Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mid-week kitteh

Freya was too busy napping to have her picture taken this week, so Maddy is stepping in for her in the kyoot kitteh department.

Kitteh among the chickens. I actually had to look twice to figure out if Maddy was a Buff Orpington chicken, or a kitteh!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Painting the workshop

We've finally managed to get around to painting the exterior of the workshop.

Working on priming.

Priming complete.

Both the hubby and I are horrible at picking out paint colors. Since the entire exterior of the house needs to be scraped and painted, we decided to get some professional help to choose colors. Enter our friend D.A., who helped us choose a nice tan for the base color and a very dark green (almost black) for the trim. Thank you, D.A.!

The great thing about the tan is that it doesn't make the brick look too pink.

And it even mostly goes with the limestone we have, too!

We're hoping to paint the trim this weekend (in between rainstorms), so I'll post pictures of the finished product!

Friday, November 19, 2010

One year

It's hard to believe, but today is exactly one year since we bought the house. This time last year, we were sitting in a closing wondering if we were making the right decision, or if we were certifiably nuts.

Still haven't figure that one out yet, but whatever.

A year later, there are days when we look around and are completely overwhelmed about how much we have yet to do. And then there are days when we think about the incredible amount of work we have already done. But here are some highlights of what's happened in the past year:

We demoed the pink bathroom...

...and the yellow one.

Then we reassembled them.But not at the same time.

We met some of the neighbors.

We built a wall to make a new bedroom.

We painted both of the kiddo's rooms.

We gained invaluable insight on why chickens cross roads.

We rebuilt the laundry room and put in a tile floor. We also tiled the hallway.

We tore out all the barbed wire fencing and repaired the perimeter fence, put up a sacrifice paddock, and built an additional fence line.

We ate a lot of eggs.

We tore down the carport.

We had the house re-plumbed, and we had a solar water heater installed.

We had our 5 panel boxes consolidated into one, and had 220 amp electric run to the property.

We learned how to snake out a drain...

... and hot wire a tractor.

I tried to grow a garden, but it didn't work out so well.

The family helped us tear down the front gates.

We had a gas line run to the kitchen...

... so that we could install a gas range. We also replaced all the other appliances in the kitchen.

We had a French door installed instead of our falling-apart picture window.

We adopted Anie...

... Maddy...

... and Artemis...

... and we found a home for the stray kitten that showed up.

We had half a new roof installed.

We got the fireplace repaired.

We built out the hubby's workshop and painted it.

Probably I am missing a few things, but I think that covers the basics.

And, we're still happily married, we haven't damaged any body parts with power tools, and we haven't managed to electrocute ourselves or blow anything up. I'd say that in of itself is cause for celebration!

Hopefully in the next year we'll get to a bunch of the projects we didn't complete this year, including:
  • Finish both bathrooms (they just need a little bit to finish them completely, really!)
  • Build out the interior of the hubby's workshop
  • Paint and weatherize the exterior of the house
  • Tear down the cisterns and the shed and then build the barn
  • Build out a front porch and back deck
  • Finish the back garden and add in some landscaping on the front of the house
  • Have the other half of the house re-roofed
  • Put in a new front fence and gate
  • Remodel the kitchen
  • Paint the living room and family room
  • Start working on the guest house
Doesn't sound like too much, does it? I think we can get most of it done next week... ;)


Irony? I think so...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mid-week kitteh

Normally, Freya and Bailey don't get along very well. Bailey chases Freya and tries to usurp her space on my lap. Poor Freya.

The other day, Freya and Bailey declared somewhat of a truce. At least long enough for me to snap this picture.

Freya says the she is merely tolerating Bailey in her bed.

We'll be back to cute kitteh pictures next week, never fear.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Now, if we could just have a bit of cold weather...

One of the major problems with the house when we bought it was the fireplace. In fact, our inspector said it was in such bad shape that we should not use it and should even consider ripping it out. We're pretty fond of fires in the winter, so we decided to keep it, and we finally got our fireplace repair guy out this week to fix it.

First off, he replaced the damper, which was rusted through. He added a nice little pull chain so we can open and close it easily. Next, he added a bunch of bricks up behind the firebox - apparently there was nothing but space there before! Definitely a fire hazard. He replaced the chimney cap, and re-mortared all of the bricks on the back of the fire box, which were in pretty bad shape.

New damper chain.

Bricks in the back of the firebox have been repositioned and re-mortared.

We'll actually have to have the fire box rebuilt in a few years most likely - it depends on how long the repairs he did to the brick hold up. However, we may end up turning this into a double-sided gas fireplace when we redo the kitchen - it's really not clear what the long-term plans are for the fireplace. For now, it's functional and safe. All we need is a nice cold snap so that we have an excuse to build a fire!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Perhaps my earlier rant about the challenges of successfully ordering a French door that swings out instead of in moved something in the heavens, or maybe it's just that we were finally doing business with a company that cared. Whatever, but when Lowe's screwed up our door order this week, they were extremely apologetic. So much so that they put our contractor in touch with the mill that makes their doors, which happens to be about 15 minutes from our contractor's house. He went to the mill, watched them while they made the door, and then brought it to our house and installed it yesterday.

Look! A door!

And because this project is simply not meant to go as planned, as they were unloading the glass transom windows that go on either side of the door, one of the windows tapped the bumper of the truck and broke. Sigh. The new one should be in... you guessed it, next Wednesday.

Until then, this is the new view from my living room. It's gonna look great!

Today our contractor comes back to put on doorknobs and do as much of the trimwork as possible without the second transom window. I'm bummed that he wasn't able to finish the job, but I'm really happy with the way it's going to look when it's done!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Leetle fuzzy things

I found this guy making tracks across the back pasture the other day.

He's a "woollybear" caterpillar, which turns into a Great Leopard Moth.

You don't want to touch these guys, as they can sting you.

Even the chickens were staying away!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Daring Jumping Spider

If you don't like spiders, skip this post.

Yesterday when I was out opening gates for the boys, I came across a rather large black spider with white spots eating a rather large brown spider.

The black-and-white one is called a Daring Jumping Spider. Apparently they're quite common here. And if I'd known when I was taking pictures that they can jump 30 times their body length, I would not have been holding the camera this close to the spider.

Not sure what the brown spider is, but they only come out at night and build very large webs. The spider - and the web - are usually gone by morning, only to be back the next night. We call them "the night crew".

Now, go look at pictures of kittehs or something to get the icky spiders out of your mind. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mid-week kitteh

My hubby travels a lot. Mostly he enjoys the worldwide travel, but I know he's also happy to be home.

Despite all the traveling he does, he still asks for advice on what to pack. Fortunately, we have an expert right here in the house.

Honey, did you remember to unpack the cat before leaving?

Because you know, you wouldn't want all that extra cat hair on your sweater when you arrive in London.

OTOH, a warm fuzzy kitty might be useful as a scarf if you're traveling to Fairbanks, Alaska. In February.

And yes, I am staying home for that trip. I'm not that crazy! ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is it really that hard?

You may recall a few weeks ago when I posted about replacing the window in our family room with a French door. The plan was to do tear-down on a Wednesday, then have the special-order door (that swings out instead of in) arrive late Wednesday afternoon, then have it installed on Thursday.

Well, we got as far as the tear-down. The special order door that swings out? They sent us the regular one that swings in. In fact, Home Depot has FIVE other doors that swing in, exactly like the one they sent us. Grrr.

So, we re-ordered. Did I mention that it takes a week for the order to arrive? That's right, big orders like French doors only come in on Wednesday afternoons. They sent us a new door the following week, but this time it was the wrong size. After complaining loudly to the manager, and having our contractor complain loudly as well, we re-ordered. Again. Last week, the door didn't even come in. That's right, some eedjiot didn't manage to press the "order" button on the computer after taking our order (again) and charging us for it. Seriously? They offered to order it for us yet another time, and this time they weren't even apologetic about it. Not even an "I'm sorry, we screwed up." They promised to call us back on Thursday morning first thing after checking to see if they could get it shipped specially (which they didn't) - and so we took our business to Lowe's.

The door arrived this afternoon (Tuesday) as promised... but the damn thing swings in! Is it REALLY THAT HARD to get an order right? I have a huge hole in my family room that's been there for almost a month, because people can't get this stupid order straight!


Our contractor, who is a great guy, is trying to track down another door. Hopefully we'll find something soon. Like, before it gets cold and rainy maybe?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Artemis, queen of the hunt

Artemis was spayed last week, and she's healing well. So, I decided to let her out of the workshop for a few hours so that she can start honing her mouser-kitty skills and get the lay of the land.

Artemis is definitely much more of a huntress than Maddy is. She spent her time crouching and pouncing on all sorts of things, both real and imagined. The chickens were particularly interesting, although she aborted all of her attempts to pounce on them. I think she was just so excited to get out of the workshop that she spent all of her time running around! She even went under the horse shed and the guest house, and I know we have rabbits living under there. I expect we may have a present or two in the near future when Artemis is allowed out for longer periods of time.

Exploring the carport (sheesh, do I need to clean up the scrap wood pile!)

Contemplating going out the grass...

Surveying her new domain.

Preparing for the pounce! (which was aborted)

Nonchalantly sharpening her claws on a tree while being watched by three of the chickens.

As the sun was setting, I lured Artemis over to me, picked her up, and put her back into the workshop. She's not as willing to come when called as Maddy is, so I didn't want to leave it till dark. As I was checking food and water in the workshop, I saw a smallish brown scorpion - with no tail! Foxfire has a cat that can pull the tail off scorpions, so maybe Maddy or Artemis can do the same? That would be awesome! Or, if they just want to kill them while they're at it, that would be even better! Hopefully, they have already started their jobs as huntresses. I'm actually looking forward to the first "present" that someone leaves us on the doorstep, although that will probably lose its appeal fairly quickly.