Sunday, September 27, 2015

house move prep

     After several months of calls and quotes, we finally found the right companies to move our farm house and dig the basement.  It turned out to be two separate companies instead of one - Unruh House Moving and Beran Concrete.  But before we could start any of this process, we had to clear out three huge trees and do some work on the summer kitchen.

          This tree was one of the most difficult to remove because of the propane tank close to its base.  When the tree company was grinding the stump down, they accidentally cut the gas line to the house.  As I called the gas company for emergency assistance while driving frantically out to the house, I had visions of the farm house exploding or a worker getting hurt.  By the time I got there though, everything was completely under control. Phew! 

      Here is the pile of trees left behind the house after they were cut down.  We hated to lose these big beautiful trees, but we had no choice.  The house would need to be moved two full house widths back, and in order to do this, trees had to come down.

     The other project was removing all the tile off the roof and everything out of the inside of the summer kitchen.   The summer kitchen would be bull-dozed down by the concrete company and moved to a burn pile.  They wouldn't touch it until we did this work.  Hubby is up on ladders removing tiles in this picture.  

     There wasn't anything too exciting in the summer kitchen, but we did find a few old doors and a big slate chalkboard that we saved to hopefully use somewhere in the house. The root cellar under the summer kitchen would sadly be filled in with dirt as well as  the huge cistern  that was located right outside the back kitchen door.

       Almost ready for the BIG move . . . 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

where to begin?

     My husband and I knew that before we could really start  any interior work that needed to done on the farm house, the foundation had to be addressed. With winter upon us and cold air coming in from all the cracks in the limestone foundation, this was a priority.

      We started making calls to companies trying to find one that would either lift or move the house so we could either repair the current limestone foundation, put in a new concrete crawl space, or basement.  We called and met with one company after another, some who wouldn't even tackle the job and others whose bids where beyond our budget. 

     As we kept trying to make some forward progress on the foundation, my husband bought his best ever Christmas present(for himself)..... a new tractor.  So one cold winter day we went out to the farm to get our tractor driving lessons from dad only to find out the barn doors were coming off the tracts.  Here's my three guys trying to tackle getting the doors off to be fixed.

     Once the doors were off, we could free the bright orange beast and the lessons began.....

Picking up logs with the grapple

      Our youngest son with his arms up in the air after victoriously picking up a log with the grapple.  His first time driving anything bigger than a four wheeler.  And then there is me....
     ... driving like a little old lady.  I haven't driven the tractor since, not that I'm afraid of all that power. My husband and sons get so much enjoyment out of it that there is never a need for me to use it.
       The last time I was on a tractor was when we lived in Washington state and I was working by myself on our five acre property and we had an earthquake (no joke!). The tractor was jumping up and down and I thought I was doing something wrong and then found out later it was because of an earthquake.  You'd think living in Kansas we wouldn't have to worry about earthquakes anymore, but we've actually had quite a few of them just south of us in Oklahoma.  And yes, we could feel them!

      So our first project became replacing the barn doors, which hubby built himself in our garage wearing his Russian fur-lined hat, a Christmas gift. (Just encase you're wondering what's up with his funky hair.)

Here's the brand new white wooden doors on the old metal barn.

      So our first project wasn't even on the farm house, but on the barn, which will probably have to wait a whole lot longer for some more TLC.  At least it gave hubby something to work on while we kept making calls and praying for the right contractor to work on our foundation.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

the barn & grounds

     One of the first things we did after purchasing the Noah Farm in November 2014 was go take some fun family Christmas pictures.  Here are just a few. 

     These pictures were all taken in front of the barn, which my boys call the "spooky barn" because they said we will probably find a dead body in it.  The narrow hallway that they are posing in front of above really is a mystery.  Along this very narrow hallway,  that neither a horse or cow could fit through,  are stalls that have  high small windows in them.  They are almost completely dark stalls with little ventilation which seems unusual for a barn built in such a hot climate.   Maybe they were for goats or llamas..... ???  Notice the small narrow open door on the left front side of the barn (below) where my boys were sitting?

Inside the barn

       When we first moved to Kansas we visited a buffalo farm and in the gift shop was a children's book called Climbing Kansas Mountains by George Shannon.  Naturally I was curious after having lived in Washington state,  so I quickly read this delightful book. In it a father takes his son to see the mountains of Kansas by taking him high up in a grain elevator.  From the top they look down over the fields and roads which the boy describes as looking at a tablecloth.  So when I saw this grain silo, I couldn't help but think we had our own little mountain on our property.  (My husband also sees it as a mountain because he wants to make a climbing wall out of it.)

          Here is a distant view of all the chicken coops and dog houses that we hope to put to use someday.  A friend of mine told me to watch out for snakes in the coops when we finally get chickens.  And my husband has since told me he has seen a six foot black snake in the pasture and a copperhead snake in our basement!  When I asked him if he killed them, he said "No, they will kill all the mice." (He did take the copperhead out of the basement).   Good thing all those creatures didn't show their faces when we were looking at the property to buy.

         This is an underground shelter that was probably used as a tornado shelter.  My son crawled in here, but now that I know about the snakes,  .... I will probably end up in Oz with Dorothy.

         Before we left that first visit , my husband somehow got his hands on my camera and took one picture of me and our dog Kipper as we walked west toward the sunset.  It became a very special picture for me because our 13 year old black lab died a few short months later.  It would be the last Christmas he spent with us ...

and the first beloved pet buried on The Noah Farm.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

first glance

    At first glance, the Noah Farm can give you a romantic feeling of days gone by.  With its beautiful wrap around porch,(complete with a swing), victorian siding and trim work , summer kitchen, original hardwood floors, barn and treed acreage, it looks like the perfect farm house. 

The Summer Kitchen

The barn (95 yrs. old) 

     A closer look, however, shows the age of this old house (117 years when we bought it).
This picture says it all . . .

Root cellar under the summer kitchen.
Very cool, but not safe.  Sadly this will have to go too.

    If you noticed, each outdoor picture shows lots of trees.  Trees and shade are wonderful here with our hot weather and I appreciate them so much more than I did growing up in Ohio. This was another major factor in us falling in love with this nine acre parcel of land.  Three sides of our rectangular acreage is bordered with trees and beyond that are of course, fields.  What you'd expect in Kansas...flat fields. 

       After living in three different areas of America - Ohio, Washington state, and now Kansas, I have realized that each place has it's own beauty. It's just up to you to find it, see it, and most of all enjoy it.