Monday, November 07, 2005

Handyman Gillen

We love our old house. We love that its high ceilings and shady setting make it so cool in the hot GA summers and that we have made it our own. We don't love that same coolness in the winter! Especially me! Due to the crazy 85% rise in the cost of gas that is projected for this winter, we decided to buy a wood stove. A friend came today to show us how to build a hearth and he is going to help install the stove, once we find one. Yesterday, Gillen decked himself out in his goggles and face protection and cleaned out all of the old chimney swifts' nests from the chimney. He liked telling Papa when to start and stop the shop vac. Notice (above)his hand motioning to his "helper"!
Here he is cutting the stone with a chisel and hammer.

And then he and Allen layed the stone with concrete.

We tried to turn the concrete red with GA red clay dirt but it didn't work. Then we tried every kind of red paint I had but to no avail. So we are waiting on the mortar filling-in step until I can get the right material to color the concrete. That will be mine and Gillen's job.
Gillen and Jesse finished the day with games of Traverse and Checkers with Papa and I, and then chess with each other. Here is Jesse moving into Gillen's ranks.
It ended up being a long, very close game. See the hearth and fireplace behind them? Well, it's the very dark area of the picture that you can't actually see. We can't wait for the wood stove to be there, keeping us warm through the winter!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Jesse as the black dragon in Harry Potter (4th book; haven't gotten to it yet in our reading but Jesse saw a picture of the dragon and loved it).

The kids went to a homeschool Halloween party at the LEAD homeschool park day last Thurs. (where I bid on and won a family membership to the High Museum of Art!) and they went to a trailer ride trick-or-treat journey at a friend's on Sat. that brought them through woods where several of Nicolas' friends from high school were hiding in frightening costumes! It was quite an extravaganza, with music, fireworks and Nicolas being carried off of the trailer for a while by one of the larger monsters. Then, on Halloween itself, last night, we trick or treated on Floyd Street in Convington, where many of the home owners decorate their porches and give out candy in costume. There are always soo many people, bright orange decoration lights and the feel of another era. I like being able to see so many kids and that we can walk from house to house for blocks rather than have to drive, as we would here in the boonies. I do wish there were still candy apples, popcorn balls and cookies like there were when I was a kid, before the rumours were spread about a razor being found in an apple. I remember the year trick or treating changed as a result of that news report (in Boston anyway). I bet it was the candy companies who started it!
Gillen as Harry Potter,looking so orphaned in this one!

And here he is less Harry, more Gillen. He is holding a wand that was whittled by Declan, a boy that Gillen met at the conference who has been a pen pal ever since. He and his mom sent us a Halloween gift box with Halloween art trading cards, (check out what this is), invisible ink, parchment paper (I never knew you could get invisible ink - very exciting), Halloween stickers, etc. This wand was Declan's favorite. He loves Harry too and went as him a few Halloweens ago. It was such a great package. That same day I received hand-knit socks for a charity auction I'm organizing for a friend's baby and I received a repaired necklace from the woman who made it (a year ago) and wanted to fix its clasp, free of charge. All of this from unschoolers at the conference. What a generous, creative group! I am so grateful to know them. But I digress.

A few more of the kids. Here they are trick-or treating. Jesse's wings bounced so dramatically as he ran from house to house.
They took a break midway to take stock of their loot and to sample.

The "bat/dragon/scary rock-star" flying through the night.