Summer 2016

Summer 2016
Summer in Tsukahara

Spring in Tsukahara

gkimbal's Spring in Tsukahara album on Photobucket

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Making the most of a rainy day

After experiencing five beautiful days of vacation (Golden Week), it rained. Not a problem. I have been procrastinating with the upstairs remodel using the excuse that the weather has been too nice to work inside. Well, it was finally time to do some tiling. Erika and I tiled the bathroom floor. Nothing fancy, just enough to match the other bathrooms. The walls will be tiled after I cut the tiles for one of the guest bedrooms. The reason for the delay is that I’m not 100% sure that I have enough tile to do both rooms. I also need to build a cabinet for a sink in the bathroom. The weather forecast for the rest of our vacation is cool and clear. Time to procrastinate again. 

A couple of weeks ago I did manage to finish installing plywood flooring in the bathroom, hallway, and one of the guest bedrooms. This was done to add stability to the original flooring so the tile wouldn't crack. The original wood flooring started "cupping" creating an uneven floor. This was probably caused by the original owner accidently leaving the window open during a few rainstorms (the house was empty for months at a time) and allowing the floor to get soaked. I found evidence of this when I took up some flooring to find the cause. This house was abused and neglected for many years. It took a lot of TLC just to get it to its current condition. It makes me sick to think about how an irresponsible homeowner could turn a beautiful log home into a rotting mess. 

The bathroom tiling was finished by noon. Now what? Baking a pie and some cookies sounded like a good idea. It was time to bake a pecan pie with real pecans. Yummy. We love pecan pie and have been craving it for some time. I also tried a new recipe for oatmeal cookies. The raisins were soaked in rum. These cookies are fantastic!!! They are moist and chewy. The rum gives the cookies an extra kick. I’ll have to make these again in the near future. 

Ah, the secret ingredient. 

Pecan pie...a wonderful thing.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Wacky Weather

Totally out of the blue, the weather changed from spring to winter. We just finished preparing our flower baskets and the tulips, camellias, juneberries, cherry blossoms, etc. opened with the warm weather. All of a sudden…it started snowing!! Well, maybe not all of a sudden, but it was quick and the winds were ferocious. The winds picked up our umbrella, tore it from the metal stand, and launched it across the yard. It’s time to buy a new umbrella. Erika and I scrambled to get the flower baskets into the garage. Batten down the hatches it’s going to be colder tomorrow. 

Look closely and you can see patches of white at the base of the mountain. Those are cherry blossoms. Above the blossoms is a fresh layer of snow.

P.S.  To celebrate the return of winter we baked pizza and had some wine. Cheers!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Oita Agricultural Park

It was such a nice day on Thursday that we decided to go on a drive. We took the doggies to the Oita Agricultural Park in Ajimu. It’s only 30 minutes from Tsukahara. The park is huge. The doggies are allowed to roam anywhere in the park and best of all…it’s free. This was our second visit to the park. On our first visit we went down to the reservoir and crossed a couple of bridges, and walked and walked. We were tired and so were the doggies. We knew we would visit again.

This time we explored the upper part of the park. The early spring weather treated us to some cherry blossoms. Judging from the huge variety of plants, there must be something blooming every month of the year. The park has a vast assortment on azaleas, rhododendrons, roses, fruit trees, bulbs, etc… the list goes on and on. It must be a tremendous undertaking to maintain a park of this size. The park has a “down home” country atmosphere with music (country/ western) playing on the loudspeakers strategically located throughout the park. The music is soft and not distracting at all. The trails are wide and well maintained. Bicycle rentals are available. There are plenty of places to sit and relax. Food and refreshments are also available. I’m sure the park is overflowing with visitors on the weekends, but we seemed to have the park to ourselves on Thursday.

 This is the entrance to the park. 

The trails are wide and well maintained. 

We were treated with some cherry blossoms. 

There are lots of places to explore with views around each corner. 

This area must be gorgeous when the flowers are in bloom. We'll have to come back and check it out. 

Here's one of the loudspeakers providing soft background music. It's a nice touch. 

These greenhouses contain plants that require a warmer climate like aloe, sedum, and cactus. This area must be spectacular when it's in full bloom. 

I can't say enough good things about this place. If you're in the Ajimu area it's definitely worth the effort to see the park at least once. Bring a good pair of walking shoes and allow at least a few hours.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

It's Spring (almost)

We’re having a few days of spring-like weather. The warmth of the sun is a welcome relief from the cold, miserable winter we had. Kiley is enjoying the view and the beautiful weather from the comforts of her bed.

Lucky just woke up from taking a long nap on the warm deck. 

It's almost too nice to work inside, but...

...that's what needs to be done. I went ahead and ripped the flooring out where some new pipes needed to be installed. The toilet and sink were removed. The original sink was located on the right hand side as you enter the room. Since there is more room on the left, I decided to have the drain and water moved to the left side. I'll build a cabinet to hide all the plumbing.  

The flooring will be replaced with 27 mm plywood and tile. The tile design will match the bathrooms (master and guest) on the first floor. This is our second "guest" bathroom (first and second floor). The walls will be tiled and I'll have a few more improvements that I'll post later. 

Here's a view looking out to the stairs leading to the third floor. A whole bunch of work will be done to the stairs. 

Speaking of work...this is the new temporary work area for the second floor. Later, this will be one of the guest rooms. The walls have been patched and some of the moulding has been painted. The solid cherry doors will get a clear coat. The logs will be cleaned and clear coated to match the first floor. 

Any gaps will be filled, primed and painted. 

Similar to downstairs, the water stains will be removed and a clear coat applied. 

Last, but not least, the entire second floor flooring will be replaced with either tile or laminate. I'll explain why in a later post. 

Oh and before I close, Erika made this wonderful apple strudel from scratch. All it needs is a scoop of ice cream.