Horse Fencing 101: SCIENCE …errr PROGRESS!!!

Morning y’all, don’t mind me … between what feels like two-full time jobs and 5-7 hours a day in the harsh sticky heat of the South I find myself jiving my inner Bill Nye the Science Guy.

It’s been a couple weeks since I last posted photos of the project’s progression from gently rolling weed-filled acres to a proper horse pasture. Now I’ll be straight with you, since I’ve still only access to our battery operated …you heard that right… push mower, it is still very much weed-filled acres, even higher than when we started however. (Lookin’ at you, rain!) BUT…all four sides have every third post set and concreted in place, all the corners posts are concreted in as well as our pasture access gate posts.

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Posts going down to the edge of the southeastern side of the pasture.

Now before I get too excited, as pictures can be quite deceiving, for maximum strength and lowest strain placed upon each individual post, we elected to space our posts 10′ apart. So right now, every 30′ there is a post. So it looks like we’re ready to attach fasteners and start unrolling the CenFlex but alas… I’ve still a solid 60 posts to set and backfill with our gravel/sand mixture.

Now that…THAT in itself is the right bugger of this project. On average once loaded up with backfill our wheelbarrow weighs about 50-60lbs. Hauling this up and down a 4 acre hill is a terrifyingly spectacular thing to witness…at least when I’m the one doing it. A few trips ‘down’ and I start envisioning myself just tipping over or the wheelbarrow tire going flat. A dozen trips ‘down’ and I start to imagine sitting on top and magically riding it down and squealing to a stop just before the post hole. Like I said, I spend a lot of time in the sun doing a simple but very tedious task over and over and over. Your mind starts to wander.

…to be continued.

Lawncare 101: More Harsh Realities

There’s that old saying, “Sometimes you have to break it down before you can build it up again.” At least I think that’s how it goes. Anyway, I think I’ve mentioned how much I love/hate spring time. I mean, I love the growing part and everything getting green and pretty. Everything up to that point I could do without. Like our lawn. Our poor half dead yard at which I’ve been raking and digging and pulling weeds and dead crabgrass  – hence the uh, breaking part.

I mean, there’s been a lot of reseeding too but so far not a lot of results beyond a few sprouts. Out of all the things we’ve invested our money in, the yard has produced the least results. Every time I think I have a handle on things, I get thrown for a loop.

And with everything going on inside, combined with some very crazy spring weather, I have barely even touched the garden. Here it is mid-may and not a single thing has been planted and what weed pulling I’ve been able to do has been very sporadic. I feel a repeat of our first year coming on. img_20170516_125805750-e1494955393109.jpg

Now a few things survived the winter, which thankfully, is pretty mild compared to the midwest winters I grew up with. At this point, maybe I’ll just leave the garden be and focus on the lawn? Hmm… Maybe I just wasn’t meant to be one of those green thumb people? On the list of things I’d gladly hire a pro to handle, my yard is at the very top. Will I get the satisfaction of doing it myself and seeing all my hard work pay off? No. But I’m good with that.

One of these days I’ll have a pretty lawn and a nice garden I swear.. One of these days…

Fencing 101: Real Talk

In every DIY project you undertake, no matter how big or small the job is, there will always be a pivotal moment in which you ask yourself, “Am I still glad we chose to do this or am I filled with regret?” Now generally speaking, I’m a ‘you can’t cut the wind from my sails’ kind of gal but let’s just say that the previous gust propelling us through this project has dwindled to a passing breeze.

Now I can assure you that these long labor-intensive hours spent beneath an unforgiving sun haven’t curbed my enthusiasm, even seven weeks in. Why? Because this equestrian CANNOT wait to have her horses home and grazing in her front pasture. I envision watching them enjoying a summer morning as I’m looking out my kitchen window. That vision, …that alone… has kept me moving forward through every conceivable problem that can happen when trying to muster manpower, funds, time, and energy to put in 4 acres of pasture fencing.

So what did it? What has me so deflated?

Our friend that we hired to help us? …well he had to quit today. His new job is going to lessen his availability and while we are thrilled for him and this new opportunity it unfortunately has left myself and the Mr. holding the bag when we’ve SO MUCH work to do and two weeks left till the horses come home.

What’s a girl to do? Well, this particular girl wasn’t having it. I’m not a quitter, never have been and I don’t intend to start now. So instead of wasting time moping and stressing, which solves every problem (said no one ever) am I right? I grabbed the shovel and wheelbarrow and started shoveling backfill gravel like a woman possessed.

Five hours under that sun, a bad glove-edge tan line, and bug bites from here to New Zealand (hi kangaroos!) I have another 11 posts set in concrete and 10 more, that were set yesterday, backfilled with gravel and sand.

That’s right, this gal has ALL of the concreted posts -done-. Now…we still have another 60 or so posts to set with gravel and sand BUT…just let me have this little triumph born from sheer Irish stubbornness.

Now if you would please pardon me, I’m going to go collapse on the sofa for a ‘Netflix and chill’ kind of evening.

Until next time!

~Christy

Floor Money, Floor Life – Part 1

One of the biggest hurdles in completing the front section of our house has been the floors. The majority of the house is carpeted, notable exceptions being the kitchen and bathrooms and a few small sections of linoleum near the exterior doors. A month-ish, maybe longer, into owning our new house we pulled up the linoleum and carpeting in the front hallway, partly due to the fact that it was peeling up at the corners and partly because we considered it just plain ugly.

So a month-ish, maybe longer, into owning our new house we pulled up the linoleum and carpeting in the front hallway, partly due to the fact that it was peeling up at the corners and partly because we considered it just plain ugly.

And it’s been that way for the better part of the 3 years we’ve lived here, that section of the house has had bare floors.

Being that our house is approximately 100 years old, I had hoped and prayed that there would be beautiful or at least salvageable wood floors underneath the carpet, even though what we had seen so far was slightly less than hopeful. But as we’ve learned thus far, what we hope for, plan for and what reality gives us are very different things. So we made a backup plan: we’d buy laminate flooring from the local big box home improvement store and lay it ourselves to save some extra money.

Then last month we pulled up the carpet in our future rec room, and all dreams and hopes were immediately dashed. While there was indeed wood flooring underneath, it was not in any kind of “nice hardwoods” salvageable condition.

We even found concrete used as a leveler between different sections of the house as shown by the pictures taken at floor level. Concrete??? What in the…..??? Why?? Just why???

In spite of that setback, we sallied forth with our plan to lay laminate and consulted with the flooring department at our local home improvement store, getting a rough cost estimate based on the size of the rooms and halls we wanted new flooring in.

While we really appreciate the effort they made, we eventually decided that it just wasn’t the best option for us. As with everything else in this house, nothing goes according to plan. With the condition of the floors, the added hiccup of concrete covered areas, and the floors not all being completely level or even the same heights, doing it ourselves just wasn’t realistic. As the big box store’s valiant effort, they really did try, but they simply weren’t able enough to handle all of the “what in the heck happened here?” stuff that had been discovered when we pulled back the carpet. Finding a flooring specialist who could better advise us on how to handle our uh…interesting… situation became our next priority. (Ah the endless questing. Did I just step into a real life MMO?)

 flooring specialist who could better guide and advise us on how to handle our uh…interesting… situation became our next priority.

Empire Today flooring was where it was at. As skeptical as I was going into it – their free estimates and tv commercials all seemed a little too good to be true – but I checked my doubts we called them anyway. And we were pleasantly surprised. It was a good experience. They were very helpful, informative, and communicative not only with helping us select the right products for our home but also with keeping us in the loop. In spite of all that we were still terrified they’d come out take one look at our floors and run for the hills. But no, they stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park so to speak, covering the subfloor and leveling the floor a bit more with wood.

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Final product: wood look vinyl planking. Both durable and flexible enough to cover the imperfections in the subfloor. I am super impressed not only with the appearance but I love that you can’t even tell how messed up the sub floor is by looking at it. Yes, there are still areas where you can feel the dips but that fact that they aren’t visible is a huge improvement over what previously existed.

My lunch is calling so I’ll sign off for now. Flooring part 2 still to come!

Our Little Miracle – Ember

I know it has been forever since I posted about our fence progress but I live, sweat, and bleed that pasture fencing right now and tonight I’ve decided after a day spent laboring in the unforgiving southern sun…I’m taking the night off!

Now I realized a short while ago that whilst I litter my Instagram and Snapchat with photos and information about her, I haven’t mentioned our little Ember -once- on here!

Prepare yourself for the cuteness overload slideshow…

Two days after we closed on our farmhouse, a friend and I drove out to pick up an emaciated mare that we’d fallen in love with a month prior. She has the sweetest disposition and simply enjoyed being groomed. After trailering her home and taking her to the barn we kept reminding how her much better her life was going to be now, that she wouldn’t have to fight for feed, would receive proper hoof care, and loads of TLC …something that has been horribly lacking in her life these past fifteen years. Sweet ol’ Lilah didn’t even know what a treat was! She does now, I’m happy to report and will sniff every single pocket you have to find one. Food oriented – ahhh…just like her new momma.

After settling her in with our geldings I headed home and off to an early shift at work the following day. Everything seemed like your run of the mill Monday until I received a text, “Congratulations Mom, it’s a girl!” Following said text was this picture:

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Ember at 3 hours old! Lilah is the best mama!

That’s right…the emaciated mare we’d rescued was skin and bones with no muscle left on her to speak of…and was pregnant, though her former owner claims she had no idea of her condition but we won’t go there, it’ll just get me riled up again.

Shock was our first initial feeling, how could we have missed it? How could a mare her age, in the condition she was in when we brought her home have gotten with foal let alone carry to term?? And on top of everything else, this sweet mare foaled by herself with no one there to help had any complications arose. So there I was, staring blankly at my mobile screen trying to figure out what had just happened.

We hadn’t signed up for two but…I mean, look at her! She was sweet as the day and born without complications from a mare that had endured the worst of conditions. I can only assume she looked as pitiful as she did as she was giving everything she had to support growing little Ember.

Fast forward a few weeks, Ember just turned one month old this past Monday. She is sassy as the day, heavily muscled, and endlessly curious. Watching her grow stronger everyday only makes me more excited to have her home and placing her foal-sized halter on for the first time gave my heart a little leap.

Foals are 50% precious, 50% mischievous.

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Ember at one week old.
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Nearly three weeks old!

As I’m feeling nostalgic looking over her growth-progression photos, I’m leaning towards the precious side right now.

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Ember at one month old. Lilah has put on another 5lbs, we’re now at 40lbs put on in 30 days!

Not for nothing, Lilah (or Mama), has packed on around 30-40lbs over the past month on her new feeding regime. She and Ember have an acre to themselves, whereas she came from a barn where 40 horses shared 10 acres. She willingly hurries to the gate when she sees you approaching and no longer dreads being haltered. Grooming is something she’d never previously experienced and you can watch her physically relax as she begins to yawn and those eyes start drooping when currying her withers and hips.

All in all, we are so happy to have these special gals in our lives.

XOXO,

Christy

Skimming the Walls and Other Lessons in Drywall Mudding

Ah, wall skimming. Sometimes, it’s not enough to spackle the dents and holes in your walls. Sometimes, there are just too many to deal little marks and dents to deal with and trying to cover each one individually is just plain tedious.

I present for your viewing pleasure, Exhibit A (left side) the wall in our soon to be the rec room. This little beauty comes pretty much as is – minus a few attempts to spackle over the dents in the wall we have done nothing to it. Exhibit B (right side) is a wall in our hallway we have spackled again and again and then finally painted in hopes that some of that paint would cover the imperfections.

Sadly that was not the case. This is where skimming comes in. Now it’s been pointed out to us that there are two types of lighting – we’ll call them “every day” which is just your normal room lights and “up close and personal” flashlight or lamp light meant to look for imperfections. While both pictures were taken using “up close” lighting to really show off how bad it is, the imperfections on the walls are still quite visible in the overhead lighting of both areas.

So back to wall skimming. Frankly, neither of us are quite adept enough to go at it with just a hawk and trowel it so we used the roller method. A rolled on skim coat is like… the love child of painting and drywall mudding. It’s a little bit of both all rolled into one. Essentially you use a roller to paint on a thinned out coat of drywall joint compound and then pull out most of the texture with a rubber trowel.  Bucket of thinned drywall mud – check, trowel – check, roller & paint tray – check, spray bottle to keep the wall damp – check, rag for wiping – check.IMG_20170503_095736637

Skimming is my first real “solo” adventure since we’ve bought this house. (Painting doesn’t really count since I’ve done it countless times before.) My hubby has been doing the bulk of the work and while I’ve assisted with cutting or hanging drywall, I’ve not undertaken any project by myself up til now.

For my first time skimming EVER and my first solo project, I think I did alright. While the starting section was less than pretty, I found that it go progressively better as I went along and found my groove between rolling and pulling.

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The walls will still need to be sanded down but after the first coat, our rec room is already looking much better. Total run time: 2 – 2.5 hours from prep to finish not including clean up. This week I’ll tackle the hallway and once we get the rest of our flooring put in we’ll be ready to paint! But more on that later 😉

Raising the Roof (or in this case, the ceiling)

I believe I mentioned before that this house has ceiling tiles. The previous owners must have been bonkers for these bad boys because they are in Almost. Every. Room. Personally, I don’t see the allure. It’s a house, not an office building, and even then I don’t think they really belong there. We should really ban the wretched things forever and ever.

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Personally, I don’t see the allure. It’s a house, not an office building, and even then I don’t think they really belong there. We should really ban the wretched things forever and ever.

Seriously.

But we soldier on in our quest to eradicate these from our home. We have now (somewhat successfully) drywalled the ceilings of two rooms in our house. And what an adventure that has been! You saw the wreck that will one day be our family/rec room. Thankfully this time around wasn’t nearly as painful, just more obnoxious than anything else.

We call this side room our utility closet thingy and the renovations on this space have been a long time coming.
A little back story here: from what we understand, at one point it was an exterior porch that was enclosed to add more space to the house. It’s served a number or purposes since we bought the house and will eventually become a walk-in-closet for our side entry. Our first year here it was our office and I spent most of the winter trying to figure out what it was so dang cold. (Heavy gloves and a blanket aren’t exactly conducive to computer use.) Lo and behold when spring came around and we mustered up enough courage took a peek into what was above the tiles. Turns out they had done nothing to the porch ceiling except add tiling.

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As lovely as the wood planks are, it really wasn’t practical for us to leave it that way. We found that we lost a LOT of heat during the winter and temporarily closed it off to keep some of the cold air out. That aside, there was a lot of ugly wiring needing to be hidden. If I had to wager a guess, I’d say that the ceiling tiles were a quick and easy way for the previous owner to cover that up.

But in our family, we don’t half-ass anything, at least not if we can help it. So after several trips to Home Depot, the hubby and I dove into our work. (Pretty sure that’s our second home now. Maybe I could set up a tent in the parking lot?) We said goodbye to the pretty blue planks and hello to insulation and to building a new frame for the dropped ceiling so we’d have beams to attach the drywall to.

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And now we have a lovely drywalled ceiling, even if we did have to reverse one of the boards because we cut the wrong side. Oops! That’s what paint is for right??? Ah well. C’est la vie!