Friday, March 25, 2011

A Perfect Vacation Day

We are hoping that the plumber and electrician can return within the next week or so to finish necessary work in the bathroom and powder room. In order to get these spaces ready for the contractors, Scott and I took Thursday and Friday as vacation days.  Friday, we concentrated on the powder room area which, in typical Scott fashion, included work in the dining nook and adjacent hallway.
The existing drywall ceiling was installed nine inches below the original plaster.  The decision to eliminate the dropped ceiling was an easy one, so Scott began by cutting around the exterior of the powder room.   

Pulling down the drywall released a lot of broken plaster from above.

Scott discovered this signature on a 2x4 over the dining room door.  The previous homeowner, Richard Norgard, signed this piece when he framed the dining nook and powder room.  Scott cut this piece down separately so we're saving it for now along with wallpaper scraps and flooring bits.

It took several trips to the dumpster to clean up the pile of plaster, then several more to haul out the lath.

While we were at it, we eliminated the drywall from the wall separating the hallway from the dining room.  This wall will be replaced because it will eventually be the "stove wall" in my new kitchen!

Whew!  That was a busy Friday! 
I wonder what fun Saturday will bring?

And Now for Something Completely Different. . .

A little touch of Hollywood came to noTTafarm this week.  Through a connection of one of my co-workers, noTTafarm was selected as a location for a video production of Christ Community Church. A large crew filmed the senior pastor at noTTafarm on Monday, March 21st.  His message centers on the theme of "restoration" and how something that seems worthless or beyond repair can be restored to something beautiful.  (The completed video will also highlight restorations of a car and an antique dresser.)  Scott and I neglected to get any photos of the action on Monday but on Thursday, two crew members were back for follow-up.
Videographer Mark returned on Thursday with communications team member, Anna.  (She's sitting behind Mark.) 

Anna interviewed Scott and me while we worked.  She asked us questions about what the house means to us, and how we are able to envision the end result.  It was interesting but awkward  - wearing a wireless microphone and trying to explain yourself without stuttering or feeling like a complete idiot. 
Anna and Mark were real troopers and seemed to enjoy watching us tear up the subfloor in the powder room. 

The completed video will be shown at CCC on Easter Sunday, prior to the sermon.  It will also be posted on the CCC web site so we'll be sure to post a link when it's up.  Until then, we are trying to keep the paparazzi at bay. 
Please!  No Autographs!

George + Tom = $35

The 1950's vintage chest freezer left for us by the previous homeowners still hummed happily when plugged in but it had definitely reached the end of its useful life.  We took advantage of a program sponsored by Omaha Public Power District and had the freezer hauled away.  According to OPPD, nearly 95% of the freezer's parts will be recycled.

Two workers from JACO arrived Friday morning.  After assessing the pathway, Tom removed the door. 

George was the brawn of the operation.  Six-foot-ten, shaved head, falsetto voice...he could perfectly play a villian in an action movie.  Luckily, his good attitude and happy laugh made light of the task.  The bonus of the entire program is that OPPD is sending us a check for $35 as a "thank you" for participating. 
Thanks, Tom & George!

Mother Nature Sends Snow to noTTafarm

It's March 25. 
It's officially been Spring for 5 days. 
Mother Nature apparently didn't get the memo and sent four inches of fluffy snow to noTTafarm.  The picturesque snow transformed the trees despite the cloudy morning.

Scott headed out to the corn crib with some fresh food and water for Bibbers.

The temperatures stayed in the upper 30s so most of the snow in the trees had wilted away by late afternoon.

1920s Bath Renovation Continues

The focus of the March 19-20 weekend at noTTafarm was the continued work in the upstairs bathroom.  We began the day on Saturday by knocking down the lath and insulation.  Quite a mess!
Demolition is always a fast and furious task.

But it's a messy task, too!  The insulation looked like it might just stay between the rafters . . . but loved falling on your head when you least expected it.  The nails used to hold the lath up for the last ninety years are still sharp, as my left foot can attest.  Lucky for me, Marita insisted on driving me to the nearest tetanus shot dispensary!  

Carl spent Saturday pulling nails out of 2x4s.  On Sunday, he was a great help to Scott as he framed the walls in the bathroom. 

With new insulation stapled in place, Scott gives this weekend's progress the "thumbs up"!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Different Type of Action Shot

On Friday, I noticed the trail cam had been knocked down from its perch in the barn. I picked it up and went for a walk on the western trail to enjoy the hint of Spring in the air.  Next time, I will check to see that the camera has been turned off.  Scott discovered over 300 blurry pictures of weird looking foilage and some odd pink feet.  Here's a sampling:
That's my ear at the left.
My boots.
Argh!  The world's upside down!  Or maybe I was carrying the camera by its feet.

Elusive Burrowing Barn Bandit Caught on Camera!

We've wondered for months what type of creature lives under the barn's concrete slab.  You may remember our stories of the mounds of excavated dirt and the unsuccessful trail camera sessions which yielded only an assortment of neighborhood cats.  Scott repositioned the camera and look what we've discovered . . .
The arrow points to the entry of the den. 
The dirt in that large pile should be under the floor where it belongs!
There's no mistaking those markings on his face.
The badger is a fatty - this shot shows him/her? from the back side.

Scott is now in full badger research mode.  It appears that American Badgers like to hunker down during the winter but are more transient during warmer months.  The good news is that they enjoy a diet of rodents, moles and snakes. 

And, no, we do not advise that you go in the barn and poke the badger with a sharp stick. 

Have you seen the movie "Fantastic Mr. Fox"? 
Bill Murray voices the role of the Badger, a high-powered attorney.  Wouldn't it be neat if our badger was Bill Murray?  Or better yet, if our badger was a fox and it was really George Clooney?  But I digress . . .

See You Soon for Our Next Adventure!

Steady Progress

The past few weekends, we have continued on our quest to remove all original materials of the first floor powder room and the second floor bathroom.  Just when you think demolition is complete, "we" (hint:  not me) decide that it should go a step further.  The progress has been slow and steady but not necessarily the type of activity that makes great "action shots".  This post will catch you up:
Scott special-ordered supplies which will help build the shower. 
Here's the shower pan, set in its future home.
Hmm....let's go ahead and take all that plaster off the ceiling and all that lath of the wall. 
We're keeping the big mirror in the hallway. 
Tux enjoyed the sun while I snapped a photo with the telephoto.
Bibbers enjoyed the sun by napping on a pile of dirt.
Scott and Carl tackled the lath removal in the second floor bathroom.
On Sunday March 6, Mike and Brandy Stolle stopped by noTTafarm with their two kids Maysen (6) and Cohen (nearly 3). 
Mike is also an architect so he was happy to give Scott his professional opinion on the house plans.
Finally, by the end of Sunday March 13, the bathroom is nearly to its turn-around point.  The lath has been removed and we've added a vapor barrier over the insulation.  The OSB sub-floor panels have been cut and are temporarily in place.   Next, we will remove the lath on the ceiling and replace the insulation which is sure to fall; so, stay tuned for the fun next week!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Meanwhile...Scott Demolished the Bathroom!

During the past two weekends, while I've been working or shopping or doing other non-noTTafarm tasks, Scott has kept busy tearing out the upstairs bathroom.  He's taken up the Douglas fir flooring, removed the sub-floor, taken out the walls by removing lath and plaster, and generally gutted the whole thing. 

The newly-enlarged bedroom is serving as a makeshift lumber yard.  Everything is sorted and ready to re-use! 

Big Foot Tracks

Scott snapped this photo on Thursday when he stopped by noTTafarm after work.  Coyote?  Wolf?  Polar bear?  What's your guess?

"Chim chiminey, Chim chiminey, Chim chim cher-ee!"

After lunch on Saturday, (February 26), Scott set me to work removing the plaster from the chimney in the 1920 dining room.   My arms got quite a work-out as I chipped away at a layer of plaster and wet sand, 2-inches thick. 
Here I am in action.

 I used the brick hammer to score a straight line across the face of the chimney. 
Then I wedged a chisel at the top (where the brick was already exposed) and pounded like heck.  I got lucky a few times and big horizontal chunks fell free.  Most of the material was wet sand, so sand and plaster chips flew everywhere.  I had to keep my mouth shut or wind up with sand between my teeth.  (Imagine me keeping my mouth shut for an hour?)  Sorry there is no photographic evidence - but have you ever tried to take a picture while using a hammer and chisel?  It's not very easy and I don't know how to use the timer.

Check out this wallpaper!  It seems to be in keeping with what would have been used in 1920:  botanical print, pink petals, grey foilage and background. 

Then, like magic, it was done!
Actually, this magic came at the hands of my Dad! Mom and Dad were in Omaha for a Saturday night concert.  Chelsie tagged along - and forced me to spend the afternoon shopping instead of working at noTTafarm!

When the new kitchen is completed, this exposed brick will be a great accent plus serve the useful purpose of housing the vent for the range.