Sunday, January 30, 2011

Demo Derby at noTTafarm Attracts a Crowd!

Did you hear it?  The cacophony of hammers and crowbars was music to our ears at noTTafarm this past Saturday!  While our plumber, Cody, worked in the basement to (finally!) hook up our "city" water, a cheerful crew of family and friends worked diligently above.  We cleared out lath and plaster, ceramic tile, wallpaper . . . you name it!  Out the door it went by the bucketful, straight to the dumpster.

 Here's our buddy, Amy B.  She and her husband Monte spent most of the day with us!  One of the first tasks we tackled was tearing out the ceramic tile in the 1972 entryway. 

Chelsie is just like her grampa...has to wear her cowboy boots every day!  She enjoyed using Monte's "BFH" to smash that tile.

Gary and Mary Lange visited noTTafarm for the first time!  Gary is a mechanical designer and is counseling us on the possibilities of a geothermal system.  Scott and Monte listen to Gary's suggestions. . .

Halfway done with the entryway hall and we had to stop for lunch.  We girls did a pretty good job...then when we weren't looking, Monte came in and finished the rest in about 5 minutes. (What a show-off!)

Here's Amy in the stairwell of the 1920 house.  The previous day, Scott's mom Marita tore the plaster off the wall at right (yes, all by herself!)  Amy stepped in on Saturday and tore off the lath.  She then removed the plaster from the "head bonker" above.

Amy and I hurried to Monte's side when he made a shocking discovery...

...knob and tube wiring!  (Which wasn't a surprise to find, given the age of the house).

The Brummets moved from one project to the next without fussing!  Here they work together to demolish the powder room.  They took out the tile (both wall and floor), the vanity, and the toilet.

My brother Tim and nephew Clark spent the day with us, too!  After demolishing all of the walls in the 2nd floor bathroom, Tim took the molding off all the walls downstairs.

Scott's dad Carl spent most of Friday at noTTafarm but was happy to pitch in on Saturday, too.  He is our number one go-to guy for nail removal!  (A thankless job, for sure.)

Scott tried to keep the dust at a minimum (a never-ending struggle).

Amy and Monte at the end of the day - dusty but in great spirits.

We saved all sorts of bits-and-pieces and put them on the mantle:  wallpaper scaps, old tile and carpet, etc.

My niece Chelsie did such a great job!  She was happy to jump in to any assignment plus agreed to share "her" Special K bars with the rest of the crew!

Clark did a super duper job of helping, too!  If you need any plaster demolished, give him a call.

Chelsie taught Clark her tried-and-true wallpaper removal method:  spray with lots of water and then scrape.  I'm glad these cousins had time to bond while working!

Scott and I are both so thankful for everybody's hard work!  For each of them to sacrifice an entire Saturday to help us is truly incredible!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

No Turning Back: Demolition Time!

January is Jumpin' at noTTafarm!  The contractor was kind enough to leave the dumpster for us to use after he completed the structural work.  We took advantage and filled that puppy up this past weekend with various flooring, lots of plaster chunks, and a wood lath or two.  Scroll down for the photographic proof!
You'll remember from last week that I pulled the indoor/outdoor carpeting and the sheet vinyl beneath it out of the nook and the adjacent hallway.  Scott tackled the next layer...which we discovered was held down by no fewer than 10,000 nails.  Ugh!

Here are the tools of the weekend:  wonder bar and hammer.  You can tell this is my set by its relatively bright-and-shiny appearance.

Look!  I'm actually working!  You can tell this is me because Scott monogrammed my gloves with a Sharpie.

Periodic sweeping gave me a chance to stretch my legs and keep the dust to a minimum.

Sing along time:  "10,000 nails on the floor. 10,000 nails on the floor!  You pull one up, toss it aside . . . 9,999 nails on the floor."

The linoleum you see here was covering up the original oak floors.  It appears that the oak is too far gone to rehab and reuse.  Scott is considering lots of options.

Hi, My Name is Kristin.  I'm a hard worker!

While I enjoyed time on the floor, Scott started tearing out the plaster in the second floor bathroom.  The structural work, as predicted, caused a lot of plaster to crack - plus we will be redoing the wiring and plumbing in this bathroom.

The exposed wood lath makes a neat pattern - especially when juxtaposed with the soil stack. 

Thanks for stopping by!  We will helping Ray and Jolene at "Is-A-Farm" next weekend.  We're going to be given tasks to do in a house with heat, television, and running water.  It will be heavenly!

See you next week for more demolition fun!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Demolition Day

Scott and I took a few hours Saturday afternoon to do a little demo.  He took some plaster out of the former living room and I tore all of the carpeting out of the dining nook and hallway.  What a chore!  (I think he got the better end of that task list.) 
The carpet was glued to sheet vinyl.  The vinyl was placed over a thin layer of fiber board.  Beneath that is more linoleum and tar...but underneath that is oak.  Is it worth it to keep scraping?  We'll see.

Scott removed the plaster from the east wall of the 1920 living room.  The structural work created big cracks in plaster all around the house.

The plaster removal revealed the original ductwork.  This stamp says the "Handy Furnace Pipe" was patented in 1908 by the R. Meyer & Bro. Co. of Peoria, Illinois.

Plenty more demolition to come.
Stay tuned for details!

Splitting Wood is Good Exercise

Our nephew, Andrew, convinced his older brother, Pat, that splitting wood at noTTafarm on a January Saturday was a great idea.  And he was right!  Andrew, armed with his newly-purchased maul, and Pat, armed with his can-do attitude, worked feverishly for a couple of hours.  They tackled the wood pile of freshly-felled logs that we've created over the past few months.
What they lacked in experience, they made up for with fashion.

Andrew was determined to split a log of osage orange, the toughest tree on the planet (or at least at noTTafarm).

Pat did a great job and agreed that splitting wood is a great alternative to working out at the gym.

The mighty lumberjacks with the spoils of their labor.

Thanks, Boys! 
We look forward to your participation in the official
Camp Lumberjack Olympics.
P.S.  I modified these photos using the on-line service, Picnik.  I thought the 1960's editing tool was a cool one to use for this article.

Chimney Scare Alleviated; Work Proceeds

With the structural remediation complete, Scott was anxious for me to see the improvements first-hand.  We visited noTTafarm on Thursday evening, noticing a minor leak in the small bedroom on the second floor.  Scott invesitigated in the attic and noticed that the chimney, which is the home of the furnace flue, was leaning about four inches and could be the source of the leak.  Did the structural work force the chimney to move?  Did the roof joists get pushed out of whack?  We spent the next 36 hours in fear that the chimney would collapse and crush the roof or, worse, we would be killed by carbon monoxide.  We worried that everything indeed had been progressing in a "too good to be true" state.

Saturday, we armed ourselves with newly-purchased CO detectors, determined to gather enough information to make an informed decision about next steps. 

In the light of a sunny but cold Saturday, with the CO detectors NOT detecting anything, Scott again investigated the chimney.  He realized that the chimney was constructed in 1920 with the four-inch lean so that it would miss the roof peak as it exited the attic.  The mortar joints are completely level and there is no sign of cracking or water damage.

What a relief!

Now - time to get busy.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Structural Remediation Complete!

The contractor's crew finished their time at noTTafarm (for now) on Tuesday.  They undertook one final task:  the removal of the wall separating two of the second floor bedrooms.  The ceiling is now held up by a new micro-lam beam. 
Scott plans on cladding the unfinished beam with a more attractive wood.  He also wants to add a series of false beams to balance the look.

The doorway on the right will be eliminated which will offer more wall space both in the landing/hallway and in the bedroom. 

Meanwhile, final cleanup in the basement included the removal of the temporary support walls.  Because one joist was still sagging due to notches created to accomodate the 1972 addition's duct work , two short stud walls and one extra stud column were added.  The basement has alot more open floor space even with these unexpected supports.

With this major project complete, the next step is for a plumber to hook up the new water service.
Stay tuned for details!

Monday, January 3, 2011

An "Uplifting" Start to the New Year

The contractor's crew was back on site Monday to continue the structural remediation.  Scott stopped by noTTafarm after work to gauge the progress.  He was thrilled to report the successful installation of the steel beams and columns. Immediate success was seen on the first and second floors...though we do have new (expected) cracks in the plaster.

View:  looking southwest in the 1920 dining/living room.  The floor used to slope 2" from right to left.

One of the new cracks in the plaster.  Oh well!

One of the jacks being used to jack-up the house, allowing the new steel columns to be set in place.

The two new steel columns will replace the original wood columns.  Here, an old wood column is used to temporarily hold the new steel beam in place while the new steel columns are set.  The wood column and jack will be removed Tuesday. 
One of the new W8 x 18 steel beams.

We're unsure if this neat old jack was used - but it looks pretty cool!

The small bedroom on the second floor used to have a dip in the corner by the register vent.  No more!

The crew will be back Tuesday to finish necessary concrete work on the basement floor.  They will then move on to the removal of the wall and setting of the new beam in the second floor bedrooms.

Stay Tuned for the Next Report from noTTafarm!

Trail Cam Reveals Corn Crib Visitors

Scott has been frustrated by the trail camera's inability to capture images of whatever it is that lives beneath our concrete barn floor.  Since his career as a National Geographic photographer rests on his skills at catching wild animals in their natural (or unnatural) habitats, Scott decided to position the camera in the corn crib.  He has been feeding Bibbers, our corn crib kitty, regularly and assumes other animals help eat the thrice-weekly portion of Meow Mix. 

Let's see what the camera revealed after one 24-hour period . . .

Bibbers was the most-frequent visitor. 
Here he is as 2:04PM on Sunday.

Bibbers heard the clicking of the camera's shutter and
moved in for a closer look.

Aha!  A nighttime visitor . . .a nice chubby raccoon made an appearance at 2:43AM Monday.

At 9:15AM Monday, the camera caught Dapper Dan, one of two black and white cats that we've seen at noTTafarm.

Here's the tortoiseshell cat, Morty, at 12:45PM Monday.

At 10:11AM, Tux came by but missed getting a morsel.
Just before Scott came in with more food, an opossum investigated.  This photo was snapped at 6:11PM Monday.

We know that our noTTafarm "wildlife" isn't exactly wild.  And we certainly don't intend to feed all of the cats, raccoons, and opossums in northern Douglas County.  But it's fun to see who shows up when the feeding bowl is full.

Out With the Old...In With the New!

Happy New Year from noTTafarm!

Scott and I started the new year with a little manual labor in the house.  Since the contractor has a dumpster on-site, we took advantage by tearing up the floor in the 1920 upstairs bathroom.  Nothing too exciting but every little piece of work brings us closer to completion.

BEFORE:  Vinyl floor, pink painted clawfoot tub, no sink.

DURING:  Scott turned off the water, unhooked the fixtures, then moved them as needed.  The vinyl floor was covering plywood which was covering 1950s composite tile (in a typical mint, pink, and beige dot pattern).  The tile was glued to the douglas fir subfloor with tar paper.  Fun times!

Scott was able to add some wood trim to the dumpster but is saving the 6" tall pine baseboards for future use.

This is the floor in the adjacent closet.  The wall at right will be demolished to enlarge the bathroom.

AFTER:  The wood trim has been taken out and the floor stripped of as much tar as possible.  The sub-floor is pretty well rotted from water damage and the plaster is not much better.  That's OK!  We're going to strip it all down to the bare bones before rebuilding bigger and stronger.