Posts tagged ‘Farmhouse’

Moving On To New Pastures

Photo by M.A.D.

Photo by M.A.D.

 

I call it adventures in living. I will be absent from this blog for a while. The time is undetermined, as I will be working along with my sidekick, building a new life, new dreams, and taking a leap of faith. During this time, I will be unable to reply to any comments or comment on any of my favorite blogs. I will miss you all, and as soon as I am able to return to blogging, I will share some of the process. I hope you don’t forget Inkspeare and stop by to read some of the older posts. We will be relocating to more natural and bucolic surroundings, and disconnected for a little while.

Wish us luck, keep us in your prayers, and may God bless you all.

Love,

Inkspeare

A Farmette in the Future

As promised, here is a design of what the Farmette will look like ideally, and what we want to do with it.  It will take some time before all the pieces come together, but eventually they will.

MILL CREEK LITTLE TREES

MILL CREEK LITTLE TREES

The ultimate plan is to “live of the land” and certainly a simply and organic farm life, so we can both pursue our passions, as well as work together.  It is a ton of work with much patience required, and much dedication, as well as physical strength (hence the 60 days to fitness).  This is the plan now, and while this plan projects years ahead, it is something that we feel we can follow, and create little by little, step by step.

We have named the place MILL CREEK LITTLE TREES, and as you can follow in the visual plan, it includes an area for the veggie garden, as well as areas for a greenhouse, sheds, patio, workshop/garage, garden, cottage, parking, fruit stand, and christmas tree farm.  If we decide to have farm animals (which I don’t think we will since we are only two people, maybe chickens for eggs and a goat for milk – but I doubt it) they will have their home in the back where it is nice and shady, as well as breezy.  The rest of the farm is to the back of the farmhouse, and it is all trees and wild vegetation, which we have no immediate plans for, but which will be great for growing more christmas trees.  Christmas trees take many years to grow to full commercial size, so this is something that we know will go slow.

I started to put on paper some of the steps and creating a work-plan to implement these ideas, and each area will have its own “work-plan” and most likely, I will start creating all the business paraphernalia that will follow – website, flyers, cards, promos … all that stuff since I am able to do that myself.  In the mean time, whatever we don’t know yet, we’ll start learning.  I have a motto and that is “there is nothing that cannot be learned at one point or another, if you make the time.”

Right now, everything looks so intimidating and overwhelming, especially when the budget is $0.00, but I have learned that “once in your mind, the only one stopping it to reality is you” so as far as I believe, it is done in its own perfect time with God’s blessing.

I hope that you enjoy this post, and I will keep posting any progress, as usual.

Restoring an Old Farmhouse – Autumn Agenda 2012

It is time to set up the agenda for the next restoration trip, but this time we have a mix of chores.  Some require no money to complete and other chores do require a heftier budget.  We are at a point were some things have to be done first before continuing with some parts of the restoration and many of them are expensive.  Since – amazingly – the roof is not leaking (the biggest price tag), we decided to do that later and attack other issues.  Since we have to stretch the funds (playing by the rules is cash only), this agenda will be mixed and varied, with no particular day order, unlike past agendas.  Hopefully, we’ll get there before winter.

Here is a list of some things that we will attempt on that week.  This time, we don’t have to cut the grass since we hired someone who is doing the job monthly.  We may have to trim some overgrown trees.  This frees up an entire day and a half, so we can work on something else.  We will work on these things:

  • Set up part of the electrical
  • Gut the bathroom
  • Open the backroom floor and reinforce some woods
  • Spray for bugs again (last time we found another black widow spider when Eddie picked up a cement block outside – he was lucky that his fingers were not underneath it)
  • Patch up a wall
  • Deliver some material there.
  • Anything else we can work on if time permits.

I think this will keep us busy, but I am not sure that we will be able to finish everything on the list.  Lets see how we do this time.  As always, I will break down the cost and write a post plus pictures.

 

UPDATE 11/8/2012 – Due to the recent hurricane and setbacks we had to cancel this renovation until next year.

Restoring an Old Farmhouse – Back from Summer Trip

I’m back and looking forward to catching up with some of your posts.  In order to enter the cyberworld again, I am motivating myself with a good cup of coffee at hand, the aroma of a vanilla scented candle, and fresh flowers from the garden – that should do it.  I am happy to say that we accomplished must of the work that we planned on this trip’s agenda.   This is what the agenda looked like and what really happened.

Saturday – Drive there.

We enjoyed the drive there – gorgeous skies and …

the unusual.

Sunday – Cut the blessed grass – again.

  • We cut part of the grass, and had rain in the afternoon, for a few days.  We cleaned one room (vacuum every crevice and got rid of some old wood) to store all material in it.  We kept some good pieces of wood that we can reuse.  We unloaded the truck with the material we transported  – cabinets, tools, flooring, lighting …  We have been able to find great material at half the cost or less.  If you are doing a similar project, a great source for material is Craigslist, where you can find pretty much everything at huge discounts (new and used) and even free.  We got our kitchen cabinets from a contractor, and they were brand new from a showroom – we paid only $60.00 for pieces that would have retailed for about $1,000.  The flooring (brand new) for two rooms was free.  Just to give you an example.

Cabinets – a huge savings

Boxes of flooring

Room full of Moulding and a few boxes of tile – we got this from a commercial contractor (via Craigslist) for a fraction of the cost – paid only $260.00 for all.  This will be enough for the entire house.  Due to the large quantity, we were unable to transport it on this trip, but will do it in the next.

These findings have helped our budget immensely. 

Monday – Finish the steps outside and paint them.  Clean the inside, plus we have to vacuum the entire place and eliminate some debris that is still inside.  That will take all day.  Take measurements for Tuesday’s job.  Measure the inside stairs as well.

  •  We vacuumed the entire place, walls, floor and ceiling.  We cleaned the windows and doors, as well.  This took the entire day.

Tuesday – We are planning to build the frame for the upstairs closets.  If there is any time left, we will start working on the next day job.

  • We built the frame for his and hers closets.  We bought the material in the am and worked the rest of the day.

Hers closet

His closet

We got two prehung closet doors, which will be installed later. 

Wednesday – We need to spackle and fix the stairway wall, which we are keeping since the stairs where build after it was up.  We figured that since it is still in good shape it only needs some spackle, sanding, and some paint much later.  We are planning on highlighting this wall and make it a family tree wall later on, where family pics will hang.  We also want to work on fixing the steps, which have to be built new and have a non-standard shape and size – it figures.

  • We decided to keep the original stairway and only replaced the broken steps.  In the afternoon, we finished cutting the grass and trimming the trees, since it did not rain.

These steps are over 100 years – it would have been a shame to change them, so we decided to keep them, reinforce them, and replace the damaged wood only.  They are very sturdy. 

The blessed grass was tall. 

 

My hands were so swollen from work, that I had to remove my wedding ring which was already cutting into the skin.  Not pretty. 

Thursday – Finish working on steps if not finished.  That day we plan to work on opening the floor in the backroom and fix/support any beams that may need support.  We will have to lay down the wood without nailing as the burst plumbing presents an issue.

  • Since we only had two more days of work and the forecast showed no rain for two days, only overcast, we decided to work on the steps outside.  We figured that the cement would dry in a day and we could paint them before we left.

We used the wheelbarrow to mix the cement.

Getting there.

Could not resist adding this touch (Eddie loves Piny) .

I plan to add something fun or pretty on each trip – something not so work related – just to lighten up the load and keep me “fun-focus.”  This time I added a few fun touches.

A rooster hook on the back door that will be used to hang a beautiful wreath (maybe next trip).

I wanted to give the screen door old fashion appeal, so I thought that this old-fashioned latch was perfect for it.

We don’t want a door bell so we opted for an old-fashioned Eagle door knocker. 

Friday – Finish anything that needs to be done from this agenda.  Some beams upstairs need a bit of reinforcement which won’t take much time.  If nothing else, then we can tackle fixing the outside porch beams, which need that some of the wood be replaced, but we are looking at that as an extra task.

  • We painted the steps.  They used to look like …

this!  Ouch! 

Now it is more like this.

That day, we decided to paint the cement around the foundation.

It is starting to look cleaner; we still need to paint the siding and put a new roof – but at least we are getting there. 

  • We also had time to tackle the porch columns, which were broken.  They used to look like this.

The rotten wood had to be replaced, sealed, and painted.

We had to cut the wood to the same existing shape.

 Painted columns.  Hard work.

So far, this porch has gone from this

 to this.

We still have tons of work to do, but when we look back at where we started, we see tons of progress. 

Saturday – We will travel back to Jersey.

  • We decided to stop by before leaving on Saturday and install the 3 fan brackets.  Before closing up, we made sure to set up foggers, as we found another black widow lurking under a cinder block that Eddie happened to pick up.  We will have to call the exterminator again in case that there are more.

We left around 11:30 am since we had a 10 hour drive ahead.  It was a lot of work for a few days, an although we decided to leave the back room alone, we feel that we accomplished most of the things in the agenda and a few extra.  We budgeted $1300 for this trip, and we came under budget at $1217.90

Food – $121.19

Gas – $405.49

Materials – $411.12

Misc/pet care – $280.00

 

Now, we have to start planning for the fall trip.  I hope you enjoy this post and that it is useful to some of you who may be thinking about restoring an old house.

Restoring an Old Farmhouse – Summer Trip

With just a couple of weeks to go, it is time to set up the agenda for the next “restoration trip” and I have to say that although we have done a lot with a very tight budget, we still have a long way to go and it seems that the roof will make us break the original budget of $13,000 for the entire project.  The estimate for the roof is around $5,000, which as you can see, will take us up to roughly the amount of the original budget.  But we have decided to hold off on the roof for a couple months.  So far, we have spent (tightly) $7245 on work and materials, not counting the expenses on gas, food, and other misc that the trip require (about $500 each trip).    Now, some big-ticket items such as windows had to be custom-made due to the size and opening of the original windows not matching standard materials, and pretty much, that has been the story with everything else we have attempted, and that is, we are doing much of the work ourselves (except for the windows and termite/bug treatments).  Just to give you and idea of the condition of the house from when we spotted it until now, this earlier post describes it best, at least on the outside.  For more pictures and details you can type farmhouse on the search box of this blog and it will bring up some older posts.

https://inkspeare.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/restoring-an-old-farmhouse-on-a-budget-2/

Once we get past the roof, the next big-ticket item will be the well, that is, if it is dry – as we don’t know for sure.  Then, the rest will be easier.  So far, this trip’s agenda looks like this.

Saturday – Drive there.

Sunday – Cut the blessed grass – again.

Monday – Finish the steps outside and paint them.  Clean the inside, plus we have to vacuum the entire place and eliminate some debris that is still inside.  That will take all day.  Take measurements for Tuesday’s job.  Measure the inside stairs as well.

Tuesday – We are planning to build the frame for the upstairs closets.  If there is any time left, we will start working on the next day job.

Wednesday – We need to spackle and fix the stairway wall, which we are keeping since the stairs where build after it was up.  We figured that since it is still in good shape it only needs some spackle, sanding, and some paint much later.  We are planning on highlighting this wall and make it a family tree wall later on, where family pics will hang.  We also want to work on fixing the steps, which have to be built new and have a non-standard shape and size – it figures.

Thursday – Finish working on steps if not finished.  That day we plan to work on opening the floor in the backroom and fix/support any beams that may need support.  We will have to lay down the wood without nailing as the burst plumbing presents an issue.

Friday – Finish anything that needs to be done from this agenda.  Some beams upstairs need a bit of reinforcement which won’t take much time.  If nothing else, then we can tackle fixing the outside porch beams, which need that some of the wood be replaced, but we are looking at that as an extra task.

Saturday – We will travel back to Jersey.

The budget for this trip is $1300.00 which includes gas, food, materials, and some miscellaneous.  Let’s see how we do this time.

DIY But Not That Easy – Restoring an Old Farmhouse (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)

Last week we drove to VA to do some work on the old farmhouse.  We try to recycle materials that are still in good usable shape before buying new.  As I mentioned before, the rules are DIY (when possible), cash-only tight budget, recycle materials (when possible), use local help/businesses (when we cannot DIY).  As promised, here is the budget/costs of the work we did.

The total cost for this agenda was $2,125.35 and this was under budget.  It included:

  • Food – $104.47 (This is thanks to my sister and brother-in-law who fed us at night, and let us stay with them during that week).  Guys you rock!
  • Gas – $408.65 – This includes the round trip from Jersey to Virginia, as well as the everyday drive from my sister’s home to the farmhouse which takes about an hour.
  • Materials – $902.23 – This included door, storm door, wood, paint, hardware, special tools to do the job that we did not have at hand, and other miscellaneous needed.
  • Services – $710.00 – This included the complete bug treatment and the termite treatment.  The bug treatment was inside and out, and the termite treatment included the drilling and the trench building around the house.

So far, we have kept ourselves on budget, however, I think that the plumbing situation and possible dry well (according to some neighbors’ stories), will affect our budget; however, no need to worry about that just yet.  The roof estimate is also $1,000 over what we estimated but this is due to extra work that they have to do.  According to some people we talk to, we are getting a good deal.  We are doing this restoration in steps, planning our budget for each stage, and dealing with issues as related to a particular stage, which makes it less overwhelming.  The goal is to restore the home to its old beauty, as close as possible to what it looked like when it was built, over 100 years ago, which only means that fancy and modern materials do not belong in the project, which keeps our budget low.  In addition, reusing, repurposing, and recycling applies.  We are not changing the layout or opening any walls/spaces; it will be done as it was done when the house was built.  The look we are going for is farmhouse early American, a bit rough and old-fashioned.  The goal is to capture the feeling of stepping back in time about 100 years.  One thing I have to say is that it works for us but not for a lot of people; some people may not like it at all, and may think that we are either,

  • insane/crazy
  • hungry/poor
  • tacky or cheap
  • in bad taste
  • city slickers
  • foreseeing a divorce
  • hippies
  • suffer from obsessive behavior

While other people will

  • love it
  • be inspired to do the same or follow their bliss
  • admire us and give us credit for the undertaking of such project
  • benefit from learning how to do things without the need of credit cards and on a low-budget
  • appreciate the simple life
  • understand our taste
  • wish us well

It is not an easy job.  My first (and I hope only) meltdown came unexpected.  Little did I know that after a beautiful country ride, passing by the many creeks that have the most unusual (and cute) names – Pan fry creek, Potter’s creek, Piggs creek – ahead, my first unexpected meltdown was waiting for me, as I sat down, for about an hour, crying inside the air-conditioned truck, mindless of that fact (waste), and feeling entitled to some comforts, while looking at the blister on the palm of my hand and feeling sorry for myself, while my husband looked amused at my out-of-the-sudden-tamtrum, which was caused by the same overgrown grass/bushes that we have to cut on every trip, and the black widow lurking on one of the tractors.  After I had a snack and enjoyed the comforts of the truck, I was ready to tackle the job.

Here are a few pictures of the job we did on this trip and the area.

The beautiful and inspiring roads.

The lovely morning sky.

A foggy morning.

Waking up before the moon goes to sleep.

The farmland of many dreams.

The happy signs we pass by.

One of two rainbows I saw that day.

An adorable visitor – calico mom to be.

Chemtrail formation – I saw many on that day.

Historic Chatham

Downtown and some historic buildings.

The tractor batteries had to be charged, as they died.  The machines had to be blown with a leaf blower to make sure there were no spiders hiding.

The grass is cut, after the meltdown.

Black Widow Eggs?  We found tons of those around.

The bug people arrived to the rescue.  I loved this friendly company and how they helped us right away.  They rock!

We removed the damaged wood in the kitchen floor.

Replaced with new wood but were unable to nail because the plumbing underneath burst, and we will need access to it.

Busted Pipes.

Rotten back door and weak floor/wall.

Condition of rotten floor, subfloor, frame.

Weak wall

Removed door and frame leaving a non-standard opening.

Removed piece of subfloor and floor to fix the weak areas underneath while lifting the room.

New door and screen door installed once everything was fixed.  This blue is the original color of the house as we found out when we saw the first layer of paint on the porch ceiling.  I had picked this color way before we discovered it; I guess the house spoke to me.  We were unable to fix the steps which need to be cemented and painted.  The railing we kept, painted it, and maybe in the future it will be replaced with a fiberglass railing which does not rot, hopefully recycled or made with recycled materials.  We still need to install a door plate, maybe next trip.  We built the awning trying to mimic what it would look during that time, using tin and wood.  Here are more pictures of the back door and awning.  It is not crooked, I assure you, the pictures came out like that.  We used a level all the time.

So the back door went from this to this.

Once we fix the steps, paint them and paint the aluminum siding it will look better, but for now, it is an improvement.

Hope you enjoy this project.

Restoring an Old Farmhouse – Upcoming Trip and Agenda

Slowly but steady – that is how I describe our progress fixing the old farmhouse.  We are due for a restoration trip and we are planning the agenda.  As usual, we try to cram all kinds of tasks and chores in 6 days, and as usual we will be working from sun up till sun down, trying to cover everything in the agenda.  If you have followed the restoration, you probably got tired of waiting but the drive there is long and we are following the rules, which are cash only and diy.  In addition, the materials and people hired for the jobs that we cannot do ourselves must be local businesses, small businesses preferable.  In addition, we don’t want to change anything, we want to restore it and keep it as close to the original house, so we basically will be following what is there and fixing or replacing; however, due to the poor condition everything has to be replaced, and right now, the house is just an empty shell on the inside, as all walls and fixtures have been removed –  picture just wood.  It is helpful to mention that there is no running water or electricity, which slows us down a bit.

So here is what the agenda looks like, so far.  Hopefully we will be able to tackle everything on the list.

Day 1 – Cut all grass and spruce up outside (this takes all day).  Set up a roof estimate.

Day 2 – Pull out all nails from the wooden walls – It is an old construction, over 100 years old, so the wood is very hard, and there are nails everywhere.  There must be more than a thousand nails, which we have to remove before proceeding with other work.  This will take us all day as well.  Measure the rooms where we will work. These are the kitchen and backroom,which are in need of a new floor. By floor I mean, we have to yank out the subfloor and replace with new wood.  We also have to measure the back door and replace with a new one, including a storm door.  The frame needs fixing in that area.

Day 3 –  Buy the necessary material/wood/doors.  Rip off the existing floor (subfloor) and start replacing with new.  I think we will get to do the kitchen and possibly part of the backroom.

Day 4 –  Continue with the previous day job, until finished.  We expect to be done in two days.  Take measurements for the next day project.

Day 5 – Build an awning for the back door to protect it from the elements and moisture.  That day we will buy the materials needed for that project, before heading to the house.  Measure and assess materials needed for next day project.

Day 6 –  We intend to fix the backdoor steps and paint them.  Hopefully we can get to this part, but we are not sure if we will have enough time left.  I am crossing my fingers.  The next day we are driving back.

I will post pictures of the before and after process, as usual.  To catch up from the beginning,  just write farmhouse on the search box and all the posts referring to the restoration will show up.  Here are some links, the second link contains the most important links about the restoration, from the first day.

https://inkspeare.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/gutting-the-farmhouse/

https://inkspeare.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/gutting-the-farmhouse-2/