There are lots of kooky, idiosyncratic touches at the Sugar Shack, put there by former owners with a wide streak of do-it-yourself. Buck and I recently found a concrete patio adjacent to glass doors leading from an add-on bedroom. It was hidden under a layer of oak leaves and dirt. Uncovered, it’s still in good shape, and adds depth of field plus functional outdoor space to the bay-facing room.
Another hidden treasure is at the front of the house. It’s a homemade brick courtyard. Until Tuesday, it was covered with layers of leaves, and dotted with scraggly potted plants, mostly dead, dying, or in serious need of re-potting.
Tuesday was a stunning fall day, warm enough for shorts and tank top as long as a person was in perpetual motion, and cool enough for the breeze to dry any nascent perspiration instantly. While Buck mowed the lawn and pruned bushes on the sides and back, I went to work on the front courtyard.
This sweet creature seemed to embody Jerome K. Jerome’s old line:”I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours,” (from “Three Men in a Boat, 1889). She hung around a few feet away from the courtyard, head up, watching. Maybe I was redecorating her living room.
It is satisfying to uncover the curious bones of this old place, and the physical labor felt good, too. But the real fun came when Buck and I put up our tools, washed up, and ferried our lunch down to the bay. This was Maggie’s favorite part of the day, too. Cheese sandwiches, pretzels and an apple — ambrosial food of the gods on a day like this.
We basked in the breeze and general self-satisfaction at projects accomplished, and then began to notice how sneaky bamboo stalks had flourished when we weren’t noticing and had even begun making a beachhead out through the small strip of white sand to the water.
Two more hours of clipping and pruning, and the little place is almost spiff-spot adorable.
Our electrician friend is putting new fixtures in the bathrooms (one down, one to go). That will complete our work on the inside. Outside, there is still a small, but intense, area of blight clustered in the old carport consisting of bits of metal, rope, plastic and other assorted detritus. Plus, there are two old rotted, splintery picnic tables out back. We’re going to rent a small “roll-off” disposal container for all that remaining junk, do a final sweep-up and call the realtors to put the Sugar Shack on the market.
Groan? Did I hear a groan? Oh, don’t worry. The real estate market is so terrible, the odds of it selling anytime soon are slim. . . although it sure is a sweet place.
Besides, “there is time within a minute for decisions and revisions which a minute may reverse” (from The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, T. S. Eliot).