Monday, August 31, 2015

Please, Mr. Postman

Although we've noticed that our mailbox post was listing recently, we were still unprepared to discover said mailbox prone in the grass upon arriving home this evening. Never to shy away from a challenge, Scott immediately sprang into action. He packed the Ranger with tools, the post-hole digger, and an old landscaping timber he had stored behind the barn for use "someday." I went along for the ride to act as an assistant and take photos. Check out our hour of pre-suppertime fun!
The Crime Scene
Actually, it's probably not a result of vandalism or an errant drive-by. The post was compromised by a piece of heavy equipment during our construction project. The contractor repaired it then but time and insects have taken their toll on the supports.
First, the post had to be disassembled. All but one of the screws came out without having to use a manual screwdriver. (Why is there always one screw that won't cooperate?)
Evidence of insect life and wood rot was apparent.
Since the existing post hole was filled by the broken end of the rotten post, Scott chose to locate the new hole just a smidge north. He utilized the post-hole digger to create a hole about 2.5 feet deep.
The chain saw trimmed the landscape timber to the correct length (and lopped off a ragged end because why would you choose to keep a ragged end?)
Then the post was placed in the hole, and the excavated dirt was smooshed back into place. Scott used the handle of a shovel to tamp down the dirt.
With the post in place, Scott lifted the box and its structure up, centering it on the top of the post.
It's pretty level (but we need it to be slightly slanted to help shed rain.)
Finally, the original screws were put back in place. The resulting structure is stronger and taller than it has been for three years. The postal carrier will have a nice surprise upon arrival Tuesday!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Thrice is Nice

The barn window improvement project got a huge boost on Saturday with the installation of not one . . .not two. . . but three new windows on the west side. The fact that we didn't really even get started til about two in the afternoon makes Saturday's work even more amazing. We are well on our way to having the project completed within Scott's deadline goal of the end of September,
Since the state of each window opening varies, Scott made adjustments on the fly. The trusty M-12 was used for fine tuning the existing wood. Any rotting wood in the way of the improvement was replaced with wood from the stockpile.
Notches were made at the base of the existing trim to receive the new built-up sills Scott made. The new sills were necessary to help our off-the-shelf windows fit the openings.
It's always best to "dry fit" all the pieces before anything is permanently installed. 
Meanwhile, Scott set me up to paint the sills. I put two coats of the exterior-grade white paint on each side. I also kept busy sweeping out and otherwise tidying up the potting area of the barn. The spiders are gonna be ticked at me for a while but Bibbers should be happy.
Although the exterior window trim has seen better days, we want to do our best to extend its life. Scott gave the three windows a quick sanding before painting. (He painted the first window, then turned the brush over to me for windows two and three.)
Once the paint was mostly dry, the new sill was attached with 4" screws. 
The windows are held in place by a wood stop, screwed to the top of the window jamb. This is a temporary solution until we come up with something that is secure yet allows the windows to be operable.
Ta Da!
The first window is done!
Scott repeated the same process on the two north windows.
Just as the sun started to set, Scott set the third window in place. 
And now, the west-facing side of the barn looks pretty spiffy! We hope to get out and do some more window improvements over the next week.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

First New Window Added to Barn

Scott finished painting the new barn windows this weekend, and tonight he was able to fit the first one into its soon-to-be-permanent home. The subject window is on the barn's north side and while the structure around the opening needs a little re-working, it's a great improvement. 
First Things First
Removing all of the precisely-placed tape took a razor blade and a little time (but it was much easier to deal with than a sloppy paint job.)
The window Scott chose to replace first is on the barn's north side. In addition to an overall neglected and beat-up appearance, it is missing a pane. Side note:  how many cobwebs can noTTafarm support? Ugh!
The new window is held in place by the original frame; it slides inside grooves created by two boards.
Scott plans on removing the trim and extending the wall structure so that the window opening is the correct width. It should come as no surprise that off-the-shelf windows from a big box lumber yard don't exactly fit our vintage barn. The trim will be painted before being replaced. It's gonna look pretty spiffy!
Stay Tuned for More Progress!

Bennett's Bouncing Baby Brother

Congratulations to Kevin and Sara! 
Our friends, formerly known as The New People, delivered their new baby boy on August 18th. Elliot Brandt Kupzyk tipped the scale at 8 lbs., 7 oz. and is doing great! Elliot's big brother Bennett introduced him to me at church last Sunday. (You can imagine that a 5-day-old baby was quite an attraction!) 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sophie to the Rescue!

The perfect cure for summertime blahs? A visit from Sophie, of course! Monday, August 10 was our great niece's 7th birthday. We were happy to host a cook-out, set-up the croquet course, and celebrate Sophie!
Sophie and her daddy, Pete, made a stop at Party City where she scored this awesome puppy cap. 
(That's her friend Moosey the Moose in her lap.)
She was excited about the stack of presents.
Nana brought the birthday cake, decorated with Sophie's favorite theme, My Little Pony. 
Sophie and Pete make a pretty great team! We are so happy that they chose to celebrate at noTTafarm.
Happy Birthday, Sophie!

Lazy Hazy Daze of August

August is just about the worst, isn't it? It's hot. It's humid. It's just gross out there. Luckily, we have a nice basement where work can still get done.
Scott spent last weekend (August 8/9) in the office so not much progress was made on the barn window repair and/or replacement project. He was happily back at it this past weekend. He taped off the glass on the eight new windows and completed two coats of paint on one side. He took a break from painting on Saturday long enough to fill the trailer with errant cedars and amur honeysuckle branches, culled from the west slope's trail. I took a break from the heat and humidity by staying inside, cleaning the house. You may think that every weekend at noTTafarm is full of bonfires and kitties and s'mores but sometimes, we just do regular dull tasks.

Cheer up, though! We may do something exciting next weekend.  
That's why it's important for you to:
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!