Thursday, September 25, 2014

So Many Projects - So Little Time

We spent a good part of this past spring accumulating wood for the winter.
Cutting and hauling and splitting and stacking dry wood for this winter.
Cutting and hauling green wood for future winters.
By the time we had gotten to the unloading stage we were exhausted and dumped it all in a pile in the back yard with full intentions of cutting and stacking it all before summer arrived and it got too hot.
That never happened.  
By the time we got to that stage neither one of us could stand the thought of looking at even one log - let alone a small mountain of logs.
By early September we finally got it all done.
It was hard, frustrating work and we now have wood for the next three winters or so.
Beyond that I think we'll buy...............

Also through the winter we visited our friendly neighbors' piece of land that is located on the edge of town and that is filled with all kinds of used construction materials that the owner (happy to have some of his junk cleared away) said that we were welcome to if we could make use of it.
And so we grabbed bricks.  Hundreds of bricks. 
  And wood - lots of wood.  
Plywood and posts and beams and 2x4s, much of it gnarly and filled with nails.
All in anticipation of building yard fences and storage sheds and gates and frames for green wood storage, and whatever else we may decide to put up along the way.
By the time it was warm enough outside to begin thinking about summer projects, we had junk wood laying in every corner of the yard.
Posts over here.  2x4's over there.   Plywood against the metal outbuilding
Looking disgustingly around our yard I turned to LC and only semi-seriously said "You've got until Labor Day to get this junk out of here".
We didn't quite make Labor Day.  But we're now on the last leg of cleaning up the yard.
Dried wood - check.
Green wood - check
Plywood -check for what we needed, and check for donating a whole lot to a young man in Blackfoot who was looking for free wood to build a tree house for his kids
What we were going to use for building has been used.
What we were going to use for burning has been stored.
What we were going to store for future projects has been stored.
What we were going to cut up for firewood has been cut up...............

Our yard had trees lining two sides, and this spring and summer we planted a few small evergreens, quite a few irises, a couple of rose bush starts, four small poplar trees and three little.........somethings..........tree like somethings and I have no idea what they are.
All along the far side of the yard and in the front.
A 6 foot pine tree that we got for free from someone in Blackfoot died and we have no idea why.
But everything else seems to be doing alright, and I will be curious to see what actually survives through the winter and flourishes and continues to grow next year.............

When we first saw this house back in March of 2013 there were a number of things that really struck me about it.
First it was really cheap.
It was located in Atomic City, and there were few people who were clamoring to move to this tiny, declining little community in the desert.
Second - the yard was nice.  Flat, big, outlined with trees, and we could see the buttes and the mountains in the distance.
Third - the outside of the house was ugly as home-made sin.
Horrible dark brown wood trim around the windows, some cracked windows, many screens with tape concealing holes, faded yellow paint.  
It couldn't have been any uglier on the outside if they had consciously TRIED to make it ugly.
And then we walked inside.
We had been renting a 500-600 square foot house in Wyoming and this house was three times the size of our small rental, so it seemed huge.
It was horribly outdated.
Nice beige carpet in the living room, down the hall and into the main bedroom, but there was ugly brown carpet in the kitchen.  
Who puts carpet in a kitchen?
There was ugly shag carpet in both spare bedrooms (one of which we made into an office) - one bright orange shag and one bright green shag.  
To decide which was uglier would have been a challenge.
The counters in the kitchen were bright orange.
The walls throughout most of the house were a stained, aged, ugly cream, except for one wall in one bedroom which was painted bright yellow.
There were a few dated, sad looking decorations and fixtures left on the wall.
There were two dated and sad looking chairs left in the living room.
But there was also a wonderful and huge wood stove in the living room.
And big windows with big views.
The house was big, and strong, and solid, and I could envision what it might look like with nice furniture in the rooms, earth tone paint on the walls, with new counter tops and updates throughout the house.
It could be a good house, I thought.
It was obvious that nobody had cared about this house in years.  Decades.  But it could be a good house.
We've done a lot of things to update, and the process is ongoing.  
I knew when we moved in that it would take at least a couple of years to transform it into something decent.....................

Once I had seen the main part of the house I walked out of the laundry and into all the things that I had wanted to see in person after having seen in pictures online.
The two-car garage.  Great!  A workshop for LC.  With one more large wood stove.
A one car detached garage.  Great!  A place for my business.
A large concreted and windowed space that I immediately saw as a future sun room.
An indoor wood storage shed.  Great!  No more going out into the cold to get wood.
A large green house.  Great!  
All attached to the house and it was all good................

With all our wood finally under control, LC has aspirations to tear down the green house before winter.
Persuading me to tear it down was a process, but not a long process.
There were gaps that let in the wind and rain and snow, located all over the green house.
Upright beams were pieced and screwed together, and when they were still too short, they were balanced on top of cinder blocks.
Oh hell.  Who DOES that?
Support beams weren't actually supporting anything.  Instead they were installed above the uprights, and simply bolted into place.
The roof line was higher than the gutters.
Again - who DOES that?
When we first moved into the house I would have said "people who don't know any better" but after seeing some of the slip-shod jobs done over the years to other areas of the house I am now inclined to say "people who didn't care".
The plantar boxes were made of a combination of press board and plywood, and the press board (unsurprisingly) is warped and crumbling.
The uprights inside the plantar boxes - either they are completely rotted in the dirt or they completely stop at the dirt and there is nothing but wall and dirt holding everything together.
We won't know what the story is on those until we tear into it.
We have already made a start.
The plastic material that were the walls on the green house one morning, was the roof for our new-old shed by afternoon.
The rest is waiting for us to become ambitious enough to tackle a room take-down.
Bricks that we worked so hard to collect in the spring and recently we decided to do a wood floor for the outdoor porch instead...................
Two posts sitting on top of each other, then screwed together, then placed on top of cinder blocks..............
An upright beam that is not tall enough for the cross beams to actually sit on.
The whole mess is bolted together, and sits above the gutter system...............
One more pieced together mess...............
We're going to have to suck it up next year and actually buy new wood, because the outdoor porch needs to look nice.
And so does this room that will become a sun room.
These pictures were taken right outside the laundry room.
Two car garage entrance to the left.  What will be the sun room right in front.  Wood room straight ahead beyond the sun room.  What is now the green house (and which will be an outdoor porch by next spring) to the right.
This room has been nothing but a pass through ever since we moved into the house.
A place to pass through on the way to some other place.  And a place to store boxes
The windows sitting on the floor we got for free from our neighbor and we will use some of them in our little camper.
We have a door to fill in the opening between the sun room and the wood room
Eventually this room will be filled with new (to us) windows, french doors, a sky light, lots of white paint, plants and sun-roomy furniture.................
These windows crack me up.
The glass is all fine but the frames are all cracked and dry rotted and splintering.
They have also been painted an ugly brown and the painter did not care whether or not he painted the glass in the process.
Even more head shaking is that they open out, and the bolts to unlock them are on the OUTSIDE of the windows......................
The mess underneath all these windows.
It is a mess of rotting, crumbling, heavy duty cardboard quality pressboard.................
One more interesting idiosyncrasy - one of the current sun room windows cannot open very far because there is an outdoor faucet only a few inches from the house.................
I found these french doors on Craigslist, we picked them up last weekend, and the doors will sit until spring.
At the same time we also bought a huge picture window with one of those half-moon windows above it.  The previous owners of the french doors are removing the window this weekend.
When we pick it up it will also stand waiting in the breeze way until spring.
We are already making projects for ourselves for next year.
But thankfully none of them involve nasty used wood in the yard and that pleases me very much................
We needed a water proof and weather proof light in the half torn down green house, for when I take Kory into the back yard after dark, and we did not have one.
When that outdoor room is built we will put something nice out there but in the meantime LC rednecked a make shift light made from a coffee can, electrical wire and tape, some caulk and an old license plate.
It works, and at this stage function is more important than form..................
Our indoor wood room...................

Aside from the green house, outdoor projects are done for the year.
In October we are going camping.
I don't care if there is snow on the ground.
We're going camping.....................

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