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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Trying To Keep Busy

As we try to deal with the loss of our mother, our aching hearts are feeling so helpless.  The funeral and cremation were all planned. Mom had planned ahead and took care of things with policies taken out years ago. Never wanting to be a burden on any of us, she took care of things.  There really isn't anything else we can do. The funeral will not be until Saturday at Windsor Baptist Church of Gainesville Florida. It will be live streamed on their YouTube channel.  I tried to include a link on my last blog post, but You Tube didn't like the link.  Sooo for my family members, or anyone else if they wish, just go to You Tube. In the search box, put in "Windsor Baptist Church Gainesville" and it will lead you to the service. If you miss it live at 11 am eastern, 10 central, they will leave up the link for a while to watch it afterwards.


Steve decided he needed to find me something to do to keep our hands busy. He came up with a multiple day project, that we could work on a bit at a time.  It was time to tear off some yucky vinyl siding on the East side of the house and replace the rest of the windows. 

Last fall we had picked up a wonderful bargain of 2 large thermopane window combinations for the East side of the house.  He found them on a great deal on Facebook Marketplace, of course. They are the same brand we put in all around in the other 10 windows last fall.  Originally these window combination units were over $600 each. They had been mistakenly ordered in the wrong size for a gentleman's cabin. Their conttractor used them temporarily in place for about 6 weeks, until the correct windows could arrive. Steve got them both for $225.00 total. Score! 

We also ordered a single smaller picture window to go along with the others for the east end of the kitchen nook. They've been sitting in the garage all winter, just waiting for some nice weather. 

If you look back in my past blogs, we had already replaced 10 of the windows in the house. These were the last 3 to get done.  So we planned on replacing two in our kitchen nook, and the third will be a new installation into our master bedroom wall facing East. We will tackle that later on.

We gathered materials and had most things on hand to do the project.

Steve's older brother Mark, and his wife Ann generously brought us over a large load of more LP Smart Siding. We had used this same type of siding on the North side and the front of the West side of the She Shed. We wanted to continue using it all of the way around the house. It's rather expensive, so we were just buying one wall's worth at a time as we completed each phase.

He had over 70 pieces of 16' long LP Smart Siding left over from another project. Whew! What a generous gift, and we will be putting it to good use on the East Side of the home.  It is a golden color, so I will be painting it to match in all white. 

Time to get busy and get our minds off our sorrows.  With prayers of Mom in our hearts, she would want us to work on something and not wallow around bawling and crying about her.  

It was such a beautiful morning with clear weather ahead for days on end.  Steve helped me set up my saw horses. I went right to work with my little paint bucket and roller. Each piece needs 3 good coats, and it's an exterior primer/paint combination.  It's so much easier to paint it while it's on the saw horses on the ground, as opposed to trying to paint at once it's nailed up on the house! 


While I was doing that... Steve's first step was to pull off the ugly vinyl siding that someone many years ago had put on to cover the damaged original wood siding. We weren't quite sure what to expect as we pulled it off, But we knew it probably wouldn't be good. The rest of the house has really nice original wood siding. With just this one side having vinyl slapped over it, we knew it had to be hiding something.

Yep, was pretty much what we expected. We figured that there would be some water damage because there had never been a rain gutter or down spout on that portion of the kitchen nook roof. Basically, all of the water from the back half of that section of the house was coming down and dumping in the one spot. When we bought the house, we immediately put a rain gutter up there to help divert the water away, and subsequently into my rain barrel. The damage underneath the vinyl siding was from many, many years of not having proper gutters in place.

Ewwwwww, just as we suspected. 

Steve stripped it all back to the studs, which were still good. He reinforced the exterior wall with double sheets of good new plywood. Boy oh boy, has plywood ever gotten expensive! Close to $70 a sheet right now!!

Now it was fixed right.

That was enough work for the day. Just needed to cover it up with house wrap. We said it was time to take a break, put away our materials, and rest a bit. We also had to take a run up to the Menard's store to pick up some more supplies, so it was a good time to stop for the day, before moving on to the next part of the project.

The next morning he jumped right back at it.  Now  it was time to remove the siding from around the little kitchen nook. We can see there was a spot that had been patched in, also many years ago. We knew this wasn't going to be good either.

He started pulling off a few pieces to see what was what. It was a beautiful sunshiny morning with temps in the sixties, and later reaching up into the low seventies. Perfect time to be working on a house.

Yep, this nook was pretty rough and rugged too. Now this portion of the home was built well before 1900. And being located in a historic lumbering sawmill town, all of the homes were built pretty much the same way. The insulation between the inner and outer walls is sawdust!

Yep, sawdust!

The wall cavities are very deep, made with rough sawn lumber. They are between 6 1/2" and 7" deep.  All filled up with sawdust in most of the sections as we uncovered the siding.  Sawdust spilling out now, that was over 100 years old. 

Steve decided to remove one complete strip of the wall sheathing underneath the nook windows. That way he could remove all of the sawdust and access each chamber cavity to put in new fiberglass batt insulation. Some of the cavities were empty.  Explains the frost on the inside walls of the nook when the temps went below zero.  LOL 

Just look at the size of these boards. That is 1 complete board on that bottom level about 14" wide. In a lumbering town like ours, big wide boards like that were not uncommon for basic construction sheathing in walls. We saw the same thing in our daughter's house when they were doing some work which is located about 15 blocks away.
Look at all that 100+ year old sawdust on the ground....

While Steve was playing with the insulation, I was painting another batch of the siding. After triple coats of paint, they look wonderful crisp and clean. The more I can get painted now, the less I have to do later. Even though we aren't ready to do the siding yet, it's good to keep going back-and-forth to roll another coat on the boards.  12 down, 60 more to go???

I helped Steve finish up tacking around the house wrap layers to protect the wood. It's so funny, we have 3 different brands of partial rolls that we are using on the house. Can you tell we shop at Habitat for Humanity Restore?  We find partially used rolls that we grab when we have the chance, knowing this project was coming up.


While I was cleaning up all of the sawdust I found a few treasures! This 1st one is a safety pin! It's only a little over an inch long so I think that it's meant for pinning together clothing. When I posted it on Facebook, some people had mentioned things like pins for hunting licences, horse blankets, or skirt pins. But it's much too small for that.  It's just an early primitive pre 1900 safety pin. But not too safe! 

The other treasures that I found were a scrap of wintage wallpaper, some interesting old square headed hand forged nails and an old rusted up nail set. A nail set is used to push the heads of the nails deeper into the wood for finishing work so you don't get big "elephant feet" circles from whacking at so hard with the head of a hammer. We didn't find any buried treasures, no bags of gold, no hidden family silver or piles of money. 

Now we were ready to start removing the old windows. A trick we had used when we had to remove a window on the motorhome was to cover the opening with this wide roll of sticky plastic. It's easily released later, kind of like a post it note adhesive. It's used to cover flooring, especially carpeting, to protect it from foot traffic during open houses. We had seen it as a hint on the internet, where somebody used when having a window replaced on their motorhome.  Luckily, we had a large portion leftover on the roll from that job.

We put up a layer on the 1st window facing to the East in our kitchen nook. This would prevent dust construction debris from coming inside, as well as stray wasps or hornets or houseflies while we worked on the window.

It didn't take us long and we had the new window into place. Steve lifted it from the outside as I shimmed it from the inside and leveled it. Then he was ready to screw it into place.

Next, he surrounded it with spray foam insulation. After that, sticky rubbery tar window flashing tape. Soon, it was air tight and snugly into place. That was enough for one day. Time to rest. Now that we're retired we are trying to learn to do a little bit each day, and not just go go go to get it all done at once.  I think Steve's brain says to keep going, but our aging bodies are saying to slow it down a bit. 

Although the trim isn't on it yet from the inside, it sure looked pretty this morning with the sun shining in.  So much better than those old chipped peeling single pane windows that were here before. 

Now this Sunday morning and we decided it was our turn to tackle the rest of the kitchen nook. I removed the four interior storm windows to make it lighter when we lift it down. We cranked out 2 of the windows which Steve removed those as well.  Anything to make it a little lighter to ease the entire window to the ground.  It is over 6 feet long and 4 feet high. 

Again, I covered the inside surface with more of that protective film. It will really help to keep down the mess that would be blowing into the house. The wind is coming up from the South today and there are lot of little buds falling off the trees that are blowing all over into that part of the yard.

Steve discovered that by cutting the window in half with his sawzall tool, he was able to take it out in 2 sections. Much easier to ease each piece down while standing on the ladder. I stood below and caught them and it was a lot easier for me to handle too.

In between helping Steve this morning and getting a few things done in the house, I also started painting the LP Smart Siding Trim that needs to go around the windows and on the corners of the nook when we get to putting up the siding.   I managed to get three coats on all three sides of seven pieces by noon. 

It used to be this stuff was SO expensive at $20 for a 16' section. But right now plain average 2x4 construction lumber boards are $25.99 for a 16 footer! Hard to believe that this manufactured fibered Smart Siding is cheaper than a 2x4?

By early afternoon Steve had the opening completely prepped with extra spacers to size for the window that would be going in.  I helped him carry this big window combination on the dolly cart. It was comical.  

We came out of the garage door, 

around the front of the garage, 

around the side of the motorhome, 

around my saw horses full of trim, 

around our backyard fence, 

to reach this portion of the house. 

It was a bumpy ride, but we made it with out breaking any of the window glass! 

It is parked here now against the cedar siding of the She Shed, until the neighbor and our son-in-law can come over this evening to help lift it up into place.


(added later after dinner)

Our neighbor Dean came over and quick as a wink, those guys had it up and in place!

Steve nailed the flange down all around, 
then covered it with the window flashing material.

Now for a little bit of trim and we are done!


Wonder what we will work on next? 

Probably the siding. 


  1. Keeping busy at these times are important for all. It amazes me how so many can ignore things that damage their homes, that they pay really good hard earned money for! We're gearing up to build a couple of tiny homes on wheels and had bought lumbar before the hike. It is crazy insane that the lumbar prices are so high. NO reason for it, seriously. Hang in there, keep busy and be on the look out as I sure your sweet momma will be dropping by to check your work.

  2. You guys do some excellent work, restoration work is hard (but super rewarding!). Very cool about the sawdust, I've never heard of that but I guess there was plenty to be had. Finding a few treasures doesn't hurt either. So sorry about your Mom, it will get better. Prayers to you and your family. Linda

  3. After watching the crew replacing the windows at my house, I am more in awe of the work the two of you do together. Very impressed. I'm sure the addition of insulation will improve the heating/cooling of the room too.

    One foot in front of the other, there is no other way to get through the grief of a loved one. We never grow too old to not miss them but time does temper the pain.


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