The real me is the woman in this window, manual typewriter in front of her but holding a pencil posed over paper. Deer nibble at shrubbery on snow-covered lawn, fodder both for her writing and for her life.
Or are they the same thing?
[Picture by illustrator Adrianne Blair in Faith Baldwin's Face Toward the Spring.]
Not that my husband isn't blogworthy, no indeed. In fact he's rather magnificent here, don't you think? Especially at 73 years old and carrying 40 lbs. of rock in those buckets, up on top of a customer's roof.
But we're nearly at the end of September and I don't have beautiful fall decor to show you yet, nor any great projects completed, nor any of my stories written of days gone by.
All I have to show you the rest of September are some glimpses into our life.
Remember the story about the cobbler whose children had no shoes? We're in the roofing and siding business and yet our house here at Valley View had a roof leak and rotted siding on one side of our house.
One day R.H. and two of our sons decided the work had to be done between jobs. They fixed the roof and tore off old siding.
Zack brought his baby, Bentley, along. Poor Bentley has had a time this past month, first with hot spots that required him wearing a cone until they healed. And now he's been having so much pain in his legs and the vet has diagnosed degenerative arthritis.
There's our Brown Eyes outside the kitchen door keeping him company.
And here's our Katie Belle and Sammi Gayle too, keeping out of the way of work outside.
The area the men were working on faces what was originally the smokehouse for the farmer who built our house and made sausage back in the 1920s.
In past posts here and at my old blog, I've had blog friends tell me they would love to have an old building like this to make a potting shed out of. And one of them would have transformed it into something worthy of a magazine shoot, I'm sure. With a tea party inside!
But it would take a lot of work because here's what the smokehouse looks like inside now:
I can't believe I'm actually showing you this, but it is R.H.'s building.
Let's hope he doesn't figure out how to blog and put a picture of my office on it!
Anyway, here's what the work looked like after they finished the repairs.
There's still painting to be done and I see a ladder still there but home repairs don't bring in any money so it was back to work for them.
This time it was to a client who wanted their 12 ft. rock chimney taken down.
The house was built in the 1920s and there was about 7 tons of sandstone rock in this chimney.
It was taken down very carefully. We did their roof in steel shingles about 10 years ago.
Here's something fun that happened at our house this month.
It isn't a blog-worthy table, just some old really heavy divided Buffalo China plates.
But our young guests who joined us for Sunday dinner are absolutely blogworthy!
Our grandson Alex and his beautiful wife Melissa came! They will soon be celebrating their first wedding anniversary!
Alex will graduate with his MBA in December and Melissa is an architect, already designing houses and commercial buildings.
I gave Melissa my copy of architect Anthony Lawlor's Home for the Soul, and R.H. snapped a picture of us together. Where am I? Cropped out--someone remind me not to wear striped shirts, please.
Our grandson Caleb came by that afternoon and got to visit with his cousin.
Here's two other young ladies who are always blogworthy, our granddaughters!
So there you have some glimpses into my non-blogworthy September here at Valley View.
I hope your own non-blogworthy moments are happy ones too!
And be sure to give a kiss to all your loved ones!
I got a whiff of the excitement in town the other day--
a bright, cold day and the yellow leaves blowing...
men with red feathers in their derbies
hurrying girls across the street,
and a band in the distance."
This was Anne Morrow Lindbergh writing to her sister Constance. I can't remember which diary this was from but it has always expressed the way I still think of September--football games beginning again!
I'm not a big fan of pro football games, although I love seeing R.H.'s excitement for them. College games are more exciting to me, and I always, always remember the first September Friday nights of my high school football games. The excitement of sitting in the bleachers and watching our team in their orange and white uniforms, and envying the cheerleaders and majorettes with their tan legs.
That picture above, of the cheerleaders in their long skirts? That could be a replica of my high school cheerleaders, their legs showing only from the calf down in their gored skirts unless they twirled or jumped. That's the way girls' skirts were when I was in high school.
Those girls of us sitting in the bleachers wore straight wool skirts to the game, and even with a "kick pleat" in them, we still had to pull up our skirts to climb the bleachers. We were greeted with wolf-whistles from the top row where the hoods sat.
R.H. would pick me up in his '47 Chevy Coupe and take me to the game. My father would be at the game too but we would never have dreamed of letting him ride with us. After the game was over we and some friends would go back to the house where Mama had her wonderful chili waiting for us, or else we'd drive to Shoney's and circle several times around the canopy where you parked to order food just to be sure we were seen. That was cool to do. We almost always ordered fries and hot fudge cake.
Life was good.
I hanker for those days every September, but I also hanker for the college days that I never had.
[McCall's September 1937]
I see a picture like this one above and it makes me long for the days when young women went to college dressed like ladies. [And for your information, 1937 was a little bit before even my mother's time!]
I didn't go to college after high school but went to work as a receptionist and instead got married. Y'all know the story by now, after six years we had our first child. Later, when the first two kids were in elementary school, I went to a community college, taking all the fun courses--literature, creative writing, histories, social studies, and one quarter of psych--no science or math. And no degree, a big regret of mine.
And when I see clothes like this in September issues of my vintage magazines, I hanker for a campus of ivy covered Collegiate Gothic buildings and a Liberal Arts degree.
[Woman's Home Companion September 1941]
I know, today a Liberal Arts degree and $4 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and you might even end up making the coffee.
Still, I hanker after it every September, and for college football games, and most especially for college dances.
This would have been my choice of a dance frock if I'd been a sweet young college freshman in 1927. In 1961, when I would have been a freshman it would probably have been almost as demure since I had been bound for Union University before I refused to go, and they had a strict dress code then. But you know what? It wouldn't have killed me, and I still like demure frocks on young women.
[Woman's Home Companion September 1927]
If you, dear reader, were smart enough and fortunate enough to get that Liberal Arts degree or Engineering degree (like Tara!), or that PhD (like Sheri's daughter!), a round of applause from me! And all of us can do everything we can to encourage our daughters or granddaughters to continue their education. Bribe them if we have to.
My daughter went back when her kids were in school and got her degree and it has opened up career choices that she never would have had without it.
And if you got the degree and turned down the career to instead put a Mrs. in front of your name, the way that many from my generation did, that education is still a "jewel in the pocket" as poet Phyllis McGinley wrote about. You know it's there and it glows just as brightly while you raise children as if you were the CEO of a big corp.
I didn't get my degree and neither did my mother, but we did do a pretty good job of educating ourselves. How? You know the answer to that question....books, books, books, and a lot of curiosity.
What say you, dear readers? How do you feel about what I've written. There's no wrong answer. We're all women friends pulling for each other here at the Window. Here's where we celebrate each other's good fortune and send out love and kindness when one of us is down or on a blogging break due to pneumonia like my friend Tammy. We won't look at it as one-upsmanship if you tell us you have 3 degrees, we'll pat you on the back and say "well done!" And if like me, you never got that degree and want to tell us how you feel about it, we'll nod our heads and say "I understand, and I'm glad you told us." Could we possibly do any better than emulate Mr. Fred Rogers and say "I like you just the way you are?" That's another hankering of mine.
Doesn't this handsome male look dignified doing his job as sentinel?
He guards this old house that's been in the same family ever since it was built.
So does his sweet mate.
They never go off duty.
Ever so often, R.H. and our sons are called on to work on this lovely house,
for two of the nicest clients anyone could ever have.
As you can see in the above picture, lower shutters have been removed,
pots on the veranda not filled with flowers this season.
Work has been taking place.
We have worked at this much-loved family house for many years.
This time the original copper roof that was causing too much condensation and leaks had to be replaced. We installed Arrowline lifetime warranty steel shingles. And it was time to replace much of the wood siding with Western cedar.
Notice where we installed snow guards over the bay window above? This should prevent chunks of ice from falling off and breaking the skylight again.
After the roofing and siding was completed, we replaced a unique old skylight that had been cracked by falling ice. Don't you love this cute skylight we installed? We are the only company around that will warranty these old skylights.
If you look at the picture below, the room where you see the chimney is a 20 x 30 kitchen ell that opens up to a terrace where they have breakfast. We did the roof on the kitchen about 10 years ago of copper that has aged to a beautiful patina.
And we just installed these new Azek Pavers decking material so that the owners now will be able to put a table and chairs out to enjoy the view that looks out on their 26 acres.
Below is a beautiful garden room.
The skylights you see in the lower part of this picture we installed years ago.
Almost forgot, it was time for a new roof on the pool house too.
It is always such a pleasure working for these nice people and helping them
with new projects. And old homes are our favorite to work on.
There are other buildings on the estate that we've worked on in the past such as
an upper story breezeway to the garage for an office, and the barn,
but my photographer missed some shots.
He did take pictures of a few interesting areas around the property
that I thought you might enjoy seeing.
These steps lead to a terrace
that in turn leads to another terrace.
There are many, many terraces tucked around the house and property.
Isn't this a lovely path to walk?
There is a peony garden in the back
and one of the many rose gardens on the land.
Here's another garden far away from the house by the barn.
Don't you love this noble eagle?
He's made of bronze and welded with lead
and the squirrels have nibbled on him over the years.
Ever watched Blast from the Past?
Here's the fallout shelter!
Now, don't ask me who these guys are.
In fact, if you know who they are, please tell me.
"In the month of September we have in New York and so many other states a holiday which everyone of us should remember. It is called Labor Day and should bring to our minds first of all the dignity of labor. It is a dignified thing to work, to pay one's way in the world through the work of one's hands or the work of one's head, and it is something in which every worker should take pride."