I headed over to PA to visit son and his wife. It takes about 8 hours to get there. I stopped to visit my old teaching department at Slippery Rock University. Only one professor and the secretary was around at 4:00pm. Oh well, I drove around to see any changes in the last 4 years.
This is the side of the Field House off Keister Road. A nice Fall day on campus.
I arrived with a friend's trailer and Ryan and I loaded it with oak and hemlock 1" X 12" X 12' pieces. Ryan bought it rough cut from the Amish and planed it down himself. It was a heavy load. We took three loads of stuff from his garage over to the cabin he is re-modeling.
This is the cabin Ryan lived in while studying for his MA in History. It only has one bedroom, but he has plans for an addition during the summer. He is excited to have his own first house and has been designing all the changes needed. He will do 95% of the work himself.
The planks are laid out on the carpet and will be stained and cut. I asked about the carpet and Ryan said, "It is coming out and hardwood floors are going down next". So we cut and stained right on top of the carpet.
This is the before picture of the cabin's living room ceiling with a beam down the middle. We then cut the 12' boards to fit and used a clear varnish.
Since his wife, Leslie, is pregnant and due in January, we didn't want her beathing the fumes. That meant we really could make a mess inside the house and then just clean it up afterwards. The one wall is barn siding.
You can see the two sides have been finished. Ryan decided to slide the panels in place and not nail them down. Wife would inspect after we had it roughly in place.
Handling 12' planks that are 12" wide is tough for one person. As you try to saw to size, the blade get pinched. We finally got our system down and were really moving. We started at 8 am and worked until 6 pm and finished it in two days That is, we finished the baby's room, the living room and the kitchen. Next, it was time for the inspection by the Boss! Wife came over and looked for a long time at our work. She liked the wood grain, she liked the natural stain, but she didn't like that some of the boards were still rough. "How am I going to clean it?" Suggestion taken and Ryan said he could take the boards down and sand them smooth and re-stain in one day now that the work was all cut and sized. We Stauffers like to rush right along and it helps to have the Boss inspect every so often.
Last week, Ryan found three little kittens in the middle of the road that someone had dropped off. He built a kitten box by the front door. He already has two cats so no more cats.
He has fed them and they are now healthy so I took pictures for listing them on Craig's List. Free kittens, anyone?
This is fluffy and she/he followed us all around as we worked. I'm not good on checking sex of little kittens. They all look the same to me!
This is yellow cat. Gee, every cat is different from that litter. Does that mean three fathers?
This one reminded me of my pet cat when I was a young boy. It arrived one day in our yard and I wanted to keep it. I didn't know that my father took it for a ride and let it off about one mile from our house. Two days later, the cat returned and became part of the family.
On Saturday, Ryan had to give a History, Geography and Geology of PA lesson to 45 Girl Scouts from 3rd grade to 8th grade. This is part of his job at the Heritage School of Butler County Community College. He works there as a full-time Blacksmith instructor and teaches in between. It was great to be there to see my son present to the girls. He had active learning stages set up and kept the girls going from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm. I really like how he had them make name tags from a wood cut from a tree limb Then he had them find out how old the wood was by counting the rings. Then they had to go over to a large tree that was cut into several stumps and count those rings and identy where they would be if the tree was planted on their birthdate.
Then they laid out a rope in the shape of PA and had to identy where major towns, the capitol, and rivers were located. They first did it on an handout and this was the reinforcing lesson.
For Geology, they had to identy three different types of rocks and sort them out from a pile that was given them. I noticed the girls checking out the stones in the driveway after lunch.
I was very proud of his teaching. Usually he is teaching adults in blacksmithing or how to play the bagpipes, but he loves to share his education in other areas with students. I think the girls liked his lessons, two girls came up and asked for his autograph!
Ryan is teach a Venture Crew (High School scout progam for guys and girls) on Mondays. They raised $2000 and bought an old Case Farm Tractor. They have it all torn down and are re-building the engine. The students do all the work and Ryan just supervises. They will donate it to the program and it will haul the Hay Waggon they re-stored last spring. Someone donated a small lightweight airplane that crashed and that is their next project. Boy, I wished I would have had a chance like that in High School.
Another 8 hour drive and I am now back in Michigan. I leave Thursday for a month and a half in Key West. Hopefully, I will post some stories from Key West. I miss Jimmy Buffett and those frozen Mango Daiquiris!