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.

September 7, 2003

Thanks to everybody for the poison ivy tips. I've really had it bad but am now recovering.

It seems to Gay and me that we've been working on the screened porch for way too long. (And maybe to you too.) We started this project mid-July and still aren't totally, 100% finished. I attribute this to a number of things. First, the project grew as we got into it. I think that if we had had a better idea of everything we were going to do from the beginning, we could have been better organized. Second, adding cutting the lawn to our list of Enon Hall chores has definitely slowed down progress on the house. It takes a huge amount of time to cut it, and with the excessive rain this summer, it's been growing like gangbusters. And third, it's hard to make rapid process when we're only working weekends on the house. And then some of those weekends have been single days due to other commitments. So those are my excuses, and I'm sticking with them.

At the beginning of this weekend, I assessed that we were 90% done with the porch. With the weekend over, I guess we're now 95% done. (In the business world, we would call that an "incremental gain."

The only area outside that had not yet been scraped, primed, and painted was the fascia and soffit. My favorite paint scraping tool is actually a window glazing tool. It didn't make glazing any easier for me, but it really is great for scraping paint.

Meanwhile, Gay continued priming and painting miles of new lattice board for the porch. We decided at the beginning of the project to replace all of the old lattice. (Hindsight: We should have picked up one of those little 3" paint rollers for this job.)

Even after hours of this back-breaking work, she still manages to look beautiful!

Another chore was to scribe two boards to fit up against the siding where the porch joins the house...a major point of entry for flying insects.

Here's that new board in place and painted on the other side of the porch. Scribing is one of my favorite woodworking challenges. And if the cut isn't exact...well, I love caulk too.

By the end of the day Sunday, we had the new lattice up on the two long sides of the porch and had finished all the scraping and priming and even some of the painting. It's looking really good!

This weekend we had a wonderful visit from the baby in this photo.

You might recognize this image from our "History and Geneology" page. It shows Agnes Hathaway and her daughter Margaret, the last Hathaway born at Enon Hall before the house was sold out of the family in 1939.

We have e-mailed and exchanged notes with Margaret (my second cousin, once removed) in the past, but never actually met. Several years ago, she even shared a great old photo of Enon Hall with us, so we were delighted when she came by on Saturday. When her family moved, she was still a very young child so she didn't remember anything of the inside of the house. It was fun showing her around. I think William had a hard time believing that he was talking to the baby in the photo that he knows so well!

Speaking of William, he's been less involved in our projects in a hands-on fashion lately. He's still a good runner, and has taken on the job of making lunch on the weekends, but he's less interested in helping with the labor. Instead, he is still consumed by 18th century history and spends the better part of his weekends wearing breeches and marching around with his reproduction flintlock rifle telling me and Gay little tidbits and long yarns about his views of 18th century life at Enon Hall. He's also taken to creating his own projects, like expanding his tent and making some handcrafts. This weekend he came up with the idea of making and selling the necklace that I proudly model here.

Selling to whom? Why, you our Web friends, of course! So, if you wish, click here for an advertisement from William. -- Bill

September 17, 2003

Gay and I spent today battening down the hatches at Enon Hall in preparation for the impending arrival of Hurricane Isabel.

The small yellow dot on the map above is our location. Storm surges of 4 to 7 feet are forecast for the Chesapeake Bay and the county's lowest areas are on standby for evacuation.

We took the boat out of the water and did anything else we could do to protect things. Now we'll just have to pray for the best.

Good luck to everybody in Isabel's path! -- Bill

September 20, 2003

I have very little battery power left on my laptop so this will be a quick update. Photos to follow when power is restored.

Things at Enon Hall are much better than expected. We had moderate tree damage compared to many areas. I think we have about 6 trees down or damaged. One very tall pine is leaning precariously over the kitchen outbuilding. If it goes on and falls, I think it will miss...but just barely.

The house itself is unscathed, other than about 18 inches of water standing in the cellar. Our neighbors up the creek, with newer houses, had far more structural damage than we.

We got lucky! Thanks for your concerned emails and prayers! -- Bill

September 22, 2003

Four days...and still no power. I was lucky to snag an outlet with power today and recharged my laptop battery so I could post this quick update.

Our poor windmill is badly mangled from the hurricane's high winds.

About half of the blades are bent almost in half...and half of one blade had broken off completely and we found it lying on the ground. And the tail is twisted and warped. This ole windmill spun in the wind for seventy years or so...and then came Isabel. The windmill adds so much character to the property, so we want to see it restored. At least restored to its pre-hurricane, non-working condition. But it's hard to argue that we should spend money on this nicety when so many other things at Enon Hall should receive much greater priority. We'll see.

This tree was downed by the creek. It's hard to look in any direction around here without seeing this sight over and over again. Richmond looks like a war zone with massive old growth trees splintered like toothpicks. The destruction is just amazing.

We only had time to make a dent in the clean up on Saturday, but long enough to start a pretty good pile of tree debris.

If the power ever comes back on the sump can start pumping the water out of our cellar.

We're glad we got our boat out of the water before the hurricane. One neighbor's boat wound up sitting on their dock and another neighbor's boat was banging against the roof of its boathouse when the creek level rose by 4 to 5 feet. The debris line in our yard shows that the water came up just shy of the graveyard wall.

All in all, we fared well. Now, if we can just get power! And get a tree company to come take care of the pine that's still threatening the kitchen outbuilding. -- Bill

September 27, 2003

Still no power.

I spent the day today doing more storm clean-up and cutting the grass. Half of the trees on our property are leaning to the west, especially the cedars. They look thoroughly windswept. Most of the deciduous trees in the yard were stripped of all of their leaves; oaks, sycamores, crepe myrtles, and locust. The crabapple tree still has all of its leaves. It's a weird mix of winter & summer and can be a bit disorienting as you look around. -- Bill

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