Castle Hill “Hot and Cold Tour” (aka, the “Basement to Cupola Tour”)

Seeing this photo on the North Shore Art Throb web site sold me on the tour — we had to go.

The tour was great — we got to see the boiler room, the coal room (held two train cars’ worth of coal), the two kitchens, the pie rolling room, the servants’ quarters, the wood elevator, the luggage elevator, the dumbwaiter, step inside the silver safe, and last but not least, we got to go up to the cupola!

Most of the house is off-limits to photos, but here’s what I was allowed to take.

Our tour guide Nancy Ronan shows us the kitchen with balcony (for fine china) above — Leo thinks it looks just like our house!

Pre-wedding photos being taken on the amazing Grand Allée.

One of the Griffins (half eagle, half lion) being tested by Leo (all lion) for stability.  These were a gift from R.T. Crane Jr.’s employees and sculpted by Paul Manship (who also did the Rockefeller Center Prometheus statue).


Walking from the Italian Garden back up to the house.

Check out the vintage electrical switches down in the Italian Garden.  It’s a Fullman Adjustable Floor Outlet and a Hubbell tandem plug socket — what would they have plugged in, I wonder?  I love the1921 ad I found about “more convenience outlets”.


Finally, the house itself.  Pretty new (built 1924-1928) by architect David Adler, based on a 17th century English country house.

And a panorama from the roof — click to enlarge.  

Shed Moving

I once mentioned to our friend Peter that I wanted to move our shed and he said, “No problem”.  I asked him how he’d do it and he said, “I’m not sure, but that’s the interesting part.”  Well, with a jack, lots of wood blocks, a trailer, and some amazing driving skills, he did it!

While Peter jacked up the shed higher and higher, the kids played school.

Even Jupiter learned a word!

Pete asked me to take this picture — he liked how precarious it looked.  By the way, it made it to its new location just fine.

The kids finding treasures where the shed used to sit.

And here’s the shed in its new spot, looking quite at home there.

Lawn Sledding

I just discovered the books of Eric Sloane.  I first noticed him because of his pen & ink illustrations in his weather book.  Then I discovered that he’d written about almost every aspect of old-time American life.

In “Diary of an Early American Boy”, I learned that in the 1600s and 1700s, there were no wheelbarrows here in America.   They used sleds instead.  Which gave me the idea of using a sled behind the garden tractor.  It’s kind of a DIY trailer and works great on grass.  So far, I’ve hauled trees, brush, and lots and lots of rocks (from the former site of the shed).  After one such trip, Leo decided he needed a ride in the empty sled and Lawn Sledding was invented.

Here are neighbors Freddy & Sammy over for a ride.  Freddy was having a 5pm grump, but the offer of a sled ride cheered him right up!

Ooops, guess we lost one!