Friday, December 30, 2005

Great help

Ian's children Alexandra (16) and Peter (13) are visiting with us until Wednesday, We'll be sending them home to Ottawa with callous on their hands and a great sense of accomplishment. Their assistance with ripping up the tongue-n-groove kitchen floor has been invaluable. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A horse, of course

We went to the local horse auction on Saturday and came home with an Arabian yearling stud colt. He is a purebred, but isn't registered with papers. We have named him Cairo. He is chestnut color with one ankle-high white sock, with a white strip on his nose and half moon on his forehead. At a little more than one year old, he stands 13 hands high to his withers (there are 4 inches in each "hand"). He could grow as much as another eight inches and weigh up to 1000 pounds as an adult horse. We will have him gelded sometime next summer, as we don't want to run a breeding horse farm. Besides, without papers and a competition-winning history what's the point? Cairo will be old enough to ride in 2007, but there is a lot we can teach him in the meantime.

Cairo has been raised in a heated barn and does not have a winter coat. He must wear the horse blanket he is pictured in 24/7 until he grows enough to withstand the cold Minnesota days and colder winter nights. I'm not sure that's he's ever been out in a pasture on his own, as the Sunday afternoon he was out he looked like he wasn't quite sure what to do. Cairo is very friendly, comes when he's called and seems to have been handled a lot. He has been allowed to nip without being corrected, so that's something we need to work on. He does stand quietly when being brushed and will allow his feet to be cleaned. Of course being an Arab he carries his head and tail quite high and has lovely foot action.

Our neighbor Donna, who owns three horses, suggested we borrow her 17-year-old Thoroughbred mare as a stable mate for Cairo. It has been so cold the last two days with a fierce north wind blowing that neither horse could leave their box stalls. We're up at the farm doing renovation most days, so we share the horse care duties with Donna. We're on schedule to relocate to Stanchfield this time next month. In fact, soon, we'll be able to spend some nights there and work longer hours getting the farmhouse into shape.

Now old Macdonald has a horse... E-I-E-I-O.

Monday, December 05, 2005

One dumpster filled

We've just completed our 13th work day at the Stanchfield farm since signing the mortgage papers on November 1. We taken out 30 cubic yards (about 10 tons) of demolition waste from the house, e.g., drywall, wood paneling, wallpaper, wainscoting, door, window and baseboard moldings, ceiling tiles, faux ceiling beams, etc. Soon we will begin the rebuilding phase with laying in the wiring, insulation, the framing and plumbing for the 2 new bathrooms and plumbing for the kitchen dishwasher and drywalling. The room framing, drywall and plumbing we will contract out. The electrics must be inspected (of course) and we'll have an electrician upgrade the current 60 amp fuse box to something more suitable. It's certainly an education.

The living room was covered in wood paneling and about five layers of wallpaper and is now stripped down to the boards. On the exterior walls we will put a 2 x 4 (inches) piece of wood vertically floor-to-ceiling every 24 inches and after the wiring is done, we will fill the 24 inch gaps with rolls of insulation. After the vapor barrier, drywall is placed over the studs and insulation and bare boards on all four walls to create a new wall for painting.

Stripping the ceiling tiles in the living room revealed beautiful wooden beadboard ceilings. We hope to restore these and make them a feature. There are similar ceilings in the kitchen and upstairs bedrooms.

We filled the first rolloff and had it collected today and replaced with an empty one waiting for us to begin filling this Friday.

Ian installed our mailbox, which was no small task. We were told by our mail carrier that our box, which sat atop a fence post, was not properly mounted and that we needed to by a contraption that allowed the snowplows to clear the road without knocking down the post. We bought the "swing away" from the highway department, bought a larger mailbox to accommodate the various packets we routinely get, and Ian cobbled it all together. We're officially able to receive mail now. Some magazines take quite a while to do changes of address, so I've gotten a jump on them. We're at the farm every weekend so we won't miss anything.

Our neighbor Donna asked if she could bring her horses over to feed on our very grassy pasture. I said sure. There are three altogether; 2 mares (one thoroughbred, one quarter horse; both 17 years old) and 1 three-year-old gelding thoroughbred.

Another interesting fact: Donna and I graduated in the same high school class, but did not know one another. I'm sure in future discussions we'll find some people we knew in common.

Sunday we had lumber and insulation batts delivered. Soon we're going to rip up the kitchen floor, back to its joists and level it. Walking on it now makes one feel a bit drunk. We've begun looking at lighting fixtures and have already chosen our kitchen from the IKEA catalog.

The weather is chilly this week with temps in the teens, making it below zero Celsius!