Posted by: SoccerGirl | September 9, 2009

Garbage, Grass, and Good Times: Construction Days 65-67

There’s not going to be much construction talk in this entry, because nothing has changed since last week and the last entry.  We are in what the airline industry would call a “holding pattern” right now, waiting on the kitchen and bathroom cabinets to be manufactured and installed.  This fact didn’t deter mom, dad & I from heading up to the mountains for the Labor Day weekend though(our 3rd year straight we determined).  Since the house isn’t able to be occupied yet (no permanent electricity, water, or locks on the doors) we had to find somewhere else to stay.  After doing some searching mom came across a place called The Cottage at Darnell Ridge, dad contacted the owners, found out it was available, and we were on our way.  We weren’t sure exactly where it was located or how far it would be from our property, but were pleasantly surprised to find it only 10 minutes down the Blue Ridge Parkway from the house.  It was a great location, and the house was perfect.  Our hosts for the weekend even called to check and make sure we could get cell service (something that can be spotty in the mountains) stopped by to say hello, and let us stay a little longer to clean up after working on our property Monday.  We will definitely stay there again as long as it’s available!

Cottage at Darnell Ridge

Cottage at Darnell Ridge

We arrived in Ashe around noon on Saturday, this time instead of heading straight for the property though, we went into town.  We were trying to rent a trailer for the weekend to haul trash to the dump, but when we arrived at the local U-Haul rental place they appeared to be on vacation, as no one was around.  Since we were already in town and we were hungry, we decided to grab some lunch before heading to the property.  On our way though, we took a stroll through the Farmer’s Market, buying some locally made Raspberry-Peach Jam and Goat Cheese, both of which were quite yummy.  For lunch we decided to visit Matthew’s, a place we’ve been to many times and enjoy for a nice sit down lunch.  after lunch we wandered down to the new location of the Chamber of Commerce to pick up some information on the area to keep in our garattage once it’s finished, then stopped by Decadence Bakery for a little after lunch treat.  It was mid-afternoon by now and we decided to head for a brief stop at the property and then on to our cottage for the weekend.  Once we made it to our accommodations, mom and I were ready for a rest while dad headed back over to the property to do some work mowing part of the meadow.  After relaxing on the front porch for a while, mom and I took a walk around the area and discovered a very steep hill that helped us work off our lunch.

Once dad returned it was dinner time and time for an adventure.  I was put in charge of dinner for Saturday night, and suggested several options, one of which was to pay a visit to Mountain Music Jamboree, a place that we have passed numerous times and always said “We should go there sometime”  Well this was the time, so we went, and it was definitely a good time.  They offer a buffet dinner (good ol’ southern food: fried chicken, biscuits, mashed taters, cobbler, etc) and musical entertainment.  The building looks like a big barn on the inside with a large dance floor and tables along the sides.  After eating the band began to play, a mix of country and southern rock music, and the dancing began.  There was mostly line dancing, which was fun to watch, and a few songs that were good to swing dance to as well.  We definitely enjoyed ourselves and may pay another visit in the future, especially when we have company at the garattage  🙂

On Sunday morning it was up early to head to church in Jefferson, then the obligatory visit to Wal-Mart and Lowe’s for a few things before heading back to the cottage.  We had been invited to a cookout at our builder’s property, On the Windfall, where we stayed last labor Day, and had to make some things to take with us.  I was in charge of making a dessert, so I decided on S’mores cookies, which my friend Susan had sent me the recipe for from a blog that she read.  Mom was going to make some kind of side dish, and I found a recipe for a Pasta Salad with Lemon Pesto Dressing, which sounded delicious and allowed us to use the goat cheese we bought at the farmer’s market (not called for in the ingredient list, but a suggestion from someone else in the reviews of the recipe).  Both of our choices were big hits and recipes we’ll definitely make again!  On our way to the cookout we stopped in the town of Lansing to do some shopping at a few shops that had recently opened.  Little did we know that once we were at the cookout we would meet the shop owners for 3 of the 4 places we visited.  Once again we enjoyed the beautiful pond side cookout at On the Windfall, the food was delicious and many of the same people we met last year were there again.  It was really neat to get to know the people who own the businesses in Lansing and hear their stories of how they came to Ashe County and how much they enjoy living and working there.

Saturday and Sunday were our days of rest and good times, when Monday morning rolled around it was time to work!  That’s right, here’s where the garbage and grass come in.  You may recall in the last post my dad wrote about the large piles of trash surrounding the garattage and my mom’s trips to the convenience center to dispose of bag after bag.  The job wasn’t finished then so it was up to us to work on it again.  Since we were unable to get a trailer to haul stuff we had to just work on the small pieces that could fit in garbage bags.  Dad started to work on the piles early Monday morning, while I slept in and mom relaxed back at the cottage.  Basically he took the large piles of mixed trash and separated them into wood, drywall, metal, cardboard, and misc. trash, then placed the small items into large trash bags to take to the convenience center.  I took over the job once I got tired of raking the red clay to throw down grass seed (more on that in a bit).  This mostly involved breaking up larger pieces of drywall to easily fit in the bag, and making sure the bag didn’t weigh too much for dad to be able to lift.  In the process I discovered several toad friends that had made their home under the piles.  They didn’t seemed to be bothered by our presence and I’m sure they went on with their lives under new piles once we left.  Two trips to the convenience center and about 12 bags of trash later we were done for the day…but more piles await for the next time.

Drywall Toad

Drywall Toad

More trash awaits...

More trash awaits...

Our other task was to try and get some grass growing in the barren red clay around the house.  As you can see from the banner picture the house location is in a meadow and once construction began a large part of that meadow was graded and left without vegetation.  Quite a lot of the soil was also dug out creating a hill along the back side of the garattage, which is now being eroded by rain.  In order to solve this problem dad bought some grass seed (rye & fescue) and a second rake, so that we could work on getting something to grow.  Mom and I started working on raking the hill behind the house, which was quite tough, not only because of standing on a slope, but the ground was also quite hard and rocky, which is why I traded off with dad and took over trash duty  🙂  After raking dad made a mix of the grass seeds and set about spreading it along with mom.  We also raked the hill closest to the front door of the garattage and spread seed there as well.  Then it was on to the main hill and spreading as much seed as possible.  As we were getting ready to leave to return home, the sky clouded up and we were hopeful that there might be a little rain to help our efforts and that when we return it will be lush & green instead of barren & red!

Mom & Dad spreading grass seed on the back hill

Mom & Dad spreading grass seed on the back hill


Looking down the barren hill (who's that guy in red?)

Hopefully the next post will have more construction updates and soon we will be enjoying the view from our own mountain retreat!



  1. Is this Iowa? Is that someone coming out of the corn field unto the field of dreams? Where is first base?

    • Well, our slogan is: “If you build it they will come”. It’d be kind of hard to play baseball on the hill though, have to remove a lot more dirt and spread a lot more grass seed 🙂

  2. Seeing that picture of your dad at the end makes me think of “Where’s Waldo?”

    YAY for S’mores cookies!! Were they pretty easy to make? Casey’s dad is coming up this weekend, so I may try to make a batch.

    • I had that Where’s Waldo thought too!
      The cookies were easy, I learned after a few dozen to let them bake a little longer than I thought to get the marshmallows more “toasty”

  3. Can’t you just have a big bonfire with all that wood? Then you could make real s’mores instead of just s’more cookies…..FYI out cousins from London who were here a few weeks ago had never heard of or eaten s’mores….did you know s’mores are an american thing? I guess they don’t do alot of campfire cooking over in the old country.
    Anyway, thanks for thinking of me with the RV hook-up! Jack and I are looking forward to a visit to the mountains–he will be happy to chase off those toads and any other little varmins trying to infest the garattage! He is especially fond of chasing rabbits–do you have any there?

    • There’s an idea, we could make some yummy s’mores, and it’s not treated wood so there’d be no worries about that getting into our food…I’ll have to see what dad thinks. The good thing about the cookies is that they’re very portable, unlike actual s’mores. I’m sure there are plenty of rabbits for Jack to chase, haven’t seen them yet, but I’m sure they’re out there.

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