Wednesday, April 29, 2009


We have been very busy shuttling back and forth from Poplar Ridge lately. I have been out every day since last Wednesday when the appliances arrived. Unfortunately I have forgotten the camera on most of the trips! Our electrical inspection went well, so we should be able to hook up to power very soon!

Monday evening, we went up to meet with the builder to discuss the kitchen case work, and choose our cabinet style. It ends up that by purchasing the separate cooktop and wall ovens, we are needing more cabinets...over $3000 more! I've always heard that the kitchens and baths suck up the money, but I never expected the extreme! By a gracious coincidence, the builder realized that he had priced the kitchen with solid surface counter-tops, and we have decided to go with high quality laminate, so that will save us a bit. We are getting oak cabinets, in a stain to match the flooring. This is similar to the style and color we chose.

The builder stopped by today with carpet and tile samples. He brought more tile samples with him than in all of the Lowe's store we visited on Saturday! We drove out after lunch to put some winter clothes in storage and check the new placement of the vacuum kick plate in the kitchen. (We asked them to move it from next to the kitchen sink, to the end of the breakfast bar to make it accessible to both kitchen and dining room.)

I have been looking on line for light fixtures, but it is a bit overwhelming...there are literally thousands of choices! I have tried to narrow it down by choosing Energy Saver models, but still haven't found just the right thing!

In the meantime, the roofers are due out yet this week. In order to be completely ready for the shingles, the porch roof is on, and the chimney is up.

In addition, the porch roof over the front door is on...looks really nice! It mimics the prow out front.

Today, they are putting in the insulation in the ceilings and the walls. The drywallers are scheduled for Monday.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Our New Toy

I made it up to Poplar Ridge almost every day this past week, so I don't have much new to report. The BIG news is that on Friday, after nearly a year of looking, hubby finally found a tractor that comes close to meeting all of his requirements.

It is a 1996 Massey Ferguson, with only 500-some hours on it. It came with the front end loader and brush hog. The important thing is that it is 4 Wheel Drive, in order to navigate our hill. It isn't beautiful, but meant to be our "starter" tractor.

The vacuum guys finished up their preliminary work on Thursday. They will be back after drywall and painting to put in the unit and hoses.

The builders have most of the duct work in, and started working on the porch eaves and breezeway. Next week is the week of inspections, as we are expecting to begin drywalling a week from tomorrow.

The well man should be up soon to put in the holding tank, and to hook up the water from the well.

We have had several other visitors to the building site in the past couple of days: Raccoons...

And cows!

We made a very unsuccessful shopping trip to Lowe's on Saturday. Our list was long: light fixtures, kitchen counters, bathroom tiles and paint. We came home with one light fixture, only 20 more or so to go! The choices are overwhelming, and sometimes, as was the case with the tiles, too limited. Perhaps we will try again next weekend, but get a babysitter first!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Take #2

It is a glorious day!

The sun is shining after 4 days of rain, and everything is green again, from the tiny new leaves on trees to the lawns that folks have been out mowing. (Guess what? Hubby is NOT sad to miss the lawn mowing action this Spring!)

I am finally getting around to doing my new kitchen appliances post. The delivery truck actually made it to Poplar Ridge yesterday AM. The 2 men from Sears, in their shiny black shoes, and starched blue uniforms obviously felt out of their comfort zone out in our neck of the woods. The driveway was muddy, and they used the excuse that they were afraid they would get the truck stuck to park in the lower drive instead of up by the house. Our builders were good enough to take the appliances by forklift to the garage and unload them there so that the Sears guys could keep their shoes clean. Our double convection ovens, refrigerator and dishwasher were delivered, but somehow the range hood was not.

After several phone calls, the hood was located back at the outlet store. Instead of suffering through yet another delivery attempt, we will go pick it up this weekend!

I baked the builders a 5 Flavor Pound Cake for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Five Flavor Pound Cake

1 c softened, unsalted butter
1/2 c shortening
3 c sugar
5 eggs
3 1/4 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c milk
1 t vanilla extract
1 t lemon extract
1 t rum extract
1 t coconut extract

Cream butter and shortening, gradually add sugar, beating well on med. speed.
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Combine dry ingredients. Combine milk and flavorings.
Add dry ingredients to butter mixture a quarter at a time, alternate with milk mixture, beating after each addition.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 10" tube or bundt pan, or 2 loaf pans.
Bake at 325* for 90 minutes (bundt) or 70 minutes (loaves).
Cool cake in pan for 10 min, then remove to wire rack. Spoon over and brush sides with glaze while still warm.
GLAZE: Combine 1/2 c sugar and 1/3 c water in small saucepan and bring to a boil, then add 1/2 t almond extract.

The Central Vacuum guys are at the house today. They are putting in the "plumbing" for a 50' hose on both floors which will retract back into the pipes when not in use. They will also put in a kick plate in the kitchen, which allows you to kick open a door with your toe, and sweep crumbs into it with a broom. There will also be a hookup in the garage for a 30' hose. They will install the unit and hoses right before we move in.

The builders have been working on the furnace & AC duct work.

I think the intestines in the girls' rooms are falling out!

They also put the decking on. They used special fasteners so that there are no nails showing on the surface.

Drywallers are due to come out a week from Monday. But first the builders have to put all this insulation that is stacked in the Master Bedroom into the ceilings!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where We Are Now...

I thought today that I should blog about the apartment we are presently living in, as it is part of our whole home building experience. We moved in November 14th, or there abouts, after selling the home that we lived in for the past 5 years. At the time, we anticipated our new house being ready to move in to in March, giving us about 4 months in an apartment. Due to the extra cold winter, our construction is running about 2 months behind, and we are expecting to move now in early June. I was getting a bit anxious back in November, as our closing date on the house was rapidly approaching, and we had not yet found suitable housing for the winter. I stumbled on this apartment the week before we moved. It is a newly constructed building with a salon (hair, nails, tanning and massage) on the first floor, landlord and family in the basement suite and 2 apartments on the upper floor. All appliances were supplied, including fridge, stove and washer/dryer combo.

We failed to notice in our haste, however, that the building is situated right next to Greene Street, one of the main thoroughfares through our town. Road noise has been an issue, as has the train (the tracks are a block south of us). We feel a bit crowded, since we downsized from around 2800 square feet to less than 1/3 of that. And now that we have been here longer than expected, we are missing much of our stuff that is in storage in our new garage.

Here is our building.

These are the 26 steps up to our apartment...a killer during the move!

This pic is taken from the front door into the kitchen/dining area/living room/office/school area.

This is from the living room looking back at the kitchen/laundry. We are using a picnic table to eat at since our dining room table was too big for the dining area!

Here is the bathroom we all share. It is actually a bit bigger than the single bathroom we shared at our old house!

This is the girls' room. We had to go out and buy bunk beds right away when we found the apartment, there is no other way to fit 2 beds into this room. The girls LOVE the beds!

Here is our room...decent size, but hubby is missing our King size bed, which is in storage in the garage.

This little deck is out back.

This is the view from our deck this afternoon!

There are good things about living in town too. Many things, including several friends, are withing walking distance. The playground, for example, is just 2 blocks away. We have been on many walks in the past few months, and I have been appreciating a lot of interesting architecture that I never noticed while behind the wheel of a vehicle. All of the following buildings are on our block.

Castle Victoria was a Bed and Breakfast when we first moved to this town. It has been for sale for the past 2 years or so.

Servant Song was renovated into a Christian Retreat Center about 3 or 4 years ago.

I like the windows on this house. They had a lighted Christmas tree in the front, upstairs window during the holiday season.

So, that's the scoop on our present home. We are looking forward to PEACE and PRIVACY!

Where Can I Get One?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Filling Up

We drove up to Poplar Ridge yesterday for Hubbby's weekly visit. This week lots of things have arrived for the house.

The furnace...

...and the air conditioning unit.

Here is a sneak peek at our is a composite material. The railings, in a white vinyl, have arrived too. No more deck staining for this country girl!

The girls' window at the egress window well has been installed. It has been backfilled along the driveway side of the house.

The window well is still a popular place for the girls to play. It is filled with pea gravel, and will have a lattice or clear plasic cover. I'm thinking...terrarium with ferns and little froggies...?

The septic lines have been buried all the way out to the tank.

Because the walls are poured concrete inside of 5 inches of styrofoam, they will not be framing inside the house, or putting up extra insulation...there is no need. The drywall can be fastened directly to the styrofoam, so the wiring is run through channels cut into it.
It seems like the wiring and plumbing is taking forever! The builder is hoping to get the dry wall people out in 2 weeks...things will really start to shape up then.

We dug our folding camp chairs out of the garage and set up in the great room. It was so quiet, with a nice breeze. I'm getting impatient to be there! I'm about to go crazy here in town with the traffic noise now that the windows are open every day. I CAN'T WAIT TO LIVE HERE!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Insert naughty word here____________

I meant to blog tonight about our new kitchen appliances and how we purchased everything for the kitchen: french door refrigerator with freezer drawer and water/ice dispenser, double convection wall ovens, dishwasher with stainless steel interior, induction cook top, and gigantic stove hood with remote blower. I meant to tell how we drove with my parents to Bridgeville on Saturday and purchased everything at the Sears Outlet for HALF of what we expected to spend. I meant to post pictures of the new white appliances sitting in our crowded garage, just waiting to be put into our new, clean kitchen.

Instead, I sat in the van in the rain with the girls for over 2 hours, waiting for the delivery truck. It never showed up. The girls were remarkably good, watching Toy Story, and only whined a few times for snacks, drinks, and to go potty. I actually spent most of the time reading a very good book (This Organic Life by Joan Dye Gussow).

Ends up that Sears made a HUGE mistake...our appliances that we were expecting to be delivered today (and received 2 calls yesterday confirming such delivery) were taken from the Outlet to the warehouse today, and our delivery was rescheduled for Friday without my knowledge. So, next week I get to sit at the bottom of our driveway again with the girls to wait for the delivery truck. I'll try the appliance blog again next week!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Home again, home again...

We are home from Florida, and quite amazingly, our tiny apartment seems ALMOST spacious after living out of a Hotel for a week! We headed up to Poplar Ridge the afternoon of our return to check up on the progress and return suitcases to the jumble of junk in the garage.

We found a bathtub installed in the Girls' bathroom downstairs...

And also the shower in the upstairs Mudroom Bathroom.

The egress window well is installed outside of the Girls' Bedroom window. This is the view from the inside, where you can see the steps.

This shot gives you an idea of how far below grade the window is.

Here are us girls trying it out.

Cable and phone lines are being installed downstairs in the Exercise Room (a.k.a. Guest Bedroom).

They worked yesterday and today on laying septic and water lines outside of the house.

Our assignment for the weekend is to settle on a wall oven for the kitchen so that the builder can wire it in. We are also celebrating Easter with my parents visiting, and will likely have our first Easter Egg hunt on the property on Sunday!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Oh, and another thing...

I have been trying to update this blog for the past 24 hours. First the computer crashed, twice, while I was trying to edit photos. Then the computer chair was usurped by my husband. Then life happened, and we actually made yet another trip up the hill tonight for a pre-vacation meeting with the builder.

So, we have finally reached that point in our building experience where I get a call every day or so from the builder with questions. It's nice to know that we've reached the point where we need to pick out faucets and what-not for the bathrooms. But now we've really reached the point where our "Over-Budget" bill is rising. We have decided to have a wood ceiling put in the great room and kitchen, and possibly a Solatube in the kitchen.

The builder is making lots of lists too. This one is downstairs.

The tinted concrete looks great now that it is completely dry. This shot shows it up against the block of the garage.

Here are the girls' hand prints...a bit hard to make out.

Speaking of the girls...they have decided that the big equipment is the best place to play lately. This time they brought along their baby dolls.

Most of the wiring in the house is done. I couldn't get a shot of the circuit board in the girls' closet because I would have gotten another butt shot of one of the crew. These are a few of the recessed lighting cans in the kitchen/dining room. They are all over the place! (No more bare light bulbs in closets!)

The egress window well arrived for the girls' window downstairs. The very nice folks at Wayne Lumber brought it out for me, and stayed for a quick look at the house. This came in 4 sections, and includes steps for exiting/entering. It is designed to be large enough to fit a firefighter with equipment.

We have had thunder storms and quite a bit of rain in the past 24 hours. The driveway has held up very well so far. I haven't shown pictures of our field and stream (Wisecarver Run) because they aren't where the action is at lately. However, things are completely soggy and flooded over there. It would probably help if we dig all the old tires and crap out of it, but we are focused elsewhere at the moment.

I should be focusing on packing at this moment. By the end of next week, we are promised showers, tubs and toilets!