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Cold Wet Leaves…. Warm Hearth

Posted by Administrator on Tue, Oct 23 2012 08:40:00

Looking out the office window today I see cold wet leaves, a certain harbinger of winter.  The calendar says it is two months until then, but in Wyoming we chuckle at the notion a printed piece of paper or a concept (such as winter, spring, summer and fall start at set times…) will govern anything.

wet leaves and rocks

In Wyoming, a handshake is still as good as a contract.

In Wyoming we act as our brother’s keeper - because the help we provide them might someday be needed in by us - or by someone we love.

In Wyoming we pour concrete in January even while our moustaches are freezing (there are a few tricks to this, so don’t try it without experienced help).

In Wyoming we’ll argue politics one day and the next help that same person unload their pickup.

In Wyoming a lot of us know how to field dress a buck, but believe lattes are for sissies. (Ever had ‘cowboy coffee’? It’ll put hair on your chest!).

In Wyoming we know a coal shovel is sometimes the best for snow, and it makes a pretty good sled if you lean back just right….

Cold wet leaves are a sign that huntin’ season is here, that the lawnmower can be parked, that calves will be comin’ in just a few months and that tire treads on your pickup need to be examined.

It is also a good time to clean that fireplace, bring some wood or coal in and test drive your chimney, because cold wet leaves are best answered with a warm hearth.

Sheridan selected as a Top Ten City

Posted by Administrator on Wed, Sep 26 2012 07:52:00

screen shot of Livability.com

This past week Livability.com named Sheridan as one of the Top 10 Small Towns in America! The Livability.com team looked at 500 small towns (under 25,000 population) that they had already identified, then narrowed the selection by median household income, home prices, crime rates, unemployment rates, average commutes, distances to large cities, and "lifestyle amenities such as outdoor activities, restaurants, community events, museums, art galleries, and performance venues."



Drawing Out

Posted by Administrator on Sun, Sep 23 2012 12:46:00

Were hosting three honeymoon couples in this ten day period.  What fun!  They bring energy, expectations, and excitement with them.  And phrases like “I now pronounce you…”  and “til death do you part” are still in their heads.

New journeys.  Promises kept  Limitless horizons.  Hope.  Love. 

They’re polite and they’ll sit on the porch or in the kitchen and visit a while, but really, really, they want to be alone together.

Coming back from conducting my own daughter’s wedding, I was blessed to sit by a man who had been a preacher for more than fifty years.  As we talked about weddings and ceremonies and all of that, my new friend said to me, “you know Rob, one of the things I’ve learned, and one of the things I tell young couples, is that marriage is a growing thing.  In a marriage the woman draws the husband out of the man and the man draws the wife out of the woman.”

Next year Bev and I celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.  And I know she’d agree with that old preacher.  One can become married in a brief instant, but one only becomes the husband or wife the other person needs over time.

For two years now we’ve worked with a young couple to moderate a weekend marriage seminar.  In the seminars the conversation always seems to turn, at least for a while, to all the failed marriages in America.  Some of these folks have been divorced, so they have firsthand knowledge, others have been together for decades, and a few have recently married or will be soon.

What does a blog about a great old house and a bed & breakfast have to do with marriage?  Easy.  A successful marriage makes a house a home.  A disaster of a marriage makes a house a hell. Our B&B is a home with a changing cast of people.  Sure, our relationships with folks are very temporary and very transitory, but even in a few hours we’ve found a warm and generous spirit can build small bridges of understanding.

And that is pretty cool.

As for married couples, shared understanding and love is the basis for drawing each other out as husband and wife.  And successful couples have learned to do that well.

Harry Benham: Another Piece of the Puzzle

Posted by Administrator on Sun, Sep 16 2012 10:40:00

Little Harry Towner Benham was born the year his folks finished the house on Residence Hill (see Where Did You Go Harry T.? in this blog - dated Jul 26 2012).  With the help of Ancestry.com I’ve been able to track him over the years – the latest piece is the newly released 1940 census.

In 1940 Harry and wife Isabel S. Benham lived in Huntington Park, a half dozen miles SE of Los Angeles.  The census says he was an industrial engineer in an auto parts factory, and that he and Isabelle were the only ones counted by the census taker (prior to that his mom, Carrie, seems to have lived with them).

After that, I can find no records until he died, almost 50 years later, in 1987.

So Harry T. lived a long life, but I’m at a dead end (no pun intended).  Where was he between 1940 and 1987.  Where’s his family?  Did he and Isabelle have kids?  When? How many? And does any living relative have a photo of this great old house from long, long ago?

Recently, again via Ancestry.com, I’ve contacted two other folks who have family tree branches with Harry on them… but I’m not certain they will prove fruitful.  In the meantime, I need to ask again: “Where did you go Harry T.?”.


Posted by Administrator on Sun, Aug 26 2012 13:33:00

Bev and I have been refinishing doors lately.

These doors, from the upstairs hallway, are over 100 years old, and the wood is quite dry and brittle. But underneath layers of paint and varnish is some wonderful old wood. Our goal is to average a door each weekend - because it is so time-consuming. All those detailed edges take a long time to clean up, even if we frequently replenish the chemical stripper.

In August we’ll have been working on this house for six years. It simply not the same house – and yet it is.some wallperpers from the upper hallway

Two wallpapers from two eras.

While prying off one door frame I came across a wallpaper pattern that must have been popular in the late 60s or early 70s. The blue in the pattern explains the horrendous blue paint that was two layers down in the door trim. Bev found pink underneath the blue. Imagine! Elsewhere we’ve found other layers of home décor wonderfulness – from painted Masonite wall coverings in a bathroom to plaster imprinted with real tree leaves in what was a breakfast nook. Such diversity, such color, such….

Our goal is to take it back some parts back to the elegance of Carrie Benham’s time – while we may not have the colors right, we can unearth the wood, strip the metal, restore the wood and give it the grace it one had. Other parts of the house, like the kitchen, have all the benefits of our modern era, but done in a classy style that Carrie would probably appreciate.

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