Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Master Bath Renovation Part Two

It's been about four weeks and we're almost done with the demolition.  Every time I think, "whew, we're done tearing everything out," I realize that there is more to do.  I was out of town for a week, but Husband toiled away without me.

See where we started in Part One.

Husbands have the nastiest jobs.  We pulled the shower walls down and found the cause of the water leak.

Someone had previously done some work on the shower and cut out the shower liner.  We contacted the previous owner and she told us that she hired someone to replace it.  Unfortunately, he was an unethical contractor and didn't do what he was hired to do.  So, no liner causes leaks.  You can see in the picture above where it was cut.  The whole liner fold up the wall several inches like it does in the back and on the right side.  

Husband pulled up the wood floor to expose the rotted plywood underneath.

Then, rather than take all of the studs out, he cut the bottoms off and removed the rotted part of the stud, plus the 2x4 that the studs rest on.


Cutting out the rotted plywood underlayment.


All the studs hovering in mid air.

Rebuilding the studs.

To attach the 2x4's to the concrete floor, we used these 22 hammer gun things.  They literally shoot the nail through the wood and into the foundation.

Nail bullets.

The doorway on the left is framed so that we can put drywall over it.

All of the rotted wood is gone and wall studs repaired.

I'm constantly cleaning because I can't stand working in a mess.  I think every contractor should have a cleaner whose job it is to clean up constantly.  All of the contractors that have done work for me just have piles of junk laying everywhere.  I'd go on a cleaning frenzy when they left for the day.

While I was gone for the week, Husband framed our closets.

Voila.  Closets.  It doesn't look like much, but it was a whole week of work.  There will be no actual wall between them, but we have some IKEA cabinets that will be in the center and will divide the one space into two.

Ugh.  There is no easy way to take up tile flooring.  We tried several tools and I watched several tutorials that claimed "the easy way".  I hate to break it to ya'...there is no easy way.  In the picture above, he's using an air hammer with a wide bit.  This breaks the tile into little pieces and they fly all over the place.  Part of the tile has thinset under it.  It's the hardest to get up and, even though we got the tile up, the thinset is still stuck.  We're looking into renting a jackhammer with a blade on it to scrape it off, but our local tool rental place doesn't have one.

These were my tools of choice to remove the section of tile that was installed with a tile mastic.  I comes up easier and in bigger chunks, but most of the mastic is still stuck.  We have one section of tile left to do.  Then demolition is complete.

We bought this vacuum after we had pulled down most of the drywall and nearly choked to death on the drywall dust.  Theoretically, it sucks the dust from the air, but I'm not convinced yet.

One way we've been able to save a little money is by reusing the wood that we've taken out so that we won't have to buy any new lumber.  In fact, we're going to have a lot leftover.  We've carefully removed wall studs and doorway headers and have used them to build the very few walls that are necessary in my new bathroom plan.

All the walls except one small pony wall to form the shower are completed.  We can't do that one until we've cut out the foundation for the curbless shower pan and the plumbing is in.




Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Master Bath Renovation Part One

After nine years of living in the farmhouse, we are finally going to do the master bath renovation.  The previous owner did a cosmetic update with new tile, paint, and faucets, so it has looked OK.  But, I never have liked the "rabbit warren" look.  In the small space of 18' by 11', there are four doors and two doorways without doors.  It's a Jack and Jill style bathroom and dark, with one smallish window in the shower/toilet/tub space.  And, overwhelmingly beige.

The shower has been leaking for some time and is making the wood floor in the adjacent master bedroom buckle up.  So, there is lots of work to be done.  We're going to totally gut it, reconfigure, and rebuild.

Husband and I plan to do nearly everything ourselves.  Will we both come out alive?

Before pictures:

These are the two entryways.  One side for husband and his sink and closet and one side my sink and closet.  We're going to close up the doorway on the left and put the closets there.  The current shower backs up to that wall and the floor is buckling up where that mirror is.

Starting with my side.  My closet is just beyond my sink and is 5' x 6'.

Still with the original cabinets and countertop.

Looking through from the shower/toilet/tub room.   I'm going to eliminate almost all the walls and doors and put both sinks on the same wall.

The toilet niche.  This is the only thing that is staying where it is, but it will be enclosed with a door.  I like privacy in the privy.

This is the offending shower.  It is less than 36" square on the inside and we're always bumping our elbows.  It's a nasty den of mold and mildew, which is seeping out on all sides.  I just can't figure out why builders back then enclosed showers like this by lowering the ceiling.  Ick.  And, did I mention how much I hate these kinds of shower doors?  No doors on my new shower.

Opposite the toilet and shower is the tub with the window above it.  In nine years, we have never used this tub for it's intended purpose.  This is where my dirty clothes hamper has resided and the only time I have ever turned on the tap was to wash the tub out when it got so dusty and full of dirt dauber carcasses that I couldn't take it any more.

There is a small linen cupboard there, too, which cuts into Husband's closet space.  We all know that husband closet space is not the most important thing and that is why he has the smaller closet.

Husband's side with closet and a storage cupboard.

So, the demolition has begun.  When it came time to remove the tub, Husband took off the faucet handle.  He was having trouble with the little screw on the underside.  I got a magnifying glass and determined that there actually was no screw.  So, I said (because I've been watching bathroom demolition videos), "It's supposed to just screw off...like this."  As Husband was telling me that it won't screw off until we loosen the little screw underneath, I was unscrewing the whole faucet and it came right out in my hand.  See the little hole up there?  That's where it was.


Only, it wasn't supposed to unscrew quite like that.  Come to find out, the pipes had not been "sweated".  That is plumber speak for "welded together".  Basically, the copper pipe that the faucet was screwed onto was just stuck into the other copper pipe.  And, of course, it was leaking and rotting the studs behind the tile.

So, here we have the wall faucet and tile/drywall removed.  In the video tutorials that I watched, after this was done, the guy just easily lifted the tub up and out.  But, our tub would not budge.  So, we took out more wall to see what it might be stuck on.

Hello!  What's this?  It's dirt.  Dirt came pouring out of the wall.  Gross.


Husband had to take out the whole wall at the other end, studs and all, then shovel, shovel, shovel until we got enough dirt out so that the tub would move.  This is the dirt that is left after we shoveled enough to move the tub.  There is a concrete foundation under that dirt, believe it or not.  See, there is a little rectangular hole in the foundation that the plumbing comes up through.  Through the years, a mole or a gopher had dug under there and pushed dirt up through that hole.  I don't know why and I don't know how it possibly managed to do that.  But, it did.  That's gross, but it's not the grossest thing yet.

As we expected, the shower is totally rotting out.  

This is the wall next to the toilet.  I think it's going to be worse on the back wall where the wood floor is buckling up in the bedroom.  This is not the fun part of a bathroom renovation.

See Part Two of our master bath reno.


New Incubator

Our flock of hens is aging and their egg production is down, so we need a replenishment of the flock. For the past couple of years, I've let our broody hen hatch as many chicks as she can.  Of the last batch, only one has survived to adulthood.  It's always a combination of unhatched eggs, chicks dying after hatching for some unknown reason.  Then snakes get the chicks in the coop at night.

And, we down to four guineas from the original ten.  In the first year or two, they successfully hatched and raised a few so that we had fourteen at one point until an owl picked them off one by one.  Since then, the guineas have been unsuccessful in keeping their nest hidden well enough.  Inevitably, some predator will find the nest.  If the raccoons or snakes don't raid the nest, then the dogs do.  I don't really care that much about having the guineas because they actually do not keep the squash bug population down as I had read.  Although, they and the chickens do keep us from being overrun with grasshoppers.

So, I decided to get a "better" incubator and hatch some fowl that way.  The one that I have is cheap and requires a lot of attention.  After reading lots of reviews, I decided to get this one:


And use some guinea eggs as guinea pigs.  I knew that the guineas had a nest close by, so I took ten of their eggs.  Incidentally, just a few days later, the eggs were all gone, so I got them in the nic of time.

It has this tray that sits inside.  The eggs fit between those slots, which are adjustable so that different sized eggs will fit in it.  And it has a little metal bar that fits in that slot on the right.  The bar has a motor that makes it go round and round and as it does, it pushes the tray back and forth very slowly, thus continually turning the eggs.

The red light on the left is a temperature display.  It measures the temperature in celsius, so I had to have husband do the math and figure out the right temperature for guinea eggs.  The little box on the right measures the humidity.  It has a probe that sits inside the incubator.

I wrote all the instructions for hatching guinea eggs and taped them to the side so that I would know exactly which dates to stop turning the eggs, lower the temperature and raise the humidity and when to expect the keats to pip.

I put 10 eggs in the incubator and waited.  Then, I totally forgot to take pics of the hatched keats.

As for the incubator..."better"?  Meh.  At least I didn't have to turn the eggs three times a day.  But, I found that it was impossible to keep the humidity at a constant level.  There is a little hole in the top for adding water (shown in first picture).  I kept a bowl of water and a dropper next to the incubator and several times a day (and night), I had to add a dropper or more full of water.  As far as I knew at the time, it was keeping the temperature at a fairly constant level.

So, the results were...out of ten eggs, I have five live, healthy keats.  Two of those had splayed/spraddle leg that I had to splint for 24 hours, then they were fine.  Two keats hatched completely but could not detach from their umbilical cord.  Since I read that if I cut the cord it might kill them, I left the first one alone.  That one was drug it's shell around for about 18 hours and died.  The second one - I waited until the cord was completely dry, then cut it as close to the egg shell as possible.  I figured, if it's going to die anyway, I had nothing to lose.  That was was also spraddle-legged, so I splinted it's legs, too.  It lived about 48 and died.  One keat started pipping and got a whole big enough for it's face, then it died in the shell.  Two eggs did not develop at all.

We happened to be at Tractor Supply on the week that the keats hatched and they had their chicks on sale for fifty cents a piece.  We decided to get a dozen.  So, the keats are in the barn with the chicks and all is well for now.  

I'm hoping that by the time they are ready to join the flock in the coop, the snakes will be hibernating and these birds will have a chance to grow up.  And, if they are not all roosters, we'll have more eggs in the spring.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Yay for Upholstery!

And, YIPPEE for finishing!

I had these two slipper chairs that I was going to get rid of when we got our cool new recliners from West Elm.  But, I decided to reupholster them and keep them in the living room (it's a long story involving Chester Field).

I had these two chairs professionally recovered when I was in my light blue glam phase.  I thought they did a terrible job and was never very happy with them.

Without further ado.  This is the after photo.

When I bought them, during my jewel tone phase in the early 90's, they were pretty expensive.  I remember paying $700 a piece for them and was very excited about furnishing my huge living room that had been empty for a few years since we bought the house new.

I thought it was going to be a quick deconstruction because, after all, I had had them professionally reupholstered.  I figured that when that was done, they had stripped them to the bones.

That was so not the case.  I was very frustrated to find that they hadn't even stripped off the old fabric.  They had just put padding over it so it wouldn't show through.  Lazy swine.

So, it took twice as long as it should have, but I still got both of them stripped down in just a couple of days.

I chose a neutral siege because I have a lot of other colors going on and still plan to have a teal colored couch some day.

For this task I broke out Ye Ol' Singer instead of Cheapo Brother.  She makes a much more even stitch.

I decided I wanted a puffy, squishy, down-filled cushion, so I made this casing with three pockets.  Top and bottom are narrow pockets for the down and the foam cushion goes in the middle.

I did this task outside because goose down was a flyin'.


Then I looked at this and thought, "this foam goes into that case?"

With much effort and sweat, I managed to get it in there, then stitch up the ends.

Too much?  LOL

By the way, when I made the cushion cover and it was time to get that behemoth into it, I wrapped it in a plastic bag and sealed the opening around the vacuum cleaner hose.  When I turned the vacuum on, it sucked all the air out, making the cushion flat.  It easily slipped into the cover.  When I got it all situated, I turned off the vacuum, cut the plastic bag off and pulled it off of the cushion and out of the cushion cover in pieces.  It was so easy, I couldn't believe it!

And, surprise!  I couldn't just make it all beige.  I saw this fabric at Hobby Lobby and loved it immediately.  I had to find a way to incorporate it onto my piece.

I made several mistakes on this project and have one more chair to do.  Now my dilemma is, should I fix the mistakes and risk the chairs looking a bit different, or should I make the same mistakes so that they'll look the same?  Hmm.  Also.  Still trying to decide if I should paint those legs or leave them nude.

The End.