Monday, November 19, 2007

Exterior Lights

Work on the outside has slowed down recently, however we did get the exterior lights for the front door, new side door, slider, and three basement doors in the back. Yesterday Eddie installed the one for the front door and the two going on either side of the slider. Yeah!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Keeping Us Warm this Winter

So this is what Eddie brought home last weekend to split: And this is what we managed to get done by yesterday:
I don't know how to measure how much we have. But this will tell you how to measure a cord. I'm guessing we have at least a full cord split, if not more.
But just looking at it makes me feel warm. :)

It's going to be around 60 deg today and warmer tomorrow, so we won't be burning any wood, but then it's going to get cooler again and I can't wait to not use propane to heat the house! That bill is expensive!

Friday, November 9, 2007

We have a Plan

My mother and I came up with a plan to work on finishing the projects in the basement and some other things that she and I can work on, i.e. that don't require muscle or power tools :).

So this is the list we came up with about a week and a half ago. Fridays are our days to do the work.

  • sand the wood filler on the stairs and caulk what needs caulking

  • paint the stairs

  • caulk the trim around the stairwell and paint trim and sheetrock

  • caulk the window in the living room and then paint it

  • buy 6 exterior lights--2 for either side of the slider, 1 each for the front door, newly installed side door, and exterior basement door from our bedroom, and 1 to hold onto until we put in the exterior living room door

  • caulk wood trim on three door jams that are in the living room--leading to half-bath, master bedroom, and office--and then paint them

  • caulk and paint wood corner trim on boxed-in ductwork in living room

  • touch-up ceiling paint in living room
We started last Friday, and I was able to get most of the caulking done for the stairs, door jams, duct trim and window. I should have sanded the wood filler first, but I wasn't able to attach the sander to the shop vac--Eddie said he's done it before, but I have a feeling he used duct tape. :) He claims there's an attachment to use, but I couldn't find it.

Today I think we'll deviate from our Friday schedule, though. Since Nick (18) has recently moved out of the house, his room is up for grabs. Thomas is partly moved into it, and I'd like to get the rest of his stuff moved in there, so I can move into his bedroom with my office. I'll miss seeing the chickens at eye level, but I'll be on the main floor of the house and in a much larger space. Then we can use this old office space for much-needed storage.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

We've Got Lots More Splitting to Do!

This is the load of wood Eddie brought home 2 days ago. He cleaned the chimney yesterday and got it ready for the winter wood-burning season.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

New Carnival of Home Improvement and more

From the information at

A carnival for advice and ideas on home improvement, restoration, and renovation. This carnival includes research, commentary, and bloggers' best posts on constructing a home, renovating a home, restoring a historic or old home, furnishing, gardens, gardening, researching the history of your home, indoor and outdoor decoration and design, landscaping, home improvement projects, and making modern upgrades. We love posts with videos and pictures!
Submission deadline is the last Friday of every month at 6pm CST. The first edition will be at DIYcraftsman on November 4th.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dog House under the Stairs

This is how we're using the rest of the space under the stairs. To the left and not in the picture is the area I just finished painting. This is what's left. It's not useful for storage, really, because doors would be either triangular, or very small.

So the dog has it as his den, and as long as I don't take pictures of him in his "secret" hiding spot, he's happy. In this picture, you can see past him to where the kids left their pillows and blankets for a camp-out with the dog the other night. :)
Someday we'll get to finishing the stairs themselves!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Leak has been Fixed!

I mentioned in an earlier post that we were hoping that the new PVC trim we were adding as we re-sided the house would solve a problem we had with water leaking. This is the trim, and it has been caulked really well.

The water was somehow getting between the house and the add-on laundry room. Apparently the people who built the house didn't seal that very well, or else when the concrete ceiling (back porch stepping out from the dining room) sagged it created a crack. When we renovated the laundry room, we also fixed the sag in the ceiling, but it didn't fix the problem.
This is the doorway between the office and the laundry room. The water would drip from there during heavy rains. Since we just had over 4 inches of rain and no signs of dripping water, I think I can safely say the problem has been fixed! Yeah!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Siding Progress

We got a bit further along after moving the pump jacks and walk board (turned up on its side because it rained finally!!).

You can see the PVC trim that's making it easy to keep things lined up right.

Nook under the Stairs

Emily and Thomas both helped me roll the paint, and Thomas worked on the trim, too.

I like the pouring spout lid I got for the paint can a while back. You can just switch it to whichever can of paint you're using at the time and avoid dripping down the outside of the can or having paint pool around the lid channel. I hadn't seen this one, or I would have gotten it instead.

I think it came out pretty well.

I haven't finished with the dog's little hideaway yet because the sheetrock needs a couple of repairs first.

I think I'll tackle this window next. I need to fill nail holes with wood filler and do some caulking, then I can paint the trim and ledge. It's a nice depth for plants, but this is facing almost due north. We get some direct sunlight in the morning but that's it.

Using the Outside Wall of the Workshop

We don't have lots of storage inside our house, because we've been doing so much remodeling, especially in the basement. I'd love to have a storage room, but for now . . .

So we've got the brooder cage for new chicks, and the lid, hanging on the left, then a really ancient sled, in case we get enough snow some year, then under the a/c unit is the larger dog crate, and then the medium-sized one. We used the crates for a long time, but the dog now has his spot under the stairs and doesn't need another enclosed area to call his own. Heck, he won't even use the dog house we bought for him to use outside!

And under the shop Eddie stores long pieces of pipe, PVC, fencing rolls, and fence posts. The chickens are slowly digging away the dirt from the footers for their dust baths . . .

Monday, October 15, 2007

Siding the Back of the House

Eddie was able to start some work this weekend, and today he continued. He added the white pvc trim and the boxes around the wiring for the light fixtures.
We hope that the addition of this trim on top of the concrete and against the house will keep water from dripping in when it pours. This is where the laundry room is and the doorway between it and the rest of the house can leak, though we've never found out where it's coming from. We thought it could have been the old sliding glass door, but it's happened since we replaced that.
This soffit will have to be replaced, but after all the siding is installed.
This is the beginning of the end of the siding!! We'll have to move the pump jacks and walk board now, from the side to the back of the house, so we can keep working.

Painting in the Basement

Thomas helped me paint in the basement today. Most of it is finished, of course, but the nook under the stairs has never been painted. So we moved some stuff out of there--Eddie moved his office back into the office section of our bedroom--and started with the cut-in work. This picture is looking up at the top corner.
I'm just going to use the same blue for the ceiling of this area as well, and not paint it white.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Firewood Split and Stacked

This is what it looked like after we cut all the logs we'd brought home last week:
This is about 2 hours of Eddie splitting, with me doing the stacking.

And this is the wood we have left to split. We've got to figure out where we want to stack it, and will have to build another frame to hold it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Nest Box for Two

I needed to make a nest box a couple days ago, because some of our young hens started laying eggs (got two eggs today from them!). And the ones that are all together in the larger pen and coop have 6 boxes. But the two that we're keeping isolated from the others, because they get picked on pretty badly, didn't have a box in their area. So this is what I came up with:
I started with a box like this one, from Sam's Club, but with only one side cut out (this would be good for inside a coop):
Then I taped on some scrap Tyvek all around the outside, because it's outside, not in the coop, and put a layer inside the box, on the bottom, since it can get wet there, too, from the hens.
Then I covered the bottom with a nice layer of sawdust we just happened to have around. :) I don't know how soon these two little hens will be laying, but I want them to know where to go when they do!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

More on Firewood

I got to use the smaller chainsaw yesterday to cut the smaller logs. The larger ones were cut by Eddie. He's cutting the rest of the wood right now. I guess we'll be splitting it soon!

Cleaning out the Chickens' Water

This is the inside of the barrel after about a year, maybe less, of use. The red is possibly from the roofing material, or else it's just dirt from the roof. The streak of red running up the wall is from the water heater.

This is the water heater. It keeps the water at about 40 or maybe 45 degrees F in the winter.
This shows the small hole where the water heater plug comes out, and the larger one is where the pipe from the gutters comes in. Mosquitoes were still able to get in through the gap between the water heater cord and the tape we'd wrapped around it--it didn't stay in place and everytime I opened the lid to see the water level, mosquitoes would fly out. Yuck!
You can see the other part of the pipe on the wall, and the tubing all wrapped in heat tape and insulation.