In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


A warm-day project

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Monday, November 16, 2009

We've been having an interesting warm spell the past week or so, temperatures have been hovering around the 50s.  So on Sunday we decided to tackle our window project.

As you may well know, our house was built in the 1850's.  So our house has old blown-in insulation (read: NO insulation) and single-pane windows (most of which are cracked/broken).  We were lucky in that all of the windows in the downstairs of our house had been updated a few years before we bought it so that left us with only the windows in the upstairs bathroom and bedrooms to deal with.

Due to the unconventional size of our windows we had four special ordered to replace the larger of the seven windows we would be dealing with.  We picked them up a few months ago, but as we've never replaced windows before we've been kind of putting off the project for fear of leaving a huge hole in one of the bedrooms should we fail.  We'd discussed hiring someone to install them for us, but in the spirit of saving money, we just decided to bite the bullet and give it a go.

So Sunday morning we got to work.  We decided we'd just try one to see how it went.  Taking the old window out was rediculously easy- a few screws here and there and wall-a!- we had big hole in the wall in our bedroom!  So, with Kyle outside on the old wooden ladder (better to use that one then the aluminum ladder that was mysteriously run over by the excavator when we tore down half of our old barn) I passed the new window through so we could see how it fit.

We had done careful measurements when we ordered the new windows so we breathed a sigh of relief when the window fit generally well.  The only trouble was that we had a window sill about two inches thick that extended past the point where the flange needed to sit.  So we pulled out the sledge hammer and the circular saw and it was out in no time (yeah, I'm serious- we don't do things halfway here)- Kyle then installed a new sill.  It took a few more tries- Kyle on the ladder, me inside trying not to drop the window to the ground- before it really fit.  When we were sure everything was level we shimmed around the window and secured it into place.

All we needed to do was insulate between the window and the framing for the raw opening (we sounded like a couple kids as we discussed who got to use the expanding foam insluation) and seal around the outside with silicone.  It took little time and we were so pleased that we decided to go ahead and replace the second window in our bedroom.  This one definitely went alot quicker and by 3:30 we had two new energy efficient, double-hung, thermal pane, Pella windows in our bedroom.  The only thing that is left to do is put trim up around the inside of the window to cover the shims and insulation, and put trim up around the outside of the window to cover the flange.

We always knew that we got breezes through our old windows, we just kept wedging things around them to try to get a better seal.  These new window are not only breeze-resistant, they are also SO much quieter!  When we went to bed last night I didn't hear a single car go by.  I kept laying there in the dark waiting for the usual sound of passing cars (we would hear cars passing on the road across the river as well) but there wasn't a sound.  Now I can't wait for the next night we have high winds.


  1. Donna ( Mom) Says:
  2. Nice! Congratulations for tackling yet another home improvement job and living to tell about it! LOL
    I can't wait to see the new windows!
    Great job! Pat yourselves on the back!

  4. Gee, you guys are great! Even replacing windows. Sounds super. Can you sleep in all that quiet?

    What will you do about the three windows that you didn't have special replacements made for?

  5. Melissa Says:
  6. Hah! We actually have to have a fan running all night or else my husband can't sleep. So funny. :)

    The other three windows will be replaced next year. This year we're just going to put plastic sheeting over them to prevent the drafts...