Storm Cellar, Phase 2

Well, I know you have all been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting patiently for the next “chapter” of the storm cellar renovation at the house.

Since I am a people pleaser….

Here ya go!

So, I left off with the really cool old piece that we were able to salvage after it fell into the bottom of the storm cellar well, after the wall collapsed.

After setting the right side of the steps, we started working on the left side again.  To finish building the wall and place the cap piece.

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Big Bertha came

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Little did we know, that place what is the “right” side of the top piece (that was broken into 3 pieces) would be the easy side.  We tried REALLY hard to keep the left side in one piece.  Unfortunately, due to it’s size and weight, it became too much of a safety hazard and we were forced to cut it into smaller, more manageable pieces.

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This is just a cheesy picture of us working….I mean, I couldn’t resist!

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By the end of this work day (which was actually July 7th, for documentation purposes), this is what my awesome new storm cellar looks like!  Just to remind you….this was the before….

So scary!!!!

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Once again, could not thank Mr. T. enough for sharing his expertise in this project!

Onto the next project…

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Step design 101.  Who likes to play with blocks??

Peace out peeps.

 

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.

 

As Promised.

This past weekend, I promised that the next couple of blogs would be more about the house than my personal perspectives…oh you know… about things like cicadas.

So, as promised.  Here ya go!

At some point in time, the house had shutters on it.  But obviously after this picture was taken.

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When I moved in, most of the shutters were gone.  The few that were left were in less than spectacular condition.  In fact, there was only one window that actually had both shutters still left!  Basically, it looks like Halloween around here all year long.

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The long term goal is to put the shutters back on the house at some point in the future. But on the priority list around here, repairing the shutters is about 5,781 on the list of things to do.

In the interim however, the shutters are coming in handy, at least the pieces that have fallen off the house that I managed to collect.

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With the assistance of this gorgeous antique, dilapidated shutter, I am going to find the new door colors.

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For those of you who are feeling froggy…which color would you pick for these big, old 9 foot tall doors??  Feel free to leave your vote in the comment section!

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I’ll let you know next week which one was the winner!

Peace out peeps.

Story Time.

Morning!

When I bought the farm, I promised myself that I would step it up a notch in the world of craftsmanship.  I wanted to be sure to do things of quality, not just in a haste to mark something off of the To Do List.

Now, please understand, I have never really done shoddy work.  I am WAY to OCD for that.

But I wanted this to be different.  I wanted to complete projects in way that they wouldn’t have to be fixed up or finished off later.  I wanted to enjoy the process as much as the end result.  Everything would get done in a timely fashion with the right amount of attention going into all of the details.  It’s the least thing I can do for this place, is to do it right.

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This urge came from a story told at my Grandpa B.’s funeral by my Uncle.  It was the first I had heard this tale and it is something that I am reminded of constantly.  Especially around the farm.

Apparently, in his youth, my Uncle had started wallpapering for people.  In a conversation with my Grandpa, my Uncle was asked if he signed his work.  Uncle R. replied that he signed the back of the last piece of wallpaper that he hung on each job.  My Grandpa informed him that he was doing it wrong and that he should sign the FIRST piece of wallpaper he hung.

The reasoning is simple.

If you wait to sign your work, it means you can also decide to NOT sign it.

Maybe you were having a bad day, maybe you were running late and you cut a few corners in the quality department.   Either way, you can decide whether or not you would put your name to your work.

However, if you sign your work at the BEGINNING, you are committed to a higher quality of work from the very start. You can’t get away from the fact that you already put your name your work and have an expectation to live up to.

So, with that being said, I have signed my name to this place.

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I am committed.

In so many ways…hee hee hee!

What does this mean in real life?   It means that I actually rebuilt a retaining wall 4 times this week.  Just to get it right.

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This is the final version…can’t wait for this area to be done! It’s gonna be ADORABLE!

It also means that I’ll be committed before this house is completed.  For sure.

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Stay tuned….I have a expert in the field of sandstone stopping by the house Monday morning to discuss the glorious storm cellar.   Should be awesome.

Peace out peeps.

Oh Damn.

Officially Day 3 of my summer breaks is in the books.

I have to admit, so far, I have been rather productive on my To Do list.  Now, that is not without some serious ADHD moments.

Imagine working on a retaining wall for a half-hour, pausing to spray paint wicker furniture, sewing cushions for said wicker, painting a custom order and then back to the retaining wall.  Best part, that’s just today!

So, yesterday, I finally started tackled one of the big projects around this joint.

The very first time I came to see the house, I noticed this covered up nightmare, where you could see a HINT of a collapsed wall.

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I knew that immediately this was going to be a problem.  But because I moved in so late in the year, I beefed it up a little and decided it would have to wait until spring.

So, yesterday was the big reveal day!!! Layers 1 & 2….

This is it folks.  Two words. Hot. Mess.

Make that three words.

Hot. Damn. Mess.

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Actually, truth be told….I couldn’t handle it.  So, I came in the house and ate chips.

All I could think was…if I were to click my heels three times in some gorgeous ruby red slippers….

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It would magically look like this????

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The best  part was that Momma came down last night.  She literally put her hands on her hips and stared at it, for a good 7 minutes mind you, before she just flat out said, “I don’t know what you’re gonna do about that.”

I started to take a poll on Facebook, so far majority vote is to restore it back to what it was, versus just blocking it up and calling it a day (which is SOOOO Daddy-O’s vote)  So, anyone out in cyberland have a vote?  The best part of that…the vote is the easy part.  Moving those heavy ass sandstone is the problem.

Peace out peeps!

 

Whew. Part 1.

Well, I don’t know about you, but the holiday weekend was a hum-dinger, wasn’t it?

For maybe the 4th time in almost 5 years, I took Saturday off from my second job to go to my Momma’s family reunion.

I can’t lie.  I was only really excited about one part of it.

Seeing the family homestead.

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Ok, that’s a lie.  I was really excited to see family too.  Oh, and to eat.  For sure…eating is important in my family!

But, back to the house.  My Great, Great, x10 Grandparents built this place.  As my Grandpa B. told me, first there was a small one-room cabin, but then they upgraded to a tw0-story cabin before they finally built the current house in 1875.

Now, when the current member of my family moved in (about 8 years ago) it was in less than stellar condition.  It was suffering from the same fate so many old jems do….age.  Flat out, age….it was wearing her down.  Fading her beauty.  But then came along Cousin M….who saved her.  Hands down.

This home is STUNNING!

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The farmhouse is so statuesque.  Bonus, Cousin M. has some serious style in her decor choices.  The entire house has been brought into the 21st century…trust me I was taking notes.

They have Central Air.

SHUT UP.

I know right???

I am jealous beyond words on that fact.

Oh…and jealous of THIS bathroom???? (hey Aunt Pitbull…you’re still safe!)

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At one point, 9 of us were just hanging out in there.  it’s so …so….charming?  Elegant?  Roomy?  All of the above!

This home is so tastefully done, I just couldn’t help drooling over her decor.  I tried to wipe most of my drool marks off of her furniture….but just look at it!

Not to mention, just all of the overall updates and structural repairs that had to be done to the house (there were years of strip mining damage to the house that needed attention).

So, this is my HUGE thank you to Cousin M, her husband and family for saving a piece of our family heritage.  How cool that our family has lived in this house for 141 years!

Just check out this photo from 1910 in front of the farmhouse!

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With all of that being said, it was inspirational to see her back to her old glory.  She is back to standing tall on the hill, showing the world she could stand for another 141 years.  Without the people to love these old places and try to save them…their fate would be much worse.

So, thank you.  To each and every person who has fallen for the old house, barn, business or store front.  Someone…or many someones….probably thought you were crazy.  They might have even told you to your face.  But, if these walls could talk, they would be thanking us endlessly and beaming with pride to share their secrets with future generations!

There will be a Part 2 to this day….just too much fun to share in one little old post! Including the story about these little darling oinkers!

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Peace out peeps.

Canning and White Elephants

Hey hey!

What a beautiful evening we are having here in Northeast Ohio!   You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Well then…lazy butt…why aren’t you outside working???”

Trust me, I have already had guilt over this detail.

But, when I made the agenda for the evening, it was dreary and looked like it was going to rain most of the evening.

So, although…I have a whole pile of plant donations (thank you to everyone who is helping to get these gardens in shape!!!) to get in the ground, I decided to get some inside chores done.

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The evening started with this really cool guy coming out to the house to talk to me about the barn!  As I have said before, I LOVE finding other people who have a similar passion for these old buildings like I do.  Big thanks to Randy Smith of Ohio Valley Barn Salvage!  With his expertise, we were able to determine that parts of the barn are from around 1840, while the majority of it was built around 1880.

He called my barn a white elephant.

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So, the house is a Purple Cow and the barn is a White Elephant…what’s going on around here?  Pink Chickens next???

Apparently, it’s unique for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it is a mess of two barns put together.  Two, it has milled beams that are long enough that they would have had to have been cut in the late 19th century.  However, the quirk, it is still assembled with pegs.

Did you know there was such a thing as Sears and Montgomery Ward barns? Just like the houses???  SO COOL! They were being produced at the turn of the century and it was at that time that barns generally started to be assembled with nails.

So, all of this being said.  The bad boy is going to stay exactly where it is for at least the next year.  Just going to wait out the options.  I’m still playing the lottery…still writing Ellen…so there are still possibilities!  Heck, I even chased a rainbow tonight!

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Either way, the best part was having another great conversation with a stranger about something as cool as an old barn.  I can not begin to tell you how many times over the last 7 months, this house and adventure have given me opportunities to meet new people and learn a little more every day!  For that alone, I am so grateful!

So, topics up next…canning, a brief history on mortar (waiting in anticipation….I know!) and gardening.  I am sure, just because I am me…that there will also be at least one random insight on something mixed in there.  Vague, huh?  Luckily for me, that whole ramble made perfect sense…at least in my head!

Back to the canning adventures!

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There’s your hint!  More to come on that!

Peace out peeps.

Mistint Paint Rocks

Hey strangers!

Sorry for the delay in writing.  As usual, life is getting a little crazy right now.  Which I knew would happen.  The weather is actually getting nice, which translates to I’ll be spending way more time outside than working on my social media stuff.  But I will be around, because I have a sneaking feeling that lots of fun stuff is going to be happening!

So, for anyone who actually reads this rambling mess, you were aware of how much I fell in love with mistinted paint when I painted my kitchen over Winter break.   I was thoroughly impressed with how amazing the color turned out in the space.  Who knew that me…the OCD, planning, thinking through every aspect of every decision would throw caution to the wind and pick up a random gallon of paint for any room in my house.

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Which leads me to the next chapter in the book of mistint/mistake paint.

This past Monday, we were flooded with a ton of rain.

I mean a ton. So, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to work outside for a few days.  I decided to get a couple of random errands done.  Including one to my favorite store…Home Depot. (**Home Depot…for the shameless plug, feel free to drop a gift certificate in the mail!  hee hee hee!!)

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And what an AWESOME decision that was!  I hit the JACKPOT!!  The mistint/mistake shelf had 3 gallons of paint that were perfect!IMG_20160411_161224900

Perfect for what, I am not entirely sure, but they are mine now!!  I mean, seriously, 3 gallons of paint for $36, you can not beat that!  Plus one of them is a gallon of the Behr Marquee fancy paint…be jealous.

I ran home anxious with anticipation to see what I was going to paint and where I was going to paint.  I could not wait!

Although, I have to admit, I did not entirely think through this plan.  When I started painting the living room at 6:00….on a school night…I wasn’t really thinking through the choice.  All I could envision was my beautiful, cheap paint covering those ugly white walls!

Might not have been the best choice, in terms of planning.

But it was most definitely the right choice as the new color for the living room!

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I have to say, I don’t think I’m ever going to stress about color selection for a room again. Allowing fate…the mistakes of a store…whatever you want to call it, dictate my decor choices…it’s super fun!

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It is really hard to get a good picture of the room and there are still plenty of things that I want to work on.  But we all know how that goes, that list will never end, right?

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I am also realizing that I am showing you pics of my house in all states of disarray!  Please don’t judge!

So, at the end of this, another room is painted.  I have two more gallons of mistake paint left for two more rooms…so, who knows where it will go!  Watch at see!

On a total side note, there are lots of things are in the works, so please check back!

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Parting view of the gorgeous sunset this week.  I love my life.

Peace out peeps.