Giving Thanks at Woodstone

Without all of these wonderful people we would never be where we are-about to move in the beginning of December…IMG_2544FullSizeRender_2Lots of new things last week-knobs starting going on doorsFullSizeRender_3

The mantles arrived-this is the Family Room

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wallpaper was finished on the second floorFullSizeRender_4

The parquet floor for the front hallway went in

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Mudroom tile went in back hallway and Powder Room

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Bathrooms had shower doors installed,and fixtures are done

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Kitchen is getting there- the island just arrived

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Very thankful!!

Third Week in November

Living Room getting painted and getting floors-

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Living Room and Dining Room mantles going inFullSizeRender_2 FullSizeRender_3

Wallpapers in-this is the Master Bath,hallway and powder room on first floor.

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Granites,soapstones for counters arrived-and toilets!FullSizeRender_3 FullSizeRender

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Front staircase is finished.Handrail is cherry and will be linseed  oiled.

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Outside also really coming together-we are even starting to get grass from hydroseeding.

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Mudroom tile will be placed this week-FullSizeRender

Second Week in November

Things are really ramping up now!

The shutters went on the outside which made a huge difference.We still have railings that will go on the side porches.

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The front staircase also went in-very exciting!

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AND the wallpaper guy, Russ Leonelli came!! The back staircase was tough…

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They are also making huge headway on the kitchen-the island comes tomorrow. Lots going on!

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Party At Woodstone!

Yesterday we had a party for all who have worked on our house and barn for the last two years..quite a crew.

We had Christie Leigh Bellany come sing and had Redbones cater with ribs,chicken,beef,cole slaw,mac and cheese,baked beans. Bill had a slide show of about 500 pictures from the very beginning until now. I think about 100 people came and went-we had a perfect 70 degree day for it,which was amazing for the end of October in Massachusetts.

Bill spoke about how wonderful the architects Jen Hart and Jen Lyford from Hart Associates have been to work with,and also the landscape architect, Lili Morss. Without Dave Jenkinson of Jenkinson Homes we would not be proceeding so well-he is amazing at organizing it all. Andre LeBlanc gets major credit for taking on the barn project in the winter last year and doing such a great job.

5 weeks to go on the house, barn is finished!

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Late October at Woodstone

Lots going on with the exterior-front path in brick going in:FullSizeRender copy 4

Finishing up stone walls and landscaping for nowFullSizeRender copy 3

Getting ready to put in back patio in bluestoneFullSizeRender_1 copy 3

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View towards Estabrook WoodsFullSizeRender-45 copy

Barn is finished!

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Columns for all porches on house arrivedFullSizeRender_3 copyFullSizeRender copy 2

Sign Bill had made is mounted on housePB TD BH GO SHC-2

Inside the floors are all going in but not yet stainedFullSizeRender_2

They are on the first floor with moldings nowFullSizeRender_1 copy 2

Family Room window unpainted

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Most of all we love being out here-the views especially right now-are incredible!

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Waking At Woodstone

When you wake up here on the property as we did today for the first time(we are living in the barn) it gives you a really good idea of just how much goes on in the day! There are landscapers putting in boxwood,people putting in the brick paths in the front of the house, people putting in the front stairs, people finishing up the mudroom, people painting(two bedrooms are painted!),people putting up molding and millwork and so on-crazy!

The yellow in bedroom is C2 Paints Canvas,the brown is London Stone by Farrow and Ball. Exterior house color is Pratt and Lambert Agate Gray. All trim is Ben Moore Wayside Chamber White,which is actually a discontinued color.

 

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Early October at Woodstone

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Lots going on at the barn and at the house.The barn trim is getting painted Agate Gray by Pratt and Lambert (just like the house) and the doors Ben Moore Essex Green. Lights are all installed in the Barn,and my office is basically finished-we are moving there this week to wait out the move into the house in November. The interior windows looking into the rest of the barn are really cool!

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In the house, the tiling and grout are done in all of the bathrooms. Trim is going up on the second floor and they are about to start the first floor. The painters are right behind them. My wonderful wallpaper guy begins in two weeks. The third floor game room is all finished and ready for action!

 

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Woodstone in June

Lots going on at the house and the barn-that is for sure! Inside the house the plumbing and electrical have all been installed, inspected and now the insulation is going in. We are using closed cell foam insulation that has a higher R value, will give the house a smaller carbon footprint and is the best insulation you can use right now.

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What a mess when they are finished spraying!

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On the exterior, lots going on as well. The septic field has been finished to the north of the house. In the front of the house they are digging to create the space to put the drainage pipes from the gutters for the rainwater to drain into the field. They are also starting to build the stone wall which will be on the south and west side of the house,as well as a stone wall around an area north of the house. In addition, they are creating a veneer with stones around the base of the barn.

The inside of the barn is moving quickly- we have now finished the wood shop and the garden shed and are working on my office.

The trim is going up on the house and the barn. When that is finished, the barn will be shingled in red cedar and the house will have clapboards that are pre-painted in Agate Gray 2213 (very soft off-white) by Pratt and Lambert. We are waiting for the windows to come for the barn as well. All windows on barn and house are also Agate Gray. The windows on the house came to us pre-painted by Little Harbor in Berwick, Maine. They also made the doors which are already painted in Ben Moore Essex Green.

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The apple trees that we moved last summer…only one has made it. A real bummer-was a very tough winter for them. We did put in 7 new ones too-they are doing great!

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You’ve Got A Friend still Going Strong!

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James Taylor is one of my all-time favorites. For those of you not in Boston, I thought I would share this article in the Globe this morning. FYI- there is a new Sirius station for James Taylor -channel number 17!

WASHINGTON, Mass. — James Taylor hasn’t released an album of original songs in 13 years, but he certainly hasn’t been idle.

The legendary singer known for “Fire and Rain,” “Sweet Baby James,” and “You’ve Got a Friend,” who has sold 100 million albums, won five Grammy awards, and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is explaining what he’s been up to in anticipation of the release of “Before This World,” which comes out June 16.

Taylor, 67, settles into a couch on the screened-in porch of his spacious contemporary home nestled in the woods of Western Massachusetts. His loyal pug Ting lounges by his side. Unfailingly affable, gregarious, and accommodating, Taylor offers a visitor a fruit plate and silences some wind chimes, and at one point he even stops to gently pluck a caterpillar off his leg and release him back into the wild.

So why so long?

To begin with, Taylor has toured nearly every year in the United States and sometimes abroad. “I get a huge sense of gratification from playing music and from being in a room with an audience that is there to hear it, [where] there is some kind of a connection that happens,” Taylor says.

He’s hosted events at Carnegie Hall, crafted a series of guitar lessons available for free on his website, and appeared on awards shows. And in the 13 years since his last original release, he has made five other albums, including a Christmas disc, two collections of covers, and two live recordings.

Of course he’s also been spending time with his family — his wife, Kim, and their twin 14-year-old sons Rufus and Henry, doing homework in the next room — as well as his two adult children, Sally and Ben, from his marriage to Carly Simon.

But every time he floated the idea of making a new album, other obligations popped up. So he finally took decisive action: He sequestered himself in a friend’s apartment in Newport, R.I., one week a month for several months in 2013 and 2014, so he could focus on writing lyrics.

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“I’m glad to know that’s what works now, because the next time I have to write I’ll start off that way,” he says with a chuckle.

Taylor acknowledges having felt some trepidation: “I wondered if I still had anything to write about, and how the songs were going to turn out.”

And even after nearly 50 years of success, he knows his music isn’t for everyone.

“Some people hear my music and are just put off by the fact that it’s pretty. And there’s no doubt about it, primarily I’m interested in singing pretty,” he says. “There are people, it occurs to me, [for whom] if it doesn’t sound gritty and raw and slightly painful, it’s not genuine. And I’m not of that opinion.”

Lately, Taylor has been mulling a documentary he saw about Japanese traditional artists, recognized in their country as “living national treasures.”

“These are arts that people give their lives to, and at a certain point they become masters of, and maybe they will affect it three percent or something,” he muses. “They’re repeating an art form and recapitulating. . . . It’s a useful way for me to think of my music. It is not all things for all people. It is something that I was partially born with and partially given and partially discovered on my own. . . . I learned it from other people. I stole it from other people. . . . And people in turn take it from me.”

Taylor remains grateful for the generations of fans who have embraced it, and for the good fortune he has experienced along a path that for many years was bumpy because of depression and substance abuse — a topic addressed on the new album in the sprightly “Watchin’ Over Me.”

“There’s the luck of being in the right place at the right time. There’s the luck of having survived some serious demons that killed so many people. There’s also the luck of having an audience that sustains me, that feels like a community,” he says. “My overwhelming feeling generally these days is gratitude, for how things have turned out. For the life in music that I’ve been allowed.”

“Before this World,” which features guest appearances from Sting and Yo-Yo Ma, is the 16th chapter in a story the Boston native has been telling since he was signed to Apple Records in 1968 and met the Beatles.

For the casual fan, all the Taylor hallmarks are there: the richly textured vocals, the elegant finger-picked guitar, the lyrics that range from poignant and meditative to playful and cheeky, the unfussy production.

But for close observers, there are also fleeting moments — names, phrases, musical motifs — that trigger a sense of recognition, hearkening back to earlier songs.

“I’m re-encouraged that I can still do this and it still works,” Taylor says of such tracks as the moving piano ballad for his wife “You and I Again,” the Latin-flavored “SnowTime,” and the wistful “Stretch of the Highway,” a paean to the twin pulls of a musician’s life, the road and home. (“Getting that balance right is life’s work,” he says.)

“Before This World” was recorded primarily at the Barn, the recording studio and offices right down the hill from his home, with his longtime backing band and producer Dave O’Donnell.

“James just keeps on growing and getting better and better,” says drummer Steve Gadd, who has also played with Eric Clapton and Paul Simon. “It’s just a pleasure for me to be around him, not only him as a friend but as a leader and a musician, too, he’s very inspiring.”

Even after the long hiatus, O’Donnell says, “from the moment the band showed up and he sat down and played the first tune. . . it was pure joy.”

Taylor is eager to extend that joy to the concert trail, including his annual Fourth of July show at Tanglewood and a concert at Fenway Park Aug. 6 with longtime buddy Bonnie Raitt.

Taylor’s band will also play “Before This World” in its entirety at a performance presented by Sirius XM at New York’s Apollo Theater on the day of the album’s release. And the satellite radio company is hosting a James Taylor channel through June 21.

Taylor acknowledges having received lots of advice over the years on what exactly his next album should be, from country to standards. But in the end, he said, it came down to this: “If I have a couple of more James Taylor records in me, I should make those.”

 

In Boston Globe Tuesday June 9,2015 by Sarah Rodman

 

The Rose F. Kennedy Greenway in Boston

In 1991, after almost a decade of planning, construction began on the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, more widely known as the “Big Dig”. The project, recognized as one of the largest, most complex, and technologically challenging in the history of the United States, would remove the elevated highway and create a tunnel system below the city.

With the elevated highway to be relocated underground, community and political leaders seized the opportunity to enhance the city by creating the Greenway, a linear series of parks and gardens that would re-connect some of Boston’s oldest, most diverse, and vibrant neighborhoods. The creation of the Greenway was a joint effort of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, and various civic groups.

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The Greenway Carousel officially opened to the public on August 31, 2013 .The Carousel features 14 different characters native to the land, sea and sky of Massachusetts including a sea turtle, a cod, a peregrine falcon, a grasshopper, a harbor seal, a fox, a skunk, a whale, three types of butterflies, a barn owl, and a sea serpent. The characters were inspired by the drawings of Boston school children and fabricated by Newburyport, Massachusetts artist Jeff Briggs.

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There is also a set of lights in the section called “the Wharf District Parks” that can change color according to who just won games-Red for the Sox,blue for the Patriots etc. In addition Winter Lights on the Greenway is a series of lighting displays intended to bring warmth and cheer to the Greenway during the darkest part of the year.

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Right now and until October there is an incredible sculpture, As If It Were Already Here,from internationally renowned local artist, Janet Echelman.  Knitting together the urban fabric, it soars 600 feet through the air above street traffic and pedestrian park.

The form of “As If It Were Already Here” echoes the history of its location. The three voids recall the “Tri-Mountain” which was razed in the 18th-century to create land from the harbor. The colored banding is a nod to the six traffic lanes that once overwhelmed the neighborhood, before the Big Dig buried them and enabled the space to be reclaimed for urban pedestrian life.

The sculpture is made by hand-splicing rope and knotting twine into an interconnected mesh of more than a half-million nodes. When any one of its elements moves, every other element is affected. Monumental in scale and strength yet delicate as lace, it fluidly responds to ever-changing wind and weather. Its fibers are 15 times stronger than steel yet incredibly lightweight, making the sculpture able to lace directly into three skyscrapers as a soft counterpoint to hard-edged architecture.

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Mostly it was nice to see people out enjoying the beautiful day and hanging out-walking,strolling,chatting in this new, beautiful 1 1/2 mile Greenway.