Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The finishing touch: Putting siding on the house

Now that things have cooled down a bit and the days are much shorter, I haven't been doing quite as much outside.

This is the winter sun coming into the house through the south facing windows. When the sun is at its lowest at this time of year we get the most sun in the house. It will heat the house to near 70 degrees on days when it is below freezing outside, even if we haven't used the wood stove since the night before.

Our first really hard frost came about two weeks ago and I went out the evening before to harvest celeriac, beets, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and chinese cabbage.

The carrots are mulched but I'll probably pull them and put them in my root barrel. Up until last week we were still eating fresh tomatoes we picked before the first real frost that happened in late October. It's been nice to have these fall crops. At Bobolink eating co-op, I think we are the only people in the village still eating dinners of lots of fresh local vegetables. We are enjoying salads of Chinese and regular cabbage tossed with carrots and scallions. We have root bakes of carrots, beets, and potatoes and soups of all these veggies combined. I love celeriac. It's a gnarly vegetable, but it sure is good in soup.

We were still in the process of reorganizing the house up until about a week or two ago. I got a new dresser from the demo I got my siding from. It was just sitting in this building I was taking down and it looked like someone had started stripping it with the idea of refinishing it, but they never finished the project. I brought it back, liking the fact that it was well made, tall, and spacious. After we cleaned it up and put linseed oil on it, we realized how pretty the veneer was, though the veneer is chipping off in spots. It just barely fit up through the door to the second floor.

Mary Beth brought a bookshelf back from her house in Kirksville and she organized all my books on it. We also brought upstairs a dresser we found on the curb on our visit to Madison. It is a pretty piece of furniture too, and we think it is from the early 1900s. We found a little stub from a train ticket for a Milwaukee intracity train from the '20s stuck in the top drawer.

We had a housewarming party last week that many in the village came to. We had around twenty people packed in the house. Many were getting their first glimpse of Wisteria Lodge in its more or less finished state. We decided it was time since we'd organized the inside of the house the way we wanted it.

This is the kitchenette we set up so that Mary Beth can make her meals since she is no longer in an eating co-op and so that I can make cheese. It's pretty makeshift, but it works for what we need it for.

This is a little shelf for some of our homemade wine and canned goods. We canned these pears we picked at a friend of Mary Beth's house in Kirksville. They are the biggest pears I've ever seen--and they taste good too.

The siding is the last thing that we are working on now, and it's almost done.

It's interesting to cover new ground in building and try my hand at learning new skills. I had practiced doing siding on my garden shed, so I did have some experience with that. But the soffits were something new to me. I was able to get some boards with shiplap, so they fit together and overlap, sort of like tongue-in groove. I had to do the soffits before I could do the siding.

The big challenge though in this project has been power. We had about two weeks straight of cloudy weather and I can only use my power tools when the sun is out or when the batteries are charged, and we were all on almost the very lowest power level by the time the sun came out finally. We've had sunny days for the last five or six days, some of them, like today, beautiful and temperate. Today I was working on battens. I just have trim around the windows, and the rest of the battens to do. As you can see, the house looks much better with new siding.

Mary Beth and I also had a visitor staying with us recently. Kyre the kitty stayed with us for about ten days and we were sad to see her go. She was very cuddly and really the perfect cat in every way. We were taking care of her for Mai'kwe while she was away.

I forgot to put up a picture of my solar panels mounted on the roof, so here it is. Unfortunately, my new solar panel that cost me $500 is now only putting out half power for some reason. I'm going to have to have it sent back, so at the lowest light time of year, we're at half power.


Brian L said...

Nice battens!

Antonio Guido Iacopino said...

Congrats! Such a great progress...

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Kindra Ramage said...

Your house looks very unique and interesting. From the way it was built to how it finally looks, really piques my interest. It's also nice to know that you have given ample time to check with every aspects of your house's construction. A well-made roof and siding can last for years and even provide some energy savings. Just make sure to have them checked by professionals regularly! :)

Kindra Ramage @ Jones And Associates