Enon Hall


These journal entries track our progress as we undertake our adventure of restoring this very old home. The main reason for keeping this journal on the web is that we have found that there are very few resources (books or websites) that follow all of the trials and tribulations of restoring an old home...from start to finish.

June 1, 2003

Well, I didn't get the back porch repainted this weekend. It rained AGAIN on Saturday and on Sunday the winds were incredible...blowing leaves and pine needles up on the porch. (I found some solace last week to see that our friends at The Brickman House in Delaware are also lamenting all of the recent rain.)

So we piddled around inside again. Gay and I finished painting the trim in the guest room. Other than the windows (we took the sashes out for painting), we're done in here for a while. Oh, and except for the closet...Gay wants me to put shelves in there.

Remember Gay and William's nice little vegetable garden from last weekend? Well, it has been completely stripped. Nothing left but a few green stems blowing in the wind. Gay thinks it looks like deer, but I think the more likely offender is one of these guys.

We have a slew of woodchucks/groundhogs on the property; one under the smokehouse, one under the kitchen quarters, a family in the grave yard, etc., etc. I think the little garden was more than they could resist. But go figure...they didn't touch the leaves on the "damn fig bush" which is right in the same garden. Once again...ugly survives.

I finally got some prints made of old Enon Hall photos that I have scanned over the years and framed them this weekend.

We're not sure where to hang them yet. They would look best in the downstairs bathroom, but we don't want to have to lead guests into the bathroom in order to show them off. Decisions, decisions... -- Bill

June 8, 2003

I'm sick of beginning every journal entry this way...but, we had more rain. Torrential downpours on Saturday, followed by fog and drizzle on Sunday. Everything is more saturated than I've ever seen and we're forced to work inside. Sure glad I wasn't able to rent the bucket lift when I had planned. That woulda been a lot of wasted money!

After much debate, the framed Enon Hall photos finally found their home in the downstairs bathroom. They look great there.

For my inside project, I went ahead and worked on the closet in the guest room, adding the shelves that Gay requested. First I had to finish closing it in and trimming it out. Inside the closet, the studs had been left exposed on one wall and you could see up into the attic. Way too many ways for mice to get in there. (In the past, I have found both dead mice and snake skins in this closet...but, don't tell our guests!)

Since this closet was previously such a nasty space, I went overboard with semi-gloss white paint...trying to "sanitize" every square inch. The floorboards were already painted gray, so I went ahead and painted them white too. It's gonna be a nice space for linens. Gay is planning to make a curtain to hang over the opening.

Sunday morning as William and I were headed out for our weekly trip to Eubanks Hardware in Kilmarnock (they miss us if we're not standing there at 9am when they open), the kitchen screen door knob broke. So I just added a new knob to my shopping list and Gay and her mom said they would install it. Well, it turned into one of those simple projects gone to hell. After another trip to Eubanks to buy a second knob kit (because they cut a piece too short in the first kit), after patching and re-drilling the holes, after cussing and swearing, after about 4 hours of frustration...they still didn't get it installed.

I'm not sure I can explain exactly what the difficulty was; I was upstairs working on the closet. But if you ask Gay, I'm sure she'd love to relive the horror for you. (Or not.) Anyway, next weekend we'll take a fresh look at it and get it fixed.

Geez...just looked at Weather.com thinking there had to be a break in the weather coming soon. But no!

Gonna need a snorkel soon. -- Bill

June 9, 2003

Forgot to mention...on Saturday an appraiser came to Enon Hall because we are refinancing. He didn't quite seem to "get it." At least three times he asked me if we had ever thought about subdividing. In fact, he was downright excited about the idea. Each time I tried to explain that subdividing was the exact opposite of what we were interested in doing. "But you just don't find 6-acre waterfront parcels like this here anymore. You could subdivide and make enough money to really fix this house up perfect," he countered. I happened to be holding a hacksaw in my hand during this conversation...but I practiced restraint. -- Bill

June 15, 2003

Saturday was the first weekend day in almost two months without rain! I immediately got to work painting the back porch floor and scrubbing down the boat hull. The porch floor got a full 16 hours of drying time before the thunderstorms rolled in at 4:00 this morning and continued through the day. Hopefully that was enough.

Otherwise, I had a nice, relaxing Father's Day today. Even got to go look at tractors/mowers at the John Deere store. We really need to get something. We're spending a small fortune each month having the grass cut...and that's not including the new lot, which has already returned to "jungledom" after all of our hard work this spring.

Earlier this week I ran across some Enon Hall photos from June of 2000. This one in particular struck me. This was the nasty kitchen addition on the back of the house. Roll over the photo to see the same view now.

Sometimes I feel like we're spinning our wheels, until I look back and remember how far we've really come.

The windmill's not squeaking so bad these days, or are we just used to it? -- Bill

June 22, 2003

Gay and William were in Atlanta this week, so it was just me and Lucy at Enon Hall this weekend. The weather was gorgeous!!

Well, it doesn't look like the oil-based floor enamel had enough time to set up before the rain came last weekend. The finish is all alligatored. Haven't decided yet whether I'm going to just leave it, or sand it and paint it again. I can't seem to win with this floor!

Avoiding the floor, I chose instead to work on the dormer windows. I removed the storm windows, and scraped, caulked, and primed four of the six. The sashes will require some additional work. The top sash in each window has been protected by the storm windows and just needs painting. I'll be removing all of the bottom sashes for more extensive work. I will need to make some wood frame storm windows before winter. Gay and I are discussing whether to make them to hang inside (which would look better from the outside) or on the outside where they will help protect the window from the elements.

I don't know why it took me so long to get a stabilizer for the extension ladder. I bought one on Saturday and boy, what a difference it makes! Makes it much more comfortable working up high.

I also spent some time this weekend clearing away some low-hanging branches from over the dirt road to our neighbors' houses. (Our trees, their road.)

I have to relay a bad customer service story. (My biggest pet peeve.) On Saturday I went to go look at tractors. Since the John Deere store was already closed (They close at Noon on Saturdays?!) I decided I would stop at the little Sears store in Kilmarnock just to see what they have. I'm not sure exactly what I need at this point, so I'm checking out my options. They had lots of lawn tractors, including one pretty big one that seemed like it could be a candidate for our needs. I only saw two employees in the store...one was on the phone and the other was on the computer. Both ignored me. I looked at the tractors for about ten minutes on my own, trying to assess what I could. Finally, I approached the guy on the computer and asked if he could help me with the tractors. "Oh, I'm not on the floor very much. Let me get somebody else for you," he said. Then he dissapeared into the back. A few minutes later a kid in jeans and a dirty undershirt emerges from the back and heads my way. My first reaction was, "Oh c'mon, this kid can't be more than 17," but then I remembered how I hated being looked down on when I was a kid. Who knows, he could be the child prodigy tractor expert of Lancaster County. So I gave him a shot. All of my questions were met with expressions of clueless panic and he started fumbling around reading the tags on the tractors, like I hadn't already done that. Finally I asked, "Is there anybody else here who really knows the tractors?" to which he replied, "Yea, but they're busy." "Too busy to sell one?" "Yes, I guess so." To which I replied, "OK, nevermind. I'll just go somewhere else." I felt a little sorry for the kid as I exited the store. He had obviously been pulled from stocking shelves in the back and told to go help me on the floor and was in way over his head. Oh well, that's how sales are lost. -- Bill

June 23, 2003

You know, growing up in the suburbs of Richmond, I never saw myself someday owning a tractor. Funny how things turn out!

Photo: Courtesy of www.kubota.com

Today I bought a Kubota B7500HSD with a 60" rear mower attachment and a 48" bush hog attachment. Should have it in two weeks! Now I just need to find the time to add the grass to my list of Enon Hall chores. We've been paying a gentleman to cut our grass every other week. The monthly payment on the tractor will be less then we're paying him, so this seems like a good move. Plus, we can use the tractor for so many other chores.

Of course, now I need to remodel the chicken coop with double doors so that we can store it in there. One thing always leads to another... -- Bill

June 29, 2003

A great weekend for working at Enon Hall. We were all busy with projects and made a lot of headway.

I spent the entire weekend at the top of the extension ladder working on the dormers.

I painted the dormers that I had primed last weekend and then moved on to replacing rotten trim on two of the worst windows.

I still have a lot of work to do on the sashes. For now, I've been focusing on the window trim, but the plan is to remove the sashes and strip and re-glaze them all. (Yes, I'm gonna try that again.)

The guest bedroom was open and airy while I worked on this window. Thank goodness there weren't many bugs this weekend, except for some deer flies close to the creek. They're nasty!

Meanwhile, Gay and William put two new coats of anti-fouling paint on the bottom of the boat. We should be able to get her back in the water in time for the 4th of July weekend.

Gay cut back the dead sticks from her fig bush as it continues its comeback.

It was definitely a busy weekend, but William still managed to fight a few battles too. -- Bill

June 30, 2003

Just ordered twelve pairs of custom red cedar shutters for Enon Hall from Timberlane Woodcrafters. I had priced them a while back, but hadn't ordered. Then they sent me an E-mail last week offering a 20% discount that expires today. That's a pretty decent savings, so I signed on the dotted line. I guess I need to tell Gay about this latest purchase... -- Bill

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