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


Dining Renovation- Part 1

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A couple weeks ago, demolition of our house moved to a whole new level, literally.  We are getting ready to install our woodstove in a couple weeks which means we have to prepare walls and a hearth.  Piggie-backing that project is the renovation of our dining room.  So, after stopping over at Johnson Farm and Garden for some chicken feed and a quick dinner of veggies and beans with spinach gnocchi, Kyle broke out the reciprocating saw and crow bar and got to work on the wall dividing our dining room from our living room.

*This is a picture of our dining room as it was when we bought the house back in February of 2009- we had since torn up the carpet and stained the hardwood flooring that was revealed below.*

I was quarantined to either the yard or our bedroom because who really knows what could be lurking in those walls, and we don't want to risk the health of our baby.  Kyle donned one of our ventilator masks, hung up some plastic in an effort to keep the dust corralled, and within a couple hours he had successfully opened up the space.  We were shocked to find out that the studs within that wall were there purely to aid in the hanging of the lath and plaster.  Thats right, there was no header supporting the floor above.  You really never know what you're going to find in old houses, and this one has really taken the cake so far.

Kyle removed those few studs last week (since they weren't structural there was no need to keep them) so we could get working on our hearth pad and the wall behind where our woodstove will go and moved the outlet and switch to a new wall so we could hook the power back up.  Then the fun began- I watched as my husband gleefully ripped down the drop ceiling that we've hated ever since we moved in.  Who puts a drop ceiling and a flourescent light in a dining room!?  He uncovered the handiwork of our electrician and got a good look at the condition of the plaster and lath ceiling- it looked like crap, but still an improvement if you ask me! 

Last weekend he moved the wiring off of the ceiling and disconnected a few lines to outlets we didn't need right now.  And the demo officially began.  We hired out a local guy to help Kyle with ripping down the plaster and lath since I would be no help at all.  Luckily, in the stripping of the ceiling, they uncovered a massive header where the house originally ended and the new addition began.  So it wasn't just hanging there in space as we originally imagined.  Kyle and Saul we able to get the rest of the plaster and lath stripped by the end of last week and we were finally able to clean up and remove the plastic sheeting (trust me, walking outside to get to the kitchen was getting REAL old).

Over this past weekend we took on a project that we had originally planned on paying someone to do.  We drove up to Montgomery Friday night to retrieve the sliding glass door from my Mom's house that she no longer wanted and set our eyes on getting it installed by the end of the weekend.  We had three doors in the front of our long house but no doors going out to the back yard.  We've been wanting to get a door installed so we could quickly and easily get to the back yard and the garden below but never got around to getting quotes for the installation.  Last week Kyle decided he wanted to tackle it himself and I, the ever-supportive wife, went along for the ride.  I'll fill you in on that one next time.