Sunday, February 11, 2018

Fixing up the 1900 House

Well, things here in Granville are very snowy and icy.  Last Sunday, we got 12 inches of snow and then another 9 on Wednesday.  Then yesterday and today, we got sleet and rain, so now we have mounds of ice and sheets of ice. 
We still had church today though!!  :D
I figured that I'd post another update on the house.  Of course, these updates and are from the autumn.  In September, we tore the shingles off of the garage and addition roof. 

Then Dan built new tresses and roof to just go over top of the old one. 

We decided that instead of re-doing it with shingles, we would put a tin roof on.  It was certainly cheaper...

As you can see, if you compare this picture to the third one in this post, Dan built a new roof addition to cover the basement entrance and the addition entrance.  Before, the rain water was running straight down the side of the house and into the basement. 
We rented that dumpster and filled it to the brim...  

Another thing that needed to be fixed was the water main going to the house.  Sometime in the vacant years, it had busted during a hard freeze.  Our options were either to rent a mini excavator and dig it up ourselves or to pay someone else to do it.  And considering the fact that we had no idea WHERE the mess was in the 60-something feet of water main, we decided to just pay someone to do it.  It was a good thing that Dan told him to start digging right next to the house too, because that was where the bust was! 

In the back of the house, at the addition, there is a serious buildup of dirt.  One of our spring/summer projects this year will be to grade the whole property either by hand or with a bobcat.  This excess dirt has built up around the whole foundation and causes the water to just sit, eventually seeping into the addition.  Thus, causing lots of rot.  Of course we won't do the grading until it is warm out again, but we were able to put in a sidewalk, which helps quite a bit. 

Dan did the hard part.  I mixed the cement. 

This past week, Dan took out the tub in the downstairs bathroom and found a shower on craigslist that has never been used before.  So it will be nice to have two full bathrooms now, instead of just one and a half baths. 

Between the snow and icy weather, I have been staying indoors a lot.  I am really looking forward to it warming up, even though I still LOVE the winter weather.  The baby Shedd is growing fast.  We go to another midwife appointment Tuesday, and I always look forward to hearing the heartbeat.   
I will try to post sooner next time.  Hope you all are doing great!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Fixer- Upper # Two

In July of 2017, when we moved to Granville NY, Dan and I began looking for a fixer-upper to purchase and fix.  Because Dan has the ability to fix anything, it makes the most sense to invest in a fixer-upper.  Also, we are firm believers in investing in real estate rather than in the stockmarket. 
After looking for only a day on Zillow, I found this green house in downtown village of Granville. 
It had been vacant for five years and had gone through several owners before that who had to go through foreclosures.  It was bank-owned and had been on the market for awhile.  Dan and I toured the house and small property and he was able to assess the damage and estimate the cost and labor of fixing it all.  We made a low offer and it was accepted right away, so by the end of August, we were homeowners of our second fixer-upper!
I got to work right away on the things that I CAN do.  I'm not very handy with fixing things, but I can pull weeds and clean.  So I started with this front flower bed, taking all of the colored slate out and re-stacking it nicely. 


This was when I finished.

The side porch is basically completely rotten, so this spring, we will tear it down and build a new, smaller (because this one is big and annoying to drive by) one. 
But in August, I just started by pulling all of the weeds out...

The back of the house is in the most rough condition.  You can probably see the rotten wood on the backside of the house.  This is due partly to the fact that the house has no gutters for the rain to be redirected.  It would just gather and sit, causing the rot.  The addition (on the right hand part of the picture) was rotten through as well; at least the bottom few feet of the structure.  The roof of the addition also was.  The shingles were old and leaked water, plus they were not installed correctly.  The slope of the roof was too gradual, and not steep enough and the water would sit there as well.  As for the ground...
The entire back side of the house has dirt built up around it so much so that the water had nowhere to drain AWAY from the house.  Instead, it would sit until it seeped into the wood, causing it to rot.  The basement was pretty wet as well because of this. 

The outside basement entrance was covered only with these rotten boards...

The previous owner must have desired to use the wood furnace, so he dumped a truckload full of wood blocks down the steps, breaking them and the door in the process.  He ended up never using all of that wood which had water sitting in it, rotted.  Al came over and helped us clean the whole thing out.  You should have smelled the mold and rotten wood...ugh.

Of course, there were random piles of stuff the previous owners just dumped outside and let sit for years.  There were seven bicycles- all rusted through and trash though...

I WAS able to pick through the trash and find three trash bags full of plastic bottles and aluminum cans, which I was able to recycle for $6!  :D

This was after I cleaned out the back of the garage enough to actually be able to see the neighbors shed!

And this was after the backyard was finished.

As you can see, the garage roof was completely rotten with huge holes in it.  Someone had previously thrown a tarp over it, but by 2017, the tarp was rotten through as well. 

This was after I finished cleaning the backyard. 

The left side of the house was completely covered in wild grape vines and bamboo.  I took this picture after I had been worked on pulling them out all day.  Before I started, they were covering the first floor windows entirely. 

This was after I was almost finished. 

I don't want to bore you all to death with my fixer-upper pictures, so I'll post them in different segments.  We tried to take advantage of the nicer weather in September, October and part of November before it got so cold to do outside work.  Beyond re-plumbing the house, nothing has been done to the inside yet.  In my next "fixer-upper" post, I'll show you all the work we did to the outside of the house.  Actually, Dan did the work...I helped pull shingles off and carry trash to the dumpster, but otherwise, he did all of the work. 
I'm already looking forward to the spring when we can really get to work!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Life in the now...

In my last post, I said that I would show you all pictures of what Dan made me for my Christmas presents!  Well, I have had these old family photos from my mothers side of the family for several years now, but just haven't been able to find the right sized frames for them.  I mentioned it to Dan one day that I really wanted to frame these pictures.  He asked to see them, and then made me these frames, using wood from our old house in Baltimore and wood from the brush area behind our house here in New York. 
I love them so much!
Taking pictures of pictures sometimes ends up looking odd because of all the light in the reflections. 

Those were for sure my favorite Christmas gifts! 
We have been keeping ourselves busy!  Last week, Dan found an Amish family in Whitehall who owns a sawmill and sells truckloads of firewood for cheap, so he went and got two pickup loads full.  It was cheap because they were still log-sized.  So we spent a day cutting it up, and carrying it down into the basement of our house downtown. 

My next post will be updating you all about our house downtown.  I haven't posted about it before, but we purchased another fixer-upper.  Check back in the next few days for a long post about that!
When I went to visit my family at New Years, my dad gave me a huge box full of apples.  So I made applesauce one day.  Dan absolutely loves applesauce, so it worked out perfectly!  I've been saving up every emptied cottage cheese and yogurt container for a few months now.  I knew they would come in handy...I just didn't know what I'd end up using them for!
And the last two pictures aren't really news or anything, but just things I wanted to share. 
The other day, I couldn't figure out what to have for lunch and raided the fridge to see what I could come up with that wouldn't be too hard or take too long.  I found two packages of those canned crescent rolls that are buttery and delicious.  I had bought them for a Christmas party in the beginning of December and ended up not needing them all.  So I decided to make a Stromboli with them.  Since I didn't have any ham or sausage or pepperoni on hand, I used bacon. 
It was amazing. 
We ate the whole Stromboli in one sitting.

And the other morning, I decided to try making egg and cottage cheese pancakes.  My midwife reminded me that I need to be making sure I get enough protein, so cottage cheese is my go-to protein food. 
Anyway, they were delicious! 

So that's it for this post.  Again, check back later if you'd like to see the fixer upper we bought in downtown Granville! 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Bring on the New Year!

Well hello after all of the holidays, readers!  I We had a great Christmas Eve service at our church, both morning and evening.  On Christmas Day, Dan went and plowed since we got some snow on Christmas Eve.  I got the house cleaned and finished wrapping Dan's Christmas presents. 
This year, we both decided that we didn't want any expensive gifts.  So Dan made me most of my Christmas presents!  I will post pictures of them in my next post.  The other presents we got came from the Dollar Tree.  Honestly, you can get a lot of good stuff at the Dollar Tree- needful things that you will actually use.  So we did that this year. 
Dan's mother flew into Albany on Christmas afternoon and we picked her up at the airport, brought her home and ate Christmas dinner.  It was a nice time. 
The week passed very quickly, even though the temperatures were verrrry low.  
On New Years Day, Dan and I drove down to Pennsylvania to spend the day with my family.  It was a great day. 
I took tons of pictures, so please bear with me!  I rarely get to see my family, so when I do, I go camera-crazy! :D
Mark, holding Charlotte, his daughter. 

Oliver, holding Isabelle, his daughter!
And Ryan, holding Caroline, his very newborn daughter!  She was only born the week before Christmas!

I got to hold little Caroline as well.  She is so tiny and cute!

My mother, holding Charlotte.

Since the number of nieces and nephews grows every year, we don't buy each child presents.  Instead, each child has a stocking and we all bring some small things to fill the stockings with.  It seems to work very well and I think the kids really enjoy it. 
I got a few pictures of them, sifting through the Goods!

Little Willy

Tabitha and Abigail


After that, the children went to play with toys or eat their candy from the stockings- I'm not sure which!  :)  Then the adults did a gift exchange.  I think this years exchange was the best so far!
Sarah, opening her present.

Lizzie, with Oliver and Isabelle looking on.

Daniel picked an awesome present!  Turned out to be women's lotions and body wash! :D

Martha, opening her present.

Mark's gift was funny. 

Daniel had brought the gift Mark opened, and each box contained another box which contained yet another box.  After unwrapping five boxes (I think), Mark thought this was his present.  Of course, it was just the box and the present was still inside yet another box. 

Billy found the one gift card!

Lydia, opening her present.

Annnnnd, she got ratchet straps!  The really nice kind!!  :D

I really wanted to take this picture, because this past year (2017) was the first year that all five of us (Keckler sisters) were all pregnant at the same time.  So from the Left to the right...
Lizzie had her baby in August
Lydia had her baby in October
Katie had her baby in December
Martha is due to have her TWIN babies in March
Sarah is due to have her baby in April
And I am due in May. 
Pretty amazing. 

Then of course, our traditional family group photo!  The lighting wasn't very good on the camera, but at least you can see all of the faces! :D

It really WAS an incredible New Year.  Of course, this post is rather late, since it has already been 2018 for a week now. 
Though late, I wish you all a happy 2018!