Monday, September 17, 2018


Ready for wallpaper and paint
Upon visiting the farmhouse on Tuesday, we realized that with completion of the mudding, the next steps would be paint and flooring. This was confirmed through a call to Big Mike the Contractor, so I listed the paint colors for each affected room. Then we went to Sherwin-Williams and confirmed that they can indeed mix those colors. What a relief! At least I don’t need to select new shades of white. We chose a green for the dining room that better blends with the new wallpaper. I think the interior will take on a lighter, more “whimsical” look, and that’s fine with me.

An ineffective close-up of the mudded wall
Then we visited Big Mike to submit our paint list and chose the flooring. Discussion ensued regarding the kitchen cabinets and other built-ins. The cabinet-maker has time right now and wants the work, but Big Mike hasn’t received the go-ahead from the insurance adjuster. In fact, the third-party negotiator who visited two weeks ago has not yet submitted his report.

I’ve been uncomfortable all along with the failure to openly discuss options. In discussion with my Mike at home, I opened with, “Who is responsible to pay for the cabinets – or any part of the project – if insurance doesn’t?” Obviously, we are, but this is never addressed. We just sit and wait as one week dissolves into the next. “Let’s get on with it,” I continued, “and get those cabinets made and installed so that we can once again live in our house.”

So, Thursday morning, my Mike called Big Mike, and the kitchen cabinets have been ordered. Yay!! KW

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Sunrise in Clarkston, Sept. 11

We left Clarkston about 7:20 a.m. yesterday and made another half-day trip to the farm in order to check the progress on the house and take care of the yard. While it’s cooler now, it’s very dry, and the vegetation was stressed again. I watered while Mike attached the sharpened blade to the lawnmower and then mowed. He kicked up a lot of dust doing it.

The rodents have done a lot of damage to the yard this year. Had we been there, we would have pursued that problem more aggressively. They appear to have destroyed one of my rhubarb plants. Infestations of wasps and yellow-jackets were terrible this year, but I didn’t see any. The cooler weather has evidently deterred them.
I picked four zucchini squash and one yellow crookneck. One of the zucchinis is decent but small. I hope it tastes good.

I did have some success in getting to my Halloween ornaments. The door of Hallie’s bedroom stood open, so I was able to get into the walk-through closet and retrieve what I wanted. I was also able to reach some sewing instructions I had pinned to my bulletin board.

Dining room ready for wallpaper and paint
The walls have been mudded now. We could see that painting is next, and in conversation with the contractor, he stated that he needed our paint choices and instructions. I put that together for him, but it’s not an easy thing. When Hallie and I originally painted the house, we worked hard to determine the paint choice for each room, even making notes on the walls in order to get it right. I can hardly reconstruct the plan, and maybe I’d like to make a few alterations. In the end, I guess it just doesn’t matter. So many things don't matter now.

It was Nellie’s fifteenth birthday. It’s not typical for a Shorthair to live this long. As with any oldster, some days are better than others, but she’s still interested in her world despite a few problems – problems which bother us more than they bother her. Like humans, dogs can suffer dementia, and we know she does. Yesterday at the farm, she seemed a bit needy, following me around and nuzzling me from time to time. She seemed to prefer the house to exploring outside, so when I missed her, I went through the house looking for her. When I got to Hallie’s room, I didn’t see her, but soon I heard some scuffling as she wended her way from under and behind stuff. No, I wasn’t worried that it was some other critter. I knew it was Nellie – and she knew I was looking for her. She followed me to the stairway, and then she played her old game. She waited until I was downstairs, and then she ran down as fast as she could. She loves that old game.

For the first time this season, we slept under a blanket last night, and today, I’m still in my warm-ups. KW

Saturday, September 8, 2018


When we remodeled the farmhouse (c. 2000), we discovered that beautiful wood lay under some of the painted doors, door frames, and baseboards. We stripped the paint off, had the wood reconditioned, and restored it to its original place. We couldn’t imagine what had prompted the family to cover that beautiful wood! If I had to guess, it’s that dark woodwork fell out of vogue, and rural people did so want to be up-to-date, in the know, etc.

Even though I don’t know the reasoning, I do know that my dad painted it. That same letter of instruction written by Uncle Earle in 1945 tells him how to paint the woodwork:
Three coats will be necessary to cover that dark woodwork. You can use two coats of enamel undercoat first and finish with a coat of enamel. This would be the best. If you care to you can use first a coat of flat white, then a coat of enamel undercoat, and last a coat of enamel. This procedure would not be as good as the first one I have outlined as the flat white is not as good paint for woodwork as enamel undercoat.

First, use some very sharp, course sandpaper on the old finish, knocking off the gloss so the first coat will have something to unite with. Then sand lightly between coats with No. 0 or No. 00 sandpaper. Of course, the last coat is not sanded. If you can get Dutch Boy paint it will be splendid. If I were going to do that job, I’d put on an off-white, and I’d use Dutch Boy satin eggshell enamel No. 700 for the last coat. It washes just as well as the glass white No. 300 and is the most beautiful soft finish I have ever seen. It is better taste for dining rooms and living rooms. In the kitchen, I’d use the gloss white No. 300 mentioned above.

Water damaged door frame prior to demolition
My dad actually refinished quite a lot of old wood in his day. In the ’70s, he and Mother restored antique furniture (family pieces), and Daddy “antiqued” several pieces. You could buy kits to do that. Sometimes it worked well, but it was important to get the old varnish off or eventually the varnish would react with the paint. Even at that time it struck me as strange to cover wood with paint, but it appealed to him.

Part of the door frame in the dining room was badly damaged with the water leak, but Big Mike assures me it can be set to rights. Looking forward to it. KW