Thursday, June 30, 2011

Attic Find

Last week when Scott cleaned out the attic, we discovered this bundle of lumber.   At first we thought it was a bunch of tack strips, especially since we found several small rolls of carpeting nearby.
Upon closer inspection, we figured out that it's probably a quilters rack.  The hinged pieces are not only spiked with tacks but also have inch rulers.
Any quilters out there?  Can you confirm our assumption?

Another noTTafarm relic

Weekday Progress

noTTafarm work is not a Saturday / Sunday-Only deal.  Sometimes, you must work during the week!  Scott and I spent a few hours each night Tuesday and Wednesday to get ready for the insulation and drywall contractors.  I cleaned remaining insulation and plaster chunks out of every nook and cranny that the shop vac hose could reach.  Scott added blocking to the ceiling in the bathroom and finished running all of his telecom/network cables. 
The Omaha area experienced a mini heatwave this week. It was hot and humid Wednesday night as Scott worked on the cabling.

The orange tube serves as a conduit for future cabling needs.  After the insulation is installed, the conduit will be an easy-peasy way to upgrade.

Based on the number of outlets Scott installed, noTTafarm is going to have phones, Internet, television, satellite, missles, mission control, a data center, and a telegraph system for old times' sake.

The best way to end an evening of hard work at noTTafarm!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Working Weekend

Saturday and Sunday were two full days of work.  While Scott finished running the network, cable TV, and phone lines, I tried my best to help out with other tasks.  The goals for the weekend were to do as much as possible to help the electrician finish his work and pass inspection on Wednesday, and to get ready for the drywall contractor to install new ceilings upstairs later in the week.

The ceiling surrounding the 2nd floor chimney was damaged by a small roof leak around the chimney's flashing. 

I'm practically a plaster-removal expert by taking this little bit of ceiling down was pretty easy.

The drywall contractor suggested that we remove just a portion of this room's ceiling; he will patch the hole and add a new layer of drywall over the rest.

Once the ceiling was taken care of, we moved on to removing the plaster from the chimney.  Scott tried using an air chisel, powered by the air compressor.  Unfortunately, it did not magically remove the plaster.  I chose to save my eardrums from the exhausting sound of the compressor by returning to the tried and true method of chisel and hammer.

By the end of Saturday, about half of the plaster was down.  By the end of Sunday, only about two feet remained on each side.  (I forgot to take a photo so you'll have to trust me.)  It's a tiring task but I'm almost done.

Scott spent more than his share of time in the attic this weekend. 

This past Friday, the insulation contractor used a giant vacuum to suck all of the old blown-in insulation out of the attic.  It will be replaced within two weeks (fingers crossed) with spray foam insulation.  (Full details of that process will be posted - never fear!)  In the meantime,  Scott cleaned out a five-gallon bucket's worth of wasp nests, a variety of curtain rods, an old blanket or two, carpet remnants, and odd pieces of lumber.  He was also able to continue running the media cables to their final destinations which was made much easier by the lack of pesky obstructions like walls and insulation.  

Though there's no photo illustration, we were joined on Sunday by Carl.  He took care of pulling nails out of a big pile of woodwork, removing the ceiling fixtures from the big bedroom, and eliminating random nails from the wall studs so the drywall will go up unimpeded.   Marita stopped by later in the afternoon to check out our progress. We really appreciate their continued help and enthusiasm!

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby Girl Joins noTTafarm Family!

We've been so excited about the impending birth of Nick and Brooke's first baby. We thought the baby might actually show up during the Lumberjack Days festivities but we waited (and waited...and waited) two more weeks.  Finally, on Thursday afternoon, June 16, Allie Nicole Ward was born in Lincoln.  She's just precious, and we can't wait for her to visit noTTafarm!

Thanks, Brooke, for letting me borrow a few photos from your Facebook profile! 

Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Ward visited their first great grandchild on Saturday.  They're pretty smitten!

Congratulations, Nick and Brooke!

Running Cables

The weekend of June 17-19 kept me busy with a variety of non-noTTafarm activities.  The company I work for officially celebrated its 50th anniversary with two days of parties centered around the College World Series.  On Sunday, my buddy Amy B. and I took our annual trip to Walnut, Iowa for the big antiques fair.  Needless to say, I was too pooped to be of much good! 

Luckily, Scott took advantage of noTTafarm's no-wife days of peace and quiet.  After a quick tutorial from an actual audiovisual cabling expert (thanks, Troy!), he spent the weekend running cables for computer network, television, and telephone.  Scott has done a great job and just has a bit more to finish up this weekend.

Scott is doing an excellent job of keeping the various cables tidy.  He's got them zip-tied together and attached to the studs about every 16 inches.
We are not messing around . . . these are REAL cables.  You can tell they're professional grade by the spool.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

W.O.W.: Windows On Wednesday!

As promised, a 2-man crew was at noTTafarm bright and early this morning to start installing the new windows in the 1920s portion of the house.  So far, 6 windows have been replaced.  On Thursday, they will work to install the remaining 3 windows and then add the exterior trim pieces.  So far, so good!
Scott tests out one of the windows in the existing living room. 

The west elevation; the window on the bottom left will eventually be removed when the new greatroom is constructed.  Exterior trim (as pictured below) will be added to all of the newly installed windows.

Scott selected these windows in part because their exterior trim recalls the architecture of the 1920s house. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oh, Deer!

Ray and Jolene presented us with a cornstalk-style feeder and 6 bags of field corn while at Lumberjack Days. We positioned the feeder in the yard northwest of the house, hoping to attract some interest from our forest creatures.  This past Saturday, Scott placed the trail camera on a nearby fencepost so we could discover who had been nibbling on the niblets!
Three small deer made quick work of the corn sprinkled on the ground and the cobs placed on the lower skewers. 
This photo was snapped at 5:17AM Sunday.

The deer on the left seems to be rather chatty.

This larger deer showed up later this morning but didn't seem too interested in the remaining corn.  We'll have to restock and see what happens next!

Just When You Thought It Was Safe . . .

. . . more plaster had to come out!

Scott consulted with a drywall contractor last week, asking for a bid to install drywall upstairs and in the stairwell.  We had to remove a bit more plaster and lath in order to have smooth transitions between what little original plaster remains and the new drywall. 

Scott put me to work, chipping the plaster off two sides of the chimney.  We think it will be neat to have some exposed brick on the second floor.  This has been the plan all along but when faced with the tedious task, I started to second guess the importance of this "architectural feature."  I hope that the folks that eventually stay in our new guest room appreciate my hours and hours of forearm-building labor.
After about an hour and a half of chiseling, I'm about one-eighth finished.  Needless to say, I'll update you later on my progress!

Meet My Nemesis

Look at the pretty little leaf! It looks so innocent and sweet. 
What's that?  It'll make red blotches boil up on my porcelain skin?
Hmmm . . . what ever shall I do?

My Hero!

Take that, Poison Ivy! 
And take your little friends with ya!

<Insert Evil Laugh Here>

The Windows are Here!

Nine new Pella windows were delivered to noTTafarm on Friday!  A crew from T. Hurt Construction will install them this week, beginning on Wednesday. 

It's a strange feeling, knowing that we are adding something to the existing house rather than ripping something down and hauling it to the dumpster!

All but two of the windows in the original 1920 house will be replaced; the remaining two will be eliminated when the new greatroom is constructed.  Scott chose to also replace one window in the 1972 library (a portion of which extends to the 1920 living room) so that the exterior facade looks balanced.  Architects say the silliest things, don't they?

Stay tuned for an update Wednesday night!

Gleaner Garden Growing

Three weeks ago, we planted a fun purple petunia patch inside the hopper of the Gleaner combine.  You'll be happy to know that the plants are thriving!  Mother Nature has been cooperating, offering a healthy mix of rain and sunshine.
The petunias are now more visible from below.

Compare this picture to the post published May 22nd.  So far, so good!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Scott!

Saturday wasn't a very heavy work day.  What it was:  hot, humid, sunny, and Scott's birthday!  We spent most of the day outside; Scott mowed while Carl and I tackled some weeds in the cottonwood's flowerbed.  After an afternoon in Fremont with her girlfriends, Marita arrived just in time to enjoy a grilled pork tenderloin dinner.  All in all - a good day for Scott!

Carl and Marita share a laugh with the birthday boy. 

You know that saying about one man's trash being another man's treasure?  Carl intended to dispose of several steel rings that used to hold together whiskey barrel planters.  He tossed them in the dumpster but Scott dug them right out.  The barn just desperately needed an Audi symbol on its west side!

The spoils of last week's Lumberjack Days made for a good bonfire.  The temps dropped as the sun set . . . the right combination for after-dinner entertainment.

Sunday was another hot and sticky day.  I spent a little time spraying poison ivy and Scott framed out a couple of walls in preparation for soon-to-come insulation and drywall.  More on that next time!