Monday 31 October 2011

Spring in Australia

I got home from America to a flourishing garden.  It has grown so much in the last month that I could barely get back far enough to take photos of the profusion of flowers. 

Out the back door

Vegie garden gone mad

Sunday 30 October 2011

New York, New York

What an experience that was!  On Monday morning we caught the train from Lancaster station to Penn Station in New York.  The owner of the little house we rented very kindly offered to drive us to the station and pick us up again the following afternoon.

We had booked a hop-on-hop-off bus ticket and for Tuesday morning, a helicopter ride.  We didn't do a lot of hopping off - the city was busier, noisier, smellier than we expected and we could see it from the top of the bus without negotiating the crowds.  Oh dear... I think I'm becoming a country hick!!

The helicopter ride was fantastic.  What a way to see New York city. We took dozens of photos.

We splashed out on a hotel in the centre of Times Square.  The atmosphere was fantastic and we felt quite safe walking around Times Square after dark.  We had an enjoyable dinner at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co at a table by the window with a view below.  Our hotel room was on the 39th floor so the view from there was even better.

It was great to see New York city but a huge relief to be back on the train to Pennsylvania.  
Times Square from our hotel room

New York traffic
From our window
Times Square crowd

NY from the air

Thursday 27 October 2011

The village of Intercourse, Pennsylvania

We have spent the last week (except for 2 days in New York - next blog entry) staying in a village called Intercourse in Amish country.  It's been an enjoyable few days browsing the local shops and hearing the clip clop of the Amish buggies as they pass the house we've rented.

It's a rather touristy place but very quaint.  We've looked at antique shops, craft shops, quilt shops and second hand shops. Look out Kelsie, Charlotte and Colton, mum's bringing home an extra suitcase!  I have bought a few vintage quilts so that's exciting for me. 

The Amish go about their lives quietly and keeping to themselves as much as they can.  They don't like to mix with outsiders but they need to earn a living just like the rest of us so more and more of them are working in, or running, local businesses.  Last night we had dinner across the road in a little restaurant and the waitress was the sweetest young Amish girl.  We've noticed that if we take photos in the street and a buggy comes past, they will look away if they see someone with a camera in their hand.

The main street of Intercourse
Buggies gathered for Sunday prayer
A curious buggy horse

Walking home from church
Coming home from school
An Amish farmer at work

Sunday 23 October 2011

America so far

We've had a very long drive this week - all the way from Paducah, Kentucky to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  We did the 14 or so hours over 2 days but it was still a tiring drive.  Now we're settled in the little house we rented in the town named Intercourse.... yes, really... it's called Intercourse.  It's a big Amish community in this area and the town is very tourist orientated.  There's heaps of antique shops and gift shops etc.  All was fairly quiet when we arrived at 6pm last night but today the town is buzzing with people and tour buses!

So far we've spent a couple of days in LA, a couple of days in Williamsburg, Virginia, a couple of days at the Pleasant Hill Shaker village in Kentucky, a couple of days with my friend Sheri at her house in Versailles, Kentucky, then a couple of days in Paducah, Kentucky and another couple of days driving here to Pennsylvania.

Now we don't have to pack and unpack for a week.  We're going to New York city by train for one night but we'll be able to leave the rest of our luggage behind at the house.

My other US friend, Erin, flew in late yesterday afternoon to spend a few days with us.  We picked her up at the airport on our way in.  It looks like it will be a real girls weekend - there's already been a lot of giggling going on (mostly Tammy - yes Kelsie, she's still giggling).

I'm enjoying looking at all the quilt shops in the area and we'll drive to some more tomorrow.  Sunday we're planning to drive around and check out some of the covered bridges in Lancaster County.

Last Sunday we went to eat at a place called Chuys in Lexington, Kentucky.  They say it "Choo-ees".  Goodness, it was just how I imagined an American diner would be.  Here's some photos.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Mick has a furniture book of Shaker furniture.  It shows furniture from the village at Pleasant Hill in Kentucky USA.  I've always thought it looked like an idyllic place and now I know it is.  Nobody lives at the village any more, it's been restored for tourism but it was the most relaxing and peaceful couple of days. 

The peak population of the village was around 500 and they were divided into several "families".  Each family had a little cluster of buildings.  Tammy and I stayed in the Farm Deacon's Office building - we had the first floor to ourselves.  It was a lovely place to stay.

The shakers had a very distinctive furniture style and some lovely accessories.  I took lots of photos for Mick.  Here's a few :

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Photos for Kelsie, Charlotte & Colton

Our holiday in America is half over!  How time flies when you're having such fun.  We've taken hundreds of photos but here's a few so Tammy's kids can see where their Mum has been so far.

Bus tour at San Diego Zoo
Room service - LA
Williamsburg - people in costume roaming the streets
The Williamsburg Inn
Our cottage at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village
Our cottage at Williamsburg

Pleasant Hill Shaker Village - Halloween decorations!

Lake near Scotchtown

Williamsburg original avenue
Road through the Appalachian Mountains

Thursday 13 October 2011

Off to America

Finally the time arrived to head off on my holiday to America.  Mick drove me to my friend Tammy's house and I went with them to the airport.  We had a bit of a mis-hap on the way to Tammy's at 6am last Saturday morning.  We hit a kangaroo!  It was a foggy morning and don't they just leap out of nowhere?!  Two bounds and it literally jumped straight into the front of the car.  I see a new car bonnet coming.  Mick was so rattled by it and so was I.  Nobody likes to think they've watched a badly injured roo disappear into the trees.... not to mention the insurance excess to have the car repaired.  Never mind.

So here we are in on day 5 of our holiday.  We had 2 days in LA - first Tammy wanted to buy out the shops in Disneyland Downtown so we did that the day we arrived.  Sunday we did a bus tour to the San Diego Zoo.  That was something I've wanted to see for a long time so I was thrilled when Tammy chose it as something she wanted to while we were there.  It was disappointing.  The zoo itself is a pretty atmosphere with tall trees etc but the animal enclosures left a lot to be desired.  Frankly, they were better at the Melbourne Zoo last time I was there and that was years ago.  Still, it was a great day out.

Monday we flew from LA to Washington DC and we collected our hire car.  I drove on the "wrong" side of the road for the first time.  Daunting but we've done ok.

Tuesday we headed South towards Richmond so I could make the long awaited visit to see the Hexagon Star quilt I'm making.  That was very exciting for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the morning we spent at Scotchtown.  Ann, the site co-ordinator was so lovely and helpful and we enjoyed her company.  In the afternoon we drove on to Williamsburg which is where we are now.

Williamsburg is an amazing place.  I've never before seen blocks of streets so perfectly preserved and restored.  It reminds me of a large life-size Sovereign Hill.  We're staying in one of the little cottages and despite some plumbing issues we've thoroughly enjoyed it here.

This afternoon I had coffee with a lady I "met" by email while trying to get hold of a tourist map of Williamsburg.  Sandra and her husband are from England and fell in love with Williamsburg on a holiday to the USA.  They loved it so much that they've retired here.

Tonight we're tired after walking all day today.  Tomorrow we have a long drive ahead of us - across the mountains to Kentucky.

Photos to come.....

Friday 7 October 2011

Renovating - Progress

I've had a couple of requests for progress information on the renovating.  Mick has basically just concentrated on one half of the house.  He's been using the other half - the kitchen and living room as his workshop.  The one bedroom has been partitioned into two, all the fittings and doors have been removed and everything has been patched and painted and put back together.

The newly divided bedrooms, walk in robe, bathroom, laundry and butler's pantry and all looking great.  They just need floor and window coverings now.

The one enormous bedroom in the house when we bought it

Framework for the new walls

Thursday 6 October 2011

The hexagon star progress

I write about my quilting project rather sporadically on a separate blog.  But with my holiday to America less than 2 days away I thought I'd show you the reason I first wanted to go.

A quilting companion and I are both making our own version of a lovely historic quilt we saw in a book. At our monthly quilting group a couple of weeks ago we pinned up all the blocks we've done so far so we can see our progress.

I can't wait to see the quilt "in person"!!

Sunday 2 October 2011

Storage and the big shed

With my trip to America looming we've been back into storage mode.  We're thinking if we were to sell the house while I was away it would cause us a bit of an issue with getting the house packed up in time for settlement. 

Mick has built me a couple of runs of shelving to store the boxes containing our household items and the shelving is set up now in our storage room.  He has the other side of the doorway for his workshop bits and pieces.  He's built a mezzanine to store a lot of the furniture.  I've started taking boxes out there so I have room to pack more back at home.  It feels like progress.

As for the shed itself, it is Mick's pride and joy.  To him, there simply couldn't be a better "big boy's toy".  There is our storage room behind a large workshop.  The guy we own the property with has started working from here.  There is an open area alongside that is currently rented for machinery storage by the previous owner, an area set aside for renting out as storage in the future, a huge open ended under cover area that you can drive through and my favourite is a derelict old shed in the corner of the block.

Here's what it looks like :
Our storage room from the doorway - yes, it's messy!

Looking back at the door from the mezzanine.  Shelving both sides of the door.
Open area of the old apple packing shed

And looking back the other way.  Our storage room door at end right.

The workshop
Under cover area

The back of the property.  We have plans for this strip of land!

Workshop door

Derelict old shed on the property

Future storage rental area