Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kitchen Demo is DONE!

It's official... demolition of the kitchen is done!

Yay!  Now, maybe we can live a while without an inch of demo dust everywhere, wink.

Here's what we've been up to the past couple of days...

When you walked from the mudroom into the kitchen there was a slight step up; about a one inch difference in flooring.

When we removed the walls between the mudroom and kitchen we were left with uneven concrete.  This had to be fixed since the difference would now be in part of the kitchen and I know that my feet would find that difference every time I was in there, if you know what I mean, wink.

A couple of nights ago we prepped the area by vacuuming, mopping and applying an adhesive on it.  We left it dry overnight and the following morning we began to mix and pour the concrete.

We left it dry overnight.  Thankfully, the animals stayed off it, ha!

It is still curing today but we can walk on it in most places.

Today CountryBoy tackled the last bit of demo.

In our efforts to make a very small kitchen have a larger feel we decided to open it up some more.

If you'll remember, we already enlarged the doorway...

Next, we wanted to open up this wall a bit...

Ah, much better!

It's going to be nice to be able to see what's going on in other parts of the house while in the kitchen.

The last of the demo was a simple one; removing some wood supports for the old cabinets...

All gone.

Now, the fun begins; putting it all back together, yay!

We've got a plan... let's cross our fingers that we can get what's in our heads into reality.

Oh, and for those of you that loved the range?  I've got good news... after doing some research on it we have come to the conclusion that it might be worth the effort to try and reclaim it.  It's going to take lots of research, elbow grease and finding parts but we're hoping it will be worth it in the end.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Kitchen Nightmare

Do y'all remember the leaky sink that had been leaking a while resulting in some rotten wood underneath the sink?

Well, that was just the beginning of the kitchen nightmare.

The day I was going to tackle the years of built-up grime in the kitchen I started by preheating the oven so that I could spray some oven cleaner in there.  I figured while the oven cleaner was doing its job I could be working on the rest of the kitchen.

Well, that's about as far as that plan went.

I discovered that the oven didn't work.

Oy vey.

CountryBoy wanted to take a look at it to see if he could fix it so he began the arduous task of pulling this cast iron range forward and off the bricks so that he could get a better look.

It is in three pieces and the base began separating from the oven making it quite cumbersome.  Plus, the bricks it was sitting on were just placed there with no mortar to hold them together so they began shifting on us as well.

We finally managed to get the range away from the wall and off the bricks and this is what we found...

a spider highway along with dirt and yes, more grime.

We removed the bricks and vacuumed up all the webs and dirt.

We noticed that the countertop to the right of the range was just sitting on top of the cabinet so CountryBoy removed it and found this...

The black hose with the yellow handle is our main water shut-off valve at the house.  The foam insulation was used to fill in a large hole.  The pipe sticking straight out of the wall with the duct tape on the end of it goes to a cistern that is outside and behind the wall.  Apparently there was a pump there at one time that drew water out of the cistern.

It was at this point that we decided to move up the kitchen renovation to the top of the list rather than down the line.

Our original plan was to add a bathroom upstairs first mainly for convenience sake at night time when we're up half a dozen times answering Mother Nature's call.  OK, so maybe it's not THAT many times but it's often enough that we didn't want to have to trot downstairs every time especially with CountryBoy's bad knees.

We decided we did not want to spend money piece-mealing the current kitchen into working order when we were planning a total gut one day so, since we already had a working bathroom we changed our focus to the kitchen.

Which, I might add, completely caught us off guard.  Well, me at least.  Here I was planning and designing the upstairs bathroom with only fleeting thoughts of designing the kitchen.  Now, I had to change my thoughts and focus on the kitchen all of a sudden.

Fortunately, I knew I had some time to get my thoughts and plan in order while the demo was going on.

You never know what you'll find behind the walls!

Looks like lots of patch jobs behind that wall and possibly a large window at one time?

Check out what else we found on the walls once all the cabinets and drywall were gone...

Wallpaper.  Lots and lots of wallpaper!

I think we counted seven layers of various wallpapers...

And behind the wallpaper?

Bits of newsprint stuck to the boards.

Pretty cool, huh?!

Behind the wall where the sink was?  Not so cool.

Lots of rotten wood, old termite damage, no insulation, studs cut in half to make way for plumbing but weren't reinforced after plumbing was installed and basically a big 'ol mess.

Although it was unplanned to gut it this far, we are glad that we did.  We now know exactly what is behind the walls and can fix any structural, plumbing or electrical issues we come across.  Better now than later!

CountryBoy removed all the plumbing on the sink wall, removed the boards and put insulation in.

Thank goodness since you might remember that we got hit with below freezing temps and a snow storm while all this is going on.

So, not only are we struggling with heat and water issues now we don't even have a kitchen!  I told CountryBoy I feel like I'm camping indoors!

Next up was removing two layers of flooring; the original sheet of linoleum glued down really well and a layer of peel and stick tiles over that.

The layers came up fairly easy using a hammer and chisel but there was a layer of paper and glue left in most areas.

We taped off the doorways and I used the grinder to remove most of it.

Dusty, back-breaking but necessary work in order for any mastic to adhere properly to the concrete and not cause problems down the line.

One advantage to gutting the kitchen is we now have the chance to make some changes to the size and footprint of it.

Here's what we've decided to do...

Remove the wall dividing the mudroom and the kitchen.

So much bigger already!  We will gain about 25 square feet of kitchen space.  We will add a half wall to the left of the doorway that will help separate the mudroom and will hide the end of the cabinets and countertop.

I also wanted to widen the doorway at the far end of the kitchen to allow easier access in and out of the kitchen and to allow more light to flow into the hallway and so that you can see outside the kitchen window from the hallway or dining area.

I think this will also help give the feel of a larger kitchen than it really is.

We have one more idea to help open up and enlarge the space but we haven't got to it yet so you'll have to wait to find out what that is, wink!

So now you see the state of our living quarters.  Dirt, dust, tools everywhere.  I no sooner dust and vacuum then it's a mess again.  Oh well.  It has to get worse before it can get better.  Hopefully, soon, we'll start seeing some of the better!

Also, we've brought only the necessities to survive in here.  A bed, two rocking chairs to sit in, a dining table and two chairs, a few pieces of clothing, the coffee pot, crock pot and an electric skillet.  Indoor camping at its finest!

I know many of you loved the range that was in the kitchen.  So did we.  But, rather than try to clean it up and find someone to fix it we thought this would be the perfect time to switch to a gas range.  We are in the process of finding a reasonable and working antique gas range.  Hopefully, we'll find one soon.

That about catches y'all up to today.  We are still working in the kitchen area and have a bit more demo to do then I will show you what we've been up to.

We've also had running water the past two mornings and have been nice and toasty at night for the last two nights.  Woohoo!  Dare I say we can get out of survival mode now?


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Plumbing Nightmare

As CountryBoy and I were leaning toward the Dream Valley Farmstead name we laughed and said it was more of a nightmare rather than a dream, ha!

But, before I continue with our story and before I forget I promised y'all the link to my Facebook page for the farm.  Click HERE if you are on Facebook and want to follow us there.  And, don't forget to hit the Like button while you're there!

Now, let's see, where were we...

I mentioned that we were hit with a snow storm and WAY below normal temperatures for this area.  Several nights we were in the negative digits.

I also mentioned that the propane company delivered two 50 pound tanks the day we arrived.  The reason they didn't fill the existing large tank that was already on the property is because our bridge over the stream needs repair and they do not want to drive their large delivery truck over it.  Unfortunately, repair to the bridge won't take place until Spring when it warms up a bit.

The two tanks were the solution for the previous homeowner during the winter and apparently it worked out fine for their typical winters.  But, they didn't work this year; they froze up when we had the three gas heaters going at the same time.

Thankfully, the propane company was able to fill the big tank earlier this week with whatever they had left in the tank in their small truck so we are running the small gas heater where we are sleeping, one kerosene heater in the hallway and the other kerosene heater in the bathroom to help keep the pipes from freezing (and me when nature calls in the middle of the night, wink).

Speaking of freezing pipes, let me fill you in on our plumbing nightmare.  Our water was froze for two days.  Thankfully we had some bottled water for drinking and making coffee and we were melting snow on top of the kerosene heater to flush the toilet.

 As far as showers?  We did without.  

The water finally thawed on the third day and that's when the fun began.  OK, so not really.  I went in the bathroom/laundry room and I heard a hissing sound.  That can't be good when none of the faucets were running.  We narrowed down where the sound was coming from then shut the water off.

CountryBoy cut open the wall between the shower and the washing machine and found the busted pipe.

Thankfully, we had all the supplies necessary to fix it.  And the next one.  And the next one.  And the next one.  It was like a domino effect.  Once the busted pipes in that wall were fixed the pipes in another wall started busting.

Fix one, bust one.  Fix one, bust one.  And, from the looks of this wall when we opened it up, there's been a leak for quite some time.

Some thirteen or fourteen busted pipes and two days later we finally had running water.  Yay!  Time for some very much needed showers!

This wall is still open since we need to replace some of the wood and the floor is temporarily covered up since we will eventually renovate that room.

A day or two later, we woke up and the water was frozen again.  Thankfully, it thawed fairly quickly and there were no more busted pipes.

The following day, we woke up again and there was no water.  Come to find out, the water tower was empty and would be night time before we had water again.  How does the tower run out of water?  I'm not sure, but it did.  I'm just glad our gracious neighbor texted to let us know otherwise we would've thought that the water had froze yet again.

This morning, we woke up with running water and a somewhat toasty house.  It was so nice!


Monday, February 23, 2015

Welcome to Dream Valley Farmstead!

Howdy y'all and welcome to the farm!

CountryBoy (aka Hubby) and I arrived at the farm a little over two weeks ago.

It's been a keraaaazy two weeks so let me start filling you in on what all's been happening 'round here and how we came up with the name for the farm.

Several weeks ago, I asked for suggestions from friends and followers on Facebook.  There were a lot of great suggestions and the decision was a hard one to make.  But, when it came down to it, we decided on Dream Valley Farm since this is a dream of ours.  We are also in a valley and the property will one day be full of farm animals and gardens.  Dream Valley Farmstead will be used for our Facebook page and blog and, if the day ever comes where we are selling products from the farm we will use Dream Valley Farm for marketing.

Do you like it?  I think the name is apropos and is perfect!

Now on to what's been happening since our arrival.

It was quite cold when we got here.  I had arranged for a couple of propane bottles to be delivered before our arrival so that we could begin heating the house.  The bottles weren't there but, thankfully, they delivered them later that afternoon.  I have to say, it took a LONG time before the house warmed up but even then it was still cold in there.

The reason the propane company delivered bottles was because our bridge over the stream needs repair and they don't want to drive their big delivery truck over it.  Unfortunately, that repair isn't scheduled to be done until spring when the weather is nicer.

We had also had the house winterized since we weren't living there so we had to contact the fellow that winterized it so he could come back and un-winterize it.  (There was some water line that he had disconnected and had to be glued back.)  Unfortunately, he was not able to come until the following day.  We were so exhausted that we didn't care too much.  Too much being the key words, ha, but what can ya do!  

He came the next day and got us up with running water.

We immediately turned on the hot water heater so that it could be heating up and ready when we were ready for showers.

It took TWO days to heat the water.  Granted, the water was ice cold but still, it shouldn't take two days.  Meanwhile, we were both in bad need of a washin' so we began to boil water in pots on the stove to add to some water in the bathtub.

CountryBoy was being real sweet and began running bath water for me while the water boiled.  He had more cold water than hot so it never did get warm but, bless his heart, he jumped in the cold bath water and took a bath first.  Meanwhile, we started boiling more for mine.  I barely ran an inch in the bottom of the tub then we added several pots of boiling water.  It was only a couple of inches deep but it was warm enough and it did the trick.

After waiting for days for the water heater to do its job we came to the conclusion it wasn't working properly.  We replaced the two thermostats in the water heater and waited again.  It worked great one time then quit again.  We discovered that it was tripping and needed to be reset.  Ever since then, it has been working fine.  Thank goodness!

Now that I had hot water I started catching up on laundry only to discover that the dryer (left by the previous owner) didn't work well at all.  It took several hours to dry one load of clothes.  What a waste of energy!

We found a great deal on a new dryer that had been returned because whoever bought it wanted a door that swung to the side not dropped down.  Personally?  I prefer the drop-down kind because it will catch those stinking socks that always get caught in something and eventually fall on the floor, haha, but that's just me!

But, when we brought it home, it was wider than the old one, so, Hubby knocked out the drywall corner and it fit perfect.  Whew.

We will eventually get to this room so I'm not concerned with the unfinished look.  Trust me, there are much bigger issues going on.  sigh.

During all this, I began the tedious process of scrubbing the kitchen.  It had seen many years of use therefore there were many years of grease, goop and grime built up.

I started scouring the sink and discovered that it leaked.  Come to find out, there was no seal around the drain.  We also discovered that this sink had been leaking for a long time by the looks of the rotten wood underneath it.  sigh.

We replaced the seal and all was well.  I began scrubbing again.

While I was scrubbing, CountryBoy tackled the demo of what was the living room.

He removed the stinky, stained carpet...

and then tackled the heavy-duty shelves that took up two feet of precious floor space and covered up those gorgeous walls...

Ah, much better!

Since the above photo was taken, I repainted all the baseboards a brighter green and we added quarter round to the top and bottom to complete the look the previous owner had started in the dining room.  I also removed all the thousands of nails in the walls, vacuumed them and then finished the walls that were behind the shelves with a coat of polyurethane to match the rest of the walls.

The light switches in that room?  Eeeeewwwww!

I didn't even bother trying to clean them.  Did I say ew?  We replaced all the switches and electrical outlets in there with more subtle ones...

Much better don't ya think?!

Eventually the wood floors will need to be redone but that will come once we are closer to being finished with demo and before furniture comes in.

Of course, while all this is going on, this part of the country got hit with one of the worst winters they've had in years.

Talk about being unprepared.  The propane gas bottles that were delivered froze up during one of the coldest nights and the space heaters only worked if you were sitting right in front of them leaving us with virtually no heat source.  Our fireplace is non-functional so we had to resort to drastic measures just to keep the chill out of our bones...

CountryBoy got the propane cooker out so we could stay warm.  As I said, desperate measures for desperate times.  We eventually put it in the fireplace where we are sleeping and it kept that room in the 50's during the day.  At night?  Not so much.  We are very thankful for warm sleeping bags!

By all means, I am NOT recommending this as a heat source but we were desperate and we were careful.

As you can see in the photos in the blog header, we were also hit with a snow storm.  At the farm, we accumulated about 18 inches with some spots as deep as thigh high.

The following day, we woke up and our water was froze.  There's a main shut-off valve at the road so we decided to check if that was froze up and I wanted to check the mail.  We got in the truck and barreled our way down the drive and across the bridge.  That's when it got bad.  The snow was thigh high and we couldn't go any further.  We got out of the truck and trudged our way through the snow down the rest of the drive to the road.  My socks were thin.  My boots were wet and there was snow in them.  My toes were freezing.

After checking the mail (there was none, by the way) I trudged back to the truck to take my boots off and dump the snow out of them and to try and warm my toes.  Meanwhile, CountryBoy just stood in the road.  When he got back to the truck I asked him what took him so long and he said he was praying for help.   Not two minutes later the electric company drove by.  They waved.  We waved back.  We did not flag them down but before we knew it they were backing down the road towards our drive.  CountryBoy got out and met them at the road.  Before long they were running a line down to our truck and the wenched us out.  Thank you Lord and Jackson Electric!

We decided that since we made it out the drive that we should go to town and get more supplies.  Of course, we didn't have our wallets with us so we parked the car on the road, walked back to the house, got what we needed and walked back to the truck.  What a workout!

While in town, we bought more food, water, warm socks, rubber boots, and SNOW SHOVELS, ha!

The following day, CountryBoy started shoveling the drive so that the propane truck could bring us more propane.  After warming up a bit (after a very cold night in the house) I trudged out there to help him.  Needless to say, I did some shoveling but I wasn't much help.  I went back in when I couldn't feel my fingers or toes.

While he was shoveling, he met a couple of our neighbors who stopped by and introduced themselves.  He mentioned our lack of heat issue and later that day one of them dropped off a kerosene heater (see the cooker tucked in the fireplace?)

We were warm and slept so good that night.  The following day, we bought another one while in town to heat the other side of the house.  We have been fairly warm and sometimes toasty since then.  Thank you Lord for thoughtful neighbors!

The same neighbor brought over a brick mason yesterday to check out our fireplace and see if it can be made functional again.  Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it will be feasible due to acquiring fire bricks, the vastness of the chimney and needing some sort of damper custom made for it.  Over the course of the year, we will check out all our options and decide what to do about it then get it done before next winter, for sure, cuz all I know is propane is ridiculously expensive!

AND, while all this was going on, I was trying to figure out who, what and how to get any phone and internet services.  What a run around!  We checked at the local Chamber of Commerce and asked who serviced the area and they didn't know but suggested the local cable company up the road.  We went to the local cable company and they didn't service that far out of town.  With no cell service, other than texting, it was difficult making calls.  Even after finding who we thought (and they said they did) could provide internet service they called back and said they couldn't.  Time to find someone else.  We finally bundled with Dish for satellite TV and internet service and a land line is supposed to be installed tomorrow.  What an ordeal!

I have to say that I am glad all that is over but I am glad to be back online and blogging again.  I have missed it.

I'm not sure if you noticed that I never mentioned getting back to scrubbing and scouring the kitchen or our water un-freezing.  Those, my friends, are an entire post of their own, wink!

We have had many not-so-nice surprises and therefore many expenses we didn't plan on.  With these surprises and the weather, there have been days where we were numb and most definitely in survival mode.  These surprises have also changed our renovation plans so, stay tuned, there is SO much more to tell!

Thank you so much for being interested in what's going on at the farm and for following along!

For those of you on Facebook I will have a Facebook page for this blog and will let you know the link in the next post.  (I have to go create it right now, wink!)  I'd love for you to Like the page so that you won't miss a thing!


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