Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Update #2

Trying to capture the beautiful sunset view from the open basement window.

Messing around with camera settings

This weekend we had a tremendous amount of help for which we are very, very grateful.  Both sides of our family pitched in and we got a lot of work done- some electrical and a LOT of yard work.  We definitely took advantage of the beautiful outdoor weather. 

Here is a BEFORE picture of two of the trees in our backyard:

And here is AFTER my nephew spent two hours attacking the bush that was growing all over the tree's trunk and after I cut down a bunch of lower limbs on the maple so that now we can walk under it:

Hey! The one on the left actually looks like a tree now! It turns out the tree isn't that healthy (perhaps because of the giant suffocating bush?), but we're going to give it some time to come back and hope for the best.

Here are some BEFORES of the weed-packed front of the house (unfortunately I didn't get an all-encompassing before shot):

And here's the AFTER that was the work of many people:
Don't mind the tiny nephew digging in the dirt.  Who needs toys?
Can you believe it?  I can't wait to pull up next weekend and be greeted by this view!

Also the south tree got trimmed and so is no longer attempting to become one with the house like it used to:

And here is the giant pile of tree trimmings we amassed:

We also did some inside projects.  For example, all the Breezeway carpet is now gone and there is pretty much no more smell!  Now to get all the carpet glue off of the cement...

We took down a really good portion of the old 1921 knob and tube wiring, though I took this picture a little too early because the pile got much, much bigger:
Here they are in action:
Yeah, that's right.  I still use Paint.
Next up is to do a little re-wiring because now there is no ceiling light power in the dining room or two of the bedrooms.

I also knocked down most of the strange wooden contraption, but didn't take an after picture. Here's a before:

And here's the use-your-imagination-after:

We also got some other things accomplished:
  • got two of the basement windows to open
  • finished washing the upper-upper cabinets
  • put shelf liner in all the cabinets
  • replaced a lot of light bulbs with CFLs
  • attempted to snake the bathroom sink drain, but it still doesn't drain, sigh
  • hand-edged the driveway (thanks big nephew!)
  • carried up all the random metal pieces that used to be in the crawlspaces to add to our growing Metal Pile
  • vacuumed out the garage and some of the basement
  • knocked down all the old bug nests (wasp? hornet? not sure)
  • carried old wood trim pieces out of the attic
  • cleaned out the gutters
  • put in an updated (non-knob & tube) outlet for the sump pump and radon mitigation system to plug into 
I feel very lucky to have all the help we do!  We even got an aerial tour of our property (there is a mystery unplanted small rectangle in the cornfield...) via a future brother-in-law's quadricopter!


  1. Will the tiny nephew be part of your view next weekend too?
    Lots of good work done, and the exterior looks much better. Do you know the names of all the desirable vegetation now?
    I am glad you use Paint, as your notations were easy to read.
    A quadricopter tour of your land -- sounds exotic. It is easier to go above a cornfield than to walk in a modern one, with the plants so very close together. One spot that has poor drainage?
    One last question: Are the stairs from the house to the breezeway concrete, as the appear? So once they were outdoor stairs, then enclosed? If so, very sturdy, with many possibilities for the final finish.
    Sounds like a very productive weekend, with some fun and as well as hard work.

  2. I don't think E will be there next week. It's an hour drive for them and they have lots of their own house projects to attend to as well.
    I don't know the names, but I think my mom does.
    I'm not sure, it's just not planted which is mysterious to me, but probably standard to a corn farmer I'm sure.
    Yes the breezeway stairs are concrete and yes it appears to have been a set of outdoor stairs before the garage was built. They were then enclosed to make the garage be attached.

    Thanks for your comments!

  3. I am trying to figure out why you have crawl space as you go down the basement stairs. Is the full basement under the house from the living room south, including the row of bedrooms and the future craft room, but not under the kitchen? So that is where the crawl space is, under the kitchen? Or do I have this all wrong? And no basement under the front enclosed porch.
    My second mystery I think I figured out. No back door because the bedroom run along the back of the house, and then the pantry / laundry room. The door is on the north side heading to the garage, and the breezeway has doors.

  4. The crawlspaces along the stairs are underneath the kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom. There is also another crawlspace under the craft room, so I think they were all additions (the kitchen also has a different roof line and a shorter attic above it). But they seem like very old additions, so they were probably added not long after the house was built.

    Yes, you are right about the back door situation. It's hard to get to the back yard, but I don't really see a solution because there is no good place for one.

  5. I guess if I had built that breezeway, the door would have been to the back yard, not the front. Or both, for a really breezy breezeway?
    In some future time, you could put a porch/deck next to the pantry and work a door there -- but that is where you will have better ideas than I ever would!

    Ah, both ends were additions, or just built on foundation not basement, narrower, as part of the design. Those are challenges for insulation in my narrow experience. Has to be done just right -- but fortunately lots of people know how to do it just right nowadays.
    Those rooms are part of the heating system, right?

    Thanks for you quick replies!