Monday, January 21, 2013

Cold Windy Weekend

It was another busy weekend. Didn't make much progress in any area but dealt with a number of issues.

Just as we were going to move the washer and dryer to the basement last week the washer had broken. It spun itself to a screeching halt and the drum would no longer turn. I spent a little time on it and had it spinning again but this fix only lasted a few loads. Eventually it spilled water all over the basement floor, smelled like it was going to catch fire, and emitted noises as though we had placed an alley cat in the drum instead of clothes.

Luckily our neighbors Gery and Bobby Jo let us borrow a spare washer they had. Thanks guys!! This ended up working out great once we adjusted the amount of soap used so as to not overwhelm the floor drain with suds.

Saturday, the excavator came by to talk about the septic and level the dirt piles on the drain field. This would offer protection from freezing if we happen to switch over to the new system soon.

I got out on the drain field that night with a laser level to take some topography measurements. It seems the finished field will blend into the surrounding grade rather nicely on three sides. We'll need to do some grading work on the remaining side.

It was extremely windy one night. The power went out and did not come on by morning. At daybreak I went out in the sub zero wind chill and proceeded to get the generator out of the barn. I knew the main drive belt was broken but had a few spare belts to try for a fix. After handling icy sockets and breaking cold rusted bolts I found that none of the spare belts I had would fit properly. As I was ripping the machine apart the power came back on. When my fingers were thoroughly numb I decided it was time to put the generator back in the barn and warm up in the house. Upon entering the house the power went out again. We weren't sure when the power would come back on so we left for a restaurant to warm up and get some lunch. About 10 minutes after we left the neighbors let us know that the power had come back on. Frustrating!

The harsh winds had blown 3 plastic shutters off the house and scattered them in the yard. Also the wind blew open the barn doors, bending a latch in the process. I made a new stronger latch to keep them closed.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Visting the Neighbor's Farm Collection

We made a short stop recently to a neighbor's house one road over from us. The house and outbuildings always appeared grand and well kept when passing by on the road. We had read in the local paper that they housed quite a collection of antique tractors and memorabilia. The size of the personal collection we saw upon arrival was astonishing. I couldn't capture the magnitude of the entire collection in photos but here are a few of the sights we saw.

You can click on the images to enlarge and scroll through them.

Monday, January 14, 2013

More Kitchen Tear Off Prep

What a busy weekend.  

With some help from our neighbors we relocated our washer and dryer to the basement. Everything is hooked up and ready to go. We aren't quite sure yet how the floor drain will respond to the volume of water the washer will discharge.

We soldered new hookups and shutoff valves to the existing hot and cold lines.

Here is a picture of the temporary dryer setup.

You can see the beginning of our massive stockpile of storage bins in the background. We have dubbed this area, "Bin City".  It seems that we have been living out of storage bins for the last 5 or so years.

More bins...
 and more bins..

 We also capped off the water supply to the old kitchen and terminated some electrical circuits. We are nearly ready to pull the old kitchen off.

Due to the colder weather we are delaying the kitchen and cellar structure demolition.  Once we pull the kitchen off we would like to start digging the basement and pour the footings all in the matter of a couple of days. Without warmer weather for the concrete to cure properly we would simply be left with a big pit. So, for now, we are going to put things on hold until we see a warming trend with lows a bit above 25.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kitchen History Reveal

Out of curiosity we spent a little more time tearing through some of the historic wall layers in the kitchen. We may need to tear out some of the flooring a little later to cap off some utilities.

We ripped out wall coverings in the area where the sink was. We found that the current horizontal window used to be a vertical window slightly to the left of the current location.  The dark wide boards were used to fill in the lower window area. If you look closely you can see the unpainted mark left by the window dressing holder / curtain rod retainer in the upper left corner of the old window frame.

A patched area on an opposing wall revealed another change to the kitchen.

We think the interruption in the wainscoting under this window was once the location of the kitchen door. There are some photos on the House History page to support this finding.

As we pulled back more of the wall covering and got down to the plaster we discovered an entire wall with wainscoting.

The black floor accent on the bottom of the wainscoting is actually just a painted black band. We tried to rip off the wainscoting to see if some could be saved. We had little luck getting each board off in one piece as they were mounted with heavy nails in the tongue as well as from the top chair rail.

As we explored we found some of the wall was filled in with old wainscoting scraps. Some of scraps had an interesting yellow color to them. A little unnerving considering yellow paint was among one of the colors most likely to contain lead.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Septic

Today the septic field was started. To give you an idea of what the area looked like before work was started check out the last pic in the yard clearing post here: Backyard Clearing

They brought in a dozer to carve out a side of a hill and get a flat surface below the topsoil.

With the hill carved out and the area flattened some more soil was brought in.

After talking with the excavator we realized we would need to move up the appointment to have the new propane tank brought in. The current tank may be in the way of the septic tank placement.

Markers to set the field boundaries and berm height. Hopefully we can save some of the perimeter trees.

Day 2 of the septic site prep. The sand was spread out within the berm and more was delivered.

Day 3 they brought in a heck of a lot more material, the tank, and started laying the drainage system. Among the materials brought in was the washed stone to surround the drain tiles.

Here is the placement of the rectangular concrete septic tank.

The drain field effluent distribution piping was installed.

Decided to throw in a pic of the tractor since it's been quite a work horse taking care of small peripheral tasks we've needed to do during the septic installation.

Here is how the baffles are done inside the septic tank. This allows only the desired layer of effluent to pass while retaining scum and sludge.

On the final day they trenched, laid stone and pipe, and left us a nice mogul field.  The drain field may stay like this until it can be properly graded in the summer, or similar weather.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kitchen Tear Out Starts

Today began the tear out of the kitchen in preparation for the addition.

We planned on saving some of the cabinets for use in a future laundry room or pantry. Below is a picture of the original kitchen in all it's glory. Of course, this is during frantically moving everything out of the cupboards in preparation. Please excuse our mess.

We removed the stove and started our cabinet removal in the lower corner. Many layers of old wall paper were uncovered as well and some original wainscoting.

Along the way we discovered a door to the attic above the kitchen, a place not seen for many years. Our curiosity got the best of us, we had to take a peek. Unfortunately there were no long forgotten treasure chests.

 After we had to return to work the progress was a little slower but we eventually got the kitchen sink out and explored what was in the old walls a little more.

All that's left now is to relocate the washer and dryer to the basement and work on taking out any other items we might want to save.