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Monday, July 15, 2019

Our National Folk Farmhouse Modifications - Siding The She Shed Wall

We are due for a heatwave in the upcoming week of hot humid horrible weather around the Great Lakes. So it was a good decision to push ahead and get as much done as we could on the exterior of the She Shed conversion.

On Friday, we got up early and went right to work. Steve set out all of my saw horses and we laid out the pieces of the new manufactured fiber siding. I started out with my little roller and my paint. It seemed that as soon as I got one coat on, it was dry. So I was able to get the second coat on right away in the next hour. There was a nice breeze blowing and we were comfortable even though the humidity had been creeping up throughout the morning.  The stuff on the right is the beige primer and the stuff on the left is the bright white.

Steve started laying down the very first piece. This first one is a 8" cement board that's made to look like a piece of wood. I pre-painted it with two coats of my matching thick oil gray foundation paint. When Steve placed it on, it's still raised a little bit off of the cement foundation but I think it looks good as a starter piece.

The first piece is very important to be level and is the base piece on which we start lining up the siding, piece by piece.

Using galvanized nails that have a little twist to them, like a slight screw pattern, we started putting on piece after piece of the fibered manufactured siding. You can see in this close-up that the texture on each board mimics wood, and looks very similar to our original wood clapboard siding.  Steve made little spacer blocks to help with how much of each strip of siding is revealed. The siding pieces are 5 inches wide but we are revealing 4 inches. That means one inch is tucked underneath the previous row of siding.

We worked our way up the bottom surface piece by piece until we reached the bottom edge of the windows.  Kneeling on pads for the bottom strips, and working upside down to nail in evenly was hard.  The fibered siding can't have "blossoms"or "elephant feet" from mis-hits of the hammer not striking right on the head of the nail.

Adding in a piece of rubberized flashing under the window, we were then able to insert the top edge of the next strip by some careful cuts on the saw. Then it was time for a little lunch break. He didn't even want to come in the house so I had to make up some ham sandwiches and side snacks to bring outside so I could get him to sit down for 2 minutes and eat something. Topped off by a big icy tall cold glass of lemonade, then he was ready to jump back up and get back at the job before it got too hot.

It was time to cut some shorter pieces of siding to go up along side of the set of windows.  The strips of siding were 16 ft long when we bought them. The length we needed for the width of the wall was only 11 feet. From the leftover strips of 5 feet we were able to get four perfect little pieces that fit. Steve carefully cut each one so they snugged in, but not too tight. Also a bead of caulking goes underneath the side edge of each piece of this manufactured siding to create a good seal as you nail it in.  Later, when Steve was done, he ran another bead of caulking over the entire seam from top to bottom so every end piece is actually double caulked from behind and from the front. His little spacer pieces worked very well to hold the boards even while we nailed them into place.

We worked as a team, especially on the upper portions where we each went up a ladder with the 11 foot long piece suspended between us. He would put in 1 nail and we would level it using our spacers and then the accurate 4 foot level. It's nice that the pieces came in 16 foot length, so we have no seams in the 11 foot spans of siding.

Here we are on the very last piece! How exciting! the heat was creeping up and we were dripping wet with sweat. We were losing our shade as the sun worked its way over to this west side of the house.

I hopped down off of my ladder for just enough time to snap this picture before we were done.

Ahhhhh a job well done! It was really hot and humid, but it felt good to finish it up nevertheless. I know it looks kind of plain like a big blank white wall here, but it also looks a million percent better than what we started with.

Now for the frosting on the cake....
I found matching shutters for $8 on clearance
and I painted them to match.

the shutters really make it looks so much better, 
don't they? 

Now we have enough extra pieces of siding that we bought to replace the few bottom rows in rough shape along the north side of the house over on the right, that you can see in this photo. We will tackle that another day.

I think it all blends together now. Even though it is an attached garage, it will add 430+ square feet of extra space for my She Shed area, but not really technically adding living area to the house. It will be for my weaving looms, quilting frame, cutting table, and some of our sunroom furniture.  We are going to let the grass grow over the original driveway that runs along side of the house up to the new wall. It's filling in pretty good already and we're going to add a little more black dirt and grass seed once we are done doing so much building and construction on the side of the house.

Considering that this is what we started with, 
I think it's a great change, don't you?

Later we will work on a little walkway, maybe of decking material and kind of a detached pergola / gazebo / arbor / pagoda thing between the big garage and the new entrance door on the side of the she shed?  Always thinking of future projects....

We also invested in enough siding to go around the sunny corner nook area of the kitchen on the east/south corner of the home too. But we won't tackle that until we replace those windows. Maybe next year?  At least we have the siding squirreled away that matches this stuff and we will work on that when we have time.

For now we are just going to sit back and admire the fact that we closed off this garage and put in a nice wall with windows.  We are looking at adding some shrubbery along the front and making a nice curved flower bed to go around and meet up with the one alongside the She Shed. Maybe a tall spire type cedar tree on the corner? Maybe some globe arborvitaes in front of the windows? We will wander the nurseries and see what we can find. This is the time of year that there are a lot of bargains and sales.

We did walk around one nursery and look at their trees and shrubs but didn't find anything that we really wanted. But what I did find were the 2 clematis plants that I wrote about in the blog two blogs back. We had looked at a couple trellises for one of the clematis but couldn't find anything at a reasonable price.

I did see a beautiful 6 ft tall wooden one online, but they wanted $79 for it. That was crazy! So Steve grabbed $5 worth of wood and cut some slats on his table saw. He both glued and screwed the cross pieces together and created this beautiful 8 ft tall trellis!!

What a goofy guy, hey?

I gave it two coats of my famous red paint and let it dry overnight. Using some little spacer blocks so it would stand away from the cedar siding a little bit, we put it into place on the North side wall of the She Shed. I carefully planted the purple clematis and unwound the strands from the little trellis that came on the original pot from the nursery.

I was able to tie each little tender tendril to a fan piece of the trellis. After it grips on better as it grows I will untie the little pieces of string.

While we were out and about looking at shrubbery, we stopped by the Mennonite store up on County A called Brubakers. Last time we were in there I had seen some beautiful slabs of Corian countertop type cutting boards with little rubber feet on the bottom side. They make them in different sizes and I wasn't sure what size would fit between my inset stove on the island and the edge of the countertop. Now that I had a measurement we were able to go back and choose one out of the stack and I found a nice color that coordinated with our island material. 

We like also buying their bulk foods and wholesome non chemical and pesticide free items like their eggs and meats. We tease the grandkids that the eggs came straight out of the butt of the chickens that are gathered in the side yard of the store!!!

Another item we picked up while we were gathering some supplies are the products that I grew up with as a child. We are close enough to the U.P. of Michigan that many of the ethnic foods that are readily available up there come to the stores just over the border into the Wisconsin as well. Things like pasties from The Pasty Oven in Florence or the Otto's Steaks from Meyer Meats in Caspian....  and pizzas, ravoili, and sauce from Dina Mia kitchens from Iron River.

This item is pretty special from my childhood.  These are either Swedish or Norwegian, I can't remember. But they are called Trenary Toast and they are made in Trenary, Michigan. They are hard twice baked pieces of toast and you can get the version of cinnamon and sugar which is very good with coffee in the morning. There is also a raisin version and a plain version, as well as I think a garlic? They are hard pieces of toast that stay forever in the brown paper bag that is a trademark symbol of their product. Think kind of like Italian biscotti but these are a little different. Maybe best described like a very large hard crouton with cinnamon and sugar on it? They're great to dip in coffee and also good to give to little babies that are teething. Similar to something called Zweibac in the grocery stores in other parts of the country.


Two blogs back I talked about the Y adapter to our hot and cold faucets alongside of the house. In this photo you can see the faucets and adapter over my shoulder. This is why we like to have both hot and cold running water outside. We had a certain little girl Sheltie who had decided she needed to roll in the deer poop on one of our walks in our big big backyard!

Also the little boy Sheltie had a poopy butt from eating a little too many treats from the grandkids. His digestion does not work too well if he is given people food. With long haired dogs, well, you can understand what happens in the nether regions of their behind fluff.

It was time to scrub a dub dub them in the doggy hot tub. Binney doesn't mind so much, but Finnegan is really not a fan of a bath. You can tell. Look at his face!

It was pretty easy to scrub them up with nice soapy bubbles and dog shampoo as well as a little people hair conditioner to make their fluffy coats shine and feel so soft. Once they are all rinsed off, we take them on leash up to the front porch so they can dry on the clean wood surface and not go back and roll in the dirt, or the deer poop, again!


Today is terribly hot and muggy, the heat indexes are going to soar. Steve left early to go help both of his brothers on a gardening shed at his younger brother's home in Menasha. I am taking it easy today staying indoors and I think I'm going to finally start hanging some artwork on the walls. We have frames stacked up in the guest room that need to be hung. We just didn't know what we wanted where. Steve said it was up to me and I could pick out what I wanted and where I put it. He said he trusts my judgment! Lol... So now he can't complain if I put up what I want.....


  1. your dogs will have more baths with all the space and deer on your back yard. I like the red and white color scheme for this house, not that the blue and white wasn't pretty, but the red really pops and just looks right

  2. Looks really nice and the red shutters really made it all pop. So much going on at your place.

  3. Wow, things are coming along very nicely. I'm looking forward to the interior of the she shed/sun room!


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