Saturday, February 11, 2012

Yes, We Are Still Making Progress

Winter seems to bring slower progress on the farmhouse reconstruction than I would have preferred, but we are making progress.  Here we are in mid February, just about one year since we engaged the services of our handyman/contractor. In that time he has helped us stabilize and level the structure, replacing beams and joists, walls and floors, and bringing us ever closer to our dream.  January was focused on reconstruction in the kitchen area. Now we are adding windows and doors. Today we framed out the new window areas on either side of the chimney in the recently enlarged master bedroom.This will allow us to look out at all four sides on the house from the master bedroom.
Kitchen Reconstruction

New Window Going In

One of our recent "biggest" accomplishments was finally emptying the rented mini-storage unit.  Way back in 2010, when we were acquiring the old farmhouse, we'd known we were going to need to make repairs/renovations.  Nearby, an 1825 home was being demolished by its new owners, so they could replace it with a modern structure. Through a Craigslist ad, we'd found that they were raising money for the demolition by selling parts that were salvageable.  We bid on, and won the entire kitchen, all of the windows, all of the doors, and all of the carpet.....................everything except the kitchen cabinets were essentially new.  The kitchen cabinets were probably 30 years old, but were made of solid oak...heavy, and customized to that kitchen.

We spent January of 2010 doing the demolition to get our "prizes," loading all of the goodies into a storage building on their site, while we awaited the closing on our old farmhouse.  As Murphy would have it, we did not close in time to get everything moved over before the major demotion of that old structure was to occur, so we ended up deciding to rent a mini-storage unit to house our tons of treasures....for a month...maybe two....

After hauling everything from the original site to the mini-storage, in the freezing, wet night, under the pressure of the impending snow storm, we were exhausted and not eager to move anything again until we moved it to its final destination.  The months ticked by, with slow progress on the old farmhouse.  The month-to-month payments for the mini-storage changed to quarterly payments.....

Finally, this January, we determined we were ready to bring everything over to the old farmhouse, stacking kitchen cabinets in the living room, awaiting their eventual installation in the kitchen and storing the windows, doors, carpet, etc. in other various locations.  And so, on the third week of January, two years after we rented the mini-storage space, we vacated it.  One step step closer.
Mini Storage Unloading

Joe Tempting Fate

One Trailer Load

It's hard to believe it is almost time to start our plants for the summer garden.  The plants that have wintered over in the makeshift greenhouse (front porch) are doing very well. The goats and chickens have fared well over this milder winter.  We discovered that our goats are happy to eat holly, which means that this winter their diet has been supplemented by our daily pruning of the bazillion holly trees on the property.  The woods are taking on more and more of a park-like appearance, as the lower branches of trees are pruned and the underbrush cleared.  I'm certain that by the end of next month the goats will once again be "earning their keep" by munching down all of the new underbrush growth that is just about ready to kick into gear.
Happy Farm Animals

Plants Wintering Over in Greenhouse

The chickens are laying eggs every day, which is great.  While most of them lay their eggs in the provided "laying boxes," one of our hens has decided she is determined to play egg hunt with us.  Every day I have to hunt to see if I can discover her new hiding place.  For the past week, I have known she must be laying them somewhere, but was unable to find them.  This morning, while I was cleaning their coop, I spied her flying up on the bales of hay stacked at the end of the barn.  Now, I had looked there numerously, finding nothing, but, having seen her up there, I dragged the ladder over and went up for another look.  Sure enough, carefully wedged between the hay and the plywood wall I found seven eggs...  The rest of the day she kept flying up there, looking for those eggs.  It will be interesting to see whether she lays there again, or finds another hiding place...

I am also enjoying my new life as "Gami," (pronounced "Gammy") as my daughter has dubbed me.  We'll see what Eloise has to say about that name when she is old enough to talk.  In the meantime, I am happy to enjoy her smiles, peaceful sleeping, and even her occasional crankiness.  My daughter had to have her wisdom teeth removed at the end of January, so I went over to help her with Eloise.  I was there five days and wouldn't have minded staying another five, but had to return to my other responsibilities.  I am looking forward to a short overnight trip this weekend to spend more time with them, while her in-laws are visiting from France.  Later in the week they will all leave for France and be gone a couple of weeks.......first international trip for miss Eloise!
Sleeping Eloise

Mama and Gami Preparing Eloise for Bath

Gami Bathing Eloise
Mama Bathing Eloise

And this week, we will travel to Arlington, VA, where my step-father, John, will be laid to rest.  Mom is doing as well as can be expected as she learns to live alone for the first time in over 34 years.  She told me she received her "Life Alert" yesterday and that it will be installed/set up this weekend.  This will give the rest of the family a little piece of mind, since none of us live nearby. 

Meanwhile, we continue our perusing of Craigslist to find those items we need/could use/never thought of but sounds intriguing......... this week's acquisitions included three LARGE lateral filing cabinets, which we are repurposing as "tool organizers."  They are HEAVY and, after some experimentation, we were successful in putting them all on wheels, so we can move them around if necessary, without breaking our backs.... now, let's see how long it takes us to actually put them to their intended use......
Joe Unloading First Filing Cabinet Load

Judy Helping Load Next Filing Cabinet Load

Wendell and Joe Giving the Cabinets Wheels

Rolling Cabinets
Sunset at the Farm