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Friday, January 17, 2020

Getting Ready to Get Snowed In for the Weekend?

Sadly, we had a tragedy today in Oconto. At 3 a.m. this morning there was a house fire on the other side of town. A mother, three children and a pet perished in the fire. It is heartbreaking. The poor firemen battled the blaze in the sub zero weather and are still on site today yet. We don't know the family personally, but the next of kin are in our prayers.


The weathermen have now upped the forecast and we are due for 8 to 12 inches of snow on top of some sleety freezing icy mess. Doesn't sound like it's going to be very much fun?

We don't have to be anywhere this weekend, so we will stay home, snug as bugs in a rug.  They already spread brine on our county highway road in front of our house. It's one of the main drags out of town to the north, so the trucks have been spreading in readiness for the icy storm.


I got two coats of paint on the mantle and it sure is looking nice. I had two dogs that were supervising from the comfort of the couch behind me.  I enjoy painting and it was peaceful and nice this morning to get the first coat on.

I decided the difference in the original color of brown was like melted milk chocolate chips ... the contrast of the new color which is more like melted semi-sweet chocolate chips! Lol!

I am thinking maybe 
I better bake some cookies
 while this thought is in my brain?

The new brown color matches the leather on our two mission recliners and I think it looks much nicer.

It also matches the faux-leather brown of the couch. I think it even matches the dogs, too! By afternoon I did the second coat, and then we took a nap.

My sweet friend Juanita loves the color brown, as do I.  We are both October Sisters and this lovely rich brown is just right up our alley.

The little handle that I found at the ReStore for the firewood cubby door sure looks cute. The new paint was dry, so Steve attached it this morning.  Now it balances off the little black matchstick holder and the black frame around the leaded glass fireplace screen.

Someday in the future, we will convert the woodburning fireplace over to a natural gas one. We enjoy the warmth from the one we put in down in the She Shed. Having one in the livingroom will be great, especially in a power outage.  We will be sure to select one that can operate even if the power is out.

Once the second coat of paint on the mantle is dry, I can put back my little tulip accent lights and my few little knicky-knackies and doodads.

Maybe a third coat is needed? 


The dogs were pretty happy to supervise the separation of their dog food into smaller containers. We ordered from Chewy and it was a better deal to get the big 47 lb bag with the free shipping, and the $15 off coupon. We don't have anywhere to store a bag of dog food that big!  We save these large plastic containers from pretzels and reuse them over and over. It will probably take the dogs 4 months or more to eat up this much dog food! They have tiny tummies and only eat about half a cup of day.

We store them up on the top shelf in the laundry room and just take down one container at a time. I think it helps keep it fresh?


The other day, Steve and I stopped at the courthouse and city hall. We started digging into the history of this house. One part has been here since the early 1900's, the other part is also an older home that was moved here around 1960 on two big metal I-beams.  That half was put onto a new foundation and joined together with the original structure on the old foundation. Two small houses became one interesting National Folk Farm House style home. We are looking to find out more as we go along. Trying to find interesting things...  we will let you know what we find!


Supper just came off the grill-

Salmon and baked sweet potato for me
Salmon and baked potatoes for Steve
and some steamed veggies for both. 
Yummmmm  Gotta go eat! 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

327 Holes???

I am all for retaining character and charm, but I had just gotten out my putty knife and spackled up

on this mantel!!!

The mantle on this fireplace has been used and abused for many years. I think every Christmas for the last 100 years someone has tacked, nailed, thumbtacked or screwed into this poor mantle.

Once I got all of the holes spackled and dried, I lightly sanded over it with a fine light grit sandpaper on my little Skil Octo sander. I love that handy tool with its little pointy tip that can get into tight corners.

Steve has a larger palm sander and belt sander, but this little one is perfect for me.

As I sanded, I could see that the previous color under this reddish-brown had been black and underneath that it had been white. Kinda like excavation of the history? The mantle is not fine craftsmanship, it's rather rough and rugged. But I wanted to get rid of the holes as well as the drips and runs in the paint from previous coats put on by other people long ago.

I am going to paint it... Probably more of a burnt sienna brown than the raw umber reddish color that it is now.  I will use the same color paint that is in our kitchen on the cabinets and island. I have some left over from when we made the coffee bar / wine rack.

Then the mantle will coordinate better with with the woodwork and furniture in the room...  as well as my beloved oil painting hung up above, painted by my good friend Rosie DuPuy of Bethel, Missouri.

The mantle is all ready for tomorrow for the first coat of brown paint. I will work on it once it's daylight, rather than setting up the halogen work lights tonight.

The little handle on the firewood cubby was quite dilapidated and coated in layers of paint. I removed it and I could tell that of course the fireplace was the present pearly white ivory color, but underneath there had been a layer of a golden yellow, and underneath that there had been a bright layer of barn red! Probably painted to match the fireplace bricks and hearth that long ago that were red clay?

At a recent trip to the ReStore in Marinette, I found a cute little old-fashioned looking handle for a mere 50 cents.  I think it will be much more appropriate for style and character.

Today I gave it a spray of black paint and tomorrow it will be dry enough to mount on the firewood cubby door.

Our electrical rewiring project has almost come to a finish. The last few outlets are now done but I accused Steve of sitting down on the job!

It brings peace of mind to see the raggedy old fabric wrapped wires removed and replaced with good sturdy grounded electrical wiring and proper outlets. We will tackle the ceiling lights later in the spring when things warm up in the attic.

Speaking of temperatures, the weather has turned colder now. Although the last storm kinda missed us, we have another one coming in tomorrow night.  More snow and more wind too.

The dogs have been getting a little cabin feverish so we took them out for a romp in the snow --- all the way to the back end of the property.  They found lots of interesting smells to root their noses under the snow... and came up covered!

They love chasing and ramming around in the snow.  It was crisp and cold, but the dogs didn't seem to mind at all. They dodged and dashed around our feet as we walked back to the end of the 2 and a half acres of our big backyard.

We tossed them snowballs and played some fetch. They followed us around and made sure we paid them a lot of attention.

Had to get a pic of my rugged outdoor hubby...
in his Designer Wisconsin Winter Clothing!

Ahhh my Carhartt wearing guy
complete with his Stormy Kromer hat
and Sorel boots with felted wool liners. 

Here's a cute little video I shot of the dogs
 doing what they do best:

We got the dogs back into the house and we warmed up.  I made a big old pot of chicken vegetable noodle soup. I start out with one of those Bear Creek soup mixes, put in a bag of shredded chicken meat from my freezer, and add a lot more vegetables and noodles. It makes up a big enough pot that we can freeze some and have some for lunch again the next day too.

Even though it was bitterly cold this morning, the sunshine coming in was totally delightful. We sat at our table in our stained glass surrounded nook in the kitchen, enjoying our coffee this morning.

Days like this make me so grateful and happy that we are cozy and warm in our house.  It's been a long line of tasks to get it the way we have it now.  Time to sit back and enjoy it a bit. We sat in the kitchen almost all morning.  Going over shopping lists, clipping coupons from the paper, and planning out a few more house projects.  We might hold off on my kitchen sink for now--- (sigh) because we have a few more pressing things to replace or repair first. Gotta prioritize.  The morning passed quickly as we sat in the sunshine. 

The dogs were lapping up the sunshine too.

Steve ran to the hardware store and the post office, 
while I started the laundry and housework.

The dogs? 
Still soaking up the rays.


This morning we discovered fresh deer tracks in the backyard. Those little stinkers came right up to the back windows of the She Shed and were gazing in watching us last night! 

I think they were wondering when we were going to fill the bird feeders?  They have been standing up on their hind legs and battering it with their front legs to knock out the seeds!  They have been wandering back and forth from the feeder to the house, thinking they have to put in an order for a refill? 

We have been refilling the feeders almost daily, and I think more is going into the deer bellies than in the birds! 

We ran to the grocery store this evening for a few quick things. Tomorrow the snow will start, following by the cold and winds.  The weathermen keep changing the amount totals in the forecast, it's anybody's guess as to how much we will get?

Monday, January 13, 2020

Farmhouse Projects Continue and a Sinking Feeling

Guess we were lucky, the storm missed us.

Most of it moved to the South and ran up through Illinois and southern Wisconsin and over into lower Michigan.

All that we got was a light amount of snow that made things look pretty and fresh and clean again. Just a couple inches.

Maybe we will get some more later on again tonight, but only 1 to 3 inches.

We took a run up to Menards and grabbed some more supplies for replacing the electrical outlets and switches.  He went through a lot of wire and is changing outlets faster than I expected.  Yanking out old cloth covered wires and metal boxes, replacing with good non-conductive plastic boxes and new grounded outlets and good grounded wires.

Steve of course is going a lot faster than we originally planned with this project. We were only going to do one or two each day. But he has made a "job" out of it.  Up and at em at 6:30 a.m.

As of now he has all of the main floor outlets and switches changed over. The only thing left now will be the ceiling light fixtures once he gets up in the attic. Won't do that till things warm up more this spring.

He also rewired the 4 connected light fixtures in the basement.  Now if we enter a basement from either entrance, he has a three-way switching setup to turn on all 4 the of the lights. That way if we go down using the scuttle hole entrance and turn them on, but if we decide to exit the basement through the full-size door outside, we can turn them off without having to double back like we do now. Good thinking, Stevio!!


Now for that "Sinking Feeling" I mentioned in the title... Lol we are okay, just a cute play on words.

While we were at Menards, I wandered down the kitchen sink aisle. I wanted to double-check if there were any garbage disposals on sale. We don't have one in this house, and I did have one in each of our last two homes, and I kind of miss it.

Oh Lord, keep me out of home improvement aisles if I don't have the budget to spend on things!!!



I am not entirely happy with the sink that we have currently in the house. It's a perfectly fine sink and does it's purpose. But it's a two bowl shallow stainless steel sink. If I turn the water on too fast it splashes out at me.

Also the cold faucet handle 
is located way too close 
to the sprayer attachment.

We don't ever do dishes in the sink. We have a dishwasher. So it's mainly used for rinsing plates, washing vegetables, food prep, canning vegetables, washing the large things like roasters, the inner liner of my pressure cooker, or my large baking sheets. The two bowl design is kind of limiting the usable space, plus the lack of a garbage disposal is frustrating.

Like I said, it's okay and perfectly fine to use. But for some reason, after walking down that aisle, I found the Sink Of My Dreams!!!


Yippee Skippee!

It comes as a complete unit with the faucet, the cutting board, the roll out rack, the drying rack, the bottom grid, the rectangular rinsing basket, drain strainer, and soap dispenser.

Right now it's on sale for $50 off. It's on sale all week so I am going to see how much I can convince my own mind and our budget as to whether or not we need this.

This month is also property taxes and we just made it through Christmas without going into any debt.  We try to be sensible and practical.  But on the other hand, we mostly cook at home, rarely go out to eat, and this sink would be a great veggie prep area with a garbage disposal added at the same time.  Hmmmmm?

Steve did mention the sensibility of preparing the wiring underneath the sink for a garbage disposal while he's doing the rest of the rewiring. So that makes sense too.

We will see what happens...


Yesterday we took care of a silly little Packer Backer Fan who came to spend some time with us.  Her daddy dressed her up in her adorable little Packer Fan clothing.  He made this video of her "reading" her book about No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed.

He was called into work, so she came to hang out and watch the pregame festivities on tv. She is such a smart girl, she said the football players on tv were wrong. They were red and blue.... not green!   

(the Packers weren't on yet, it was the Chiefs and the Texans) 

We had a little pre-game tailgate meal of her choosing:
Hot dogs, carrots, a boiled egg, 
some shredded cheese and applesauce! 

In the evening, she went back by her parents while we watched the actual game. Of course, the Packers won and are on their way to the final playoffs this upcoming weekend to determine who goes to the Superbowl.

Her Mommy and big sister Chelsea were out of town at two Cheerleading Tournaments.  Chelsea is on a Cheer Dance Team and is only 10 years old. Those girls work hard and rehearse and practice a lot of hours to get where they are. They did a great job and won FIRST PLACE in their divisions at both tournaments~

Like Mother Like Daughter


I worked a little bit on my quilt today on the big frame. It's coming along well and I'm totally enjoying working in my she shed on my fun stuff.

 The lights really make the work space BRIGHT! 

I'm not sure if I posted any pictures of the completed she shed in use. Here are some shots I took today:

 West wall and stairs up to the kitchen

East and South walls with new corner closet,
 the tv and the fireplace. 

North wall with quilting frame
and West wall with 3 windows
instead of the garage door

West wall with my weaving stuff and sewing island

and out the windows
to the Big Backyard 
with snow snow snow~! 

and more to come!