Saturday, August 15, 2015

Creeping forward ....

The kitchen project continues to creep forward.

Lately I have been making decisions on little things.

I wanted a farmhouse sink.  OK -- I demanded a farmhouse sink!  So that was a given.  Until I started searching and I discovered that 99% of the farmhouse sinks are undermounts units.

Undermount sinks are great.  You just push the water on the countertops right into the sink with no lip for the water to catch on.


You have to have a stone, quartz or solid-surface countertop.  Like this one.

LOVE the faucet ... ain't happenin' but I LOVE it!

Can you say Cha-Ching???

There is this beauty ............

And I might be a little short to use this sink.  See how the lip is almost 2" higher than the countertop!

 But the backsplash of the sink won't fit under the window.  And its almost $1000 for the sink.  :(

Cha-ching!   Again.

So here is the reality check at Miss Eff's........

1) I personally don't care for stone or granite.   I know!!!  What's wrong with me???  Many patterns of stone seem "busy" to me.  And trust me, my house is busy enough without competition from stone.

2) I love solid surface and I have it now on the island.  I will replace the existing island top ... sometime.  But being able to chop on the countertop all around the kitchen is unnecessary for me.

3) We live in a 1800 square foot, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 120 year old farmhouse on a hill in the country.  Without air conditioning.  It is a simple house and to be honest with you ........... let's keep it that way.  No pretense.  No fancy.

It is the "look" I am trying to achieve ... A gourmet kitchen is not necessary.  Nor am I going to spend our retirement funds for a remodel.

I am using .......... let me say it ..............(gasp!)  laminate. Yep .... Formica or something like it.

The great countertop discussion will come later .... for now, we will talk about sinks, faucets etc.

Ikea sink
This is the sink I chose.  My final answer.  Ikea sink for roughly $300.  It gives me the look that I want.  And I can still afford to heat the house!

The sink as you can see has a great drainboard in back with a single hole for a faucet.  So that started the search for an affordable faucet with a single hole and  "vintage" style look.  I really wanted faucet with an antique brass finish.

But I wasn't going to sacrifice eating for the next year.

Although .... I probably would survive.  ;(

So I stepped back .... and looked .... and decided that ordering $30 worth of parts ..... I could make this Kohler faucet that I already have ... look and work like new!

Fairfax faucet by Kohler

 My faucet is 17 or 18 years old and has a little brass trim on it.  Clean it up.  Replace some o-rings and put in a cartridge for good measure ............. I will be set for another 17 or 18 years.

Next .... in the plumbing catagory is ........... a pot filler.

I really really really want a pot filler.   If you have not seen them ... a pot filler is a faucet that is mounted in the wall behind the cooktop or stove.

So why do I want a pot filler??  It is simple. 

Canning season.  The water baths and the pressure canners use a lot of water.  A gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds.  A canner holds 7 gallons of water or so.

8 lbs times 7 gallons lifted by a 61 year-old woman.  And getting older every year.  Yea .... pot filler would be very nice.

I really like this one.

But I am not sure yet ..... I need to investigate a little more and decide the size of the spout and I think I want the spout to swivel out of  the way.

Next decisions ........... hardware and countertops.  And floors!!!  Why do floor decisions have to be so hard????

All these decisions and choices will turn my hair gray!!

Oh .... wait.


Friday, August 14, 2015

The evolution of flowers

I have been mulling over the week's activities and the customers that have come to the farm.

When you start a business ... you have one idea in mind. 

This is what I am going to do and this is how I am going to do it.

People were going to come to the farm and I was going to sell them flowers.

Then .... people liked the farm.  They liked sitting and relaxing here with their friends.

 I will give them a place to relax in the shade.  

The corn-zebo was born.  It was a place to sit and talk.  Then it was a place to picnic and now ... it is both!

Those initial ideas evolve.  

I need someplace to sell eggs that wasn't in my kitchen.  So the Summer Kitchen and its swoooopy roof appeared on the eastern horizon.  It, too has changed  over the years and I am pleased with what it has become.

And then there was Tuesday ................

Honey was on the ladder, putting up siding.  I was doing laundry and trying to straighten out the disaster that is my kitchen.

A car pulled in the driveway ........

I greeted the woman and asked if I could help her.  Turns out she had been sent my way .... she was scouting locations for a commercial.

I showed her around the farm quickly and then let her look around to find areas that might work for her project.

We knew that we didn't have what her client wanted  ............. this time.

She loved the curve of the lane .... the sides of the barn .... the way the house sits on the land and its relationship to the hills of the gravel road.

There may be a new niche in my marketing plan.

I will give them a place to shoot commercials and ads. 

Evolution ..... its not just for monkeys.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Honey and I met 19 years ago.

We were in our 40's.

We have discovered something ...... we don't move as fast as we used to.

Gees!!!  Why does everything take twice as long as we thought it would????

So everyone under the age of 40 who says ... You're not done with that yet??? ......... wait.  Just you wait.

OK.  In our defense, we did have two days of rain this weekend.  And as they say on This Old House, moisture is a house's enemy.  You don't want to put tar paper on a wet surface and you don't want to install wood siding on top of wet tar paper.

Window installed ... now on to new siding.

Which brings me to another point.


We are using tar paper.  Not Tyvek.  Tyvek is perfect if you are using a synthetic siding such as vinyl or aluminum.  But we are using cedar siding and it needs to breath.  Tar paper is recommended by people that restore old houses.

That would be us.

Finding the right profile for the siding has been difficult.

OK.  Impossible.

We can order massive quantities of the right size but we don't have the place to store it.  Nor the time to get it installed.  So Honey buys what he needs .... cuts it to size..... primes all surfaces and then cuts it to fit.

That might be delaying progress a tad!  ;)

So here we go with some pictures.

New siding is under the window ....

We added a 2x4 piece of trim to reflect the piece that is original to the front porch.  It is little details like this that are important on a restoration to keep it from looking "remuddled". 

The tiny little door/window goes into the attic.  We have debated this detail a lot.  There is no window or screen ... just a framed opening in the attic with this door. 

We have found no earthly reason for the door.  It  is 10 feet plus off the ground.  It has no handle from the outside.  It is a mystery to us.

I think for energy conservation the "door" is going away.  It is kind of cute .... but I think $'s will outweigh cute in this case!

I will post more pictures and progress after the weekend.

I have decided that we are turtles ...

and we only make progress by sticking out our necks!

Saturday, August 8, 2015


It is day two on the window replacement.

And ... as both Honey and I knew ..... an #oldhouseproblem raised its ugly head.

The window was not sealed properly and water leaked.  The frame and some of the studs were rotted.  We were not surprised.  Fortunately, the damage was fairly minimal and quickly and easily fixed.

The new window is smaller so a new frame was needed.  Honey completed it and replaced some of the sheathing on the wall.

Then 4 o'clock came.

Honey started the project at 7 am.

He had been up and down the ladder.

Walked back and forth to the shop.

Measured twice and cut once.

It was humid and hot.

And he was tired.

He wanted to get the window installed but accidents and mistakes happen when you are tired.

I had checked the weather .... no storms on the radar.  No percentage for rain.  But the tv meteorologists had been predicting a pop-up storm.

I suggested just putting a tarp on the hole and finish putting in the window in the morning.  Honey thought a better option was tossing up a piece of scrap plywood.

Thank God for Honey's better ideas as a few minutes later .... we got 3/4" of rain!  (For which my garden was quite grateful!!!)

So here is a picture of Friday's progress .............

Today will bring a new view of my world!!

Friday, August 7, 2015

The first step............

Every house remodel starts with a first step.

As you know .... the kitchen re-do has been mulling in my mind for years.  Maybe decades.  We are almost up to a score.

Last year, we ordered a window in September.  We had hoped to get the window in place before winter.  Which didn't happen because the window wasn't done.

This old house was built 123 years ago in 1892.  And most of the windows are original to the house.  There have been some upgrades to them .... new storms, elimination of the cords and weights ..... but basically the original windows or early replacements.

No fiberglass. No aluminum.  No vinyl.  Wood.

Except this 1970's casement window over my sink.  :(

Which has been the worst window in the house for the last 10 years.  It has been caulked shut for the last 5 years. 

And caulking shut a south window  .... in your kitchen .... when you don't have a/c ... during canning season.

Can you feel the heat????

Can you feel my pain????

So here is the new replacement.

Solid wood .. double-hung ... made to the National Historic Trust standards.  It was made by Carver Lumber yard in Milan, IL....... which really isn't a lumber yard but a source for reproducing moldings, carvings and windows for old houses.  Don't try to google them ..... they are old-school all the way.  But they did a great job on the window.

Solid wood windows ... custom made to match the existing windows take more time and more money than I would like to admit. 

The dishwasher I chose for the kitchen cost less.  Seriously.

When I hear television ads .... All windows for $200 ..... I want to know how long will those windows last!

We are going with a smaller window to match another window in the kitchen.  This will give me more space for wall cabinets ... and since we are moving the sink, the view doesn't matter.

This is going to be a project.  Cuz you have no ideas what kind of problems may exist in those walls until you open them up.

And we are sure there will be some. 


No doubt. 

You can bet on it.

Stay tuned to see if there is a new window and new wood siding on the house by the end of the weekend...... which is being extended till Wednesday in our world.  ;)

I'll be "picturizing" progress and problems as we go!

Wish Honey luck!!!!

#oldhouseproblems  #whathavewegottenourselvesinto