The very first restoration project was removing the three massive Arbor Vitae which had grown so large as to hide the front of the house. From the porch, only the scraggly under-branches were visible. And worst of all, the trees damaged the house by pressing against against the old wood trim and inviting rot. These may have been cute little trees in the 1960s, but now they were smothering, two-story tall Goliaths.

Before we moved in, the house was fumigated for the first time in 101 years; although termites shun redwood, they were in the cedar shingles on the south wall, and may have spread further. Three pest control companies submitted bids; one of the contractors grew up nearby in the 1970s, and told us he felt honored to fumigate the place he and his friends used to call "the Munster house."

Honeybees, seen as little drops of light, seeking to return to the hive in the north wall. They disappeared after the fumigation, then swarmed back in an impressive cloud a few months later. It's still debated whether the bees that are here today are scavengers from another hive seeking to clean out honey from the old combs or the young who survived the fumigation.

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