Friday, May 30, 2008

Breakfast is Served

I'm sure you've all been on pins and needles waiting to see if we got our room ready in time for our guests! (Probably haven't had a good night's sleep in nearly a week. ) Well, the answer is . . . yes . . . sort of! We managed to get the room 95% the way we wanted it. The remaining "tweaks" will come over the next week or so.

Our final evening was spent putting the room together and cleaning.

This was the scene at about 10:30 p.m. when Mark & Deb called to tell us that they were running late. Whew!

Wrangling a dust ruffle and a queen-sized mattress is no easy feat! I guess I should lay down the camera and help the man!

Tackling the more "unglamorous" part of running a Bed and Breakfast.

Remember the missing hardware for the table and chairs? Well since our supplier did not overnight anymore to us, Wayne set about packing the stuff away for the weekend - only to find the hardware nicely taped on the underside of one of the pieces of packing.

Ok - the table is together . . . now we have another problem. It won't fit through the door!
No kidding! Wayne had to disassemble two of the legs to get it through.

It's now 11:30 p.m. Yawn!

At last! At 12:15 a.m., the room was pronounced ready. It was very hard not to crawl in the bed and try it out! Especially since we figured our guests were still about 2 hours away. (We refrained!)
(I know the picture is blurry, but so were my eyes at that hour! For some reason, my camera will not take a good picture of this room. I need some photographer friend to come and visit!!)

Our guests finally arrived at 3:00 a.m. I was in bed. Wayne slept on the couch so he could let them in. Apparently they loved the room. Of course at 3:00 a.m. we probably could have showed them an army cot and they'd have been happy!

The rest of the weekend was a breeze compared to getting ready. The first morning, nobody wanted to get up early, so our breakfast was actually a late brunch served about noon.

The second morning, we had to do the "get up early" thing. Not so fun. We were shooting for a 9:00 a.m. breakfast (ok - I know it's not THAT early, but for me . . .). Everything was going well until we tried to "slide" the baked eggs out of their custard dishes and onto their muffins. The little buggers just did not want to slide. So . . . we were 15 minutes late with breakfast.

The third morning .. . perfection!!! We felt more rested and had a blast chopping and stirring away at our "Rachel Ray" island. Everything was on the table exactly at 9:00 a.m. The menu was strawberry/banana parfaits, coffee and cream coffee cake (yum!) and two quiches - one tomato and basil and the other spinach and bacon.

Each morning, we tried out a new recipe on our "guinea pigs" and they said everything was delicious.

Here are some other scenes from the weekend:

Wayne and Mark took a hike on Sunday afternoon. They took this shot from the top of Snow Mountain -the mountain behind our house. You can access the Snow Mountain Trail right from our property. It is a moderate trail that follows a mountain stream, passes through a narrow flume and offers spectacular summit views - complete with wild blueberries in July!

Mark and Deb breaking in two of our new (to us) Adirondack chairs.

Sodie and CorrieAnne had a blast playing with Mark & Deb's granddaughter, Abby. She was exactly between our girls in age so they got along like they'd known each other forever. As you can see, they all like WebKinz.

So - we survived our first test as B&B owners. We still have a lot to learn and a lot of work ahead, but we know that we're definitely in the right place.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Small Town - Cool Parade

Memorial Day is the official kick-off for the summer season here in Keene Valley and the hamlet pulled out all the stops. It just so happens that we moved here in time for Keene's Bi-Centennial year so we get to enjoy all the festivites and fun - including a Memorial Day parade (the first in recent history!).

Now you may wonder what would be in a Memorial Day parade in a small Adirondack hamlet. Lucky for you, I took my camera along.

Enjoy the creativity!

The parade began with the veterans - always my favorite part.
We then witnessed an impressive display of firetrucks both past . . .

. . . and present.

The firetrucks were followed by the moutain rescue squad. I truly hope I never need their excellent skills!

Bet your Memorial Day parade didn't have one of these! We're talking some serious snow removal equipment here - look at the height of the plow compared to the people on the sidewalk!

This is Rob Hastings, the owner of Rivermede Farm - an organic farm that has been operating in Keene Valley for over 100 years.

This float represented the Maple Sugar traditions of the Adirondacks. There's nothing quite like fresh maple syrup on your waffles!

And here comes the church choir singing patriotic hymns

McDonough's Hardware Store - what would we do without them? Selling paint, toenail clippers, picture frames, bird houses, socks, flower seeds, plumbing supplies, cookware, decorations . . . they are as close to an old-time general store as I've ever seen.

The Keene Central School was well represented by parents, students and their mascot - the BEAVER.

This lovely creature usually resides in the school entry, but he was allowed out to participate in the parade. (Does this remind you of any recent blog posts?!)

And just in case you didn't see enough beavers lately . . . here's the Beaver Bus

Complete with a tail!

Every parade needs some candy-throwing nuns! I loved how they yelled "Blessings on you" right before they pelted you with candy!

Keene Valley is a year-round outdoor town and the Mountaineer is the place to stock up on gear. This float, compete with marshmallow roasting, gave me the itch to go camping.

And yes . . . there was even a marching band! I can't tell you where they were from because they weren't carring a sign, but they sounded good.

The parade closed with three guys on bikes. Each one had a sign taped to the front of his bike - from left to right, they read: "That's All Folks!" I didn't get a picture because I was laughing too hard.

We had a great time at the parade. Hope you enjoyed it too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

'Tis Midnight . . .

It's midnight and we're calling it a day. We had a very productive evening, but still have lots of last minute details to take care of. Thankfully, our guests aren't arriving until midnight tomorrow!

It is amazing how much it takes to turn a bare room into a B&B room. We have run into a few glitches:

1. The table set we ordered arrived with no hardware to assemble it. Frantic call to Customer Service! (They can't guarantee anything until next week.)

2. We realized that our shower curtain ensemble requires TWO shower rods . . . not a problem if you live near civilization, but here . . . do you think they'll notice if the second curtain is hanging on clothesline?

3. I discovered that NO amount of ironing can remove the creases from curtains that have been packed in those cute little plastic bags. So . . . the curtains are in the washing machine.

Two bright spots from today:

1. The bedding is wonderful! Wayne and I had quite a time wrestling to get the dust ruffle just right under the queen-sized mattress. (Would have been a great picture for the blog, except that there was no one to take it.) The bed features a very plush mattress cover that has padding designed specifically for your various body parts, 400 count sheets, and a luxurious comforter. I searched long and hard for it and finally found what we liked at Cabela's of all places! I'll post pictures soon.

2. I visited a dear lady in town today. She gave me a tour of her garden and wrote down the names of plants that do well in this area. She is preparing to move and mentioned that she was selling her five Adirondack chairs . . . for $25 each! I immediately said, "I'll take them all!" They are older ones so they're very sturdy. Just need a fresh coat of paint. So now we have some furniture for our three porches.

Piece by piece, it's coming together. Yawn!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Answer to the Question

A few of you got it right! Others informed me that the "prize money" wasn't high enough to merit their guess. At any rate, the Unidentified Dead Object that we encountered on our walk was indeed a dead beaver. A very freshly dead beaver who appeared to have simply grown weary of life, laid down by his dam and expired.

Here's the original picture. See the big front tooth right under the stick? (We're holding his head up with a stick.)

Yes, I let my child touch the beaver tail. After all, we're homeschoolers so this counts as Science, right?!

Five Days and Counting

Our first guests arrive on Friday and this is Monday afternoon! As most of you know, Wayne has been working 4 long days each week so he can have a 3 day weekend to work on the house. Well - on this most important week . . . yeah, he has to work on Friday too!

But we're actually in pretty good shape. Here's a recap of our past week's activities:

We had some wonderful help cleaning up the front of the house. Our friends, the Schocks, visited last week and Wes and Kara had fun with a chainsaw!

This is what happens when you have too many things on your mind! I picked up some paint at the hardware store (we're soon going to buy stock in Benjamin Moore). At home, I got out of the van and sat the can on the driveway while I talked to Wes. I then decided to move the van . . . Believe it or not, the can didn't break . The lid just popped off, but we only lost about an inch of paint. Fortunately the van is still white too!

Fixing up the Snow Goose is a family affair. We figured the kids couldn't mess up the floor so we put Corrieanne to work painting while Sodie helped outside.

Meanwhile, Wayne (after working 10 hour days) dedicated his evenings to tiling the bathroom floor. By the way, the grout color is named Chocolate Fudge so if you get a craving for chocolate while you're in the bathroom, you'll know why!

Every good room needs good furniture. We found this beautiful desk at an auction.

Being quite new to auctions, we got confused by all the "Bidda-bidda-bidda" stuff and thought we'd lost. We sat there sad until we realized that the auctioneer was looking at Wayne and saying, "Sir in the back, hold up your number!" We WON!! It is an amazing piece of furniture - solid oak and weighs a TON. (I really wish it were in my writing room!)

Our daughter Katie graduated from Messiah College this past Saturday. We worked our tails off right up to the minute we left for PA - actually painted ourselves out the door and left the floor to dry while we were away. (Congratulations Katie!! You made it!)

While in PA, we enjoyed seeing Wayne's parents, friends at church and even got to stop in for a tour of our old home.

So - what is the condition of the room now?

Well - let's say that it's sort of a blank slate.
Now the real fun begins - the decorating!

One thing we've been doing a lot of over the past weeks is SHOPPING!! Every woman loves an excuse to buy "linens and things." (No advertisement intended.) Now it's time to put up towel racks and light fixtures, hang curtains, unpack the dishes and silverware, set up the bed, roll out the new luxury comforter, find a bathroom mirror, go shopping for breakfast foods and . . . oh yeah, the toilet is still in the tub.

But not to worry! I think we'll make it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Any Guesses?

Just for fun . . . can any of you identify what this is a picture of? Post your guesses under comments. Let's see how many of you can get it right! (None of the Schock family can guess!)

A Paint Brush in One Hand . . . A Rake in the Other

Spring is in full bloom here in Keene Valley and we find ourselves torn between the warmth and beauty of the outdoors and the cold hard fact that we have guests coming in less than two weeks! So we paint a little and rake a little. And then sometimes we just sit on the porch step and soak in the sights and sounds.

I thought you might like to see the progress that we've made on our first guest room.

Here are the "before" pictures. As you can see, it looks decidedly un-Adirondack! Could be a nice little condo in Anytown, USA.

So we began with Wayne's favorite part . . .

. . . the tearing things apart part!

The first thing to go was the carpet. (We'll probably use it in one of the girls' bedrooms or maybe our personal living room on the third floor.) Under the carpet, a wide plank floor in pretty good shape and about 10,000 carpet staples

While Wayne pulled carpet staples,
I began the daunting task of picking paint colors. Did you know that there are about 10,000 different shades of beige?

After agonizing over the paint colors, I called to order them from McDonough's Valley Hardware here in Keene Valley. We were having guests for dinner and I realized that I couldn't make to the store before they closed. No problem! David cheerfully told me he'd leave the can outside the back door and I could pay him next time I came to town. Oh the joy of a small town!

Paint in hand, it was time for . . .

The first BRUSH STROKE!!

So . . . what does our room look like now?

Why look at all that progress! The appliances are all over the room, the carpet AND linoleum are history, the toilet has taken up residence in the tub . . . but hey - the walls are no longer white!

Eleven days till our first guests arrive! (Getting nervous yet, Mark and Deb?) I'll keep you posted . . .