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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wow! This is clearly the longest span of time between posts I have ever had!
It's been over a year since we moved in to the house and so much has changed! When we moved in, I was 5 months pregnant. Now, we have an amazing 9 month old baby girl named Skyra.

Its a wondeful thing to be able to see the wind blowing the trees outside and not feel it blowing through the cracks between the logs. Our house is so tall too, that it is something like a watch tower. When Skyra was a few weeks old and nursing, I looked out the window and saw a lynx walking right across our yard. Within a week, a goshawk landed on top of the tree in front of the house and then showed off his weaving and diving skills.

Today it is snowing (moments ago it was pouring rain) and Skyra is sleeping peacefully in her crib in the nursery/closet. Our latest projects have been adding a shelf under the stairs by the composting toilet and working on a 1/2 wall railing on the stairs.

We are having a modest Christmas this year and our building projects are progressing as they are fiscally feasible.

I started thinking how ironic it is that Santa visits us when we are kids; when the things on our list are WANTS and not NEEDS. I wish that I had Santa now. My wish list would include some pretty pricey items though.

Dear Santa,
Here is a wish list that I have put together. It's been a long time since I have done this. I don't live too far away from you up at the North Pole. So, hopefully it won't cost too much to ship these things. :-)


1. 2 stage snowblower/someone to plow our driveway all winter
2. running water (well drilled, septic system installed, plumbing installed)
3. An addition which would include a bathroom/laundry room/arctic entry way
4. New oven range
5. New studded tires for the truck
6. carpeting purchased and  installed on the stairs
7. Land taxes paid
8. Ventilation system -a tight house holds heat but it also holds moisture-mold is developing in window sills.
9. Bigger refigerator
10. More cabinets in our kitchen
11. Heater other than the woodstove
12. New effecient and air tight woodstove

Jane's secondary wish list
1. Grocery gift card (Safeway)
2. babies R Us gift card
3. REI gift card
4. Clothing gift  card (Amazon?)
5. gas card (Petro )
6. smaller lens for my camera

Thanks! <3 p="p">

p.s. Please bring Skyra some new toys too. She has been a really good baby!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I am thankful for

This Thanksgiving is one which brings me lots of thanks. Over this four day weekend, we were able to truly start moving ourselves in to the new house. It started with clothes in the closet. Then dishes and other kitchen acoutrements. Then, in order to be able to keep the cats in the house with us overnight, we had to bring over the litter box and all their stuff.

Even with all their stuff, the fist night with both the cats in the house was not a calm and quiet one. Phya found herself a spot beside her dog downstairs where she stayed peacefully through most of the night. Mukki (her grown daughter), however, was a wreck. She is very confused about the move and spent the entire night trying to get back over to the cabin. When meowing incesantly didn't work, she tried walking on our pillows (which always wakes us in a very irritated way). When that didn't work, she apparently tried to find a secret portal through which she could escape. Leaping into every window she could, she finally got us out of bed when she pulled a screen on on top of herself and tumbled down the stairs. Finally, at that point (around 6AM, she was thrown outside where she had been begging to go. She was out there for the better part of the morning and was very frustrated because we wouldn't allow her back into the old cabin. Finally, she came to the front door of the house raising her paws alternatly to try to allow them to warm. Still, I had to scoop her up and put her in the house. When I did, I found the stubborn little cat shaking because she was so cold. Single digit temps will do that to ya. They also seem to have forced her to accept the inevitable. Last night, she hardly woke us at all and once she was let out with the other critters this morning, she came right back in with them. Piles of treats followed.

We have transitioned much better than Mukki has. I (Jane) have now cooked two meals in the house on my full size range. Today, I even plan to make tamales! By tonight, we should have the gray water line finished so that we can pour things down the sink and do dishes again. Good thing too because all this cooking and eatting is accumulating some dirty dishes pretty quickly.

Today may also be the last day that we will have to use the outhouse! I am less certain about that because I think that there might be a few parts that we'll need to buy. But, at any rate, we should be able to finally go to the bathroom INSIDE very soon. And, as Mukki can tell you, its not pleasant being out there in the cold for too long.

Today, our friend Ray is coming over to help move some of our heavier items such as the loveseat (which he sol us a while ago), the fridge and possibly the big freezer.

Oh, and of course there is always the weekend chore of collecting more firewood. That however, shouldn't be as frequent soon though because we are no longer heating both homes. Its amazing to wake up in the house and find that the temperature is still 60 degrees and when we'd gone to bed 8 hours prior it was only 5 degrees warmer. In the cabin, we'd get it so hot that we were roasting out of there (sometimes up to 80 degrees) and then wake up in a 40 degree cabin. Log cabins are cute but I would never build one expecting to stay warm. There just isn't any real R-value in logs; at least not compared to spray foam insulation. I have brought over pretty much everything that I can think of that really ought not freeze. Its nice to be able to move things over "as-needed" for so much of it. That way, I have time to put away the things that I brought before I get more stuff. In fact, I have mostly been moving with my reusable grocery bags.

Today, (Sunday) Eli is upstairs watching the football game on-line on the desktop computer. And here I am at the brekfast nook updating the blog before the tamale adventure begins. Its amazing and somewhat disorienting to be in different rooms, unable to see one another. For more than six years, we have lived in a one room cabin where, if we were both sitting down, we were hip to hip because the only place to sit was on the loveseat. We find ourselves yelling to each other to give a play-by-play of what we're doing.

Oh! And have I mentioned how amazing it is to look at my clothes hanging in the closet to choose what to wear and to be able to stand while getting dressed? And, I was able to sit on the bed folding laundry, hanging clothes and putting things away while watching TV (DVDs only at this point). It's like a dream!

Obviously, Eli and I are competely in love with the house. We couldn't be more thankful. Sorry, you don't get any pictures yet though because its  bit of a mess. I am sure that anyone who has ever moved can relate.

:) Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting so close

The Kitchen
The cabinets are all installed now!!!! We still need to put in the super heavy cast iron sink that we got from Craigslist. And we need to install the gas range as well. But, there isn't much left to do in this room to make it move-in ready.
The entry way

The flooring is down in the entryway. It is vinyl but looks just like slate with copper hues throughout it. We are imensely pleased with this. We need to find some flooring for the stair treads, install the railing and the composting toilet (as well as the wall beside it).
The Closet

We've bugun to hang clothes in the closet!  We are still going to be installing more shelves though. Our clothes look so different hanging in a well lit clean space.

By the end of the day today Eli had cut the hole for the countertop and had it dry fit.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

All the painting is DONE!!!!

Eli has been working day and night to get the house finished. Last night, he finished painting the entry/stairway. It is a combination of a yummy chocolate color (in the areas that are more likely to get dirty) and a creamy (almost like Kalhua) color on the ceilings and some walls. It feels so decadent!

Hopefully in the next couple of days, we'll be getting the carpeting installed.

The paint sitting in the paint tray looked just like melted chocolate......
Hopefully there will be lots more to update you on soon.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Adding some color to our lives

So much has happened since our last update! We got all the flooring in for the kitchen/living room area. We got the upstairs and the crawl space insulated with spray foam insulation. We installed a 3"foam "floor" in the crawl space to keep it warm and cozy. We also got a composting toilet from a great friend for the best price in the world (FREE). It still needs to be installed but there are a few other things that need to happen prior to that. Take a look at some progress pictures here and I will tell you about what we need to do below.
The tile, vinyl and wood floors meet and a beautifully scribed log post supports the beam above. The beam will later be sealed to protect and give some shine to it.

The breakfast nook has been completed and provides a great place to sit and ponder the next steps over a cold beverage.
This is the 6'x12' closet before it was painted.

Here is the closet after painting and lights installed.

Bedroom before painting.

Bedroom after painting. This picture doesn't represent the color very well though. The wall color is a peachy tone and the ceiling is a yellowish tan.

What's next?
  • Texture the stairwell
  • Prime and and paint the stairwell/entry
  • Get carpeting installed in the bedroom and closet
  • Intall lights and outlets in the entry/stariwell
  • Install vinyl flooring in the entry way and landing
  • Install the composting toilet under the stairs
  • Build a wall to surround the toilet
  • Build a railing for the stairs
  • Finish the stairs (still looking for materials)
  • Other finish work
  • Install cabinets
  • Move appliances over from the house and install (still need to figure out the propane line)
There are certainly other projects in there but our list is getting shorter with less monetary demands.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Make a Donation

You can click the DONATE button  below and make a donation to us via PayPal to help us complete our house!

Breaking down the costs.

We recently had a dowser come to the homestead. It was amazing! She used ChannelLock pliers to find the water. We both tried the pliers and had no luck but we were able to use her copper rods (like our bent coat hangers) and it worked great for us. She found water at the highest point on our property and it seems to run along there. Then, she held a branch over the spot and it bobbed 12 times. Each time it bobs, its supposed to represent 3 feet of depth. According to the alder branch and our dowser, we have water at about 36 feet. For DEC approval, we would need to dig to 40 feet. Hopefully that is still good.

The potential of having running water got us very excited. I (Jane) have been living without running water for about 7 years now. Its about the same for Eli. Running to the outhouse is a nusiance sometimes but was is more of a bother is bathing. Most people don't have to think about where to take a shower when planning out their day or week. The concept of just stepping into a shower right here at home when we are feeling dirty and tired is a very compelling one. Not to mention the whole issue of hauling water from town and  dumping buckets of dirty dish water. So, once we got the good news about a water source, we got inspired to plan out a way to make this a reality.

It quickly became apparent though, that this was one more project that will have to stay on the back burner as we just have too many things to finish in order to move in before winter comes.

We have a list of goals and expenses on our wall in the cabin to help us plan out what our upcoming goals are and what the anticiapted cost is for those goals.

Project costs

Upstairs insulation $2,500

Upstairs sheetrock, mudding and taping $1,000

Upstairs Painting $200

Finish crawl space with gravel, insulation and skirting $3,000

Carpeting upstairs $600

Get a queen size bed $1500

Finish the woodstove surround $100

Finish the stairs and railing $200

Composting toilet    $400

Total $9,300

Other costs beyond this

Having a well drilled and pump installed     at least $3,000

Installing a leach field  for gray water    about $500

Building an addition for a bathroom   $?

Siding $?

I am also taking classes to get my Masters Degree in Special Education.  Getting financial aide for college is helping us with our house building. But, sad to say, it doesn't look like running water is going to be an option for a little while longer. Maybe next year. That said, there is a link above for you to be able to make a donation  to us to help us with our dream. If you can't afford to make a donation, please feel free to click some ads and browse for a while. That earns us a little $ too.