Caution Woman at Work

I’ve barely made a peep about what I have been up to, but in as few words as possible, I have been building, designing, painting, and in general making quite a mess!

Holy Cow this looks dangerous! 

This bit is representative of the construction phase going on in here.  And I am relieved to tell you that the view is not this bad today.  I have some touching up to do on the shelving, and a really fun surprise for the finish… I’m calling the finish Chinese modern meets Mid Century modern.  If you remember Chinese Modern (straight lines and black lacquer)  you will get it when I post my finish.  😉

I am excited for the project to be done

I want to get back to quilting again.


FULL DISCLOSURE:  Bob helped with the drafting of the shelving brackets and the lifting of heavy things.  He also did the framing of my quilting table/desk to my specifications last year while I was away visiting my Auntie and the Missouri Star Quilt Co in Hamilton, MO.

There. Fixed it.

Over the course of a year’s time we have had to replace every working part in our washing machine.  Sound expensive?  It was. And yet, if we paid to have it fixed, well, with all the money we would have spent we could have afforded to buy a new washer and a dryer with all the bells and whistles! (Yes, I repaired that too) .  So, I fixed whatever broke and got on with it.  Of course, when it came time to replace the drive shaft I gladly let Bob take over, because it was hard work and required strength that I just don’t have…

As we set to work,

we began to wonder if the nut that holds the wash drum in place on the drive shaft would break loose…

Would we have to call the repairman after all?

I’m happy to say it did, and we proceeded to gut the works.


 HINT: This is a very good opportunity to remove all the water deposits 

and detergent residue that have built up on the drums!!! 😉

No job is complete until it has been inspected by the resident Kitty Inspector Number One!


He is always on the job when there is serious work to be done…

This was a very big job!

And so it was that last week, that the annoying loud hum which had become so familiar to my ear suddenly stopped.  (I was washing new apron fabric)  The spin cycle started and I could hear the water swooshing in the drum and not going out…


The water pump had failed.  It finally just gave up and quit.

So, it was off to Parts Select again to buy the part I needed.

I ordered it that morning.

It was delivered next morning!

I fixed it in about an hour.


It was a very easy job.

Unplug the wiring, take out two bolts, and release two hose clamps.

Well, OK, those two blankety-blank hose clamps will be replaced with the screw tightening variety…

If I ever have to do this again.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

If you are new here, then you may be wondering why I am so partial to Parts Select.

Well it isn’t royalties or paid endorsement, I can tell you that!

It is because of fair pricing, ease of finding the parts I need,

and the how to do it videos!

Like this one!  😀

 Thank you once again, Steve!


So, are you a do-it-yourself kind’a person, or do you prefer to let the professionals do it for you?

A rough beginning, but the day ends well

We have scrimped and saved wherever we can to keep our costs to a minimum.  To say that the Mountain Farmlet is costing us a mountain of cash, might sound scary to some, but we are managing and doing so much of the work ourselves.  It feels intimidating, and to be honest overwhelming at times, but we have been researching and learning by doing and each time we tackle a new job at the old place we feel better equipped for the next bit that comes along.

Yesterday Bob left for work and then came back saying that his car transmission was acting funny.  We took it into the transmission repair shop and got the verdict of $1,400.00 to rebuild it.  We are not elated, but we will survive this too.

Now I am going to share with you some of our outlook on life.  I have no intention for this to be preachy, so please don’t take it as such.

I mentioned to Bob that some people would look at what we are going through (car repair, our sick Little Dog expenses, hidden damage in the old farmhouse) and might think:

“God is punishing us.”  

To which, after some deep thinking, he later replied:

(paraphrased)  You know some people would think that, but I believe he is preparing us and teaching us to live more frugally.  Look at how much we are accomplishing by learning to do the work on our own.  Yes, there are some projects we can’t do ourselves, but none of this is insurmountable.  He is making us stronger, smarter and wiser.

We have always dreamed of living in the country and owning a bit of land, and this dream is becoming a reality.  We are just having to work for it, and that is not such a bad thing.   It will take us longer than we anticipated, but we will accomplish our dream.”

Today, after a parts delay, the construction of the new roof begins.  It has to be done, it is expensive, but a sound roof will protect all our hard work on the inside.  And while we have found some really rotten wood behind the walls in the kitchen and bath, we now have a brand new floor in the bathroom.  We have also discovered that under the badly damaged sub-floor in the kitchen there are relatively new, and pristine beams to hold up the new flooring when we install it.  That was a welcome surprise that will save us much labor and money.

As we worked away the day, and along our journey home,  I took these photos to share with you.  Be patient, they may take a moment to load…

I leave you with a message found on a church notice board near where we live…

“The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.”

To which I respond…



NOTES:  The Amplified Bible translates *selah as “pause, and think of that”  I like that translation.

Reference: Selah in the Psalms ~

Under Development: a new kitchen for the old farmhouse

You will recall from my last post, that we discovered dank and damp wall coverings in the kitchen.  What we had presumed would be a fix and refurbishing job was suddenly turned into a gutting of the entire kitchen.

Which, by the way, I feel bad about.  I suppose I don’t expect anyone to understand this, but when we first toured the Mountain Farmlet and met the Octogenarian, we had promised her we wouldn’t remodel.

That snippet of the conversation went something like this:

Octogenarian,  “… and when you remodel you can…”

At which point we both cut her off and said, “NO, we like it as it is.”

You should have seen her smile.

It was, and still is our ethic that if you buy an old home, then you should like it for what it is.  Don’t go in with the thought that you are going to tear down walls, put in modern decor, or pretentious contraptions you really don’t need in a house that is almost one hundred years old on one end and two hundred years old on the other.

And yet, if it is broken or unhealthy we understand that you must fix it.  And so it is we find ourselves faced with an unforeseen and expensive job on our hands.  Oh, by the way, the old place needs a new roof too, but we guessed this much before we bought it.  Let me explain.

Did you know that if you fix the foundation under your home that the movement in leveling it will travel up the walls and right into the rafters?  Think of it like this:

Stand with one foot on a stair or curb and try not to let your knee bend.  What just happened?  If you don’t let the knee bend, then your back wants to bend to keep you upright.  Now think about that roof.  The sides of the structure are not going to bend like your back did, so all of that new stress follows up the supports of the structure, and ends in the rafters and braces.  Hence, leaks are going to happen.

And they have, as we knew they would, but we went ahead with the work, because it simply had to be done.  However, what we didn’t expect while all this was going on was to have one of the wettest summers in the history of  N. Alabama.

And,  friends, we have leaks

We are meeting with the roofer to sign on the dotted line on Sunday afternoon.   Nice roofer!  He knows we’re only there on Sundays and that it is a two hundred mile round trip for us.   This flexibility will allow Bob to be a part in the picking out of tin roof color and signing on the contract too.  😉

Now, tomorrow we will finish gutting that kitchen and the little keeping room.   We were told by the foundation man, that the little passage wall between them is non load bearing and so our plan is to remove it.  This will give us a nice Galley kitchen.

I had wanted to do this with the wood battens:


I can think of no feasible way to seal them from the outside elements.   As well, the location of our new home will absolutely not let us.  Located in the country, and on a farm, we are surrounded by rodents.   There are also brown recluse spiders, *mud dauber wasps, and snakes.  So unless we completely seal the walls on the inside, then it’s a fact of life that these creatures are going to find their way in.

No thanks!

And this brings me to the planning stage of the new kitchen that I want to look very much like this:

Looks like our layout!I found this on the “This Old House” [TOH] website and you can view the complete article by clicking on the photograph.

Now of course there are concessions to be made, and bargains to be struck, such as, Bob wants a dishwasher, and I want more cupboard space.  😉  And their will be tweaks to this layout, such as, we will have to add that window over the sink, and I want the stove over by the sink line up on the left side of the room.  Also, I will not be getting that lovely apron sink, or the new vertical wood planking on the walls, or the stone counter tops, or even those lovely custom-made cabinets!

My version will be:  A stainless one bowl, drop in sink; Formica counters, and the cabinets will be our version of functional storage purchased and retrofitted from the Habitat Restore.  Oh yes, and the walls will be wallboard , thanks to Bob Villa’s handy tips for installing it with a sealed backing on those outside walls.

I am toying with the idea of a pass through opening on the wall to the dinning room.  The dining room is a bit dark on this side, and there is no useable space for a new window in there.  It is my feeling that some of the light from the kitchen windows will pass through and light up the dining area nicely!  Indirect light is better by far than no natural light in a dark corner of a room.  Agreed?

Playing around with my ideas, which are based on that lovely TOH plan has brought me to a very rough rendering of our future kitchen:

Future-Kitchen-Plans  I am no draftsman, and please note that four blocks = 1 sq. ft.

We have a very tiny kitchen!

With no further bumps along the way, putting  a monkey wrench into the works (yeah right) then this is to be my general layout. 

However, we shall see how it all plays out.   🙂



That outside door in the keeping room is definitely slated for an upgrade and may require the services of a professional.  It is original to the structure, but it has to go!  (Due to its vintage status it will be saved and repurposed.)


I am getting tired of hearing grown men groaning and swearing when entering and exiting a 5  foot 6 inch door!!!  🙂


*Mud Daubers:   It will take some time… but those mud daubers are going to find it increasingly difficult to gain entry into the walls from the outside.  I have never seen so many of them in one place, and their stings are bad!   It took three weeks for the lump on my upper arm to go away.  😯