Well the office is still creeping along. I think it should go faster but something always seems to come up. I went over to Home Depot on Friday and spent 3 hours digging around and finding all of the stuff I needed to finish the wiring. I have to put a 240V 20A outside waterproof box outside for the heat pump. It took me a while to find the boxes and I got 1 of 3 left on the shelf. Pickings for some items were mighty slim. The plan was for Mr Tex, Mr Professional and Mr Flow to come out on Saturday so we could get the underside of the house finished.
They all did come on Saturday but the weather was miserable for working outside. We had a nice hail storm on top of the rain storms, alongside some horizontal lightening. I finally had to let Mouse back into the house as he had crawled up onto the porch and would not leave my side. Mr Professional and Mr Flow worked under the house for four hours and then left, the weather just kept getting worse.
I sent Mr Tex up into the ceiling to clean up all of the dust and stuff. While he did that I finished installing the outlet boxes in the office area. The only real problem was I managed to buy single gang horizontal boxes at Home Depot instead of vertical. I ended up having to remove all of the vertical boxes and use horizontal boxes so I had some horizontal boxes for the single gang switches. So now all of the low switch boxes are horizontal. I think I have 26 outlets in the office in a 13’x16’ room, with a 5’x5’ attached room. I am positive we will not need all 52 outlet plugs, but we have them just in case. I continued cutting holes in the walls in the second room to get ready for power in that room also.
Mr Tex came down to tell me he could not get into the ceiling above the small room. I knew there was a bird’s nest up there so I knew we needed to get it out. This meant that the entire ceiling had to be torn down. The ENTIRE ceiling was full of straw and feathers. We got it all out and then realized that the support boards were in rough shape and not attached to the wall of the house. So once we got that mess all cleaned up we took out some more of the floor and then started to install the overhead beam. We ended up making two beams as I forgot to make a hollow support and just glued and screwed them together with a 1/2” piece of plywood in the middle. Mr Tex went around and drilled holes through all the boards so we could run cable. I had purchased nail stops to go over all of the cable holes so we don’t accidentally staple the wire when installing the wall paneling. I have decided to go with tongue and groove blue pine for the walls installed on a diagonal. The ceiling will be juniper that will be kept unfinished so you can smell it. If I can get all of the wire pulled we can start installing the insulation. The windows have not arrived and we still have the main front door to reframe into a bigger opening. I want to keep the old door to use between the rooms when we do the other room. This will save some money.
We also started installing the overhead light electrical boxes. We are going to have to caulk some of the walls in the attic and install some screen in the roof peak to keep out the hornets. I think letting off a bug bomb every four weeks is going to have to become a habit until we can get a handle on all the little holes everywhere. We did more cleanup as it seems to be an ongoing issue. The old bathroom has a 5” slant over 6’. So I am going to have to find six 2×6” boards to cut on a diagonal so we can get a new level floor installed in that little room.
Since we had to tear out the ceiling in the old bathroom we are going to have to do the same thing in the freezer room. but it also needs three walls torn out and a new level floor installed. We will have to install both doors first as they are being stored in the old kitchen. Once we have them in then we can tear into the old kitchen area and get the rest of the walls out and outside building sealed. It is coming along but there were no great leaps other than getting the new overhead beam in place.
Friday would have normally been a farm work day for me but things have been crazy at work and I still had manager stuff to do so I had to go in for most of Friday. But never fear Mr Professional came out with Mr Flow and they proceeded to tear off the skirting and started cleaning under the house. There was 120 years worth of dead desiccated animals under there plus a lot of cob webs! All of that stuff got cleaned out and tossed onto the burn pile. It was replaced with a whole lot of gravel. I was hoping that this endeavor would only take two days but after spending all weekend, three days on it I figure they have at least three more days. They still need to put in a couple of upright posts, a beam and skirt the building. We are going to try and keep the animals from crawling under the old house. They even managed to rip out a dead old tree stump that was next to the back porch. The back porch that is falling apart and will need to be replaced sooner than later.
I spent all of Saturday caulking the interior seams of the entire house. The house has shiplap on the outside and we are not going to reside it any time soon. It is on the list to be done but not yet. So I am sealing every seam from the inside and then I started to use spray expanding foam to fill in the large gaps. We are going to insulate the attic and the walls before we close them up.
On Saturday night while discussing the plans for the new office with the wife and how I was going to wire the building it occurred to me that I was going to have to wire the entire house all at once, all five rooms. When I mentioned this to the wife she looked at me like I had just stated the obvious. It was not that obvious when I was making my wiring diagram in my head at Home Depot and counting the number of junction boxes I needed to purchase. I am short 15 single gang boxes. I am going to dig through all of my leftover switches and outlets and count them so when I go back to Home Depot I will be able to just buy the rest of the needed items all at once.
So on Sunday, I burnt one of the two large burn piles and then finished caulking all of the cracks, 20+ tubes and finished using up 8 cans of spray foam for one room! It is starting to really seal up. The sound dampening is the most obvious thing right now. Its a lot different and we don’t even have the batting insulation in yet. I need to run all of the wires for power before we can install any insulation. We are just going to wash, prime then paint the ceiling. It’s all tongue and groove wood. We will vacuum up the dirt and dust from the attic and make it totally clean also.
I started to install all of the electrical boxes. That was when I realized that I was seriously short on boxes. I also realized that I am going to have to put in 1 three way switch and 2 two way switches and it just now dawned on me that I need to put an outside waterproof outlet on the porch. So more stuff to add to my purchase list which I will be getting at Home Depot. I need some heavy duty triangle brackets also to hold the wood shelves up with. I have a plan for getting all of the boxes in place and all of the power wired up to the entire house.
It is raining again today, we already have 0.14” for today, the weather person said 0.25-0.5” over the next two days. The grass and wheat are looking amazing. I am not going to fertilize this year but I may have to do it next year, the areas where the alpaca are pooping are 16-18” tall already. So after we get the hay done the manure spreaders need to become functional. There is always something next on the horizon.
Of course it was dumping snow out of the sky this morning and we had a couple of inches on the ground by the time I got out to start in on the new office. It was way too cold to be outside in the snow. Mr Tex came out shortly thereafter and we worked on the office. He finished ripping out the rest of the old bathroom walls. We found one whole side filled with birds nests and the opposite side had a nice mouse nest at the bottom of the wall.
I spent most of the morning figuring out how to get the new electrical box to line up with the electrical conduit outside the house. I will wire the entire box, all the outlets and switches and then in a couple of hours I will kill main power and then just move power supply over to the new box and then turn it on! I don’t want the freezers to be without power for very long. I realize a few hours is not a big deal but I think I can get the entire thing done in under two hours once I have it all prepped. We finally got the box in place and I got the entire thing framed out. I will cut out the plywood for the back next then I will start wiring the office room and the freezer room.
Once I had the electrical box in and Mr Tex had the old bathroom torn apart we started working on getting the walls sealed up from the floor and the attic. Some of the spaces we will be able to caulk as they are not very big but the big ones will need some spray in foam. The newer 2×4 lumber is not as wide as the stuff they used to use. This causes some gaps that we will just need to fill in. Unfortunately, it was so cold today that we could not use any liquid anything as it would not have set up. We had decided to put in fire brakes to help stiffen the walls. Once we had all of the shiplap off of the walls the room did not feel as sturdy. The supports are helping it to stiffen back up. We will have to drill holes in them to run the wiring but that can wait until we have everything in. I would like to paint the acrylic roofing onto the walls before we wire but the weather is going to determine the order on that choice. We need to be able to caulk first then paint. The ceiling is going to stay the same, we will just have to scrub it clean, prime it and paint it. The nice part is the ceiling will be the only part of the room that has to be painted. I have been contemplating a white wood stain for a couple of the walls and maybe another color, red for the work closet? Annmarie is going to have to help with that choice. The floor we are just going to hand sand and stain like I did our upstairs. I did notice today that they used to have linoleum in the room and there is still some glue in places. This stuff is hard to sand out as it gums up the sandpaper pretty fast but it’s not the entire room.
I went to Home Depot on Friday and bought two doors, a 32” and 36”. We will have to reframe the entire door into the room from the porch. It is just kind of hanging in the opening and there is no support or header for the door. It needs to be completely rebuilt. I hate hanging doors as it is very tedious and precise work. Luckily, we found a case of shims while we were cleaning out the old house so we are ready for doors and windows. One of the windows will be pulled out and covered up and the second one needs to be totally reframed for the same reason as the front door. I also ordered the two new windows. We will wait on tearing out and replacing the windows until we have the new ones. I got all of the lights and boxes to wire the room. I cannot believe the price of wiring! Twenty five feet of 10/2 with ground is $100. I need it to wire the 240V for the heat pump. I also emailed and texted the heat pump company to get an updated bid and I will pay for it now. We are now officially committed as I have spent $3k in supplies already. That will double once the heat pump goes in. I think I can get the entire thing done for about $8k.
It is spring, mid April and yes we had several major snow storms! It is miserable outside so we have had to go out and feed everyone hay. Luckily, we have just enough feed left to get through one more week of any kind of weather. It did finally melt off but now we have a night and morning of snow which covers everything and the temperature hovers right at 32 degrees F. By 1400 every day the sun comes out and the snow melts off and all of the green grass pokes out allowing all of the animals to go out and feed on grass. It has been miserable to go outside, the wind is blowing and it is very cold. I have had to scrape my windows twice this week just to get to work at 0500. I even had to sweep off the walkway one morning as it had about three inches of snow on it.
The wheat looks amazing and our grass fields are really starting to come up now. If we could get a couple of weeks of warm spring weather everything would just take off and shoot up into the air. We are still considering downsizing the cows based on the price of hay. We may have to jump the price up dramatically to cover feed costs. We need about 7-8 ton of hay per month to feed all of the cows. Last year we paid around $265/ton for alfalfa in large bales. The real problem is if we have a dry desert like summer you have to start feeding by September. So you feed for about 7 months or six months if you are lucky. We will have gone through 45 ton. We did not cover feed expenses last year. So we are going to look at costs again and decide whether its worthwhile or not to have this many large animals.
The sheep are easier and cheaper to feed. We just need to raise the price on them this year also to reflect the new prices. It’s sticker shock when you go to buy something these days but meat in the grocery store is very expensive. We are hoping the snow and cold did not affect the fruit trees but if they were trying to bloom there is no way they survived the repeat 25 F we kept getting several nights in a row.
Today we decided to tackle the new office remodel in the old house. It is too cold to be outside! We are predicted to get snow in the next two days but the wind off of the snow covered mountains is brutal. This is perfect weather for ripping out the interior walls. You could even take your coat off and keep the long sleeve wear on as long as you kept working. If you stopped it got cold again, this is good incentive to stay busy. Mr Professional offered the suggestion to tear out the walls in what used to be the old bathroom. I liked the idea and since we needed to tear down the inside walls anyways we did it. It is pretty easy to reverse and hard to see without actually doing it. I liked it. I went inside and had Annmarie come out and give her blessing. She wants to use the little room for the 3D printer and the laser engraver. This will actually work well and let the main room be used for an office and sitting area. She wants to put in a couple of chairs/loveseat with a coffee table so she can use it when privacy is needed. It will work out very nice. We took measurements for two new windows and we are going to remove the window in the equipment nook to maximize storage space.
Mr Professional and I had a long discussion about what to do about the knot holes and leaking joints on the outside of the house. We are not going to re-side the outside for at least 3 years so it needs to last for a while. We found some nontoxic plastic paint/roofing material we can paint onto the inside walls to keep the moisture away. We looked at spray in foam insulation but that was going to cost $1300 for 900 sq feet of spray. I can get a five gallon container of plastic elastic paint for $240. So we are going to go with the paint on ourself option. It is looking like a couple of windows and two doors are going to cost over $2k. The real expense is going to be if I have to buy more wire to wire the building. I have about 2/3 of a large roll of 12/2 with ground and I am going to use every leftover outlet and switch from every job I have ever done, so I believe there is some gray, brown, taupe, and white colored accessories. The heating/cooling system is going to be around $4k. I am hoping to get the entire thing done for around $12k. We spent a combined 13 hours working on it today. I am going to try and keep track of all the time we spend on it. We also figured out how to move the power box into the attic so it is not visible on the room side and it still meets code by having the front cleared space! Huge win for everyone.
Mouse is totally got the nighttime chores down. I just let him out and walk down to the end of the ram pasture and he is already out and circling the sheep in field #4 and pushing them back into the barn lot. He is liking working the sheep. One of the cows we pushed into the corral on Friday caught him on the left side of his face with their rear foot and scalped a streak of hair off the middle of his head. So he was a reverse mohawk. I took pity on him and cleaned the mud/poop hoof shape off of his face. He is a trooper and is not letting it slow him down.