Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bad Bridge

When we looked at the farmstead last October we could see that the bridge would need some work if we bought the place.  We also thought that we had some time to get it done.  Like maybe around early summer.  But, with all the rain we've had since moving in the bridge has taken a turn for the worse.

Much worse.



I closed my eyes and said a prayer every time we drove over it.

With each rain, more earth washed away and more wood broke apart.

We had no idea how we would fix it or if we would find the materials necessary to fix it but we knew we needed to do something.  And fast since the rainy season is upon us.

The only way to find out the extent of damage and decay was to just tear into it.

So, worked temporarily stopped on the kitchen while CountryBoy grabbed a pick and started tearing into the bridge.

Do you see the bridge leaning to the right?

It has dropped but we didn't notice it because there was about 12 inches of dirt and gravel on top of the wood.

That much dirt sitting on the wood only promoted quicker decay of the wood.

While CountryBoy was working on the bridge a neighbor stopped by and introduced himself.  He said he helped put the bridge in back in the 70's.  I'd say the bridge lasted a long time.  And, had it been properly maintained it would probably still be OK today.

After a lot of physical labor, by both CountryBoy and his truck, we are down to one beam going across the creek.

In the photo below you can see that the rock wall had collapsed resulting in the uneven bridge.  We are still deciding what to do with the rock wall. Restack and mortar the rocks? Use concrete blocks filled with concrete to make them solid? Or, who knows what?!  The other side doesn't have any rocks that we can see; just a pile of dirt which isn't sufficient with all the rain we're having so we'll have to do something there as well.

I do know that we have to come up with a solution by Monday which is when a local company are delivering and setting four 16 foot steel I-beams.  They cost an arm and a leg but are heavy duty, will support the propane gas truck and will last a really long time. We will fasten pressure-treated wood over the I-beams then call it a bridge (wink!).  Before finding the steel beams, our other solution was putting four 6x6x16 pieces of pressure treated wood together since that was the largest boards we could find to make beams and since we couldn't find any 12x12 beams.  I think the steel beams are the better solution and I'm glad we found them.  Costly, but better.

Once we figure out what to do with the sidewalls we are going to try and move the remaining beam to the center just for added support between the I-beams.  It is the best of the five.  But, with just the two of us and a truck we're not exactly sure how we're going to accomplish that but I'm sure we'll come up with something.

Meanwhile, we are getting a work out every time we go to town since the truck is parked on the other side of the creek!  I've put off going grocery shopping but I think I'm going to have to break down and go before the bridge is complete.  I'll just use the wheelbarrow to get the heavy stuff up to the house, haha!

It rained today so bridge work was halted and work resumed in the kitchen.  They are predicting rain again tomorrow so I may have a kitchen update for you soon!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

House Tour & Living Conditions

I recently realized that you've only seen bits and pieces of the old farmhouse so I thought I'd give y'all the grand tour.

Grand. Hahahaha!  Now that's funny!

Oh, you don't know why I'm laughing?  Well let me show you around then you can decide if it's grand or not, (wink!).

I'll also try and explain what our plans are for each room, what it originally was and how it's currently being used.

We'll start by coming in the back door into the mudroom...

To the right of the door (as you enter the house) is the mudroom. It has a painted concrete floor, a closet (which was used for hanging clothes by the previous owner) behind the green freezer and is currently being used as both a mudroom, a place to feed the cats & LizzieBelle, the cat box and storage.

We plan on removing the closet, adding a bench and coat racks and eventually, some day in the not-so-near future, moving the door to where the window currently is.

To the left of the door (still as you enter the house) is the kitchen.  And, we all know what THAT looks like; or doesn't look like, ha!  I'll have an update for you soon.  It's coming along slowly but surely.

If you come in the door and walk straight ahead you will see the side of the fireplace and the living room...

The previous owner used this room as a dining room.  We thought it would be better suited as a living room.   It's cozy, there's a heat source, a place for the TV without running the satellite cable all over the place since it would be visible and furniture placement would be easy.

 To the left of the white hutch is one of two front doors.  Don't ask.  I don't have a clue!  The trim is in bad shape and the door is four different colors.

We plan on getting a gas insert for this side of the fireplace, removing the ceiling fan, removing cable wires and old phone wires that we don't need, sanding and refinishing the floors, find or make a new mantel that fits and finding furniture.

Currently, we are using outdoor furniture to sit on, an outdoor table to put stuff on and using a china hutch as an armoire for the few clothes we've brought in the house.  The chicks are also living in here right in front of the heater because they need to be kept warm until they start growing some feathers.  (I enjoy hearing their 'peeps'!)

Walking around the fireplace and past the one front door we come into what used to be the living room but will become our dining room...

In the above photo, you can see the other front door which is also multi-colored and crooked to boot.  The box-looking thing in front of the door is the inefficient gas heater that we took out from this side of the fire place. It worked great for heating the upstairs but we needed the heat downstairs.  We plan on listing it on Craigslist.

Here's what was formerly a living room.  If you'll recall, we tore out two closets that flanked the window on the far wall and came two feet into the room.  We also tore out the carpet that was in there.

I've already sealed the now exposed wood on the far wall and painted the trim.  The only thing left to do in this room is sand and refinish the floor.

We are currently using this room as a kitchen also.  The cabinet and hutch on the right was from the kitchen demo. We are using it to store a few things such as plates, silverware, glasses, etc.  Just the basics.  The camp table in front of the window is where we cook with either the electric skillet or the toaster oven.  And, of course, the coffee pot is used for making coffee, hot tea and even iced tea.

There's also some paint cans in there which I probably should move to the mudroom but hey, the whole place is a disaster.  What can I say?! 

Beside the fridge is a desk that you can't see.  I also balance the checkbook and pay bills in here.  sigh.  Such a multi-purpose room!

Exiting the dining room you can see the other side of the fire place where the big gas heater was originally placed in front of it...

Plans for this side of the fireplace is to get a wood burning insert and a new mantle.  For now, CountryBoy  was able to connect the gas heater we had in the fifth wheel to the gas line from the big heater to use as a heat source by getting a few new fittings for it. 

Looking from the dining room towards the kitchen you see the stairs to the second floor.

Behind the stairs is a short hallway that leads into the bathroom/laundry room/pantry?...

This room needs a lot of work as well.

First off, the floor needs to be completely redone and reinforced with 3/4 plywood as a subfloor.  Then, we will enclose the bathroom separating it from the laundry room.

We will also tear out the sheet rock, put insulation in, tear out the corner pantry/closet (?) then replace the walls.

You can see where we had to cut into the wall to replace the many busted pipes when they froze.  CountryBoy also cut into the floor to put heat tape on the pipes in the crawl space which is how we know that the floor needs to be redone, not to mention the fact that the floor 'bounces' when you walk in there.

This room was added on some time after the original house was built but was not thought out very well and, basically, leaves a lot to be desired.

Did you put two and two together about this room being added AFTER the original house was built?  And, are you wondering where the original bathroom was?  Do you remember the outhouse that's still on the property?  Yep!  There was no indoor bathroom when the house was originally built.

Speaking of when the house was built, we met a neighbor the other day that said his wife's great-grandparents lived here and he says the house is over 100 years old!

We are slowly getting some history on the house and the property which, we think, is pretty cool!

Back to the tour...

When we head upstairs there is a good size room or landing, if you will...

This room needs lots of work as well.  sigh.

The drywall has been cut in some places and poorly repaired. The fireplace is inoperable. We may put a small gas insert in there but I'd like to try and clean it up and see what's under the white paint.  The floors need to be redone in here and I hope to add a Solatube or two to bring some natural light into this space.

I plan on making this area my sewing/craft room.  Some day.

See the 'window' in the stairwell?  That room was added on (above the bathroom/laundry room) by the previous owner.  The intent was to make that a full bathroom upstairs but instead was used as a bedroom.  We plan on covering that 'window'.

Speaking of the addition upstairs here's what it looks like today...

The above 'closet' had a toilet and pedestal sink in there when we looked at the house but they were not plumbed.  The toilet was gone (?) when we got here but the pedestal sink is still in there.

We will knock down both closets and install plumbing since it was never run in this room.  At least we can run it the way we want it and that will coincide with our bathroom design.

There are two other rooms upstairs...

This room was being used as the master bedroom by the previous owner and the one we are currently sleeping in.

Part of our bed was left in Florida so we have our Sleep Number mattress on the hard plastic that comes with the bed on top of two wooden bi-fold closet doors on top of a metal bed frame with slats across it with a folding camp table as a night stand.  Hey, you make do with what you have (wink!).

How 'bout that bedspread?!  I zipped two sleeping bags together and I tell you what, we kept warm in negative degree weather with very little heat!  Survival mode at its finest.

Not much needs to be done in this room other than a good cleaning and redoing the floors, of course!

We may do something a little nicer for the ceiling but, for now, it's fine.

The other room upstairs...

is quite drastic from the rest of the house, wouldn't you say?!

Since this photo was taken, the shelf above the window has been removed, the hanging stars and those that were stuck to the ceiling were taken down, the door trim and ceiling fan have been removed and the ceiling has been painted.

I used Jekyll Club Veranda Ivory from Valspar, a warmer color for the ceiling and also a color in their National Trust for Historic Preservation line.

The bright yellow walls will be covered with stained wood, the trim will be removed and painted, and the floor, ugh.  While somebody spent a lot of time painting and stenciling the floor it kills me that the wood floor was painted.  So, I will be doing a lot of sanding to try and remove the paint.  We'll see how it goes.  If I can't get all the paint off we may have to paint it again with a color that is similar to the stain we use throughout the rest of the house.

This room will be the master once it is finished.

You may have noticed that there are very little furnishings in the house.  Part of the reason is because we got rid of most everything before we moved and the other part is because there is something that needs to be done in every part of the house.  We didn't want to move a lot of stuff in the house only to have to move it again when we finally get to that room.  It's a catch 22.  So, we are making do and pretending we are camping indoors.

I have to admit though, I would very much like to have one room completely finished.  Some place where we can relax after a long day of renovations.  Some place soft to sit, ha!  Some day.

But for now, there is work to be done if we want to get to that place.

Unfortunately, we have had to stop work on the kitchen.  Our bridge across the creek, the only way to and from the house, is rapidly decaying.  The weather is supposed to be nice the first part of this week with rain expected later in the week so CountryBoy has diverted his attention to repairing the bridge.  I'll have more to show you in another post.

I am continuing to work on the range; taking it apart, cleaning, degreasing, spray painting and putting it all back together.  More on that later as well.

Speaking of, I'd better get to work while the weather is good.

I hope you enjoyed the 'grand' tour!  One day this 100+ year old farmhouse will shine again, woohoo!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kitchen Update and Outdoor Work

Earlier this week I returned home after a two week trip to Florida where I attended a Sewing Expo and quilt retreat.  I had a great time but, boy, is it good to be back home!

CountryBoy kept busy (in between dealing with another snow storm, cold weather and rain.  Lots of rain, with flooding and boil water alerts.  Poor guy!) working on the kitchen.

He finished out the open ceiling...

framed out the false wall (to accommodate existing plumbing that can't be moved), reworked the electrical outlets and light switches, and framed out the platform for the range...

and the boards for the wall finally dried out enough to hang...

It's coming along bit by bit.

I also came home to some signs of Spring!

Clumps of Daffodils all around the property and possibly even some Tulips!  We'll just have to wait and see what all starts popping up.

Since we would like to have a small garden and get chicks this year we are dividing our time between working on the kitchen and prepping both the garden and the chicken coop/run depending upon the days' weather.

Both the garden and chicken run were extremely overrun with weeds and brush.

weed-filled garden beds
weed-filled chicken run
another view of weed-filled chicken run
view of chicken run from coop

Yesterday was a nice, non-windy day so we worked outside pulling, raking and burning the weeds, fallen leaves and brush in both areas.

They're looking much better now...

The 'thing' standing up behind LizzieBelle is an old piano that we found underneath all the weeds and brush.  It had been burned for some reason and that's all that's left of it.

We even cleaned up the area beside the chicken run...

We're not sure what we'll do with this area but the creek runs by it so I'm sure we'll come up with something!

There's a small patch of briars that we're thinking may be blackberries.  At least, we're hoping they're blackberry bushes!

 More signs that Spring is on its way.  Yay!

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year and believe it or not, it felt really good to be outside pulling weeds, wink!


Monday, March 2, 2015

Some Lovelies

I thought I'd give y'all a break from seeing so much demolition going on 'round here and show you some of the views from my walk to the mailbox.

These shots were taken last Friday when the snow still covered the farmstead.

On the way to the mailbox I shot this just after crossing the bridge (that needs to be fixed come Spring).

Snow Covered Banks
The water is flowing nicely.

This shot was taken on the way back.

A view of the backside of the barn and the paddock.

And this shot is of our snow covered back yard.

Perfect for a sled or snow saucer don't ya think?

This morning much of the snow has disappeared after yesterdays' rain leaving us with a muddy mess near the house.  Which is another issue we will need to address when the weather warms up.

But, for now, I'm not worrying about the mud being tracked in the house because, at this point, the house is in a constant state of 'mess' and I know there will be a day when I can clean and it might stay clean for a bit.  Key word being 'might'.  Ha!


This afternoon I am flying to Florida for two weeks.  I will be visiting family for a bit and attending a Sewing Expo and a Quilt Retreat with a friend.  It's been a while since I've been behind a sewing machine so it will feel strange and good all at the same time.

CountryBoy is staying at the farm and will be taking care of the cats and LizzieBelle.  He hopes to start putting the kitchen back together.

There's still much to be done before the pretty stuff goes in.  Things like plumbing, electrical, finishing part of the ceiling and building a false wall with a trap door for access to the main water shutoff valve.

It will be fun coming home and discovering what all has been done.

I will not be blogging while I'm gone but I may post a thing or two on our Facebook page whenever I have internet access.

Speaking of Facebook, I posted the Facebook Like button in the margin on the right.  If you're on Facebook and would like to keep up with us on there then please click on Like.  Or, if you would like to get an email notice when a new blog post has been published simply provide your email address located in the right margin as well.

I'm off to some warmer temperatures but want to leave you with this cute picture...

Creamsicle enjoying the afghan I'm working on, smile.

Stay well friends and I'll be back soon!