What I love about where we live in Asheville is that there are so much amazing artists and artisans. For the past couple of years, I feel incredibly fortunate to get these wonderful assignments to photograph beautiful objects.
Spring is almost here. Rocky is excited to start our new garden bed which requires him to hire a grader to dig up and loosen the earth on the plot. So he thought while he hires the grater, he will ask the grater to dig up the water line for new replacement on the same job. In which there will be 3 feet deep trench running 30 feet from the water meter to our basement. We were both really happy when the job was done. Now we have a new waterline and moving forward on our vegetable garden. The County Inspector will come to say okay then we can close then trench up the following Monday. On Friday, it started to rain and Rocky checked the weather that heavy rain is expecting over the weekend. All the water will go straight to our basement and further weaken our foundation. OH NO! That night, only Lulu was able to sleep soundly. Rocky and I was awake most of the night hearing the rain tapping on the roof. 7:30 am came around. Rocky went to the house and checked the basement which has less water then he thought and drove directly to the hardware store to get plastic to cover the trench, for there was more rain to come.
After breakfast, we went to the house. First to pick rocks from the garden plot which took over 2 hours. After lunch we went back and cover the trench with plastic. It didn’t rain as heavy as we expected the following night but I am overjoyed the trench was covered. It is Thurs the following week now, the inspector came and we buried the trench back. I am glad to see our house didn’t get wash away
Now we have plastic to build a green house in the garden that we will tackle coming weekend.
We are slowly exploring our neighborhood which is Bent Creek. One warm day a week ago, we went on a hike up the hill from our apt where I saw a couple of small bears last summer. The green moss are all out. The color is so intense that I just want to shrink myself small and live among the small creatures in the moss. Lulu had a great time. She pretended to be a small rodent finding a small tree hole as her burrow. Rocky collected tree ear mushroom for our potential hot and sour soup. We spotted some mountain mint to make tea returning home.
I always thought the best time to look for a new dwelling is the time you don’t need one. When your mind is in a calm place and one can think clearly without rushing into a premature decision. Well this was not the case for us last May 2012, for we had to vacate our rental house by June 1 due to our crazy landlord. Only 2 weeks left. My idea was to put all our savings in purchasing an affordable house so our resource won’t dwindle away to rent and inflation. I knew very little about purchasing a home, basically my mentality of house hunting was much like the college days of apartment hunting. If it is cheap enough, I will take it even if the bathtub is in the living room or if there is a giant hole above your front door and the only view from the apt is a garbage dump….Now the dump is the fancy Hotel on Rivington St in NYC. There is so little time left that we even checked out an RV if we didn’t find anything. After seeing more houses than I can remember and even dragging my neighbor to house hunt with me when Rocky was out of town, we settled on this little grandma house with a big yard.
The house was pretty old and needed a lot of work. The grandma was living there prior of us moving in. She kept the place very neat and tidy. So I thought we can move in and fix everything slowly. But turns out that the repairs we need to do were all connected, much like a domino affect. Each repair overlaps each other. If we want to have new wiring done, we need to replace the asbestos cement siding because it is illegal to drill into asbestos siding for the new electrical box. If we are getting the sidings replace, we might as well fix the roof and replace the old leaky windows. If we are fixing the roof, we might as well replace the rotten beams on the front porch. Then we should replace the whole front porch because it is easier to build a new one than to fix one with rotten lumber. By the third day of living there, Rocky suggested Lulu and I should stay with friends while he starts on the repairs which he thought will last about a month. We ended up couch surfer for month and a half. Now it is 8 months later, we gutted the whole house and only kept the frame of it. Even the toilet and the bath tub are history along with the bathroom floor. It is not what I planned but we are in good spirit and moving forward. Seriously, I am fairly relaxed and going with the flow. I even thought we could just camp in the yard during the renovation but the family voted on renting a little apt down the road.
This was the kitchen but all gone now. Rocky took it apart a few days before Christmas
This was my most favorite part of the house, the mud room ceiling. My intention was convert this room to be my studio. At the end, we decided to
gut it as well. We save the lumber to build background for my etsy site-http://www.etsy.com/shop/babolulu
Old jars left behind with mysterious content could dated back to the 40s. My intention is to sell the old jars and buy a new washing machine. Vintage jars anyone?
I must of vacuumed hundreds of camel cricket from the basement. I wished I have some chicken to feed them to. Some people might find this gross, but I see it as a commodity.
We hired 3 extra guys to gutted the house in 3 days.
Jon, our carpenter is replacing the roof.
The asbestos sidings all removed by Rocky’s hard work.
This is what the house looks like now. We have new windows and roof. The front porch will go on first and the sidings. My friend Flynn came by the other day.
She said “You aren’t exaggerating, this is a shack.”
We saved the wood for a chicken coop. Lulu playing with our nice neighbor.
This entry dated back last May 2012
By far, this is the most beautiful place I ever lived. But I knew we had to move due to an unstable landlord. There were signs of instability when we first got there because the land was so magical that we couldn’t resist. We have no regrets moving there, for we met a lot of amazing neighbors, experimented on gardening and I got a lot of feathers from my good neighbors to make hair fascinators which are now selling at the Asheville Art Museum. Now we know what we want, good neighbors and fertile land for gardening.
Our friends Erin and Jimmy was getting ready to butcher their 2 pigs and offer me one of the heads. I was really excited for this brand new adventure. I expressed my overwhelming excitement to Rocky, my partner in life. He has a completely different take on the situation. For he grew up on a farm and was aware that the head was covered with a lot of hair, more hair than I can handle in our small apt. Then I found a bunch of youtube videos on how to prepare a pig head. Every single head I saw was so clean and pink. The chef demonstrated you can just clean the remaining hair with a little shaver or burn it off which I barely saw hair on the animal. I showed the videos to Rocky and explained that this will be a piece of cake.
The day of the head….I am going to write this in a short version. Erin, Jimmy and I stood side by side from 12pm to sun down cleaning the heads. Luckily we did this outdoor at the farm. The head has so much hair. We will shave the head and immediately stubble was growing back in. I must say it was a great bonding experience. This experience is the completely opposite of speed dating. How often do you get a chance to spend quality time with friends nowadays! At 4:30 Rocky showed up to help. We got home at 7pm, Rocky spent another hour cleaning. We marinated it for 2 days in Chinese 5 spices. It was delicious but fatty and lasted for another 3 meals. My favorite part was the ears.