Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rub-a-dub-dub . . . You Can Use the Tub!

Most of you know that the clawfoot tub in the 1920 bathroom is one of the best features of the original house. We had it repainted, had it carried up the stairs, and pushed it up and down the hallway a few times before finally getting it into position in the remodeled bath. And there it has sat, unused for more than three years. 

The Victorian-style supply lines we purchased to match the new hardware would not work with the limited amount of space available between the tub and the wall; we needed to purchase flexible supply lines with the right size of connectors. Sadly, this task fell way to the bottom of the "To Do" list . . . until Saturday, November 14. After a consultation with Scott and a written list of details, I ventured to Ideal Hardware (on my own!) Once I arrived at this midtown treasure, I was certain that the parts we needed were available. The store's shelves are stacked high with every kind of widget imaginable. One of the nice staff members helped me find the exact parts necessary - and $26 later, we were in business.
"Ta Da!"
Two 20"-long braided stainless hoses and two stainless elbows are all that we needed.
The original set of supply lines are rigid pipes, rather than flexible hoses.
Here's the original Victorian supply lines packing slip - proving that three years have gone by rather quickly!
The space between the tub and the wall is really limited. Scott had to bend and stretch and contort and...
 ...bend and stretch some more to get the elbows and hoses hooked to the tub and to the valves on the floor.
When we had this bathroom re-plumbed, the plumber set the drain too close to the wall - but only because we didn't account for how thick the wall would be once it had a layer of cement board and a layer of tile attached. The good news is that - it works!
Woo Hoo!
A little work and a few bucks - and the tub is now available for your bathing needs! I have plans to get some bubble bath soon and take the tub for a test drive. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Mantel Finished!

We continued to work on the great room fireplace mantel bit-by-bit over the past two weeks. We've been lucky that the weekend weather has been sunny and unusually warm - so sanding could take place outside.
The big slab of locust was placed on the patio dining table for a good sanding session. Scott and I each used a palm sander and sanded each side of the slab with 60 then 220 grit paper. The top and short sides were sanded super duper smooth.
All that sanding left quite a pile of sawdust behind! 
Luckily, Scott has a new leaf blower that he called into action. He blew all the dust off into the grass then cleaned the patio of dead leaves, walked around to the courtyard and cleaned it off, took care of leaves along the garage, etc. etc. This new toy is hard to put down!
With sanding complete, the slab was toted down to the basement for finishing. 
First, Scott cleaned the live edge with a damp rag to clear out any last bits of dust and loose bark.
We applied two coats of natural stain and two coats of brush-on poly to all sides. The top and short ends then received three coats of wipe-on poly.
Once the finish went on, the locust revealed its beautiful honey color.
Today (November 15) we placed the mantel on the fireplace. Scott has plans to permanently attach it with mortar so that all gaps between brick and wood are eliminated. But for now, it looks awesome!
All set for Thanksgiving - just a little over a week away. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fireplace (At Last!) Gets a Mantel

Yesterday was my birthday. As such, I thought it was a perfect day to ask Scotty to think about creating a mantel for the great room fireplace. We had the wood - a thick plank cut from a locust tree - and we had an idea of what the finished product should look like. All we needed was a little time and a little whining . . . and the mantel project was underway!
The big locust plank had been drying in the barn for over two years and has been acclimating to the indoor climate since we carried it to the basement sometime earlier this year. It is heavy! This particular tree had to be cut down to make way for the addition so it is rather poetic that a slice of it will soon be a permanent great room fixture. The plank was cut when the sawmill visited during Lumberjack Day 2013.
Scott cut a piece of rigid insulation 66-inches wide so we could see what the finished product might look like. It also helped determine the finished depth of the mantel.
Using a straight edge, Scott penciled in the outline of the finished piece. The overall depth of the mantel will be nine inches, with six inches resting on the brick and three inches cantilever. The live edge of the locust will be maintained.
After a lot of discussion about what tool to use, the circular saw was called into action. Scott lopped the end off first.
Now comes the hard part . . . trimming the back half of the plank away. We wanted to run it through the table saw but determined through a dry run that the plank was just too heavy for the two of us to support while feeding it through the saw.
Scott screwed the straight edge to the plank, propped it up on a stack of 2x4s, and fired up the circular saw again.
My job was to stand near the smoke detector and push the button when it started screeching. I'm not sure why we didn't stop as soon as the smoke started to fill the room - but eventually we wised up and moved the operation outside.
Once out on the courtyard concrete, Scott easily sliced through the plank.
The short ends were cleaned up with the chop saw (conveniently currently set-up in the garage.)
"Ta Da!"
Once the cut-down plank was placed on the brick, we could easily imagine the finished product. All but the live edge will need to be sanded and clear-coated. The live edge needs to be cleaned up a bit to eliminate any loose bark and dirt. Scott is also considering how to attach it to the brick; we may end up using some mortar which would alleviate any gaps inherent with the natural warp of the plank. In any case, it looks like our stockings will have a proper home this Christmas!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Deadline Goal Missed but Project Moves Forward

Remember the previous posts that described Scott's enthusiasm for updating the barn windows? Way back in August, it seemed reasonable that each window of the barn could be either replaced or rehabilitated by the end of September. Well . . . fast forward a few months . . . and the project continues but at a slightly slower pace. Still, let's check out some progress:

The windows on the east wall of the main floor are particularly bad. Scott took apart one of them a week ago and discovered quite a bit of rot.
We have had some nice sunny weather around noTTafarm despite the fact that Fall is officially here.
Many of the support pieces were replaced with wood from the seemingly never-ending stockpile.
The trim on the exterior will also need to be replaced. Scott had to trim away all of the rotted siding to create a clean edge.

The only thing missing from this post is the "Ta Da!" moment when I show you the finished product. Wouldn't you know that I forgot to take an "after" photo? I'll have to catch up with that sometime soon. Suffice to say, it looks great!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!  

Friday, October 23, 2015

October Rainbow

Following a brief, early-evening thunderstorm, we were treated with a perfectly arched, full rainbow. It framed the barn beautifully!
Have a Great Weekend!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bibbers Visits the Doctor

It's A Boy!
No, congratulations aren't in order; we've not had a new baby. What we do have is confirmation from our veterinarian that Bibbers the Barn Cat is indeed a boy (or a "neutered male," to be exact.) It was all part of the information we received during our visit to Gentle Animal Doctor Hospital on Saturday the 17th. We chose to take Bibbers into town because winter is a'comin' - and the ol' softie (Scott) wants to open our house to his little buddy when the wind howls and the temperatures drop below freezing. We had to make sure having him inside wouldn't harm Wilson or Leo.
Bibbers did a good job during transport despite his lack of travel experience. (He's a far better traveler than our sure-to-be-car-sick Leo!)
Once we were in the exam room, Scott helped Bibbers stay calm. The technicians had also treated the room (and the purple blanket) with a calming spray which seemed to work.
Bring On the Exam! 
The technician recorded everything we knew about Bibbers, including that we know he's at least six years old. Bibbers weighed in at 10 lbs., 12 oz.
Dr. Miranda Thomassen has taken care of Leo and Wilson for several years, so it was nice to have her treating Bibbs. Based on the condition of his teeth, Dr. Thomassen agreed that he isn't very old. Bibbers was tested for feline leukemia (which was negative,) and given his vaccinations. They also cleaned out his ears, discovering a small infection that we need to treat with some drops for a few weeks.  
Bibbers was given lots of encouragement, made some new friends, and even got some treats during his visit. He will return in three weeks for two booster shots.
He's an official member of the family now! And now that he has a clean bill of health, he can come in and hang out with the rest of us any time he wants. (The funny thing is now he really doesn't seem to want to come in...but he has a beautiful sunny yard to play in and a heated cat condo, so he's not suffering for comfort.)
Stay Tuned for More Fun with Bibbers!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Recap: 5th Annual Lumberjack Day!

Saturday, October 3 proved to be a quintessential fall day; blue skies with an occasional fluffy cloud, a light cool breeze, and a high temp of about 65 degrees. Sounds like the perfect day to celebrate noTTafarm by hosting our fifth annual "Lumberjack Day!" A smaller but mighty group of family and friends spent the day (or part of their day) enjoying the beautiful sunshine and a hotdog or two. Check out the fun!
The scene was set with the hanging of the banner from the wedding arch.
Just for fun, I had t-shirts printed with our new invitation artwork. 
This year was a first for my little pumpkin display. It's never too early for Halloween, right? 
Our first guest arrival was:  Bennett! 
Lumberjack Day would not be the same if the Kupzyk family was tardy. Bennett sported his moose hat and a plaid lumberjack jacket. Plus, he brought along his new baby brother! (keep scrolling for Elliot's picture)
My mommy with our niece Chelsie 
My folks missed last year's Lumberjack Day due to my dad's knee surgery. It sure was nice to have them back in action!
Kevin, Scott and Dad got the big fire in the former pond/landfill area started before lunch. The crew steadily added cedar branches to it throughout the afternoon.  
Our sister-in-law, LuAnn, created these adorable pretzel rod axes. It was her first experience with fondant, and these were a huge hit!.
Thanks, LuAnn! 
Scott's newest co-worker, Lauren, stopped by for a tour. She and her husband are remodeling an 100+-year old farmhouse in the Elkhorn area so she was inspired by Scott's design. Lauren surprised us with a horseshoe set which the kids immediately took a shine to. 
Thanks, Lauren!
Maybe those oversized marshmallows were a bad idea. Dad couldn't eat his s'more without making a mess!
Our beautiful friend, Megan, came all the way from Lincoln to join the fun.
She's the best! 
As promised, here's a picture of Bennett's new baby brother, Elliot. Sara, Kevin and the boys stayed and had fun all day ~ and everyone that needed some baby cuddle-time was rewarded.
A nature hike wouldn't be complete without a cute puppy! Luckily, Chelsie brought along Kiya who did a fine job as she walked along with Megan, Chelsie, and Sara (our nephew Joe's adorable girlfriend.) 
Hi, Joe! 
Yes, you are a very stylish lumberjack. Yes, your girlfriend is the cutest. Yes, I will pay you 25 cents per cedar tree harvested.
Here's our great niece, Allie! She is always full of smiles and silliness. 
 Here's Allie's little sister, Maggie! She is very excited to announce that she will be a big sister in April when Nick and Brooke's third baby is born. 
My big brother, Mark, and his big son, Nick, did a great job of cutting down cedar trees. Sadly for them, Scott decided that he wanted to save all the trunks . . . so all the lumberjacks had to cut all the cedar branches off and haul them to the burn pile on the trailer.  
The reward for hauling cedars is a free ride on the trailer! This parade had a appreciative group of spectators. No word from the Safety Council on the wisdom of this stunt. 
Not to be outdone, Joe did his share of cutting, hauling, and parading. 
Hi, Meredith!
11-year-olds are awesome, aren't they? I was so excited to welcome Leigh Anne and Meredith back to noTTafarm. Most of the following photos were taken with my camera by Meredith. She and Allie ran all over the place taking interesting shots. 
Sitting by the fire was a good idea!
Most of the crowd took a break in mid-afternoon to watch football. Sadly, both the Huskers and the KSU Wildcats lost in heartbreaking style. 
 Scott kept the fire going for his dad, Carl.
 File this under:  "why didn't we think of this before?"
Scott hauled a bunch of gals around on the trailer. Next year, we will definitely pile on some hay bales! This was a fun little adventure.
"Go Faster!" cried Allie.
Allie, Brooke, LuAnn and Maggie were all smiles on the trailer ride. 
 Our photographers, Meredith and Allie.
My beautiful bestie, Marie. 
My beautiful bestie, Leigh Anne. 
 We got a good view of the action as the trailer rolled by.
Bennett and Kevin carved a jack o'lantern! 
We had dinner on the patio. Pulled pork, baked beans, mac and cheese . . . but the most popular item was Marita's pecan pie for dessert!
Thanks, Mama! 
The evening ended with just a smidge more fun, thanks to Nick and the wagon. 
"Go faster!" cried Allie.

That's a wrap!
We hope you can join us again in 2016. Until then . . .
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!