Storm Cellar, Phase 1

Good evening fine folks!

Oh my Lord….what a fast summer!  It has been jam packed with so many projects, I hardly know where to start to share with everyone.  But, I am going to do my best to recap the summer in a way that actually makes sense…lots of things were overlapping and are still being wrapped up, so this could get sketchy! Hang in there!

With so much going on, let’s just remind ourselves of this fact, the work in a 160 year old home is never done.

Ever.

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So, this photo was taken June 7th.  At this very moment, I was preparing to unveil what could be the worst nightmare of my life.  But as it turns out, it was only a minor nightmare.

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Under the 3 layers of plywood and rubber mats, this was my storm cellar entrance. Definitely not what I had hoped for.  I felt pretty defeated at this moment, because I had no clue how exactly to fix it.  But I did know that it was going to be a grueling amount of hard work.

So, I called in a favor to a friend of my dad’s.  He was the only person I could think of who would have ANY idea on how to fix this.

Introduce to the play, Mr. T.

What a character!

If I were writing a script, I don’t think I could have imagined a person like Mr. T.  The best way to describe him is as follows…

He is a true force of nature, with perseverance, intellect, culture and loyalty…all mixed together to form 71 years of more experiences and stories of a fully lived life than any person I have ever met.

All of this put together just means that every work day was awesome…and fun!

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Without boring you with all of the minor details, I am going to share with you some of the cooler pictures of this process.  It involved cutting and shaping both old and new stones, lots of physics and crushed limestone, all coming together to put the jigsaw puzzle back together.

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On Day 2, we started to disassemble the other wall and cleaning out the bottom of the pit.  It was also the first time we had the basement door open.

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The mass cleaning of the basement has started…but that might have to be another post of it’s own!  lol!

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Mr. T invented this super cool contraption out of an Adjusta-Post and a jack from an old VW.  “Big Bertha” as we fondly named her, played a vital roll in pushing specific stones set lower in the well back into place.  This was kind of tricky because when the house was built, the foundation walls, the storm cellar walls and steps were all dove-tailed and integrated together as they built it.  So, naturally, if you start messing with one piece of the puzzle…other pieces are bound to move!

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So, very slowly…we reconstructed the walls.

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One of the coolest finds in this process was finding this top piece.  Over the years, it is what started the collapse of the wall.  It fell into the well first and broke in the process.  However, we were able to piece it back together based on this amazing detail on the back of it.  Notice that the original craftsman finished the face of the stone in two different textures.  The bulkier texture was designed to be underground and never seen, helping to anchor the stone into place.  The finer detail was meant to show off a little and can be found on the rest of the foundation stones.

Now, because it’s getting late and I fear I could bore you….and another episode of Grey’s just ended on Netflix…I will end Phase 1 here!  No worries…Phase 2 and 3 are right around the corner.  Next scheduled work date for the storm cellar is August 5th, so no worries…you won’t have to wait long!

Peace out peeps.

Sunday Mornings

Morning everyone!

I am sitting here this morning working on canning beans from my garden.  I am praying and hoping that my first experience will a pressure canner is nothing but wonderful!  lol!

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But it allows me a moment to be “present”.  I just finished paying bills and I am sitting here with the door open and the fragrance of cow is wafting around.  Mr. T. would love it right now!!  I get to take a moment and enjoy the progress of this summer.

I mean, just the success of the beans alone, it’s pretty remarkable!

I shouldn’t call it a success until I am done canning them, huh?

Anyway.  The beans are a result of my first big girl garden.

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I pretty stinking proud of it.  Bonus, it’s actually producing vegetables.

I feel so confident, I am starting a herb garden by the house today.

I know.  It’s awesome.

So, in the spirit of being present….and reminiscing all at the same time…it’s hard to believe how much has occurred in 8 months.  The house is coming along. The deck/patio area are almost done in the back.  The storm cellar is just waiting for a drain and a new door (once completed, I will give the full recap of that project!)  We are redesigning the entrance steps on Wednesday.  School starts in 14 short days, so I am in the big push to wrap up the major projects for the summer.

Another perk…I am starting love living out in the open and looking forward to more adventures daily.

Next up….I think I am going to be a Chicken Complex so I can have chickens next spring.

Anyway, it’s just a great, quiet morning. It’s actually a nice temperature…which is glorious without AC in the house.  It’s just nice.  Peaceful.  Whole.  Wonderful.

So, I hope you are having just as wonderful of a morning.  It’s a great way to start the day!

I am seriously starting to wonder about this pressure canning.   It is  definitely an exercise in patience.

Peace out peeps.

 

Where does time go??

My deepest apologies everyone!  I took a break from life and I didn’t realize so much time has passed since my last post.

I took a few days and went camping with a dear friend and let’s be honest, I needed it!  But no worries, life was jam-packed every minute leading up to the trip and it’s been non-stop since I returned.

So, let’s get caught up!

Door color.  I know, you’ve all been suffering from sleepless nights contemplating what color I could have possibly selected!  Well, let me put your curiosity to rest.

The gorgeous spruce green was the winner!  Now, only 4 more doors to go!  Every layer of paint added seems to bring her (I have decided the house is a female) shine out a little more.

Then there was hay.  307 bales total were put up in the barn over Father’s Day weekend.  Along with judging the car show at Stan Hywet.

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This is my super happy face after loading a trailer in 90 degree weather, and this was only load #1 of 4. 

Then I taught my first painting class at the house and if I do say so myself, I thought it was pretty amazing! These ladies all were so cool to work with!

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I was so impressed with the level of work they created.  Especially since this was a first opportunity to paint for some of them!

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Our interpretation of poppy fields!

 

Then somewhere in the week, this other little project started, because lord knows, sticking with one thing and finishing it is too easy.  I am super excited about it, but because it looks like I am crazy at this point…I won’t show you any more pictures until it’s completely done.

But let’s just say, I am taking re-purposing to a whole new level.

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Finally, the big project.

The storm cellar.

We have now completed two hugely successful work days on this project. We are scheduled for 3 more days next week and hopefully it will be pretty much done by that point.

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This was the first piece being moved!  

I CAN NOT express how much better it already looks and that now, I even have hope that it’s going to be stunning when it’s reconstructed.  I am actually thrilled that it’s location is right by the main entrance to the house, because I want to showcase this amazing feature of the home.

You’ll hear more about the gentleman helping with the project later, but I just want to put a massive public thank you out there to Mr. T.  Truly sir, this project would have been dead in the water the first moment I dropped a stone on my foot.  Your knowledge, experience and tenacity have all been pivotal factors to this coming together.  Not to mention, the life lessons you have already instilled in me are priceless.

I’m going to hold back on the rest of my flattery until the project is done!

So, with all of the catching up, it brings us right into the best holiday of the summer in my opinion!

Please have a wonderful, safe and fun 4th of July.

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Peace out peeps.