My friendly bird

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This little birdie likes to sing to me from my window. I have a feeling that isn’t about to change.

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I’ve done my research, he’s a red-shafted northern flicker (here’s another link). Apparently only the males have the red on the face. and I know I shouldn’t be happy to have a woodpecker hanging out in my trees, but I don’t really care. Yet, anyway. I haven’t seen much damage from him. And it sounds like if I start to hear him pecking my trees instead of singing to me in the mornings, all I’ve gotta do is give him a man-made bird house and he’ll leave the trees alone. Why do all the work when your shelter becomes free? Otherwise, he’ll keep the bug problem down. We have tons of ants in the summertime (so far I haven’t seen any inside, but we moved in during the fall).

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I never really see him anywhere besides my front window and occasionally a tree out front. I’ve never seen or heard him peck anywhere, even when he is hanging out in a tree, so I’m not worried about him, too much.

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He’s kind of hard to spot in this picture. Do you see him?

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Anyway, until I decide he’s destroying anything, I’ll just listen to him crooning outside my window.

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The Downside To Country Life

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Mice! I hate mice. People tell me that being surrounded by fields means I’m stuck with these rodents, but I refuse to accept it. They’ve gone through a 50 lb bad of wheat! And we wont get into the amount of clothes they’ve destroyed. Why the clothes, I have no idea.

I’ve tried traps. They were really effective for a while. The picture above was the first day I had them out. There were 3 in the trap when I woke up. There were 4 by the time I went to bed. Dumb mice. If the rest of the clan is in there trapped, why on earth would you join them?

I’ve tried mint leaves and mint oil. It works for a while. But then they get used to it.

We’ve tried bait, as much as we’ve hated to. It’s helped us rid the house of a few more.

We’ve tried lavender oil. It did nothing.

We’ve tried steel wool in the holes we’ve found, but they’re just using other holes somewhere.

we were told to try aromatic ceder. We haven’t been able to get our hands on any of that yet.

The best thing to help us get rid of them so far? The cold. Too bad that this is the warmest January I can remember.

 

Anyone else have any suggestions? Please? And while you’re at it can you come find every nook and cranny they have so they can’t keep getting in?

Update

We’ve got all of the stuff moved over to the new house. Now the joys of unpacking! Oh, and guess what? It’s canning season, and if I don’t get tomatoes bottled, my family will starve this winter. And my apple trees (in this new house) needed picked and converted into apple sauce and apple juice. So, I’m still here. I’ve got some more canning recipes to add to the blog, and I’ve still got to add all the fun from the girlie’s back-to-school/belated-birthday party. But my family seems to think that unpacking is more important than updating the blog. So you’ll have to wait. For now. Just know I’m alive. More to come.

K

Carpet!

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UntitledDo you know how happy this makes me? Carpet is the last thing we have to get done before we can move in.

We stuck with neutrals that aren’t  quite grey and they aren’t quite brown. Only one guy showed up to put the carpet in. It’s a big job to be done all by himself, but what do I know about carpeting. I just let him do his thing. He laid all of the pad down in a day (a whole, long day), and all of the carpet down the next day.

We paid for the upgraded pad. I’m not so sure we got it, but don’t know how to check. I wish I had gotten the floor gesso for the few spots where the subfloor has been gouged out, but I didn’t get that far. Every once in a while as I walk on the carpet, I can find a spot that dips in or bumps out. Se la vie I guess.

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It’s just so nice to have it in!

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We went with a plusher carpet in the master bedroom, because I really like plush stuff with lots of shag and Ranger likes the short stumpy stuff. He says it’s better to lay on. Our compromise was that he could have his stuff everywhere else if I could have it in the master suite. We know they could have put some sort of wedge in to make the carpet even (we’ve had plenty of time to research) but they swore they couldn’t when they got here. whatever. When it’s broken in, it wont looks so drastic. I hope. Also, the master stuff is much browner than it was supposed to be. I guess that’s what happens when you pick it out months before it arrives. I’ve got proof that it’s not just my eye, though. Here’s the sample piece.

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it matches the other carpet and my grey wall better. I wish I could have gotten what I wanted, but at least I’ve got carpet in my house instead of at the store.

squished

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This is what happens when you unload the car, bring everything inside, and set the mailbox down so that you can install it later, only to be resigned to returning to the other house after dark. I ran over my brand new mailbox. Sad day. I ran and got another one, but I’m still not happy with the set-up. I’m not smart enough to figure out how to get the pieces together. The post is different than the mailbox, and they don’t go together well. Maybe I’ll get my husband to look at it SOMEtime in his busy schedule. I’m sure the mailman would appreciate not always having to deal with the entire mailbox falling in his lap every time he opens it.

Paint

I confess, I’m pretty stoked with how this house is turning out. Even without power in the master bath. I’ve never been in a house I could totally make my own before! Never. And I’m loving the chance. Plus, who knew that I was so good at painting walls and ceilings and floors?

We painted the floors the other day, so they’d have time to dry. I don’t think they helped as much as I wish they had. To me, this house still smells “vacant.” Stale. Maybe it’s because there’s no stuff in it. I don’t know.

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Believe it or not, it was the floors that ended up being the messiest. I’ve officially decided that oil-based paint is NOT the way to go, unless, like us, you’re trying to trap in odors. And if, like us, you have to use it, I highly recommend throwing everything away afterwards. I swear it took a whole day just to clean out the paint roller. And there’s no saving my shoes. or my pants.

But painting floors white is boring. Lets get to my awesome bragging, shall we?

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Don’t mind the mess on the counter. It was the ONLY surface to set stuff down on.

First, on to proper attire for painting ceilings. It’s totally tacky, but did you know that baby shirts make great hair turbans? I wasn’t about to be pulling paint globs out of my hair, and this baby shirt was laying in my scrap fabric pile, so I ran with it. Worked great, actually. Just don’t go out in public with a baby shirt on your head. It’s weird.

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Started with the girly’s room. I wanted to start with the most urgent, just in case it took longer than expected (since EVERYTHING else has), so we went with her ceiling, our ceiling, her wall, and our wall. There are other rooms I want to paint, but they can wait until after the big move. Taped her walls off, and started painting!

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I wish the color had a bit more blue, but the kiddo loves it, and it’s not bad. I just wish it were a bit less green.

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I don’t know why ALL of these pictures are in portrait. Sorry. I try to take landscape!

Anyway, I put her clouds up, and then went back to add detail (if I ever have to paint clouds again, I will focus on one whole cloud, details and all. going back and adding texture was not as smooth a process as I thought it would be in my head). I only added it to one, and it was a lot of work, so I decided to wait and ask the “commissioner” what she wanted before I put in all the work and she liked it better with the cartoony clouds.

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the beginnings of texture.

I’m glad I waited. She liked the plain look better. That saved me a lot of extra work. So I just painted over the one I added detail to, and we moved on to my ceiling.

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Ahh, a landscape one!

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I wish I could capture the color better. It’s soooo pretty! Dusky greyish purple, called Diplomat on the little sample card I had. I taped off a chunk of my ceiling 15″ from the wall, and cut the corners at 45º angles, except for the wall with the door, there I followed the angle of the door. I’m going to come back in after we get settled and  add trim around the paint, so I wasn’t worried about little spillovers. It looks so fancy! You have got to understand that most of my life, houses have been functional, but rarely pretty. I feel like I’m joining the big world, now!

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Can we say VERY purple? I think it’s way way too purple, but she loves it. And I don’t have to see it that often, since its the same wall as the door (I planned it that way on purpose. With such a bold color, you need it not to jump out at you until you’ve gone into her room).

She had been begging me for zebra stripes on her wall, along with purple and teal and red and green. I was woried it’d all be too busy, so I agreed to a color-on-color satin-on-matte zebra print. Crazy, but she’s still got all of her teenage years to enjoy the crazy, so I think it’ll be okay. And she’s stuck with purple zebra stripes her entire teen years, because it’s gonna be a pain to paint over.

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I’m pretty proud of this wall. I’ve gotta go in and touch up where the ceiling meets the wall, but that can happen when we’re less harried trying to get everything ready to move in.

Oh, and FYI, the color reading machine at Lowe’s is way better than the human eye. We went in with two fabric samples that match what we picked out for her room. I handed the first sample to him, he made the color, and we were fine. Then he lost the code before he got to the satin, so I handed him the other sample, not thinking about it. To my eye, they were the same color. But the paint reader picked up a difference. So instead of color-on-color, the stripes are slightly, ever so slightly, more red. And a little lighter. It still looks good, though. And it looks like it is on purpose, so we’ll go with it.

I also painted my wall grey, but I didn’t get a picture of it. And I’m not taking a picture now. You’ll just have to see it when I brag about being all moved in.

But the Pièce de résistance, at least according to this zebra-fanatic kiddo, is a light switch cover. You wouldn’t believe the hug I got along with the jumping for joy and the “I love it, I love it, ILOVEIT!” that came from her room.

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The silly thing is, it’s just decorative tape on the old light cover. I’ve had it for a while, and hand’t found the right project to make my foray into this whole “decorative tape” movement, so I actually did it on a whim. With that response, I might do it again.

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Anyway, We’re getting the beginnings of carpet in right now, so the house is coming together nicely. I’m soooo ready to move in! I’m loving this house. Even with it’s setbacks (still no light in the master bath. Seriously, why didn’t our inspector say something?).

Windows are in!

See that big ol’ piece of glass? No, not all the bugs and yuck (seriously, living in the country means a million more bugs!), that big chunk of glass in the middle there…

Well it should be right here…

But it’s not. So that means new windows! Yay! Lucky for us, they’re included in our loan. The contractors came out and installed them.


Now all we need is the carpet and we can move in! I’ve got some painting to do before they lay the carpet, though. I’d rather touch up a few scratches from the carpet than to spill paint on new floors!

Dirty Seller, Clean House

You know how I said we fixed the toilets ourselves? Paid for and installed the parts ourselves…

Well, I go to fix up the place before carpet gets installed and this is what greets me:

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Isn’t the inside of this basin so pretty? I’ve noticed that all of this town has bright orange water. I’m researching filters, but our well tested fine.

Not only did he take the part that I paid for myself, he also clipped the chain on the toilet lever. Why? I have no idea.

It didn’t stop there. Someone also took the shower fixtures.

Untitled And the light over the garage. And the hoses in the yard.

I know that most of it’s no big deal. The only thing that really bothers me is the toilet mechanics I installed myself. But it just seems petty. And technically, it’s illegal. If it wasn’t in the contract, it is supposed to stay.

It really frustrates me because we love this house, but it feels more and more like this seller (or someone else) is sabotaging it. I changed the locks, so we’ll see if that is the end of it. It’s just a shame that something we’re so excited about is getting numerous kinks because of such a dishonest someone.

Not letting that stop us, I have spent this last week scrubbing and disinfecting and mopping and more disinfecting. No one told me that they added bleach down the well (I still can’t figure out why if the tests came back in good standing), so I am also sporting fingernails broken clear down to the quick. They hurt. I’ve never been the type to bite my nails, so I have rarely had to deal with the pain of them that short. Not fun.

But it works out, because since this house has been vacant for a while, anyway, I’ve got to let the water run. Mostly because this is not appealing:

  While I was letting the water run, I got to play Rosie again. I have much more free-time than Ranger, with his work schedule, and it was kind of fun feeling all handy.

In the process of cleaning, we decided to add some contact-paper to the shelves. It was the only way to cover all of the previous owners’ stains. Seriously. Some things are just not going to be clean enough. We wanted a fresh layer.

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The drawer with the new contact paper was the dirtiest, and the drawer below (which now has contact paper) was the cleanest. I like the look.

I fixed this cracked joint under the kitchen sink,

  And pretty much every sink in this entire house. The guy must not have understood the concept of plumber’s tape (or putty). Every fixture leaked. I had to go buy myself a basin wrench. Among a million other purchases, lately. Lets just say Lowe’s knows me by name, now…

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I re-fixed the toilet. But I didn’t have anything sharp to cut the new hose. It’s a good thing we just signed on a house and the letter-opener from the title company was still in my purse!

I put a light/lamp back in our bathroom…

To discover that there is no power…. none at all in the master bath. So the fan was a waste. I used a little multi-tester and we’ve discovered that there is power coming from the breaker (which is actually a huge bummer, because if there wasn’t it would have been an easy fix), but there is no power going to any of the bathroom fixtures. My dad (Mr. Handyman himself) says it’s probably just one outlet causing all of the others to short out, but it’s beyond Ranger and I. Time to call in a pro. Dang it.

The joys of being homeowners.

Tomorrow we get windows, though, and that will be exciting! Just a little bit longer. While they’re putting in windows, I get to paint.

Starting with the floors! Nothing like an old house, eh? The contractors we talked to recommended it for old houses. Especially houses in run-down conditions like ours is.

It’s Official!

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We went in and signed the papers. We now own a house. It almost didn’t happen. I was so sick with dread!

Seriously. It has been such a long process. I hope to never have to do it again. And if I do, I hope that it won’t be as complicated as it was this time. I hope I have cash. Wouldn’t that be amazing? If things go according to Dave Ramsey‘s plan, which Ranger and I are implementing (even though we’re not very good at it. We’re trying. We decided it was a good idea to get our finances in order since we just bought a house. Backwards, I know, but we realllllly needed to move),

Now… the work begins. There is so much to do.

Ready… Go!