November

The wood stove has been hooked up for two weeks now.  We love it.  Nothing like a piping hot stove on a cold night.  I see a forecast high of twenty five for Sunday, which would be a much scarier thing if we were just using the two electric heaters we had before.  But the wood is stocked and waiting, so things will be all right. 

The wood stove has also been great for drying joint compound, aka “mud”.  I now have the finish coat of mud on the walls, and will be sanding it in the next time I have a few hours free.  Hopefully very soon.  Then we can paint the walls and do the kitchen floor, and after that install cabinets and fixtures.  Not too far from having a completed, functional kitchen.  It’s a great milestone, especially with the winter coming on.  The winter is much better when you have a good place to make a hot meal.  Looking forward to it very much.

We have also been taking advantage of few forty-degree days to get more work done on siding repair.  Hopefully we will have something picture-worthy soon.  At this point we will probably have to wait until the spring to paint the new pieces of clapboard, unless we are lucky with a random fifty degree day in late January.  Hey, it has happened before.  In history.  The side door I installed Julyish finally has a set of stairs to go with it, which is a wonderful thing.  I took some of the bricks from the chimneys we dismantled and made a little walking pad in front of the steps, to avoid the scourge of mudfoot.  A light by the door will be a spring/summer project.

All the while we have been doing weatherization projects, especially since we are heating part of the house now.  We still have a few basement windows to reglass and paint, and I am in the process of building a concrete block wall to separate the basement from the space under the front porch.  When we bought it, the two were one.  That cannot be allowed.  Same situation at the back of the house, where the basement meets the crawlspace under the shed roof addition.  Just a giant opening to let local critters come in and get out of the wind.  That, at least, is now fully shut and insulated.

So on we go, through November.

I Have Seen Ice

Outside our door on Monday morning, I saw a small bucket that had filled with rainwater.  On the surface of the water was a film of ice.  I took note of this.

Painting has been the top priority at the house these days, since painting weather is just about gone.  We have the north side of the house just about done and put away, but the south side of the house is still mostly primer.  It is generally not a good idea to let bare primer overwinter, so any day when it gets to fifty degrees (or just close, if it’s sunny), that is what we do.  The forecast now gives us less than a handful of painting days left.  Realistically, we will not get every last bit of the house caulked and painted before winter, but I think we’ll get close enough.

On days when painting is not an option, inside work moves forward.  The photo below is of the future kitchen, which has been plumbed, wired, insulated and now drywalled.  Tape and mud coming soon.  Paint to follow, then floor, cabinets and, finally, sink, dishwasher & fridge.  Washing dishes in the sink will be a major victory.Image

The colder weather has provided inspiration for another indoor project: the wood stove.  We purchased a DutchWest wood stove via craigslist and are just now getting to installing it.  The stove will sit in the kitchen, which is relatively central in the house.  The photo below is of the newly-installed thimble, which is the passageway from the outside of the chimney into the flue.  A few bricks had to be removed from the chimney to make the hole, and then the flue cut to accept the thimble.  An angle grinder with a masonry wheel offers precision for this sort of thing, but boy does it make a lot of dust.  Brought me back to the summer I spent repointing a brick storefront in North Tonawanda.

For insulating behind the chimney, I used rock wool, which is fire resistant.  I sealed gaps with fire-blocking spray foam.  Our chimney is in solid shape, but extra caution around a flame source is always a good idea.

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Getting wood for the wood stove was easy; we have a neighbor who cuts and splits firewood as a side job.  We picked up five face cords from him, and stocked over half of it on pallets in the basement (our basement stays mostly dry, which is a blessing).  When moving firewood, enlist the help of friends.  The job will go that much faster and you can all enjoy some well-deserved pizza and beer at the end.  For easy loading into the basement, we covered the stairs and stairway walls with scrap pieces of OSB (aka chipboard) and turned it into a chute.  One man at the top send the firewood down, two at the bottom to gather and stack it.  Good verbal communication keeps everyone’s forehead intact.Image

The wood stove.  While waiting to be hooked up, it seems to be serving as a handy work table.  It loads from the side as well as the front, and comes equipped with a catalytic combuster for a cleaner burn.  We built a brick pad in front of the chimney for the stove to sit on.

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Almost forgot about this ‘ol boy.  The ancient furnace in the basement is still an unknown.  The gas is getting turned on Monday, so soon enough we’ll see if it still kicks on.  Code-required CO detector is in place.  Ideally, we would have a furnace to keep the house a base temperature, and use the wood stove to achieve a more comfortable heat.  But even if the furnace turns out to be a dud, hot water and a working oven will be plenty to be thankful for.

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