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Finds From Our Week in the Woods

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We just spent a week at the Redneck Retreat. The weather was beautiful and we spent the week getting some projects done and spring cleaning. It is the perfect place to walk and enjoy nature. There are trails, creeks, a pond, flowers, and animals a plenty.

While on one of my walks I discovered an interesting dump site. The dump site was virtually all old dumped alcohol bottles. The bottles are tossed in the woods along what at one time was the main road past the land the Redneck is located on when the land was part of the Weir Long Leaf Lumber Company. The article below is from Galveston in 1922. I find it unbelievable that the town, company, railroad, swimming pool etc. was built with the expectation that it would only be there 18 years or until all the virgin timber was gone.

After the mill moved along the land was left in rough shape and the area suffered. It did have one benefit though, until Jasper county changed their laws in 2017, Newton County was a wet county while adjacent Jasper County was dry. Basically you could buy alcohol in Newton country and not Jasper. Our property is just over the county line. The landmark we use to tell people that they need to turn is County Line Liquor.

I can’t imagine why this particular road (trail really) was party central in the 1960’s ( after a little checking most of the bottles and the few cans I saw were from that time) but my guess is that it was a quick trip for more supplies if needed.

I did pull a few bottles off the top and brought them back to clean up.

I loved the green ones so I searched them online. I now know that they were Mickey’s Widemouth Bottles and that they switched from snap on lids to screw on in 1980 but were made starting in the 1950’s.

They are plentiful on ebay and Etsy.

The ones I found will be holding the wildflowers I love to pick when we are up there.

We have lots to still explore on the property and look forward to making memories there for years to come.

We are so blessed to have a place to get away to and share with our family and friends.

We love hearing from you all.

Blessings,

Karen

Kitchen Plans

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Well hello there. I don’t know about you but I seem to have a lot of time on my hands right now. I just watch the news once a day because man, it is heavy. I am working from home 2 1/2 days a week but the whole no commute thing means that I am spending a lot of time daydreaming about projects I want to get done. Poor Mr. Math.

We have three properties that we have projects either currently planned or underway. We ( I ) am/are a little crazy like that. We have our home in little Coldspring, Texas where we recently replaced the flooring in and are now planning to make the laundry room more functional and cute. The big project of turning the Guest Shed into a true guest house is on hold until we can feel good about having contractors on the property. We have a house and garage apartment in Huntsville, Texas that are rental properties. We are going to be doing some landscaping work on soon particularly in the back yard for two little girls who have birthdays coming up, but mostly I have been thinking about the Redneck Retreat in what Apple Maps says is Wiergate, Texas but I think is in Sharpsville. The Redneck is a deer camp and almost exclusively a dude property from October until the end of February. It is a rustic cabin with the only running water coming from rainwater collection and there is no internet or cell service available on the property. The one room cabin sleeps eight in bunk beds and a foldout sofa. I want to start using the camp more to get away and connect with nature. I also want my girlfriends to want to come there. We are near lakes, Louisiana, and sweet little East Texas towns that need to be explored. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Redneck kitchen while mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest after we started the process to get the kitchen up to a functional state (yay for a vent hood and working microwave!) I now have a plan of sorts for the rest of the kitchen. I say of sorts because we are still thinking about the base cabinets. We are either going to just buy stock unfinished cabinets and paint them or we are going to modify what is there and add cabinet doors/ drawers then paint. The top cabinets are all going to be white, the bottoms are going to be a sage-ish green. Our Habitat Restore has recycled paint that they sell for much less than retail paint in the following colors. I am planning on Spring.

Here is my inspiration:

A Beautiful Mess

The countertop is going to be black Ikea laminate. It will take 3 sections of the laminate to get the u-shaped kitchen completed. Of course the laminate is going to have to wait. Ikea is closed. Just for grins I looked at what it would cost to ship the laminate to us. It would be more than the cost of the laminate for it to come that way but a girl can dream.

Easter week we will be unplugging at the Redneck and will be getting the last two sections of upper cabinets in and we will be deciding what we want to do on the lower cabinets. We will be measuring, drawing and dreaming. When I look at the different counter top levels and pieces, I know whatever we do it will be an improvement.

I definitely know I want a closet to the right of the section of cabinets in the picture below for brooms, mops, cleaning supplies etc. That move will help to relocate the drinking water we have to bring with us closer to the stove and sink. I even have a great vintage door that I think would work there.

We are headed the property over the Easter holiday and I am looking forward to making progress.

We love hearing from you,

Blessings,

Karen

Open Live Edge Shelving

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The absolute ugliest bank of cabinets at the Redneck Retreat were to the left of the sink.  They sagged, one of them had the Formica peeled off, and they were huge.

I couldn’t live with them in the kitchen.  They were nasty.  Since this was the week we were already going to be replacing the vent hood to nowhere and adding three new cabinets, it was time for them to go too.

Out in our shop we had some cedar that I knew would be perfect for live edge shelving.

If it didn’t rain all week while we were at the Redneck Retreat this would have been a snap to get done.   The only problems we had with this project was getting polyurethane to dry and not getting matching paint for the wall after the cabinets came down.  The paint situation meant that the whole kitchen got a new coat and soon the rest of the cabin will get the same treatment.

The cedar planks were all about a foot wide and ended up getting cut to about 60 inches in length. I had to drag them into to house to get the polyurethaning done.

They are so pretty. Mr. Math ran them through the planer and a simple sanding made the wood grain really stand out.

I am excited to get the rest of the kitchen done. We have more uppers to add, counter tops to install, bottom cabinets to do something with, and a broom closet but this is progress.

This whole project, including paint, poly, and shelf brackets was just over $50.00.  I think it makes a good look for the rustic look of the cabin.

Another find in storage was the glass pendant light. Several years ago I paid $10.00 for it on clearance at Home Depot.

The kitchen is coming along.

Thanks for following our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

 

Kitchen Work at the Redneck Retreat

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I bet some of you are wondering just how full of stuff was the guest shed since the last four posts were about stuff I am getting moved out of there.  Well, it was really, really full.  So full in fact that I forgot all about some of the things in there, even things that we could use right now if only we remembered that we had them.

In the great shed clean out of 2020  I forgot I had three kitchen upper cabinets that our neighbors in our suburban house gave us five or so years ago.  They are your basic oak front cabinets with particle board on everything except the front oak part. We were gifted one over the stove cabinet, and two 30 inch upper cabinets.

As soon as we unearthed them, I  knew immediately where those puppies needed to go.  They were destined for Redneck Retreat- our little cabin that sits on 130 acres in Newton County, Texas.  Most of the time this property is just the domain of dudes.  From September until January it is filled with hunters who really don’t care what the place looks like as long as the deer stands are wasp and rat free they are happy. The Redneck is a one room cabin with three sets of bunk beds, a queen fold out couch, bathroom, and kitchen… well sort of a kitchen.

The photo above is a picture of the kitchen after my buddy The Social Planner and I cleaned it.  There are no photos of the kitchen before cleaning to protect the innocent. The builder of the cabin was a building contractor. He used materials that others were taking out of their homes and offices to build the cabin. It is an eclectic mix of brass, Formica, scrap wood, cut glass light fixtures along with donated appliances. The building is solid, level and has air conditioning and a wood burning stove so the problems are all related to how it looks.

The outlet and switch covers above are all three on one wall in the kitchen and within three feet of each other. The stove, fridge, and sink work so I guess technically it is a functioning kitchen.  The cabinets, counter tops, appliances, and walls… not so much. I especially like the vent hood that goes nowhere.

With the three found cabinets and an awesome microwave oven my parents gave us that was almost new because of a Hurricane Harvey flood and a total kitchen remodel two years ago.  It was also hanging out in the shed just waiting for a home. We had some time so we headed to the woods to do some work.

Our plan was to

  • Take down the back wall two cabinets and vent hood
  • Take down the cabinets to the left of the sink.
  • Prime and paint the found cabinets
  • Polyurethane three cedar live edge boards for shelves
  • Install the microwave and vent it outdoors to reduce moisture in the cabin
  • Install the cabinets
  • Install cedar shelves

The weather forecast was two days of rain free days followed by three days of rain.   We planned on getting all of the painting and polyurethane done out in our tarp covered space before the rain set in. The weather folks missed the mark.  We got there in the rain, it rained all day, then the next, and the next. We had to get creative to get things dry.  Everything had to be brought inside with heaters on and ceiling fans running in order to get the paint dry enough.

The former doctor office cabinets came down pretty easily.  We filled the front porch with particle board cabinets then moved on to the install of the upper cabinet above the microwave and the microwave that is vented to the outdoors.  It was important that this part get installed first because the other two cabinets would have to be installed around it.  I am ever so thankful for a “Mathy” husband when it came to installing the microwave and cabinet, cutting the holes in the bottom and back then  figuring out the height, then the microwave and venting it through the outside wall all without the template that would have come with the microwave if it were new.

Working and living in a one room cabin was rough folks. Don’t judge the clutter. It was driving me crazy moving stuff around so that we could work. Getting the venting to go outside was a scary.  Mr. Math only missed on the outlet hole and that was because we both forgot to get it cut until we were just about to install the cabinet.  It was a rush job that even though it works, looks a little rough.  Everything else looks perfect in a really imperfect cabinet.

The difference in the wall after the upper cabinets were installed makes me so happy!

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We still have bottom cabinet issues to address like ugly mismatched counter heights, and lack of actual cabinets below really bad Formica counter tops that are pieced together. but wow, it looks so much better on the top half.  I will focus on that for now.

It was a productive week at the Redneck.

I can’t wait to show you the cedar shelves.

I hope you all have had a great weekend.

Blessings,

Karen