Sunday, August 28, 2016

Vacation- Biltmore

Vacation Day 2.
Missing Day 1 but this was easier since I had the pictures reduced last night, and we didn't take pictures on day 1.
Biltmore. America's home. Once you get a close look at it, it is unimaginable that someone could build this place. 6 years it took from start to finish with 2 years just building the foundation. It is covered in Limestone slabs from Wisconsin but the main structure of the house is steel and brick, bricks that were made on the grounds. George Vanderbilt originally had a 6,700 square foot home in mind for his mother due to her allergies. Originally from NY he visited the Asheville area and decided it was the ideal location for a home. His wife never saw the home until it was completed. Try that nowadays. Anyway here's my photographic tour.

Walk in from the parking lots and this is the view you get. It was said that the main drive onto the property was designed to turn the corner and see the home from this vantage point.

Carved and curved roof over the winter garden.

I will say this often. Everything is hand- carved. The ceiling you see are Italian marble hand- laid into place. The stone masons were brought over from Europe and were paid $4.00 a day. Regular workers were paid $1.00 a day, unless they had a mule, in which the mule itself was also paid $1.00 a day. 

Upon commissioning Richard Hunt, Mr. Hunt within 18 months drew 18,000 prints and built a model.  

Again, hand- carved in place. 

The slate roof tiles were laid in place, a hole drilled through them, then tied from the interior with copper wire around the roof joists. The roof was installed from the interior. There has been a little repair work but on our tour I got the chance to see how they did this and the overwhelming majority of the roof is original. Also look at the copper roof copings that have turned green. 

I saw this and asked the question "Are those George Vanderbilt's initials?" They are and here's something to consider; When the roof caps like these were installed, they obviously were gleaming copper. The initials were inlaid with 14 carrot gold. Can you imagine the site of this roof? Bright copper and gold initials glowing in the sunshine? 

This is the main copper roof over the entrance light. 

And here's that main entrance light! It weighs about 1,700 lbs and is supported by one bolt. The reason being was so it could sway when needed. The staircase is another fascinating thing to see. It is unsupported for three floors. Through those windows are small balconies. These limestone slabs were installed in this manner through the walls and the stairs are counter- balanced with the balconies outside. 

More carvings.

Main banquet hall with organ. They square footage in this one room alone is almost as much as our house. 

Library containing about half of Vanderbilt's books. Currently about 30,000 books reside in the library. 

Bowling anyone? This is located in the basement along with...

the heated swimming pool. 

Exercise room with state-of-the-art workout equipment. 

Typical servant's room. Contrary to some information, slaves were not used in the construction nor did they work at Biltmore. I heard a few people say that as we walked around the home. Read people!

Dumbwaiter. The house also has the first intercom system as well as fire alarms, electricity, water, and a heating system. It also had two elevators, freight and personal use. The one used for personal use is still using the original DC motor and Otis elevator still services it. 

Each one of the figurines were roughly carved on the ground then raised into position and grouted in place. Then scaffolding was built and the carvers would finish their carving in the air.  

You saw the Atrium before. Fredrick Olmstead was in charge on the entire 125,000 acre property and he did a lot of remediation on the grounds due to poor crop rotations and timbering before the home was located. Biltmore is also what some consider the start of managed forestry. Currently the home and grounds encompass about 8,000 acres. The rest was sold to the government for Pisgah National Forest. 

After Biltmore and lunch we cruise Asheville for a little bit. They had this along one of the streets and I answered it. Hike the APL Trail before I die. Appalachian Trail but it was low to the ground and I'm not exactly young. 

In one of the shops we encountered we found some landscape pictures that they are now putting on metal. They are beautiful to see albeit a little on the expensive side. My wife and I may get one if Christmas bonus is nice this year. 

I could have added a lot more but I have other things to do today so this is it. If you ever have the opportunity to see Biltmore, do it! The tickets are high but every once in a while you can find discounts. Christmas is supposed to be a great time to see it as they decorate the house. Here's a link the Biltmore House for more information. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Harvest Monday; August 22, 2016

Yes, back on Harvest Monday. See Dave at Our Happy Acres!

Garden- wise, beyond peppers and watermelon, everything is pretty much had it. I know this is a repeat of every week but this simmer has been brutal for us gardeners (another repeat.) As I mentioned in the previous post, we took a small trip to the mountains and I just reviewed the garden when we got back Sunday. I also caught up my spreadsheet, here.

As I said I did a quick tour Sunday evening. 
Hope you can see four watermelon. That's whats there. 

Hot peppers and banana peppers seem to love this weather. My bell peppers all have bad areas on them. 

Marigolds. I have touched on them previously. I have done nothing to these. Maybe that's what I have to do with everything. 

Overall. Pretty sad. Got my work cut out for me next weekend. 

Our vacation wasn't a full week but a nice break from everything that seems to go in our daily lives. We are always busy with something. My oldest said such as much until he bought his house. Now I think he understands. Anyway we had a nice time and in looking at the pictures I see a few more upcoming posts so stay tuned. I will leave a few here. 

The house we stayed at had hummingbird feeders and I counted 10-12 at one time, fighting each other to eat. And boy do they eat. And very territorial. Actually kinda mean.

Biltmore. About 179,000 square foot. You want to clean it? 

70'-0" tall banquet room with organ. Note the carvings on the balcony. Everything in this home is hand- carved. Everything.

Atrium. Now that's a greenhouse. 

Part of the gardens. There's 30 acres of them. Needless to say this was at the end of our day at Biltmore and we were tired of walking. 

View from the top of Craggy Gardens in black and white. Sometimes I like to see black and white photos as I think they lend a different perspective. 

I took this from the deck of the house Sunday morning before leaving for home. We stayed in Little Switzerland. Notice the fog in the valleys. Yes, we hit a little of that heading home. 

That's it for now but as I said I have some great information for posts. Stay tuned. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Quick Vacation

Yes, we decided to take a small trip to the NC mountains for a few days. We came over Wednesday and it is now Saturday. We toured Appalachian State Wednesday afternoon, Biltmore Thursday and ziplining and Craggy Mountain Friday. Not sure what today holds. Maybe Mt. Mitchell and some hiking.
View from the house this week.

Quick note to let you know I was still around. Full report Sunday!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Harvest Monday; August 1, 2016

Visit Our Happy Acres to see everyone's Harvest Monday.
I can honestly say I visited the garden once this week. Just been a busy week for this family. Working out of town, wife was not feeling well, hot, and our oldest just bought his first house. And with that last one we spent the weekend working on his house. There was a back outside room on the house that had leaked and literally destroyed the wood. So we tore into that Saturday and finished Sunday. It was a lot of work and really miserable outside with heat indexes of 107. But it was done. He and his girlfriend are repainting and refinishing a few hardwood floors. My FiL and youngest son tore out all of the bushes in front of the house Sunday too. Luckily the house came with a new roof, HVAC unit, carpet, and hot water heater. It's a lot of work but I know they can do it. Even his Mom came and painted Sunday. And she hates painting.
OK, finishing this up at lunch today as I was beat last night. That heat really takes it out of me anymore and I really didn't want to do too much. After I got back from his house, we lounged a while as the thunderstorm took our power out for a while (always does), ate some salad, then proceeded to sweep more on the &*#! pool. Third time this year adding flocculate to it. The weather has been hard on it and everyone else's too. Got to finish sweeping it tonight (hopefully.) If it rains I'll go to the gym instead. Leg day and not really digging that!
I took a few pictures of the garden this morning before I left for work. What a mess I have in front of me. Most of the tomato plants have given up, weeds need pulled, I still haven't sowed the second bean crop or lettuce, turnips, radishes, etc.

At least the Morning Glories liked the downpour last night.

As it was this morning. Plenty of red tomatoes left!

Here's this weeks spreadsheet. Notice I caught up last week but since I didn't pick anything except a few small items I didn't put anything in for this week. 

And the construction photos. 

It doesn't look like a lot of work there but trust me it was. No WOF of the Week this week. Sorry. Good luck to everyone and their harvests. Don't be like me.