Before It Was “The Bell House”

Some things were never meant to remain unchanged, even in the Town Time Forgot.

At the corner of Laporte and Allegheny Avenues  stands perhaps our best example of adaptation. It has been a church, a museum, and a private residence all in the space of 100 years. Have you reinvented yourself that many times?

Col. J. Richter Jones,, Union Officer. Killed in action.at Batchelder’s Creek, NC 1863. Jones Ave. is named for him.

It all began with that Eagles Mere visionary, Judge J. Richter Jones who had already purchased the area and changed its name to “Eaglesmere.” (Yay! Much better than Lewis Lake IMHO. ) Then, with his church roots running deep–he was son and grandson of ministers–he felt it was time to add a place of worship to the community. The first minister was a Rev. Boken Oken (I am not making this up). The congregation met in a converted cottage on Laporte Ave. Unfortunately it was destroyed by fire in 1872. Keep rambling....

Little House Dishwashing

This is the second part of a two-part series on reducing power outage headaches.  Read Part 1, “Little House  Living: Power Outage Tips” here. 

     A Proverb: The power will always go out when you have a full load of dirty dishes; and the longer you put off washing, the longer your power will stay off.

Many of us never learned the art of washing an entire load of stuff. But when the well is out, water conservation is at stake, so here’s our step-by-step.  (And don’t miss the video at the end.) Keep rambling....

Little House Living: Power Outage Tips

This is a two-part post for reducing power outage headaches.  See Part 2, “Little House Dishwashing” here.

Life almost off the grid can be a little frustrating at times to those who’ve spent their lives in “the Flatlands.”  In rural areas, distances, and minimal conveniences can compound to make an emergency situation seem even more surreal.  Our posts on the historic wind storm and Winter Storm Stella prompted us to create this list for you, especially  if you’re vacationers/renters. These might save your stay.

Never let your gas tank get less than half full, especially up here. That’s just good general advice. Get ice as quick as you can at the Vale, Laporte General Store, or Nittany’s in Sonestown.  This isn’t the city and opportunities are scarce. The Vale sells block ice. It lasts longer but may not fit in your frig/freezer/cooler. Check if these places are on before you go.

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Our refrigerators
  • Speaking of being “on”, the Borough Hall is on a generator. If you desperately need to use your computer, they might be able to help.
  • If you’re a renter, your freezer is probably pretty empty.  Turn it into your frig by moving meats and other perishables in there along with a big bag of ice. We saved a gallon of milk and other stuff doing that.  Give it up after three days, though.
  • If it’s winter, stockpile your front porch with firewood.  Otherwise it might get snowed under. Likewise, put your snow shovel by the door.
  • If you’re in a rental, you won’t know your way around in the dark
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    Studying Abe Lincoln-style by the waning light of day.

    and it gets dark REAL early without power. If it’s still light, pick up the floor to avoid tripping  after sundown.  Lay out the bed clothes and diapers. Distribute the alternative light sources (below)  throughout the house now.

  • Flashlights are okay, but here are some other sources of illumination. Those battery-operated decorative candles are a terrific, safe lighting source and can serve their original purpose later. Available in sets of 5-7 for around $15 at Michaels and Walmart.  Don’t forget the batteries!

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    Recharge the solar lights!
  • Solar path lights from Walmart or Lowes can be recharged during the day and offer 8 hours of light at night. For the most light, buy the strongest ones you can afford, usually $3 +/- each.  Plan on at least 3 per floor. Scatter around the house in drinking glasses. Don’t forget to recharge in the AM.
  • One of us is not a fan of oil lamps, but if YOU are, oil was available at Bill’s Ace Hardware in Dushore when everyone else was sold out.
  • Try to remember what was running when the power went out and flip the switch, so you’re not blasted by kleig lighting and blaring TV at 2 AM when Penelec works its magic.
  •  When you’re on a well, you lose water too.  Minimize flushing. Tie a rag around the handle to remind everyone not to flush.
  • Eventually, you have to. Keep a bucket or two on hand for toilets and gathering water.  Collapsible 5-gallon containers are available at WalMart in the camping section. They contain a spout. About $8. Really handy for Little House Dishwashing!
  • Gather said water for toilets from the Lake or Pond. Or your hot tub.  We do not recommend drinking, cooking, or dish-washing from these sources. Arguable, but we’re playing it safe here cuz….
  • Potable water can be had for free from the generator-driven Borough Hall spigot or at the famous bathtub outside the Barn Restaurant.  Don’t be scared off by the tub water. You are filling from the hose.
  • Get your hair washed at a salon. Tip generously.
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    Oil lamps put out a lot of light….but they’re dangerous.

    Following are some links from experts: Keep rambling....

    A Wind Storm of Historic Proportions

    We thought it was MARCH that came in like a lion, not MAY!

    Monday night, May 1, following a lovely day, the winds whipped up around 5. We were already warned of tornado possibilities and severe thunderstorms.  Around 7:30 pm, Nature rolled up her sleeve, flexed her bicep, formed a fist, and sucker punched us with wind that spun trees like lassos, and smacked us with walls of rain. Power went out, and Little House Living began for the next four days.  (To read our power outage tips go here and here.) Keep rambling....

    Spring Wildflowers

    Okay, yes, the snow is really pretty. But change is good.

    So when the drifts finally recede, it’s time to keep one’s senses open to all the sights and sounds and smells and any other clues one can find for Spring’s Mountain arrival.

    Anything–ANYTHING–poking through the ground is a reason to celebrate.  Even a worm.

    So let’s talk early spring wildflowers today.

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    Look, Ma! No leaves!
    The first noticeable wildflower is usually mistaken for dandelions. It is Coltsfoot.  The obvious diff between it and your little lawn pest is the lack of leaves! Seriously, you can remember this! These flowers come up BEFORE the leaves, and when was the last time you saw dandelions do that??  That explains their earlier name: “Son-before-the-father.” They get their present name from the leaf shape which, at full-size, truly looks like a pony hoof-print. Keep rambling....