Monday, December 28, 2009

house update . . . day six - nine

Christmas day we attended a church really close to our new house. In the afternoon I went back up to the to do some more work and stayed the night so I could work most of the day Saturday. After coming back home to "freshen up" (there is no plumbing on in the house as well as heat) I went back up to work more and stay the night. Sunday my sister came up to help me for the day, and we had a great time working and talking most of the day. The plan was for me to come home Sunday night, but we had a bit of a snow storm Sunday late afternoon so I decided to stay over again and just continue working. I got most of the downstairs finished with painting, and am excited to get back up there tomorrow to continue getting the rest of the house ready for us to move in.

The plumber came today and isolated more of the bad radiators and deduced that 5 out of the 11 in the house actually work! He turned the boiler system on around 3:00pm and by 4:00pm the radiators that were working were HOT. It felt really good to put my hands on something warm in the house. For the past week I have been using kerosene heaters and a small electric heater to take the edge off the cold in the house. Since it is a chilly 38-40 degrees in the house, it takes the paint a little longer to dry as well. Good thing . . . I can leave my brushes out ALL DAY and they still don't dry up. :)

Yesterday I also installed a wood burning stove in the family room. I bought the used cast iron heat stove from an Amish man on Saturday, so I painted it that night, took it outside and burned wood in it all day Sunday to get most of the paint smell out. That little stove should heat the whole family room and kitchen.

In addition to some of the radiators working, the plumber is going to turn the water on to the house tomorrow. Yeah! That means no more using the camping port-a-potty. For the last few days, while I am staying there, I have been using a portable toilet and using a pot system on the stove for my water supply. The skills I gained while camping in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with my family has come in handy.

The plan is still to move in by this weekend. I want to be in the house before I go back to school on Monday. That is if I can get enough heat into the house that we feel comfortable to live in, and the water/plumbing is working. I sure hope it comes together before Saturday.

Tonight I spent a little time on the computer answering emails, catching up on my online store, and posting here. As well, I found a craigslist ad for 17 radiators, all working and various sizes, that were taken out of an old house a couple of hours from us here. I'm going to call on them tomorrow to see if he has the size radiators I need. It would be great if I could find just what I needed from his discard pile of radiators. :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

day four and five . . .

Wednesday we worked on getting more of the paper off the walls. I ended up getting some paint to re-motivate us and painted the kitchen and back hallway. It's nice to have something "finished" looking already even if we are still swamped in peeling paper. Wednesday night I brought the family back to our rental house and headed back up to stay the night and do some more work. I worked late, and then worked this morning until this afternoon.

Tomorrow morning we we will go up to a church in the area for service and then have a little Christmas time at the new house. After I drop the family back at home, I'll head back up to stay the night and do some more work. The goal is to get everything done before we move in. All of our earlier moves we worked on the homes as we lived in it, but I want to have this house finished so that when we move in, we just put the items away where they go.

I do need to replace all the old registers in the house before we get the heat turned on. And Saturday I find out when our wood cook stove comes in. I'm hoping that I can get it all done ready to move in by next Friday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

day three . . .

This is the view into the older portion of the house. After coming out of the kitchen and family room new addition, you walk straight though a hallway with the basement door to the right, the master bedroom up a little and to the left, and the room furthest in this picture is the entry way from the front of the house. It is not used as a front entry though because there is no sidewalk leading up to it.

This is the entry room view. Two big windows, a door to the left, and stairs up to the right.

To the left of that room is the formal living room. Both this and the entry way are two of the three rooms downstairs in the 1900 built part.

The third room downstairs, in the older part of the house, is the master bedroom. One of the closets in the room is directly above the stairs from the outside that leads to the basement. So, the ingenious previous owners built a "step up into" closet to store clothes. There are 3 sets of drawers that are around three feet deep, that once you step up into the closet, you pull out. What a great way to use all the space in the closet!

Monday, December 21, 2009

day two . . .

More paper to be peeled off the wall. This day, we peeled the paper in the entry way and most of the paper in the living room. The entry way was a wallpaper peeler's DREAM COME TRUE. For some reason (must of been the kind of paper) it all peeled off in big sheets, and without separating. The living room was a different story. Painstakingly slow to get the vinyl color part off, and tomorrow we will wet the walls down to peel the glue layer. Only 3 bedrooms and a bathroom to go before the paint!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

day one . . .

This was the view today as we pulled up to our new farm home. UNBELIEVABLY pretty with the fresh blanket of snow we got two days ago.

Walking into the side door, there is a bathroom and a "hallway" of sorts that leads to a "T" in the house. It's the separation of the 1900 build, and the new addition to the home.

To the left is the kitchen and family room. Don't let the warmth of the sun shining fool you into thinking that it was warm in the house. It was less than 32 degrees! Since we have radiator heat, and there is a problem with most of the radiators, the water is not on in the home yet. Hence, NO HEAT. Today I brought along some electric heaters and a couple of kerosene space heaters.

Day one consisted of tearing the wallpaper off the kitchen and family room walls and washing out the BEAUTIFUL oak cabinets in the kitchen. Because the house was so cold, the children wore their winter coats while they worked.

Ildi decided to bundle up even more than the children did!

Tomorrow I am going to get an earlier start with the children, and the plumber will be meeting me at the house to help get me some water. :)

in the house . . .

Today, my 45th birthday, will be celebrated by going to our New farm and doing some work. I want to get it ready to move in by the end of December.

For those that don't know me well, you might think that working in a house on my birthday seems like "work" and that doing something special for the day would be fun. Well, working on my home, on my birthday or not, IS a whole bunch of "fun" for me. I love painting walls, cleaning out cabinets, re-arranging furniture, and building things to fit in the home.

Living in a rental house this past year with white walls has taken its toll. (living with white walls is not bad, nor is it like living in a prison camp) But as an artist, the physical aesthetics of a place is extremely important. We have decided on colors to paint, and I just purchased a wood burning stove, and ordered a wood cook stove for us to cook on and to use for heat. It's all really exciting!

On another note . . .

We, the FOUTFOLK, wish everyone a very
Merry Christmas
and a
New Year
filled with God's Peace and Joy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

it's a DONE deal . . .

Trust me, I had my doubts. I'm not sure why, but I had this little conversation of doubt during this whole process of purchasing this farm. Not that I was not trusting God. Not that I doubted that it would happen. But I had this little doubt that was still nagging during this entire time. I think it was due to renting for so long and living in temporary situations for the last 2 1/2 years. My view of what was normal had changed. Actually, 3 years ago in January I was aware that we would be moving out of California. So this January it will be 3 years that it has taken us to get into our family farm. Three years of uncertainty is a long time for me. I honestly don't see how others who live in transit situations do it. It would be a huge stress for me.

Today we signed the title and I signed the formal loan document. What's crazy is that our loan payment here for our 31 acre farm is half of what my renters pay for a 1500 sq. foot home on less than 1/4 of an acre in Los Angles. What a huge difference.

Saturday we are going up to the home to start on the cleaning and painting process. We want to get everything (most everything) done BEFORE we move in. I'll be sure to take some photos and post them here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

closing the deal . . .

It's all coming down to the survey. As soon as it comes in, we are closing on the farm deal!

On Thursday we have an appointment with the Title Company to sign off on our new purchase. We should be able to get the keys by Friday, then we are free to move in anytime after that. I have written out a "work" plan for us to get started on and am glad that I will have Christmas break to do it. I really want to get a decorated Christmas Tree in our new home by this weekend, play some music, eat some cookies, and work on it to move in by the end of December. We plan to peel the wallpaper and paint before we move in.

This move will be nice because we are only moving 45 minute away form our rental farm. The last two moves out of the state was hard having to get everything into one gigantic move. This time, we can take our time and move things slowly and not be rushed to get it done.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

updates on the homestead . . .

When you buy a house from Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) it is always with the intention of buying it "As Is." Fannie Mae, owned by private investors, buys homes that are heading towards foreclosure so that money is still available for people to borrow for home purchasing. (just a little about the many things Fannie Mae was created for)

This farm we just purchased was in that same situation. The previous owners were not able to keep the place for some reason, so Fannie Mae picked it up. I knew that when working with a corporation instead of a family owned house that I was buying it as is and would get no help with anything that needed repaired in the home.

Two weeks ago we got the word that the boiler/radiator heating system needed work before we could heat the house. The inspector was unable to check the water system during his inspection and recommended that I get a plumber to come in and give me a professional opinion on what the problems were. So I did. When we were at the house, it toook him a few hours to locate the problems, come up with a solution, and a quote on what it would cost us to get EVERYTHING up running and up to code in the house. I expected it to be a large number, and it was! 10K would do the trick. OUCH! Knowing that this was the house we all want to live in (the rest of my life) I thought it to be doable.

As I was working through more of the paperwork necessary for the loan to close, I got a check up call from my realtor. He said the plumber hired by Fannie Mae was going to the house the next day to fix the radiator system as per their request. Confusing, but who's to complain about them fixing things in the house that I am purchasing. The realtor even called me and asked if I wanted old style radiators to replace the ones that don't work, or new updated ones. What has been interesting in this whole situation is that someone is footing the bill for all this work to be done to the house that I agreed to buy "As Is." In addition to figuring out the heating system, which will need more work that he'll get to this next week, he has aslo fixed SEVERAL other of the plumbing issues of the home that I had gotten a quote on. I told the realtor to have the plumber keep a list of the items he has attended to so I can check them off my list of things to get fixed. The realtor has no idea why Fannie Mae is deciding to do this work in the house. They have not done it with any other As Is home he has sold. However, we know the source of this work on our behalf. God has orchestrated yet another way for Him to show His kindness to us.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

trip to historical Ohio . . .

Sunday morning milking is done and I am waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. It is wonderful to be up so early relaxing, collecting thoughts about the day's activities, and praying/thanking the Lord for what He has done for us and in us. And life on the homestead here is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It's 19 degrees!

Yesterday I took some Amish friends to the historical Holmes County Ohio to do some shopping. It's an hour and one half drive from here and they usually want to go every three to four months. The ladies I took this time have small country stores and buy bulk items there to sell in their stores here to the local community. I ended up buying a few items for some friends and getting the children some warmer winter hats. I also bought a few antique photos from an antique shop that i plan to use as cards.

Speaking of antiques, Roseville Ohio was once the site for a pottery company named after the town. The Roseville Pottery Company was a 19th and 20th century American pottery manufacturer that made mostly housewares. But later on, like most companies, the company started to create decorative art pieces. I ended up getting three of these fabulous looking Arts and Craft style pitchers for only $3 dollars at a used clothing store a few weeks ago! When at the Berlin Antique Mall yesterday in Holmes County, I saw a pitcher the same as the one I have, and it was $35.00 dollars. I love deals like that.