Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2016

With the new year inching upon us, we have quite a honey-do list around the homestead. I realize that we won't get everything we have plans for done, that this will be at least a decade long process to get the home completely finished, and have everything set up the way we want, but I'm a list person, so we will do the obligatory New Year's resolution blog post!

Homesteading Goals for 2016

1. Move in :)
2. Plan and plant a small garden
3. Build a chicken coop and get chickens
4. Start 2 bee hives
5. Fence in a pasture area for chickens
6. Start an orchard that we can add to
7. Install a clothes line
8. Mark Maple trees

The contractors should be done in early February, and we home to move in shortly after. We just finished moving everything out of our storage units into the smaller garage yesterday. I'm sure we could have quite the garden, but I have a bit of a brown thumb, so I'd like to start off small. We still have 2 chickens at the in-laws, and I hope to get more in March during chick days. We will need a bigger coop than what we currently have for that, and as much as I would love for them to free range completely, we have a lot of predators around, so building a fenced area will offer more protection. We are near some clover fields, plus we have 2 acres of woods, so beehives are a must for our homestead location. We'll start off with 2 and see how we handle the winter before thinking about adding more hives. We would also love to have a large variety of fruit trees and bushes, along with nut trees, so thinking long term, we need to start planting as soon as we can. Adding a few more trees each year will be the best financially for us. Having first floor laundry right by the backdoor is ideal for having a clothesline. We get plenty of wind coming across the fields, and plenty of sun (when it's not cloudy in Ohio). One thing we must do this year is figuring out the trees that are on the property. We will need to start drying some firewood, but I'd love to try my hand at making maple syrup, if only just a small amount, so identifying all of our trees is a must.

Personal Goals for 2016

1. Lose some weight (once I get this boot off my foot!)
2. Cook more, eat out less (make healthier choices)
3. Pay off Lexi's braces
4. Pay for Lilly's braces in full
5. Pay off our Paypal credit card
6. Pay cash for South Carolina wedding trip
7. Keep a $1,000 emergency fund in our savings account
8. Hang dry clothes at least 50% of the time

Losing weight is always on the list. I know I'm not nearly active enough, but hopefully these moon boots I've been wearing on my feet will help enough that I will actually be able to be more active without being in constant pain. I just spent 5 weeks with the boot on the left side, so I have about 4 weeks left to go on the right side. I've never claimed to be a cook, and we eat out far too often, so I'm hoping to take advantage of the kitchen and start making more meals at home. I think living out in the country will make that easier. I want to limit the amount we go running into town for something. We still have 7 months of paying on Lexi's braces, and Lilly will need them in the next 6 months, so not having those monthly payments would help out tremendously. Luke has a wedding in South Carolina the end of April, and we thought of making it a family trip. We need to run the numbers, but we also don't want to charge the extra it would cost for the whole family. Paying off a credit card is a given. I'd love to have them all paid off. We try to snowball, but right now braces are eating up almost any extra we have, which is why are savings isn't growing much either, so it's on the list too. As for number 8, well I actually would love to use the clothesline, and not just stare at it!!

Of course, everything listed here is coming from my head. If you were to ask Luke, I'm sure organizing the shop and fixing cars would be the primaries on his list, and I'm sure the girls would have a tree house and swingset on the list! In all reality, I'll just be happy to start living out there and making the 5 acres more manageable once the weather gets nice.

Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Floors and Fire

The past week has been filled with work and Christmas preparations. It just doesn't feel like Christmas this year. We don't have a big tree here in Tiny Barn, our decorations and stockings are in storage, everything we bought is hidden over at dad's house, and we are going to shove the majority of their presents in bags because wrapping would just take up so much time right now!

We had a few very cold days before it warmed up this week, so Luke wanted to play around with the fireplace and see if we could make it work. It has a wood burning insert that was basically rusted shut from sitting so long, so he worked the controls loose, cleaned out the old ash, and we ripped up some newspaper and collected some pine needles to burn. After successfully seeing smoke come out the chimney, he bought a few firebricks to replace a missing one, and built an actual fire (small one) to make sure it was drafting right. So far so good, although we won't make anything too big until we do get the chimney inspected.

We focused on the floors upstairs, pulling the fiberboard and plywood off the floors in the back loft, and finishing off Luke's office (the John Deere room). We still have the front loft and hallway to rip up, and then the upstairs will be ready for a thorough wipe down. As soon as the heat works, we can then mud, sand, prime, and paint all the bedrooms upstairs, before tackling the floors.

There was mostly a thin plywood in the back loft instead of fiberboard, but it seems that they decided to use some glue to hold it down, so the floor is pretty messy right now.

The John Deere room (Luke's office) has a nice big plywood section in the flooring from where the chimney came up through, so we'll have to patch that up somehow.

The electrical guys have started working on pulling out the knob and tube wiring, but so far the furnace guys are MIA. We need them there so we can have heat, so the contractor can start his drywall work! We still have light fixtures to order and pick up, trim to tear off the walls, and some downstairs flooring work, as well as the upstairs floors that still need peeled up. We spent Christmas Eve working on hooking up the electrical box in the shop, and driving in ground wires. We had to go look for gifts for the hillbilly gift exchange anyway, and the shop certainly has a lot of junk to sort through. We took the opportunity to burn some cardboard from the shop too, and just enjoy the view since the weather was so warm!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lazy Sunday, Rainy Monday

Sunday and Monday were demo days 9 and 10, but really, not much happened in the way of destruction. It's been unusually warm in Ohio for December, and Sunday it was overcast and in the low 60's. We spent a lot of time outside, making a fire, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, climbing trees, and exploring the woods.

The girls put their fire building skills from girl scouts to the test.

 Lexi was trying to pull herself up the tree.

Lexi got to push Lilly up the tree.

And then Lilly's shoe got stuck in between the tree trunks!

They also enjoyed making chalk art all over the concrete. There's a nice patio area, sidewalks, and a concrete front porch to decorate.

Time for S'mores!!

We found a few spots full of these beetles. I did some quick internet looking, and we believe they are pink spotted ladybird beetles. They are good at eating aphids and lots of other insect eggs, so they are definitely beneficial to the neighboring fields and our future garden. 

My brother and dad decided to haul up the lawn mower, just to see how it would handle the long, thick grass that has been left to grow wild for at least 4 years. It clogged easily, so it was slow going, but amazingly enough it did cut it down.

We now have a path to the West field where the R/C planes fly.

We also have a decent pathway from the house to the shop.
Of course the planes had to make an appearance since we spent most of the day outside.

We did manage to work on the flooring in the spare room for a tiny bit, and pull off the door and base trim in the laundry room. A few doors made their way to the garage from upstairs as well. The doors all need a good scrubbing, and they'll just be in the way when we actually get to the point of sanding floors, so we might as well just take them off now.

Today isn't much of a workday either. We went up to the house over lunch today and pulled a few staples out of the floor, and quickly took off the doors to the kitchen cabinets.
 While we were there the trash guys came by with another dumpster since we filled the first one over the weekend.
The girls threw a few piece of paneling in the new dumpster before we left.
Progress is going to really slow down this week. Luke has tons of work to do for both his day job and photography, so he can't keep taking half days to work at the house. Hopefully the electrician gets finished up this week enough to get the power turned on, then we'll be able to go up in the evenings. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Demo Days 6, 7, Santa, and 8!

Thursday and Friday were spent working on flooring. Thursday we finished ripping out the fiberboard in the living room, and on Friday we finished the library.

Here's the living room. Mopping it over really brought out some of the original stain color.

The girls hung out with us on Friday while we finished the library.

Here's the library. It still has some staples on the floor, but we'll get to them.

Today we had our Build and Grow at Lowe's. We built a holiday train and then got to visit with Santa! This is Henna's first year that she actually spoke to him, although I had to walk up with her.

My dad and brother came up to the house today, which was a huge help! We filled the dumpster with everything we had in the front yard, only to pile more carpet and paneling in the yard while we wait for the dumpster to get taken away and emptied.

Our focus was the upstairs. We got the carpet ripped out of the 3 bedrooms up there that had carpet, pulled out the plywood that was down on the office floor, and pulled out most of the paneling in the hallway and staircase.

Here's the front loft bedroom so far.

This is the John Deere bedroom. It'll be Luke's office, and since it had plywood instead of fiberboard, we got most of the flooring uncovered today.

Here's the back loft bedroom. We may work on this some tomorrow since it has plywood down instead of fiberboard.

And finally the staircase and hallway.

We also had to take a time out and fly the plane a little more.

Tomorrow we will be back at it again. We may try and take off all of the doors upstairs and put them in the garage so we can scrub them down later, but mostly we will probably be working on uncovering floors...

This is what we have to look forward to. Piles and piles of tetanus!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

You guessed it! Demo Day 5...

Wednesday was our 5th day of demo work. Our main focus was the library (otherwise known as the fireplace room). We pulled off the rest of the paneling on the walls. It seems like the entire house got a makeover in the 70's.

Here someone drew a picture of the fireplace on the to the fireplace!

We also worked on the floor. A third of the flooring didn't have that masonite fiberboard. It had some kind of thin plywood instead, which meant the entire sheet came up all at once, making that section of the floor SO EASY to uncover. This room used to be two rooms, but thankfully the wood floor ran underneath of the wall that used to be there, so it looks to continue seamlessly throughout the room. The only issue is that we uncovered a patched area where a furnace vent used to be. Originally it would have been up against the wall that separated the rooms, but now it's just going to be in the middle of the library. Not really that big of an issue though, people have register vents in the middle of rooms!

 Forgive my phone...anytime I take pictures with my flash on it, I get the red lines.

Luke of course spent a couple of minutes chipping the plaster off of the chimney in the kitchen again. I swear he's in love with it! The plaster is in such bad shape, it's coming off a lot easier than anyone expected.

The weather was very overcast, and it actually started sprinkling, so we lost daylight rather quickly inside. We took a quick peek upstairs under the carpets in the front loft and office where they meet the hallway. It looks like the fiberboard covers painted wood floors up there as well. We just aren't sure of their condition. It also seems like the fiberboard is molding in some places. Ick!

Here's the rain clouds rolling in...

On another note, we've had numerous people stop out and ask about the property. Four or five of them were actually interested in buying it, and a few others were from somewhere in the vicinity and came to see what was going on and congratulate us on our purchase. It seems like a lot of people have had their eye on the property for quite awhile. I guess it's a good thing I made Luke contact the bank in California that owned it, because if it would have actually went to market, it would have been sold long before we were able to purchase it!

The plan for today it to continue pulling up fiberboard, and start hauling out smaller debris that is piled up on the floor downstairs. We are hoping to gather up a little more help on the weekend, which will make ripping out the carpets and paneling upstairs a lot easier. My boot for my plantar fasciitis doesn't allow for very good balance going up and down stairs, especially carrying debris, and trust me, those little pieces of fiberboard add up into piles real quick!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Demo Days 3 & 4

Monday and Tuesday were both half day demo days. Luke worked until after lunch and then we headed over to the house for 3ish hours in the afternoon and worked until the sun went down. Tuesday I went over in the morning to chip at the floor in the living room for almost 2 hours, and then we brought the girls with us that afternoon.

The electrician has been there the past few days working on the new 200 amp service box. Of course I've been over there both days and failed to take a picture... The garage door company was also out measuring for a new garage door on the shop. We've been busy chipping away at the floor in the living room. I don't know why anyone would ever put that many nails into hardwood flooring to put down fiberboard and carpet.

This is the end of day 3, and then the end of day 4 in the living room. We now successfully have half of the living room floor uncovered. The floor looks pretty decent, but we did find a boarded over register vent, so we will have to reroute a furnace vent to that spot.

We spent most of day 3 pulling out the paneling in the kitchen. It had two different types of wallpaper on it, so it had to go! In doing so, we've decided that for right now, we will not rebuild the wall area above the cabinets. One day we will actually buy new cabinets, and in the event that they are taller, we would just have to rip it all back out to place cabinets higher. The only place where this becomes an issue is where the cabinets turn out into the middle of the kitchen, so we will just build a small wall to help hold those in place.

We found this calendar behind a cabinet. Apparently the kitchen was redone in June of 1974!

We also uncovered the chimney in the kitchen. We've decided that we will leave 2 sides of it exposed, so Luke started chipping away at the plaster that covers it.

On day 4, Luke kicked through the wall in the eat-in area of the kitchen that faces the laundry room. The plan is to cover over the current laundry room door, and have access to the laundry room through the kitchen. I'll have Luke build a barn door eventually that we can hang as a divider between the kitchen and laundry area. Eventually on down the line I can imagine the back part of the house being redesigned a bit so there is maybe a sliding patio door instead of 2 separate back doors, but for now, having a mud room/laundry room that opens into the kitchen right next to the backdoor (with the small porch) that will be used the most makes sense to us.

On the other side of the eat-in area of the kitchen, we knocked out the upper cabinets that were there. I'm not sure when we'll start knocking out the wall for a pass through. We need to figure out how big we are making it, and get the lumber to frame it out before we start punching through that wall.

The dumpster also arrived, so everyone can feel free to stop by and transfer our huge pile of construction debris!

The rest of the week we will continue to pull up as much fiberboard as we possibly can, and start moving stuff from storage and dad's yard hopefully. We also still have all of the carpet upstairs that still need to be pulled up. So I'll leave you with a sunset :)