Wednesday, March 25, 2015


My back hurts.  I want to fish more.  Of course I change my mind the next morning and realize how meaningful it is to preserve the old mansion.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Heidi is coming, Heidi is coming!

It is always nice to visit with Bob and Betty Lou Crist.  Through all our conversations, there are events and people discussed.  One of the children, the baby (Heidi), often comes into the conversation.  We have met her sisters (Robin and Camilla), but must use our imagination to visualize Heidi.  After a recent visit with Bob and Betty Lou, we received an email that Heidi and her two children were planning a visit to Shelbina with hopes of visiting the mansion in which she grew up.  It will be so exciting to hear her perceptions of "Growing up Benjamin".  Heidi went from being lowest on the pecking order of 5 children, to having the house to herself!  It is always exciting to meet someone who lived in the Benjamin House, but this is going to be special as her sisters plan to join in the homecoming!  I am sure the energy and memories will be flowing.  Heidi plans to bring her children to share the day.

Kitchen blues!

Ideas are a blessing, but they sometimes look better in your mind's eye than real life.  The kitchen has been a long time coming, but
there is progress.  The latest work on the walls has me a bit doubtful as to the results.  The kitchen of 1873 was a place where the servants worked rather than a "hangout" as we know them today.  With this in mind, our restoration has a more simple taste as a goal.  Rather than the smooth walls and coloration of the main part of the house, we have tried to project a more humble surrounding.  The walls needed repair, but we chose to keep the finish a bit rough.  Sounds good, but after a lifetime of smooth sheetrock walls, it takes a bit of time to accept the result.  It also takes more work than you might imagine to achieve a textured finish.
Also, working with "white" is not easy when judging how much "texture" has been achieved.

I am certain that some people will enjoy the kitchen walls, while others will lift their nose and sniff.  I understand, because Marilyn and I have mixed emotions about the results.  It has grown on me and I hope that you can appreciate something different than you have ever seen.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

More than just a building!

The mansion and furnishings catch a person's eye and curiosity, but there is a lot more.  The people that come in contact with the house seem to be special.  This  past week we had another Spring snow.  While having breakfast, I looked out the window at the bright white surface that coated everything and muffled sounds from traffic.  Eating breakfast toast with honey reminded me of where the honey originated.  Clayton Armstrong and his wife gave it to us from their harvest.  Clayton, a bee keeper among many things, is a really interesting fellow and has helped us learn about the bees that have long inhabited the mansion.  He and his family are the subject of another blog on catching bees!  Later that morning, Marilyn and I traveled to Shelbina to do a bit of work.  Can you imagine our surprise when we found the snow removed from our driveway.  Buddy Ratliff  is the culprit and does so many things to help people.  Memories and people are such an  important part of the home we call Shelbina Mansion.