The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Digging For Fire

In an attempt to make my projects at the Devil Queen a little more interesting, I've decided to make them into competitive sports. Due to the peculiarities of my situation, most of what I do is solitary by nature. As such, I've found competing against extreme natural phenomenon quite invigoration. I highly recommend severe thunderstorms, they are very motivational.

This week's game was re-trenching the front patio drainage system. Actually, it's not a patio yet, but it will be soon. Hopefully.

When we had the site cleared with a bulldozer, they graded the ground in such a way that water drained away from the Devil Queen towards the retaining wall (or where the retaining wall will go). Then, the water would flow along the wall's base and into the woods away from the house. After last weekend's torrential rain, our rudimentary drainage system had silted up. Since they are forecasting another 2-3 inches of rain for the rest of the week, I thought it would be a good idea to clear out the silt.

The equipment for this game was pretty basic: shovel, work gloves, and a large, plastic trash-bag with holes poked in it for your arms and head. A hat is nice too. I know, quite the stylish ensemble, and cheap too! Now anyone can look crazy and homeless in their front yard for just dollars!

Anyhow, once you are fully equipped, start digging. And, since the dark, low clouds are already rolling in and the thunder is rumbling it the west, dig fast. Remember, you get bonus points for not being struck by lightning.

The ground was still sodden after last weeks deluge. This was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it was much easier to get all the rocks out. On the other, the clay tended to stick to the shovel like a peanut butter sandwich does to the top of your mouth.

By the time the wind was picking up and the rain was streaming down over an hour later, I'd basically finished. At the shallow end, the trench was only a couple of inches deep, but, at the far end, it was at least a foot deep and nearly as wide. And, since it was roughly 80 feet long, I felt pretty good about my progress.

I finished just in time. The rain started coming in sideways and the sky glowed with a hint of tornadic green to the north. For some reason, I wondered what sailing an ocean-going sailboat through a storm like this would be like as I watched it from the front porch. This probably is a sure sign of a serious, degenerative mental illness. It's thoughts like these that make people cut a house in half and move them sixteen miles away to a mountain top.

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Blogger Sandy said...

I know you worked hard on that, but it made me laugh so hard. Poor John. I especially liked the picture your words painted about the garbage bag look!

5:53 PM  

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