Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ocean Street Spa

it's a long story, but to sum it up, we were able to get our hands on a free hot tub. neighbors of tim's parents bought the place next door to the house they already own, and are tearing down the house. we have been fortunate enough to be able to take things from the house that might have otherwise ended up in a landfill. below is a photo of the tub in it's original location, after we disassembled the deck that was around it. it took us awhile to make a final decision about taking the tub, but after doing quite a bit of research and soul searching we decided that it would benefit our health and our friends, if we gave it a whirl (pun intended).

luckily it didn't take us long to choose a spot to put the hot tub at our place. we have an unused, overgrown corner that we felt would be perfect to tuck the hot tub into. it's in the far corner away from the road and really the only people who can see us are our neighbors in the blue house- but they are not often in their backyard. we hope in the spring to continue the fence we started to put up that you can't see, but that is on the left hand side of the view in this image. the only thing in the way of the hot tub spot was a thorny old barberry, of which we have plenty.

we got some wood, brackets and gravel to make a level base for the tub. it took awhile to level the ground since it was on the brink of being completely frozen, but we managed to put it all together in time before the snow really started falling this year.

the fabric you see below the gravel is to help keep the locally invasive dutchman's pipe and autumn clematis vines from growing up through the gravel, making it impossible to pull them out.

leveled and ready for the tub...

here is where there should be pictures of our amazing tub moving crew (aka good friends that hope to make good use of the tub). we managed to pick it up with 8 people and put it in the back of a large rental truck. once we got it to ocean street we were able to tip it onto its side and roll it into position. it ended up going pretty smoothly and we were incredibly grateful to our tub-moving team. here it is in it's new home- the view from our guest bed window. the railing and wood all around it are the deck that was originally built around it, that we plan on re-assembling in the spring.

tim worked for the next couple days on hooking up the tub to electricity and giving the tub a deep clean. it was already pretty clean, but after a good scrub down it started to look like you'd want to get in it...tim connected the tub with wires we were also able to take from the house. right now, they are in a pvc pipe that is not yet buried, but come spring we will dig a trench and get everything set up more permanently.

we ordered a full set of chemicals (yikes!) to help us clean the tub through the year and for the original deep clean. though it seems overwhelming, many of the items below are test strips, or are only used occasionally. Part of why there are so many items is because we are trying to use a copper based regiment instead of a chlorine one.

before long we were actually sitting in the tub, flabbergasted at the awesomeness. here we have the insulated cover folded over on the left side of the image. normally it's completely off. it's a small tub, a good size for about four people. so far we have enjoyed it almost every evening and a few times during the day. even though it still seems a bit extravagant we are hoping that it will end up costing us about $1/day to run over the course of the year. even with the cost of the energy, and the feeling that we are undermining any sense of having a "sustainable" house, we still feel happy with our decision. the best part about having it so far is that it has gotten us outside during times of the day that we might otherwise be cooped up inside. when we sit in the tub we actually take a moment, without computers or iphones, to soak in (pun intended again) our surroundings. it's got a great view of the house and of the overgrown vegetation that shelters the birds. we can turn on the jets for some body-massaging, or we can leave them off and just sit in the quiet, in 100 degree water, and look up at the stars.

here are a couple of more recent shots of the tub in the increasing high snow. we have to make a long dash for it from the backdoor, but we hope to put a door in our sunroom sometime soon so we can have a larger mudroom and changing area, and a slightly shorter run to the tub.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Old Insulation = Buried Treasures

buried in the ceiling of the basement that is... these old newspapers were crammed into the corners of the basement ceiling. They are from the Saturday Evening Post, October 26th, 1918.

Day After Christmas Blizzard

the first big snow day of the year...

Preparing the House for Hosting

On Christmas Eve we got things into place and constructed a large dining room table out of two hollow core doors on sawhorses.

the doors worked pretty well as you can see below...the birds nest gourds on the table are from the garden and have been dried.

gathering together for games...

a successful dinner

with everyone enjoying the green jello (aka salad)...

How evergreen your branches

This past Christmas we decided to try out a new tree farm. We ended up at Keith's Tree Farm in Acushnet. It was frigid out, but we walked the tree loop and struggled with indecision as we took in the somewhat surreal landscape. Some of the planted trees in grids had become overgrown and were like impenetrable rectangular forests.

There were alot of trees that were too big, and many that were small, and round...

we ended up choosing a tree that was very close to the main building even after walking in frozen circles for what seemed like miles. luckily inside the building they were constantly making warm large chocolate chip cookies which kept our sugar energy high.

sadly our volvo was in the shop for this adventure so we took a zip car. it was probably for the best that we chose a little tree.

installed and lit back at home!

officially ornamented

We got some new woodland creatures for our tree this year- owls...

and mushrooms...

...and a pickle.

tim's grandma made the red bird and angel ornaments many years ago.

The tree is still up (at the end of January) because it refuses to drop it's needles and it continues to light the living room.