Labor Day(s) – Part Three

Monday morning, sore and tired, we again got up to tackle the dining room floor. With just a little more touch-up, there was going to be poly. For an hour or so, the three of us worked on the floors putting the finishing touches by hand. Finally, we declared the floors ready for their finish sand and the big floor sander came back out. Having done the 36-grit, I went over the dining room with 50 and then 80-grit paper. Honestly, though it had been a ridiculous amount of work, and running, the dining room was ready for poly. With time winding down on our self-imposed, noon deadline to stop work, the floors got a vacuum, a dry mop, and the girls went out to start cleanup while I finally started to get some poly on the floor.


Even the first couple feet of poly and the floor looked fantastic.


The color and the grain and the character all had me feeling like this wasn’t wasted effort.


So, at the end of the long weekend, we’d accomplished a little more than half of what we’d intended. We had some adventures and frustrations along the way, but the transformation was dramatic. And, we feel, worth the effort. We’ll be back soon to finish the parlor up as well. We’re looking forward to putting this project to bed.






The Rest of the Story…

The story of our roadtrip does lose something when written down, but, here it is:

So, our friend and I went into town (with a short detour for a 5-minute tour of the tiny town near the farm) and Googled the nearest hardware store. The nearest decent-sized town isn’t a big city, but there’s a small college there, so it’s not miniscule. We found a tiny little Ace Hardware downtown. We walked in and when asked what we needed help with, I said “I need a belt sander.” The guy said, “Man, everyone must be working on their floors this weekend. Are you sanding your floors?”

I said, “Yes.”

“Boy, I never sell belt sanders, and I’ve sold two today. My only two.”

*sigh* “Do you know of anywhere else in town we could get one?”

“Not today. Not on a Sunday.”


So, rather than drive the (now) hour and a half back to Fargo, we attempted to find some supplies to MacGyver the sander. Finding some gasket material and electrical tape that is good to 220 degrees, we paid and headed back out. But before heading back to the farm, we decided to be SURE that there were no other options for a sander nearby. The other hardware store that’s open on Sundays? It was closed due to the holiday weekend. So, we tried a Shopko, thinking it might be like at Kmart — but it didn’t sell tools, either. Shopko. Not like Kmart. Got it.

So, we decided to hit the liquor store before heading home. I needed margarita mix for the tequila our friend had brought.

We stopped at a liquor store with two women, seemingly loitering outside, and wondered if IT was open. Our friend suggested we take our cue from the women outside, “They look like they know their way around.”

And indeed they did, so when they went inside, we followed them in. Turns out that one of the women was the clerk, who’d been outside for her smoke break.

Finding the margarita mix was no problem and we went up to pay, but when we did, I saw something strange: little packets of pickle juice that were meant to be frozen into popsicles.

“So… pickle juice popsicles? That’s a thing?” I asked.

“Oh, yeah,” the woman said. “People like them in bloody Marys or I like them in beer with tomato juice.” She continued, “They’re GREAT on a hot day like today. I could be sitting home drinking them, getting LOADED, but instead I’m here. And it’s been busy today.”

Our friend and I mumbled our sympathies, paid and hustled out the door, barely able to hold back our laughter. We both agreed that the way she’d said that she could be getting LOADED made it sound like that was her second job…that she wished was her first.

We headed back to the farm, through road construction, a bit dejected over our failed shopping trip, but hopeful we could “Schulz it up” (that’s a family reference to making due with what you have, whether it’s because you don’t have the proper materials or you’re using a cheaper alternative).

Our friend set to dismantling the sander to try to make our modifications to it — while we all had a much-deserved drink. I headed back to the dining room to try to make just a bit more progress before leaving the house for dinner.

That old, cheap sander didn’t go down easy, though, and refused to come apart (even though our friend’s an engineer and pretty handy with tools). So into the garbage it went … along with any hopes of finishing both the sanding in both rooms.

So… to heck with it. We cleaned up a bit and headed to Bri’s aunt and uncle’s house who graciously were cooking our food at their place — in the much-needed air conditioning. We enjoyed great food, drinks and cool air for a few hours before heading back to the farm for a bonfire (in the grill, because we haven’t found or created a fire pit yet) before bed.

Labor Day(s) – Part Two

After disposing of the couch and thereby ensuring the safety of our soon-to-be-again beautiful hardwood, Erin and I got down to business sanding again. The plan for today was (again) to finish sanding and to get a coat of poly on before dinner. We were expecting a good friend of ours to come spend the evening and had also invited my uncle and aunt to come over and grill that night. And, in the dining room, things were taking shape.IMG_6838

Erin was working with our old, trusty, Black and Decker belt sander that we’d bought 17 years ago to re-do the floors in our first home, and I was sanding away with the floor unit.


In a super-stylish mash-up t-shirt no less!

A couple hours go by, our friend shows up, and she grabs a hand-sander as well to help Erin while I continue to work on the broad strokes.

It’s not 20 minutes later that Erin’s standing in front of me, frowning. I shut down my sander, remove my noise-cancelling headphones, and ask, “What’s up?”

“I broke the sander,” she says disgustedly.

I raise a Spock-like eyebrow and she proceeds to tell me, with periodic sighs and head-shaking, that she managed to sand over the cord, which then got stuck in the belt sander, and when she pulled the cord out, she damaged the roller that holds the sandpaper on.

So I had a look. It was, in fact, broken.” The roller had been covered in a gasket-like foamy/rubber, and that was all torn off in patches on the roller. Without that coating, the sandpaper wouldn’t stay on the sander. Not enough friction or tension to keep the paper in place.

I looked at my watch. It was about 2:30, and though we did have another finishing sander she could’ve used, we didn’t have the low-grit paper we needed to make that sander effective. So, it was either going to be that one of the gals wasn’t going to have a job, or that I wasn’t going to have a job (which I didn’t believe was going to be an option for a moment), or I could send her the 20 miles to the nearest town to try to buy a sander.

The road trip won out and the girls took off, it turned, for adventure! But you’ll have to wait for that. Erin will have to let you in on the rest of that story.

Having been at the sanding for another 4-5 hours today, it again become apparent that we just weren’t going to get both the floors ready for poly today. It killed me to admit it, but it just wasn’t going to happen. I was, again, running low on the 36-grit sandpaper and, honestly, that floor sander just wasn’t going to finish the job.


I was going to have to get in there, on my hands and knees, and get the remaining stuff up by hand. But, realizing the amount of work still ahead of me in the parlor, I decided to focus on the dining room. It was just hours away from dinner, after all…


Here I stood, again, in the hot house, not nearly as far along as we intended, with almost nothing to show, and we were supposed to be hosting dinner in a couple hours.

I called my uncle and asked if there was any chance that they’d be willing to host dinner, in their air-conditioned and totally comfortable house instead of coming over to this one with no a/c (because we didn’t want to blow all the sawdust around), and frankly, nowhere to sit because the table was in the kitchen laying on its side. He graciously agreed, and I got back to work.

Lowering my expectations, I decided that, if we really got on it, there shouldn’t be any reason that we couldn’t get at least one room in this house sanded enough to get a coat of poly on it before we left on Monday. And so, that’s what I did. On my hands and knees, I set to touching up the sanding left in the dining room.


I’d made some pretty good progress again by the time the girls got back. But they walked in without a sander.

“No luck?” I asked?

Then it was storytime…

The elephant has left the room

After a less-than-satisfying start to our Labor Day weekend — but a decent night’s sleep, since we’d gone back home — we were ready to make some progress on the Sunday of the long weekend.

We’d bought every package of 36-grit sandpaper for the rented sander that the hardware store had and were ready to make some headway on the floors. But first, we had deal with another issue:

IMG_20170826_130313The damned couch.

We’d fought with it and eventually got it into the main floor bedroom the previous weekend, managing to scratch and gouge the floor in the process. At first, I thought that’d pretty much be the end of it. We’d refinish the floors, haul it back to the living room, maybe throw a blanket over it and live with it until I found something that I loved for a fabulously low price.

Then my mom mentioned that it’s probably holding much of the lingering cigarette smell that’s left in the house. True.

Then Bri brought up the question of “what if we refinish the floors and have them looking great and we bring the couch back out and it scratches the floor again?”

That sealed its fate.

Bri brought the reciprocating blade saw from home. He cut away the fabric to get a look at the frame. We measured the outside door (still not sure how they got that couch in the house in the first place), then decided about 4 inches needed to come off the back so we could get it out without doing further damage to the house.


Yup. That was about perfect.

The two of us got it out of the bedroom, out of the dining room door, and Bri unceremoniously pushed it off the cement steps.

We decided that Bri’s grandmother would have been APPALLED that we’d ruined a perfectly good piece of furniture. And to be honest, a little part of me feels the same way. I definitely grew up with the values of using things until they wore out and if you didn’t want them anymore, you took them to the thrift store so someone else could get some use out of them.  But we had a vendetta against this thing. It had to go.

We pulled it apart, hauled some of it to the burn pile (sadly, it was too windy to burn that weekend, so I’m not sure we’ll get the pleasure of seeing it go up in flames), and dismantled the pull-out mechanism. Bri has the idea of trying to make it into a roll-away cot. We’ll have to see if that comes to fruition or if the metal gets hauled to the scrap metal dealer — for now, it’s hanging out in the garage for later while I look for ideas on Pinterest.

And now, with that task out of the way, we could get on with the floors.

Labor Day(s)

With the “elephant” out of the room and the downstairs painting out of the way, Erin and I had a big weekend planned for Labor Day weekend. We were going to tackle the hardwood floors. And so, Saturday morning, we made our trip for supplied and headed to the farm!


If you’ll recall, we’d done some prior sanding on the dining room floor,


but hadn’t touched the parlor. The parlor, honestly, scared me a little. The varnish on that floor was THICK. Like…THICK.



But, having bought a bunch of sanding discs, it was time to set to work. The goal for the day was to get the floors sanded and a first coat of poly on them. And so, we got right to work hoping to finish up the dining room. I started on the floor sander and Erin grabbed a hand sander to start hitting the thicker stuff in the dining room.IMG_6809

What’s that? You don’t see Erin sanding in the dining room? Oh. That’s because she only lasted about five minutes before declaring, “This sucks! I’m going to go do something else.”

I sighed, smiled and nodded, and secretly wondered if this was the beginning of the end of this project. Sanding on!

I’d made pretty good progress in the dining room but was starting to run low on the 36-grit sandpaper and wanted to hit the parlor floors while I had the heavy-grit paper. So, I moved into the parlor.


That varnish was THICK

And though things started out well, it was clear, after a couple hours of sanding these floors, that the job wasn’t going to be finished easily. There were lots of little low spots in the hardwood that this big sander just wasn’t going to take care of. I sanded for about three hours by myself. By that time, it’d gotten to about 90 degrees in the house, I was almost out of the 36-grit sandpaper, I’d started to get a headache, and I was getting tired of the project.

So, I shut off the sander and went upstairs where I informed Erin that we were almost out of sandpaper, that she was right, this job DID suck, and that I was tired of it too. In fact, I continued, with the headache building in intensity, I was becoming physically ill. So, if she wanted to see that flooring project move forward, she was going to need to come help.

She wasn’t excited about it. But she did come down and get to work on the floors again.


A couple more hours of sanding go by and it becomes clear that we’re not going to have enough sandpaper to finish the job. So, after six hours of sanding,


we agreed to pack up for the night and tackle the project again in the morning.


Had we gotten done what we wanted? Not by any means. Had we made good progress? Yeah, we had. Did I think we could still finish this project this weekend? Sure. I mean, look at all the progress we’d made! We had two more days to this weekend. Shouldn’t be a problem. Right? Right?

The Elephant in the Room

On Saturday, even though this summer cold was kicking my butt, Erin, our youngest, and I packed up the car and headed to the farm. We’ve got big plans to finish the main level floors over Labor Day weekend (next weekend!) but had to get some projects knocked out before we could make that happen. So, priorities for Saturday were:

  1. Get tack strips and staples up from the parlor floor
  2. Clear dining room and parlor of all furniture
  3. Paint dining room

Seems like a straightforward list, shouldn’t be too hard to knock out. Right?


It really WAS a straightforward list. But the thing was, this cold really WAS kicking my butt. I was ready for a nap by the time I hit the car. I decided the best thing I could do was get to the tack strips. Shouldn’t be too hard. I could sit on my butt and pull them up, no big deal. So, I donned my work gloves, grabbed my pry-bar, and got to it.


The tack strips were a little stubborn, but it wasn’t all bad. Our youngest was done pulling staples by the time I got about halfway around the room


Erin and I were glad that it was neither of us pulling up staples all bent over like this guy. Thanks, bud!

and by then, I was beat. Like, sweaty, exhausted, starting to get a little crabby, beat. We paused for lunch and got back to work. Erin and our youngest started moving furniture and I was back to pulling up tack strips. About the time I was finishing up, they’d moved everything but the couch into the bedroom. They were going to need my help for that. Because that couch…well, that couch has now been named “The Elephant.” So, if you’re paying attention, this blog post is about that stupid couch. It’s an old sleeper-sofa and weighs…a Toyota. The sucker’s heavy. Also, though I didn’t post about it when we pulled the carpet up, it’d already drawn our ire because it scratched up the wood floors when we moved it the first time.


The thing has two legs and two metal casters with plastic guards on them. Of course, as we tried to move the couch, the casters spit those plastic guards off and went merrily scratching across the floor.

Not wanting to do any more damage with the thing than we’d already done, the three of us tried to maneuver it into the bedroom. How do you get a several hundred pound couch through a too-small door?


The answer was, poorly. We tried this angle and that angle, we popped the door off the hinge. Finally, we tried one angle we hadn’t and BANG! Out comes the sleeper sofa and GOUGES the hardwood floor.


And then I was mad. Unreasonably, uncontrollably mad. I swore and declared, “If I had my sawzall, I’d cut this blankety blankin’ couch in half right now and be done with the blankety blankin’ thing!” (I may not have used “blankety blankin” in that outburst, just sayin’). But I didn’t have it. So I picked up one end and looked expectantly at my wife and son, both of them looking at me with a mixture of shock and confusion.

You see, I’m kind of the bellwether for our family. I’m generally pretty even-keeled, pretty relaxed about most things. If someone else is upset, I’m trying to calm, analyze, or resolve the problem. And so, in those few instances when I’m not, things get ugly, quickly.

So, as I’m standing there, anger growing, holding this blankety blankin’ couch up in the air and my wife and son aren’t doing anything, I snap. “Would you pick up the stupid couch, please?!?”

Our youngest’s eyes got wide and he immediately reached down to pick it up. Erin, however, said something like, “What are we doing? What’s the plan?”

I didn’t have time for logic or plans. “We’re putting it in the room!”

Now, clearly, if we’ve cautiously tried all the ways to put the couch in the room and they haven’t worked, my declaration of “We’re putting it in the room!” with an underlying inference of “I might just ram the couch through the blankety blank wall!” didn’t inspire confidence. She gave me a disapproving, wife-ly look (you all know the look) and was about to reach down to help lift and play along when I realized my arms were trembling from the strain and I just put it down.

After a few moments and some terse and succinct suggestions all around, we did get the stupid elephant out of the room.


My outburst, however, and the physical strain of moving that beast had taken a toll. The rooms were clear,


but we were all ready to throw in the towel. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t. If we were going to have success with the floors, we really needed to get that dining room painted.

So, drop-cloths went down, paint was stirred, assignments were made and we set to work painting.

I got to work on the ceiling, covering up the light green with classic white,


while Erin and our son painted the walls almost the same color they were before they were green (as evidenced by the swatch revealed when I pulled the phone plate off the wall).


As the afternoon went on, and our son began undertaking little clowning around exercises to lighten the mood,

and when Erin, predictably, put her hair in the paint,


we found ourselves relaxing and getting back to fine. As the day came to a close, we’d gotten done what we needed. The tack strips and staples were up, the rooms were clear, and the dining room painted. Next weekend, the floors!


I’m still not 100% sure, however, that the sawzall isn’t coming out to the farm next weekend, too 😉

A Bonus Project!

Those of you that know me well will remember (or at least won’t be surprised to hear) that I’ve done a bit of homebrewing in my time. My good friend, Brent, and I got into it back in college. I always enjoyed doing it when I had him to share it with. But, unfortunately, Brent passed away many years ago and I haven’t brewed since. However, one of the things Erin and I talked about, early on in the whole “what in the world would we do with a farm” discussion, was growing grapes for jellies and wines. So, it’s been in the back of my head that there might be some brewing again in my future. As it turns out, the future is now.

See, earlier this week, Erin informed me that she had a co-worker, with grapes on her property, that we were welcome to. So, I should plan to go with her and pick grapes that night. “And then we can make jelly and wine!” she proclaimed, enthusiastically. As this was all via instant messenger, I emoji-smiled at her while screwing a panicked smile onto my own face. I was envisioning us going to this place and picking hundreds of pounds of grapes. I was terrified that we were going to have a repeat of the apple…”event” of ’16 when Erin picked…oh, probably 100 lbs of apples off a neighbor’s tree.

“We can’t just let them go to waste! They’re free!”

In that situation, though I don’t remember the EXACT face I made, I imagine it was like the one I’d screwed on for this grape discussion. A panicked grin.

However, having no control over the situation. Our youngest son and I joined Erin that evening in gathering grapes.


I have to admit, the thought of giving this whole winemaking thing a shot did have some allure. But, after about 15 minutes of grape-picking, I was losing steam.


And there were a lot more grapes.

I can’t tell you exactly how many. But our youngest and I were long done picking before Erin was.



In the end, we only picked about 15 lbs of grapes. Not bad.


but then, it was time to figure out how to make wine.

The homebrewing I’ve done is all beer. Brent (and now my friend Kirt) have both dabbled, successfully, in mead-making, and my father-in-law has had some good luck with winemaking, but it’s brand-new to me. And so, I set to researching. I did a whole lotta googling and pretty much everything I’ve come up with is trying to tell me that 1. I don’t have enough grapes and 2. making grape wine is complicated.

When it comes to things chemistry, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. If my pool isn’t PERFECTLY CLEAR 100% of the time, it almost literally keeps me up at night. So, when I’m reading about carefully taking the acid content and amending it and such and such, this whole making grape wine thing started to sound a lot more like work and a lot less like fun.

And so, my brain did what it often does when things don’t sound fun anymore. It reminded me of a similar project that I could do, using the same tools, but adding in novelty and reducing difficulty.

Potato Champagne.

Yep. You heard me. Potato Champagne.

A couple weeks ago, in preparation for my great-aunt’s visit to the farm, Erin and I spent some time going through a booklet that was prepared for a family reunion about 10 years ago. In it, we found a recipe for “Potato Champagne.” Now. Does that sound good? You’re a liar if you’re telling me it does. BUT. It piqued my curiosity for a couple reasons:

  1. I have been known to be, from time to time, the guy who’ll drink something stupid, just to see if I can.
  2. It’s a recipe for a drink I’ve never even HEARD of.
  3. There’s some family history to it.

I don’t know what that family history IS mind you. It might be the family dare drink. I don’t know. But what I do know is, the recipe was simple.


As were the directions


And so, having come down with a summer cold and being home from work the last couple days, I decided, today, to give this a go.


Couple gallons of tap water – check


potatoes washed and sliced – check


That’s weird. It’s already weird.

Oranges sliced and WAIT. Oranges PEELED and sliced. I almost ruined it already. Busy thinking about how weird the potatoes are. Oranges – check!


Apples, lemons, raisins, check, check, check!


10 pounds or less (I actually used 8) sugar! Check!


Aaaand mix. Now it’s just to…float a piece of bread and put some yeast on top of it? Yeah, I’m not doing that. Here I’m deviating. That is totally legit for back in the day when folks didn’t have wine yeast. I, however, DO have wine yeast. And while it may lose some of its authenticity, I’m totally using wine yeast. But before I do! I’m curious.

Of course that recipe doesn’t say anywhere what proof/strength this concoction will come out to be. I, however, have the tools to find out. Hydrometer in!


Stirring around a bit with the hydrometer trying to get the fruit out of the way so it could float, I was surrounded by this…really pleasant aroma. All this citrus-y, fruity, sugary…with a hint of…is that potato? It made me draw a bit off to taste:


You know…


That’s pretty good! Apple-y, orange-y, lemon-y, with just a hint of potato (yeah, it’s weird), but really sweet (8 lbs of sugar, hey). This might actually end up being ok.

Anyway, hydrometer showed me just below the bottom orange band.


So, if the yeast survives (and it should, being wine yeast) this should end up about 18% ABV.


9 days, stirring daily. The anticipation is palpable over here. Updates to come! Have a good weekend everyone!

PS – we’re still doing something with the grapes, too!

UPDATE 8/28/17:

I decided to test the fermentation progress this morning and popped the hydrometer back in. As it was still showing 15%, I added another gallon of water. This should lower the total ABV to more of the 12-15% range. 18% just seemed really strong for wine 🙂

A fresh coat of paint and floors rediscovered!

One of the things I’ve been looking forward to since we began this project was pulling up the carpet in the parlor. To refresh your memory:


Growing up, there wasn’t carpet in that room for the first, oh, decade of my life? Not sure exactly, but I know there’s hardwood in there. It’s been covered up with carpet for a long, long time now, waiting for me to show it the light of day. Had it not been for practicality, I’d have pulled it up the same weekend we pulled the linoleum off the dining room floor. But, as the parlor needed paint, may as well leave the built-in drop cloth, right? Our oldest son had gotten the ceiling painted in this room, so all that was left was the walls.

You’ve heard Erin mention her frugality before, right? You didn’t miss that? Well, she found a 5-gallon bucket of beige paint for, like, $20 and declared, “All the downstairs rooms will be this color now.” Which was fine with me. Beige doesn’t really do anything for me, but that’s the point, right? Beige doesn’t do anything for anyone. It’s just…there. Anyway, I’ve done enough painting with my wife to know that, even if it’s the plan, I should test a little area first, and let her see it, before painting the entire wall. So, I called her in to the parlor as I put the first paint up on the wall.


Can you see it? The new paint? No, I barely could, either. I turned back to my wife who had this mixed look of apprehension and enthusiasm. It was as if she KNEW how excited I was going to be repainting the whole room almost exactly the same color.


“Man, what a difference!” I declared, in my dry, sarcastic way. To which Erin responded something like, “At least we know we’ll like the color! Thanks, baby!” and scampered off to do more of what she was doing. Reminding myself that I couldn’t get the carpet up until this painting was done, I got to painting. Lighting can be a tricky thing. And so, while you can see a difference in the tint and sheen above, when the light was different, it was really hard to tell where I’d painted and where I hadn’t. Example:


See how you can JUST, maybe? barely? see? But, in the end, I got it done. It was time for the main event. I called Erin down again, and we set to work.


It was my job to cut and rip the carpet up, Erin took to removing the padding.


With, I kid you not, “We Are the Champions” playing on the radio in the background, Erin rolled back that padding to reveal, just like I remembered it, the parlor’s hardwood floors.


These, like the dining room, are really in good shape. Just going to need some refinishing. They’re not perfect, though. There is a patch, between the columns, between the parlor and dining room, where there used to be a grate for the old, radiant, basement furnace.


Erin and I are currently in discussions about how best to deal with that.

But! Painting the parlor the same color, aside, we walked away from this day, feeling good!


Are we seriously not done with these floors yet?

On Saturday, after Erin’s week of working on the farm, she convinced (read: guilted) me into heading to the farm for a day of work. And though I was really hoping for a day of lounging about, considering the work she’d done, I didn’t have much of a leg to stand on and off we went. I WAS looking forward to seeing the progress she’d made over the week. Knowing that she’d been able to get that coat of poly on the upstairs hallway meant that we were finally done with the floors up there.

Or so we thought!

You see, what I hadn’t told any of you, is the poly that she’d selected for the floors is, apparently, some really, really, really tricky stuff. Knowing that the glossier the finish, the more glaring the imperfections, Erin went with a satin finish poly. Which was fine. That’s not how I wanted/expected the poly to be, but, Erin got the west room done just fine and it looked good!


Clearly all sealed up, not too shiny. That’ll work just fine. So, I gave it a go:


No problem, poly went on lickety split. It was much glossier going on than what Erin had when it all dried, but I figured that was just the way it was and it’d dry with a satin finish.

Yeah….that’s not what happened at all.


Two days later and the poly was dry! And…all shiny! Well, doggone it. What about the south room, then?


Well, look at that! Part of it’s pretty shiny and part of it’s pretty satin-y. That’s not what we’re going for at all! Seeing all that, it made me realize that the thicker the coat, the glossier it’d dry. For whatever reason. That’s what happened. In the south room, here, the closer to the door, the closer to the end of the first can of poly. So, I put it on a bit lighter. Going back over the north room with a really, really, light coat, it did dry satin. Even over the really shiny:


Except right at the junction between the north room and the hall, that finish “satined” right up!

I did convey all of that to Erin. So it’s not like I purposely sabotaged her efforts in the hallway. Perhaps she was just overconfident with her success in the west room. Perhaps she was just too tired after the whole week of work. Regardless, when we got there on Saturday:


Look at that beautiful, shiny hallway!!

Honestly, I do like the shine. Erin, however, isn’t as impressed. Especially at the thresholds where the difference is evident:


Pretty stark difference there between the hallway and west room.

So, though frustrated, we decided to leave it. At least for now. There are other projects yet to work on. We can always tweak the hallway later.

Vacation: Days 6-7

Well, here it is, the end of my time off and I’m behind on blog posts.

On Thursday, I spent the day at home working on a few projects around the house and beginning work on my oldest son’s T-shirt quilt for his dorm room. My mom and I got a good start on that  — until we ran out of interfacing and had to quit until I can get more ordered online. I count 100 T-shirts I saved from school, Scouts, sports and music groups and events from the time he was in kindergarten. There should be plenty for a quilt (possibly front and back!).

Friday I was back at the farm.


First coat of poly is finally on the stairs!

It wasn’t a super eventful day. More of the same, it seemed: I got a first coat of primer on the West room closet, put a second coat of poly on the upstairs hallway and a first coat on the stair treads. All necessary work, but a bit unexciting.

One of the most exciting parts of the day was my first injury of this project (unless you count sore thighs from crouching while scrubbing floors, which I won’t). Luckily it wasn’t nearly as bad as I first feared. I was trying to open a window a bit wider to turn a box fan to blow into the room. As you might imagine, the window sashes don’t all slide smoothly, so it jammed a bit and when I pushed upward on it, I managed to smash the middle and ring fingers of my left hand between the upper and lower sashes… and the window trapped them there. I panicked and yanked on them, but they stayed firmly between the sashes until I pulled the lower sash back down with my right hand. I thought for sure I’d have a nasty bruise under my fingernail (I’ve seen my dad deal with those a few times and it wasn’t pretty), so I immediately iced my hand and took ibuprofen and soon continued with my work. The fingers were sore at the joint for a couple days, so I think I had a minor sprain, but nothing major, and I’m fine now.

Another bit of excitement was clearing the last of the mayo and spaghetti sauce jars from the basement. Bri’s grandparents had quite a collection there, accumulating dust and dead spiders, so I’ve been bringing dozens back to town to recycle. I actually love old jars, so I left all of the canning jars, old blue Mason jars and some that were pressed glass and cool shapes. The rest came back to town with me.  I’ve spared you the horror of the jar that I found with 3 or 4 mummified frogs in it. I suspect some child may have collected them in the jar years ago, set them on the shelf and they were sadly forgotten. Sorry frogs!

I also got the last five bags of aluminum cans out of the basement this week and recycled them, bringing the grand total to about $25 made on the cans. Thanks, Grandpa!

While none of the projects may be really exciting or photogenic, it was still really satisfying to cross a couple more things off my lists. And Brian and I made some more exciting progress on Saturday. Stay tuned!