Reclaiming space: sun room part 2, and the old kitchen

Before I start on how things went with the clean up, I have another update. I just got off the phone with Canada Cartage – the company shipping our new washing machine.

They didn’t receive it at this end, so they will call us with a new delivery date when they have it.

I might still call the guy at Home Depot tomorrow morning, to see if he can pull a few strings. We’ve opted not to go into town to use the laundromat, and have instead been washing the necessities in the bathtub.

Oddly, my clothes have never been cleaner or softer. Ever. And all I’m going is leaving them to soak in hot water and detergent, then swishing them around a bit before rinsing them.


I am happy to say that we have got the old kitchen done, and everything that needed to go back, has been brought in.

I’ll start with the old kitchen.

There wasn’t much left to take out of there. Most of it was behind the wood burning cook stove.

Which, interestingly enough, also hid another outlet.

No wonder insurance companies are such sticklers about wood burning stoves and furnaces!

That basin may well be older than I am.

I left it there.

Once everything was out, including the floor mats (which were carefully picked up so that I could pour out the crud over a large garbage can!) and random nails and whatnot were swept up, I took stock of the floor.

This corner is the worst.

And there’s nothing we can do about it, right now.

I am guessing the previous freezer my parents used to have here cause this damage when it finally died.

The best I could do at this point was take the little shop vac to the area.

I vacuumed the window of what may well have been decades of dead bugs, too. I even vacuumed parts of the stove a bit.

A container of nails and… dirt? had fallen in here. I got most of them, but we have found so many random containers of rusty nails, I just swept up and threw away the rest.

I just had to remind myself of what was in this cupboard.

We will deal with this another time!

The weather outside was getting really, really windy, so the girls and I pushed to get everything inside. We will likely change things around later, but for now, it’s all in!

We considered moving the freezer back into the other corner and putting the couch where the freezer is. In the end, I just pulled it closer to the door, to make more space for the shelves we put back where they were before. They are extremely sturdy shelves, and are great to stand on when we need to access the breakers.

I decided to put the rocking chair in the old kitchen, too. More because of how I wanted to arrange the sun room.

A small shelf that was in the sun room is now tucked behind the stove. At some point, we can put a small lamp in there, so a person can sit on the couch and read, and have somewhere to put down a drink or something. There was even still room for a small garbage can.

The prie-dieu that I still have plans to refinish, fits perfectly in the nook on the other side of the stove. As do the folding camp chairs, some window screens, and even my dad’s old wheelchair tucks partway in.

So that’s done for now! I’ll be finding somewhere else for the giant enameled container that is handy. My mother used that for everything from washing and soaking cucumbers to make pickles, to making bread dough. We’ve made use of it ourselves, already. Finding a container that large – with a lid, too – is not so easy, anymore, so we’re not about to put it away in storage. (We put even more stuff into the storage house today, too. 😦 )

When it came to the sun room, the focus was on anything tool and gardening related.

This is where that plastic couch used to be.

The yellow shelf in the corner used to be in the old kitchen. Previously, we had a dresser under the shelf across the window as my “tool box”. The wood at the bottom of the drawers ended up warping so badly, it took quite some finagling to get it open. So, out the dresser went and we grabbed that shelf from the old kitchen to replace it.

It was full of jars, and a plastic bucket of nails and screws that was so old, the plastic disintegrated when I tried to pick it up.

We’d put the shelf under the window, on bricks, in case water got in (it did), but this time, we decided against putting any shelf against that window. Partly because the shelf has a metal top that will be a great work surface. Partly because the inner pane of the double pane window is badly cracked. At some point, we’re going to have to take the pieces out, so no one gets hurt.

The bins used for cat kibble and bird seed now have their own spots, out of the way. Before, they were just on the couch. No way the skunks can get those lids open in there! 🙂

Not that that will be an issue anymore, but I’ll cover that later.

The small garbage can is there told hold our wiener roasting sticks, and other fire pit supplies.

Here is the other side.

The swing bench is close to where it was before, and the cube shelf went back to it’s previous spot. We now have a tall box to hold the long and weird stuff, in the corner, and the table saw is easily accessible.

I’ll probably shift some things around later, but this will do for now.

Then there is the door…

I can lift the replacement door to close it, but when I do, this is what the hinge is like at the bottom. It has only 1 screw, and it’s not all the way in, which is a good thing. I wouldn’t be able to close the door, otherwise.

At the top…

The top corner of the door is actually flush with the door frame.

I remember fighting with the old door to get it closed, and having to lift it. While I did check the bottom of the door frame, for some reason I never thought to look at the hinges. At least, not that I can remember.

Basically, that means that this has always been a problem. Right from when the old door was first hung.

Much of the sun room is salvaged materials, including all the windows and both doors. So I guess they just made do and lived with it. No one thought to fix the problem.

No wonder the previous door started to fall apart.

I’m going to have to jerry rig it myself.


Once that is done, then I’ll double check how much I need to trim the 2 pieces of door frame that we took off. For now, though, the door stays closed because it’s stuck at the bottom corner, where I have to lift it over the door jam. With the outside door closed, the inside door will now stay closed (it blows open easily, otherwise).

We can now keep the sun room closed. The cats can shelter in the old dog house my brother provided us, and no more skunks coming in!

Which means no more animal damage, urine or feces to deal with.

We can actually start using the sun room… as a sun room again! 😀

The Re-Farmer

The next steps

After our incident with the kitchen pipe, yesterday, I headed into town as early as I could. Of my morning rounds, the only thing I took the time to do before I left was to make sure the outside cats had food.

There is an employee at the hardware store that I was very happy to see. Quite a few times now, I’ve been able to get help from him that went above and beyond. For all the times I’ve talked to him, he’s becoming aware of the state of the house we’re in, so he makes the effort to ask extra questions and give extra information.

This morning, I told him about what happened last night (I am extra glad I bought that box fan yesterday, because that was set up last night to dry the floor under the sink!), then showed him a piece that had come off my daughter had given me, just in case there were other types and sizes.

He’s never seen that part broken off like that before!

So he went over the different types of flexible pipes available, and I ended up getting a pair of 24 inch ones with built in shut off valves. We’ll just go ahead and replace them for both taps. He then asked if we had copper pipes, which we do, so he brought me over to a display sample in another aisle that had copper pipe in it, describing to me how to cut off the end, while popping the display piece apart to show me how it should look after abrading it…

Cut off the end. Of course, we have no cutter!

He found one for me.

Once I had the necessary bits and pieces, I picked up some other things my daughter put on the list for me – some of it are for the next time something like this happens! 😀

The down side is having to go into our contingency fund, to pay for all this. 😦 But at least we have one!

Now, it’s up to my more able bodied girls to do the installation! They’re just going to wait until everyone is done using the water for a while, before shutting water for the whole house down again.

Once home again, I finished my rounds outside which, today, included using more of that anti-wasp stuff. I’d found a wasp nest in a corner of the house. We’d found one there last year, too. I’d hosed it away, and I thought they were gone, but last night I hosed it one more time, just in case.

Wasps started coming out again.

Somewhere in there is a crack, and I think they’re getting into the roof above the old kitchen.

When I checked it this morning, there was no sign of wasps, and no sign that the nest was being rebuilt, but that’s what I saw last night. I sprayed it anyway. Sure enough, wasps started falling out of… somewhere.

Thankfully, this stuff will contact kill, so any wasps that are somewhere in the crack would not be able to get out without coming in contact with the spray. I made sure not to use up the whole can so that, if I need to, I can spray again. At least a little.

Of course, in my rounds, I checked on the garden plots.

More squash are blooming. 🙂

The size difference between some of these plants is rather remarkable! Some are still so tiny. I don’t know how much of that is due to the different types of squash, or to any health problems or weather damage. The first squash bed has just a few survivors, struggling to grow. This is the one that got frost damaged, even though we covered them for the night. The rest were all transplanted at the same time, so it’s more likely the differences there are due to type, not damage.

It should be interesting to see what we get out of these.

The Re-Farmer

Found the problem!

While putting away the push mower yesterday, I was going to take the time to start up the riding mower and see what I could see. I always push the mower out of the garage before starting it, but I never got it all the way out. I could hear a different sound, like something was dragging underneath. I pushed it forward again, and it was still there.

I did not notice the sound when I pushed the mower to the garage, but there were plenty of other noises that would have drowned it out.

So I let it be for now.

This morning, I found an email from my brother. He had emailed me an electronic copy of the user’s manual. Having looked over it first, he wrote that – based on my description of what happened – he figured the drive chain either broke or fell off, then asked if I could get photos from above and below.

As soon as I read “drive chain”, I knew that was what I was hearing.

When I finished my rounds, I went in to try and get some photos. There’s nothing to see from above, and from below, it was a matter of sticking my phone under, and various angles, and using voice commands to take pictures. I’m not able bodied enough to get onto the ground to see. After the first few pictures, though, I could figure out where I needed to concentrate on.

Yup. There it was.

The manual had information about how the chain can become loose over time, and how to tighten it.

Which we have no way of doing.

I mean, theoretically, someone could get down on the ground and do it by feel, but if I’m going to do something like that, I want to be able to see. Not just the chain, but to know if there are other potential problems under there.

One of the things we’re going to need to build is a platform we can roll the mower up onto, so we can get under to work on it. We could certainly use various things we have to lift it, but there’s safety to take into account, too. Whatever we use has to be able to hold the weight and keep things from rolling around. We do have jack stands that could be used, but… well, my late brother was killed when the car he was working under, fell on him after a jack stand failed. So, I’m a little more paranoid about such things these days. :-/

I’ve already told my brother he’s not allowed to come fix it. LOL He’s got so much going on, I don’t want to be another burden for him.

So it will wait until we can take it in to the shop as I was already planning to do, later in the month.

At least the chain does not look broken, and it seems like it will be a relatively easy fix.

The Re-Farmer

Replacement door progress: almost there!

Today, I finally got a chance to continue working on the replacement door for the sun room.

Cutting out recesses for the hinges.

To line them up with the recesses that are already in the door frame, I dragged the broken door over and lined it up with the replacement door.

After making sure they were facing the right way, I used one of the hinges we took off to line up the recessed area, then traced around it.

And only now, as I look at this photo, I realize that for all the care I took to line it up and facing the right way, I got it backwards.


Ah, well. We’ll work it out.


I ended up carving out the recess with a combination of chiselling it, and shaving it with a utility knife.

My daughter then turned the door to access the outside of it, painted the carved out areas, and gave the outside of the door a final coat. It’s got some rough areas in the wood, so she really wanted to make sure it was well coated to protect it from the weather.

Now that I realize I goofed on the recesses, I’ll just carve out the remaining bit, so the recess runs across the door, then we’ll paint that over, too.

Ugh. I can’t believe I made such an obvious error. I even remember telling myself, when thinking about it a couple of days ago, to make sure I didn’t do that!

What a goof I am! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Some winter damage to fix

This spring, our sump pump is actually going off pretty regularly. Which is great, because it means we have moisture in the ground. The last two springs, I think it went off only once or twice, aside from when we drained the hot water tank into it.

Which brought to my attention some damage to the drainage hose outside.

I think it might have gotten stepped on, while frozen… and it was likely me who stepped on it! 😀

So I went into town to see if I could pick up some replacement hose. Something longer, so that I could direct the hose towards the garden by the old kitchen, instead of having it drain next to the well.

At the hardware store, I was very happy to find sump pump hose kits with 24 ft hoses!

Except… well… see for yourself.

They are very different diameters!

On reading the package, I realized that this hose kit is intended to attach directly to the sump pump itself.

That is not what we have.

I found a very knowledgeable employee to help me out. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take any photos before I left, so I had to try and describe to him what we had instead.

We’ve got this semi-rigid hose cobbled together, instead. The diameter of this hose, however, should fit the hose kit. It was on the other side that the size is somehow modified so the larger diameter flexible hose could be attached. I had looked at it before and saw that it was clamped very close to the wall, but could not see what it was clamped too.

I still can’t really see.

Something has been wrapped around the end, and then the larger hose was clamped in place.

That “something” looks, for all the world, like batting. Like quilt batting, or aquarium filter batting.

Whatever it is, it’s been there long enough to be covered in crud.

In talking to the guy at the hardware store, he picked several different attachments that I might need, and a plumber’s adhesive that I would need if I had to use one of them. Once I get working on this and remove the broken hose, I should have the pieces needed to attach the hose kit, if it’s a different size. Or, if the end coming out of the wall is the size I’m seeing from the basement, and doesn’t have something weird done to it on the outside, I might be able to use what came with the kit itself.

He said I could return anything I don’t end up using, but that’s not going to happen. Even if I don’t use the pieces, they are things that will come in handy in the future and will not go to waste!

Plus, just in case, I picked up two hose kits. If things are bad enough, I can replace the cobbled together hose that’s inside the basement now and replace it with the flexible hose that should have been there in the first place. If I do end up doing that, one hose will not be long enough to run along the side of the house and reach the garden.

With that in mind, I asked the guy at the store if I could attach the hoses of two kits together, mentioning in passing that right now, the hose is draining next to our well.

That got a rather dismayed and understanding “oh, dear!” as I continued to say why I wanted to have longer hose!

He then found me the piece I would need to attach the hoses together, should I need to.

I was one very happy customer by the time I left the store!

When it comes time to actually start working on the hose, I’ll have to make sure to have the sump pump shut off in the basement. It would not be good for it to turn on while I’m working on the house outside! 😀

So this is a task prepped for, but will have to wait for another day. At least we’re all ready to get it done, though. Other things had priority for today, which will be in my next post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Morning progress

We’ve had a bit of progress regarding our septic pump problems so far.

This morning, bathing involved using basins, then tossing the water outside. Meanwhile, I did my rounds, as usual.

Check this out.

See that dark spot in the middle of the bird bath?

That’s water that isn’t frozen! 😀

Some of the water that got into the basement drained into the sump pump reservoir enough to trigger it. Which means that, outside, there’s a melted patch in the snow.

The cats like it.

Beep Beep tucked herself right in there, and Two-Face came over to investigate. Beep Beep didn’t like that!

Who won?

Two-Face won! 😀

I also called the septic company again. While talking to the guy, he asked where we were, including our driveway marker number.

I drew a complete blank. I couldn’t remember our own driveway marker number! I could sort of remember it, but not really…

Only later, when driving past it and looking, did I realize I had the numbers reversed. The cross road number is at the beginning, not the end.

Still, he had no problem finding us. He’s been here a few times before. I had time to drive my daughter to work, get some cash to pay him, and even start shoveling a bit before he arrived. Thankfully, that big, heavy truck can go through pretty deep snow without getting stuck, though I did shovel a couple of paths while I was there.

While he was pumping out the tank, I talked to him about what was happening. He could see no problems off hand. I even remembered to ask about the float, since one possibility is that the float was stuck, but it was working fine.

So that is all done.

I later went into the basement, which is drying quite nicely right now. One of the things I noticed last night was that the old laundry sink was full of water, so I made a point of checking it.

Sure enough, it was slowly draining.

Gosh, that’s disgusting.

Now, with the tank empty, we actually need to get water in there for the weight. While I was downstairs, my husband flushed the toilet – and I saw water burbling up into the sink!

Nothing came out of that pipe, though.

So what it looks like is that water first started backing up into this sink, while the laundry was being done. Then, when it filled to a certain point, it started backing up out of the pipe, instead.

If there is a clog causing this, it’s somewhere near the pump.

But why would a clog in the pipe cause the pump to stop working? It gets triggered by the float outside.

I don’t know, but when my brother gets here to replace the well pump, we’ll be able to look more closely.

Fingers crossed, it’s just a relatively minor fix that we can take care of ourselves!

The Re-Farmer

Assessing things

Yesterday’s plans to take my mother to visit her sister at the nursing home changed. I got a call in the morning, because she was worried about the weather. It was blowing pretty hard, and she was concerned. We ended up postponing for now.

When doing my rounds this morning, I found some minor tree damage from the winds.

Finding this branch was rather funny.

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New Range Hood – part 1

Yesterday, my darling daughters began working on replacing our old, not working right, range hood.

It’s still not done.

Here is the progress so far – and I apologize in advance; some of these progress photos are really gross!

First up, here is the new range hood that my daughter bought.

Note the placement of the light, at the front of the hood.

This is what it’s replacing.

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