Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December Project 2010 Americus Garden Inn - Part 2

All of the residential historic district of Americus is on the National Register, so, all work done to any structure or property in our neighborhood has to be approved by the Historic Preservation Commission. There was reluctance to allow us to remove the old siding, but, as you can see in these photos, we would not have been able to address potentially serious structural problems which were hidden from view. The prior photos showed previous fire damage. These photos highlight the wood rot and termite (old) issues that were underneath the siding. Remember to click the photos for a larger view. You can see in this photo that the supporting beam has significant damage. Another area with damage.
I was totally surprised by the beautiful wood under the bay windows. It was the back side of the baseboards in the dining room. It became very clear how important insulation was going to be for energy conservation.

With all the damage to the main beam, we had to cut out the rotten parts and replace it. Another area in need of attention.
Another view of the surrounding wood.
The guys had to get under the house to jack it up while they worked on the supports. (If you click you can see one of them under the house "cheesing" for the camera.)
Almost the entire length of the living room needed replacement.
And the bricks were in need of fresh mortar on the foundation.
Here, the bad wood has been removed along with the crumbling bricks.
A side view of the same area. You can see why this project is taking longer than expected.
The fresh wood has been installed.
You can't get timbers the size they used in 1847 to replace the original beams. Here is a side view demonstrating how they filled in the space from 1 single beam. That was a huge piece of wood!
Underneath the bay windows, the insulation was placed. You can see the new wood replacement to the right, old wood from center under the windows.
After the insulation was finished, the entire thing was covered with OSB.
I hope you are getting a feel for the speed (or lack of) of this project. Obviously, the December project will be extended into January...
Although it was very cold this morning, the sun is shining and the wind has finally diminished. The crew did not work today. Our trim materials for the windows arrived today, so, maybe tomorrow they can get back on track.
Thanks for visiting the Americus Garden Inn blog. I'll share more of the project with you soon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Americus Garden Inn 2010 December Project

December is usually a slow travel month here in Americus Georgia. So, every year we plan a project that could not be done when we have a house full of guests. This year, the December project is replacing the siding on the main house and insulating to help with comfort and energy consumption. We had hoped to start the project early in the month, but, the crew was not available until the middle of December. Day one, the weather was not exactly pleasant.There were no surprises as the siding outside of the Scarlett Suite bath came down.
The siding from the kitchen wall has been removed in this photo.
Here is one of the surprises we found, burnt timbers from one of the many fires this beautiful house has endured. If you click on the photos for a larger view you can see the burnt area more clearly.
On the other side of the bay window there was more evidence of fire.
The insulation went up rather quickly.
They wrapped the area with Tyvek.
The siding outside of the Jacuzzi Suite and the living room came down next.
To insulate between the floors, we had fiberglass insulation blown into the space.
We were afraid he might fall into the wall... if he wasn't careful.It is really amazing to see the craftsmanship of days gone by. Remember, our house was built in 1847. All of the work that went into building something like this boggles the mind.
This is where I leave off for this post. I promise to continue documenting the progress of the Americus Garden Inn December project soon. Due to the fiercely cold weather, they did not work today and are not scheduled to work in the morning tomorrow.
Thank you for your visit. Hope you'll be back soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Lights in Americus Georgia

Tuesday night, Kim and I took a drive around Americus to enjoy the Christmas lights. I thought you might enjoy them too! Please click on the photos to see a larger view. There is a street in Americus that always decorates to the max.I tried to get the "feel" of the flashing lights. Imagine Christmas music playing as you look at these photos.
It was a very cold night and it really felt like Christmas was coming soon.
At one of these houses, Santa usually sits outside and waves. It was too cold for Santa, he stayed inside.

This is a long shot to give you perspective.
I just love angels.
The gingerbread house was in the distance.
This yard was really full of decorations.
This one looked really pretty from the distance.
There is a huge live tree that gets decorated every year.
This year, the City Hall building was all lit up.
There was a show at the Rylander Theatre, "It's A Wonderful Life", a live radio show adaptation. Judging from the number of cars, it looked like a great turn out.

We were driving up Lamar Street and caught every red light, as you can see.
Kim took this beautiful shot of the Windsor Hotel, all lit up for Christmas.

Earlier in the day, I let the cats run around outside for a while. Rufus and Cinderella chased each other up the dogwood tree.

Here Squeaky is proclaiming himself to be "King of the Garden statue".
Thank you for your virtual visit to the Americus Garden Inn blog. We are just starting a major project and I will be sharing updates as we go along. Stay warm, stay happy. Hope you'll visit again soon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Baked Apples a la Americus Garden Inn

There are certain aromas that bring you back to your childhood. I remember the Cream Puff Bakery in my hometown that made the most delicious chocolate cheese cake. There aren't many stand alone bakeries anymore, are there? Anyway, there is nothing like the scent of freshly baked goodies. That includes freshly baked apples with cinnamon.This morning, here at the Americus Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast, I made baked apples. When I was a kid, I remember my Mom made baked apples when she was on Weight Watchers. I believe she used cherry flavored soda to add sweetness to the apples. These days, I make several different versions of baked apples. Sometimes, I do it the old-fashioned way. I bake them for almost an hour and baste them every few minutes. Today, I did it the quick and easy way in the microwave. If you are interested, follow along as I show you exactly what I did. The original recipe is on our website at http://www.americusgardeninn.com/ just go to the "recipe" page and you'll find it. What I did this morning is a variation. I started off with some beautiful rome apples.
You will need a melon baller and a small sharp knife.
You will also need some butter, cinnamon and splenda or sugar.
I really like raisins with baked apples and when I bake them in the oven, I always fill them with raisins which I have soaked in orange juice. For this version, I used dried cranberries that I plumped in hot water. Place the desired amount of cranberries (or raisins) in a cup or bowl.
Pour some hot water over the cranberries or raisins (enough water to cover them) then cover the dish with plastic wrap. Let is sit for about 5 minutes.
Just drain the liquid and they are ready.
Scrub your apples to get the wax off. Using the melon baller, scoop out the stem.
Here is the apple with the stem scooped out.
Take another scoop with the melon baller and you'll see the seeds.
One more scoop should be perfect. You want to leave the bottom intact. Place the apple in a microwaveable dish.
Now, take your knife and carefully start creating a "waist" in the middle of the apple.

You don't want to cut too deeply. You just want to allow some room for expansion when the apple bakes in the microwave.
I always do this step when I bake apples in the oven, too.
Pour one envelope of Splenda into the apple (you can use up to 1 TBS sugar, brown sugar or honey instead, if you prefer).
Put a pat of butter into the apple. I used about 1 tsp of real butter. The original recipe calls for 1 TBS per apple. You really don't need that much.
Sprinkle the apple with some cinnamon.
Cover the dish with wax paper.
Microwave on high for about 2 - 3 minutes. Check after 2 minutes to see if the apple is soft to the touch. You will have an apple with lots of liquid around it in the bowl.
Spoon the liquid into the apple.
Spoon the cranberries into the apple.
To make the apple easy to eat and eye-appealing, use kitchen shears to cut the apple on either side, dividing it in half (but leave the bottom intact.)
Now, cut each half into 3 pieces and you have a beautiful baked apple ready to eat.
Wish you had been here for me to make this for you personally. But, I'll be with you in your kitchen when you try this recipe. Let me know how yours comes out.

Thank you for visiting the Americus Garden Inn blog. We hope you'll visit us again soon, virtually or in person!