Wednesday, September 7, 2016

She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy

We finally have a tractor! Ever since the tractor was delivered Kenny Chesney's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" played through my head the whole time we were working. I don't know why but it played through my head and I enjoyed it. I have now learned how to drive the tractor and enjoyed driving it all over the property! We used the tractor to take out branches we cut from trees. In weeks previous, removing the branches cut from trees was very difficult to do. Vines and other growth held on to the branches and put up real resistance, making it time consuming when trying to remove. The tractor made quick work of it! It was mostly easy and very satisfying to watch the branches be torn away and dragged into a pile without me losing my breath!

Branches going out!

We lost our sheep again. This time I really feel like someone let them out. Maybe they were just looking around the property to see what we've been doing and the gate was left open and the sheep wondered out. We've only been able to get our ram back and because sheep can't live alone we purchased two more ewes to keep him company. The last we heard someone saw our other ewe running down the highway so for now we will continue to believe she is alive and pray that she is returned to us soon. We also are aware of the coyotes in the area and decided to buy a guard animal. You only really have three options when it comes to guard animals, a dog, a donkey, or a llama. We went with the donkey and named him Ranger. He is very kind and is trying to make friends with the sheep. 

Next trip I hope to find our missing sheep (we really miss her), see Ranger has done his job, and pull tree stumps out with the tractor. If we manage to take out another tree or two great!

Until next time...

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Due to privacy concerns I will no longer be posting what days we have been or will be working.

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted but with school being back and all that goes in to getting ready for that I just have been too busy or too tired to blog.

As I thought we weren't lucky enough to escape the rain anymore. We've had rain every day we wanted to work for about three weeks. Sometimes it was heavy, with lighting and thunder, other times it was soft with an hour or two of break in-between. We found that sometimes it can be difficult to be motivated when it's raining, but overall we got some work done and feel like we are still moving in the right direction.

We've closed! Papers signed, last visit to the title company, just waiting for the deed to arrive, but it's all ours!
Our Title Company

Our Closing Documents
For now I have given up cooking in the cast iron pot in the fire. I just can't control the heat, although I am doing research and will try again soon. Thanks to solar panels, a battery, a converter, and the small crockpot I once used in a dorm room, we have real meals after working hard all day trying to bring this property back to life. Olaf of course came up with the idea and had everything planned, I just had to follow through. 
Converter hooked to the Battery 

Solar Panels

Dinner that isn't hot dogs!

My college Crockpot finds new life

I was determined to get all the drywall out of the living room so I went to work one morning while Olaf was in the back cleaning up the shed. I really enjoyed working alone that morning but that may have been because I didn't want to clean out the back shed. It was full of junk but I knew it was something that really needed to be done, but I wasn't ready to tackle that just yet. Thankfully Olaf was just fine doing it on his own and leaving me to take down drywall. As I was removing drywall I finally found the termite damage I was sure would be there at some point. Fortunately the damage wasn't much and Olaf thinks we can replace or repair what we need without much issue. 
Time to get after more drywall!
More 1940's Wallpaper

Wall with the damage
Damage up-close

One whole room without drywall!
Back shed area with the junk gone
Junk from the back shed

One of the great things about all the rain is that we were able to see that we really needed gutters. Some mornings we would wake up to puddles in the living room which helped to explain why the subfloor was in such terrible condition. This led to a trip to McCoy's building supply and Olaf and I out in the rain installing gutters. 

Gutters going in
Gutters are up!

We work in the rain!

We have a mailbox!

A few other things done recently...subfloor in the dining room removed, Olaf rehabbed a wheelbarrow we found on the property (saving us over $100), Olaf planted butternut and acorn squash and it's already started to sprout, we found an old Whataburger, discovered Lacy is a mouser, and Olaf ended a week with a surprise for me!

Subfloor coming out of dining room!
Olaf's rehabbed wheelbarrow! So proud of him!


We have squash!

Almost time to go back to Houston for a few days

My Lacy: The Mouser

My surprise from Olaf!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


August 8th-11th

The first thing I did Monday morning was start trying to take down drywall. We had no idea what we would find behind the drywall so I took the biggest hammer we had and started to hammer away at the wall. If you know me at all you know that at the end of every theater production I do I want to destroy one prop or another. It is usually the prop that has given me the most trouble through the run of the show, which also happens to be the one prop that my director or the owner of the theater wants to keep. I never get to destroy anything so this was my chance; my very own #demoday! Of course because of the amount of work needed in the house and the fact that we are doing it all ourselves, it was just the first of many, many demo days. 
My First Demo Day!
So I'm banging away at the wall, and if you've ever hit drywall you know it does't take much to create a hole, but I get nothing. The drywall seems to continue to stand and I've barely made a dent so we begin to think maybe, just maybe we have shiplap behind this drywall. And sure enough, after we manage to scrape away some drywall we see shiplap! It's not in excellent condition but it isn't bad either. We'll have to take it down and hammer nails out of it, sand it down, and then put it back up before we can paint it, but it's shiplap! It's original to the house and it's want we wanted to go with on the walls anyway so all in all it was a huge find and a major plus! We also found wall paper from 1940's under that drywall but over the shiplap. Whoever built the house put the wall paper up using nails instead of glue. We're thinking that may have been because they didn't want to glue to the shiplap so even though I hate all the nails in it I'm more grateful the paper isn't glued and has been mostly easy to remove.
Shiplap, Drywall, 1940's wall paper
No more drywall!

This week I was determined to get rid of all of the vegetation around the house. So when I needed a break from all the drywall dust I went out with my clippers and attacked all the green around the house! Nothing was to be spared! Anything that my clippers couldn't handle I had Olaf come back to with a chainsaw. After an hour of work I was very happy with how things looked! I had been wanting to do that since week 1 but other things were more pressing, remember we could have our sheep escaping! Now we have a huge burn pile of leaves and branches and we have an excellent source of wood for fires and fence post!

No more vegetation around the house!
Can you spot Lacy?


After a few days of internet searching and talking to a contractor we felt fairly confident we could attack the foundation ourselves. We bought a beam and the wood needed to make outside supports and went to work. With this type of thing I basically just do as I'm told and hope I'm doing it right. I helped to dig holes for concrete supports, I measured 2x4's to the right length to fit under the roof, and I held things in place while Olaf screws things together. Once we had the outside support in and raised a bit it was time to go inside and start chipping away at what was left of the foundation. This was the fun part! I've found out I really enjoy destroying things and when you have a fixer upper you get to destroy quite a few things! By the end of the week we had a new foundation beam in! The beam we placed may not be the beam we end up leaving because we have since found out we can order a much longer beam which may actually be better but we have yet to decide what to do.

Outside Support

Old Foundation Out

No Foundation
New Beam In!

Despite reports of rain all week we managed to stay dry. It was like the rain just kept going around us or skipping over us on it's way out of the state! I know we won't continue to be so lucky seeing how we have rain predicted all next week but hopefully we can still get some work done! As usual we don't have a firm plan going into next week but I'd like to finish removing the drywall in the living room and maybe get the floor out in another room and maybe, just maybe more drywall. Until next week.

Where Lacy likes to be while we work!
While our camp stayed dry surrounding cities did
not. Lacy just happened to be in the car while a
thunderstorm rolled in...she did not like that!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bug Bites, Sunburns, Muscle Aches, and Two Very Happy Souls!

August 1st - August 4th

Olaf arrived back at the property around 1am the morning of July 30th I came a fews days later on August 1st. This week our focus was outside the house. Removing vegetation, fixing the gate (as in now we actually have a gate), and locating the well. We did remove the plywood subfloor from the living room to reveal the dirt underneath. We got our first good look at the sill issues going on but after a day and a half of intense internet research we're feeling like we can fix it ourselves.

I can't go any further without mentioning that we lost the sheep...yeah when Olaf got to the property he couldn't find them. He went to bed and decided he would looking in the morning. Turns out we missed a hole in the fence and the sheep got out. They were found trying to cross Hwy 77, a neighbor picked them up and kept them safe until Olaf could get them. By the time I arrived the sheep were back and the hole was patched. Really proud of Olaf for how he handled the whole thing!

The great thing that came out of the missing sheep was how Olaf was able to meet a few of our neighbors. Everyone has been so nice and offering all kinds of help! One such neighbor was Mr. Ken who offered to come over with his tractor and brush-hog to help with some of the vegetation!

After 7 days Olaf was getting tired of hot dogs for dinner every night, I can't really blame him, so I attempted to make a beef stew of sorts in a cast iron pot. Well the fire was too hot and things burned and it wasn't that great. However I refuse to give up and plan to try again the next time around.

By the time we headed back to Houston I had bug bites all over my ankles, Olaf and I both had some sunburn, we were sore, especially Olaf, his hands hand been every much abused, but I have to admit we had never been happier. We know we are doing what's right for us and that makes our souls rejoice!

Stew in the fire
Smelled so good!
Not Exactly What We Wanted
Our Well

Thank you Mr. Ken!

Little Bit of Wildlife
Living Room Subfloor Out!
Dining Room Subfloor and Sill (Well whats left)
Our Gate! We worked so hard for three days getting this working right!
Before Mr. Ken
After Mr. Ken!

Still a Happy Girl!
We are planning to head back tomorrow, August 7th, hopefully the sheep are still in our property! I'm sure we would have heard from a neighbor by now if they had gotten out but who knows. Honestly we were ready to go back after 3 hours of being back in Houston! We have no idea what's in store for us this week but we are really excited to see what happens next!

BTW Lacy LOVES it there! And she's great to have around while I'm working!