Fixing the Old “Tree House” First Project of New Year

It started out as a walk around the pond, enjoying the warm weather on the first weekend of the New Year – when we reached the old “tree house” (it is no longer a tree house, since we moved it to a new location on the ground).  We got the sudden urge to finally anchor the play house to its platform and fix the railing around it.  Anja, Duff, Lars and Tina, with the help of a Come-Along, managed to reposition the structure to the edge of the platform, then anchor it down with screws. Missing siding boards were replaced and we connected the upper and lower deck platforms.   We also salvaged the old railing from it’s actual tree house days and attached those around the playhouse.   All the old leaves, pine needles and grass were removed – with some major raking effort and we build a small fire pit in the clearance in front of the house and restacked the firewood behind it.  Now all we need is another warm day to attach the door and decorate.  We had so much fun doing this – what a great way to start the New Year!

New Year’s Day rainbow that evening was amazing
Posted in DIY

Stone Masonry Work in the Barn

wall after power-washing
For the past week, Jeff continued to pressure wash all the old mortar and white-wash off the stone work in the bottom of the barn.  He dresses in his hunting rain poncho with goggles, to avoid getting completely soaked by the mud that flings off the walls.  The barn is now probably two thirds washed, and this weekend we experimented with “pointing” the stones.  Luckily YouTube has a lot of very useful videos to help novices as us.  We used something like a pastry bag – only for mortar, which got pretty heavy pretty quickly.  We also had a large assortment of differently shaped trowels.  The pointing process will be very, very slow – but definitely worth it…and there is a long winter coming up to give us time to improve our skills.

wall before power-washing


New (used) Fireplace Insert and Tiling Project

Jens is helping to lay tile

We were really lucky to find a perfectly fitting used fireplace insert on Craigs List – we picked it up over a week ago in York, and last Saturday, we managed to position it into our living room fireplace (it is rather heavy!).  Went to Lowes and got cement board, tiles, mortar and grout and finally did a DIY project again.

3/8 inch spacers for grout

It did not take long to cut and screw the cement board down.  We borrowed a wet saw from a friend to cut the 45 degree angle tiles we needed – and in just a little over an hour had all the tiles down.  We only used 3 boxes of tiles, this was not a big project. 

 We did pick a great color that really matches to stone wall in the living room, and does not clash with the existing brick around the fireplace either.  Still need to grout it – we thought we’d get this done today, but ended up canning spaghetti sauce instead.

Ready for molding and grout

Posted in DIY

Racoon Hats for Christmas Presents

Anja and Duff as well as Zach, Rachel and Toben arrived on Monday before Christmas – which gave us several days together to prepare for the holidays.  Jeff really wanted to have someone get excited about his tanned hides and he managed to talk Anja into trying to make hats out of the tanned raccoon furs.  After doing some research on the internet and coming up with a pattern, the two of them spent 2 days with Tina’s sewing machine and managed to produce 7 raccoon hats of various designs.  Each of the hats took two hides and all of them were lined with flannel.  Since two hides were used per hat, they ended up with extra tails – which resulted in some rather unique hats.

Posted in DIY