Vacation: Days 2-5

Days off always seem to go so quickly!

Since my last post, we had Brian’s 95-year-old great-aunt visit us at the farm on Sunday. What a treat that was for all of us! She came in with photocopies of pictures of the family and farm as well as images from magazines of items that used to be at the farm.

She walked through every room in the house, including the musty basement and told us her memories of the house: who’d slept in each room, where the potato bin was in the basement (and that they’d eaten potatoes at every meal), how they used a cistern pump for clean water in a sink in the bathroom that was then dumped into the “slop” bucket to be tossed outside later. She said she didn’t think she’d been to the basement since she was in high school, so she was excited to see if things looked like she remembered. She even knelt down at the floor grate on the second floor to show us how they’d kneel down to listen in on the adults’ conversations when company was visiting.

It was so nice to hear her memories of the house and farm from her firsthand and I think she enjoyed being back in her childhood home and seeing the progress we’re making toward making it the family hub again.

On Monday, I brought my parents out for their first visit to the farm. We took a roundabout route, stopping in the nearby larger town for some antiques and thrift shopping (no big treasures were found this trip) and lunch at a local restaurant before going to the farm.

As we’ve mentioned before, my parents are a wealth of information for remodeling for Brian and I. They’ve worked on every home they’ve lived in and I grew up in a house built around the same time as the farm house was. I wanted their advice on a couple of upcoming projects at the house: the siding and the windows.

We walked around the house and looked at the worst of the rot on the window frames and siding. We’re all in agreement that a couple of the window frames need to be completely rebuilt. Some of the rot has migrated into the siding, but it may only be one piece, so Dad said we could probably just remove and replace that one. He also thinks that the house can be repainted, though it’ll take a lot of scraping to get it ready. It looks like we’ve got a plan for our big projects before the snow flies. Now, to find the time to tackle them.

On Tuesday, I stayed at home and spent much of the day with my oldest, shopping for supplies for his dorm room and helping him begin to round up books for his classes.

Yesterday was another day on my own at the farm. Well, not completely alone, since I got to visit with Bri’s uncles and aunt throughout the day. His uncles have started the wheat harvest, but it started to rain, so they all came in to chat over strudel that was brought by their cousin on Sunday.  I’m not sure that there’s much that could be better than visiting over strudel on a rainy afternoon after a full day of work.

I puttered around the house most of the day, trying to figure out exactly what should be the priority for my time. With so many projects on my list, it’s often easy to get distracted each time I go into a new room.

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Good thing my hairdresser cancelled my appointment Tuesday. Hair care is clearly moot for me.

I spent the majority of my time finishing the painting in the East room’s closet. The old beadboard is cool, but so very dark, so I primed and painted it from top to bottom. My youngest had put the first coat of primer on the walls weeks ago and I did a second coat yesterday, then primed and painted the floor, too. The slanted ceiling made it a challenge, and I ended up (as I usually do) with paint on myself from head to toe.

I also cleared some more empty jars from the basement. I’m leaving all of the cool old jars that I hope to use to store different kitchen staples eventually. But the old mayonnaise and other nondescript non-canning jars are being hauled back home to be recycled.

While down there, I brought up a few random plates and this pretty pitcher that were covered in dust on the shelves. The pitcher cleaned up beautifully. That’s one great thing about not having a dishwasher: the colors on the Pyrex and other kitchenware still have vibrant colors.

The other big accomplishment of the day was getting our central air fixed. We’re lucky to have central air on the main floor and one upstairs bedroom, but it wasn’t cooling much, which made it uncomfortable on the 90+degree days recently. So, a repairman visited yesterday, refilled the coolant and put in some stop-leak solution that seemed to take care of things nicely. It should make it much more pleasant to work and visit the house with the air working again!

For today, I’m staying in town for a dentist appointment and to get my mom’s help on a T-shirt quilt for my oldest so he’ll have something to cover his bed when he moves out in a couple weeks!

I hope to make it back to the farm tomorrow to check a few more things off my lists!

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