Archive for the 'Photo Blog' Category

Pennhurst Investigation
 

So as I said in my last post, this past weekend I grabbed an opportunity to visit and investigate Pennhurst State School in Springs City, PA. If you aren’t familiar with it, it was a pretty horrible place back in the day. It was a school for problem children, children who had mental or physical handicaps, as well as housed psychologically impaired adults. It was shut down in the early 70s when local reporters exposed the horrible abuse of patients, especially the kids, going on. It sat for years, abandoned, and reclaimed by the woods. Recently it has been reopened mainly as a halloween attraction, but now they are slowly securing and opening more buildings and letting paranormal investigators in. You can actually watch the original expose of Pennhurst on YouTube right here.

The ghost hunt took place from 7pm until 3am in the Mayflower building, one of the most active buildings for hauntings. There actually are a large number of buildings on site, and the people who have taken the place over said they are slowly working to open and make others safe. I know I definitely want to go back, and soon. It was quiet the experience! This building housed children and adults, nurses and staff lived on the top floor, and there was a “treatment room” in the basement along with medical/dental rooms.

As I said in may previous post, I went on my own to this. Normally I go with friends who do this thing regularly, but this was a unique opportunity that I grabbed. So I arrived just myself, and found out it was a self directed investigation, as opposed to following a team and participating. Oh boy, I was not too happy about going into Pennhurst on my own! Fortunately two women who had never done anything like this, but had an interest, were there and we bonded. I found them lost along the way, because we were all given the wrong address as to where to meet, but having been to the place before for Halloween I knew where to go. So we all teamed up, and it didn’t help I had a bit of equipment :)

The place is downright creepy, and honestly still fairly dangerous. We all had to sign wavers saying we wouldn’t sue if we died. The worst part was the darkness and seeing all the things that were just left behind. Strewn about were kids toys and clothing, the old hospital beds, one room had dental chairs where they supposedly pulled teeth from biters. There were also storage closets with shelves labeled “pajamas,” “towels,” “sheets” and so forth. We even found boxes labeled “Christmas” and an old plastic tree… or what was left of it. When the place shut down the patients were kicked out, the staff left, and so many things were just left in place. It was creepy.

The building had a very bad vibe to it. We walked through several cold spots, the hair stood on the back of your neck, and on one floor we heard footsteps when we were the only ones there. I have hours of audio to go through, which I only just started to listen to last night. If I find anything I’ll be sure to share, along with more of the photos I took.

One thing we did was a few ghost box sessions. If you’ve ever watched “Ghost Adventures,” then you know what it is. It’s basically a modified radio that sweeps channels quickly. For those old enough to remember static and snow channels on the TV, it’s like just flicking between them. The theory is that ghosts can communicate through these white noise signals, much like the old film “Poltergeist.” We got a lot of answers that were hard to hear. These I have to listen back to and hope something is there. Two answers however were very clear. I made a little youtube of these two, with text to explain what was heard and the context. Sadly the most clear answer didn’t record well. I was recording on my phone, which in this case I placed too far away from me. I was sitting on the floor and I put it up high on a table. Lesson learned! The room we were in was also fairly large and had an echo. This answer was so clear to us, which you can tell because in this video we all immediately know exactly what was said. I also edited the audio to lessen the spirit box noise/static and repeat the answers, which were only said once to us.


Life Goes On
 

It’s been over a week since we said goodbye to Galahad. The first few days were sad and especially hard for Grim. He walked around constantly looking for his friend. He even let out a few meows, which he almost never does. Since the first few days he has come out of his cave behind the sofa where he tends to hide. He’s been walking around more, even sitting under the table while I’m working. This morning he was sleeping in the window seat, which he has never done. He’s been open to being petted a lot more too, which normally makes him recoil or run. The next hopeful step is getting him to jump up on the couch with us. Oddly enough he wasn’t such a recluse as a kitten. I’m not sure what happened to change him.

In other news, my garden has finally bloomed, and as usual all at once. I sadly lost a lot of early tomatoes thanks to blossom end rot. John got me some spray that has pretty much corrected that. I also lost some segments of the plants to wind damage in a storm or two. Two of the plants grew too big and started toppling believe it or not. I’ve had to do a lot of bracing and tying of the branched. For once I kept the pests away from my garden only to have my plants succumbed to other things. However I should be good to go for the next month or two with tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. I’ve already got a plan for next summer to put raised garden beds down in the area and have a nice looking garden.

Anyways, I’ll be posting again real soon. If you followed my tumblr or instagram this weekend, you’ll notice I posted some spooky photos. I went to Pennhurst State School (and asylum) for a paranormal investigation. It was a much different investigation than I’ve done in the past with my friends, who normally lead the investigations. For this one we were basically just set lose to do our own thing. I went all on my own, not knowing anyone there, so fortunately two women who had never done an investigation were there and they were happy to tag along with me. I would not have wanted to explore that place on my own at all!

Pennhurst State School

Introducing: The Green Nightmare!
 

photo 2 So I texted John today as Christmas was on my mind. I know, it’s only July, but Hallmark already has the bulk of their ornaments out, so it was on my mind. I also knew we would likely need a new tree, and John and his sister usually start doing their Christmas orders for the farm around now. So I asked him if he had bought a new tree yet? You see after last year the Pink Nightmare might actually be dead. What I forgot to add in my blog from last year on the whole Christmas disaster was that the tree seemed to be on it’s last legs. The first time I put it up, a good chunk of the lights were out. It’s a pre-lit tree, and it took me three hours to get it back on. After taking it down when I had to move everything for the contractors, and later putting it up again, the lights on the entire bottom half was dead and I could not get them back on no matter what. I had to go out, buy several strands of white lights, and rethread them one by one into the pink nightmare to revive it. It took a looooong time! I told John next year I won’t be doing that, so he needed to get a new tree or I’d cut the lights off this one and just buy new strings all together for it.

So when I texted him today and asked if he had got a new tree, he replied “maybe.” I responded “oh lord, is it purple?” Then he sent this photo of the lime green nightmare. It’s only 4 feet high and he said it was an accessory for the other tree. I reminded him the pink one might not work, to which he responded “well lime green goes well with purple!” I told him that I was going to bring back some of the older Star Wars ornaments from my mom’s that we have no room for anymore, and maybe some of the other older ornaments we used to use when I was a kid but can’t fit on the tree for it. He didn’t respond :)

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In other news, the backyard is slowly coming along. They finally put the caps on the brick wall, now we just need the lights on top and the actual patio put in. After that the only thing left is to grow some grass, which I may start on my own before it gets too late and too cold to try and get grass growing. I know that’s aways off, but with these contractor’s work schedule, it’s a reality. I’m still not sure how I’m going to pull off the Halloween decor with the new yard layout. However one of these years I will have enough decorations to make a haunted trail to the back of our house in this area. I just need trick-or-treaters to come for it! If we get the patio done, I’m hoping to finally throw a Halloween party of some kind to have friends over to see the house, the decorations and then hit up the corn maze at the farm at night for spooky fun.

Oh after all these years I finally added a “holiday” category to the blog for my decoration posts :)

Landscaping and Halloween Space
 

So a lot has been done with the house since my last update. Almost all the windows save for the attic window have been trimmed, and they are getting fancy copper accents on the top. Rain, rain and more rain kept delaying work and the finishing of the back porch/wall area. There is a photo of it below with some of the blue stone caps on top. These have to be finished, and will also be the same material for the patio area there. We are still waiting on our lights for the pillars, of course there was an issue with the ones we ordered. The company can’t find them in the warehouse and wants to sell us similar ones, for a lot more money. Um, I don’t think so!

Out front I got suckered into helping with landscaping the past few days. Today I finally said “Oh no, I’ve done enough shoveling, carrying large rocks and carting wheelbarrows of dirt!” It was a great workout, but I need a break. Fortunately they finished the last of it today . . . after all the heavy rock carrying had been done by yours truly. Most of the rocks you see in the photos below I carted from an old pile 100 feet or so away. Next to the side of the house, where the brick wall is now in the photos, was an old rock wall. They took it out, piled the rocks out back and the brick wall and a drain to keep water out of our basement. We reused those rocks out front. You can actually see the pile in the photo in the previous post I made.

There are still a few touch-ups to be done. The rock wall out front near the sidewalk and small shrubs isn’t yet finished, and the sidewalk area by the front steps is going to be expanded/widened out. Also a lot of grass or sod has to be put down in areas in the back, and some new grass out front as well.

While I’m thrilled that our house doesn’t look like white-trash anymore, I’ve lost so much prime real estate space for Halloween decorations, and the spooky atmosphere of the “woods” next to the house is totally gone! Where the two southern magnolia trees are now is where I used to have the cemetery gate and spooks hidden back among the trees. Two of the trees had to be taken down because they were rotting, one actually fell on it’s own in a big storm. We also had all the saplings that had been growing ripped out, and sums fugly bush thing. As you can see in one of the photos from the back, there is now a natural break between two mulched areas. There was always a path through there, it just got over grown, and another tree was in the way. I’m thinking the gate will go there, with some stuff placed behind it. I’m hoping it will, if lit right, cast some nice shadows on the side of the house. The front yard though . . . that’s gunna take spatial planning. At least I should have a usable porch again this year. John’s already ordered my birthday gift/s and said I’m going to be so shocked by them. Can’t wait! It’s months away though . . .

My Garden Is Growing!
 

So I finally got my garden in. I didn’t get it totally done until the end of May thanks to all the yard work going on, the cooler than normal temperatures and way too much rain. A photo of it is below, and yes it looks ghetto. It is even more ghetto than normal given all the work debris in the yard. Believe it or not, this was the nicest angle I could take it from. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll notice the fence around the area is completely gone. It opens our backyard up so much. Now if the rain would end so the patio could get completed and some of the junk hauled off.

Thanks to critters, (chipmunks, rabbits and groundhogs), I have to put my plants up as high as I can to keep them out. The cinder blocks really add that white trash look we’re trying to get rid of, and I didn’t think until too late to use segments of an old tree we had removed. A few pots are on those, and they at least look nice. By time I was getting ready to place and space things out, most of the tree had been hauled off.

A lot of the places critters been living here are now gone, so I’m hopeful this year won’t be as bad. I do know Mr. Groundhog and Miss Rabbit are still around, I think they relocated to the neighbors barn. I have tried all kind of critter ridders and sound machines to keep them out, but eventually they end up getting me! However there isn’t much I can do right now as once the porch area is done, and the final window touches are put on the house, the contractor has to tackle repairing and fixing up our garage. This is next to my garden area, so I couldn’t put too much down that would get in his way. What I’m hoping to do next year is put in a raised bed system and a small fence around just the garden. We we see though. Every year when my garden finally gets attacked I swear I’ll never garden again.

This year I am growing some new things. The list of everything I’m attempting to grow is below. I believe I’ve grown all the tomatoes at one point or another. The second list is all new. While I’ve done green peppers and Japanese eggplant, I’ve ever done any of these varieties. It should be interesting to see how they work out.

  • Classic heirloom tomatoes
  • Beefsteak tomatoes
  • Rutgers tomatoes
  • Super roma tomatoes
  • Better boy tomatoes
  • Super fantastic tomatoes
  • Orange bell “sweet” peppers
  • Mini bell pepper mix.
  • Sweet banana peppers
  • Mini Gretel eggplants.

Lastly, I know some people have found my blog since I departed Facebook. If you wish to be notified when I update, you can fill this form out to subscribe to the blog. You can also do the same thing by checking the box below the comment form if you wish to leave a comment at some point. Finally you can also use the RSS Feeds link if you have a newsreader of some kind installed into your browser and simply add the blog in. I’m not sure how many people actually use newsfeed readers anymore in the age of twitter/facebook.

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Happy Birthday Ebbie!
 

So last week was Ebbie’s birthday. She was one years old on the 18th. I totally forgot as I had so many other things going on :( I’m a bad doggy daddy!

Ebbie turned out to be a tiny Westie. She’s smaller than Princess, who is considered ideal for a Westie. Most Westies I’ve met tend to be a little bigger than Princess. Nikko, the Cairn, is actually a bit bigger than an average Cairn should be. Most Cairns are smaller than Westies!

I’ve been forced to feed Ebbie kibble for now. I’m trying to get weight on her scrawny butt, and kibble has the carbs that do it. I don’t like feeding kibble as it usually is what Princess was allergic too. However she’s shown no signs of any itching or paw biting like Princess did as a puppy, and as you can tell from the photos she also isn’t getting the beard staining. Though I did just bathe her because she was a dirty puppy. She likes to roll in the dirt more than anything else.


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Princess, Ebbie and Nikko

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Princess and Ebbie.

We Really Need Another Brick In The Wall
 

So our big ole ditch out back finally has been filled in with all sorts of high-tech draining system stuff, and they are onto bricking over the ugly cinderblock wall. Unfortunately because it was so wet this whole week, they didn’t get far. Sadly the week coming up doesn’t look much better. Apparently it’s not good to do masonry work when it’s raining or to moist out, it is bad for the mortar.

In the photos below you can see the start of what is planned. Hopefully they will make a dent in this work tomorrow before all the severe storms move in. The pillars you see here will all have some kind of lights/lanterns on the top.

Were the wall bends in is where our new bluestone patio is going. This will also wrap around the backside of the house where our back door is. The indentation is going to be my grilling area, and eventually I hope to get some kind of table and chairs to put out there so we can enjoy the patio.

We are also working on getting some new bushes put in soon. So much of the brush and trees had to be removed, really exposing the back of our house to the street. We are hoping to put something back as a shield, not just for privacy but especially for the noise from the road.

One thing we really need back though is our A.C.. They took this out in order to grade the land for water and dig all the ditches. Unfortunately one of the reason we are getting storms this week is the heat is soaring into the mid-to-upper 80s. We have several windows open now to create a breeze, but it’s also bringing in the dreaded pollen. It seems like every year right when we need the A.C., we don’t have it for some reason or another!

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Spring Is Here! My Garden Is NOT!
 

So spring is finally here, and our house is actually coming along. The contractor is back to working on the outside, thank God! Come fall or winter of next year we are looking to redo our kitchen and bathroom. After last year, I am going to stress that this should happen AFTER the holidays. I want to be able to get decorations up in a timely fashion and without fear of breakage this year.

Right now they are working on our patio and side wall that will also include a French drain to carry water away from our house. The patio is going to be done in bluestone. It will also include short pillars with lights/lanterns on them. I don’t know what the whole thing will look like, the final design hasn’t been set in stone . . . except for the bluestone on the ground. There may be a pergola and backsplash put up for me to put my grill in front of to guard from the wind, which always comes from that direction.

I took the below photos this weekend when it was nice out. They actually did a lot more work since I took these, but the weather turned horrible these past few days and I haven’t had a chance to take new ones. I’ll try and do that this weekend or next week for an update.

Gum Wrapper Rings First up, the bushes in the front of our house got a massive trim, especially the one on the left. The purple walkway is being replaced. I put these old doormats down during halloween to cover all the cords for the lights so that nobody tripped on them and sued us. We are going to use the large stones from our old back porch to make a staggered sidewalk out front. I’ll just have to post photos to explain, but think of the chains made from stick gum wrappers . . . if you remember those things. Here I’ll just add a photo to the left!

The black goop on our house walls in the one photo is what has been applied all over to seal the foundation so that water will stop leaking into our basement. So far so good! Well except for yesterday when we got 5+ inches of rain in 24 hours. We had a very tiny bit of water in the basement, but nothing like the flood we would have had. We also had a nasty back-up with our septic system, but that has been cleaned up and we don’t need to talk about that crap :)

My garden area looks a little bit better than it does below. The giant pile of dirt is gone, but that’s about it. If you’ve followed me, you’ll also notice the entire fence around that area is gone too. I am hoping to do something with that area and have things planted by mid-May. I have told the contractor I must be able to garden, as it is comforting to me. Most of my friends, and even John, think it’s silly since I live on a farm and can just go pick whatever I want from the fields. I always say “That’s not the point! I want to grow it myself!” I like growing my own veggies, though I don’t like the yearly battles with the critters. This year though the groundhog holes got filled up completely and covered with rocks, a lot of rocks. I hope they don’t return!

The porch is almost entirely finished, aside from the one end shown in this photo. They haven’t fit the railing on there because of the giant vine growing. That’s John’s precious wisteria plant, which he has agreed to cut finally. It runs up to the very top of the tree to the right of our house, and the only wisteria that blossoms seems to be at the very top of it . . . which is so high you can’t even really appreciate it.

The other photos are mainly of the retaining wall they’ve been building to redirect rainwater and runoff away from the house. It looks ugly in these photos, but it will be covered with a nice brick facade eventually. This is partially where our new back/side porch will be as well. They’ve actually filled all the trenches in these photos in.

The house still needs a final coat of paint, the roof then needs to be tended to, and finally they have to finish with all the window trim.

While they take care of that this summer, I have to work on organizing the inside of the house a bit better. I finally bought some new dressers, I just have to clean out the old ones, chuck them, and move the new ones into the downstairs rooms. Next up at some point will be a new desk for the room that will be my office! This way I’m not sitting and working in the dining room area . . . where I’ve been for the past 12 years.

Re-Enacting Poltergeist
 

So the construction continues. Currently they are digging trenches around our house in order to seal our basement walls and foundations to keep water from leaking into the basement. They are also putting a drain in to help too. Unfortunately we ended up with torrential downpours this weekend, filling one of the trenches. They at least sealed this wall first!

I took the opportunity to re-enact some scenes from “Poltergeist.” I initially only did “You only moved the headstones!” until a friend requested I jump in there in a nightshirt and panties to re-enact the swimming pool scene. Hell no I wasn’t doing that! I did respond with a photo of “Oh my God Stephen, the swimming pool!”

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Spring . . . It
 

photo So we are experiencing lovely “Spring-Like” temps right now, but it won’t last. This coming Thursday . . . snow is possible. Then next Monday and Tuesday . . . more possible snow. I don’t think Spring is EVER coming! Now I love snow, but I’m at my limits. I want the yard done so I can start planting grass and working in my garden areas.

On an up note, the nice weather we have been having has allowed our contractor to get a lot of work done outside. The front porch is ALMOST done. We also have the final new window in the attic/crawl space, as well as the boards sanded down up there. It still needs some paint. Now all that will be left is final coats and of course all the window trims.

My old garden area by the garage is getting a facelift. They are tearing down the fence there, which really makes the yard look bigger. With a large tree gone out back, and more smaller ones to be taken down, we are now getting a lot more sun. I may be able to move my garden elsewhere this year. Oh and the best part yet, they filled in all the groundhog holes! I’m not sure that will last though.

Soon they will be working on a French drain on the side of the house to stop basement water issues. The back porch area is now being disputed. The built in grill is out, we couldn’t seem to agree on anything (we being John and myself, he was being ornery about what kind of grill . . . as if he would even use it), and I got fed up and just nixed it all. I have my small charcoal grill I like, and I may get a small gas grill I’ve had my eye on since last summer. I have now suggested a smaller porch area and a large fenced in area at the back door and side of the house for the dogs to be outside and safely unsupervised. Being able to let the dogs out and have them hang out outside as long as they want seems to be a better deal anyways.