Archive for the ‘The House’ Category

Christmas tree 2013

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Looking forward to celebrating the birth of our Saviour!


First SNOW

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

For the sake of record, today was the first snow of the year that gathered on the ground. Seems kinda early to me.

It’s a cold day in Dec. without the furnace

Monday, December 12th, 2011

For the last 5 days the Leo house has been a bit chilly. Thursday night I realized that the furnace/heat pump wasn’t working. Thanks to the help of a furnace expert over the phone, I was able to hotwire the thermostat wires so that the furnace fan would circulate the heat produced by our pellet stove. This was to be resolved by Saturday when the furnace guy showed up.

Today is Monday an we’re waiting for Tuesday to get the part needed to fix the heat pump. In the mean time the pellet stove is supplementing the heat that is being produced by the furnace. Without the heat pump the furnace is rather expensive so we’re keeping temps down quite a bit.

We’re very thankful for the pellet stove to back up the furnace, to be warm enough and for having all those snuggy blankets to sleep under.

It is finished…

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

It took 3-years, but we finally settled up with the contractor that built our home after he surprised us with some substantial charges that would weren’t ready for, nor could we afford. We set aside money every month to pay him, but refused to go beyond a certain dollar amount until he fully accounted for the extra charges. We’re very grateful that all parties were able to come to an agreement without any snarky feelings or anger. So, with some of our tax return money this year, and the craftsmanship of a wonderful friend and carpenter (Ron Mauck, Mauck Construction, Cocolalla, Idaho – yes, that’s a shameless plug!), we could afford to finish the last two rooms in the basement of our home. Pictured here is Ron’s helper, Danno, the drywall artist (really. I’ve never seen anyone take so much care in making the walls perfect).


In cleaning out these two rooms, we also threw out many items brought here from Illinois. Boxes unopened for 3+ years. Items that had so much value back then, now are going to rummage sales, give-aways and the dump.

There’s just a few more odds and ends and the house will officially be… finished. Come visit and see.

Finally, we’re on Google Maps

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

I happen to check Google Maps to see if our house will ever be seen by the rest of the world. It showed up today. The red line (added by me) shows the parameters of our property.


First Fire

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Come visit. Enjoy the mountain view and the warmth of the fire. Bring marshmallows, we’ll supply the sticks. This shot of Jenny enjoying our first fire in our new fire pit gives you a perspective with the house in the back ground. Then the second give you an idea of the view. Still, you should come and check it out for yourself. (click images to enlarge)


Grass Widows Come & Go

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

There’s a secret gift that we’ve enjoyed on our property. Each spring brings a new crop of “grass widow” flowers. They pop up before the snow is fully melted and their beauty lasts only a few weeks. It’s a spectacular sign of spring.


You have to climb up the hill behind our house to get a good view of them. Here’s a shot showing our house in the back ground.


Raking Snow?

Monday, January 12th, 2009

December brought a record snow to the area with 60+ inches falling in one month. Thankfully, it was very cold and so, all the snow was light and fluffy.Still with this much snow, there have been several roofs in the area that collapsed. Ours would only be in danger if we got a heavy snowfall or heaven forbid rain which was in the forcast. The snow would soak up the water like a spunge. Many folks in the Northwest participated in the ritual of raking the snow off of their roofs. This included the Leo household. After untold amounts of money on experimental roof-rake poles, I think I found a good solution this year. Here’s a shot that shows the depth of the snow that needed to come off the roof and then another from the yard.


You might notice the garbage cans on the front porch. This is due to the almost impossible task of retrieving them from the back porch in winter. I just gave up and put them in front. Nobody visits in winter anyway.


Our first power outage

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

About 10:45 a.m. *blink* the lights go out. My three uninterruptible power supplies start screaming, letting me know that the power is out even though my computers are still humming along on battery power. I wait 15 seconds and the sound of an engine starting up outside brings the lights back on as the house goes on generator power. Alarms stop. Our first official power outage turns out to be a success. It lasted about 30 minutes.

Here’s the funny part. Just “knowing” that the power was out brought Jenny and I together in the living room even though most of the circuits in the house are live. I guess it’s all those years of conditioning. When the power goes out, you gather in the living room. Light candles and reminisce about the times the power has gone out in the past.


Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Homeless vagrants are lurking on our property. Here’s one of them interlopers  trying to hide but I caught em while driving down the driveway.


Kinda hard to hide when you’re 8 feet tall

Winter Wonderland…

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

I am not trying to sell real estate when I say that this place is really beautiful even in the middle of winter. Temps hover between 25 and 32 pretty much all December. It snows several times per week – usually just a sprinkle of the white stuff to make everything look clean. It’s nice to sit by the fire, snuggle up with a cat and read a book. Still, it’s been cloudy much of the time. We are going into January which is the hardest month of the year (where in Chicago, it’s February). If we make it to March 15 without succumbing to cabin fever, we’ll survive.

The cats are making the best of it. Here’s Ethel peering at a fly that decided to come to life after we turned on the pellet stove and warmed up the room.


One thing I noticed last year but didn’t mention is how the winter weather moves down the elevation of the mountains. Here’s a shot of our house (arrow) and you’ll see by the dotted yellow line how the hard winter is hovering a few hundred feet above us on the mountain. It looks like there’s a shadow on the lower part of the mountian but it’s actually that snow is sticking to the trees more in the upper part. As winter moves forward the chill moves down and snow sticks to everything much more. It’s a very interesting for a guy who comes from Illinois which is very flat.

Click to enlarge

Also, since snow is so hard to photograph I thought I’d provide two pictures that show how dense the snow is. Here’s a before and after a snowstorm over the valley.

snowstorm clear day

Snow plowing with the ATV has been going well. It is a lot of fun and work rolled into one. Some folks have wondered how much plowing we have to do. Here are three shots. 1) Our driveway 2) half way down the private drive from the driveway 3) the rest of the private drive down to the county road. In total, it’s over 1000 feet of road.

driveway kl-lane2.jpgkl-lane1.jpg

Cats Enjoying Winter Sunshine

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Where there is anything warm, you will find cats. Here the kitties are celebrating a little sunshine next to the Christmas tree.

cats in sun

Our First Snow STORM!

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

December 8, 2007 – Someone forgot to turn off the snow and 18+ inches fell on our wonderland. The Beast (my ATV) was out in full force with it’s new snowplow. A 350 foot driveway (middle picture) plus 600 feet of road times 18 inches of snow were a bit much.

winter-03.jpg Driveway winter-02.jpg


High Noon

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

This isn’t “Alaska” but it is a bit different than Chicago. Below is an image of the sun at high-noon. It appears about 30 degrees up from the horizon. In other words, the days are amazingly short up here. It starts getting light about 6:30 with the sun coming up around 7:00 and it’s dark as night at 5:00 p.m.

high noon
Click to enlarge image

Almost saw a sunset

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

We wake to some very pretty sunrises like this one where the fog was lifting off the lake and sifting through the trees:

morning mist
Click image to enlarge

Since our house is on the East side of the mountain we never get to see sunsets. I miss them. However, in October I found a trail (perfect for an ATV!) that heads up into the national forest behind our house, over the top of the mountain we’re on. I was too late on this day to catch the sunset. Still beautiful though.

october sunset