House Updates.

Well, I bet you were starting to think I had kicked back and was reading a book, enjoying a nice cup of tea.

Wrong.

Progress has still be occurring.

Slow…but occurring.

So, big news. Garden 2.0 has been started for 2017.  I know.  I am nuts. After holding a board meeting, the board (mom) and I decided that it would be best to expand.  Now, this does not necessarily mean I will be planting MORE.  But it does mean that I will be giving myself more room between plants to work.

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Which really means, I’ll be giving the weeds LOTS of extra space!

However, I am really excited about the expansion.  My compost bin will now be within the parameters of the garden.  I will…of course…be adding a couple of new plants.  Overall, I think it will just give me a lot more room to enjoy!

In other news….the grapevines!!!!

One of the most exciting things I found when I moved in last fall was the grapevines.

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They are very overgrown and a big bushy mess…but they did produce grapes!  I was a little late in picking them, but I was still able to get enough gathered to make some AMAZING grape jelly!

I am going to skip all the pictures in the middle (mostly because I didn’t take that many…lol!).  But I will say this, I now believe that I will never be able to enjoy store bought grape jelly again!

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It was definitely a labor of love….but oh my.

So. Worth. It.

Wrapping up this crazy weekend was a BIG day at the house!

We had a work day scheduled with Mr. T and Dad anyway (I’ll be posting an update on the storm cellar soon….we are on the home stretch!)  But then I was able to get someone down to come down and take the gutters off.  Plans are also in the works for what the new roof is going to be and possible window upgrades!  Thing LONG TERM…but it’s nice to know the options…especially in regards to the windows.

So, before an after!  The falling apart gutters and dilapidated gutters are GONE!!  I know it doesn’t seem like much, but it’s one baby step to the entire process of bringing this house back.

Mr. T thinks she’s sexy.

I think she’s getting sexier the more we get down to the basics.  I literally CAN NOT wait to get all of the trim cleaned up and painting white again.

This is going to be a very long and slow process…but little milestones like today keep me hopeful!

Peace out peeps.

 

Panic…I mean…Fall is in the Air

Morning everyone!

So, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I normally LOVE Fall.  The only part I historically don’t enjoy is the loss of sunlight. But the rest of it….bring it on!

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This year is a little different.

Now, I see the beautiful leaves falling to the ground and a myriad of thoughts run through my brain.

Then the panic starts.

I feel…more than usual…that there will NEVER be enough time.

So, the To Do list comes back in full force.

  1. Prepare for the invasion (mice,bugs and critters…oh my!)

**Speaking of invasions…what the hell is this???**

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  1. Built a basement door (that might help with the invasion)
  2. Plant bulbs and final push in the flowerbeds for the year (because I am already envisioning the beauty for next year!)
  3. Garden…oh my garden…you will be bigger and better for next year (if I have time).
  4. Order the bare root trees to prep for planting in the spring (big goals to get some new trees started!)
  5. Classes…so many options for Fall fun!
  6. Enjoy pumpkin everything.

The next class at the house is all set up scheduled…but dear lord, it’s only two weeks away!

See what I mean.

Pure panic.

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So, with that being said.  Does anyone else feel this kind of pressure this time of year?

Oh, and if there wasn’t enough.  I think I am going to make concord grape jelly tomorrow.  I think you could get drunk from the grapes ripening right now!  Too many to just waste!

Peace out peeps.

 

 

Mini Pallet Recap!

Oh. My. Goodness.

In the last 48 hours here in Ohio, I have felt the first signs of Fall.  The crispness in the air, the golden leaves laying on the grass, the first head cold of the season, the snakes moving into the dining room…

So, last night, I slept almost 9 hours.  Whether it was because it was finally perfect sleeping weather or the fact that I was literally exhausted, it was wonderful!

Last Sunday, I hosted a great mini-pallet painting class at the house.  I really can’t express to anyone, besides my ever-patient mother, how stressful having the classes can be.  Between prepping for the class, cleaning house, making food and then teaching….there are MANY moments I wonder if it is worth it.

But then, everyone shows up, the laughter begins, the creativity starts and it’s just wonderful to see everyone have so much fun making things!

With being back to school for the last couple of weeks, prepping for the class was even more challenging!  But, it all got done and I think they turned out great!

I started by cutting apart pallets to make these mini-pallet canvases to paint.  It was a labor of love to say the least.  But just like everything else, once I got the first few made, they were pretty easy to put together.

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After a few solid hours working in the new and improved Girl Cave, I was well on my way to being ready for class.

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Now, for the heart attack of this story.

At the time I was wrapping up, it was about 10 pm.  I headed in the house determined to knock one or two more things off of my To Do list.  So, I quickly decided I would water the plants (sometimes remembering to do that can be harder than you think!).  Got my watering can, headed into the dining room.

To find this bastard.  **Warning…there is one cuss word.**

So, needless to say, after beating the poor thing to death with a flip flop.  I called it a day!  lol!

Anyway, back to the class.  Everyone did an amazing job!  It was the first time that I offered for everyone to make something they would prefer (instead of me selecting the theme).  It was great!  Plus, this way, I knew for sure that everyone would be able to take home something they would really enjoy to have in their home.

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Although I like to pretend my dining room is more formal and fancy…I love seeing it covered with creativity.

Now, you’re probably wondering why it’s so dark?  Because not only was it one of the hottest days of the summer (and there have been PLENTY) but we lost power after a storm rolled through.

These women were such troopers.  It was sticky and hot and dark.  They were rock stars!

Just look at what we made!

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Because of the loss of power, I wasn’t able to get a group picture…but here are some of the other gems!

Plus, this darling!  She had a bonus day…she even lost a tooth while she was at class!IMG_20160828_175507281

She also won the award for the most paintbrushes used.

Ever.

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Overall, I couldn’t be happier.

No worries, I have already started planning the next class.  Not to mention, I still have people interested in doing another pallet class…so it looks like the work will go on!

More to come…

Fall wrap up is on full swing…so be patient with my lack of blogging.  I am sure by the time December rolls around, I’ll be driving you crazy again with all of my random thoughts on life.

Peace out peeps!

 

 

Reality Check

So, the house was built in 1857.

The first electrical air conditioning unit was invented in 1902.

But AC wasn’t available widely until after WWII.

That’s a difference of 45 years.

The life expectancy of a person in this era was 37 years. Literally, they couldn’t live long enough to experience the joy of cool air.

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Yep kids…check that out!  It was 1880 before small electric stations could provide power to a few blocks at a time.  So, if everything went smoothly, they could have had power at the house by 1930.

1930.

The first fan was invented in 1882, but it was pretty useless until electricity made it out here to the country.

So, that means, nothing…nothing until at LEAST 1930!

Now, more details of living in the past.

Clothes.

This is a modern version of what the woman of the era would have worn.

Thank you to Fashion through History for the contribution.

I mean, just look at those layers.  Not to mention, there was no such thing as Dri-FIT back then.  Just cotton and wool, primarily.  Not to mention, it wasn’t think cotton like we are used to today.  There was a blend called Linsey-Wooley which was very common in Colonial America. If you are really interested, you can even purchase reproduced materials here.

Not that women on the farm wore corsets, but they for sure wore petticoats.

For bedtime…it was almost as bad.

I am sure these are bit a fancy for farm life, but you get the idea. It had to have been rough. I can only imagine.

Not to mention…Bonnets.

They wore bonnets.

So, when it was all put together…it was like wearing a sweat bag all day long.

All of this brings me to this point.

I have toughed out this summer.  Partially because I didn’t have many options with only one outlet upstairs. It’s been a tough summer in Ohio.  Needless to say.

So, last night, in the middle of the night, when the dogs and I were miserable, I was thinking about the people who built this house and how they survived the heat.

I have come to this conclusion.  I have no idea how they did it.  Nor can I imagine how everyone smelled with the weekly baths and all.

I am thankful to live in 2016…even with all of it’s woes.

If you would like to read more…check out these sites for some bonus fun facts!

Legacy.com

Mental Floss

Now, go enjoy your electricity and hopefully air conditioning!

Peace out peeps.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Layer 1

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.