Home

Why I Changed my Mind About Board and Batten

Leave a comment

When we started the Guest House I was dead set on board and batten siding. You can see my vision board below.

It is a very popular look right now and liked it because it is a clean look and is something that is commonly seen on old farm cottages around our area. But I won’t be using it for our guest house. While I love the look, and think it would be beautiful, it isn’t for us because of red wasps. Yep, a bug is changing my mind. They love, love, love our guest house which is conveniently located next to our garden where they have a food source- all those bugs that want to eat our hard work.

The view from the guest house looking at the garden.

Every open space in the walls, and there were a lot- like a whole lot- has either wasp nests or spider eggs jammed in. I cannot describe the condition and won’t bore or disgust you with the details, but the picture below is a wasp apartment complex we found included five connected nests. We found over fifty nests in the corrugated exterior.

Now I know this sounds crazy, but I don’t want all wasps eliminated from our property, in fact I am glad to see them in our garden where we don’t use pesticides, I just don’t want them living with us. They are aggressive when protecting the nest and they sting. I want them to keep eating the aphids and other bugs that eat our garden, but living in the wooded area behind the garden so we need to make it more difficult for them to move in.

Board and batten leaves a void between every board that is covered by a smaller board called a batten, and that will be difficult to totally seal up. Those wasps find the tiniest little crack to get in so I want something more solid.

We are going with our contractor Thursday to look at options. It is going to be something that is a solid panel that can be caulked and sealed. I want it to look like 12 inch planks and he assures me there are options I will like. Fingers crossed.

Also I learned a term from our daughter and used that term this last week. Project creep. It is the “While you are here, could you also…” sentence that apparently happens a lot.

We are adding on the aluminum siding removal around our house and adding new siding to the eaves and soffits. We started the project with the carport, deck and porches but this will finish off the house. I am so excited! We could do it ourselves but it would mean days on a ladder.

Woo hoo! I am so excited to get this projects done. They will be painting the house and guest house too which has me giddy.

Great things are ahead.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Week 2 Update

Leave a comment

Y’all, I can tell you that we made real progress this week.

First of all, there are no blue tarps on the building. We now have OSB and house wrap on almost all the building. Hooray!

What a difference!

Also, there are windows installed. We have six new super cool windows that Mr. Math spotted on clearance at Home Depot. I am so happy with how they look. They are dark frames which is going to look nice with our light paint.

We got all the nasty, disgusting insulation that was filled with wasp nests, spider eggs, and just general grossness. Even better a friend gave us enough brand new insulation to do the house. Life is good.

I got busy on the sink I bought way back when for two dollars at a garage sale. I was happy to see that under all the grime, oil, and calcium deposits the sink is not in bad shape. That was a good surprise. Now to get it and the claw foot tub refinished.

The sink was cast on 05/05/1935

Finally. The electrical is getting put in. My husband wasn’t excited about what was already in place so everything got ripped out and five new circuits are getting installed.

We have to have all our part done by next Thursday because Friday our contractor starts on the siding and sheet rock. It is going to be glorious! Seriously we are excited to see the progress we have made but a crew will make it so fast.

In spite of everything going on in the building we got 1/2 the garden weeded. Mr. Math did a lot but I put in some hours too. Next week the other half.

We are loving this cool April weather!

We love hearing from you!

Blessings,

Karen

The Greenhouse Gets a Makeover

Leave a comment

Sometimes I just get wild idea and drag Mr. Math along with me to do a project at our house. The greenhouse makeover is not one of my wild idea projects. The old harvest gold building reached the point where it got moved to the top of our to do list when the last warm front blew through here and the fiberglass roof panels lifted with each gust of wind and ripped the 25 year old (just guessing here but it is really, really old) corrugated panels away from the screws. We were sitting on our back porch watching the storm move in when we saw that the day had come to repair or tear down the old eyesore. I really hadn’t paid attention to how much it deteriorated. It was always ugly, and I hated looking out at our backyard and seeing it. Before tearing down the old fiberglass panels, I climbed up on the ladder to look at the roof and snapped this picture. It was gross.

I really was willing to just tear the building down even though we use it because we have so many projects going but for once Mr. Math was the one wanting to save something so rebuilding the greenhouse got started. The first thing to do was take off the roof. It was by far the hardest part.

The roof was too fragile to get on any more than necessary so a lot of the work was done from inside on ladders.

There was a lot of up ad down latters, but once the roofing was down, Mr. Math saw immediately that the wooden sill plate was rotted from water leaks in the roof and as he tore in the amount of rot was a lot worse than he thought. It took a whole day to get rotted wood out and new wood back in. I didn’t get a picture because I was painting the doors on the porch and carport but the dude worked hard. Once everything was repaired we were back to the roof. All together we put up 16 pieces of clear fiberglass corrugated roofing and replaced the ridge cap. As with most things, we got better and more efficient as we went along. I did all the ground level work like handing up the sheets of fiberglass and tools and cleaning up the mess. Mr. Math sat on the roof, lined each piece up and screwed it in. All in the roof install only took about four hours but the set up took a while too. The overhang was cut down to four inches after finishing the install to get it nice and neat.

We got busy putting the siding up as soon as we finished the roof. It was slow but steady work getting all the siding up. We got quicker as we learned what worked and I was very happy to have a math teacher figuring out the angles and matching up corrugated bumps and valleys on the eaves. Probably more time was spent driving back and forth for supplies. It is a two hour round trip to get a box of the special screws for the siding, ask me how I know… We made a bold decision to put up dark gray siding with a clear roof and eaves. There is plenty of light coming in the top to keep the plants we store in there when it is cold or get seedlings started and potting supplies. Since we store outdoor games and chairs in there, the opaque sides will be better for us.

Because the building will get warm in the warmer weather we are installing an exhaust fan with a thermostat so that it will move air when it gets too warm and also a vent that will let in fresh air.

We are not done with the building but it is now solid and dried in. That is good news since we are going to have record low temperatures the next few days. The plants will be inside where they will survive.

Altogether we put up 22 panels on the sides in addition to the 16 and spent close to a thousand dollars. That seemed like a lot of money to me but it is a concrete foundation 12 by 15 foot building and would have cost a lot of money to build.

Our next steps on the building are to add stained cedar siding trim on the corners, around the door and window, get shelving and storage built and the inside organized and the fan/vent installed. I also have a window that I will be installing on the back wall to help with ventilation.

We are so happy to have you follow along with us as we work on our projects.

Blessings,

Karen

A Seven Foot Buffet Table for the Far from Perfect Patio

1 Comment

We bought a stainless steel tool bench table top that was dented because it was dropped in shipping for $45.00 a year ago. The top is a stainless steel sheet covering workbench hardboard and weighs 83 lbs.

I didn’t know exactly what we were going to do with the tool bench top but I convinced Mr. Math that we needed it, even if only just for the shop and it was a great deal. Now that we have the deck, I wanted a serving table/ work space sort of what they made at Always Chasing Life . I liked the casters so that we could move around where we needed it. Now that we can move from the the front porch to the back porch all on the same level it will be easy to set up as we need when we once again have groups over to the house. Since our serving table will be outside all the time it needed to be made from treated lumber or painted with outdoor paint or with rot resistant wood. This one has a bit of all that.

We are still working on a budget to get the deck done and I am still trying to get the clutter cleaned up in our storage so I tried hard to not buy anything more than absolutely necessary for this project. I knew we had some 4×4 posts for the legs a friend gave us a while back when they repacked their porch posts. I also remembered that we have scraps of cedar boards around that need to be used up. We just had to purchase 4 2X4 boards and 2 1X4 boards along with casters for the legs to help the 7 foot beast move around easily in order to put this together. I collected the scrap cedar and posts then Mr. Math bought the wood and casters.

The cedar was a variety of lengths and widths. A table saw and planer fixed that.

Mr. Math assembled the frame and I stained and painted it with materials on hand.

I knew I wanted the shelf on bottom to be able to hold things when needed but not hold water when it rains so we spaced the boards four inches apart. We cut the boards for the shelf to width, planed, and sanded most of the old paint and stain off the boards-but not all because I like letting it show through , then sealed the cedar boards with a clear outdoor sealer and finally nailed them to the bottom 2X4’s for additional storage when using it as a serving table. We did leave the center board a little wider to make the spacing work.

L brackets attached the top to the base.

The table is far from perfect just like everything back there and Mr. Math still needs to work on the dents on the top a little more but it looks good and will be useful. It won’t rust or rot outdoors, will be a good work station and food serving space, and will store right next to the house.

The Husky sign side will be the back side of the server, but it isn’t awful.
This ding needs additional love but will never be perfect. I am okay with that.
It will be parked here until the grill gets moved and the deck gets stained. Then it will be under the covered porch.

Altogether we spent about $60.00 on a seven foot long counter height stainless workspace that is far from perfect but I am thrilled to have it. I can’t wait to get everything totally put together and for us to be able to have a blow-out party once the coast is clear on the Covid front.

I hope you are staying safe, and finding reasons to be thankful in this season.

We love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Next Steps on the Deck

Leave a comment

Now that the deck and the porch are connected, I consider them one thing. Not so with Mr. Math. He still considers them separate so I will give you the deck only run down on what we still need to do to get it finished. The porch is on the horizon.

First we need to add cedar around the pergola posts. We want the posts to match the front porch and carport porches like you see below. That will not be a hard project. We will get to keep our feet on the ground most of the time.

Next, we need to add a wind break for where the grill is going to go. We have 5 feet of deck outside the pergola.

I saw this windbreak online and saved it but can’t find the source. Ours is going to look a lot like this only with the boards closer and going around the corner. The gray porch paint and cedar stain will look a lot like this.

We are also going to add Edison patio lights to the pergola and this globe candle holder.

Finally, about August or September we are going to stain the deck with a cedar color. It takes up to six months for the treated wood to be ready to accept stain but the heat and rain seem to be speeding it along. It already has stopped beading water which is a sign it is ready.

Once the deck is finished the porch gets underway.

We are enjoying our summer and hope you are too.

Blessings,

Karen

Phase 1 of the Deck is Done

2 Comments

When I shared with you the Far from Perfect Patio furniture I told you the deck wasn’t ready for you to see yet but as of 11:00 a.m. today, phase 1 of the project is done! Woo hoo!

We have a great group of friends who love to get together to hang out, eat, and drink. Mostly we just want to be together. In early March, everyone showed up at our house for supper. The weather was nice and the group ended up jammed on our 12x 12 back porch.

I took this today and am dying because I forgot to take my next project out of the picture but this is the back porch. The porch is about to have a makeover too. Imagine 12 people in folding chairs, around the table and avoiding the grill on this space.

Having our friends all crowded up on he porch got us thinking that we needed a bigger space in the backyard. We also didn’t have an easy way to move from the carport to the back porch. Most people went through the house to get there. We decided that the best solution was a 12 x 20 deck to connect the porch and the carport. The porch faces west but there are a lot of trees back there to give evening shade.

The first step was to clear the space, grade it to a slight slope away from the house and attach ledge boards to the house and porch.

He did get help to put the giant pergola posts into the 36 inch deep holes. A hardworking college kids came out to help him. Once the pergola posts were in I drilled pilot holes in the deck boards and he screwed them to the joists. We got the whole deck down in one day. Then we headed to our friends’ hot tub to work out the kinks. I didn’t take a single picture of the deck until we got the giant header boards up. I was too exhausted to think. Once again thank goodness for the college kid. We could not have done this alone.

The top of the pergola tested us. We got all rafters up then went on a scheduled camping trip. We returned and it stated to rain. It rained every day at least an inch for a week. We then left again for another camping trip. When we finally came home and could work the pressure treated boards had warped some. We, an I do mean we, Had to get up on the ladders and had to work hard get them back where they belonged so that an end board could be attached at each end. I recommend working with treated lumber as quickly as you can. It is very wet and as it dries it changes shape.

Finally, today Mr. Math got on top of the pergola and attached the cross pieces. We selected rested 1×4 for this part. It took him a while to get things set up but he finished the cross pieces in about an hour. The clean up took almost as long.

I put this watermelon on the table to remind myself that even though we were not super speedy getting the deck done to this point, we weren’t idle. We planted a pretty high garden this year that included squash, zucchini, green beans, purple hull peas, corn cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatillos, okra, cantaloupe and watermelon. I am pretty proud of us.

In the near future we will be wrapping the posts with cedar and adding a wind screen and place for the grill to go. While waiting for the treated wood to be ready to stain we are moving on to the porch. It is in desperate need of love and attention.

I hope that this trying time finds you and yours safe and healthy.

We love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

The Far from Perfect Patio Furniture

1 Comment

Hello friends from Providence Acres where I always seem to have a project going and my sweet husband does the heavy lifting. We are in the process of building a deck on the back of our house. We are adding a total of 240 square feet of semi shaded outdoor space that will connect our carport to our back porch and I cannot wait to get it finished. It has been slow going for us, but we are making steady progress in spite of lots rain, humidity, keeping up with the garden, mowing, and heat. Lots and lots of heat. We set a budget of $2000 to get the porch built and we are going to be close, but a little over. I can’t wait to show it to you but we aren’t quite ready yet. As we worked on the deck I kept thinking about a patio dining table and chairs we had out in our barn. The set was given to us by our buddies across the road. It was rough when we were given it two years ago and storing it in a barn didn’t help it get any better. When we pulled them out of the barn I had my doubts. Serious doubts.

Mr. Math had to rebuild a lot of the table underside. It is a butterfly leaf table which we had never messed with before.
Every chair needed work, some more than others.

The set was probably pretty expensive when purchased and was well used. It had been refinished at least once but probably twice. Anything wooden left exposed to sun, rain and humidity is going to deteriorate without lots of maintenance and this set was no exception. There was rotted wood, loose screws, broken boards, and general wear and tear.

After Mr. Math got it all repaired, and I learned how to use wood Bondo, I used some Behr Low Luster Porch paint the I found on the oops shelf at Home Depot for $9.00. I find the best stuff there and hang on to it until I find the right project for it. I am not sure what the problem was with the paint but it is definitely a Behr porch paint called Sea Cave.

I hand painted the chairs. Every stinking chair. It took me three days. All because I was afraid to use the airless sprayer I bought two months ago. When I came time to paint the table I knew I was never going to get the finish I wanted without using the sprayer. 2 hours of reading and two YouTube videos later, I asked Mr. Math to help me. The sprayer turned this:

All that work, both underside and top side just over an hour including wait time to turn it over. Why was I a scaredy-cat?

Just thought you might like to see some of the repairs. This set will never be mistaken for brand new, but with the paint job it doesn’t look half bad.

The set turned out better than I expected.

I found the cushions at Family Dollar for $5.00 each. They make the chairs more comfortable and add a bit of color.

All together, including the cushions, paint, screws, plates and Bondo this project cost about $40.00. Not bad for adding seating and a table. We are looking forward to having family and friends over to enjoy them.

Progress on the House

3 Comments

Right now, Mr. Math is on summer break from teaching so that means it is house renovation time at Providence Acres.

This is the third summer we have been in the house and we have made some real headway into turning the 1982 ranch house into our vision of a warm and welcoming space for us, our family, and friends to enjoy.

Our first year we ripped up the carpet, installed vinyl plank flooring, painted most of the house, and put in a mudroom, and added recessed lighting throughout the main rooms.

Last summer it was a kitchen makeover that I love, love, love. We now have bright white cabinets, a quartz counter top, and a beautiful farmhouse sink. In order to have the kitchen out of commission, Mr. Math had to put in an outdoor sink, cabinets and a slate tile counter top. Add in electrical and a grill and we had an outdoor kitchen This chick will never do dishes in the bathtub again. He did all the work himself last year except installing the quartz counter top. It was rough.

This year we took on a new challenge, adding a carport, metal roof, and enlarging our front porch. It has already changed the look of home. Mr. Math started the process moving the attach aluminum carport. I promise that one day I will tell you about that process. We did something we rarely do, we hired a contractor to do the work.

First they had to remove the existing concrete.

Removing concrete

They had to extend the pad to match the width of the house.

The construction has gone quickly.

The metal went on quickly. There was one small issue, they didn’t order enough metal for the porch.

The color is Mueller Charcoal

Adding a metal roof to a carport

Mueller metal roof

The progress on the underside is moving along. The cedar roof piece is done, electrical is run, cedar clad on the beams, and Hardy panels on the ceiling of the carport.

Cedar clad beams

Hardy board carport ceiling

I am loving the underside of the front porch. Bead board is being installed and will be stained and sealed.

Bead board

The progress is amazing. I am crazy about the improvement to the look of the home. It is going to be great. We already have our first party scheduled. It is going to be a 50th anniversary for our buddies on the SJ River Ranch.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Bead board ceiling

An Update

Leave a comment

Well hello there. What in the world are you doing still hanging around? The past year has been a real world wind. I will never say anything bad about my job. I love it, a lot. As I wind down to retirement one year from now though my job has been busy.

The demands for the job have meant that I haven’t had much time to do any creative work. That will be changing.

So, here is a quick update on life as a weekend country girl.

  • We are expecting granddaughter number two in mid June. Sweet Amanda and Baby Boy are going to be giving Lucy a sister and we are thrilled. I am getting busy on nursery preparations finally. The sweet girl may not have everything finished before her arrival.
  • The Southern Belle and Joe have left the city that they love and have moved to Denton, Texas for work. I now have all of my kids living in a four hour drive. I am thrilled and will be filling you in on that quirky town soon. They have bought a house and it is going to get a mini makeover before they move in this month.
  • We bought an RV. We have taken it out on the maiden voyage and love it. We have plans for a lot of trips in the future.
  • This week we will start an exterior makeover of our house. I am so excited! We are getting an enlarged front porch, a carport, and exterior paint on the bricks.

I hope you are all doing well. I promise that I will be doing a better job of keeping you up to date from now on.

Thanks for hanging in there. I appreciate you all more than you know.

Blessings,

Karen

The Almost Finished Kitchen

1 Comment

Another epic project is almost finished. We are just lacking the pantry doors, adding a shelf, and painting behind the fridge way from calling this project done.

The quartz counter top is Zodiaq Concrete.

The farmhouse sink has not disappointed.

We ordered it from Wayfair and it is amazing.

The faucet was ordered online, too. I️ cannot remember where it was from.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
e sage green wall, and the cabinet makeover. The hardware was already here, and it is fine.

The plate was my great grandmother’s. It is just the right color.

I️ love our ceiling fan. Yep, it is a small fan and it helps in this climate. Here are a few more shots. I️ am so happy to be finishing up.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Older Entries