Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stair Rail Project (Finally) Takes a Step Forward

Today (October 26) was the day that Scott chose (at last!) to work on the stair rail system in the connector. You may recall info I shared last June regarding the steel railings Scott fabricated. Though we have had a sturdy handrail in place, the panels that would protect a child or other smallish creature from falling through were not yet installed. The project has been on hold but Scott made wonderful progress today.

Like many previous projects, the first step is numbering and labeling with small pieces of green Frog tape.

Measuring and cutting the polycarbonate was made easier with the big palette table in the basement.

Scott determined that a razor blade/cutter was the best tool for slicing the poly. Just a few passes and the panels were cut to the correct size.

 It was like old times having Scott working away in the basement!

Once the panels were cut, they were temporarily put in place with clothes pins. The next step will be permanently attaching the panels to the steel uprights by drilling through both and securing with acorn nuts. It will be a tedious job but one that Scott looks forward to completing.

Stay Tuned for More Progress!

First Fire in the Great Room!

We've reached another milestone in the new addition! This past week, we enjoyed a fire in the Rumford fireplace for the first time. Last weekend, we found a suitable screen at Lowe's so Scott was reassured that wild sparks wouldn't have a chance to burn the floor. As Scott got the kindling and wood in position, we were cautiously optimistic that the flue would draw smoke straight up, rather than failing and filling the house with smoke. Luckily - or maybe because the fireplace was correctly constructed - the first fire was smoke free and declared a success!
Of course, Wilson and Leo had to get in on the action. What kitty wouldn't love to investigate wood that has been in a big pile in the back yard for a few months?

 A final sweep of loose crumbs before ignition . . . 

Everyone knows that a Rumford fire should be started by placing the wood in a tee-pee configuration.

It took some convincing but I was allowed to place a wreath and some black iron deer on the mantel. I think we've got a pretty cozy looking fireplace!

Good Job, Scotty!

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Reasons to Love Autumn

Fall is my favorite season. I love the cool, crisp air and the clear blue sky. I love pumpkins and bittersweet and apple butter. Of course, all of what makes autumn so wonderful is made even more so by being at noTTafarm!
 Reason 1: The Change of Leaves from Green to Gold

 Reason 2: Bibbers enjoys spending time with us outside

 Reason 3: Scott Collects Leaves in an Interesting Way . . . 

He rakes them onto a big sheet of plastic then pulls it down the slope on the east side of the barn. The plastic is inverted as he pulls . . .

. . . creating a big burrito of leaves for nature to dispose of.

 Reason 4: The sky is a brilliant blue and the cottonwood sings as its leaves fall.
Reason 4: The deer we've watch grow all summer begin to sprout antlers, and enjoy breakfast every morning on the east side of the house.

What do you love about Autumn? Leave a comment and share!

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Window Wells Finally Safe From "Drop-In" Visitors

The deep window wells on the west side of the basement under the new addition have seen their fair share of action over the past year. In addition to Bibbers taking the plunge three times, we've discovered a never-seen-again cat, a toad, and a mouse. With winter looming and the thought of something (more smelly?) falling in and getting stuck, Scott devised a plan to safely prevent access.
As described in previous posts, the wells are over 6-feet deep, and wide open to any creature (man or beast) that stumbles by. Aside from being a deathtrap, the wells offer a lot of natural light to the basement.
Scott began installation of the new grates by bolting steel angles to the concrete walls of each well.
The steel grates were ordered from The Metal Rack, the same supplier Scott used for all of the steel used on the stair rails in the connector. Each grate weighs enough that he had to employ the Ranger to drive them around from the garage to the back of the house.
The heavy grates now rest on a rim created by the steel angles. If a person is exiting the basement via the window, all he/she would need to do is push mightily on the grate and shove/lift it out of the way. Future plans call for a hinge mechanism and more user-friendly escape hatch - but at least the wells are protected from uninvited guests.
Here's a view of both grate-covered window well openings. Good job, Scotty!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

So This Happens Now . . .

Bibbers started out as the Corn Crib Cat. We fed him there, and seemed to catch glimpses of him there most often. Then, Bibbers became the Barn Cat. Scott built him a cardboard condo to ride out the winter, and he always seems to be there when you go in to retrieve a garden tool or store some lumber. Then, Bibbers became the Courtyard Kitty. Once the new east concrete was poured, we fed him there and he always seems to be around when you head out the door. But now . . . we've got us an actual outside pet!
Suddenly, out of the blue, Bibbers welcomes human touch. He actually seems to enjoy being greeted with a pat or two!
Wednesday evening, he accompanied us on a walk up to the east pasture then around the entire west trail circuit, all the while sticking right close to Scott's feet. We still need him to live in the barn and help control any rodents . . . but it's nice that after three years, he's learned to trust us.
Stay Tuned for Bibbers' Next Adventure!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One Couch, Two Couch . . . Orange Couch, Blue Couch!

The only exciting thing that happened around noTTafarm this weekend was the delivery of our newly-reupholstered couch! I selected fabric from Textiles, Inc. in July, then waited patiently until it came up on the schedule at Norman Upholstery. I am quite pleased with my fabric selection, and the couch looks fantastic.
Orange Couch
This couch was purchased about five years ago from Nebraska Furniture Mart (of course.) The dark orange upholstery looked great in our TV room, upstairs at Grant Street. Since we moved to noTTafarm two years ago, it's been our main go-to couch, and has suffered a bit from drywall dust, food particles, and cat claws.
Blue Couch
The new fabric is a beautiful grayish-blue (or is it blue-ish gray?) heavy duty polyester that looks and feels like cotton. If you want the statistics, you can find them here: A little extra fluff was added to the cushions, too, to help the couch look even better. Wilson is already back to his old spot on the west end.

We invite you to visit and relax on our new old couch . . . just don't sit on the big black and white kitty.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sunday Fun-Day with Allie and Maggie

While cleaning the garage sounds like fun, having a visit from our great nieces Allie and Maggie is even funner! These two little ones are such cutie pies . . . and what a treat to get to see them two weekends in a row!
Allie had on the cutest owl-themed outfit - the perfect ensemble for a trip to the pumpkin patch they made earlier in the day. She is quite the Fashionista!
Three-month-old Maggie is just a complete doll! She is very mellow and doesn't make a fuss. She is quite content to be held (by Daddy Nick) or not - just whatever. Her big sister adores her!
The highlight of the visit was my brilliant idea to pull Allie in the wagon, up and down the driveway, through the yard, 'round and 'round in the empty garage - all the while having her little voice urging me to "go faster!!" I think I've discovered a new exercise routine! She was quite entertained to sit in the wagon and eat peanuts out of the shell.
We Love Visitors!

Garage Clean-up Cures LJD Hangover

After all the hub-bub of Lumberjack Days, we were feeling pretty pooped. By the time the weekend arrived, the effort mustered for a Saturday outing centered on taking our empty bottles to the glass recycling dumpster on Maple Street. Sunday afternoon, we felt a bit more energetic, and turned our attention to cleaning the garage. (Who says we don't have fun?)
 You can tell he means business; all of the vehicles were moved out of the way.
The poor garage has been neglected. The 5-gallon bucket of paint we bought last winter is still waiting to be used. There are 16 feet of upper and lower cabinets - salvaged from one of Scott's project sites - that need to be installed. There are lots of tools that need to be returned to their homes in the basement. Quite a mess!
Once most of the "stuff" was put someplace, Scott swept (I helped a little) and power-washed the floor.
Following some deliberation and measuring, we settled on the new cabinet arrangement. 
With the fridge moved to the west wall, we could put 8 feet of cabinets on the south wall. The other cabinets will span the second and third bays, and hang on the west wall. Of course, Scott is insisting that the painting (two coats, for sure) needs to be complete before the cabinets are installed. He is also considering adding an epoxy finish to the floor. But - at least the garage is clean!
Stay Tuned for Another Exciting Adventure!

Assorted iPhone Photos

Scott has captured some interesting pictures on his phone over the last few weeks that are just too cool not to share:
Scott was in the north side of the barn doing something when he felt like he was being watched. He just happened to look "up" and saw Bibbers walking along the rafters overhead! Bibbers really has the whole "barn cat" thing figured out.
The fire set the Saturday morning of Lumberjack Days made short work of the big brush pile in the west yard. Scott continued to monitor the ash pile for a few days, finding coals buried beneath up until a rain storm the following Thursday.
One night last week, our new patio umbrella was missing from its home on the south patio. Scott found it perched on the roof over the dining room, the apparent victim of a wind gust. He climbed out the guest room window to nab it and secure it indoors.
At the end of a few hours of mowing this evening, the dust cloud created by the Toro added vibrancy to the sunset. Just another reminder that noTTafarm is a beautiful place!

If you love seeing random photos of noTTafarm, follow me on Instagram under the user name "nottafarm" or find "noTTafarm" on Facebook and "like" us. It's all just for fun but if I become a blogging millionaire, I'll be happy to share.

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!