Saturday, April 29, 2006

Green, Greener, Greenest!

Here’s an amazing statistic: 2006 lawnmower engines contribute 93 times more smog-forming emissions than 2006 cars, according to the California Air Resources Board. We still have a partial lawn here at Chez Sven, a souvenir of my parents’ days in Washington, DC. I have been removing it slowly, with the addition of gardens and paths. The lawn gets mowed only when necessary. Last year there was not much rain. The count was one lawn-trimming for part of June and all of July. Sven mowed the lawn yesterday, before the weekend guests arrived.

Spring is an exciting time to visit because our sleepy little town awakens after the long, harsh New England winter. Shopkeepers and restaurant owners have renewed energy as a new season draws near. You can almost feel anticipation in the air. Painters stand on ladders, applying last dabs of paint to weathered signs and facades. The cherry trees are in blossom. Since the leaves have not yet appeared, there's a wonderful view at high tide when you drive down Main Street and look left towards the harbor. In a week or two, this view will disappear. Seeing Duck Creek through the barren branches reminds me of how very close Wellfleet center is to the sea. It is not as obvious the rest of the year.

The flowering pear tree in front of Seagull Cottage is in bloom. I just went out and spoke to our Seagull Cottage guests, who were preparing to go explore Wellfleet. They commented on what a "magical spot" it was and pointed at the pear tree when I apologized that only spring flowers were out. Last week Sven & I went up to Boston. Upon our return, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of this place. We are lucky to live so close to Nature.

I love to see the surroundings greening up. Before one's eyes, fledgling leaves unfurl. We have native honeysuckle bushes, as well as honeysuckle vines. When the blossoms come out in a month or two, the air, spiced also with pine and blueberry, will smell absolutely divine.

Being a green bed & breakfast, we do our best to green up, too. Green cleaning products are a no-brainer. They are readily available now, better for the environment, and non-toxic to humans. I also found some VOC-free paint called, appropriately, Harmony. Green furnishings are more of a challenge.

The other day I was researching mattresses. I need a rollaway bed for the occasional guest who wants a child to sleep in the same room. First I tried to buy just the metal part of the rollaway from Hotel Supplies. No dice. It was all or nothing. Then I called up a local hotel to see if they had any rollaway candidates for retirement. My plan was a new green mattress for an old, recycled frame. So far, no luck. The mattress itself isn’t cheap. I found a nice organic mattress with quilted cover for $895. Then, you have to pay tax and shipping …

While doing research on mattresses, I checked out furniture. One Web site offers a whole line of custom furniture made without chemicals, dyes, polymers, or toxins. I saw a lovely upholstered armchair. The price tag, however, is prohibitive: $2500.

A green bed & breakfast definitely has higher costs than a non-green bed & breakfast …

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Healing Body & Soul in Eastham, Orleans, and P-town

Dr. Lori Deveuve is a chiropractor, a word I used to scorn. Not any more. Oh, how I love to lie on her table and abandon myself to those talented hands! Dr. Lori explains every adjustment she makes. Gentle, wise, knowledgeable, state-of-the-art, caring are adjectives that come to mind. At first Sven was a skeptic, but he left Dr. Lori’s office a convert. If you happen to have hurt your back or suffer from an old sports injury, do yourself a favor. While on Cape Cod, go see Dr. Lori in Orleans.

Spirit-medium Robert Brown came into our lives as a birthday present two years ago. Brown discovered the ability to contact spirits almost by accident in 2001. A deeply religious man, Brown feels his gift comes from God. Trained as an interior designer, he accepts his calling and now happily combines the two careers. Sven & I have visited Robert Brown, based in Provincetown, twice now. Each reading was a journey that opened new vistas and provoked thought and retrospection. Robert Brown can be reached at (617) 439 4100.

What seemed to be an unending string of tea-drinking guests in 2005 made me realize how much I needed Tea Culture. By mid-August, I got up the courage to ask Londoners the right way to brew tea. They said bags would do, if that was all we had. I heated the teapot, poured in boiling water, let the tea steep. Being polite, my guests drank, but their forced enthusiasm made me realize there must be more to serving tea. Fast-forward to a large sign marked TEA. I jerk the Volvo to a stop and enter the cozy new tearoom created by Joe and Sara Augustino. They sell white, green, black, oolong, Pu-erh and herbal loose tea in heat-sealed, Ziplock stay-fresh foil bags. Joe treats customers royally, offering sample brews and custom blends. He has even traveled to China in search of tea knowledge. At Tea Culture I learned white and green teas are especially good for health. Thanks to Joe and Sara, I have become an avid tea drinker and provide Chez Sven guests with what must surely be the best organic tea on the Cape. Tea Culture is located at 182 Bracket Road in Eastham.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My New Addiction

Question: How is a blog like the ocean?

Answer: The ocean never looks quite the same. With the tides and weather, nature is constantly remodeling the shoreline. Each day there are subtle changes in the landscape. This variety is the reason no one ever tires of beach-walking. In a similar vein, the adroit blogger has a voice and captures the reader's attention by changing tone and topic, without losing focus of the subject at hand.

Have you noticed how blogs are receiving more and more media coverage? Penelope Trunk recently wrote an article on blogs, published last week in the Globe.

I have come to the conclusion that I prefer blogging to just about anything. I definitely prefer it to painting, the job I had assigned myself today. If I had the choice between cooking breakfast and blogging, I would choose the computer over pots and pans. Ditto, shopping and cleaning. I actually hate to clean, but it is a necessary part of the bed & breakfast business, so clean I must. Gardening, now there’s something I truly enjoy. Planting flowers, seeing them grow, deadheading faded blossoms . . . I used to really get into gardening. The growing season is not here yet, but I already sense there may be a few more faded blossoms left on flower stems this year. Why? Outside work takes me away from the computer. How I love the melodic sound it makes to announce the arrival of new email! Email is not blogging, true. However, I receive Chez Sven inquiries via the Internet … and then there are those nice little messages from past and future guests about Chezsven Blog: “Reading your blog is wonderful.” “Love your photos. Wellfleet is a favorite of mine!” “Beautiful writing!”

Blogging is, in fact, very similar to my all-time favorite job. Twenty-some years ago I had a radio show in France and began my program every evening with the words, “Good evening, Paris! C’est Sandy Beach, en direct du Studio XYZ, et je vous invite a vous promener sur les ondes avec moi.” (TRANSLATION: Good evening Paris! Sandy Beach here, live from the XYZ studio. Come take a little stroll on the airwaves with me.) The XYZ is because the name kept changing, not a very good way to ensure audience fidelity. The station belonged to powerful media people who should have known better. Still all Paris could tune in. I loved being on the radio. Sending my voice out over the airwaves was exhilarating. Blogging is similar to radio work. It involves writing and communication, two activities, which seem to come naturally to me. Even back then, I remained connected to Wellfleet through my choice of radio name: Sandy Beach.

Perhaps you, too, love Wellfleet? As a pioneer-reader, you are eligible for this special offer: my daughter Stephanie made me birthday bumper stickers. If you would like an I LOVE WELLFLEET bumper sticker for your car, bike, truck, boat, plane, or helicopter, shoot me an email with your name and address. I have already put one on our Volvo ...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

More Fond Memories of 2005...

Berit contacted me a month before her trip to the USA. She planned to show husband Christian fall foliage. Beaches had been a big part of her childhood, and living in Munich meant no beaches, so Berit wanted to include Cape Cod on their September itinerary. The two young Germans were just the type of guests Sven & I had hoped to attract when we started Chez Sven. I was devastated, because Liberty Coin Suite and Seagull Cottage were both booked for the days they requested. At first I said no, sorry. Then a light bulb went off in my head. We would accommodate them in the Studio, Sven’s favorite place to sleep!

To make a long story short, Berit and Christian came to Wellfleet and enjoyed having their own private little house, right in the middle of the garden. Berit just sent me a photo taken last fall. How beautiful the flowers were! It is hard to believe that in just a few months the patch of now-barren earth between the Studio and Chez Sven will come to life this way. Whirling butterflies gaura will dance on the wind. Verbena bonariensis will create a purple haze. Butterflies will flit from blossom to blossom. Wave petunias will cascade onto the bricks, and the air will smell sweet …

Knowing how much Berit and Christian enjoyed Chez Sven, I asked them to write a short description of their stay since this year we are making the Studio available to other guests. Here is what Berit wrote on her way home from a spring diving holiday:

“In the daytime the Studio was bright and comfortable, with that wonderful garden just in front. At night we could see stars through the window near the bed. No sounds disturbed our sleep. The site itself is very calm. Sharing a bathroom with the hosts was not complicated. Sandy and her husband were very friendly and helpful. We felt more at home in the Studio than at a B&B."

These photos remind me of how pleasant it is to receive guests like Berit and Christian who arrive exhausted, almost burnt-out, and much in need of a vacation. Before my very eyes, their faces relax and something seems to infuse their spirits with serenity. A few days at Chez Sven does work wonders . . .

Friday, April 21, 2006

Spring, Finally!

As soon as I awoke, I realized Spring had decided to make 2006 a banner year in New England. One look outside told me it was going to be glorious. Crisp air, clear blue sky. Not too hot, not too cold. Usually Wellfleet has a lot of rain in April. This April has been pleasantly dry. In our line of business, it is always possible to take a big bite out of such a day by choosing to work outside.

In the afternoon, our carpenter friend Nate Cook dropped by to help Sven install the new screen-door. Back in February, we had noticed a similar one on a house out Old King’s Highway. Sven used ingenuity and created a perfect match. We are very pleased with the result. Now, when people walk our road, they will see two blue doors, one at the start, and one out near the Truro line. We do not have much time for walking just now. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish all that needs to be done before the season starts. This week Sven helped me turn the earth in the vegetable garden. The chickadees flitted back and forth, chirping gaily. I planted more raspberry bushes, so guests can eventually enjoy our organic raspberries.

The good weather makes people want to come to Wellfleet. We have had several last-minute requests for accommodation. I hate to turn people away, but sometimes we have no choice. Here is another peek at the screen-door, with a view of the vintage table on the side lawn. Sven had his breakfast outside today. Being a Swede, he loves the outdoors and seizes every opportunity he can to experience nature. If you look closely, you will see a white hyacinth in the bottom left-hand corner. Hyacinths make the yard smell wonderful.

Everyone seems to like the new Web site. We have had a lot of positive feedback: “professional,” “more modern,” “looks great." Our first site was pitched at foreigners. It never occurred to me that Americans might feel intimidated by Sven’s ability with languages, but that was exactly what guests this past weekend told me. I do not think the same will happen with the new site, though. It provides a succinct summary of all Chez Sven has to offer. The yellow flower in the right-hand corner is an enlargement of a correopsis from our garden. The photo was taken early July, 2005. It is such a pleasure to see the garden springing back to life. After the daffodils and crocus, the species tulips have joined the parade…

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Observing Wellfleet Wildlife Over Breakfast

We have a resident fox here at Chez Sven who acts as if she owns the place. I watch her trot around Seagull Cottage, brazen as can be. Neighbors have seen cubs playing in the grass, up the hill, so I guess that’s where she keeps house.

Sven is hopeful that our fox will hunt our rabbits. I seem to wake up just as they are finishing breakfast: crocus leaves, today. Tulips are also on their spring menu. Rabbits cannot resist tulips. They bite off the tops, then move on to something more tasty.

Outside my kitchen window, two cowbirds are courting. I watch them crisscross the yard. Every once and a while, the male puffs out his chest and shakes his shiny black wing feathers. He makes quite a show, but the female, smaller, does not seem to notice. I observe the ritual a minute too long because, by the time I fetch my camera, they have flown away.

Our morning doves are not as shy. Their soft melodic voices provide a soothing soundtrack for gardening. Camouflage hides them well in the underbrush. A whole family inhabits one of our evergreens.

Sometimes a catbird perches in the wild cherry beside the bedroom window and trills away, a sure sign of spring. Such a sweet song!

Recently hawks have been circling overhead. Sven loves the hawks.

Last week I heard what I assumed to be three blue herons squawking as they flew over towards the ponds. A friend told me he had seen one behind the Wicked Oyster. I didn’t know they could fly this far, but there they were, up in the sky, flapping away.

We have chipmunks here, too. They hurry to and fro, their cheeks bulging with safflower seeds, grateful that Sven thinks we are feeding very hungry birds. Mutual misunderstanding, you might call it. The chipmunks are convinced we build woodpile-homes just for them.

At night the raccoons appear. Sometimes you can hear them cavorting up on the roof. Once I got a close look at a raccoon peering in the open Liberty Coin Suite skylight. I do not know which one of us was more surprised.

Coyotes are the most recent addition to the menagerie. I haven’t heard them howling of late. They must all have moved on to Truro.

I look out the window again and remember squirrels. We have gray ones with bushy tails, and little red ones, feisty fellows who chase the gray squirrels away.

Wild turkeys sometimes wander across Old King's Highway. Our favorite birds remain the chickadees. They come and fetch us when their feeder is empty.

Last but not least, there are skunks in the woods, as frightened of us as we are of them.

And – how could I forget? – seagulls! They sail by on the wind, inspiration for the metal seagull on the cottage and this story in our first brochure...

Guests always want to know how our darling cottage came to be, so here goes, a bit of whimsy: Once upon a time a seagull found a magic clam at Mayo Beach. Holding the clam in its beak, the seagull flew over Duck Creek, past the Mobil station, and into the woods behind Seamen’s Bank. Seagulls only venture inland when they have something important in mind. This seagull had noticed an exquisite garden with handsome brick pathways, perfect for opening supper. The seagull dropped the clam on one of the pathways, but instead of breaking open, it disintegrated into fairy dust, sprinkling its magic into the garden below. The seagull blinked and looked again. In the midst of the forest, a cottage had sprung up. The seagull landed on the roof and looked around at what its clam had wrought, then flew back to Duck Creek to tell friends. Seagulls still fly up from time to time, to admire what they call the “clam” cottage. Noticing their presence, we named it “Seagull Cottage.”

Monday, April 17, 2006

Conversation with a Fisherman at Gull Pond

Today we set out for Gull Pond since I have always wanted to show Sven the sluiceway where kayaks and canoes access Higgins Pond. As he parked our Volvo in the wooded lot, I silenced the voice on the radio, jabbering about the futility of the Iraq war. There were two fishermen down by the shore. One was busy, so we did not bother him. The other had brought a folding chair and sat there, with his newspaper, contemplating the view, a good distance from what I assumed to be his fishing rod, stuck in the sand.

“Any luck?” I asked.

“Lucky to be sitting here,” he said.

“Any news?” Sven asked.

“Just bad news.”

After this laconic exchange, we took one last look at Gull Pond and off we went up the dirt path identified as Schoolhouse Hill Road. It was not an easy walk because, as the name indicates, we were heading up a hill. At a fork, we turned right and saw a sign that made us both laugh: Wellfleet Resident Parking Permit Required, 2 spaces only, 3rd Saturday in June to Labor Day. What did people do if they drove all this way and the spaces were taken? I got my answer as a white pick-up truck came at us backwards. Several No Tresspassing signs were in evidence, unusual in that they were made out of granite. The people, who owned homes in this idyllic spot, obviously did not want company.

Beyond the parking spaces, two fathers coaxed their sons in the fine art of fishing. The boys wore Fresh Fish Tournament t-shirts from a tackle shop in Orleans. Four-year-old Jonathan proudly declared he had caught a trout and pointed at several fish, ready to be transported home. His father told us Gull Pond was stocked with trout, and Higgins with bass. Both men were hardcore fishermen, equipped with gear and appropriate apparel. Someone had painted an outdoors scene on their vehicle, parked in the grass.

We followed the path to the sluiceway – a very cool place to be in summer – and decided to return this fall. Here three ponds line up in a row. To our right, Gull Pond. To our left, Higgins. On the other side of Higgins, a second sluiceway leads to Williams Pond. It must be beautiful at dawn, with mist rising off the water, quiet and peaceful. Then I remembered the first fisherman’s comment and all the horrible things going on in the world. He was right. We are lucky to be here.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Why We Recommend Duck Harbor Beach

We all have favorite beaches. Mine is Duck Harbor, on Cape Cod Bay. In the summer, there's no lifeguard on duty, so families choose to swim elsewhere, which is fine with me. The fewer people, the better. Here is Sven, at Duck Harbor, also one of his favorite beaches. We never tire of visiting the National Seashore, where Nature reigns supreme. One goes thirsty and drinks one's fill.

When my children were small, I took them to the ocean. I would leave them at Newcomb Hollow and head in the opposite direction, up beach. I would walk the wild coast, showing off my tan to other seasonal visitors. The Atlantic suited me then. Now that I live in Wellfleet year round, I walk a bay beach in Quiet Season. I go as to church, to receive a blessing.

Beach grass delineates the edge of civilization. I cross the dune and stand on firm ground, above the line of the tide. The first beings once crawled across a beach like this one. It's a special place and solicits respect.

Stepping forward, I break the crust of wind-dried sand. Feet sink in as if on down. The beach supports my weight, yet carries me along, weightless. An involuntary sigh escapes my lips. Beach walking is like flying. It imparts power. I glance back and rejoice in my footprints, proof of passage. In the space of their trail, I become the first man.

(To the left, beach and dune; to the right, Truro and, further along, Provincetown, in the distance. Everywhere you look, exceptional beauty, like this hollow at Bound Brook. The Pilgrims paused nearby at Corn Hill, before exploring Provincetown harbor and crossing the bay to Plymouth. One can only imagine their delight at the "discovery" of these amazing pristine shores, home to Native Americans who must have observed them from the cover of trees on bluffs like this one.)

The sand is like watercolor paper, ready to receive my mark. Stick in hand, I weave my way down to the water's edge. There I pause to confide a secret valentine.

I follow the shoreline, playing cat and mouse with waves. I worry at all the bits of plastic, washed up by the tide. Such flotsam is a reminder of what man has wrought. Starting now, I promise myself to better represent humanity.

The wind plays hymns as I walk along. Sea spray jumps up to meet me. The sun sparkles on waves. Trumpets sound. On the beach, I become Robinson Crusoe, challenged by the elements, yet able to survive by wits alone.

Before retracing my steps, I pause to listen to waves. Their lapping calms the soul. Waves are like a mother's heartbeat, heard in the womb, regular, dependable, never-ending.

At Duck Harbor, I meditate on where I have been and where I am going. With wind in hair and the sky shimmering pink and blue, I rejoice in the glory life provides. Pilgrimage over, I return to the humdrum of daily life, restored.

I wrote the above lines several years ago when I belonged to the Wellfleet Writer’s Guild. I still feel the same way about Duck Harbor. Sven shares my appreciation for this extreme corner of Wellfleet. It takes longer to get here, but you drive along Chequessett Neck, past the Herring River Dike, then right on Griffin Island Road, finally reaching scenic Duck Harbor Road. The incredible views feel like a just reward. After Sven’s parents and brother passed away five winters ago, he would walk Duck Harbor at sunset on a regular basis. It is a place for meditation and renewal.

We always tell our guests about Duck Harbor. Those who take our advice and go there, do not regret the extra effort.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Spring is on the Way!

During winter, New England city dwellers dream of spending the summer on Cape Cod. Come spring, it is time to schedule a vacation. Yesterday a flurry of information requests kept me close to the computer. We booked Seagull Cottage one weekend in May and one week in July. The May couple are bringing friends from Germany who will stay in our Studio. I also spoke to a man in Belgium about an August trip. He sought advice on whether to go to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard. Funny how innkeepers suddenly become experts on local travel options. I picked Nantucket but told him Wellfleet is even more worthwhile. There is beauty everywhere. Even the trailer park down at the harbor merits a second glance.

The other day Sven and I went walking through "Harborside Village." Sometimes you see ads for trailers in the classified. I was amazed at how lovely the tiny plots can be. Some trailers seem to be inhabited year-round. There were clotheslines and decks and arbors. The owners obviously care a lot about these well-tended homes. Pussy willow, a tree that is easy to grow from a rooted cutting, was planted along the paths.

Sven spent 17 years above the Arctic Circle where there are no trees. He is following news from Kiruna these days because the local government has decided to move the town. A person, who has trees as a part of his daily landscape, comes to take them for granted, he says.

When the colonists came to the New World, they felled whole forests. We have a photo of our house at the beginning of the century. It is fascinating to see the area without pitch pine and locust. Sometimes guests ask how a house could have been moved here on rollers, and the answer is there were fields everywhere back then. Lumber had become scarce. Moving a house apparently made more sense than building a new one. I wonder what Wellfleet settlers would have thought of these trailors? They certainly are easier to move.

The forsythia and daffodils were out at Harborside Village. All the tiny leaves on the bushes along Old King’s Highway have begun to unfurl. Homeowners who live off-Cape have started to come for the weekend in order to check on winter damage and prepare for the season. With Easter around the corner, I noticed a new type of tree in Wellfleet. The fruit is oval-shaped and comes in many colors. There is one in the yard next to the Congregational Church, and another out on Route 6. Easter-egg trees!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Walking Wellfleet's White Cedar Swamp Trail

Occasionally Sven and I learn about Wellfleet from guests. Last summer we had a couple who returned one day invigorated by a hike through the White Cedar Swamp. When they asked if I had been, I said yes because I thought they were referring to the Red Cedar Swamp, in Eastham. I should know my cedars as we have seven old ones out front, but I guess I don’t. White, red, not the same thing!

The White Cedar Swamp is located in Wellfleet and can be accessed from the Marconi site parking lot. The trail belongs to the National Seashore and is well maintained, like those in Germany and Sweden. As we started down, a jogger surged past, emerging from a path to our right. His presence signaled that we would enjoy this walk. In France, Sven used to jog every week, so I know how discerning joggers tend to be in their choice of terrain and scenery.

We proceeded down log steps that wound past bear oak, broom crowberry, and pitch pine. “Quite a nice trail!” Sven exclaimed with surprise. Each new species was identified by a small sign. We had to go quite a ways before reaching the swamp, again clearly marked. I followed Sven like a hesitant deer, alert to possible danger. The air smelled different, more woodsy.

White cedar tree trunks soared at weird angles and were spaced quite close together. No light reached the ground in some spots, creating an eerie, otherworldly glow. Not a place to recommend to parents with young children as the elevated boardwalk had no guide rail. While kids would surely enjoy the adventure, how easy to fall in.

“Very unusual landscape,” Sven said as we penetrated deeper into the darkness. At a curve, pedestrians find a bench where they can sit and meditate. In summer, the temperature here must be more pleasant than up at the parking lot. I loved the murky water, which only reflected the blue sky from time to time. What extraordinary colors: bronze, beige, black, lavender, and green.

Wellfleet's White Cedar Swamp gave us an glimpse of what the wilderness confronting colonists in the late 1600s must have been like. They encountered cedars three to four feet thick and cut most of them for lumber. The White Cedar Swamp cedars are younger trees. According to the pamphlet provided by the Seashore, "All of this land was barren in the 1850s, a result of years of overuse. From the original primeaval forest, almost no trees remain.

The boardwalk meandered through the swamp and looped back to the entrance where we followed a different path up to the car, the one the jogger had chosen, soft earth, ideal for running.

“Reminds me of the forest in St. Germain-en-Laye,” I said.

“Yes, the one with the wild boars,” Sven replied.

I didn’t remember any wild boars, but apparently my husband actually had seen a whole family in the St. Germain forest. We didn’t observe any wildlife at the White Cedar Swamp, not even birds.

We completed our walk by heading towards the site of Marconi’s wireless station. Off to the right, I snapped the landscape as we drove past. The Seashore has built an observation platform on a rise near the exhibit. From there we had a great view of the Atlantic, which turned wild and white-capped as we watched. A cold wind blew up, chilling me to the bone. We hurried back to the car, pleased with this new addition to our walking repertoire, one I will certainly recommend to future guests, those without children!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

How to Transform an Ordinary Screen Door into a Work of Art

Sven believes in the old-fashioned do-it-yourself way of getting things done. He has been dreaming of screen doors ever since we eyeballed the beauty at the Hamburger place. (See episode Exploring Old King’s Highway.) Of course, it is possible to buy ready-made custom screen doors, but that would be far too easy. How much more fun to create a masterpiece oneself! Here are the steps to follow:

1.) Find an old screen door in need of TLC, a mug hanger, and a few boards. (We picked our door up at the dump last year.)

2.) Put masking tape on the screening and paint. (Sven chose the color blue. Is anyone surprised?)

3.) Saw pieces to appropriate size for decorative angles.

4.) Create brackets. (Here he is, hard at work, above and at right.)

5.) Take apart the mug hanger and use the parts for the spindle design in the middle.

6.) Saw boards to appropriate size and nail into place along the edges where the spindles will go.

7.) Paint pieces and let dry.

(From this photo you will note Sven has already drilled holes in one of the pieces of wood and screwed in the spindles.)

8.) Put the door together and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

An April Day in the Life

My son is giving me a wonderful birthday present: a brand new Web site. He has been working on it all week. Every day I have been helping rewrite the text and today is no different. In fact, I am already feeling bleary-eyed, and it is only 10 o’clock. Luckily a brisk knock at the door draws me away from the computer. It is the UPS man with a package. Inside I find a door mat from the Frank Lloyd Wright catalog for Seagull Cottage. I take it over and try it out. Nice! Up early today, Sven is busy on the porch. Every year we need to repaint something. On the way back to the main house, I feed the birds. They must be happy about the rain. Several thirsty chickadees expressed exasperation yesterday. One more look at the new mat. Yes, it looks great. I wave to Sven and get back just in time to field a phone call. A couple is interested in Seagull Cottage for their honeymoon. Indeed, the cottage is a perfect retreat. Inspired by this request, I sit back down and compose a Honeymoon Special. As I am thinking of what to include, it occurs to me that a great way to start off one’s life together would be with a guide on non-toxic living. I flip through my new copy of Naturally Clean by the crew at Seventh Generation – a truly amazing book – and whip off an email to order more so I can include one as part of every Honeymoon Special. As I am doing that, the phone rings again. Mitch, from WHAT, is calling to see if Chez Sven will renew our ½ page program ad. I convince him to send a packet of information and then we can negotiate. Last year we advertised Julian Olivas’s photo exhibit of Christo’s Gates, held in our Studio. I would not mind advertising Wellfleet Chezsven Blog this time. My kids say no one is interested, but I cannot believe that. I guess you would call it the “build-it-and-they-will-come” syndrome. I have had such nice comments from strangers who stumble across the blog and have never even been to Cape Cod. Seems normal that people who love Wellfleet would enjoy reading about year-round life here, too, n’est-ce pas? Whoops. There’s goes the phone again. What a nice couple, inquiring about Seagull Cottage! I often feel like I could do with a secretary. Two majestic hawks fly by the window, floating on over the forest. I hope they eat all the mice Sven has not been able to catch in his traps. He has finished painting now. Since it is soon planting time, he starts putting together the new arbor beside the Studio. I will need to buy some more climbing roses. It is going to smell even sweeter here this summer than ever before! Off to the garden center I go ….