Trying to Finish What I Started

Sometime last year, I started re-entering old posts that had been lost to the archives when I impetuously shut down this blog and canceled my Typepad account back in 2005.  I recently found a printed copy of most of the posts relating to the building of our home here. I want to have a complete archive of that project,  so when you begin to see a bunch of old posts all relating to house building, that's why. Buck and I lived in the original part of the house, the one we called "The Cabin in the Woods," the whole time the new part was being constructed. Quite an experience.

We moved from Pensacola to the mountains of North Carolina in 1997 when Buck retired from corporate life. I had sold my business a few years earlier, so we were free to light out for seven years of exhilarating mountain living among the good folks of  Rice Cove, Beaverdam community, in Canton, North Carolina. We would probably still be there if I hadn't developed severe allergies to the hay our neighbors grew and the ash and elm trees that ringed the house. That, and a desire to be closer to our family in Pensacola while the grandchildren were still little, drew us back to the flatland piney woods.

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Before and After Hurricane Ivan

We lived in the one-bedroom cottage we had built in 2000 on land Buck had owned since the late 1970's, long before we met. He designed a remarkable addition, a true original by a true original. Construction was delayed by Hurricane Ivan in September of 2004, but began in earnest early in 2005.

I took hundreds of pictures and wrote thousands of words, beginning with the first step of tearing off the sweet screened porch so the new portion of the house could attach to the old, and land clearing. After awhile, the sheer enormity of the project, of having scads of subcontractors crawling all over the place, got to me, and the writing slowed, then stopped. And then, when my 45 year old step-son, Darryl, died of a heart attack one bright October afternoon while he was sitting out on a concrete patio at his apartment, enjoying the sun and a smoke after lunch, even my picture-taking stopped for a while. Darryl was a building contractor, and he had wanted to help his Dad with the project. 

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The morning Darryl died, he had done some work blocking the walls prior to the insulation and sheetrock work. We were right in the middle of construction. I wasn't sure we would be able to continue. I wasn't sure we would ever be able to live here. I have written about this before.

We did complete the project. Our furniture that had been in storage in North Carolina since June of 2004 was delivered on April 15, 2006, and we moved into this remarkable place, so new, and yet so full of happy and sad memories, and ghosts, like a very old house might be. There were no interior designers here. Everything, from a particular dark red metal lamp that looks like an Aladdin's lamp, to a collected snake skin, is a bright thread connecting our lives.

The easy part of this reconstruction effort is to re-enter the old posts into the blog archive under "The Sanctuary at Longleaf Preserve" category. The tough part will be chronologically matching photos and that time of no photos with a chronological record to connect the missing link.

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Buck and Darryl

January, 2005

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