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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Let There Be Light! Lots and Lots of Light

My friend Merikay reminded me to put some time-capsule type notations in the wall to the people of the future. We had done this in previous homes we had lived in every time we did some remodeling or construction. I'm glad she reminded me to do it.

Here's our portraits 
and the date

Then I added a little descriptive notation along the side of the window framing.  Maybe someone in the far ahead future will see it and look around further? 

In one of the wall cavities between the studs, underneath the window, I decided to do even better than that. I wrote down a quick history of the home owners as far back as I knew.  I took the wonderful hundred-year-old construction figures paper we found the other day, and put it into a plastic sleeve protector. I also typed up a message to the people of the future, folded that and attached it inside the sleeve as well. I tacked it right to the wall.

I wrote:

To the people of the future:

     We found this calculation sheet in the wall in 2021 when installing this new window. There was never a window before in this section of the wall. The sheet must have been from the late eighteen hundreds or early nineteen-hundreds when this section of the house was built.

     We love this home and have been restoring and updating it since we purchased it in April of 2019. We are Steve and Karen Pfundtner.

We bought it from Warren and Peggy Burton. They purchased it in 2015 and did a lot of updating. 

     Previous to 2015, for many years it was a rental home owned by Melva Heise, Widow of Lloyd Heise. They lived here in the 1950s and started raising their family. That is when the structure to the south was joined to the original structure on the north. We never found out the location of where the structure was moved from. Lloyd built the newer foundation and the fireplace, as he was a practicing Mason.  As their family grew, they moved to a new farm out on Highway 22 near Little River. That is when they converted this home to a rental unit. It had a rough life and was quite beat up until 2015 when Warren and Peggy Burton bought it. .

     Prior to that it was owned by a Donald and Grace Allen, and they had a son named Douglas. That was in the 1940s.

     Prior to that, the first owner I can find on record was a Mary Bateman, a widow, 77 years old in the 1930 census. We were told she had a big chicken shed out on the back foundation and raised chickens to support herself. We were told she died after a small fire in the kitchen area, where there was a wood stove at one time. We found the burned wood remnants underneath the flooring when we did work on the laundry room.

     That is all I know about the home, because the records are incomplete prior to that. The home and property were part of the township and not the city of Oconto. No records got transferred at the time of annexation. 

Steve and Karen Pfundtner -

Sept 15, 2021

I hope whoever finds it in the future will be pleased with gaining some insight and knowledge about the home. I know I would be excited to find something like that in the wall.


Now onto the construction itself. The next step we needed to do was to make a temporary wall to hold up the ceiling joists while he cuts away the studs on the side wall. Once the header is in place, the temporary wall gets removed.

Here is this happy man with his temporary wall built up into place. Please read his shirt. That will make you smile too.

Usually,  I am right by his side during all phases of construction. We are doing this project together. But I happened to be taking care of canning up some more tomatoes in the kitchen, while he started to build his temporary wall.  I could hear him hammering away and he buzzed back and forth to the saw in the garage.

I casually asked Steve: "what did you pad the floor with to protect our hardwood flooring?"

it was one of my good oriental runner rugs!!!

"Don't worry, I didn't put any holes in it", he said.  Ugh! 

He soon took down the temporary wall,  and vacced the carpet until it was as good as new.  

Here is the completed construction: 
  • -the header across the top to help support the joists, 
  • -and then the King studs and Jack studs on each side 
  • -and the cross framing and lower wall for underneath the window.

That was enough work for one day. We left it this way overnight and we still slept in the bedroom. It only got down in the fifties, so it wasn't too bad without insulation or a wall in our bedroom.

~~~~The next day~~~~

Our next step is to actually cut away all of the exterior wall boards from the outside and open up the hole to place the window in. To prevent the house getting filled with sawdust, we covered the inside surface with a couple wide strips of rolled plastic floor protector. This is used on carpeting at open houses to eliminate soil from foot traffic. We used it when we changed the window in the motorhome, and still had some left on the roll.

With careful measuring, and drilled pilot holes, we were able to open up the wall!


All of the messy sawdust stayed contained in the opening and held back with the plastic protective runner material. What a great idea and it kept all the mess out of the bedroom. It also kept the circling wasps and hornets were looking for a way in this fall to find a warm cozy home for the winter.

This was mid-day. Now we had to wait wait wait until our son-in-law would be home from work in the evening to help Steve lift the window up into place. 

But----- I think we all know Steve, don't we? 

He figured out that by removing the four smaller panes on each side of the window configuration, it would reduce the weight enough that he and I could manage to lift the window ourselves. Smart thinking!  We may be getting old, but we are still pretty strong. 

We loaded it up on a little furniture dolly in the garage to wheel it across the floor to the back opening where it would be closer to the back of the house.

Then we transferred it to a hand truck cart and very carefully hauled it across the backyard and around to the location where it was going to be installed. I was very nervous about this step. But Steve handled it with ease.

Working carefully, the two of us together were able to lift the window up onto the scaffolding and get it balanced on end, ready to lift it into place. I had the chance to take one quick picture before I had to set my phone down and help lift the window up into the opening.

Once we got it into the opening, Steve held it into place while I rushed around to the inside and helped level it. We shimmed it up here and there and got it correctly installed, and Steve was able to attach the outside flange all the way around the open frame. Yay! The window is in!

We slid the four smaller window panels into place right away, trying to keep out as many bees and wasps and hornets as we could. One managed to sneak in, but we shoo'd him right back out. 

Oh my, this made such a huge difference in the master bedroom. To have all that light coming in where before it was dark and plain. This is a "wide angle" shot to show the room. Previously there had only been the one window on the side wall by the bed. Binney is sure enjoying the view as well! 

This was a lot of work to get this far.
But it is worth it. 

This is why we did this, because the view out the back is just amazing. Our backyard is 2 and 1/2 acres deep. Then behind us is the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust Sanctuary land and beyond that is the protected state wildlife marsh. It's such a beautiful backyard and we spend a lot of time looking out the windows in the she shed. Now we will have just as beautiful of a view from our bedroom.

That was enough for yesterday, but we did put up the Venetian blinds that we had ordered. We can leave them open at night if we wish to look out and watch those sassy deer that come to hang out in our backyard. Or we can close it down for privacy.

First thing this morning before it was light out, I opened up the blinds. It was delightful to watch the sunrise and have the golden light come streaming in across the bed

Now that the window is in place, Steve started working on the trim around the edges from the outside. About halfway through, the dang air nail gun malfunctioned. He tore it apart and found out it's a little teeny pressure trigger switch. He ordered a new piece, but it won't be here for a couple days. The rest of the siding will just have to wait.  I don't think we are up to hand nailing it all.  

Our local building inspector approved our construction so far and allowed us to progress the rest of the way to close it in. We had to send him detailed photos via email because of Steve and I both having covid and being under quarantine. Because this is new construction of a window and not just a replacement, he needs to be sure that it's correctly framed in. Steve is well-versed on what to do per code and he got the approval of the inspector. Actually, Steve had worked on some construction jobs with the very same guy years ago when he was at UWGB. So he knows how detail oriented and precise Steve is when it comes to building things. 

While Steve was working on the window trim, I started painting the siding anyhow. Each piece of Smart Siding needs three coats of paint. So that was my project today. My little supervisor kept me on task and told me to do a good job.

Steve helped spread out the saw horses and lay out 12 more strips of the Smart Siding. It's easier with 2 people handling those 16 feet long pieces of siding.

It was very pleasant painting in the sun dappled shade of the trees. I enjoy painting so much, Steve not so much. So this is one of the tasks I do that he doesn't.  I have music cranked, my coffee cup at my side, and my dog at my feet. 

Since he is that kind of a standstill now with regards to the non-functioning nailer gun, he finished up the inside insulation on the lower wall underneath the window. Now the little messages to the people of the future are encapsulated behind the insulation.

So really there's just a little bit more of siding to finish, and then we will attach some pretty red shutters to match the rest of the house.  It will be good to have it closed in before the cold weather starts. 

I don't have the shutters yet because, like I said, we're still under quarantine. I usually keep an eye out at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for shutters of the right size that I can paint to match. Maybe later next week I can pop in and see what they have.


That is enough for tonight. I am cooking some ribs in the pressure cooker, baked taters in the oven, and crispy garden salads to finish it off.   Tomorrow we will have some socially distanced front porch visitors....    Merikay and Craig are here in town at the local RV park.  They WERE supposed to be camping in our driveway and visiting with us these last three days.  But again, the danged covid put the kabash on those plans.  They had boxes pre-shipped to our house for them to get during the visit.  We will sit far apart on the front porch and avoid any contact.  My quarantine officially ends today, but Steve's is until the 22nd. 

Again, we are soooo glad we had the vaccine, so this breakthrough covid was mild and we handled it well.  Please get your vaccine and help stop the spread of this awful pandemic!  Be safe. Be well.


  1. I am glad you were vaccinated. You two are just busy busy. Putting the letter & other items in the wall was a good idea. With all the work you are doing on this house it will last many more years.

    1. Thanks... I sure hope it lasts... Granddaughter Chelsea said she will buy it when we are old, and be the town veterinarian! Good plan!

  2. I love the idea you had to give the history of the house to future owners!

    1. I hope someone is tickled pink to find them someday. Hopefully not when tearing the house down, but just remodeling or adding on?

  3. Wow, you're right - that window really opened/brightened things up and I know you'll enjoy the cross ventilation come warmer weather. Excellent job. I love your rain chain - great alternative to a gutter downspout.

    1. Thanks, it makes such a huge difference if you were standing here in person. I can only convey so much with photos. The rain chains are a lot of fun, and I think I like things "different" sometimes.

  4. Wow, what a difference the window will make. And you have such a beautiful back yard to wake up to in the morning.

    I'm happy to hear that your brush with Covid has been mild. It definitely is a worry with breakthrough cases.


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