Friday, December 28, 2007

Playing in the White Stuff

The animals, especially the two youngest ones, BooBoo (15 months) and Izzy (17 months), have definitely enjoyed the snow.

These two love the snow more than most kids and chase each other in it constantly.

Izzy looking for BooBoo.

BooBoo stalking Izzy.

What a look!

BooBoo is one strange cat. He loves to roll around on the ground, like most animals, but what sets him apart is that he will walk up to you, fall over and start rolling.

I tried to get a pic of him doing this but it didn't turn out. The best I could do was of him in one of the divots he created by rolling around in the snow.

Once again he is off looking for Izzy...

... and Izzy watching out for him.

Here's sabu. He's a little grumpy today for some reason...

...and he is not at all amused at Izzy and BooBoo's game.

For the most part, this is what the cats tend to do all day - NOTHING!

Here we have Brutus. He has decided that the built-in cabinet is his. Don't know what's going to happen once it's put back together.

As for our two female cats, I have yet to see them today.

Winter Wonderland

Hello from snow covered & freezing Kansas everyone!!

I hope your all staying warm.

A couple of friends asked me if I would snap some pics of the house covered in snow; so, since we had a snowfall last night, today was a perfect day!

This has been our third snowfall in a month! Last night we were told to expect 7"s but we lucked out and only got about 2 or 3. Normally we don't have this much snow this soon. Most of the time we get dumped on in late January through early March. Now we are wondering what this Winter has in store for us. To top it all off, we do not have access to our wood burning stove! If you remember, the living room and dining room are crammed full of the stuff from the kitchen as well as stuff for a garage sale. I am going to take a few days and clean out the living room so we can use it if we have to.

Well...on to the pics.

Here are my two 'restoration' projects side-by-side. Don't they look good together?

In this shot, pay particular attention to our roof. Notice how nice and even the snow is? We have been told that this indicates low heat loss. Each time I see this site I'm thankful for all the insulation we installed in the attic!

West yard looking north.

Southwest looking northeast.

Same view.

West side again.

The little red bard.

This is where my woodshop is going to go. More on that later.

Northeast yard looking northwest.

Back of the house.

Close up of the utility porch. We have plans for this also. For those interested, we believe that this porch replaced the original back in the 50s.

The previous owners used this porch as a quasi-greenhouse.

One last thing. See the lamppost on the lower left side of the pic? That is a gaslight. There are three of these in the yard not counting the main one up front. At some point, two of them were converted to electricity.

View looking northwest.

The little red ban and our fire-pit.

This Spring we will start the process of restoring this little barn. Insulation, windows and power are going to be added as well a wood burning stove.

Another western view of the back yard.

The view looking southwest.

If you look closely you can see one of the gaslights that were converted to electricity and to the right of that is the well-house

Before I forget. See the tree just to the left of the well house? Almost in the middle of the picture? That is our honey tree. We found out last Spring that we now have a hive of wild honeybees living in this tree.

In the Spring we are wanting to plant some 'bee friendly' plants and try to get them to stay.

Okay, I just HAD to throw in this last picture of the house.

We really love the new window in the attic and still can't get over how much light it lets in.

It sure beats the piece of paneling that covered the opening all those years!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas in the Attic

Merry Christmas!!

I hope that all of you have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

This year found us with a house torn up and no way to decorate; or even a spot to place a tree!

Since Christmas has always been a big, special time for us we have always decorated in a huge way - all traditional of course. So this year we have both been bummed out a bit since we couldn't decorate. Basically, it has been hard to get into the spirit of things.

So, I spent all Thursday the 20th hunting down the decorations and setting up a small, 3' feather tree in the attic. I thought this would be a nice surprise for Annette. Actually, the hardest part was keeping the cats from helping me AND keeping it a secret until Christmas Eve!

Needless to say, Annette loved the tree.

I hope all of you have been able to celebrate the season in a special way and have remembered the reason for the season.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Windows - the Original Way

One of the things we love about our money pit is the amount, and size, of the windows. Every window is original, untouched but for a couple of items.

While working on the main set of windows in the kitchen, we found out that all the window weights were still there. With the exception of one that was still attached, thee others had simply broken off and fallen into the wall. So, that means the ones I'm finding in the yard do not belong to these windows.

Anyway, once the weights were discovered, Annette insisted that they be restored back to the way they were. Besides, it was getting old using a piece of old curtain rod to hold the window up.

BTW - it should be pointed out that the left window could not be opened at all, years of grime and paint. The right window could be opened with difficulty.

So let's begin....

We started the process of restoring the windows (before we knew the weights were in the wall) by removing the stop beads running along the sides. Then the stripping and sanding began. It was during this process that the weight pockets were discovered, but we were not sure due to a piece of tin weather striping that had been installed during the mid to late 20s.

Well, while doing the finish sanding I kept catching, and tearing, the sandpaper on this tin weather striping. So, I decided to remove it, but was afraid I would ruin the striping in the process. Turns out I worried for no reason. Instead of a dozen or so tiny tacks holding the striping in (like the stripping in the doors) there were on two tacks; one at the top and one at the bottom. Once those were removed, and with a lot of jiggling, the tin striping came loose and I could slide it out.

It was then that the pocket piece (the little wooden door that covers the weight pocket) came to light. It was then decided - "in for a penny, in for a pound" - the weights would be fixed. Besides, we had several in the yard so it would really be much of an effort. However, when the pocket piece was removed, to my surprise, the weights were still there!

Once found, we needed to make the decision on how to reattach them, so it was off to my restoration library for some window weight research. After this it was decided to use solid brass sash chain, also known as plumber's chain, to reattach them.

What you see here is the weight pocket on the right side of the right window.

This is a pic of the interior of the middle sill separating the two windows.

There is about 3" of dirt and crud at the bottom.

Do you see the two cylinder objects at the top of the pic? Turns out those are the weights for the top window sashes!!! We didn't even know they could be opened!!

To the left of the pic you can see the backside of the opposite pocket piece.

What we have here are the parts needed to fix the weights.

There are two weights (12 pounds each - one per each side of the window), two pocket pieces; and the new brass chains.

Above all of this is one of the original cotton sash cords that had broken off.

The chains are then attached via a screw.

The next move was to replace the window and prop it up as high as it would go so that the other end of the chain, after threading through the pulley, could be attached to the weight.

Hey - see that long, thin grey piece above the chain? That is part of the tin weather stripping. It has a date stamp of 1925 on it.

The weight is then attached and the chain secured with a cotter pin (makes it easier to work on in the future if we need to).

The weight is then reinserted into the wall.

The pocket piece is then reattached.

And there you have it, a working window weight!

Here is a close-up of the pulley. All for of these were in excellent working condition. All that needed to be done was cleaning off the old grime and paint.

The windows work so well now that you can easily open them with one hand; whereas before it took both hands, a shoulder, and a lot of grunting to get one open.

This was such an easy operation that we've decided to do it to all the other windows that have a weight system.

On a side note...the windows above the sink and stove do not have a weight system. Instead, they have a spring like system that uses a thin piano wire as the cord. We are quit happy with the results and can't wait to see how the brass will look against the stain!