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 ~  http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2007/07/selah-in-the-ps.html

Where’s my bulldozer?

This is installment two which I promised you in this morning’s post, and  it takes place on the Mountain Farmlet.  NOTEIf you are in the least squeamish, then bypass the closeups in today’s carousel!  


When we purchased the new to us Mountain Farmlet, we had no idea how much work it would entail.  We took the tour, had it inspected, KNEW it had warts, but fell in love with the old place nonetheless.

However, we had no idea when we signed on the dotted line that there was so much hidden damage. 


“We said, Sure it needs patching and painting but it looks pretty good for a house that is so old.”

I told you about the bathroom floor, and you can see for yourself that the old place needs patching and painting.  However, what we couldn’t see underneath the old paneling, paint and wallpaper was all the MOLD.  Some of it is black, and some actually green…

We found it when we decided to remove the cupboards and cabinets to replace the sagging and stained pressboard bottoms.


There was a section of wallpaper covered  plywood installed over the left edge of the counter.  To get that out we had to actually tear out the cupboards, and then remove the plywood.   Had they been installed with screws instead of nails we might have salvaged them.    As it was, prying on them only let the wonderbar sink into the walls behind.

Uh-OH.  😦


And so it begins…

We have our work cut out for us.  We are going to have to do all the inside wall repairs ourselves.  We are not going to be moved in by Christmas. And, whether you can understand this or not, we are actually grateful for that piece of plywood that was in the way of the damaged counter top.  It set into motion a chain of events that will in the end protect our investment and our health!

At this time we are now planning to remove all the wall layers in every room and to replace that sagging and deteriorating particle board subfloor!   They are porous materials, and collect moisture, which has resulted in mold in the walls and a squishy floor.  We will then clean and spray the cladding with a fungicide to kill any mold that we can’t see.  While we are working on all this we will be thinking about what we want to put up for walls.

Actually, I would love to do this to the cladding!

However, I haven’t a clue about how to seal the cracks to keep out all the bugs and mice!!!  What comes to mind involves numbering it, carefully taking it all down, applying a barrier (but what kind???) and then reinstalling the cladding

If you have done this before, then I would greatly appreciate your advice as to how this can be done. 


NOTE:  About that bulldozer in the title, well, you do know I was kidding right?  😉

In the dark

It is nighttime, you have locked the doors and turned out the lights.  Teeth brushed, jammies on,  you are tired and ready to sleep.

Laying your head back onto the pillow, you pull up the covers and try to relax to sleep.  The house is dark,  your breathing slows and then you hear it.  Sometimes it is in the kitchen, sometimes in your bathroom, but wherever it is you will not sleep until you silence that annoying and rhythmic




There is simply nothing so annoying as a leaking faucet when you are trying to sleep.  You may try several methods to temporarily silence the leak, but sooner or later you will have to call the plumber and that my friends is expensive.


Those of you who have known me for a while know how I feel about paying a repairman to fix appliances.  Especially when they want to charge $75 to $80 dollars just to give you their opinion about what may be wrong.  Really?   I would much rather spend that money on parts and do the job myself.

And so it is that I have challenged myself to fix that crazy making, sleep depriving leaky faucet in the shower!  It wasn’t so bad in the beginning, but over time it has become unbearable.  I have armed myself with Delta’s and others Youtube videos, gone to the Delta website to find the right part, and spent over $20.00 to buy a strap wrench that I may only ever use once.  I know that sounds crazy, but I reasoned that expenditure out like this:

The strap wrench          –          $20.00

The Delta replacement part – FREE  (a “$50.00 value on Amazon” [list price     $86.00])

Total                     –                      $20.00

The plumber plus the part  –  $150.00 to $200.00

I’m goin’ in!


The tools: 

  • Manufacturers instructions included with the part
  • One Phillips head and one blade screwdriver
  • One pair of needle nosed pliers (not indicated in the enclosed instructions, but absolutely necessary to remove the old adapter assembly!)
  • One [way smaller next time!!!] *new strap wrench.

Following these instructions it was mostly easy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Trust me, the enclosed instructions are lacking some steps.  If you should want to try this at your home, then watch the video.  A couple of times.

The first and most important step in this procedure is to turn off the water to the house, and then open the faucet in the bathroom sink and the shower to release the pressure in the pipes.  Now I am ready to begin!  😉

Cap off, remove screw, pull off lever/handle, slip off chromed sleeve, use strap wrench to loosen the valve bonnet nut (TIGHT) remove old valve, and then reverse the process to put it all back together.

Old parts out, new parts in, and




Thank you Delta for your free replacement cartridge, and for the online audio visual aids!

*If I had watched this video before I went out for the strap wrench I would have known exactly what I needed!  😉


Now if only I were younger, less stiff and more brave, why, I could save us thousands by doing all the new plumbing on the Mountain Farmlet!


This leads into today’s second post…

Stay tuned!

Because you asked…

Many of you have asked for pictures and I wanted to oblige you.  However, it was a long journey from finding the Mountain Farmlet, to finally signing on the dotted line, and then being able to set to work.

You will recall that we had said the Octogenarian could take as long as she needed to sort out her belongings,  and then have her Estate Sale.  It took a good while, but we feel better for having let her take her time.

This is the nutshell version of what we know about the Octogenarian and her husband’s history.  Some of it may be a bit off, I was, after all, catching it in bits and snaps at the estate sale, but I am trying to be as accurate as memory serves.


Her husband was born there in 1920.  His family owned, if I recall correctly, 300 acres back then.  (Some of which, I believe,  is still owned by descendents.) They bought the place from the *(1) original builder of the one room cabin.

Living in “Rock Creek” was a hard life.  Plowing with a mule, walking or riding by horseback on a *(2) “pig trail” through the mountain.  When he was a teenager, he would leave the mountain to make a new life in Ohio.

In the 1940s when WWII began, he signed up and was shipped off to Arizona, and the Octogenarian followed him via a train that was carrying more troops to AZ.  She was accompanied by her mother for propriety, and they were married when she arrived.  Then, it was off to war for him, and back to Ohio for her.

After his return from the war, they raised a family there in Ohio and when the children were grown, and off beginning their own adventures, her husband wanted to return to the family home.  That was about 20 years ago.

Mtn Farmlet thenI have no idea when this photo was taken, but she did say it looked pretty much like this when they got here 20 years ago.

In their time here they patched, painted, cleared the property of weeds, and forged a trail on the southern end of this twenty-five acres.  They dug a pond, stocked it with fish, planted a wonderful garden below the home, and beautiful flowers around the front entrance.  They wanted it to be a garden spot up here in woods.

It is so different now, and of course quite a bit older too, but I would say that they had accomplished their goal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m sorry I don’t have the same view as above, but at any rate, you get the idea.


So now it is our turn, and there are a lot of repairs to do to an almost 175 year old home.  We know many of them: plumbing, foundation, electrical, and roof repair/replacement…  and others, of course, that will only reveal themselves as we set to work.  😉

When I talked to the plumber, the first words out of his mouth were:  “You’re gonna get rid of that shower too, aren’t ya?”  

Me:  “Yes, it was in the plans…”

So our journey begins in the bathroom.

We intend to remove and replace the rotten sub-floor, put in a plank floor, straighten/lift the ceiling (there is room up there for that now) put the bathtub where the shower once was, and if possible, move the water heater over near the washer and dryer.  Also in the plans are a new window in the far wall, and an exhaust fan in the ceiling.  (I neglected to mention that, so thank you, Deb!)  I have been gathering up some really fun and unique ideas for the walls and the sink…

But, you will have to wait till we are done with the reconstruction for those pictures!

I am certain that there are some of you who will not understand what we see in a place with uneven floors, and that leans just a bit.  A place where nothing matches and all was hand hewn…

Well, I understand it is not for everyone.

However, when we first saw it we knew it was for us.  We may very well be tinkering on it till we are too old to do so, but I think that the work will keep us fit and healthy along the way.  And no, we do not intend to try to make everything look like city living, or to change things out to make them all “matchy-matchy.”  That would simply be too boring.

Old-plank-doorsBesides, would new matching doorknobs on both of the plank doors to the bathroom make them look any better? 

Not to our eyes.



  1. I am uncertain at this point as to the original owner/builder, or about when it was changed to a “dog trot” and then later enclosed.  But I understand that there are public records that can help me to find out!
  2. Her husband’s words for the little horse trail up to the cabin.