Farm House Update: Week 4

Well it was a week of highs and lows all around. We lost Vladimir to a stroke on Wednesday, which just put a heavy cloud over the week.  There was a lot of grief and sad painting – I’m happy I kept working though, because now I feel like a lot was accomplished.

The Low:

I need a new main panel. F*&k! The connection tabs on the bus had been roughed up by the former owners and it’s such a severe issue the electrician (now that he’s involved) is going to replace the whole thing.  This will require a permit so because the garage wiring is so bad/not to code we actually have to disconnect the garage and cap it so the inspector does not fail the work. I just keep having flash backs to the listing ‘AS-IS’ – and indeed it is….. The photo below shows MY inspector complaining about a breaker that does not match…. no mention of circled broken tab on bus. I am learning a LOT about electrical work though – pretty fun. Except for the whole spending money part.

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The Highs:

Painting like a mofo –

Got the living/dining room in progress with 1 1/2 coats – still need to do the ceiling and the interesting trim on those cove ceilings.

Finished the bedroom!

Before – rusted windows, major plaster damage on windows, WHITE, wonky window treatments…

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AFTER!

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grey walls and new white trim.

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I again had to refinish another window since it was rusted severely.

Plus the bathroom is 99% done! In the next week or so I’ll post a total before and after on the bathroom. I have done so much work in here – it’s so nice looking now! 🙂

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The water works! You can read that post here.

 

I’ll post a home tour video here tomorrow of the top floor – while it’s in reno status. So stay tuned. We are getting so close!

 

Finally, Water at the Farm House!

We FINALLY have running water at the house!  Some excellent news in a really sad week for us.  This all could have been A LOT worse – but it was still pretty bad.  I’m certain the only way this could have been even worse is if we were having to actually live in the home while we had no running water. Also heads up, this post is a long one.

“How did it all begin?” You might wonder.  You might also wonder why I would ever buy a house without running water or how I could get my home loan, knowing the lender wouldn’t go for it.

Well, for starters….. I have a well.  That in itself should lay the ground work for the clusterf*ck that we have embarked on to get water. Now typically a well is not a BFD – most generally whoever owns the well has information about it like depth, age of pump in the well, location of well, age of well, etc.  Most folks actually spend some of their time ensuring their well is safe, working, and dependable.  Well, not the folks I bought from. They didn’t know anything about their well system, except the fact that they got ‘free’ water from it.  But, in the inspection process I did my due diligence.  I learned all about wells, well pumps, bacteria, ecoli… anything that could make owning a well difficult. And to be honest the well was/is still a huge ‘plus’ for me.  I got the water tested and figured out what I needed to do to prolong my pipes, appliances, and make sure I was drinking the safest water possible. In fact, the ONLY concession the seller gave me was a $750 reverse osmosis system for my kitchen sink (it’s basically a few step filter system to ensure that drinking water is 100% perfect).

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this is my hand dug – in a rusted steel drum well head.

Okay where was I?  Ah yes, why would I buy a house without running water? Well, the only time I saw ‘water not functional’ was on the official appraisal – and I actually found the fix with my realtor.  A switch had been turned off by MY sewer guy that powered the socket that the pump was plugged into! Excellent fixed it! Well, on my final walk through I noticed the seller had ‘fiddled’ with the pressure switch (that tells the tank it’s full), but after the awful contract we had, I didn’t push buttons at close and the seller actually said it was working.    And it did work for 1 flush of the toilet.  Then the pump burned the socket out and ta-da! no water on my first day of possession. Remember that communication while under contract has to be the WORST process ever – so they never heard I fixed the water – they decided to upgrade the pressure switch for me… so nice.

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my well system is in that weird cut out space on the right… next to the old shitter…. the thing on the left is my ejector pump….

Repairing a well or the well system in my case isn’t usually a big deal, if you have all the information you need. In my case, I can only use one well company because my well is not permitted or registered and only the good folks at Geowater will work on my hillbilly clusterf*ck.  I know, I get it – I think we’ve all established that I love difficulty let’s continue.  Well I first had Geowater come out to see what was going on.  We established the electrical was shite – something we really started worrying about in terms of safety for those big amp items. The root of the no water problem was the pressure switch was installed wrong – house warming gift from ma and pa hillbilly.  That incorrect installation told the pressure switch on the jet pump to ‘fill the tank to 25psi’ but the pressure would only climb to 20 psi and would never fill – thus the jet pump ran for so long that it burned out the socket it was plugged into…. because the breaker didn’t know to trip……

Anyways. Okay now we have three issues; I have no water, my jet pump is broken, AND the electrical is not set up to support a jet pump safely. Perfect.

12 EASY Steps to fixing the well water:

  1. re-prioritize the ‘to-do’ list to accommodate cost/time of fix
  2. call Geowater back and schedule new appointment
  3. say all sorts of bad things about former owners to self while driving to starbucks to pee while working on new house
  4. realize that Geowater is installing the reverse osmosis system – not fixing the pump on their scheduled visit – communication crossed with existing project
  5. call Geowater and schedule appointment to REPLACE well system
  6. Geowater places equipment and electrical box – can’t turn on water though
  7. Geowater comes back and hooks up water, tests pump – but can’t leave on because of electrical
  8. Realize that fridge water line you cut in abandon was actually connected BEFORE main water shut off, so lots of water is actually all over kitchen floor
  9. Turn off fridge water line
  10. have electrician come out to label panel and beg him to wire well system to own breaker
  11. have uncle (HVAC professional) seal drip on jet pump – since we couldn’t run it long enough to test when well guy was here
  12. FINALLY HAVE RUNNING WATER

It only took me just 2 days shy of a MONTH to make these 12 steps happen…..

New Well System:

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The new system. Moved out of the crawl space – hooked to own fuse box.
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New larger tank and 1/2 horsepower jet pump.

Anyways! yay water! I think by 2018 I’ll have ‘free’ water again 😉

 

What do you grow in your garden?

For the first time ever, I have space for a garden!  So of course, I’m embarking on full homesteading! My dream come true – You know two summers ago I got to help my buddies at IGLOO – Sustainability Group plant their garden so I’m so excited to have my own! Here are the tentative plans for this upcoming season.

Space: 

We will locate 2 – 4x8ft garden beds on the west side of our house which gets full sun exposure.  We also know this part was used as a ‘garden’ before and was not used for some weird renter parking lot*.  We also know that if we have success and want to expand forward we can do so on this portion of the house.  Further, I HATE grass – so using the space would be not only beautiful, but help make less wasted lawn space. Sorry Lois, I know you are sad you raised someone who doesn’t love a green grass yard as much as you ;).   *see photo below

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What Will We Grow?

Cold Season Crops:

Beets, Kale, Cilantro, Broccolini (tiny broccoli!)

Warm Season Crops:

Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumber, Chives, Rosemary, etc. herbs.

Materials:

We are going to be using Douglas Fir wood for the beds (not Cedar due to small savings in cost).  Yes, we will probably have to replace these in 5-10 years, but oh well – who knows what our garden will look like in 5-10 years anyways.

We are going to install a drip irrigation system on each bed that will be attached to a spigot timer.  We will also install some PVC frames for UV/Shade/Hail protection covering. Since it is Colorado this is a must not only for our location of the beds in full sun, but also for those freak hail storms that can ruin months of work in one afternoon.

We plan on getting underway with the garden on April 30th so expect a mapped out update for grid placement in the beds before then!

Of course I’ll also start my SCOBY/Kombucha up again and possibly dabble in some mushrooms if not too intensive.

Some other cool things will be all the canning, cooking/recipes – that will follow this summer/fall.

Anyways – any tips or advice to this newbie are MORE than welcome. Can’t wait to share what I discover.  What do you grow in your garden?

 

 

 

Farm House Update: Week 3

Well, we are 3 weeks underway of getting the farmhouse – livable.

Here are the things we have done:

  1. removed all bathrooms that were not supposed to be there
  2. re-did the main bathroom on the first floor
  3. removed all debris from the yard/house
  4. starting painting
  5. hung window treatments
  6. got all new appliances
  7. installed new well system
  8. installed washer & dryer
  9. repaired all rusted windows
  10. removed paint from all window sills
  11. installed new furnace and water heater

It’s been A LOT of work.  Thankfully, Lois has been a huge help with most of these items – the yard looks 1000% better due to her. On the days we were able to tackle things together it felt like we got a lot more done than I would have ever imagined.  My Pops has been a major help in figuring out what we can/can’t do electrical wise and prepping for Connelly Power Co to jump in on some things.  We still can’t live there until we resolve the electrical issue for the water pump/well system. That is the most frustrating part, since we really can’t live there without water, but everything will be easier to work on, continue to deal with once we live there.  Right now, every moment over there has to be utilized 100% so I think I speak for everyone, but I’m tired.  I love working on the house and it is really rewarding and exciting, but it’s just hard to not have a bathroom to use there, or water to use – and it’s hard to drive back and forth to our apartment in Broomfield (30 minutes away). Eh, but why am I bitching? I fought super hard to do all this – just at a different pace I think, but oh well in a months time or less it won’t feel ‘so close, yet so far’.  Plus, a lot of the things I had planned on spacing out over 2 years will now just be done. So when we do move in we can literally just start enjoying it instead of prolonging some of this fun.

Moving forward I’ll being doing more ‘before and after’ shots on our progress – now that there are some really impressive ‘afters’!

Thanks again, Lois, Pops, Uncle Mark (MD Services – my HVAC/plumbing hero), Aunt Lori, and everyone else in their virtual support so far in helping us get this fixer upper livable!

Here are some photos of the recent happenings:

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Lois cleaned up the front yard and what a difference! So clean and pretty!
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just some of the yard debris we cleaned up – broken glass/car parts?
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it’s the simple things although it is still un-used due to no water at the house. 

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Leopold was in love with the house – and so cute on his house tour.
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A sight for sore eyes – new well jet pump and tank (note no longer in the crawl space under the stairs).
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‘oily beau hunk’ installs my cellular ikea blinds also Sixteen Candles joke. 
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new washer and dryer – thanks pops and cym! 
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window sill- i’m blue da bo dee ba de dow….. 
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look at the sexy new copper plumbing for my washroom…. rawwwr!
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before: yard cage for former tenants that didn’t pay rent…..
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after: bunny coop/chicken larvae den removed. just a nice space for appropriate plants.

 

 

Night of the Living Demo

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Well, it’s demo city over at the farm house. For starters we had to remove so much crap/trash the former owners left as well as just tear out some disgusting bathrooms and ‘enhanced features’ that were growing/rotting/squating all over the property.  That 30ft roll-off was packed to the gills. “Don’t let it go over the top!” Lois said 10 million times. And by jove we didn’t let the trash go over the top.

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Since I decided I would do a little refresh on the bathroom, things have gotten out of hand.  There will be a true transformation post about the bathroom in about a week, by the way.  This is a photo of me in my gas mask as I sanded, poured Xstripper all over the cabinet and tried to remove 5 layers of paint. 2 base coats were lead… AWESOME.

Here is the before of my ‘en suite’ aka the corner of a bedroom. Notice the lovely blue color scheme. The creepy  bathroom  was added into this bedroom in the 90s.  There was no water-proofing, no prep, and no attention to what a bathroom that is not supposed to be in a bedroom would do long-term.

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The hardwoods have massive holes in them from the shower drain and the toilet fitting.  Not to mention they are all warped and swollen from years of being under peel-and-stick linoleum. The plaster wall is ruined due to the hammer hole plumbing insert method they used.  It is the epitome of what someone who had zero money and had just enough knowledge about something would do. AKA homeowner’s special.

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Here is me in the bathroom again, because I worked on ‘refreshing’ the room with some new paint, I also decided we needed to redo all the caulking which led to sanding down the rusty window and repainting that too.  In fact, there was so much cleaner used it lightened my hair substantially lol 😉 26011364146_93c8378ac4_z

Ah and now the piece de resistance! The downstairs bathroom…. One of the creepiest, ill fit and just disgusting bathrooms I’ve ever seen, let alone owned.  Lightbulb in the shower? CHECK. Carpet? CHECK.  The well system is actually that cut out hole you see in the right of the bottom right comparison photo.  You could sit on the toilet and work on the well system…. efficient for sure…. That well system will be moved out into the new utility room now that the bathroom has been 86’ed from the layout.  Eventually we will put another bathroom in the basement where there is enough space to actually have one, but for now just having the appropriate space to work on the well system or that ejector pump.

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We still don’t have running water at the house, but hopefully that will be fixed very soon.  Thanks former home owner for breaking the pressure switch and jet pump the night before closing! Appreciate you!

Then on to electrical work to see what fun we can have next!

More updates to come… and more before and afters of the yard… DUN DUN DUN!