Clean up: old basement. Day 3 progress

I was able to get a bit of time to continue cleaning in the old part basement this afternoon.

Progress wasn’t quite what I was hoping to get done, though.

My thought was to start putting things back in the area I’d been able to mop, but as you can see, there are still damp spots on the floor. I didn’t want to leave the blower running too much and had shut it off. The floor was almost dry, so I figured it should be okay. Clearly, it still needs that fan going!

So I turned the fan back on and started working on the section behind the furnaces.

The first thing I did was take the bricks that had been under the shelves and give them a quick clean. They did their job well, in keeping the wood shelves off the ground and protected from water seepage (well; except for the one shelf, but it looks like that area had a lot more water pooling in it). They will be used to keep the 2 shelves that will be used again, elevated off the concrete, in case of any future minor flooding.

After moving a few more things, I could clearly see what my brother had told me about. In the concrete, you can see the patch covering a trench where a drain pipe from the weeping tile had been installed. There is this patch leading from the new part basement to the floor drain, and another patch leading from the floor drain to the septic tank access opening and, in turn, to the septic tank. There is also a patch leading towards a drain trench cut into the floor that leads under the stairs, all the way to the sump pump reservoir. As far as I can see, there is no opening; the concrete patch seems to actually fill in part of the drain trench. It’s possible that there is some sort of drain pipe buried under there, but my brother doesn’t remember anything in that direction. While I could feel a 4th drain opening aside from these three, there is nothing to show that the concrete had a trench broken open for a drain pipe in that direction.

As I continued to clear things out of this section, I found this.

Once I saw this, I remembered; my mother actually told me about making this sign. If I am remembering correctly, she feared that this old student desk would disappear, as so many other things did over the years.

I don’t think she had much to worry about. The desk is not in good shape.

When I first started going to school, it was to an old 2 room schoolhouse in our little hamlet. It was only K-3 by then, and all the students were in one classroom. The other was used as a gym. I remember my first year going to school, I sat at a desk like this, complete with the old ink well holder, and the groove you could put your pen or pencil in, so it wouldn’t roll away.

A piece of wood is missing from the front of the seat, as well as the front of the desk. Normally, the top of the desk would lift, to access the (missing) shelf below, but it looks like this one had a sliding drawer, instead, because that top doesn’t lift. It’s unfortunate that the original wood was painted, instead of refinished, but the paint likely did preserve it. The legs were designed to screw directly into the floor, but it has pieces of wood, instead. The wood and the bottom of the legs are water damaged, and all the metal is rusted.

I brushed away the cobwebs and dirt, then wiped the painted wood with a damp cloth, but that’s all. It would be nice if we could restore it some day, but it might not be worth the effort. 😦

I found other things, of course.

I think this is the cover for access to the ash pit of an older wood burning furnace, but I’m not positive.

Some old metal pipes, one with drainage holes.

Hhhmmm…. I wonder what they were left over from?

I eventually reached the stack of 7 chimney blocks. They will eventually go outside but, for now, I brushed off the dust and cobwebs and moved them to a different spot.

I quickly discovered that garbage had been pushed into the opening – and the stack was filled with more bricks!

These are all the bricks that were tucked into the chimney blocks.

I brought over the 8th chimney block that had been used with a board to create a little makeshift table by the laundry sink. Once the snow is clear, these will all get hauled outside. The ones that were already outside worked really well as combination retaining wall/planters. I think these will be used much the same way. It’s just a matter of deciding where to place them.

There were quite a few things stuck behind the blocks. Including…

… the missing front piece of the desk seat.

We will at least be able to re-attach that! Given that the edge of the desk top is painted, I don’t expect to find the missing piece of that, anywhere.

While brushing off the very bottom chimney block, I found it quite full of debris. I’m pretty sure one clump of debris I managed to get out of a side opening is an old mouse nest!

The large opening in the middle of the stack had quite a lot of dirt in it – and half a broken plate.

Just half.

Here is how it looks now.

With the blower going, I only swept up the biggest stuff. Any dust kicked up was getting sucked into the side of the blower and thrown out into the air! I will leave the final sweeping and mopping until after I’ve been able to clear the section on the right of the photo. That’s the shelf that’s broken and will be hauled out.

I also gave the rest of the bricks a quick wash and set them all to dry. I’m glad to have found more, as I expect to be using them to keep more things – like that student desk, and a bench I plan to bring back – elevated off the floor. We’re looking to get replacement legs for the laundry sink, too, and depending on what type we find, those might get bricks to protect them from potential water damage, too.

That’s as much as will get done for now. I’ll be leaving the blower running, so that by the time we’re able to continue working down there, that washed section of floor should be completely dry!

I knew this would be a big job, but it’s also turning out to be a very slow one!

The Re-Farmer

3 thoughts on “Clean up: old basement. Day 3 progress

  1. Pingback: Clean Up: old part basement. Mopping and scrubbing | The Re-Farmer

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