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We now have a finished ceiling in the house! Yay! It’s just gorgeous, isn’t it?

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I have been slowly getting the rest of the flooring in, too. Between cleaning and stacking the last bit of wood, I’ve done about half of the great room.

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I’ve been experimenting with cooking on the cooktop of our new Progress Hybrid wood stove. It worked really well, though my camping dutch ovens with the legs aren’t quite as efficient as a flat-bottom one would be. They warmed the soup up nicely, but it wouldn’t come to a boil.  I’m thinking a pretty enameled cast iron dutch oven might go on my Christmas list this year…

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And we got our first sticky snow of the season. Booo! I’m really hoping it can hold off just a couple weeks more so I can finish the inside of the house enough to move in. Here’s a picture of the little snow-dusted wood box I built next to the back porch. I’m pretty sure it’ll hold at least a week worth of wood, if not more. I’ve been trying to use up all the wonky shaped pieces I left in a pile next to all the stacked wood, so I have been sort of neglecting the box.

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Tomorrow I’m shipping the boys off to Nana & Papa’s house for a couple days so I can work on the house uninterrupted. Then we’ll all meet up again on Wednesday night to start preparing for Thanksgiving. This year I have two turkeys to cook because I had thought to send them to my husband in Afghanistan so he could deep fry them for all of his buddies. Well, the lady at the post office wasn’t very specific when I asked her about shipping turkeys in dry ice. She conveniently forgot to mention that it’s okay to ship inside the US, but as soon as that turkey heads to another country, dry ice becomes a hazardous material. So my husband didn’t get turkey, but he’s got a 50 pound box of other goodies on the way to help him celebrate. Love you to the moon and back, hun!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

This is just a little blip to show our cabinet-maker what we were envisioning for our kitchen.

We like the color and style of these cabinets. A nice, medium brown tone. I don’t want a blue island, even though I’m pretty sure my husband is a bit in love with the one in the picture. For now, we’ll stick with the same wood as the rest of the kitchen, and we can argue about paint later. Our island will also be all one level instead of a bi-level.

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For those of you who are curious what our kitchen specifically will look like, here’s another preview:

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The builder actually put in a much bigger window than we had planned, but we’re working around that. I had a thought for the cabinets above the stove just now. Maybe we could attach the wing cabinets straight to the middle ones that sit directly above the stove so that the middle ones can attach to studs and support the whole load. Or, instead of having wing cabinets we could just stretch out the middle ones to the edges and put a small shelf on the bottom corner on each side of the stove to give the wing cabinet effect.

Just ideas. My husband is searching for the perfect cabinet pulls still. I’ll come back and edit this when we decide. I don’t think he likes my ideas. 🙂

Edited to add – I think we found our pulls! This first one will be on the cabinet doors –

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And this 3″ center-to-center pull for the drawers –

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Wow! I had a lot of help again this weekend. Last weekend I had my parents and my mother-in-law up to the house to help. This weekend my parents came again. My mom took the boys back to our apartment while my dad and I stayed two nights at the house and knocked multiple things off of my to-do list.

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I finished all of the window sills except for the one in the attic. Since it’s still insulation and plastic on the walls up there, I’m not too worried about that one yet.

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I had finished the boys’ room’s flooring by myself, but then when my dad showed up to help we were able to finish the hallway, laundry closet, and the other bedroom. That’s as far as I want to take the flooring until my builder gets the tongue and groove pine ceiling done in the great room. I don’t want his scaffolding rolling around on my nice new flooring. Plus – the front door he installed has a major leak. Thank goodness all this rain coming through showed us the leak before I had put the flooring down over there. I’d have been one mad chica if my flooring got ruined by a leak.

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The bathroom got a bit of an overhaul, too. I mortared the crack between the shower base and the wall. Then I painted on a waterproof membrane. Two coats later, the walls were a nasty, dark shade of green. Ugh! The stuff is so ugly – I can’t wait to tile the walls now. My dad helped me get all of the floor tiles cut and arranged. Actually, I did the cutting because it was a very WET process and I only had one poncho. It’s usually not as messy, but there were a lot of finicky cuts that I had to take the water guard off for.

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I waited 24 hours after the tiles were mortared down, then grouted them. They look pretty good. Everything is flat, and the small imperfections that I noticed before the grout were covered up by it. A few of the whole tiles got moved around while I was mortaring, so the pictures look a tad different.

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My mom came up with the boys and got started on the ceiling planks. I decided to go with a clear coat to bring out the natural beauty of the pine. There are A LOT of planks to coat. She got it started, then my dad and I knocked out a bunch more. They are taking a long time to dry, so we had to start lining them up on the wall instead of on the floor. I’ll wait 24 hours, then stack them up and line up new ones. Those are all short planks. The builder has several sizes, with some up to 16′ or so in length. I have no idea where I’ll put those long suckers to dry. Our house isn’t that big!

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While my dad cleaned up our basement, I worked on getting some shelves in the linen closet behind the wood stove. I still have a lot to do, but it’s a start.

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The final improvement was a simple one. I added a cast iron hen to the wood stove. She gets filled with water and steam comes out of small cracks in her feathers to add humidity to the air. The water goes fast. I filled it several times over the course of two days.

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The septic was half-finished this weekend as well. My plumber forgot to bring extra diesel, so his machine died halfway through burying the tank. Hopefully he’ll be back tomorrow to finish that and get the drain field set.

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I never said thank you to all of the people who have helped me. To my parents and my mother-in-law who drove a long way to help – THANK YOU! I appreciate all of the support, even if it’s just watching the kids so I can work uninterrupted. I really appreciate it.

And, of course, I have to thank my husband for all of the sacrifices he has made to make this venture possible. He’s been in Afghanistan for a year working his tailfeathers off in order to finance the land and house. I hope when he comes back for good next spring he’ll approve of all of the progress we’ve made and love this house as much as I do. We love you and miss you, honey!

Things are moving right along! Since I last posted, a lot has happened. All of the walls inside have been painted, more firewood has been stacked, garbage has been bagged, drywall and wood scraps have been tidied for taking away or burned in the pit outside, the wood stove has been burning every day without pause, and some of the windows have boxes. I also took the time to make a wood bin outside the back door that holds (I hope) at least a week worth of wood just in case we get a few bad days that make getting to the wood piles impossible.

You can see most of the progress on this video I took. Hope you enjoy the tour!

Now that you’re back from the tour, here are a few stills of the house.

What I will see when I'm doing dishes at the kitchen sink. Hopefully the builder will take all his garbage soon.

What I will see when I’m doing dishes at the kitchen sink. Hopefully the builder will take all his garbage soon.

The fire pit was FILLED with cardboard and wood scraps from the construction site. Big thanks to my Mom for stoking this hungry blaze all day!

The fire pit was FILLED with cardboard and wood scraps from the construction site. Big thanks to my Mom for stoking this hungry blaze all day!

What little boys get up to while I'm working.

What little boys get up to while I’m working.

This will be our temporary room until we can finish the basement. Still not sure if I want to keep that blue. It's really BLUE. Cool for the kids, but a bit much for me.

This will be our temporary room until we can finish the basement. Still not sure if I want to keep that blue. It’s really BLUE. Cool for the kids, but a bit much for me.

My workplace. Love it! The walls are a very light tea-stain color. Makes me think of buff orpington egg shells.

My workplace. Love it! The walls are a very light tea-stain color. Makes me think of buff orpington egg shells.

Not really sure what this is called, but I call it "boxing the windows." I'm framing the inside sills. Not too shabby for my first one.

Not really sure what this is called, but I call it “boxing the windows.” I’m framing the inside sills. Not too shabby for my first one.

Some projects I’ll be working on this week include finishing the window boxing, starting to lay the wood floors, and tiling the bathroom floor. Might help if I had a tile picked out for that, you think? Yet another thing on my to-do list: make a damn decision, already! Geez.

Look for more pictorials this week. By Friday we should have all the lights and plumbing in, including the septic tank!

 

 

Today was the deflowering of our virgin goddess of the hearth. She performed flawlessly.

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I lit a small fire first, using only a few small pieces of wood. When that had  burned itself out, I lit another small fire, but this one I kept adding little pieces to in order to keep it going at a steady rate.  While that little fire burned, I began painting primer on the interior walls.

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By the time I was done with the first bedroom, the fire was ready for some bigger wood. I tossed in a few chunks, then gradually closed the damper to keep the flames under control. Once the top of the stove hit around 350°F according to the thermometer, I engaged the catalyst by closing the bypass in the front. That was very cool! The slow flames seemed to lap at the top of the stove, then it’s like they spread over the ceiling. I wish I could have taken video of it, but it was so light out that most of my pictures and all of my videos showed more reflection than fire. One of these days when I’m there at dusk I’ll try again.

In the meantime, I’ll let you watch this guy’s video. Because it’s just too neat not to watch.

Today I was able to finish priming both bedrooms and about half of the hall. Tomorrow I plan on going up to finish the hall and hopefully get the bathroom and great room done as well. My plumber called this morning and said he’d be up tomorrow to finish all of the piping in the house. He won’t be able to dig the septic until the ground dries up a bit, though. Hopefully next week. We got so much rain that my truck sunk into our new “yard” up to the rear bumper. Thank goodness for 4-wheel drive!

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Just walking back to the wood piles was an adventure. See my foot prints? Our builder is supposed to be making stairs to go up to the front and back doors of the house. I hope they don’t sink as well. It’ll be nice when those are done. Our little step ladder is a mucky mess and I’m so over having to climb into the house like a monkey.

By the way, did you notice the title of the post? I’ve already started thinking of the wood stove as Hestia. Fitting name, I think.

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