Sunday, June 28, 2015

Concrete, Grading, and Field Day

House changes are definitely more subtle now, the latest is getting the grading done around the house and putting in our concrete. It's very nice to have the use of our front door now and it's also helping a lot with the mud.

Here H is modeling one of our retaining walls, which was part of the grading work.

Here Z enjoys the freshly poured concrete ramp out front.

We've also been working on the trim in our house, here is trim with the quarter round we installed on it. 

We also are at the beginning of our production season, so here Ryan is rolling up some polyline in front of our chicken tractors. 

I was helping gather posts for him.

Z and H were out there "helping" too.

The other major event around here is that yesterday we hosted a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day on high tensile fence building. We had a little over twenty attendees come to learn about building fence and eat lunch at our new farm!

As you would expect, it was exciting and stressful and fun, and Ryan did a great job of teaching and facilitating discussion.

Ryan even managed to shock himself on a line during the workshop that shouldn't have been live. We met some people nearby, even a couple miles away, which was a great way to make connections in a new place.

The kids are doing well, here Z works with play-doh at the daycare he attends about one day every couple of weeks.

Here H found a farm kitty at the farm where we buy our feed, which was a highlight of her day. 

Lastly, we have found some pictures of Ryan from when he was just slightly younger than Z. See the resemblance?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tiling

So in the month or so since I blogged last, what I've done most is tile. There was a stretch in there that I tiled or installed cementboard for every day for 9 days in a row. As a friend told me, tiling is the quintessential project that you think will take a short time, and instead takes forever. 

This is the lovely floor tile that is in our mudroom, upstairs bathrooms, and entryway. It's actually the tile they use at Casey's General Store, so I felt like I got a good deal on it, and it's beautiful and durable. 

That picture is the only area of my house where the tile is DONE because I had to put a washer and dryer on top of it. But it is pretty!

My stepdad and I also put up 1/2" cementboard in the shower/bath surrounds (that stuff is the DEVIL. Worst substance to work with EVER. Dusty, hard to cut, fiddly, pain in the butt).

We also built in some wall niches to hold shampoo and whatnot. 

Then in the kids' bath I covered the seams with fibertape
And then painted over the whole shower with RedGuard to waterproof it before tiling. When they say RedGuard is Pepto Bismol pink, they mean it. And it does dry to fire engine red.

I have more tile than this on now, but this is what the kids' bath surround looks like. It's mostly off-white with a stripe of blue. I'm just going for simple and classic as much as I can.

We also got our cabinets installed, and really everything else. It's now a functional house and we've been living in it for about two weeks.

Here it is after countertops

Then we got carpet in the bedrooms

Even when I wasn't tiling, we were still laying drainage tile for our gutter runoff.

We've had several mishaps in this process, as you might expect.

Last night the septic alarm went off on our septic system, so we ended up reburying the electrical line. Having a backhoe on the tractor has been the BEST THING EVER while building the house. 

We also had issues with the bathroom vanities. We have three bathrooms, and we ended up with three failures on the vanities. The first had a drawer in the wrong place (our pipes come through the floor, the drawer needed the pipes to come through the wall); the second the countertop was too shallow for the cabinet; and the third the countertop was too narrow for the cabinet. Sigh. So after some rearranging, returning, and repurchasing, we finally had three workable bathroom vanities. That was a frustrating day.

Then we've had garage door issues. This is one of those things where if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. The garage doors were built too large (how hard is it, really, to build it the right size?) and I didn't catch it. So we had to add 2x6s to the edges until the garage doors won't gap.

Last, but definitely not least, we have the internet. We specifically sited our house because it was a location where there was DSL internet. We called the phone company, checked maps, and were told it was available. Turns out, that's a lie. The nearest internet lines are 2 miles away, and we are told it would be $6500-$10,000 to hook it up. I'm not giving up yet, though, because in my book internet is a utility like power and water. So we're pursuing options, especially since that hookup would put seven households online. Either way, that's one reason for more intermittent blogging (not that it's an excuse). 

In the sewing world, I actually did sew something this month. My niece had a birthday, so I made my kids and my nieces superhero capes. They were pretty easy and were a decent toy for the four of them.
I just used a knit fabric so I wouldn't have to hem (although I did zigzag the edges). 

Also on the kid front, H had a birthday earlier in the month.
She's doing fairly well with the move and everything, it's been harder that she's out of school now. She does better with the structure of a school day, of course.

I love this picture of her dancing in our new house just after the trim and cabinets were put in. It captures her attitude about everything so well.

I've also been trying to do more fun things with her, both because she's old enough and because I don't want to just be all work and discipline to her. So we went for a mommy-daughter pedicure date on the last day of school. She chose bright blue glitter polish and loved it.

We also went for sorbet on a separate occasion. 

Z is also growing up, we're working on his transition to a big boy bed. We'll also be doing potty training here soon, I think.

He really is such a curious and contemplative child, it amazes me. He found our box of magnetic toys and excitedly rushed to put them on the fridge.
But that wasn't the amazing part. The amazing part was that I told him we were going to go and get in the car. Thirty seconds later he hadn't come out to the car so I went back to check on him. He was hurriedly but carefully taking each magnet back off the fridge and putting it back in the box. He didn't want to leave until it was all "pick up put away".
He's not like that with everything (I definitely find toy cars EVERYWHERE), but I couldn't exactly tell him to stop putting things away and come out to the car, now could I? 

I'm still excited about the new house, and as I told Ryan, I'm excited about what we're building on the family farm.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Paint and Cementboard

It's been another busy couple of weeks on the farm and the house. First, we have had a couple of calves in the cow herd, which is good news. The herd has so far done well with us only visiting it every few days.

On the house front, the drywall got all finished up
And then it got textured
And then we tested some paint swatches on it
And then we painted it. 
Mud room:

Living room on right, kitchen on the left:

Living/Dining room and Great Room:

H's Room:

I don't have a great picture of Z's room, it's red and navy blue and tan but the colors didn't show well in my current pics. 
We did the whole house in one weekend because the trim wasn't up yet and neither is flooring. This lovely group of weekend warriors totally rocked it:


Meanwhile our geothermal was drilled, which I took a picture of because I loved the fact that a piece of Vermeer equipment drilled it. 

The kitchen cabinets were also delivered, but there was a leak in the truck and 6 cabinets were delivered with water damage. This one is the worst:
So I rejected those cabinets and new cabinets will get re-delivered later this week.

Then today we worked on installing cementboard in the mudroom so that I can tile over it. God Bless YouTube and the internet for having information on how to do this, otherwise I'm not sure how I would have done it. 

And here are the weekend warriors who did this lovely piece of art:
No, the kids didn't help. Yes, they did get in the way. They were around for painting weekend too.

On a personal note, I took a little ski vacation to Colorado a couple weeks ago. 

On the plane, I even spotted our house from the air!
The road running left to right at the bottom of the picture is our road. Our house is about in the middle, above the road, you can see the dark blue patch that is our pond. We are the house and barn to the right along that road, the neighbor to the left is an older cousin of Ryan's. 

It's also increasingly difficult to get a picture of the kids where no one is cheesing it up or moving. 

Here Z is hugging a giant gnome at the Reiman Gardens:

And H is continuing to work on reading, making good progress.