Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Preparing to Move

Before I left New York for Georgia I put word out on this blog and on the various Pine Lake lists that my house was for sale. By the time I arrived home a number of people had expressed an interest in it. The first couple that looked at it bought it. We expect to close on 15 January.

In the interim, I'm packing. Here's a stack of boxes in my office on the second floor. There are similar stacks in the living room, den, dining nook, and in my bedroom.

I favor the shown 1.5 cubic foot boxes. They're made of 100% recycled paper and cost $0.74 each at Home Depot. Loaded, they're light enough for me to move, and they stack readily.

Everything is not yet packed, but I'm around the bend and expect to be finished with packing by the end of the year. The last things to be prepped will be my waterbed (which breaks down nicely) and the vintage 1996 32" Sony Triniton CRT television in the living room. The TV is far too heavy to move and I have found a new home for it right here in Pine Lake. I bought it 18 years ago and it has never missed a beat, so I'm happy it won't wind up at Goodwill.

The waterbed mattress is due for replacement and will go in the trash. I'll order a new one. The bed itself breaks down. I love my waterbed. Twenty years ago I put a thermal cover on it and threw away the heater. The cover makes it look and feel like any mattress, and baffles in the mattress make it practically waveless. Best of all, there are twelve drawers in the pedestal.

I have an airbed which has never been out of the box for use after the waterbed is disassembled.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lake House for Sale

In a couple of weeks my house at 522 Pine Drive in Pine Lake will be going up for sale.

It was built in 1936 and was expanded several times over the years. It sits on its original 20' x 100' lot. It is feet from the beach at the lake and the beach house. I can walk to the beach in thirty seconds!

I bought the house in 1998 and have lived in it since.  I love the house and is killing me to give it up, but necessity dictates.

I chose the house because of its charm, its proximity to the lake, its features, and its price. I also liked its solidity and reworked subfloors, plumbing and electrics.

I like its big rooms, open design, and roomy country kitchen. I lovingly renovated it, adding a large gazebo, back deck/landing, and fencing. Inside, I added a dishwasher, a lazy susan in a wasted cabinet in the kitchen, new appliances, and new flooring in the kitchen and bathroom and at the front door. I added a thousand other little touches.

The house is 1200 square feet in size. On the first floor is a living room, large kitchen with dining nook, bathroom, and a library/den. Upstairs there's a large room with a vaulted ceiling, a skylight, and large windows, and a large bedroom. I have the house set up as a single bedroom, but it could easily be converted to three bedrooms.

There's a large stone fireplace in the living room and a fireplace in the back room with gas logs.

I will be selling the house with a nearly new stove and refrigerator and washer and dryer.

When I bought the house I planned to install central heating and air, but it stays so warm in winter and so cool in the summer that I decided against it. I love the antique 73,000 BTU antique gas furnace, which I kept when the guy at the gas stove store told me the new stoves would be no cheaper to operate and would be a lot slower to heat the house when it was cold. A big 220 volt air conditioner at the top of the stairs keeps the house absolutely frigid. A 110-volt A/C unit in the dining nook serves as for backup cooling. I turn it on now and again to keep it working properly.

The house's immediate needs are flashing on the back side and a new roof for the stone lean-to tool shed at the back of the house. The roof is worn, but doesn't leak. The carpet is worn but serviceable, Otherwise the house is great. I have loved living in it and loved hearing people tell me how much they like it.

If you're interest in purchasing it, please let me know. The asking price is $85,000, going to increase a few thousand if I have to hire a realtor.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Then and Now 3

Claude Suttle took this photo in October, 1963. The lot in the foreground is I.B. Melton's former property.

Here's the house in center shot as it looks today. Hmmm-- maybe it's a different house.

Then and Now (Again)

This photo has 522 Hemlock written on it. The vehicle parked beside it dates it to the 1940s.

Here's the lot today.

The granite curb stone is still there, but it seems unlikely it's the same house.

Then and Now

The above photo was taken by Claude Suttle in the 1960s.

Here's the same house today-- virtually unchanged outside except for the color of the siding.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


When I walked around the lake a couple of weeks ago I saw more dog poop than I had ever seen in Pine Lake. Here are some appetizing examples.

C'mon, folks! Help me keep this blog poo-free! Carry a baggie!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Beach House is Legal!

Mayor Kathie DeNobriga has announced the beach house has been approved for use by county authorities.

The most noticeable change outside is the screened-in area in the back is much larger than it used to be.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Walking the Back Side of Pine Lake

This morning I used my birthday present for the first time. It's a Sony HDR-AS100V action cam. At 3 1/2" x 1 7/8" x 1" and 2.4 oz, it's smaller than a pack of standard Camel cigarettes and nearly as light, yet it takes high resolution photos at a high framerate. It's splashproof, and with the included waterproof case (which is barely bigger than the camera), waterproof to 30 feet. It works well in low-light conditions, can be set to a varriety of NTSC and PAL (European) formats, can do time lapse video, and takes 13.5 mp still photos. It was given to my by my girlfriend, Heather,and I love her for it.

The Sony is an action cam, a point-it-and-forget-it camera like a Go-Pro. It's great for strapping to a car, a surfboard, or a helmet while skydiving-- or in this case, to carry in my hand as I walked around our beautiful lake.

This is my first attempt at editing a video. The music, which is uncredited because I didn't know how to add text at the end, is Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major, performed by an unknown orchestra (the CD didn't give a clue).

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Laurel Road Library

I just learned a nine-year-old boy's little free library has been shut by the Leawood Kansas City Council. They deemed it an "illegal structure." (C'mon, folks, it's the size of a birdhouse!) Here's the article.

That made me especially delighted when I came across this Laurel Road Library installation over the weekend,

Happily, it seems as if community response to Leawood's actions against little Spencer Collins is embarrassing the city so much officials might back off.

Friday, July 4, 2014

One of the rarest sights in nature is the enchanted circle of bowling balls-- and we have one in Pine Lake!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Way Cool

I've lately realized how very much I would like to have a garage, or at least a carport. Neither is likely, given the size of my parcel, but I am beyond tired of all the crap that winds up on my car.

I've been noticing this apparatus, which shelters two cars on Spring Street. It's simple, yet elegant. I have three built-in anchor points alongside my driveway (a tree at the corners of my gazebo), so with only one post, or perhaps a cantilevered affair like above, I could keep most of the debris off my car.

I believe the Tarnowers used to live in the house. If anyone can tell me who lives there and how to get in touch with them (or if you see this post and recognize your house and choose to contact me), I would be eternally grateful. I'd like to find out the particulars of the triangular cloth that was used. Is it repurposed sails? Was it expensive? Where can I get some!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Polishing Compound to the Rescue

Garages aren't all that common here in Pine Lake. Most of us park our cars out in the open, where they are subject to being blanketed by leaves and pine needles, covered with sap and insect secretions (and  occasional bird poop), and the weathering effects of the sun.

And snow. Let's not forget snow!

Over time a car's finish becomes oxidized and glazed and looks dull. Fortunately, buffing with a light abrasive can bring the paint back to life. It's for this reason the car goddess created polishing compound.

Polishing compound is not the same as rubbing compound, which is more abrasive. It's far more gentle, but even so it's best not to overdo it. A light buffing with a machine or moderate rubbing by hand with a soft, dry cloth will work wonders and won't damage the finish.

In the photo above I had just finished polishing the trunk of my 19-year-old Mazda Miata. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can better see the polished trunk and the untreated fender.

Before polishing I had my car hand-washed for five dollars at the coin-operated car wash across the street from the chiropractor's office. The next morning I washed it again, using detailing clay, which is great for picking up crud.

My car was clean and shiny, but it didn't stay so after an afternoon rain. I had to wash it again the next morning and wait for it to dry before I could apply synthetic wax. The wax must sit for 10-12 hours for the polymers to bond properly, but that didn't happen. I tried again the next day, with the same result. I felt I was going backward.

Fortunately, my next door neighbor Barbara Whitlow told me I could use her carport while she was out of town. It was amazing how much faster things went with the car under cover. I applied two coats of polymer and, after it had cured, followed it with carnuba paste wax. My car looked great!

For about five minutes! With it back in my driveway it gets covered with leaves and gunk. Fortunately, it looks good again after a quick wash, and will until the wax wears away.

Here's my favorite photo of my car. I took it two years ago at Fontana Lake, NC.

The Lake is Looking Summery

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ducks on the March

For years now these ducks have made a daily pilgrimage from the lake to a house just past Dogwood Road. Their route takes them up Pine Drive and past my house. After they cross the intersection at Dogwood (no doubt looking both ways), they take a left and go somewhere behind the house on the corner. It always gives me a kick to see them saunter by.

Geese and Gosling at the Lake

Sunday, April 27, 2014

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

A group of Miata owners prepare to drive the Chereohala Parkway in close proximity at high speeds. The red car closest to the camera is mine. Fortunately, alcohol was not involved.

I'm a member of the Peachtree Miata Club, which consists of mostly retired men and women with a passion for the little two-seater roadster. It's an active group that sponsors all sorts of drives and get-togethers.

When I told my girlfriend Heather I was sad I wouldn't be able to make the planned Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour in October, she started laughing. "What could possibly go wrong with that?" she said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Think about it," she said. "A bunch of senior citizens already half high on prescription medications will be stopping at five distilleries where they'll be given free drinks.They'll buy highly flammable alcohol, which they'll cram into the tiny little trunks of their Miatas before zoom-zooming off to the next distillery on the curviest roads they can find, going as fast as possible while following one another closely. It's a recipe for disaster! And you wish you could go?"

AJC:75-Year-Old Woman Drives Miata Through Front of Liquor Store-- Again. Read it here

"I visited the Jack Daniels distillery once," I said, "and nothing bad happened."

"You weren't in a Miata," she said.

"No," I said, "but I was in a 1963 Fiat Cabriolet that looked and drove an awful lot like a Miata."

When I was in college I bought this beautiful 1963 Fiat Cabriolet roadster for $450. It was in mint condition, with only 33,000 miles. The body was designed by Pininfarina; the mechanics included a four-cylinder 1500cc engine featured a Weber downdraft two-barrel carburetor; rack-and-pinion steering, front disk brakes, and radial tyres. People at gas stations had no idea the car was ten years old and many thought it was a Ferrari. Best. Car. Ever.

"Isn't the Jack Daniels distillery in a dry county?" she asked.

"Yes," I said. "It's in Moore, the smallest county in Tennessee, and it's dry, which means they couldn't give us a complimentary dr--

"I did get a great woodcut of the Moore County jail," I finished lamely.

"I rest my case," she said.

In the 1970s visitors to the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg were mailed a complimentary signed and numbered woodcut by Dan Quest, a local artist. This woodcut from my visit in 1972 or 1973 hangs in my bedroom.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Making Pure Vanilla Extract

Vanilla is the world's second most expensive spice (saffron being the highest-priced), which, I suppose, is why I always find it in tiny little bottles at the grocery store. I use vanilla liberally in baking, so those 1- and 2-oz. bottles of McCormick's or Watson's don't last long.

A bottle lasts a while, but the price always makes me wince. What's that you say? Use imitation vanilla? Do you know what's IN THAT STUFF? Snopes doesn't lie!

"Castrorium, baby!"

This time last year I learned how absurdly easy it is to make vanilla extract-- and for that matter lemon, orange, almond, mint, maple or any other extract one can think of. Of course I had to try it.

I had long seen television chefs scraping vanilla beans when making desserts, but I never actually saw one of the critters until a packet of six arrived from a seller on eBay. The beans seemed a bit decomposed, which is due to the processes of killing, sweating, drying, and conditioning in their processing.

The only other ingredient I needed was liquor at 70-80 proof (35-40% alcohol ABV).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fire and Hope in Pine Lake

Here's a follow-up article on the 1996 arson at Pine Lake Baptist Church.

Green, Melissa Fay. (1996, July or August). Fire and hope in Pine Lake. Atlanta Journal/Constitution, A11.

Throughout our history, racial intolerance has sparked church burnings. But today, amid a new rash of these acts of hate, a spirit of hope is rising from the ashes. 

Red-brick, white-steepled Pine Lake Baptist Church-- 10 miles east of Atlanta, a stone's throw from Stone Mountain-- dignifies an intersection otherwise offering speedboats, Amoco gas, Yamahas, and emission inspections. Last month, a 48-year-old sanctuary on the church grounds burned to the ground. The cause of the fire is undetermined, the investigation ongoing, but the spotlight the incident has thrown on this community is enlightening, for Pine Lake tells a very different tale that recently conveyed by the outbreak of black church burnings.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Church Burns

Did you know there was an arson at Pine Lake Baptist Church in 1996?

Morris, Mike. (1996, 7 June). Fire Hits Pine Lake Church. Atlanta Journal.

Here's the text:
Federal and DeKalb County arson officials are investigating a "suspicious" fire that destroyed the old sanctuary at the Pine Lake Baptist Church today. 
The fire, which was reported just before 3 a.m., gutted the 48-year-old structure that housed the church's youth department, said Pine Lake police sergeant Fred Semp. No one was injured in the blaze. 
The fire apparently started on the front porch and quickly spread through the wooden building, the officer added. 
"A lady who lives across the street from the church heard a loud car stereo, then she heard the car speed off," Stemp said. 
The neighbor looked outside, and the church was on fire," he said. 
An accelerant-sniffing dog was brought to the scene in the 4800 block of Rockbridge Road to help search for the cause of the fire, which also was being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. 
The building that burned was once the church's main sanctuary, but it has been replaced by a newer brick building.
"The saddest thing I've seen was the people who are about 40 who came by here who were baptized there," said Glen Chrisler, chairman of the church's board of deacons. "There's people who have sentimental ties to that building." 
As for the possibility that today's fire could be connected to a string of recent black church burnings across the South, Crisler said, "Any connection would be speculation." 
"I just think it's tragic that we're seeing this all across the country," said Eric Mathison, senior pastor at the First Baptist Church of Avondale. "Burning churches-- I don't see what kind of a message people would try to send with that."
There were indeed many church burnings in the 90s and early 2000s, most of Black churches. They occurred all around the South, and to my knowledge the perpetrator(s) have never been caught. Just beside the article is a short article about a second church bombing-- a Black church in Rocky Point, NC.

For the record, Pine Lake Baptist Church is open to all races and has a mixed congregation.

My next post will feature related articles in the same issue of The Journal.