Friday, July 04, 2008

A Little Behind...

MAY: Ok, so let's catch up with May. Finally the warmer weather arrived. We had a nice bloom on the cherry tree in 2008! That means cherries for muffins! May was very busy for us. It began with the aforementioned pond project, which unfortunately was delayed with torrential downpours every few days. On May 3rd, we were able to move the pump from the pond to the baby pool, gently and carefully move the fish as we were transferring water, and then we removed the liner. That took about an hour. Then the work started. We began digging about 9am and finished about 4:30pm. We did take a few short breaks to rest the weary muscles. Norm said he felt like he was on the Chain Gang, but I wasn't holding a gun on him to make him keep working, honest. We laid the new liner and started to fill about 5:30pm. The pond volume increased by about 100%. When the fish were released into their new abode, it appeared that they were very happy with the vast improvement. Now they have about 1000 gallons and are loving it. So the pond was finished, with rocks placed by 5/5. Though much to our dismay, the waterfall is still a project in-the-works. As many know, Hannibal and the Mississippi River Valley were inundated with rain for much of May. That put the waterfall job on hold. It was one big mud hole for quite some time. We did get the liner laid, but found that it too was punctured, and are yet to have the new liner laid. The supply pile of "dirt" for building the banks of the waterfall, has been in the Mississippi MUD stage since it was removed as we dug the pond. Maybe next month it will be finished!

For Mother's Day, we had a wonderful visit with family. All the kids & families, nieces, nephews, & grandchild, were here along with Judy's brother. We had 17 guests in the house for about a week and it was a BLAST! We also were able to watch a massive hail storm on 5/13, with golf ball sized hail! There was an accumulation of over an inch of various sizes. It was amazing. Our Silverado had about 300 dings when all was said and done. Luckily, the rentals the family had driven here were parked out front under the trees and were undamaged. Tim & Kathy had left that morning and beat the storm heading south, before it hit. Oh to have that old Carriage house when we needed it.

Business was good in May and we thank all of our guests for choosing to stay with us.

JUNE: Like in May, the rains kept coming, and coming, and coming. We thought that gas prices and far too much water were going to cause us significant drop in occupancy, but that didn't happen. What a relief! June turned out well and ranks in our top 3 in 9 years. Again, thanks to all of our guests who decided to brave the flooding stories reported by the media and kept their reservations with us.

We were able to accomplish a couple other projects this month. Norm removed 4 bushes at the front door, which had seen better days. We placed our cobbler edge border around the front of the house and are getting it ready for daylily removal and new plantings. Next year it should be totally transformed. One big problem is coming from the house to our north. It's empty and no one has treated that yard for weeds in decades. So now we've been the recipients of seedings of broadleaf and wild violets by the millions. Though we treated the worst part of the front yard, the weeds seemed to just laugh at the weed killer, and chose growth rather than death. The constant rain and working in the mud has not been conducive to seeing all projects to completion. It's frustrating. We've cleaned weeds from several flower beds about a dozen times this year. RAIN=massive amounts of weeds!

All the while, the Mississippi River is rising...and rising...and rising... Our highest crest was about 2 feet lower than our record of 31.7. And that's a GOOD thing. This year the Corps of Engineers and National Guard added 2 feet to the top of our levee for "good measure". Thankfully, we didn't need it. We hosted an ABC news crew from NY and TX and they were called out in the wee hours of the morning when levees to our north & south would breach or top. It was a trying time for so many folks and we hope and pray that all those displaced will find the resources they need to get "back home".

We powerwashed in the rain a couple days, and the limestone wall & steps look fantastic! Another fun job was replacing the decking and shingles on a small 3 x 17 foot roof over our dining room windows a week ago. We had yet another torrential downpour in the wee hours of 6/26, which revealed a leak in the roof. We discovered that water was dripping in the dining room at the top of the windows. So at 2:30am, we were planning our mode of attack for the next day. Thursday we demolished the old roof and put on the decking for the new one. Friday we were able to get the shingles in place, and Saturday we finished the job. It was not really that fun pretending to be roofers. But hey...we don't grow money on trees or manufacture it in the basement here, so we wear numerous hats in this business.

So that's it for May and June. See you next month! We're booked for National Tom Sawyer Days over the Fourth of July, but check our availability online to see if we can match a date to your preferences in July. We'd love to meet you!! Hannibal is OPEN for business!!