it...! On October 26th we asked Martin if we could have the refrigerator delivered and working so that it would be ready to receive food when we got the okay to move in. He said sure, and that was a relief. It takes time to get appliance deliveries set up.
But then he said, "My cleaning crew will be here tomorrow and you can start moving in after that."
Really!!! Wow! So we quickly called to tell the movers to come move us on November 1st, the earliest date we could get them. Then we headed to Temporary House to start the process of packing up the stuff we could move ourselves.
Meanwhile, in yet another surprise, Gary said it was okay to go to Fifth District Savings Bank and sign the remaining documents, and we could start moving in over the weekend. We went right away.
107 days total.
But the movers were already scheduled for November 1st. That meant we would have to keep sleeping at Temporary House until the movers moved our furniture into New House/New Home. No matter because we were so excited that it went by quickly. And here we are on November 30th pretty much settled in and living comfortably.
There's lots of boxes (mostly tools) in the garage to be unpacked but the rest of the house looks like we have been living here for weeks, if not years.
Meanwhile, Brother-in-Law, Allen brought some cabinets from his former employer's attic that were quickly installed in the garage by Allen and Nephew #1, David. I helped but was more in the way than actually helpful. Some of the cabinets needed modifying so they would fit better, but they turned out quite well. We'll paint them in time but for now, they are already starting to hold stuff that needs a place to go.
We also built our own desks for the office. They are both beautiful and functional. I'm still trying to find time to put all the hardware (battery backup/surge protector, modem, router and two external hard drives) on a shelf under the desk. I'll get to it soon. Right now it's just nice to have Internet access again after almost a month without it. Yeah, we were too far away from a cable box, so we had to wait until a new cable was buried underground from about 100 yards away. It took a few days.
The New Coop area is still being 'adjusted' to accommodate our new appreciation for more space in the outdoor kitchen. We now want it to hold a small table and four chairs so we can enjoy eating outside, but under a roof. The New Coop is our next priority.
But we've managed to cook a few things on the Eggs under the blue sky. Oh, and we now have three Eggs, two larges and a small. We really only need the two larges, so we'll see how that goes.
And get this: not only were we moved in by Christmas, we were moved in three weeks before Thanksgiving, something we had hoped for, while also realized that it takes time to build a good house. We didn't want them to rush it too much. But instead of 167 days, it only took 107 days!!! We could not be happier.
We've even had our first overnight guest. A long time Egghead friend, John Murphy from Tulsa Oklahoma stopped by in route to Miami. He was on his Harley.
We call our new home, La Maison du Poulet (The House of the Chickens), to reflect our long history of being Spring Hen and Spring Chicken in Big Green Egg circles.
And now the first Christmas decorations are bringing out the true beauty of a happy home.
Needless to say, we love our new home and our new life here.
A video tour is in the works, but there are literally thousands of photos to sort through and edit into less than three minutes.
We were warned that as we get closer to move-in day, the progress clock slows down to accommodate all the little last minute things.
Nothing much happened on Monday.
On Tuesday, while workers were getting after it with brick, flooring and clean-up, we had a surprise visit from our friends in Arkansas. They drove down to see the house and added to the surprise by bringing a folding bistro table, chairs, wine, cheese, cups and even some pickles. The day suddenly turned into the very first party at New House.
Then on Thursday they wanted to tour the French Quarter. I made a video of that adventure.
Things like gutters, irrigation, floors, bricking the fence and gate, landscaping, cabinet knobs and pulls, trim work, appliances moved into place, and general clean-up. And that's what this week was like.
And on the 18th, we hit the 100th day mark. It sure seems like more. Even so, to do what all they have done in 100 days is nothing short of impressive. And we really appreciate their efforts.
Starting tomorrow, the 105th day, landscaping will be making the soil green and pretty.
Meanwhile, with all the rain today, it was a really good day to test the gutters and drainage. Apparently, the gutters all worked well, but the drain-off didn't do so well in some spots. I'm sure it will be handled with the same professionalism as everything else.
The flooring looks great, but is presently covered with paper and cardboard while all the finish work is taken care of. Hopefully, we will be able to have the refrigerator delivered this week.
And we will soon have the correct size wine chiller delivered here at Temporary House for us to install ourselves after we move in. We had already purchased one, but its height was 1" too tall for the beverage center. We'll take it back tomorrow. The replacement fits the opening perfectly, or so the Specifications said. We'll see.
On Saturday, while there was no activity going on, I programmed my truck to open the garage door. That was a Eureka moment...