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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

We Want To Feel a Little Drafty?

Today's National Folk Farmhouse Project:

The attic area of our home needs additional ventilation. There are regular roof vents near the top that were installed during the roofing replacement a few years ago by the previous owners.  But Steve has noticed when working up there doing the electrical rewiring, that there is not sufficient ventilation. There is a buildup of moisture and dampness on the batt insulation.  We will be removing the old shrinking batt insulation soon and replacing with blown in cellulose.  So doing the proper ventilation is a good idea now, before we start that next step.

Although the top plastic roof vents are good, they do not allow adequate air flow, especially during the very hot summer months. There's absolutely no ventilation around the bottom soffit or eaves.

Steve has decided that it's best to take care of this situation while it's still cooler out, before the hot sunshine and summer months are upon us.

We are having a stretch of 40+ degree days and the snow is melting fast. With the sun shining on the east and south sides of the house, he decided this would be a good time to work on this project.

With that in mind, we were in The ReStore and noticed a box full of the exact type of soffit vents he needed. They were brand new for the bargain price of $0.50 each! In the big box home improvement stores, they run between $3 and $4 each. He snapped up 10 of them toot sweet and took them home.

After measuring, I helped him figure out how to evenly space five of the vents in the soffits all the way down the east side of the house, and the other five along the south side.

During the sunshine yesterday morning, he hauled out the tall extension ladder and set it up along the east side of the house.  With snow still on the frozen ground, it was a firm footing underneath. That was kind of nice that the ladder was not sliding or sinking into the ground the way it would during spring time in the muddy ground.

For the first step, Steve had to cut pilot holes into the wooden soffits. Using a big drill with a hole bit worked great to make the pilot holes.

Next he used the jigsaw to cut out the rectangular spaces. He immediately felt an influx of air whooshing past him as he cut the rectangular holes. It was now creating a "chimney effect" for the proper air flow to get into the attic space. 

Here he is standing on the roof 
of the outdoor access to the basement. 

The vents were already painted white, but the screws he wanted to use were dark. So he stuck a whole bunch of screws, heads up and tips down, into a block of styrofoam so they were all standing upright. Then with a quick spritz spritz spritz of a can of white Rust-Oleum spray paint, the heads of the screws were now white to match the grids.

In no time he had the holes made and was screwing in rectangular vents along the east side of the house.

He took a little break for lunch and then decided to go out and attack the south side of the house next. The sun was shining brightly on the house and reflecting back onto him from the warm white wooden surface. He was quite warm and switched from a winter jacket over to a long sleeve t-shirt and a thick flannel shirt.

Once he was done, he was hot and sweaty and needed to hop into the shower.

He will do a few more vents on the front of the house facing west, once the snow melts off the metal front porch roof ---- so he gets better access without danger of slipping off the metal surface.


I wrote in my last blog about the visit from our grandson Clayton...

On another day, it was his older sister Chelsea's turn to come. She was excited to learn something new. With her birthday money, she had bought some nice thick yarn. She was wanting to learn to knit. She already knows how to crochet. It was time to expand her "yarn skills knowledge".

Honestly, 10 years ago I showed her how to knit. But for some reason she didn't quite remember learning it way back then! Lol!!!

We spent a delightful afternoon on the couch, knitting hats on circular needles. She picked it up right away and was able to get quite a bit knit before it was time to have supper.

It was time for dinner, and the grandkids always love selecting the menu.  She helped to make a meal of pasta with meatballs, garden salads, and baking garlic knot rolls in the oven.  She set the diningroom table and had to light the candles too.

They mostly love putting out the candle flames with the "snuffer"....
Our girls loved to do that when they were growing up too.

I love it when each of the grandkids can come over one by one and spend special time with us. Hope to have all of them at one time or another to come and do these times of sharing and learning.


Now for a funny doggy story:

I knew of a woman from Florida, named Julie, who has two sheltie dogs.  We never met in person, but we know a few people in common because she grew up in our small town.

She was coming up to visit her parents, and brought her shelties along in the car.  The youngest dog had never seen snow, and remember, they are used to grass and sunshiney Florida weather for doing their "bathroom business".

After a long day of driving the last leg of her trip, Julie had now encountered SNOW.... and her two little shelties refused to do their thing at any stop once the snow appeared on the ground as she journeyed north.

Poor little Jamie and McKenna we're having a tough time adjusting from Florida grass and sunshine over to snow for doing their "bathroom business". To the utter frustration of their owner, who finally arrived at her parents in our town, neither dog would go.  In desperation, after three tries at her parents house, I suggested that she bring the dogs to my house. We would see if they will do their business out in our fenced-in yard with the scents and smells of where our dogs go.

Tahh dahhh! That worked!

The dogs were finally able to relieve themselves after an 10+ hour stretch on the road from Nashville to Wisconsin.  The only problem was, after she returned to her parents home for a good night's sleep, the next morning, neither dog would go out in the yard at her parents house! Not in the yard, not in the plowed out drive, not in the side yard.... nothing. She walked them up and down and up and down the road without any success.

So what does a desperate doggy owner do? Contact me back and asked if she can drive over to my house and let her dogs go potty in my yard again!!! Lol!

It worked, of course. So for the first two days of their visit here from Florida, little Jamie and McKenna were getting driven across town in the car.  Hopping out and coming to do their business here in our yard. Each time it worked, but they still refused to do it over at the Julie's parents yard.  Of course, each time it was FUN here to play with Finney and Binney.

At the end of the second day, Julie came up with an idea. She asked if she could bring over a bucket and scoop up the yellow snow and bathroom remains in our yard and bring it over to sprinkle and her parents yard???

That did the trick!!

By the third day, the dogs finally got the idea that the snow was not the enemy to do their bathroom procedures. Actually, Jamie was starting to enjoy the snow, lay down in it, and even eat it---- (but not the yellow stuff)

I'm happy to report that for the rest of their visit, Jamie and McKenna are now able to use the bathroom facilities over there and not have to be transported across town over to our house each time to do their business.


It was so nice and warm out that both of our doggies needed to get a bath. I worry about sending them out for potty breaks if their fur is damp and they would get a chill. Since the sun was shining, I decided it would be a good time to get some baths done. With their thick fur, it takes them a good twenty-four hours to be fully dry. So it was just quick out-and-back-in for potty breaks to avoid any chill.

Yesterday was a good day to brush them out. Binney absolutely adores getting brushed. She lays back on the little bench and literally falls asleep. I am not kidding!

The more that I brush her, the more she loves it. She gets so relaxed.  She would fall backwards off this bench if I didn't keep her centered.

Finnegan, on the other hand, is so ridiculously apprehensive and hates getting brushed. We treat them both the same, and we use the same brushes. I cajole and compliment and soothe his fears. But he just does not like it. The sooner we're done with him the better. Both dogs get pedicures and look spiffy and pretty when they were done.

It was good to get spiffed up because they were having company yesterday evening! Their two Florida doggie friends, Jamie and McKenna, came to visit.  They brought us some treats and a wonderful gift certificate to a beloved local restaurant as a "Thank You" for using our yard's bathroom facilities. hahahaha

(l to r: Finney, Binney, Jamie and McKenna)

The dogs engaged in a rousing game of "Doggie Football" and had a blast. McKenna gave up and hid behind the chair. They all slept well and it wore them out.

Not sure what we are doing today... 
we will see what the day brings!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Bit of Slow Mo for the Snow

Here in northeastern Wisconsin, we got probably close to a foot of snow overnight.

When I went to the local daycare today to pick up our grandson Clayton, the daycare worker had all of the older children out playing on this huge mountain of snow by the parkinglot. First I took a couple pictures.

Then I remembered that my video camera app on my Motorola phone recently updated... And now it has a slow motion feature!

So we lined up all the kids at the top of the mountain and told them to jump off!

The resulting video is hilarious:

We actually filmed it twice 
because it was so much fun!!

and here is one more time at regular speed

I had to play it over and over for the kids
as they came off the hill,
 watching on my tiny screen on my cell phone.

I promised I would put all three on You Tube
so they could get their parents to watch it this evening.

Anyhow, as I was saying, we got a lot of snow overnight----

Even with all of this snow on the little tv antenna
we were able to still get in our local stations. 
Notice even the icicles on the far left.... hahahaa

The snow was stuck tight to all of the tree branches and shrubs.
No wind to knock any of it off....
It was like a fairyland out there. 

The morning was not quiet, instead it was busy busy busy with the noise of snow blowers running around the neighborhood and people with snow shovels hard at work.

School was delayed 2 hours so the rural roads could get fixed up before the school buses had to get through.

Now, in our small town, if you are a student and and live two miles or less from the school, you don't get the benefit of riding a bus. You have to either walk or find transportation or if you're lucky enough to be a high schooler, you can drive yourself.

The two neighbor girls had to get their driveway shoveled out to get to school, because it was two hours later today. Their father had left early for work and his car was the one in the driveway parked closest to the street.

We noticed the girls brushing off their vehicles which had been parked deeper into the driveway, and trying to get ready to leave to get to school. They were frantically shoveling as fast as they could, trying to get a clear shot for their vehicles to reach the street.  (*I think they slept in the extra 2 hours instead of shoveling snow*)

Both Steve and the neighbor on the other side saw their dilemma. They each brought over their snow blowers and helped the young ladies get their vehicles free and out onto the street. Off to school they went!

Back to this evening-----  sorry, I jumped around.

As I said, it was grandson Clayton's turn to come over after I picked him off the big snowy mountain at daycare.

He came to spend the evening and help us out with cooking supper. He asked if we could make his favorite type of tater tot casserole, but he would like to make a few changes.  He asked if we could put green beans in it. And use the cream of mushroom soup.  He said that's the way they do it at the daycare! So look who's teaching me how to make his favorite casserole....

How cute. Here he is learning how to divide the meat up into thirds. (Yes he washed his hands first, and also afterwards).  We used one third for each pan, and the last third was frozen for a different meal.

We decided to make 2 pans. One his way for our dinner that evening. The other one would be made with our normal cream of celery soup, and get frozen or a future meal for Steve and I at some later date.

Then he broke the frozen green beans into little pieces. Those he spread around on top of the meat and seasonings. Finnegan was carefully watching in the background in case anything fell on the floor.

Now he slathered on the cream of mushroom soup over his casserole... And the cream of celery on ours to be frozen later.

The last step was to carefully line up all of the little tater tots in rows.  He enjoyed doing this and the oven was preheating while he was working on this step.   We had both the tater tots and the tater coins, so he layered them in patterns.

We covered the pans with tin foil and put them in the oven at 400° for about half an hour. Just look at this little guy, waiting to see his finished supper. I think he was hungry after playing so hard on that Snow Mountain!

While the supper was baking, I convinced him that it would take a while... so I got him back down to the she shed to work on some fun stuff.  Soon he was helping me crank a sock on my sock knitting machine.

The timer went off and we checked on our casseroles.  It was time to take off the tin foil and let them "brown" a bit for about 10 more minutes.  He was REALLY hungry by now, he said.

Next job was to set the table, 

 and he carefully lit the candles 
under supervision. 

The timer went off again, and now dinner was ready to come out of the oven. He was pretty proud of his success.

Just look at that! 
What a wonderful meal made by talented little boy.

He wolfed down two big helpings and some bread on the side. I guess he is becoming a "growing boy" soon to turn 8.  Bottomless pit and all that stuff.

An added surprise was that he got up and cleared the table on his own, taking all of our dishes and helped bring everything into the kitchen.  Then he got to use the pewter candle snuffer and put out the flames.  Such a proper meal with a sweet little boy with manners and thoughtfulness.

Thank you Chef Clayton!!!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

More Eggs and Darts

Ahhh yes, this is my life.

I'm not even fully awake yet this morning. Steve had been so kind to bring me a cup of coffee in bed. Actually, I had only gotten about half of it down when he was being Mr. Antsy Pantsy and ready to go go go about something.

He called me into the living room because he wanted to show me something.

With a flourish, he led me, half stumbling into the living room, while I was still in my pajamas and only half awake.

His next sentence is the one that always makes me wonder what in the heck are we up to next:
"Hey, I was just thinking about something 
and looking at this..."

He said that the dining room lace curtain valance was too long. He said that he has to stoop over every time to look out the window.  The diningroom ceilings are only 8 feet tall. He's over 6 feet tall.

In contrast, he feels the living room curtain valance is too high and not as long, he said it looks "odd" to him. The livingroom ceilings are 9 feet tall so that window is much higher than the diningroom. I thought it looked just fine, and we could see the pretty leaded glass window because we put the shorter valance there.

He was leading up to something... I could tell.

He must have been pondering this for a while. He said that he wanted to switch around the curtain rods around and put the longer valance in the living room and the shorter one in the dining room.

Okayyyyyy...  he went right to it. 

So then he decided he also wanted to move the curtain rod brackets down off the section of plaster wall and move them down to be screwed onto the actual woodwork.

But but but.... Now to me that looked "odd" because all of the other windows and door frames in the house have a beautiful piece of crown molding and egg and dart trim.  I know over the doors it is referred to as a "lintel". I am not sure what it is called for trim over a window frame. But this one didn't have any.

Why the dining room window doesn't have it, I don't know? Maybe it had been damaged in some way and taken down?

The previous owners had just screwed the rod brackets up higher onto the wall... So the curtains covered the entire top of the dining room window trim. So then nobody noticed there wasn't any fancy egg and dart trim above that window?

I agreed to a swapola of the curtains.... if if if... I could in turn impose upon his woodworking skills to make me a piece of egg and dart crown molding trim to go on top of that window frame!!!

We ran some errands to Green Bay including a visit to a hospitalized family member. And will be hospitalized for a couple more weeks. Prayers are greatly appreciated.

While in Green Bay, I got Steve to swing past Menards on the way home. Voila! I found just what I was looking for. The total cost was under $10. Plus, of course, my husband's woodworking skills.

We got home and I got out the tape measure. We did a little bit of measuring and a little bit of marking. I sent him to work his magic out in the garage.

He came back in with exactly what I wanted.

I gave it a couple coats of paint. Together we mounted it into place. Then we added the egg and dart trim to the join where it met the original window frame.

He put the curtain rod brackets back on at the same height as the rods that were on the other windows.  I touched up the bits of spots where the nail heads had been countersunk and spackled over...  none of them showed after dabs of paint and I gave it another coat for good measure.  It was time for dinner so the trim could dry before hanging the valance back up.

There... the shorter valance is now in place.
Now the top trim and molding can stick up 
over the valance like the other windows.  Ahhhhhh  

And there you have it, 

---the solution to 
his need to move my valances 

---the solution to 
my need to have all of the tops of windows 
and doorways match.

I guess that makes it a win-win situation?

We sat down to a little friendly game of cribbage tonight. It was so peaceful and relaxing in the she shed. We curled up with a couple dozing sleeping dogs and played some cards and just unwound. He beat me in all three games.  One game he even got 24-count hands TWICE!

Such is my life.
And I love it.