Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Stripping woodwork, or the love affair I am currently having with my heat gun

Ooooh, heat gun, I like it when you get SO hot for me. (*of course not so hot as to create lead paint fumes....safety first!) Your blowy hotness makes that paint bubble so good, oh so good.

Maybe I am releasing lead paint fumes, and they've gone to my head. :)

I have been a paint stripping fool over the past few weekends. Which made for an interesting Thanksgiving, because we had a housefull of people and I felt compelled to explain to each and every one of them why our bathroom door looks like it's been sunburned and is now peeling. Why our kitchen trim is in various stages of undress (using it to test times/amounts of heat, etc.). Why there is a respirator rather than a centerpiece on our dining room table (I did move it before we all sat down to eat.)

No pictures--sorry, but when I'm stripping paint I become very focused. And later, when I'm not so focused, I want to stay as far away from my current project as possible. Tough to do when your current project is also the only room in the house in which you can bathe. But trust me, I'm bathing--I'm just trying not to look at the door when I'm in there.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Winterizing is a HUGE pain in the butt

Our house is drafty. We've no plans to insulate the walls and risk ruining our plaster and/or siding, since that's not where most heat loss occurs anyway, and for the time being we can't insulate the attic because the only access to the attic is a 16x22 inch cubbyhole. Try stuffing a roll of fiberglass through that!

Still, it's c-h-i-l-l-y. Plus, those trees that provide such lovely, cooling shade in the summer, provide the same lovely, COOLING shade in the winter! So, the falling leaves signal to us that we need to start winterizing for the cold months ahead.

First, we bring 24 bales of straw to insulate the foundation. This worked like a charm last year; we never had frozen pipes, even though our laundry pipes run through an uninsulated crawl space. The straw also makes a great mulch the following spring. This year, we bought extra bales to insulate The Ladies' coop. I don't know how much they appreciate it, but we figured that if we were going to winterize ourselves, we ought to winterize them as well. After all, they've only got feathers--and each other--to keep them warm!

Straw bales, check. Now for weatherstripping. Last year we did just the rooms that we used, and we closed off the rest of the house. This year, we'll continue closing off the unused parts of the house, but we'll finish the weatherstripping. Then, we'll put up those ugly plastic "storm windows" on every window in the house. Yeah, that's a treat. Next year we are planning to re-replace the horrid 1960s-era aluminum replacement windows with true divided-light double-hung wood windows. Hopefully, we'll do wood storms then as well. But until then, it's plastic all the way, baby!

Last but not least, we'll turn the thermostat down to 55 (not a typo) and break out the blankets! It's amazing how comfortable we can get when there's down somethingorother to snuggle into. The cats love winter, for just that reason. Down comforters and blankets are snuggly!

Good for the barn, bad for G and V

Well, we have gotten official word that the final roadway alignment doesn't call for the barn to be demolished. While I'm very pleased that the barn isn't in any immediate jeopardy, I must admit some disappointment that it won't be coming to live in our pasture!

[Heavy sigh]

Oh, well. We'll nab ourselves a great historic barn someday!