Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Exterior House Staining

It took me 2 days to clean the front side of the house. Lots of standing on ladders, lots of scrubbing, 2 days worth in fact spread over a week because of the constant rain. But it got done, and when it finally dried up enough I taped plastic over all the windows, front door, exterior lights, deck, etc and stained. Two coats were required. I finished about 7:30 that night. Cleaned up the next day. It looks a lot better, it looks waterproof in fact, nice and shiny and sort of plasticky. I swore never again would I stain a wall, screw the other 2, we'll just sell the house "as is".

A few weeks later (delayed due to tendonitis of the knee, aka "runner's knee") I tackled the west side which took a much taller ladder as it's a gable end. That also took 2 days, I have to go back to Alpena and Home Depot to buy more stain before I can actually finish. Not looking forward to getting back up 20 feet in the air to finish that top section, but it has to be done. Then I have to find the energy to tackle the north wall which, though shorter in height, is 48 feet long.

I will be so happy when it's done!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The New Home Plan

So here is a rendition of the exterior of the future house. The 3 car garage is on the right, the little gable bump out on the left contains 2 small bedrooms. The kitchen was originally right behind those 2 shorter windows but now it's in the back but I think the window sizes are set. I don't know yet.There is a small porch on the front where those 2 white posts are supporting the roof.

Here is one of the previous floor plans. I have not made a copy of the latest one but at least this one is pretty close to what I am currently thinking.

The master bath has a separate shower and soaking tub. There is a beverage center in the kitchen that is essentially a wet bar with wine fridge, small sink, microwave and another small refrigerator where Hal can make his breakfast and stay out of my way in the main kitchen. That fridge will also hold the maple syrup every spring until it is processed and canned.

There is a workshop in the garage and the other room holds all the utilities, as well as the chest freezers and upper cabinets which will have to hold my pantry which is in the basement in our current house. We also decided to enclose the space between the 2 garage rooms and essentially make those 3 rooms part of the house, with the firewall between them and the garage. They will simply be a couple steps down with a concrete floor, a very common feature when anyone converts their garage to a family room. That pantry/utility room will also have a dedicated doggie door in the wall so I don't have to have one in the kitchen door resulting in dogs running back and forth while I am cooking.

Since I made a photo of this plan I have replaced the fireplace with an aquarium (finally, one of them comes out of the boxes they've been in since we moved from California in 1996) and placed a see-thru fireplace between the table and he TV room in the back of the house. I wonder how much more tweaking I will do before the plan is finalized.

Friday, June 23, 2017

We're Tired

Hal and I came to a decision about 3 months ago, in a roundabout kind of way. I'm tired of the long drives to Alpena and back (70 miles), he's tired of the numerous trips he's had to take to deal with his dad's cattle in winter and the 35 mile round trips whenever he needs to go to the camp/pole barn. We're both tired of driving long distances to decent restaurants. I'm tired of all the staircases. I know Luna is tired of them, too. In fact she seems to be in pain any time she has to climb them. I know all 4 of us, especially Ziggy, are tired of deer flies and mosquitos which are terrible this year. Ziggy's black coat seems to be a magnet for them, he constantly drops to his haunches (usually right at my feet, tripping me in the process) to protect his butt while he snaps deer flies out of the air. So whenever Hal and I have been in the vicinity of the camp we'd jokingly make the comment often seen on residential billboards, "if we lived here we'd be home now."

At some point the light dawned and we both realized we wouldn't actually mind moving there.

Yes, we've become tired of the swamp. Yet it's still a beautiful place and I know I'll miss it. But I think it's time to go.

So we started a massive clean up project of the house this spring. The county had its biennial cleanup in May so we took advantage and got rid of lots of large things that were just in the way for only $25. And believe it or not, the hot tub was cut up and dumped as well. After the filter freezing 2 winters ago when the breaker failed, it just wasn't worth fixing.
Hal and the Haul
In the meantime Hal had a well dug. It is 140 feet deep and is a flowing artesian well with quite an impressive flow. They finally capped it today after telling us a couple weeks ago they couldn't. Not really sure about this well company now, they seem to keep changing their minds about things and asking for more money. I know they want to keep "working" for us in the near future but Hal is having other thoughts. I wish the water tasted as good as it does here, but alas, it does not.

Hal is in charge of getting the site ready for a new house, the well, the septic, the land leveled, permits, etc. I'm in charge of selling the house.  I've hired a roofer to replace our very leaky roof which I was hoping would be done by mid July but all it does is rain up here and that backs them up. I think I'll be lucky if they're here by August.

I also want to stain the front side of the exterior siding, I did the east wall 3 years ago then ran out of steam. The rain however has been a problem again. I finally finished cleaning the front yesterday after trying last week and needing a better cleaning agent. Now I just need 3 days of dry weather. One to dry out the siding, one for 2 coats and then another to dry before the rain hits again.

Hired a friend with a cleaning business to come tomorrow to dust, polish, in general spruce up the place before the realtor comes next week to take photos. Hope to have the house listed by July 1, even if the roof hasn't been replaced or the siding stained, or the grass hasn't been cut because it's too dang wet! It will be interesting, if not also nerve wracking to see if the house sells fast, or not at all, and then what will we do?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Mundane Happenings Which I Forgot to Post a Month Ago

My snowpeas started to sprout a few days ago and I planted the remaining packets I had before the last rain. I also scavenged the chicken wire around  the veggie garden across the driveway that never did well because it was in the swamp and wrapped the heck out of it. This garden is in the front yard inside one of the chicken runs, where I moved it to last summer after the bunny and deer devastation in my first garden that had never happened before in the previous 15 years I had planted there! In another month I can plant my beans and cukes and zukes.

The weather has been mostly delightful in the 70s the last 2 days though a drop to about 41 for a high is forecast in 2 days, with almost 2 inches of rain possible over that day and the next! At least it isn't snow which could happen with the temps at night in the low 30s'.

Hal and I have been doing other things though. I had 3 roofing companies bid to re-roof the house, we picked number 2 who was in the middle price wise but he had a few points the others didn't stress that we liked and he and Hal got along very well. So I signed a contract and we'll have a new roof around the beginning of July. It will be nice to have a roof that does not leak.

Yesterday I took Ziggy to the vet for his yearly shots. I left Luna home though. She is 11 years 7 months old and it shows. It's almost impossible to get her into the car, I have to pick up her back end every time and she's about 75 pounds. Even Ziggy required a little back end help to get him onto the back seat. He has no trouble jumping into the cargo hold at the back but the footwell/seat arrangement confuses him. The cargo hold was packed with stuff to donate, the food cooler and a bunch of bags as I was shopping with Judy as well. Fortunately though it was  degrees at home it was only 63 down at the vets, clouding over and then lots of rain so there was no danger of Zig overheating while we shopped. (and the shopping was short for once!! the eating at the AYCE Chinese restaurant down there was very enjoyable though.

While I was gone Hal emptied the hot tub, took his chainsaw and reciprocating saw and hacked it to pieces. We made the decision to get rid of it 3 days ago rather than go to the very expensive route of trying to fix a broken filter system (it died when the breaker failed and went unnoticed during a -20 F degree winter), a new blower, which failed pretty much right when we moved in, a dead light which leaked and it was developing micro fractures all along it's edges. In the last year we probably used it once or twice, so it will not be missed.

I started cleaning the siding on the front of the house, I need to continue the staining that I started 3 years ago and never got beyond the east wall. That wall is holding up nicely, by the way. There is lots of mildew so I'm adding a little bleach to the water and scrubbing away. This will be an all summer job. I hope to do a little more today.

Monday, April 10, 2017

I Planted Some Snowpeas

It's not the best job I've ever done. After I weeded and made a trench I just poured them in and threw dirt on top. Can't say I'm really in the mood to garden anymore after last year's disaster of bunnies, deer and drought but I like snowpeas so I've got to do it. I've planted about 5 feet of snowbird, and 11 feet of oregon sugar pod 2 from 2 sources. The Burpee seeds were small, the Fredonia twice the size. It will be interesting to see which is better.

Weather is crazy, it was over 70 Sunday, and supposed to be that Monday. Next day, 43e which is more in keeping with April up here.
Hal and I canned 3 gallons of syrup Sunday as well. He decanted it off the nitre at the bottom and then filtered it through 3 pre-filter papers. Heated it to 185 and canned it into pint jars. Felt good to have some actually finished. Only 10 gallons to go plus the odd jars we got from the 172.