Renovating the 100 year old farm house my mom grew up in – making it a place for us to grow old in.

With the weather warm enough to do outside work my mother and I just about killed ourselves cleaning up the yard and filling the dumpster for the 5,000th time. Someone once told me that manual labor builds character and all I can say is that, at this point, I have more character then I know what to do with and I’m sure my mother and Beloved would honestly agree on that. Last weekend we hit the yard very hard, Joe with a rented Bob cat and mom and I with shovels and pick axes. We cleaned up what will someday soon be my horse pasture (I can’t wait to move them over here within the next few weeks) and an old steel lean-to off the back of the barn that will be their shelter. The barn is in such dire condition every time I think of it it makes my heart ache and my stomach hurt. The roof has finally given up and the entire hay loft is so dangerous for walking now even I’m a bit hesitant to go up there and with that rotting out from the water pouring in through the holes in the roof it really is only a matter of time. We talked about the amount of money we could put into the roof just to save it for a few more years but other then pure sentimentality and love of old and amazing things there is just no sense in it. And, besides, we don’t have the money to save it anyway but it is something that hurts me every day.

Cleaning up our old farm yard to bring my horses over again, using a bob cat and lots of manual labor.

Saturday I spent six hours straight taping and mudding half of the main floor and the rest of the second floor. I’m tired of eating mud dust. However, all of the tape lines that exist are now DONE. Wow! Too bad that’s only about half the house but I’ll take any victory that comes my way. I woke up the next morning with my fingers slack and tingling and numb up to my elbows. Doing this same work six years ago I tore the contractor muscles in my fore arms/elbows and they never have been the same since. So, as you might expect, I am really looking forward to get the taping and mudding done.

Taping and mudding in our 100 year old farm house

Joe got all excited and motivated to start putting rock over the nasty old stucco on the house. Admittedly it is times like these when I wish he wouldn’t start another project until we get something else done… say, maybe the sheet rocking? But I’m reminded of my tips when it comes to renovating. He is so burned out when it comes to hanging drywall and bead board, who can blame him for wanting to do something else for awhile? Besides, one of my major tips for a renovation is to work on what you are motivated to work on. It all needs to be done at some point, do what you want to be doing and it will feel a lot less like work and you’ll get it done faster when you’re doing something you and enjoy and want to be doing. So, he works on whatever he wants to work on and I work on whatever I want to work on. This is how Joe and I work best 🙂 And we help each other along the way as much as we can. However, it is nice to be able to take full credit for something and I bowed right out and let him step up to the rock on the house this weekend and doesn’t it just look incredible?

Using veneer stone over old stucco on a 100 year old farm house

On the other hand I will be able to claim several of my own projects in the house. Right now I’ve done ALL of the taping and mudding, though I have hung some drywall of my own he has done the majority of it. I ran all of the electrical, drain and water lines (though he helped me). He is hanging all the bead board on the ceilings but I’ll be doing the majority of our trim. Joe basically put up our entire garage and all of the siding is entirely him though I helped cut it along the way. The list goes on and on. It is good to have claims of our own, that we might step back and truly say, “I did that. Wow.” Some projects I’m the boss taking the bull by the horns and he helps me and other projects it is the other way around entirely based on what our strengths are and what job we as individuals are most confident and excited about. The truly incredible thing though is not at all our individual accomplishments but what each task has added up to. Until now I don’t believe I knew the true meaning of “home” but with each completed project this place is transforming into something that is incredibly us. This will be the place that will always come to mind whenever I think of home.

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