Steve on March 25th, 2014

After a long cold winter it’s starting to look like spring is finally on the way. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying- we’re ready!!garden_32314

For some reason it feels like it’s a lot later in the season- but lets not forget it is still only March.

The aerators on the lake have been on for a couple of weeks now and the ice is opening up, the bird migration is underway, the garden veggie and herb seed trays are planted and germinating, the existing grape vines are pruned, and the strawberry crowns have already broken their dormancy…

This winter was pretty exciting with all of it’s beautiful snowfalls, ice fishing, and the up close and personal visits from the deer, who graciously left their mark on our dozens of white cedars and piles of free fertilizer EVERYWHERE.

It’s full steam ahead into spring and summer. There will be tons to do this year.

2013, our first year here at Whitehaven, was dedicated to settling in, catching up on long-overdue deferred maintenance and repairs, some large and small remodeling projects, a complete dock rebuild, a metal roofing projects, etc.

deer in the front yardSome of the projects in store for the 2014 seasons include establishing a permanent berry patch- with plantings of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, the expansion of a small vineyard- for both fresh eating and wine making, and expanding the orchard, with some additional fruit trees, to accompany our apples. Not to mention a larger scale annual and perennial veggie and herb garden.

Taking all this all into perspective, time’s a wasting! I better get busy and enjoy these cold, dry days before April brings some showers!ice fishing

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Steve on December 14th, 2013

Wheel and Roses at Whitehaven


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Steve on November 28th, 2013

A quick and simple log rack built from recycled pressure treated dock wood.

Twenty minutes, a compound miter saw, old scrap wood, misc. deck screws and presto- free firewood rack!


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Steve on November 24th, 2013

The skim of ice on the water says it all, the season is changing.

The pontoon has been pulled onshore, it’s motor, battery, and contents safely stored In the barn.

Now it’s on to the winter projects… Of which there are plenty!


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Steve on July 21st, 2013


The ‘dock rebuilt part 2′ is physically complete, with the exception of painting the top side with a non-skid dock and deck paint.

The rebuild went great, and we have plenty of photos to show the stages of the project, but due to a small hand injury during the cleanup, the corresponding post will have to wait a little longer.

While we wait, here’s a teaser pic of the dock from our kitchen porch.

Stay tuned- as the hand heals the post will be written.  If you haven’t already, please subscribe and you will be notified when the new posts are published…

P.S.- if you are interesting in seeing a sneak peek of the finished dock- I’ve added a link to a great photo in the new subscriber welcome email.

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Steve on July 7th, 2013

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Enjoying a cool summer shower

Enjoying a cool summer shower






Thanks and enjoy!


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For the majority of the citizens of the Unites States of America, today is a day filled with picnics, parties, and fireworks.  While this makes for a good time, lets not forget the true reason for this national holiday.

On this day, the 4th of July, 1776, the brave men of the young Continental Congress announced that the 13 American colonies, which at the time were at war with Great Britain, declared themselves as independent states, free of the British Empire’s control.

With this declaration a new nation was formed by these 13 states-the nation was born- the United States of America.

Happy Birthday USA!

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

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Steve on June 30th, 2013

Chipmunks may seem like cute little critters but they are actually tiny rodents which cause incredible amounts of damage.

The damaging, Mr. Chipmunk

The damaging, Mr. Chipmunk

With their burrowing they can quickly cause structural support issues beneath decks, building, and patios.   They also have  tendency to dig in gardens and planting beds- uprooting young plants and flowers making them susceptible to dehydration.

There are many options for controlling their potentially explosive populations.  Some of the more popular being live-trapping, shooting (with pellet/bb guns), poisoning (with baits or gassing them in their burrows) and my personal favorite- the spring-loaded plastic rat trap.

The reusable, baited traps are easy to bait, empty, and reset.  They are inexpensive, weather resistant, and last for years.

Unlike the live-trap, you won’t be relocating your chipmunk problem to another location.  You don’t have to catch the chipmunk in action in order to shoot it, or worry about something (or someone) getting into the poison, or possibly eating the dead chipmunks body and getting poisoned indirectly.

JAWZThe snap traps are easy to use- simply place a little peanut butter or walnut pieces in the bait compartment (in the center of the trigger pad) and  set the trap with your hand or foot.

To empty the trap, simply open the trap by pushing on the back  and drop the dead chipmunk into a plastic bag for disposal.   No-touch, no fuss.  Re-bait, if needed, and re-set the trap and you’re ready for the next…

Not only do these work great for chipmunks, you may find that you even had mice and voles around your property.

If you have a problem with chipmunks, now is the perfect time to get their population under control before their fall reproduction cycle.

These traps work great, are reusable and easy to empty and reset-

click here to get some for yourself…



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Steve on June 22nd, 2013

After more than a decade of neglect and lack of use, the dock at Whitehaven was an accident just waiting to happen.

Rickety old dock

Rickety old dock

The more it got used for fishing and accessing the pontoon, the quicker the neglected and dilapidated old dock and ramp were turning into a real safety hazard, just waiting for their first accident on our watch.

Fortunately, the posts on the platform had been previously replaced and the under-carriage wood was still in good repair, unfortunately the non-marine rated deck screws holding the decking and support together were failing miserably.

The joists were all missing carriage bolts, lag bolts, or hangers, and were simply held together by the rusty old screws and the deteriorated decking screwed into it.

A complete rebuild was in order.

The first thing we did was a detailed assessment of the situation.  What  can be reused, and what must be replaced?

Next, we looked at our budget.  We needed to determine what it would cost to replace or rebuild. A cost variance of 4-1 helped drive the decision for pressure treated over composite.

Failing Dock Platform

Failing Dock Platform

Plan and Materials list- Coming up with a good plan to make a sturdy dock leads right into the material list so we would know what we would need to purchase.

Next, we needed to choose our aproach.  Is it more advantageous for a complete tear-down and rebuild, or would we take a more iterative approach and tackle the project in stages.

Due to a number of factors, the main ones being time to dedicate to the project, budget, and condition
of the platform posts, we decided on taking an iterative approach.

The first iteration would be the platform.

Though we had an idea of what we had in store, we wouldn’t really know want we had ahead of us until the decking was removed and the situation with the joists could be fully assessed.

Fortunate for us, the wooden joists were in good shape.  Their supporting screws and lag bolts, not so much.

None of the joists had hangers, and the few screws holding anything together were rusting away- many with their threads rotted away and could be pulled out  by hand.
In order to complete the first iteration, the requirements were clear- shore up what exists, add hangers for everything, and add additional cross members, for extra rigidity, top it with new decking- attached with stainless steel screws, and we would be complete.

Over the course of five days I removed the old decking, added marine grade hangers to all parts of the framing, added extra 2×6 supports between the joists, cut the 4×4’s flush with the framing, and wrapped the exterior in new 2×8 framing- attached with lag bolts, for extra rigidity.

The platform was finished off with all new pressure treated decking.  After trimming off the excess from one of the new decking, the first iteration was ‘done’!

The next iteration will the the ramp replacement.

This will be more complex, as this will be a complete rebuild- beginning with new 4×4 posts with steel bases.

All of the materials are onsite, now to just get started!

Hangers and cross-supports

Hangers and cross-supports

To be continued…

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Finishing up...

Finishing up…

Early morning at the beach- now for the ramp...

Early morning at the beach- now for the ramp…

The new and improved platform (before the trimoff)

The new and improved platform (before the trimoff)

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Steve on June 4th, 2013

Whitehaven- across the water

The ETO posting hiatus comes to a close…

It’s been a while… okay, it’s been a long, long while!

The long delay certainly wasn’t because of a lack of great things going on- there are literally 100’s of great photos, videos, and articles just waiting to be shared with you.

This past year has been full of wonderful opportunities which have kept us busy.

One of the most significant milestone events  was the acquisition of our dream home, Whitehaven.

Whitehaven is two-acres of country living at it’s best.

It satisfied a long list of objectives we had on our ‘dream home list’- it’s not only our home, it’s our retreat.  It has a bit of everything.- woods, water, grassy areas, wooded areas (visited by a variety of wildlife), extensive landscaping, plenty of room for our veggie and Permaculture, and food forest gardens, ample space for entertaining- inside, outside, and beach-front on a stocked lake.

It’s a true oasis; we’re happy to call it home.

Stay tuned- there are plenty more posts coming very soon…

In the meanwhile, you can view some video of the evolving gardens on my YouTube channel



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