Creative fiberboard siding repairs with marine shrink wrap tape

Now that we have most of the siding repairs done, the house looks much better from the street, but it is fifty shades of white. We used aluminum siding that was white, new but not weathered so it does not match perfectly. We used primer and any left over white house paint plus a few new gallons – all different shades of white. And the most creative – marine shrink wrap tape.

Dave started on the north side covering up the sliding glass door? opening.  This part of the house was fiberboard with aluminum siding over it.

View of the house from the side
View of the house from the side

We covered the seams with the marine tape. It was about $20 for a roll of 6″ wide tape. The tape is really sticky and only time will tell if this was a really good idea or if we just created a mess. Even if it does not work long term, it will help to keep the weather out for the time it stays on. Hopefully it will last until the we are ready for new siding. Dave used some spray paint to adjust the color a bit also. Before he started I scrubbed the wall with bleach water to remove the green growth. This is the north side of the house and it does not get much sunlight.

side of house
This includes a photo of the window before it got painted.
Siding repaired (see right side). Paint on the window made a big difference.

You can see the repairs on the west side also. There are new windows on this wall and we will not replace them right away. They are in the wrong spots and the wrong size but until we finalize the plan for this room, these windows will work just fine. We needed to do some work to keep the weather out. Below is the before photo of this side.

windows before
The prior owners put new windows in but never finished the job.
siding repaired
West windows (future rug hooking studio) siding repaired

Here you can see the new/repaired eaves troughs. Dave also removed one window from the south side. This window would be in the basement stairwell once we build the wall on the inside of the house to box in the basement stairs. The window was in bad shape and it did not make sense to spend money on a new window in that location so we just removed it. Below is the before photo of that side.

From the south side of the backyard
From the south side of the backyard

Our four legged inspector is on the job.

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This south side had a lot of damage and most of the lower boards needed to be replaced.

sw corner

A lot of the work in this area was just getting rid of unneeded stuff such as the prior owner’s satellite dish, the lightning rod cable and a black sump pump tube that was later buried when we did the basement waterproofing.

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The front of the house had a black skid mark down the front from the lightning rod cable. The eaves trough installer cut all three of them for us so I was able to put some paint on to cover the marks.

se corner


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There was one board just below the upper windows that needed replacing.

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Now the front porch. . .

ne corner

The dark grey blue was depressing and felt dirty. It probably was great when it was fresh, but now it just looked tired. A rich green door adds a bit of color.

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A fresh coat of primer and then paint (that blue was hard to cover!), some new storm windows and the porch now looks much fresher. My favorite improvement was the ceiling. Now I need to find a light fixture that I like. Not many options in ceiling lights. Most exterior lights are wall mounted.

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All that is left to do now is the front of the house and the area over the porch. With luck, the weather will hold out long enough for us to get this done.

On a personal note

I haven’t posted in a while because we have been so busy. I had time to write up this post because I spent the night in a hospital in North Carolina. I had chest pains and will need follow up when I get home but the likely cause was an esophageal spasm. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my remaining time here with my friend, Sue Ellen. Here is the view from the hospital window. I can’t wait to get back out there.
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I tried my best to ignore the chair in the corner.

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One bedroom done, now we need the floor.

I finished the painting in the upstairs bedroom. Feels good to get some progress done. The video below will give you a quick look. I have the wall with the bad outlet repaired and painted. Dave has installed fresh new electrical outlets and switches. He had to evict one past tennant – a dead mouse in the electrical box.

The paint color on this room is Sherwin Williams Believable Buff. I got it mixed at Home Depot (their paint was on sale). I learned that they have all the competitor’s colors in their computer. This paint includes a primer. I still needed two coats to get a rich finish, because the bright yellow was a tough color to cover.

My new favorite wall color
My new favorite wall color

Laminate Flooring

We did a lot of looking around to find an affordable laminate flooring. I thought we found our best candidate at Home Depot. These stores have learned how to make it impossible to get price matching. If they carry the same brand, they have different colors. I thought the Pergo XP (good for dog nails) was our best bet until I saw the Allen + Roth brand. It looked just as good but was a full $1 cheaper. The clerks told me that Allen + Roth is the better Lowe’s brand. That is how they keep the prices down. The clerks were very helpful and even put the samples on the floor for me. I was having trouble seeing them overhead and the angle caused a lot of glare.

Marcona Hickory Laminate Flooring Allen+Roth Brand from Lowe's
Marcona Hickory Laminate Flooring Allen+Roth Brand from Lowe’s

We are still waiting on a porch estimate that is a full week overdue. Once that is in hand we can decide if we are doing that right away and how many windows we can get replaced before winter. Those decisions will tell us if we can do the floors right away or if we need to wait.

I am at rug camp this week. Sauder Village is one camp I attend every year. It is good to see old friends. I heard the locusts singing on my way to dinner tonight. It is a chilling reminder of how close cooler weather is. We still need propane, a furnace inspection and we need to have the hot water tank checked out. A lot of necessities in a short time. Seeing a new floor installed would really feel like progress. But is it a luxury we will have to wait on?

The first room is painted

Well, at least the ceiling and walls are done. I still need to paint the trim – I’ll have to wait to see if these windows will be in the batch we replace this year, spray paint the heat register grills in the ceiling, and paint the closet.

Here’s what it looked like before I started. This room was probably the most complete room, even though it was still missing a floor, door molding and floor molding. Luckily the monkeys over the window were just decals can peeled off every easily.

That the ceiling fan at the top of the photo. It hangs down way too far.
room before painting
South east walls

Front bedroom upstairs: Painting begins

Update: March 2014. We did replace all three windows in this room. The molding was taken off in preparation and still has not been reinstalled. Reinstalling the molding is a relatively “simple” job and we are completing the bigger projects first.

Cherries and raspberries and blackberries, Oh my!

Tart cherries
Tart cherries

Just shortly after we closed on the property, the tart cherries were ripe. We did not get to enjoy too many of them because several of the prime harvest days were spent at the hospital. We meet one of the neighbors and invited her to help herself. Luckily she was able to pick some, the birds enjoyed the rest.

Update on David: He is doing well. He had to have an defibrillator installed as a precaution. He still gets tired easily and cannot lift over 10 pounds or raise his hands over his head. He is frustrated because he wants to install new windows, patch the siding, repair the gutters, etc. All that will have to wait. In the meantime, I am doing the heavy lifting – at least what I can do. We are saying, “later this fall” a lot.

A few weeks later I discovered the most delicious red raspberries. Those did not last long. I harvested them every time I was at the house, but I never needed a container. I just popped them in my mouth. They never lasted long enough to get a photo. I plan to transplant that group to a sunnier spot. They were the best berries! It brought back memories of my grandfather’s yard. You could always find something in season.


Today I found these blackberries on the far side of the property. Dave has been mowing around them. They are choked with weeds, but were still producing berries. I picked the few ripe ones I saw. They are huge.

We have two different varieties of apples. Not sure which ones they are until they get larger. I did snag an unripe sample. One is tart and the other is sweet. Perfect.

The creepy crawlys got me today – Box Elder bugs

The basement is getting waterproofed so when I need to make a phone call I have to go outside. I was wondering around the yard talking on the phone when I noticed this tree limb. I bent over to pick it up and to throw it into the ravine. OMG. It was covered in small red bugs. Then I noticed that my flip flop shod feet were covered also. These guys move fast.

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They were everywhere! I rushed inside for a Google search. I know the area has been used by deer. We’ve found cobs of corn and the grass was all smooshed down. Could they be ticks? I bravely got a sheet of white paper and took a quick photo. Only when I saw six legs instead of eight did my heart stop racing.

Box Elder babies
Box Elder babies

I saw a box elder bug at our home on Main Street for the first time this spring. I only saw a few and was horrified by reports on the internet about huge swarms of them. Luckily they do no damage, unless you consider the effect on my nerves. These are box elder babies. They were everywhere in the corner of the lawn.

Basement Waterproofing is the first step

We’ve used Everdry before for our house on Main St. and the basement has stayed dry for 23 years. It is expensive, but they take care of everything and don’t nickle and dime you to death with all the unknowns they will find. I figure with a house this old, they are bound to find something underground that we did not know about.

And they have. The first is an old waterproofing system that obviously is not working. They found perforated tile and a large drain pipe. Fred, the foreman, assured me that they would not be using the pipe but he would fill it with concrete to plug it up permanently. The pipe goes off toward the ravine. . . who knows what could crawl up it.

foundation digging for french drains
Progress on the dry well and foundation digging.
dry well.
This is a dry well. The foundation drains will be routed here. The will will contain the water and then disperse it slowly away from the foundation.
Digging down along the foundation on the outside
Digging down along the foundation on the outside
cobblestones in foundation
Part of the foundation is cobblestone, but the mortar is in good shape. No problems there I’m told.

A bigger problem is the lack of gutters on the house. I still need to find another siding contractor for estimates. I signed up for Angie’s List, but I am having trouble finding people in my area. I’ll have to knock on some doors out here and get recommendations.

Barn Sliding Door for the Powder Room

I love it when things “just work out.” I rarely purchase magazines but last week I knew I would be spending time at the hospital with my husband, so I picked up the most interesting magazine I would find after only about 20 seconds of looking. I usually take more care, but I was in a hurry. I forgot how much magazines cost.

Back at the hospital, I started flipping through the magazine without really reading it. I paid a lot for it so I thought I should at least spend some time with it. I stopped on a page with an antique door hung as a sliding door. What a perfect solution for the bathroom door! I had considered installing a pocket door, but the idea of ripping out the wall was not appealing. I liked the fact that I could save the space that a swinging door took up but the cost in effort was just too much. What I saw on the magazine page was perfect. Mount an old door on barn sliding door hardware. It becomes a piece of art.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, just Google “barn sliding door.” You’ll see plenty of images. A quick Google search to find the hardware dampened my excitement (costs are from $300 to several thousand dollars) but Dave thinks he can fabricate what we need for a fraction of the cost. I’ll let you know how we do that as soon as we figure it out.

But where do you find a door like that? We had no time for shopping antique stores and we are far from being ready for it anyway. I put the idea on the back burner until I visited my neighbor’s garage sale. They are moving into a smaller house in town and she was selling off a lot of stuff. Tucked into the back corner of the garage were a few doors. We need to replace the wooden screen door on our house on Main St. so we looked closer at the doors. The treasure was this old exterior door with the missing glass.

Door ready for barn door sliding hardware
Door ready for barn door sliding hardware

The door has an awesome finish. It is a dull gray green on one side and a dark dull red on the other. Perfect! My favorite color palette. I could not wait to get the door to the new house and to lean it up against the wall were it will be installed one day. After I add frosted glass it will be perfect!

With a little help from our friends

Last Thursday David had severe shortness of breath. We went to the emergency room. Diagnosis – congestive heart failure. We are taking this one step at a time. Next month he will get a difibrulator.

In the meantime, the grass continues to grow. Several of Dave’s shooting buddies and ex co-workers showed up without our asking and dug in. I think the hardest job all day was convincing Dave to sit down and take a break.

Dave watches Larry turn a tree bush into a tree
Dave watches Larry turn a tree bush into a tree

That was yesterday. Today while Dave and I were at doctor appointments, Larry surprised us by uncovering a large chunk of the pond. I am giddy with delight.

What a difference!
What a difference!

The dock is about 6 feet above the current water level but it is in surprisingly good shape.

Dave on the dock.
Dave on the dock. Now all we need is water.

Estimates for Construction Work

It’s frustrating to be sitting around talking instead of working, but we cannot do as much of the work ourselves as we did over 20 years ago. We’ve talked to a providers for an updated water filtration system for the well, siding and basement waterproofing. The next few weeks will have even more appointments.

In the meantime, Dave managed to get most of the lawn mowed, Jack made friends with the frogs in the pond and I sucked up about 10 pounds of bugs using my old vacuum. I bought a new one about a month ago. I was debating on throwing out the old one even though it still worked. I’m glad I kept it around. Once all the dust and bugs are gone, I’ll be happy to throw it away.

Jack tagging along
Jack tagging along
Did you hear that?
Did you hear that?
From the road
From the road
Almost Done
Almost Done
The back area
The back area

The learning begins

We have done so much research on ponds, well, septic, cold storage structures, pole barns, propane appliances that I feel like a first time home owner.  Everything is so much different.  We like the ability to be self sufficient, but we quickly learned that we did not know the first thing about some of these very country things.

garage from far side of pond

I scheduled an appointment with Steve Naus from Affordable Well and Pond. He had some videos on his site and I liked the way he approached a problem. I have some knowledge about how ponds work because we have a 7′ x 15′ koi pond. It is rubber lined with a skimmer and filter system.

This new pond is covered very thickly with cattails and totally overgrown. I was feeling quite overwhelmed. Steve gave us a great plan to recover the pond. It will take time, but with patience and maybe some help from the grandsons (fingers crossed), it can be done. We need to remove the water sitting in the bottom of the pond. Heavy equipment cannot be brought in until it dries out. Drill holes in a 5 gallon bucket and place a sump pump inside. Lower it into the pond and let it do its job. As the bucket fills up the sump will kick on keeping the pond dry.

As for the cattails, they need to be removed root and all for a long term solution. One thing Steve said that has stuck with me, “Every body of water is trying to become a swamp.” Once we get the cattails dug out, we will still need to stay on top of the pond, keeping it weeded and keeping other vegetation such as tree leaves and grass cuttings out of the water.

If you just pull up the cattails, the roots will remain. Steve recommended I shake the cattails firmly to jar them loose. Its neighbors will begin to shake. Continue until you can pull up a whole section of the cattail network. This seems do-able now but I’ll keep you updated.

Boxer in pond
Jack coming out of the pond after chasing frogs

The offer was accepted!

On Monday, right at 3:30 my cell phone rang.  I was teaching a class at Cedar Lakes Rug Camp.  My husband had driven me down and I thought he was calling me.  Instead, it was Tami, our realtor.  “They accepted your offer,” she said.

I didn’t hear much after that.  I was unable to talk to my husband for a few hours because he does not carry his cell phone with him.  It is in the car, but I have to try to catch him driving in order to call him.  He has since promised to keep the phone on him, but only time will tell if he follow through with that one.

We were dazed and amazed that it had happened that way.  We thought our offer had been rejected.  Now we have to figure out a way to make this work.

Here’s a tour of the outside

From the front:

From the foot of the driveway
From the foot of the driveway
Front of the house
Front of the house
Lightning rod discoloration on the front of the house.  Was it hit at some point or just discolored?
Lightning rod discoloration on the front of the house. Was it hit at some point or just discolored?

From the side:

View of the house from the side
View of the house from the side

From the back:

From the backyard
From the backyard
From the south side of the backyard
From the south side of the backyard
That is a water cistern at the back of the house
That is a water cistern at the back of the house
Siding damage at SW corner of the house
Siding damage at SW corner of the house

The garage:

East side of the garage
East side of the garage
South side of the garage
South side of the garage

From the side street:

View from the side street
View from the side street
Panaramic view from the side street
Panaramic view from the side street
From the front lawn toward the foot of the driveway
From the front lawn toward the foot of the driveway

I am so grateful to my class this year.  Everyone was very supportive and excited for me.  They talked about how this would be an adventure.  Slowly they began to calm my nerves.  That group will never know just how important their words were.  Thank you.

If anyone from that camp took pictures of the classroom, can you send me one to post here?

It was meant to be

My mind kept screaming that there was SO much work, but it felt right.  As we drove onto the property that first day, my husband looked down outside the car window on his side and said, “There’s a dove right here.”  I caught my breath and knew that it was a sign.   I knew this was our place.  It sounds silly, but I’ve always lived in a house with morning doves.  When I was young, I remember my father complaining about them because they coo’ed and kept him awake when he needed to sleep for the late shift.  Since then, I’ve always noticed doves.

rug hooking pattern, Partners
My rug hooking pattern called “Partners” is available on my rug hooking website.