27 March 2011

Ink Work

I've been trying my hand at ink drawing, so here are the latest.

20 March 2011


After five mornings on the roof, scraping old paint, patching stucco, putting on a sealant and finally adding the top coat, the parapets are finished. That should last for 5 or 10 years or until the next damaging hailstorm. Last October, the hailstones were as big as golf balls - some even larger - and they did a great deal of damage here in the Valley of the Sun. Car dealers were selling new cars at record low prices as is because of the dents and damaged glass. Roofing contractors are still trying to get to all the repair jobs. One contractor said his company had enough work for the next two years. Here at Westminster Village, 67 skylights needed to be replaced along with numerous window screens. Fortunately, our cars are under cover, so there was no damage there. So, no more mornings on the roof! Hooray!

12 March 2011

Roof Repair

I spent half the day on the roof of our house - it's flat - repairing the parapets from the damage caused by the hail storm last October. The main roof had been repaired by a local roofing company, and when they completed their final inspection a week or so ago, they informed me of the problems they didn't repair. It involved stucco damage, which they don't do. So, following the advice of a neighbor, I hied myself off to Home Depot for the necessary materials and proceeded to set to work. Most of the time was spent scraping and cleaning out the problem areas. I was able to clean and apply the sealant coat to about a third of the complete area. So tomorrow, if you're looking for me, I'll be back on the roof. Some neighbors stopped to talk as I was cleaning up, and I told them I was getting to the age when I don't want to go up and down ladders anymore. I think that's one wish for my 80th birthday in July - no more ladders, please. It's not that I don't like ladders, they've been very good to me. It's just that I'd rather keep at least one foot on the ground when climbing them.

05 March 2011


When the children were young, we recited this verse:
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy,
Was he.

My grandfather, William Francis Miller, Sr., was called Fuzzy because he always had his hair trimmed close to the skin. (In his older years, his youngest son, Uncle Bill, would trim it for him.) He was born in Lyons, New York but spent most of his life in Batavia, where he raised his family. There were 10 children, 7 of whom grew to adulthood. His wife, Lennie, died from complications during childbirth of the 10th child, Thomas, who was stillborn; daughter Rachel died at 4 months from cholera; their first daughter, Violet, died in her first year also. He was a lather, said to be the fastest in that area. Before plaster board, lath strips (about 1 inch by ¼ inch) were attached to the studs of a building to hold the plaster. The laths were spaced about 1/2 inch apart so the mason could force the plaster through the spaces, which allowed the plaster to stick to the wall. I can imagine it was difficult to keep the family together in those days while working throughout the county. His sister-in-law wanted to take some of the children but he refused. The family grew up relying on one another for support. In 1893, he was kicked in the leg by a horse; the break was not set properly and caused him to limp and use a cane. In 1905, he made the newspaper by defending his 16-year old daughter from the unwanted attentions of a stonemason; he was fined and his revolver confiscated. In his elder years, Fuzzy lived with his oldest daughter in Rochester where he passed away at age 93.

The photo at the top shows Fuzzy eating a slice of home-made pie; the other, in Rochester, returning from a local saloon where he enjoyed a glass of beer and a cigar when in his 90's.