Fall in Vermont knows no equal. For two weeks at the end of September, the woods explode in color like no place else on earth. Fallen leaves get picked up by a chilly breeze and shuffle and dance their way down country roads, leaving in their wake a distinctive spicy scent. Migratory birds perch on power lines, whole flocks crowding shoulder to feather, a short rest on their long journey. Apples and pumpkins are everywhere. How grateful I am to work every day outdoors, free of the artificial changelessness of an office.
Never mind that we’re working under a roof most of the time these days. With the windows thrown open and frequent trips to the Barn for supplies and sawcuts, our connection to nature remains strong. The last of the telephone cables went in this past week, and the TV antenna was fully connected. Now we commence a big push to install the recessed lighting as fast as possible.
On Friday we laids out a grid for the kitchen’s overhead lighting, four rows of four cans. We set one row a predetermined distance from the walls (44 inches, or 20 inches from edge of counter) and spaced the remaining rows to fill the space, careful to place each can in a bay between floor trusses. We measured the first space in each direction from the top of the kitchen walls, then snapped chalk lines to mark the grid on the ceiling.
Then I set about installing and wiring all 16 cans. Each box requires some prep work – remove the electrical cover, install plastic inserts for cable entry, break off the sliding spacers to the right length – before it gets nailed to the trusses. Four nails per can, then a length of wire running from one can to the next in a snakelike pattern. The last step is to make up each box by cutting off the cables’ outer insulation, stripping the very tips of the hot and neutral wires, and shoving them into the proper clips. The process became easier and easier as I got the hang of it.
Down in the basement, while Colin continued to toil at the circuit breaker panel, Vermont Well & Pump returned to install a hot water heater and connect it to the source. We received two nasty surprises during their visit: our well is only half as deep as the public record indicates, and the flow volume is very limited with the desired 10+ gallons per minute running us dry in a couple hours. The well certainly fills up in the spring, but we may need to drill deeper to maintain an adequate supply the rest of the year. (That’s a decision for Colin and Terry to make.) Good news is the electric pump works great, and we’ll never have to operate another foot pump to run a hose on-site.
The days are getting shorter, and already the basement stays dark enough that we use a work light. We’ve seen frost in the morning but we still get some 80-degree sunny days too, so I bring a sweatshirt and change in and out of it as needed. Cole plays football and Turner plays soccer, and frequently we leave early to attend their games. Lunchtime conversations center more and more around the coming ski season. What a wonderful time of year!