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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Beginning of November at Woodstone

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moldings in Dining Room and Living RoomFullSizeRender copy 2

Kitchen Cabinets starting to go in!FullSizeRender_3 copy 2FullSizeRender_2 copy 2

There are plans on every detail hanging all over the house-so amazing to see it all come alive

Front Hall Detail

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Dining Room Detail

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Back Patio in Bluestone going inFullSizeRender copyFullSizeRender_1 copy

Other half of front path going in with brick pattern we pickedFullSizeRenderFullSizeRender_3

First Column up-the front ones will sort of snap around the wooden pole

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Side Patio all finished-boxwood go in next

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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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Back To The Future!

I love these movies so I am intrigued by this-

October 21st is a special day in the world of ‘Back To The Future’, when Dr. Emmet Brown and Marty McFly head to October 21st, 2015, to keep Marty’s kids out of trouble. 

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What did ‘Back to the Future II’ get right?

(CNN)“Back to the Future” Day is Wednesday, and fans are tallying up the 1989 film’s predictions of life in the year 2015.

How did the movie do? Here are some of its hits and misses:

Big-screen televisions and video conferencing: Yes

The film features several scenes of characters watching screens very much like the oversize ones we actually use these days. That’s saying something, because most TVs of the 1980s were heavy, square appliances with bulky picture tubes. Some of them even came in wood- like furniture!

Also, the “BTTF II” characters talk to the screens just like we do today. Not bad, given that videophones – though long promised -barely existed in 1989.

Hoverboard: No

Despite the recent Lexus commercial showing skateboard aces skimming around a skatepark on maglev hoverboards, the technology just isn’t there yet. The Lexus hoverboard requires a special surface to ride on, as does a rival, the Hendo.

Another hoverboard, the Omni, is essentially a skateboard with helicopter rotors. Sorry, we’ll just have to wait a little longer before flying around Hill Valley is commonplace.

News drones: Yes

During a crucial scene in the film, a USA Today drone can be flying around the Hill Valley courthouse taking pictures. Major media companies, including CNN, are now looking into using the tech for news purposes.

Hands-free video games: Yes

Our intrepid time traveler, Marty McFly, plays an arcade game called “Wild Gunman” at Café 80’s in 2015. Two kids are shocked that McFly has to use his hands to play, calling it a “baby’s game.” Thanks to products like Xbox Kinect, hands-free video games are now pretty commonplace.

Fashion: Mixed

The less said about the custom of wearing two ties at the same time, the better. However, the movie did get the concept of everyday athletic apparel right.

Everyday consumer products: Yes, with an asterisk

Pepsi is still around, and the beverage company wasn’t going to miss a chance to put out a limited edition Pepsi perfect like the one Marty orders in the film. But the key words are “limited edition.” Similarly, in reality, “Jaws” only made it to “Jaws: The Revenge” (the fourth film in the series), but that didn’t stop Universal from putting out a fake trailer for “BTTF II’s” “Jaws 19.”

But there’s a Pizza Hut in town, and the McFly family is shown chowing down on a pie. Some things never go out of style.

Video glasses: Yes

Marty McFly’s troublesome kids wear high-tech goggles to the dinner table, which are remarkably similar in function to Google Glass, Oculus Rift and Samsung VR.

The World Champion Chicago Cubs: ?

Some futures just aren’t knowable…yet!

Mid-July at Woodstone

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Outside lots going on-granite steps just installed,stone walls going in,clapboards starting to go in the back of the house,trim work almost finished.

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Up on third floor all wallboard and plastering done-now millwork going in!

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The tile has arrived and he is getting the showers all ready for the tile man who comes on Monday.

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And the Barn has it’s roof-in red cedar. My office is coming along. The bookshelves are going in,floors are in,windows are coming in the next week or two. The stone veneer along the base is all completed. We are getting there!

Woodstone in Early July

Lots going on all of a sudden! Stone fireplace on screened porch is finished-complete with a piece of the barn wood as the mantle…stone wall going up in front of the house…lots of trim going on house…then the clapboards start going on….barn roof shingles going on….columns to go on porches have started to arrive….

On the inside of the house, wallboards and plaster…starting to look like real rooms now. A workman made the smiley face-I have to agree!

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Santa Barbara, California

 

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Whether you enjoy hiking, fine-dining, water sports, lazing on the beach, culture, or a great night-life, Santa Barbara has something for you. We certainly went from the very sublime at the Botanic Garden to the crazy but wonderful Summer Solstice Parade!

Santa Barbara is sometimes referred to as the American Riviera. Its beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, and colorful culture make Santa Barbara a premier location.

Santa Barbara is a 2-hour drive north from Los Angeles or a short hop from any corner of the world via the Santa Barbara airport. Santa Barbara’s harbor is home to the world famous Stearns Wharf, a great destination for the entire family. Visiting the zoological gardens makes for a great family day-trip.

 

With sweeping views to the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Santa Barbara Channel Islands and stunning landscapes, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a great place to explore California’s native plant diversity.The Garden’s 78 acres encompass a variety of cultivated displays as well as stands of natural coast live oak and riparian woodlands. We saw redwoods,woodpeckers,beautiful plants and views from almost every corner.

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The next day we went to the Summer Solstice Parade. What a riot!

Summer Solstice Parade began in 1974, as a birthday celebration for a popular artist and mime named Michael Gonzales. In subsequent years, their parade joined forces with a Summer Solstice Music Festival coordinated by Michael Felcher, sponsored by The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, staged at the Sunken Gardens to celebrate the longest day of year.

The Parade and Festival is the largest arts event in Santa Barbara County, drawing crowds of over 100,000 spectators from around the world.

The Summer Solstice Celebration has evolved into creative and original display of floats, giant puppets, whimsical costumes and masks of more than 1,000 parade participants. There is dancing, music, drumming and drama that is fascinating to watch!

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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