Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Getting Hot in Here

The old water heater- definitely past its prime (15 year warranty?)- which, after being used on a regular basis for the first time in who knows how many years, started leaking...

and is now disconnected!!!

the leak had been controlled with tim's half high tech and half MacGyver manuver of directing the stream of water down a string and into a water pump. here you can see partly where it was leaking from.

old cast iron pipes

the new hot water tank. it is a combined system with the new boiler so instead of being a separate hot water heater, it is one of the zones the boiler controls. The pipes go from the boiler and coil through the water tank to heat up the water inside.

tim turning the new heating system on, and bruce, our fantastic plumber.

"Ray" is our new boiler (remember the old one? now yard art). Ray is also cast iron, like the old one, but with a brand new look: slim and yellow. it's a condensing hot water boiler with brains that runs on natural gas and has a 92.7 AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating. there will be three zones, one for the hot water and one for each floor so that each zone can be controlled separately.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Hunting

a sharp-shinned hawk was spotted after hearing a small thump against a front porch window. the hawk then continued to hunt the local song-birds from a perch on the blooming autumn clematis vine and then from the grape thicket.

hiding within the grape...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Newly Discovered Treasures

an ashtray with columbian coins found in the garden by brother ian

and a white marble

behind the downstairs bath vanity - antique 70s wallpaper!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Spectacle Island - 1 of 34 Boston Harbor Islands

Spectacle Island is the first of Boston Harbor Islands that we have visited. We traveled there by ferry via Long Wharf in downtown Boston next to the aquarium. The islands were originally a drumlin field. When glaciers continued to melt, the ocean started to fill in around them. Spectacle is two islands with a sand bar inbetween. This shape resembled a pair of glasses, giving the island it's name.

Many of the Boston Harbor Islands have sordid histories but Spectacle has a long list of various unsavory activities that occured there. It was a quarantine station for the sick of Boston, hosted a horse rendering factory (which may be where the 49 Ocean horse-hair plaster comes from...), a summer resort destination for gambling and women, a grease reclamation plant and the site of a washed up murdered mistress.

The North Drumlin of the island is the highest point of the Boston Harbor Islands, including Boston Light. The reason for its height is the years of environmental neglect and its use as a landfill and for excavated material from the Big Dig. Between the two sets of dumping the island grew 145' in height now standing at 157' high. Recently, after the landfill was capped, topsoil was added and reclamation plants planted.

It is now where many of the Harbor Island events are located.

Books and the website we've been gaining knowledge from include:
Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands: A Guide to the City's Hidden Shores by Christopher Klein
The Boston Harbor Islands: A History of an Urban Wilderness by David Kales
The Islands of Boston Harbor by Edward Rowe Snow

the four granite piers to the right of this photo is what are left from the rendering factory. the beach is almost completely artificial.

deer island in the background on the left- the waste treatment facility. and a few islands including long island on the right.

view into the inner harbor

there were (wee) cannons fired between the two ships as we watched them come out and turn around heading back into the inner harbor

the ferry landing and planted grasses along the shore