Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stay Tuned

We have been working on a number of projects this summer. (Will my life ever slow down?) The most important project is an apartment for my mother. Mom is having an addition built on to the end of our house (site is shown above) which will be a bedroom, bath, sitting area (with kitchenette) and closet for my mom. We are very excited to get this done.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for tomorrow! It should take three months. We have actually been working on this since May. I never imagined it would take most of the summer to get to the point where we would be ready to start! Drawing the plan, getting the informal plans done into technical blueprints, bids from four different contractors, then making a selection and negotiating a contract. Whew!

I used Google's SketchUp for the initial design. It's a great program (and FREE!) and really helped us to work out how the space would look and what size we needed.

Here's our sketch, with our house on the left and Mom's apartment on the right. She'll have her own entrance and porch area. I'm planning on sharing as we go.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Open House, Kitchen and Dining

This week's open house:
My kitchen and dining area
(A continuation of last week's home tour along with the ladies from 4 Moms, 35 Kids, seen at The Common Room, Raising Olives, Life in a Shoe, and Smockity Frocks. See their comments sections for more participant open houses.) Caveat: Like most of the other ladies in the "open house", I am showing my home as it is today, in an "unvarnished" state. Don't look too closely. Sorry Mom.

Here is the first thing you see when entering my home from the side door. This is the door closest to the driveway and garage. DH's lunch box is parked on the island waiting for me to empty its contents. The island counter often has more clutter than this and occasionally less. In the background you can see the former classroom. It is being emptied out in preparation for some remodeling.

Proceeding further in, you see that we are in the midst of adding a wood cookstove to the end of the dining area. (New Kitchen Queen cookstove seen at the left, occupying valuable floor space while it's waiting for installation.) We're laying a slate flooring pad and will be working on the back wall next week. The stove will be in place as soon as we can get someone to do the chimney for us this month.

Here is where my recent bulk purchases of various grains are being staged. I am adding them, one at a time, to the freezer for a few days so the flour weevil eggs (that are in all grain products - including flour from the grocery store) will be killed before I put them into containers for storage. I do this with all grains and flours that I buy.

The kitchen. Several plates on the soffit are parts of sets I have and a few are heirloom pieces. Over the microwave is a set of porcelain chickens my mother bought when she was young, and a cookie jar from the depression era that belonged to my great-grandmother.

Next to the refrigerator is a spider plant that I received from my son for mother's day (a school project) in 1997, the week we moved into our new home here. My son was a sweet little eight year-old then, he's a still-sweet 21 now and I've managed to keep the plant alive all these years. Behind that is the obligatory homeschooler's children's chore chart.

My view at the sink. Something about this little bird is very appealing to me. I love pots, glaze, and glass, so the little guy fits right in.

Mounted on the wall is the knife block my dad made for me many years ago. Most of the knives are still in the dishwasher. (Horrors! I know they aren't supposed to go in the dishwasher, but I do it anyway. The knives have been going in the dishwasher for 13 years and they are still fine. I like to simplify housework.) The utensil pots and the salt dish are heirlooms also. I like old stuff.

I like young stuff too, like little Isaac here, hard at work coloring. The table? Heirloom too. My in-laws rescued it from someone who was "modernizing" in the 1960's. My mother-in-law refinished it back then, and it's really beautiful, I think. The chairs are not heirlooms yet, but I bought them at a hospital's remodeling sale in the early 1980's. The lazy susan was a gift from my daughter last Christmas.

These are my dad's bread pans that I've been using. Dad passed away a bit over a year ago and Mom gave me these recently. He loved making bread, and really excelled at it. He was a remarkable man in many ways.

Thank for visiting! I enjoyed putting this post together.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Home, Sweet Home: Welcome

I've been pretty quiet lately, but today I was inspired. I regularly read The Common Room blog and thoroughly enjoyed the home tours that were posted by their blog group "4 Moms, 35 Kids" (Read about it at the link.)
Here are the four participants and their blog posts with this week's theme: Open House: Yard and Entryway

Aaaaand, here's mine.

As you're heading west on our county road, you may glimpse our house. It's set waaay back from the road and we like it that way. We can hang out on the front porch in our jammies.

Here's our mailbox. I planted some daylilies last year and there may still be some under this patch of weeds somewhere. I thought of getting a pretty new mailbox, but this rusty one has grown on me. It looks like it's settled in to stay.

Here we are, starting down the driveway. Electric horse fence on the right, neighbor's house behind the trees way over on the left. We have 38-point-something-something acres.

Three of the horses decided to race me home. They won.
The little guy in the middle is Gus the stud. He's very cute, but quite the pest!

Nearing the yard now. It's a bit of a jaunt. Joey our Collie is greeting me in the driveway. He thought it was too long a walk down the drive so he waited here for me. That's the place he usually likes to greet people. Standing right in front of their vehicles. (!)

Our front yard. The first year after I had the house built and began beating back nature, there was a six-foot swath of shorter weeds near the house surrounded by an old gopher-filled hay field. I didn't even own a lawn mower. I used a weed-whacker. Then DH Tom married us and moved in. Voila! He made a yard. That was only the beginning of his improvements to the place.

Here I am turning the curve up to the house and I turn around to find an entrance to the woods in the back 20 acres.

You could not pay me enough to go into that mosquito-infested woods during this time of year. Fall, Winter, and Spring it is beautiful! There is a swamp with a little brook running through it further back. On the other end of the property DH has built an enormous log path with a little bridge to get us way back to the high ground on the far side with dry feet. It's beautiful and quite wild back there.

We're continuing down the driveway towards the back of the garage and house. Our house is built on the edge of a reclaimed gravel pit.

When I bought the property 14 years ago, the sides of this drive were mostly barren. It did not take long for the growth to come back over the exposed gravel. 

This is the "boneyard" about 400 feet behind the house along the driveway to the barn. DH is collecting firewood from the never-ending dead-tree-cleanup. This is also where large items are staged in preparation for disposal or recycling. (The very large orange truck is not slated for disposal any time soon. We are very fond of that truck. It has done a lot of plowing for us and our oldest daughter enjoyed driving it to school much to the bemusement and admiration of the local male population.) 
Through the trees ahead and slightly to the left is "Mount Killamanfast", so-named by our older kids and their cousins that lived next door. They did use it for sledding a few times, hence, the name.

The barn/shed. The shed half belongs to DH, the barn half to me and my animals. DH has gotten the horse hay ready for winter. I cannot give him too much credit for the many ways he serves his family.
On the right is the little brown chicken coop built by my father. We brought it over here to our house since my mother will be selling her house to move here with us. She will be happy to see his beautiful little coop in use here. To the right of Dad's chicken coop is a small structure we call the "cat house" it's an insulated and solar-heated structure (a large plexi-glass window facing south) where the outdoor cats could stay warm in the winter before we had a barn. They still love it.

Here are the horses and ponies cooling off in the barn. The barn entries face north and south so we keep both large doors open all summer. It provides a wonderful cooling draft for the horses. It's the same concept that was used for corn-cribs in the old days.

Here we are heading back to the house from the tack room in the barn. The old chicken coop is on the right, the pony barn (loafing shed) DH built is in the middle. The back of the house is supposed to have an upper deck built off the dining area, but we haven't gotten'er done yet.

Here is the lone chicken that survived free-ranging this summer. There were nine one morning, and just one there in the evening. They apparently "free-ranged" too close to the fox trail. We found a few feathers, that's all. Before, the fox always picked them off one-by-one, so we had time to cage them if we wanted. Not this time. They were my Dad's chickens, so we felt pretty bad about it. I think this chicken that remains is actually happier, since she was picked on by the others. She lays an egg almost every day. (Note that she's behind the chicken wire.)

This is the back yard as seen from my dining room window. The pool's inflatable ring is having problems due to our cats who think it's interesting to jump up and peer in. Hoping to find goldfish, I suppose.

And here's where I'll be watching for your arrival. On the front porch, (mosquitoes willing).