Moving to the Country . . . .
Summer Break Coming to an End
We've been reaping the rewards of planting a garden, even though it seemed like I had planted weeds instead. I canned pickles and pizza sauce, dried tomatoes, beans, and hot peppers, froze peas, beans, peppers, and zucchini. I have some butternut squash and pumpkin to process this weekend and we still have sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelon to be had. The squash bugs ruined all but one of my pumpkins and the last of the zucchini. Next year we'll be able to harvest some of the asparagus and rhubarb we planted.
I am hoping that having lived and learned through one gardening season, next year's will be better and more diverse. We are also considering converting the blacksmith shop/wood shed into a chicken coop, so I should have a lot of "natural" fertilizer. I went chemical free this year but was not as diligent with pest and weed control as I should have been. You live, you learn. It didn't help that it was planted only two weeks after the virgin soil had been ploughed. There was no time for the grass to die out completely. It was still worth it. Next year....
We've attended an ice cream festival, a county fair (hubs first), a "dinner in the fields" fundraiser (met some of more locals), several auctions, and found a cool new place to eat. Tomorrow we are going to an auction that I've been looking forward to for quite awhile....a 5000+ sf Queen Anne home with all its furnishings. It was donated to the historical society but has become too costly for them to keep up. We're going tonight for a preview.
Last month we made a visit to the local historical society to research our house and met a few ladies from the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). They were such a great help! One of them found loads of info about the house for us and family from before it was built (1814 log cabin was on property) up the last of the family that lived in it (1987). Seems the bricks were fired on site and all of the black walnut woodwork and mantels were made from trees on site as well as the heart pine floors coming from pine on the property.
The last family member that lived here has the same birthday as hubs. One of the female descendants has the same birthday as my daughter and another one has the same as mine! Two females committed suicide with carbolic acid. The families have been a mix of Methodists and Quakers originally from Pennsylvania. I still need to go through all of the material and read it....I just skimmed it because there is so much.
The front parlor has been finished except for a few decorating touches that need to be completed. The master bedroom is almost done (hanging curtains this weekend). I am currently refinishing the stairs that open onto the foyer floor. The foyer floor is done but I'm stripping the wallpaper right now.. I should have all of that done by the end of the month....fingers crossed.
Dining Room is done!
Well, it's been awhile since I've written anything about the country because we've had so much yard work and I've been working on the dining room.
The ceiling wallpaper was removed and cracks filled. You can still see where they were but it doesn't look too bad for an 1849 plastered ceiling. I put a new chandelier with a federal-style ceiling medallion behind it. I've painted everything at least 2X (and hubs painted the ceiling for me....vertigo is a pain). The Vermont Casting fireplace insert was installed and we've had our three baby fires to cure the cast iron (luckily we've had a few chilly evenings here this week).
I've already started the front parlor. Hopefully, that room will not take as long to complete since it is in much better shape than the dining room was.
And we have new farmer friends that are going to plow and till a garden for us as soon as it stops raining for more than two days in a row. They have been a great help to us these past few weeks. They brought a John Deere tractor with roller attachment and left it for us to use to get rid of the mole tunnels on the west side of the property. They have loaned us one of their trailers, they've invited us into their home and have given us lots of well appreciated advice.
The zero turn mower we inherited is in the shop and the repairman says the cost will be minimal to get her up and running like new. Another new farmer friend that owns most of the land around us mowed our most of our grass yesterday and said to let him know whenever we need help with it. The people here are great.
The apple trees are still blooming and the peach trees are looking to bloom. We've had daffodils come and go and now we have a few hundred purple irisis blooming. I also discovered some huge yellow tulips at the edge of the property close to the road hidden within some bushes that are in need of a trim. There are a few more trees that look like some kind of fruit but I've no idea what they are . . . I think two of them are mulberries and maybe one is a cherry....I just don't know as I've not bothered to look anything up. Hopefully I'll be planting in the next week or two before it's too late to get some of the seeds in.
Cracking and Crushing
Party time in the country this weekend! Not really....the hubs received his nutcracker from Lehman Bros. (country store to the Amish here in Ohio) AND he bought a heavy duty can crusher. He figured that since I have been working my butt off trying to do this dining room makeover, he could shell my almonds and crush the pop cans.
We ordered our gas logs and fireplace insert and have everything set up with the installer. Hopefully, they'll be here in time to breakl in this season.
On the baking scene.....we've had almond-cranberry cookies, homemade pizza, and homemade baguettes (not much else to do out here). I've got some more dough in the works today for more baguettes....it's so easy when the bread machine does the kneeding. All you do is shape and bake Hopefully, our Adele cd and The Girl That Kicked the Hornet's Nest will arrive today so our Saturday night will be set up.
Fireplaces (Part 2)
February 27, 2011
Today is Sunday (and I'm actually writing this the same day) and we have decided to go with a Vermont Castings fireplace insert and surround. It will pay for itself in three years (or less) as we have 153 trees on our property (three of which are giant dead oaks, two have already been cut down just waiting to be made into firewood). and seasoned wood is pretty easy and inexpensive to come be out here.
There was another insert that I wanted a little more but as we belong to Direct Buy (and they carry VC but not Hearthstone) we just could not justify the extra $$.
Dining Room (Part 4)
February 26, 2011
I am about two-thirds done with removing the paste off the ceiling . . . . nasty, nasty, nasty. The goal is to prime, repair, prime, and paint the ceiling next weekend.
My chandelier and ceiling medallion have arrived and are patiently waiting in their boxes to be installed. In the meantime, I'm still researching those inserts.
February 24, 2011
Our chimney inspector gives us the go-ahead on the gas conversions and says that the dining room fireplace is good to burn wood in or fit for an insert. It has a top-of-line stainless steel liner in it that has been set up for an insert. We start to think about it. He is also going to give us a quote on the gas conversions because Grandpa the Plumber has yet to call us back.
We start researching fireplace inserts, BTUs, efficient green inserts, tax rebates, etc. We are on a mission.
Dining Room (Part 3)
February 19, 2011
Today is a lovely day....60s F. We went to an auction and had a plumber come out to give us an estimate on coverting the front parlor and master bedroom fireplaces to gas. The plumber is nice enough but rambles...he admits he's in his 70s. He says he can do the job and will get back with me with a price later in the week.
When he leaves I go out and discover buckets of almonds on the ground under our three trees. I had no idea, because they had been covered in snow since we moved in. I gather up about three gallon of them and bring them in to husk and shell. About every 9th or 10th one is rotted but that's okay....the rest our so nice and the smell is great:)
The Dining Room (Part 2)
February 13, 2011
It took me almost a week of evenings and another weekend to finally get all the paper off the ceiling and wallborder. People, it is never a good idea to paper your ceiling....NEVER!
The Dining Room
February 5, 2011
Today is Saturday and I've decided that I would start my old house makeover with this room. It is a fairly large dining room with a large fireplace that has been fitted with a new stainless steel liner. I plan on getting a chimney inspector out soon to check it out before we burn any fires in it though.
Where do I start? The plastered ceiling is covered in wallpaper! It was done to hide cracks but guess what? It does hide them very well. I've decided that I will take it down, do any repairs needed, and live with the hairline cracks. The room is 160+ years old....I think it's doing pretty well with just a few wrinkles.
It takes about five hours to get only one-third of the paper off, not including the paste that was left behind. I'll have to go back for that. I have an 8' stepladder to peel this mess off 10.5' ceilings....catch me if I fall.
Back to Realty
February 3, 2011
I got up this morning and had to get ready to go back to work....my first day in six days....blah. The good news was we had a two-hour delay so I was able to find everything I needed to take, get my lunch ready and find clean, ironed clothes to wear without running late.
By the time I got to school it was a bright sunny day...excellent.
The Ice Storm (Day 2)
February 2, 2011
Today is Wednesday, the third day in our new home and everything is still a wreck. I really don't care because I'm warm, fed, clean, and making some progress. And the satellite guy got our dish installed last night before the second round of ice and snow hit......HGTV, DIY, Food Network, BBCA, FSC, and movies!
The Ice Storm
February 1, 2011
During the night our area had a pretty big winter storm with snow and ice. People all around had lost power but us folk out in the country did not. We would have been camped out in front of the gas fireplace if it had. It seems that it had hit our old suburb pretty hard and thousands of people were lectrid-less, including one of our good friends who had moved the week prior. At least they had a fireplace insert that was truly a heat-making machine. They ended up "moving in" with mom because their power was out for over a week!
Hubs and I set off for a day of kitchen cleaning and unpacking. That evening I got the call that school was canceled again for the following day....we had more snow/ice. Hubs called his boss to see if he could take a vacation day....no probs.
Moving In (Day 4)
January 31, 2011
Today is our last day in suburbia (aside from work). We both have personal days scheduled so we can supervise the movers. We hired a company from our new town to do the job. They had great reviews and the best price. They arrived promptly and started the job.
I have moved several times and have had the pros do it the last three and these locals were by far the very best. They were professional but friendly, they went about their work diligently, only stopping when we asked them something. They did an excellent job and treated our move like it was their own. Hubs wrote a nice long letter to the owner letting him know what good movers "Mark" and "Dave" were. They had to remove doors to get some of our things out of the old house and into the new house, they had to partially dismantle our giant fridge to get it into an 1849 doorway, and didn't damage a thing. They treated my piano as if it was a baby. Great move = great tip. They really appreciated it.
That night we went to the local Frisch's to eat, then back home for an early bedtime. I had work the next day but hubs had scheduled another day off. As we were sitting watching a little TV I got a call saying that my school where I work was on a 2-hour delay....the ice storm had started. An hour or so later school was canceleld. It turned out to be a good thing because I was really sore the next morning......I'm getting too old for this stuff.
Moving In (Day 3)
January 30, 2011
It is Sunday and we are going to move the kitchen items today (and anything else we can squeeze into the Ram). The day is uneventful and all goes according to plan. We are now ready for the pros to come tomorrow and move the furniture and piano.
Moving In (Day 2)
January 29, 2011
We arrived back at the new place around 6:45 am the next day (Saturday) with a Ram truckload of our stuff. This was mostly garage and basement items. We had already delivered the lawn furniture the night before closing when we went for our walk-through.
After unloading the goods, we went to the local Budget Truck Rental to pick up our 16' vehicle. We were going to move all our boxes ourselves today. Fun, fun, fun.
We drove back to suburbia and started loading well over 100 boxes of our life into the truck. Poor pup had to stay penned up in Puppy Palace for the duration. He wouldn't be going to the country today. We headed back to the country and unloaded the boxes, did a little bit of cleaning, returned the rental, then headed back to suburbia for another fast food dining experience.
January 28, 2011
We closed the deal on 1/28/11 and received the keys immediately. Our plan was to go to the house that night and remove the old carpeting that was covering three of the rooms. However, the night before we had down a final "walk through" with our realtor and discovered that the sellers had let the oil for the boiler run out. The emergency heat from the heat pump was keeping the temperature at a toasty 50 degrees F, but it was not going to be warm enough for me to do any type of work.
The morning of the closing I called the oil supplier to order the oil and was informed that there was little hope of having it delivered that day even if I wanted to pay the extra $100 emergency delivery fee. I said no thanks to the emergency delivery and told them to deliver it according to the normal schedule they used to service my area. I let my realtor know who in turn let the sellers' realtor know (he worked for my realtor as she and her husband owned the realty company that employed him). When we arrived at the house after the closing we magically had heat and later found out that someone else paid for the oil. We had a $500+ credit to our account now because I paid in advance for my order. Welcome to the country.
We spent three hours ripping up the carpet and left. We stopped by for some tastey fast food (not) and went back to suburbia for the night. We were exhausted and so was the dog.
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Recent EntriesSummer Break Coming to an End
Dining Room is done!
Cracking and Crushing
Fireplaces (Part 2)
Dining Room (Part 4)