Saturday, August 25, 2012

Changes or Where Did My Snack Food Go?

 When I walked up the to open the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace today, this is what the door looked like.  Do you notice anything different from this time last week?  Can you see all the ground that's been dug up, and how the gutters now go into the ground?  All that straw covers where the ground was dug up in order to install underground pipes called French Drains that carry rain water from the gutters underground and away from the house.

The fluorescent green coupling that's visible above ground may be somewhat anachronistic against this unique, beautiful historic landmark, but they are absolutely beautiful to me.

Unripe grapes
You see, we've been struggling with moisture in the basement of the Birthplace for years, dare I say decades.  It endangers our artifacts, has caused the loss of merchandise in the gift shop, and on rare occasion has even kept particularly sensitive allergy sufferers from touring the kitchen and dining room.  More recently it has even caused damage to the walls. We run dehumidifiers constantly, keep the heat on low, even when were closed, and have taken other additional measures, but try as we might, without stopping rain water from the gutters from streaming directly down the side of the structure, we were fighting a losing battle.  The French Drains do precisely that.

What was a far less pleasing site where the grape vines on the front porch, picked clean of their fruit.  Now what am I to snack on when I get hungry?  And they really were picked clean.  I combed the vines this morning for a few leftover fruits, and found only isolated samples, all but a few of those not even ripe!

Good Earth Grape Jelly
On the other hand, that means there is Good Earth Gape Jelly in the gift shop again, in two sizes.  Get a small jar for $4 or a large jar for $6.  I've not tasted this year's batch yet, but it was sensational last year.  Furthermore, while I was exaggerating about the grapes being daily snack food, I will admit to sampling a few, and I can attest that they were so delicious, so remarkably full of flavor that we can be pretty sure the jelly will be too!

Finally, it was nice to be able to put out the new "Open" flag this morning, one that has no rips or tatters.  It's not even dirty yet.  Here it is, flying from its holder on the fence, juxtaposed against a picture of our old one on my desk.  Quite an improvement, wouldn't you say?

That is the good news.  A considerably less joyous discovery was also made today, but nothing an exterminator won't be able to quickly fix.  Part of the agenda for tomorrow is a presentation on good bugs and bad bugs.  Suffice it to say, we've got some bad ones in the Sydenstricker House, but it looks like we've caught them early.  I'll post more on that when I know more; let it aside for now.  Today is a good day!

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