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


Our Guest Bedroom: The End

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Tuesday, December 14, 2010 1 comments

Well, this is probably THE most overdue update as it stands today.  Our guest bedroom has been finished for almost a year now.  You may recall that we had to gut the room over a year ago due to some rotten studs we found in the walls when we replaced the old windows.  While we were at it we decided to move a wall so we'd be able to have a closet in the room instead of at the end of a narrow little hallway, which was detailed in this post if you'd like to re-live the action.  Things progressed slowly but steadily and we were so happy when we were able to finish it up and have a comfortable room for when we had family or friends stay over.

In celebration of our finished room, I'd love to present you with the before and after photos that I've been holding on to for so long.  So, here we go!

Back in February of 2009, we closed on our house and immediately got to work.  I recall that evening very clearly, it had been snowing and the roads were greasy.  We hit a pothole the size of my car and lost a couple hub caps but that couldn't dampen our spirits; we had just bought our first home.  When we arrived at the house we went upstairs and started ripping down wallpaper and tearing up flooring in the largest of the four rooms.  We had intended that this room be our master bedroom but changed our minds after realizing that the back of the house had less noise from the road.

This is what the guest bedroom looked like back when we moved in.  Complete with two low, cracked windows, layers of peeling wallpaper on the walls and ceiling, Congoleum on the floors, and a bare light dangling from a ten foot long cord.

After we got our hands on it we managed to update the wiring (which was done by a professional), re-insulate the walls, replace the windows, refinish the wide pine boards that were painted and hidden below the Congoleum, move a wall to not only create more floor space but provide a small walk-in closet in the room, install a ceiling fan light fixture, and paint.  We're pretty happy with the result.  Take a look.

As you can see, Kyle had created a small built-in shelf/cabinet next to the closet which has added a lot of character to the room.  Also, we found that if we hung the curtains from just below the ceiling we could trick the eye into thinking the windows were taller than they really are.  It also makes the ceiling feel higher.  We could still use some decoration on the walls, some pictures perhaps, but other than that we're pretty happy with the finished product.

So, there you have it folks!  The first room we ever finished in our house!  Still to come is the final before and after of our master bedroom and the nursery.  Stay tuned!

I'm Still Here

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Monday, December 6, 2010 3 comments

I have to thank you all for sticking around during my almost 2 month absence here on the blog.  I have no good excuse, and I hope to get back into writing regularly again now that I'm "back".  So, in my ridiculous effort to get you all caught up as to whats going on here at the Senesac Family Homestead, I give you this blog post- which will be the first of many long-overdue updates.  Bear with me.

The end of October brought a flurry of activity with the pending baby shower paired with the dining room renovation.  As the party was to be at our house (as we are rather centrally located for our family members) we wanted to be sure we didn't have bare sheet rock welcoming our guests into our house.  So, in the week and a half leading up to the shower Kyle tackled the taping and mudding of the sheet rock.  Instead of our typical technique of hand-sanding the seams, Kyle (in a stroke of brilliance, I swear) decided to pull out his orbital sander.  We were sure to put up plastic in all the doorways to try to keep the drywall dust migration to a minimum which worked relatively well.  The walls and ceilings ended up looking great- much smoother than when we would sand by hand- so we're sold on the new technique.

The weekend before the shower we had my Mom come down to help paint.  We purchased a VOC-free paint from the local hardware store in a dusty yellow-green color (can you tell we're suckers for green?).  We were able to get the entire room primed and painted in a single day.  I was psyched.  The room went from this:

To this:
*the paint is still a little wet in these photos so the walls look a little less than stellar*

Rest assured, nothing ever goes perfectly.  We ran into a little comic relief towards the end of the day when my Mom decided to be a joker and step into the paint can.  She says it was by accident but I'm pretty sure she just liked the color and thought her shoes could use a little update.  But a little bit of water and some uncontrollable laughter solved the problem and we quickly righted her shoe and sock, although I'm fairly sure her pants will never be quite the same again.

The floor still needs to be refinished and we have yet to find the perfect chandelier, but we've been making due with the light we removed from the nursery when we upgraded it a few months ago.  We were able to get the trim up and painted around all the doors and windows, so our dining room was perfectly presentable in time for our first baby shower at the end of October.  We had a lovely time with family and friends and were given many generous gifts in preparation for our little girl.

Speaking of which, our little girl (as it turns out) isn't all that little.  She's a little monster in there and the doctors are telling me that if she doesn't flip over soon (as she is currently head UP instead of head DOWN like she's supposed to be) they'll have to schedule me for a cesarean section.  I'm not terribly pleased, what with my feelings of wanting to keep things as natural and drug-free as absolutely possible, but in the end all that matters is that we are blessed with a healthy baby girl in late January.  Until then, I am blessed by being able to stay home, relax, and prepare for baby.  Almost a month ago, the doctors decided that I should stop working and thanks to my company's short-term disability plan we are able to afford this turn of events.

So, thats my modest update for today.  Please stick around- I hope to get another blog post up tomorrow to continue in my efforts to get you all caught up before the end of the year!