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The stars helped brighten the sky as work continued recently on the Stamps’ new home.

Gotta love neighbors
helping neighbors!

By Jim Reed
Managing partner
Ziff Law Firm, Elmira

My wife and I raised three great kids on the shore of Seneca Lake, and we’ve built some deep roots in Schuyler County. We feel so lucky to live in a warm, close-knit community where folks come together for hard work -- and the joy of celebrating their hard work.

Recently, I’ve been helping our friends Ben and Chelsea Stamp erect their beautiful timber frame home on the hillside overlooking Seneca Lake. Ben, assistant winemaker at Lakewood Vineyards, and his wife Chelsea, an accountant at Schuyler Hospital, are great young folks in their early 30s investing tons of sweat equity in their project, doing a huge amount of the work themselves with the help of their friends and family in the area.

There are many others helping, too, including Ben’s Dad, Chris, the winemaker at Lakewood; Ben’s uncle, Mike Stamp, an insurance agent at E.C. Cooper Insurance Agency; Chelsea’s parents, Margaret “Peggy” and John Socha, former owners of the Showboat Motel; Gavin Reed of Chicone Cabinetmakers (and my son!); Bradley Gillett, owner and brewer at Seneca Lake Brewing Co., and Clay and Lauren Hemminger of Hemdale Farms in Seneca Castle.

There have been very many long, hot days and lots of hard physical work, but no one has complained. Backs have ached, people have been sunburned and some have shed a little blood -- and still no complaints.

For every gallon of sweat we shed, we balance it with gallons of water ... and an occasional bottle of beer or glass of wine.

Once all the prep work was completed, it was time for the installation of the gorgeous timber frame, which was expertly cut and erected by Greg and Kayle Sickler, the great folks from Settlement Post and Beam in Sylvania, PA.

All of the hard work by this huge group of helpers culminated recently in a traditional "topping off" celebration with Ben and Chelsea attaching a white pine bough to the peak of the frame. Topping off celebrations have long been a tradition with timber frame builders, often as the last of the beams are placed atop a new structure to mark the completion of a frame.

It was an unforgettable night. The stars brightened the sky and twinkling lights shared the evening with the local bounty: Lakewood wines, Beerocracy beer, and local vegetables. Great people with many different backgrounds, coming together to help a friend, family member or neighbor.

It was my latest reminder that I live among some great folks in Schuyler County, and we can accomplish anything when we work -- and have fun -- together.

Thanks for reading,


Photos in text:

Top: Attorney Jim Reed.

Middle: Ben and Chelsea Stamp celebrate their "topping off" ceremony as the frame of their new home is completed.

Bottom: Some great Schuyler folks come together to help Ben and Chelsea Stamp.


Recent columns by Jim Reed:

This is not the time to stop fighting the virus

Our tough times demand tough (and kind) souls ...

NY has some good news for people renting limos

For Ziff Law Firm paralegal, helping is a family tradition

Do your homework and vote in the race for Schuyler judge

The Catharine Valley Trail is a jewel of the FLX

Seneca Lake boaters, do you have enough liability insurance?

Be prepared to act quickly after a motor vehicle crash

WNY snowmobile crashes put spotlight on dangers

Getting to the truth about medical malpractice cases



© The Odessa File 2020
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869