Friday, February 25, 2011

Scott Tackles Driveway Maintenance (Without a Tractor)

The recent snowplowing of the driveway displaced some of the 34 tons of new crushed rock we bought in early January.  The foot (several feet in spots!) of snow that drifted over the driveway finally melted during a warm spell in mid-February, and revealed that a large portion of the rock was no longer where it was supposed to be.  Since Scott still doesn't have a tractor (even after several well-fought debates), he had two choices:  scoop the rock by the shovelful back into the driveway or figure out an ingenious system that would utilize the trailer and the Ford Escape. 

Scott took a scrap 1/2-inch x 2-inch x 50-inch steel plate and screwed it to a 2x6 to create a grading blade.  The blade was mounted to the folding ramp tailgate of the trailer, then weighted down with four 60-pound tubes of sand.
After four or five passes up and down the driveway, a lot of gravel had found its way home.

Here's a view of the grader in action.  It's pulling quite a pile of gravel!

Another view of the lowered grading blade.

Almost back to normal!

The Escape continues to live up to its "workhorse" reputation!

Note how the blade was attached to the trailer, angled inward to pull the rock toward the center of the driveway.

Another view.

Scott did a great job of entertaining himself for the weekend!  I toiled away at the office 7 hours each Saturday and Sunday - so that is why this story is the most exciting thing we can tell you about the weekend of February 19. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next noTTafarm Adventure!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Letting in a Little Light

The 1972 living room, commonly referred to as "the library", is separated from the existing kitchen by a narrow, dark hallway.  When complete, we plan for the library to extend into this hallway and out onto a small east-facing deck.  We took a step in that direction today by taking down some of the drywall to create two openings.  It's amazing how much south light now floods into the hallway!


You have to use your imagination but trust me...this is going to be awesome!  As I always say, "stay tuned!"

Sunny Sunday Driveway Maintenance

The recent snow and consequent plowing played havoc with the driveway's two-month-old gravel deposit.  The melting snow revealed that quite a bit of gravel has been pushed to the side.  Scott took advantage of the warm weather, grabbed a rake, and pushed a few loads of gravel back where it belongs.

Out of 34 tons of gravel, Scott moved one wheelbarrow full before he had to break for lunch.

Another Reason I Love noTTafarm: Sunsets!

We were blessed late this week with a change in the weather.  The frigid sub-zero temperatures of Monday melted away by the weekend to highs in the 50s.  Then, our Saturday of noTTafarm work was capped by a glorious sunset.  While I stood there and took a few photos, I was reminded that in just a few short months, views like this will be available to me every day.   

Monday, February 7, 2011

noTTafarm Snow Doesn't Stand a Chance!

Scott was happy to add a new piece of equipment to noTTafarm's stable of machinery.  The 30", 305cc Ariens snow blower can shoot snow a distance of up to 40 feet!  We're now prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store - except for what drifts on our 650' driveway but we'll save that story for later.
Getting ready to start 'em up.

Once the motor started, I saw six deer scamper out of the nearby woods, heading away from the racket.

Gobbling up the snow!

Clearing the driveway near the house.

Full-Scale Architecture on Display

Sometimes, modern computer-aided drafting doesn't cut it. 

Sometimes, you need to trace your clawfoot tub on a big piece of cardboard with a Sharpie pen, cut it out with scissors, and lay it on the floor in order to really see how much room it occupies. 

Sometimes, all the sophisticated 3D software you install on your computer can't take the place of a roll of black electrical tape. 

Sometimes, your non-architect wife can't read architectural drawings and insists that the proposed bathroom layout just won't work. 

The closet at the north end of the hallway has been sacrificed to make room for a shower and sink. 

Sometimes, the wife is wrong and the husband is right.

The second floor bathroom will have both a shower and the clawfoot tub plus the sink it's been missing for 91 years.

Who's Thirsty?

Clean, refreshing, bacteria-free water has arrived at noTTafarm!

Come and get it!  

Steve, the contractor that brought water to the house from the NRD tap at the street, recommended a plumber that was capable of connecting the new water service inside the basement to the household fixtures.  Cody, Steve's nephew and a more-than-qualified licensed plumber, spent two and a half days in late January at noTTafarm.  He replaced old piping with new, shiny copper pipes and installed a new water heater.  He did a super job - and he didn't mind the extra company (and noise!) we had last Saturday during the Demolition Derby. 

Cody got the piping ready for a water softener we'll install next to the new water heater when the new addition is built. 

Cody will be back later in February to run some plumbing from the basement to the first floor powder room and the second floor bathroom.  Until then, we have "good" water (two kinds:  cold and hot!) in the kitchen and basement bathroom. 

Scott shows off the awesome water pressure we now have at the basement laundry tap.

Amazing how such a simple thing we usually take for granted makes the old house feel like a home!  I even had fun cleaning the kitchen with genuine soap-and-water!