Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I'm not sure why, but all of my pics have been deleted from where they were stored.  Wasn't me, didn't do it.  I use those pics far too often to have done away with them.  I'm inquiring as to what happened to them and whether they can be retrieved, but from what I read, it doesn't look good for retrieval.  I will try to rebuild what was here since I use it for reference to remember how I did stuff.  Bear with me.  This might take years!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

What's Inside?

 Ok, so we've gotten a little peek at the outside of the house we bought earlier this year, so now let's have a look at what it looked like inside.  This is where ya poke, peek, prod, and generally snoop around and see if a place has any merit.  This is the part that many people overlook due to the number of distractions involved.  The house wasn't on the proper market at the time but had been listed previously with no luck.  I hear people may have run away from here screaming.

When we bought the house, it was still full of stuff-and by full, I mean slam-full.  We had agreed with the seller that the auction could be held after the purchase as the first available time the auctioneer had available was two weeks later.  In the meantime, we cleaned, cleaned, CLEANED, and finally got most of the kitchen done.  Yep, pretty much just the kitchen and bath were cleaned before the auction.  You'll see why, well...kind of.  You really can't imagine the cooking goo and creepy stuff on everything in the room.  Gallons of bleach, straight ammonia, several pair of rubber gloves and a nice hard paint stripping brush helped, but tons of elbow grease was still required.  Wanna see?


Did I mention some kind of smoke stains on the ceiling and soffits?  That's the door to the laundry room there on the left.







Speaking of the laundry room, let's go have a look...


 This is the view from the kitchen to the door to the back porch.



The laundry area obviously.


Kind of interesting cabinet for storage.



Wonder what's up with that hump???  Still, it isn't something that can't be dealt with.

So, it's on the the bath of which there is only one.  By the way, did I mention we moved from a 6 bedroom, 4 bath house to a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house?  One bath took some getting used to.

 I'm just guessing, but I don't think a decorator lived here.  It's nice that the really disgusting stuff doesn't show up much in the pics. 

The previous owners were an older couple as were the 2 previous owners before them.  For reasons of mobility and comfort some alterations were made to the bathroom.  Notice the toilet on blocks?  I'm guessing that this was installed prior to the invention of the comfort height toilet.  The toilet is mounted on a stack of three 2x12s.  It's actually quite comfortable, but relatively unattractive.

On to the dining room.  While small and full of window and doors, at least there's a dining room which was one of my requirements as was an eat-in area in the kitchen.

See the hinges on the door to the right?  We discovered that someone had removed the French doors that belonged there.  Luckily, they kept them and we found them in the attic in perfect shape.

The missing French doors lead to the living room which is large enough to be functional and comfortable.  The door at the far end leads to the side porch.


If you look past the rather unpleasant combination of furnishings and decor, it's actually a pretty decent room.

While it's unfortunate that the open front door gives a passerby a straight view down the hall and right into the bathroom, it does have a hall-one of the features on my "list."


Of course the bedrooms are off the hall on the left. 

This room was actually used by Mrs. Previous Owner (who passed away 3 years earlier which was why her widower was selling the place.)  Personally, I wouldn't be able to breathe with all that stuff in there.

The Mr. had the room next door.

He was a little tidier than his wife.  And we actually like the wallpaper by the way. :)

So, that pretty much sums up the house as we bought it.  We moved in the middle of May, so we've been here 6 months.  Guess what we've been doing after work and on weekends?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here's a few more recent pics.


Kitchen


Laundry



Bath

Dining Room

Living Room

Hall

Mrs. Bedroom

Mr. Bedroom
We kept the wallpaper.

So that's a quick tour inside.  The kitchen, bath, and laundry room need a gut job and a re-think, but at least they're clean and functional until we get to those projects.  After the last house, I think we should take a rest on the gut jobs for a year or two.  Then there's always the insulating and finishing out of the attic to piddle with.

This is one of the projects we've been working on lately.  It's coming along nicely.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thanks, But No Thanks!

Every morning the cats accompany me down to the pond for a little "exercise" on their part while I examine the condition of the water and see if anything new is lurking down there.  Well, this morning something new WAS lurking down there.  He was very quiet and I could tell immediately that he (or she) wasn't the beautiful midland water snake I had seen a few weeks ago.  This is what we found:


Can we say water moccasin?  Cottonmouth?  Venomous?
If you'd like to see what they look like close-up, click the pic.  It has pretty good details.

Six or seven cats had come with me this morning, so the first order of business was to get them out of there.  I took my camera down to see if I could get a few good shots of it, download and study them, and make sure I wasn't about to react out of ignorance and kill a harmless little creature doing his job.  Although I was pretty sure of what I was looking at, I had to verify and sure enough, the identifiers were there.

 It took me about 10 minutes to try to think of something I could use to eliminate it and ended up returning to the pond with a long handled flat shovel and a .22 pistol that hadn't been fired since 1985.  Wasn't sure which one I was going to use. 

Since it had been about 20 minutes since I discovered this guy and he'd been flash-popped several times with the camera, I guess he figured it was time to move on.  By the time I got back down to the pond, he had begun gliding gracefully over to the far side  where there's plenty of brush, turtles, fish, and frogs.  For the sake of safety for my cats, I fired at him-not knowing a thing about how accurate the little .22 might be or if it would even shoot.  It did, but I missed him by about a foot.  It was close enough for him to thrash in the water a minute, but apparently he was ok and continued on his journey.  It was about a 30 ft shot with an untried weapon, so to come as close as a foot wasn't bad.  I tried him again at about 50 ft but could barely make him out against the opposite bank.  Missed again, so it was his lucky day.

It's been on my mind all day about his fluid gracefulness as he was swimming through the water and I'm not sure if I see him again, I'll be able to kill him.  Hopefully, he'll move on so I don't have to be confronted with having to choose.  I guess I would for the sake of our cats, but would probably be very sad to have taken the life of an innocent just because he was doing what he is here to do.

In the meantime, I'm watching very carefully where I step!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Wild Life

Given that this place is rural and there is water and grown up areas, I'm always on the lookout for things that I need to be aware exist.  We suspected there would probably be snakes, but all anyone has reported seeing are of the non poisonous type-thankfully.  We hadn't seen any snakes while we had been working, but one day Donnie announced that there were snakes and pointed to one about 5 ft from where he was standing.  I had to investigate-and of course take pictures so I could get an ID on it.  After a quick study, it was easily determined that it wasn't poisonous, so I left it alone-well other than blinding it with several flash-pops, of course.  It was just a garter snake-good for controlling pests.

Is he-or she-adorable or what???  Look at that little face.  What an expression!



A few weeks ago, the cats and I discovered the prettiest snake I've ever seen hanging out at the edge of the pond.  I didn't recognize it at all and by the time I went back to the house for the camera, he/she was gone, but I took careful note of what it looked like so I could try to identify it.  Like the garter snake, this one didn't have the characteristics of a venomous snake.  After surfing snake pictures for days, I eventually discovered what it was; a midland water snake.  Never heard of it, but it was beautiful.  There are several different kinds and colors of these guys, but this is the best pic I could find on Google of the one I saw.

(image from http://www.cochranmillnaturecenter.org/i/400s/Midland_Water_Snake_400.jpg)

One of the cats tipped me off to this little guy as well.  It appears to be a rat snake, but I'm not positive.  I've seen plenty of them before and they're harmless.  I took him across the road and let him go in a field of tall grass.  Hopefully, he enjoys it there since the cats would probably have a little fun with him before dropping him off at the door to the house.  He was about as big around as an ink pen.



Our wanderings at the pond at night is a good time to visit the frogs since they seem to be comatose after dark.  This is one of the many that live along the edge near the same willow tree where we discovered the water snake.  I did a little poking around and the best conclusion that I could come up with is that he's a bullfrog.  Duh!


There are also several turtles that live here.  If you move quietly, you can see them hanging about during the day.  There are turtles of every size.  This one likes to sun himself on the bank across the pond.  They must have excellent hearing though, because every time I approach the pond, he knows it and goes in for a swim.  He must have been feeling lazy this day as I was able to get a shot or two of him, or maybe her.  I zoomed in from about 75 ft, so the quality isn't very good.  I met him or one of his pals the other evening when he was out of the water and blazing down the tractor trail that goes into the neighbor's field.  We had a nice chat and he stayed outside his shell while we checked each other out.  That one looked like a snapping turtle, but I can't tell about the one basking on the side of the pond.  I thought there were 3 or 4 turtles living in there, but that day I counted at least 11 heads of various sizes sticking up out of the water. 


Yesterday morning I looked out the kitchen window and spotted either a huge white heron or maybe an egret.  Are they the same?  I'll have to investigate that further.  I was in the middle of something and couldn't go get a better look and he flew away before I had the chance.  I've seen him around before, but can't quite pin down his markings to figure out what he is.  A couple of bluish water fowl flew through here this morning as well, but didn't stop. They were probably headed toward the small river nearby where I think they hang out.

The cats caught a giant rat somewhere the other day and dragged it into the carport which I found totally disgusting.  Between the mob of cats, I guess they ate the whole thing.  I won't go into the creepy details. Eeewww.

So, the wild life around here is pretty much the local wildlife.  I've been learning to better identify our 3 venomous snakes and their behavior.  I'll share what I learned sometime as it's good to know.  Did you know it is illegal to kill a snake in this state?  That was a new one on me.  I generally let them live since they eat nuisance pests, so I guess I won't be going to jail anytime soon...for snake-killing anyway. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Roses, Roses Everywhere...and Some Other Stuff Too!

The previous owner's wife loved pretty much everything that flowers.  There are some of the most fantastic smelling plants growing on the property-not only near the house but out in the woods and around the fence lines, but given the number of roses planted around, I'm going to say she probably loved them best.  Most of them are absolutely beautiful and they're either all in bloom or have just finished blooming.  My favorites are these pink ones.  The smell they produce is heavenly!


There are tons of blooms!

These have a lovely shape-very graceful.  Not much smell though.  They're very vibrant against the green background of the trees.

These are growing close to the house and I like the contrast with the deep flower color combined with the variegated hostas below.