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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Debbie Linkous said...

I'm so glad you're back among technology. I know Dream Valley will be SO worth it - especially come the spring thaw! :)

Jacque said...

You might check into getting a wood burning fireplace insert. That would eliminate the need for the fire bricks. I'm not sure how expensive the chimney liner would be but it is one more option for you.