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Day after Christmas Snow in Dublin, GA

Welcome! Christmas Eve at the Capt Hardy Smith House. I love to decorate for Christmas. A tradition passed down from my mom. White candle lights in each window with Christmas music echoed throughout the house. The day was quiet, our dogs were happy and the house toasty warm. We went to Christmas Eve service at Christ Episcopal Church in Dublin at 11:30pm. Christ Episcopal Church is the only Episcopal church in Dublin and Laurens County. The church is the oldest public building in continuous use for its original purpose. It was built in 1898. Check out their website for more information on the church and its history.

It was a fitting time to reflect about the past year and to those we love and hold near and dear to us. Both of us had recent family events that compelled us to worship at this little church Christmas Eve night. As the rest of the upper East Coast got buried in up to two feet of snow, such as NYC, on Christmas day, Dublin, got a dusting of the white stuff a day after Christmas. We will take it. Close enough. The last recorded 'White Christmas' in Dublin was Christmas eve 1994. Unfortunately, the snow melted before Christmas day.

In this picture, Max, John's dog, enjoyed post Christmas day fun by playing in the oldest graveyard in the City of Dublin. I believe 1819 was the first burial at the location. It is located behind the First Methodist Church, the land that was donated by Capt Hardy Smith, his family and descendants, over the years, that is also next to the house and the 1/2 acre of what remains of the Hardy Smith farm.

In other developments at the Hardy Smith house, the renovations continue. The second wall of the 'Gone With The Wind' room has been primed. The front facing wall (fireplace) has been primed and caulked. Only two more walls and the ceiling need to be primed and caulked then we paint the walls! The room will soon come alive with beautiful color. Keep checking back for developments.

Happy New Year from the Capt Hardy Smith House


A VERY COLD DAY in Dublin but a VERY WARM day at the Hardy Smith House

By looking outside it would appear sunny and WARM. Mother Nature has thrown us a loop here in Dublin, GA. It is COLD and it is WINDY. What do I mean by COLD? Mid 30s with a wind chill index of 26 degrees! The high gusty winds are making it undesirable to be outside. Even Wi- Fi access is limited because of the windy conditions. INSIDE the Hardy Smith House, it is sunny and WARM. We are in the process of designing our 2010 Christmas card to be sent out to family and friends.

The Christmas decorating is done. John has completed priming of the front facing wall in the 'Gone With The Wind' room. He is working on sealing the wall with chaulk as he will do with the remaining walls in the room after priming. The windows in the room are repaired and ready to be painted. We are deciding if we should paint the walls first then wallpaper later or just wallpaper after priming. We want the room to look as period as possible as if it were a scene taken out of the 1939 classic movie with the name the room is named after. The walls will be adorned with beautiful pictures and furniture. Shopping for period furniture will be a treasure hunt in and of itself but we look forward to it. We want everything to be just right however long it takes to find just what we are looking for.

That is the latest on what is going on at the Hardy Smith house. Keep checking back for updates.


The very latest developments at the Hardy Smith House

Our 24/7 Security, Max

 Hello All.  It has been a busy two months since my last entry. Now that I have a working computer with web access, I will make a great effort to keep the world updated with our renovation progress on a more frequent basis. It has been a lot of fun and work. As more work gets done to the house, the beauty becomes more evident. 

Two days ago, I started Christmas decorating. The outside of the house is adorned with beautiful white lights and red bows. I even put a red bow on our beautiful mailbox. John and I are hoping that we make front page news in the Christmas decorating contest for the local newspaper, The Courier Herald. We have three Christmas trees up in the house. Today, I plan to put the final 'beautifying' touch on the decorating by placing a white electric candle in each window in the front part of the house just as I did last year. Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite activities to do. It is a family tradition. Because the days are shorter this time of year, we have to move fast in getting everything up so everyone who drives by on Gaines St can see how beautiful this home is. Even our dogs delight in taking part in the decorating. Lady, my dog, loves to be by my side every moment. If she cannot see me, she gets very nervous. Max, John's dog, keeps watch on our prized possessions. 

The 2010 Christmas Parade in downtown Dublin was yesterday. Check out my Facebook page for 2 short videos on the event. It was a lot of fun. It was sunny, windy and relatively warm for this time of year. It was in the 60s. Very comfortable and pleasant. Both sides of the main route on Bellevue Ave were lined with onlookers. So a very good crowd showed up to enjoy the parade. The parade started like just about any other, lasting about an hour, with the police, then the bagpipers with the local elementary and middle school children displaying their various talents. The 3 local high school marching bands showcased their strength with West Laurens HS being the largest and most impressive in my opinion. The kids loved candy being thrown to them by float participants. Even John could not resist in partaking in the activity. The parade had fun for everyone to enjoy. The clowns, local politicians, businesses and even 'Mr. Pig' from our Piggly Wiggly grocery store stopped by to say hello to the crowd. Of course, John wanted me to take his picture with 'Mr. Pig' since we do a lot of our grocery shopping there. Check out John's blog or Facebook page for that happy moment. 

Master BR closet, Before. That is bat/rat/squirrel poo.
Master BR closet, After. All poo gone.

As for developments at the Hardy Smith House, John has been working hard on cleaning, painting and restoring/enlarging two closets, cleaning behind fireplaces/putting them back together, repairing the huge windows in the 'Gone With The Wind' room and sealing walls, windows and flooring from cold drafts.

All this found behind 3 fireplaces.
When John took apart 3 fireplaces (the master bedroom, the 'Gone With The Wind room' and upstairs bedroom), what a treasure trove or time capsule of letters, buttons, stamps, cards and some old bills that he found. Check out John's blog for more pictures and detailed information on the finds. 
Hidden behind master BR closet, Christmas stamps along with a signature on the wall.
When John is not working on CPA stuff, he is working on the house. Sealing the drafts has made a noticeable improvement on our electric bill. Next, on our house things to do list, is the 'Gone With The Wind' room. We plan to either wallpaper it with to as close to the original as possible or paint the room in colors reminiscent of themes from the movie. The furniture will be period, most likely Victorian, with pictures depicting the history of the 'War Between The States' or what the Northerners or Yankees refer to as 'The Civil War' as well as other related, interesting history of the house and the South. Looks like we will be doing a lot of antique shopping. There are a lot of antique places within a 100 mile radius of Dublin. I have already checked out some of them to get some ideas. 

The sun is getting low in the sky, the light is dimming and day is about to end. Time to finish decorating for Christmas. Thanks again for stopping by and reading my blog today. Keep checking back for updates. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 


HSH: Summer 2010 Update

Hello All. You may have thought I have dropped off the face of the earth for the past 3 months. I am alive, well and continuing to make progress with John on the restoration efforts at the Hardy Smith House. We are down to one computer at the moment which is why my entries have been few and far between lately.This summer has flown by so quickly and it was a hot one, not to mention one of the hottest on record for middle Georgia. During the day in June, July and August, it was just too darn hot to get outside to do much during the heat of the day. I was struggling to keep our newly planted azaleas from dying. Unfortuateley, the two smaller bushes succumbed to the elements. I am not an expert when it comes to plants. I learn as I go. The grass on the east side of the yard was planted late so next year, John plans to add more seed to make it nice and full for next summer. At least we won the war of the weeds!

All the river rocks are out of the basement and are now lining the driveway, walkway or in the backyard, waiting to be used for whatever future project we choose. We need just a few more bricks to complete the walkway. John had to redo the front stairs but they look beautiful now. 1 coat of stain and 3 coats of polyurenthene should keep them shining for many years to come.

            The walls are covered in a inviting yellow, similar to what was used previously by another family living in the house. All of the bottles that John unearthed in the basement this spring are on display on a ledge at the top of the stairs. A small railing needs to be built across the ledge to keep the bottles from falling off and breaking which one did unfortunately.

John repaired the west side windows in the 'Gone With The Wind' room yesterday. Being that the windows were very large and heavy, 5-7 lb weights, four total, two for the top window and two for the bottom window were used in raising and lowering them. The rope snapped on one side so John repaired it and we are back in business. Before the cold sets in, the floor needs to be sealed again. The wood putty cracked from the change in temperatures the start of this year. The master bedroom and John's office need to be sealed up to eliminate the drafts and reduce our electric bill.

Near the garden, a couple of weeks ago, we had a bunch of Red Spider Lillies bloom. I had no idea what they were until I researched them. They bloom shortly after fall begins and after the first cool rain, They are an herb, native of Asia, are toxic however they are an effective rodent deterrent. These lovely flowers were introduced in the 1800s in Georgia and are seen around old homes in the south. In Japan, the Red Spider Lily symbolizes death and mourning. It is better to leave them in the garden than to pick them. Well, I picked them before I did my research to make sure they were not toxic to animals and oops, bad luck has not come to me yet.

September and Oct so far have been quiet months here at the HSH. Since the first guest bedroom is complete, we had a few friends and family stay with us for a few days and left with nothing but memorable impressions of their stay. Thanks for your interest in the HSH restoration effort and keep checking back for updates.


The Bathroom at the HSH is FINALLY finished

The bathroom is FINALLY finished! The crown molding and ceiling are painted and ready to showcase to the world! There are blinds in the windows too! Attention to detail is very important. The bathroom sure has come a long way since John bought the place almost 3 years ago. Look for additional pictures on the Hardy Smith House blog. Scroll to the bottom of this page and click on the Capt Hardy Smith House link. Updates to come soon.

Today, John is re-sanding,repairing and repainting the master bedroom doors because our dogs like to come and go. Looks like tomorrow, the new grass will need to be mowed for the first time on the west side of the house. The grass was not all planted at the same time so it is coming in in stages. It is a war between the weeds and the grass right now. I just came in from pulling weeds in the yard so the grass can spread out and grow. We have gotten some much needed rain on and off for the past several days which has helped grow the grass. I am in the process of locating about 300 more old bricks to complete the lining of the walkway to the mailbox and to purchase about 11 more bags of small river pebbles for the garden where the palm tree is.

We have visitors come by and check on our progress quite a bit. John's friend, Rusty, came by to see how things were going. Working on an old house requires patience, persistence and a lot of work. Just laying all the bricks in the walkway and steps area just about wore me out but the end result is beauty.  A couple of nights ago, John's dog, Max, found a bat flying in the back room which one day will be the formal dining area. They are trying to re-home in the house and we won't let them. When John bought the place, there were hundreds of them and now they are gone. We have chimney sweep birds and the usual rodents that make their appearance from time to time. They can check in but won't be checking out.

Tomorrow, John will resume repair and second coating of yellow in the downstairs hallway so that pictures can be hung. I look forward to that. He will be working his way back upstairs to complete the yellow then he will begin the pale green accenting in the upstairs hallway. Then finishing the staining the floor.

Keep checking back for updates to the ongoing labor of love.


The grass has been planted at the Hardy Smith House!

It was a warm, sunny, very hot and humid in Dublin today. It was 97 degrees air temperature at the warmest. We got some much needed rain around 5pm today which dropped the temperature to about 80 degrees. It has been awhile since my last entry. We have been so busy working in the yard. The hardest of the yard work is behind us. The grass is planted and is coming up beautifully on the west side of the house. The rest of the grass is coming up little by little in the front and other side of the house. John planted the front and sides in stages because he had to prepare the soil for planting. The preparation of the soil for planting started with the tilling, then removal of the weeds, sifting of the soil to remove small rocks, sifting of the basement soil to layer on top, then seeding, then raking to ensure even planting and  watering every other day. Just seeing the green grass pop through for the first time about a month ago was a welcome sign of our hard efforts.

All the river rocks have been removed from the basement and piles we created and have been utilized to line the new driveway and walkway. The remaining rocks line the back of the house for which we plan to use for construction of our split rail fence. Another future project. We used the old bricks to fill in the area below the steps. We will have to find more to fill in the walkway. The way the bricks are laid now is just temporary.

We planted two beautiful palms in the garden area, near the breezeway. See the first picture above. The entire area is in the process of being covered with small river pebbles. It is a work in progress. I plan to do more with it next spring. Mondo grass will look great in the area. I planted wildflowers in the flower beds in the front of the house and wild they are. They are tall and basically took away from the beauty of the azaleas we planted. Well at least the wildflowers filled in the gaps until we plant more azaleas or other plants next spring. I plan to dig up the wildflowers this fall.

John finished the trimwork in the 'privacy area' (tiolet/sink). So the ceiling and crown molding are completely done. FINALLY! The picture to the left, is the one of the two bathroom windows that are completely done, with the original window latches reinstalled. Tomorrow, he will do the trimwork in the shower and linen closet area. The following day, he will do the window and all the trimwork near the claw bathtub. The picture below, shows the tan color in the intricate rope design in the crown molding. The rest of the bathroom crown molding will look like this as well. The work should be finished this week. Then we can say, the bathroom is COMPLETELY, TOTALLY, DONE! 

That is all to report at this time. Keep checking back for updates on new projects at the Hardy Smith House. Some pictures of the work we started in April.


Weed picking day at the Hardy Smith House

Another beautiful, sunny and warm day in Dublin. Ella Smith's 4 huge rose bushes are at peak bloom right now. I harvested a few for myself and put in a vase in the master bedroom to enjoy for a few days. Roses you buy these days don't have many thorns on the stems or none at all.  Ella Smith's are lethal. They are sharp and they are numerous. They smell fragrant too. Imagine, these rose bushes are over 100 years old and many generations before and after will be able to awe in these amazingly beautiful flowers. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there! A little love from the Capt Hardy Smith house to your house!

I am about to go out into the yard and pick weeds before the grass seed and fertilizer go down. The magnolia leaves are falling so we have to rake those up before planting also. So without further ado, I must get busy. Just a short note for today. Oh and Happy Cinco De Mayo too! Enjoy the pictures!


Tilling of the yard at the HSH completed

It is a warm, breezy, sunny day at the Hardy Smith house. The temperature reached into the mid 80s today with a slight threat of rain. Ella Smith's mini pink roses are in full bloom. John put rose fertilizer on them and they popped out in abundance a couple of days ago. They are absolutely beautiful.

The tilling and weed removal of yard is completed with the exception of the area behind the house. The mounds of soil have been spread out and additional dirt from the basement and the dirt mound in the back will be used to cover the top soil before fertilizer and grass seed is put down. Most of the top soil now is pure sand and grass will not grow in that. Maybe Bermuda grass will. We are not putting Bermuda grass in the yard.

John used old bricks to outline the half circle that will be our driveway in front of the house today. In addition to the outline of the brick walk below the porch steps. Now things are starting to get exciting because the hard, grunt work is over and soon the fertilizer will go down then the grass seed. Our goal is to have this job completed by the end of next week. Our window to getting the grass planted for this season is closing. John is in his element. He absolutely loves working in the yard. We plan to purchase a power washer to prepare for the next project, to clean the outside of the house. The major work will begin next season along with finishing the back part of the yard behind the house. 

The azaleas in our newly planted flower beds are doing well. They have not taken root to the existing soil so we have to continue to watch and water them as necessary. My wildflowers should begin to bloom within the next week or so. The type I planted will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It is a mixture I bought at the local home improvement store. The huge holly tree on the side of the yard has been cut back tremendously. It probably has not been pruned in over 50 years.  The picture below is what the holly tree looks like now after we trimmed it up. This tree was so large, John had to get up on his ladder to reach the upper branches to trim. Before the tree was cut, the branches touched the ground all the way around and the circumference of it made it hard to rake leaves under it last season. It will sure grow and thrive now now that it has a new lease on life. It still needs some shaping up but that will be another day.
The area of the yard which I will call, 'My garden' (until I think of a better name) had to be tilled by hand, which I completed. Grass cannot grow in this area which will be perfect to put down rock pebbles and stepping stones in addition to the existing bird feeders and bird baths  I have there already. I want to fence in that section for privacy at some point.

Yesterday, I celebrated my 1 year of residency in Dublin. To celebrate, John took me out to Applebee's restaurant. It was very enjoyable. We have come a long way since I moved to Dublin and to the Hardy Smith House. We have done so much work to the house and outside to make it look like a home. We still have a way to go before all the rooms are complete. With two people constantly working on improving a 3,000 square foot, 137 year old house, it takes a lot of time and effort to keep it looking beautiful. I am no stranger to keeping things up since I grew up on a 20+ acre horse farm.

No bats have returned since their visit a few days ago. I think they got the message we don't want them here and they can go find another place to live. The dogs are happy and healthy. Lady loves rolling in the yard. This picture of my dog, Lady, was taken in the back of the house where the yard will be tilled and seeded next spring. It did not stop her from enjoying it nevertheless.

That is all to report today. Keep coming back to check on home improvements at the Hardy Smith house. Enjoy some pictures


Rain temporarily halts yard work at the Hardy Smith House

The yard work continues to prepare soil for seeding of beautiful grass. We got rain earlier today. John continued sifting the yard by hand at 9am today. Luckily, the rain did not hamper his efforts to continue working. More rain is forecast this afternoon so John will continue to work until the rain starts again. My wildflower green shoots are poking through the ground in the flowerbeds in greater abundance but no flowers have started to bloom yet. John's goal is to have the yard look like a golf course.  The yard will rival the finest in Dublin.

Those mounds of soil that you see were hand sifted. From the dish to almost the first window in front of the house took John almost 7 hrs to do yesterday. Keep in mind he had to tackle the weeds around all the Red Tips that you cannot really see from the picture. That took some time too. I suggested a more efficient, faster way which would yield the same results but John prefers to do things the hard way which takes LONGER to do. So I just let him do his thing.

My dog, Lady, checking out the scenery from the front porch. She loves to trot around the yard with her tail up with a happy go lucky personality. She loves to lay on the front porch with the ceiling fans going while I am sitting in the rocking chair reading and relaxing. Lady is about 13 years old now. A couple of nights ago, when we went out to dinner, Lady decided to go exploring again. We came home and Lady was nowhere in the house. I think she went to Stubbs Park. When I called her she came troting through the parking lot behind the house in the direction from the park. I couple of weeks ago, she decided to go exploring in downtown Dublin again. Luckily, she was ok and she jumped into the car. She was thirsty and glad to be home. She knows where her home is.

A couple of days ago while John was working in the yard, he saw a Red Tailed Hawk sitting high in one of our trees in the back yard with a dead squirrel under one of his talons. A gang of Mockingbirds were dive bombing the hawk in an attempt to get it to eat his meal somewhere else. The hawk would not move. Those little birds are aggressive and will do anything to defend their nests. I videotaped the hawk getting dive-bombed by a gang of punk Mockingbirds which are on John's Facebook page and may post on U-Tube shortly.

Oh, and by the way, the bats are baack!!  There were only about 5 of them and they were dealt with promptly. We did not want a new colony of bats in the attic and hopefully that will be the end of them.  That is all to report for today. The rain is about to come and time to go grab a bite to eat.  Keep checking my blog for updates as the yard work continues.

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