Category Archives: Castle Rock Homestead, est 2014

Getting Started on the Homestead in Nevada

Planting Dreams

This is another post from our time before we moved to Oregon. I found it buried on my computer. I remembered writing it, I just could never find it. It’s the continuing story of our apple trees on the homestead (for the beginning, read here).

We finally got our trees planted! After buying them, they sat in their buckets, attached to our EZ-Up shade shelter for waaaay too long.

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It was hard to keep them watered enough with the heat and wind. And they got stressed fairly badly. The horrid windstorms we had which ripped our shade pavilion apart also ripped the apples off the trees. The last time I saw the trees, there was only one little clump left (and now we won’t get to even partake of those few since we moved, if they even survive – sad face). So, before we knew we were moving, we finally made the time to plant them so they wouldn’t die. We have so many dreams attached to those trees.

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Flower Girl “helping” dig.

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The Hubby and my dad taking turns digging the lower hole.

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I know how to handle a shovel, for sure!

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The lower tree is planted.

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The girls helping tamp down the compost in the upper hole.

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Princess Girl actually helping to shovel dirt into the newly planted tree.

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Staking the tree so it won’t blow down (look how little she looks!)

A lot of the leaves, especially on one of them, were turning brown and crunchy and I was concerned that maybe they had gotten too stressed.

But I’ve learned through my gardening years not to give up on anything too quickly. And sure enough, just before we left for our fateful visit to the Northwest, I took these pictures of the new growth happening. I was so happy to see those signs that they were going to be ok.

And then, not even one week later we decided we needed to move to the Northwest to care for family. When I got out of the car after that trip and saw my beautiful little trees, I wept. Who would be there to care for them? They aren’t nearly established enough to possibly even remotely survive on their own. But once again, family stepped in and saved the day. My mom says that she’s willing to go up a couple times a week to water them. That means hauling a 5 gallon container of water up to the property with her, lugging it out of the car, waiting while one tree is watered, more lugging to get to the other tree, more waiting, then heading home. We appreciate her so very much! And now those little trees can grow and thrive, even while we’re gone, and when we move back we’ll have full fledged apple trees. Thanks, Mom!

Update: Mom sent me a picture on 4/17/15 and the trees were blooming! It was so amazing to see that they had survived the rest of that summer and the winter.

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And they survived the whole summer of 2015, too! Mom and God watered them as needed. Though they did get a bit stressed, they made it through. Sounds like my own personal journey. 🙂 So far this winter (2015/16), they are getting plenty of moisture through rain and snow, so that’s a very good thing. And hopefully by this summer we’ll be moved back to care for them ourselves (hey, I can dream, can’t I?).

Oh, and I DID get to eat an apple from our tree!

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The girls and I went back a month after our move for my cousin’s wedding. The apple was small and tart, but oh, so delicious! We didn’t have any apples in 2015 since there was a late freeze that came through and froze all the blossoms off everything. No one got any fruit last year. But, that’s life in the high desert. Hubby and I have plans in our heads of how to protect our fruit trees in the future. But first we have to BE there in order to do the protecting. One step at a time!

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Moving onto the Homestead

This is the last post I wrote on my old blog. The next post I wrote was the first one on this blog.

May 3, 2014

I really should do better about blogging more often! I have so much to share so it’s gonna be a long one. Grab your cuppa joe and sit back and relax. Here we go…

Moving Day!

 On Saturday, April 5, 2014, we were finally able to take the trailer to the house pad. We were so excited to be able to get it there. It really made this project seem to get off the ground. We decided that we wanted to spend the night in the trailer that night, so we packed some clothes and camping gear and off we went.

The trailer (or RV as we’re calling it – short for Remote Vessel) is finally making it to the homestead!

 We decided to turn the day into a celebration with a BBQ with family and a few friends.

We set up the trailer at the edge of the house pad and set up the fire pit and tables and chairs approximately where the house will eventually be.
Flower Girl off exploring on her own
And Princess Girl is becoming quite the fire tender these days.
At 8 years old, she’s all about princesses these days. She was saving up her money to buy herself a crown, but her Daddy and I surprised her with one. She’s earned it for all the help she’s been with her little sister and small cousin the last couple of months!
Thanking Daddy
Sunset from the Homestead
Our little family on our first evening at the homestead since it became more than a dream (we camped there a couple times last summer since it was my Mom’s land – but back then, it was still in the dreaming phase)

First Morning

 After a so-so night’s sleep (Princess Girl wasn’t used to her bed and finally ended up on the couch and Mamma had a bit too much water to drink the evening before), we got up to greet the morning.

Good morning! (Why are the eggs fluorescent?!) Since we didn’t have the propane hooked up to the trailer yet, and for some reason our camp stove was missing it’s propane hose, we had to cook on the BBQ grill. Easier than the fire, though!
The girls on the first morning on “our” land (and yes, I let them snack on chips left over from the day before. I was too busy enjoying the morning to stop and find them something more nutritious. Don’t judge! 🙂
The hubby decided to do a bit of work while we were there, like cleaning the windows.
Enjoying my coffee (and maybe a couple of those chips) on a beautiful Sunday morning before time to leave for Church.
After church, we stopped by Home Depot and found us some cabinet pulls. That afternoon we installed most of them. It looks so finished now!

 And that was the end of our first weekend. We packed up and headed back home. Had we been more prepared, we would have just stayed one more night. We decided to do that the following weekend.



But before the next weekend came, we signed a very important document – our Mortgage papers! It was officially official! We are buying the land!

Here’s the Hubby signing the papers with the Notary.

 

Shed Moving Weekend

So the following weekend started on Friday when my young nephew helped me go up to our property and bring down some beams we were going to need to move our shed. It’s kinda funny because that shed started out at on my parents’ property and is now returning 🙂

I didn’t really want beams this long, but they all were either too long or too short. So what do you do when you have a 6 foot long trailer and a 13 foot long board and no saw to shorten the board? You get creative!
My adult nephew (who helped us dig out the culvert and pull all those nails) came by that evening and helped us scoot the shed away from the fence so we could jack it up the next morning to get the trailer under it.
Flower Girl wanted to “hep”, too.

 We got the shed moved over and the next morning my Dad came by with his flatbed trailer and helped us. It was an agonizingly slow process of jack shed up, put blocks under, lower jack. Put jack on blocks, jack up shed, put more blocks under shed, lower jack. Put jack on higher blocks, jack up shed, etc, etc, etc.

This is the only picture I got because all the sudden Dad and Hubs needed my help.
But, we finally got it on the trailer!
Yep, my younger nephew came to help out again. On the drive to the property, he fell asleep. Guess we worked him pretty hard (and the day is only half over!)

 And of course we were so busy getting the shed off the trailer once we got there, I didn’t get any pictures of the process.

Here it is all jacked up and off the trailer.
Lowering, lowering, lowering, one block at a time.

 That night, The Hubby and I dropped the girls off at my Mom’s (and took showers there, too!), dropped the nephew and his little sister off with their grandparents, and went to dinner with Hubby’s boss and co-workers. We came back to the trailer late that night and crawled into bed exhausted.

Our beautiful sunny bed! The window at the head faces East so we get the glorious morning sun! I LOVE having the windows at bed level. It’s almost like sleeping outside.

 So, that day was Sunday again and we met my parents and the girls at church. Afterward, we headed back to the RV and finally had some time to do some organizing and finishing of projects.

Putting on the final cabinet pulls
Turning on the stove for the first time since we bought the trailer.
We have fire!
Got the fridge working, too. A little too well, I’d say!

 We spent that evening in the trailer since it was a bit windy and chilly outside. And we were all tired so we went to bed early. The next morning was Monday so the Hubby got up and went to work as usual. The girls and I had a lazy day just enjoying being out there.

She made this fire all by herself (with just a few verbal instructions from me). She was so proud.
We went for a short hike to the corner of our property.
We ate lunch outside in the warm spring sunshine.
I love my girls!

We then packed up and finally made it home that evening. We were sad to leave especially since we new it would be two weeks before we could return. The following weekend we went to a leadership conference with our church. It was a great weekend, but we looked forward to staying at the Homestead again.

“Winter” Weekend

So, as it usually does, Winter returned to Nevada with a vengeance in April. We had been watching the forecast and were prepared, thank goodness, but it was a good shakedown of what we’re going to need to do/have for cold weather living up there.

When we got there on Friday, April 25, it was raining-quickly-turning-to-snow. We not-so-quickly figured out how to put out the awning. My mom and I had done it last Fall, but Joe didn’t know how it worked, so he couldn’t help much but to follow my instructions. And I couldn’t remember the particulars. But we eventually got it out and backed the cars up to it to unload.

Flower Girl was thrilled with all the “wati” (ie water) running off the awning
The view down the driveway at 7:00pm. The valley is lost in a haze and the temperature is dropping.
The same view down the drive an hour later.
We had a small catalytic heater for warmth, but also chose to use candles and a kerosene lantern for light because of the heat they also provide. We eventually closed the blinds to hopefully keep out some of the cold.

 The next morning we woke up to a winter wonderland right outside. Flower Girl joined us in bed (while Princess Girl just kept on snoozing in her bed, which she is fully accustomed to now) and the three of us snuggled for quite a while, not wanting to face the chilly morning. But eventually we had to get up.

What the hillside outside my bedside window looked like that morning.
As is the custom with these Spring storms, the snow is already melting off.
Looking back toward the valley that Saturday morning. It’s reappeared!
By lunch time, the snow was all gone and it was actually fairly nice outside. (Obviously we found the hose to our camp stove. And despite the fact that the stove in the trailer now works, I was frying chips and didn’t want to stink up the inside.)

That afternoon, we headed down into town and bought ourselves a Mr Buddy Heater. We knew we wanted one, and this was just the reason to go out and get it. The smaller heater and the lantern had kept it bearable the night before, but Mr Buddy kept things downright comfy – on the low setting even!

Cozying up to warmth!
Of course, it helped that I also baked something in the oven. Yeah, we were downright toasty in there that night!

 The following day was Sunday.  And I didn’t take a single picture. Here it is, almost a week later and I don’t really remember what all we did that day. I think we just kinda had a regular day and hung out. Oh, that’s right. We played a couple card games, checked facebook, etc on our phones, read, wrote, and generally just relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company.


That night, the baby had a really restless night and we ended up on the pull-out couch together. It was actually pretty comfy, other than the fact that we didn’t have enough blankets to share. I eventually turned the heater back on and let it run while we slept. By the time Hubby got up to ready for work, the propane canister had run out. By then, Flower Girl was finally sleeping soundly, so I covered her up warmly and went and crawled back in my own warm bed and we all slept for a couple more hours.

Ugly, but fairly comfortable 🙂 (Edited 2-7-2015 – Awe, I miss that ugly old thing!)
5 vultures came soaring over Castle Rock while the girls and I were spending some time outside in the finally warmer weather.

And that brings us up to this weekend. We were planning to go up again, but the girls and I got sick with a stomach bug and didn’t feel like packing up and heading up there. Being there would have been fine. The process of getting there was insurmountable. At this point, it’s still like camping every time we go up. Granted, it’s pretty cushy camping, but still a fairly large process to set up and take down “camp” every time we go up. But we’ll get back up there again soon. And hopefully soon enough we’ll be there full time. The house we’re in now has had quite a lot of potential buyers looking at it, so hopefully something will happen on it quickly.


Until next time…adieu

(Edited 2-7-2015: We officially started living on the Homestead on May 18, 2014. And less than two months later, on July 13, 2014 we moved up here to Oregon. I can’t believe we’ve been here for nearly 7 months already. I am enjoying some of the benefits of living in the Pacific Northwest, and the Portland area specifically. But reviewing these old posts have made me long for the day when this Portland Interlude will be over.)

Insta-Drive!

I just have a couple more of the old posts to bring you. I sure have enjoyed reminiscing. The day our driveway got improved about a year ago, I was nearly delirious with excitement. This post  is long and filled with lots of pictures of the process of getting our property ready to live on. Oh, those were good times!

March 29, 2014

Instant Driveway: Just add money, time, a skilled operator (who just happens to be your stepdad :-), 100 tons of gravel, and some heavy equipment, and voila! A driveway in 6 hours!

At the beginning of the day on March 28, 2014 our driveway looked like this:

And this is AFTER the grader ran over it once or twice!

By the end of the day it had been transformed to this:

Smooth as buttah!


These pictures were taken in roughly the same place (looking opposite directions), only about 6 hours apart. We started out the day with a nearly 4wd road and ended with a very smooth driveway.


Now for some more details and pictures (because we all know I love the details and pictures:-) of the drive-way in process…

But first, here’s some pictures from the past couple of weekends that we’ve spent out there.


Two weeks ago, we met my mom and stepdad up at the property to walk around and dream and plan and see what all we needed to do. Pops (my stepdad) is a newly retired Operating Engineer – which means he ran heavy construction equipment such as dozers, graders, and back hoes his whole career. So, we knew he’d be able to help us decide what our next step should be. It also helps that he and Mom live only about 5 minutes from the property. He’s the one who suggested a blade (grader) rather than a backhoe to do the work and asphalt grindings rather than regular gravel to lay down.

 
Playing around with a tape measure to get an idea of possible house dimensions (no we don’t have a set floor plan yet.)
Lunch time!
Lunch time!
Lunch time!
Wild onions that are so prolific up there.
Nap time!
Digging out the clogged culvert – My nephew telling Hubs how it should be done 😉 (and yes, my husband is in a kilt)
Digging out the clogged culvert – proof that my nephew actually did some work!
Princess Girl in her “sandbox”
Digging in the “sandbox”
Unclogging the culvert. Yes, my Hubby’s in a kilt and my nephew’s in just socks while he works. They are weird like that. :-/
I think we overworked him 😉

We also took some time while we were up there to enjoy the beauty around us and do a bit of exploring.

 “Beauty in the Desert” 

This little fairy glen is just off our property, but oh, so pretty..

 The following week (one week ago) we went back up to do a “bit” of work that turned into an all day project.

Flower Girl helping drive on the way up – it didn’t last long because as soon as we hit the rough drive, Joe needed her out of the way.
Dropping off some old windows we will eventually use in a greenhouse type structure
Obsidian REALLY wanted that stick (*ahem* – log)! (Edited 2-7-2015 – awe, Sid, I miss him. Yes, we have Scooter now, here in Oregon, but I miss our big goof-ball. Eventually, when we are back in Nevada, we plan to get him back from some friends who have very graciously been looking after him for us.)
It’s nearly as big as he is!
Undaunted
Silly nephew
Finally on to the project that we went up there for and which ended up lasting ALL DAY LONG. How were we to know that the nails we were going to pull were a freaking SIX INCHES long!?!?  (These huge pallets have been sitting there for years now. We plan to pull them apart, get them up to the house pad, and use them for decking around the trailer, etc. And no, the barn in the background is not on our property.)
Princess Girl and her friend did some nail pulling, too
Look at the size of that nail!
Yep, I got in the action, too.
Flower Girl wanted to help
Flower Girl and Daddy taking a break in the shade.
The girls playing in the dirt.
Getting closer to the end.
Ummmmm…yeeaaaahh…THAT’s why you should use the right tool for the job. A light duty hammer is not the tool for demolition!
Only a couple more boards to go. Getting close to quittin’ time.
Hey, lookit that, it still works as a hammer!

I really need to take a picture of the pile of nails. We calculated that it was over 600 of those suckers! I’m gonna save a few of the best ones to use as a decoration of some sort in the new house. Oh, and did you notice there’s a whole other pallet for us to do the same thing with???

See the other pallet next to the one the boys are sitting on? It is actually bigger than the one we worked on, and sitting upside down. Oh, yeah, that’s gonna be fun!


Ok, so we are finally up to yesterday’s work. Yay! It was so exciting!

The blade was delivered at about 7:15am
Pops going up and down the drive with the blade smoothing it out. There were a LOT of big boulders in this section.
See, big boulders. Every time he’d pass over this 200yard section, more and more boulders would surface. Eventually good enough had to be good enough.
The grader on our drive with the valley in the background
Finally, the first load of asphalt grindings getting laid!
I went running and jumping around on the first pour!
Just a little excited, ya think?
Pops smoothing out the first load of grindings.
The first load of grindings getting smoothed out.
My brother got to come up for a few minutes and run the blade. He is training to be an operating engineer like his dad and jumped at the chance to get in there!
Once the drive itself was basically done, Pops then took some time to grade the house pad.
The last load getting dumped.
We finally get to drive on our new driveway! This was about 2:00pm
On the very clean housepad. The Suburban is parked on the asphalt grindings which is where our trailer is going to be parked while we’re building the house.
Taking some time to rest and enjoy our view before heading back down the hill. It was a very good day!



So that’s it. We are a couple thousand dollars poorer, but infinitely richer after yesterday. Our housepad is accessible, which means we can start moving up the trailer and storage shed, etc. And eventually (hopefully soon) we’ll be moving there (as soon as this house sells). And then there’s going to be a big pause since the next step is building permits. And we have to have a floor plan and blueprints and all that fun stuff, which is going to take time and money. So, we’re going to have to save up some more money, and while were saving we’ll be finalizing plans. But we’re one step, or should I say, one drive closer to our dream!

Exciting (old) news for the Homestead

We were so excited when our house was put on the market about a year ago. It made the move to the Homestead feel like it really was going to happen!

March 9, 2014

Our house is on the market! It’s listed as a 4 bedroom, 2064sqft, for $185, 000. We’re all hoping and praying it sells soon!

To that end, we’ve started taking loads up to the property and stashing things there, both in the storage trailer as well as on the land. Things like the old fence wood that the Hubby got when the neighbors at his work put up a new fence. And all the firewood we had stacked up. We’ll probably be having more campfires up there, but also, we just needed it gone from here. Then there’s the patio chaise lounges that we are planning to recover. You know how expensive those things are?  Better to keep the frames and reuse them if we can. (Edit 2-7-2015: we brought one of them to Oregon with us, and after a few repairs, it is working quite nicely up here. When it’s not too wet to sit outside, that is!) So, you know, that kind of stuff. Pretty soon we’ll need to get our shed moved and deal with the chickens. Hmmmm…still need to find homes for the rabbits, too. Still a lot to do, and here’s hoping not a lot of time to do it! 😉

Edit 2-7-2015 – awe, I miss our rabbits. They would be the perfect urban homestead animal for our situation here in Oregon, but we’re just not sure how long we’re going to be here. We are discussing trying to move back this coming summer/fall. If that is the case, we don’t want to put the money into a rabbitry only to have to leave them or have that much more stuff to take back to Nevada with us. However, if we’re going to be here for another year or more, it might be worth it. We just don’t know at this point. I do know, however, that once we get settled in Nevada, I want to raise meat rabbits again.

Trailer Transformation: Part 3

This is the last of my old posts dedicated solely to the trailer transformation. There will be a few more trailer updates in the other old posts about our move to Castle Rock, but those are just some finishing touches.

February 7, 2014 (yes, written over a year ago)

Ok, this post is mainly just going to be pictures. It’s late, I’m tired, but it’s been way too long since I posted about the trailer. Sooooo….. here we go!

Finishing up the painting

 

Standing in the “living room” looking toward the back
Standing in the kitchen looking to the living room
Where the shower used to be
Our bedroom
putting in the shelving in the “pantry”
Into the bathroom which is now half pantry and no longer had a shower and we won’t use the toilet either. (that’s a post for another time)
Taking a break at the “kitchen table”
Love my man
got the shelves in and the cover boxes built
more pics of the pantry
Flower Girl “escaping”
The girl’s beds are almost done, just need the privacy curtains.
Another view of the girl’s beds
Why is it sideways? Well, anyway, yeah that’s the power cable from the trailer, cut and stolen! Can’t wait to get out of this neighborhood!
See that other, smaller trailer which is hooked to the suburban? That’s our storage “shed” which we recently bought. It is now parked up on our property.
Hubby putting in some of the final touches like magnetic latches on all the cabinets.
Got the privacy curtains in. Princess Girl “loves” hers.
See, with them open, they almost disappear.

Well, that’s it for now. We are basically finished. Still need to put on the cabinet pull handles, but really, that’s about it. Oh, and a bunch of clean up. And a slip cover for the butt-ugly couch. And a myriad of other little things. But basically it finished! Now we just need to finish up the packing in the house, get it on the market, get it sold and then we can MOVE!

(Edited 2-7-2015 – wow, so much has happened in one year! I really miss living in the trailer. It was a wonderful 2 months. And every time we go back for a visit, it’s hard to face the fact that that part of our dream is no longer a possibility. With the Hubby’s parents permanently a part of our lives now, there’s just no way we can rough it like that with them in tow. Oh, but I miss it sooo much! When we were there just a couple weeks ago, Flower Girl surprised me when we went in the trailer. She walked in, looked around, and exclaimed, “That MY bed!” and promptly crawled into it. It nearly broke my heart to think that she won’t be able to experience living there. But I keep reminding myself that living in the trailer was only part of the dream, and the rest is still on track. Eventually we’ll have a house there and be able to live there full time. And that is definitely something to look forward to.)

Moving update

Another of my old posts.

January 12, 2014 (nope, not a typo, this really was typed a year ago 🙂 )

So, the trailer just sits there, almost, but not quite finished.  The holidays hit, and we all know how that goes. And then January hit and we decided that we are going to put this house on the market as close to March 1 as possible. Which means we have to essentially be ready to walk out the door by then. All extra stuff in storage, all non-needed stuff sold or donated. So, for the past week I’ve been sorting, weeding through, boxing, packing, distributing, planning, etc, etc, etc. We moved Flower Girl up into Princess Girl’s attic bedroom to free up mainfloor bedroom to use as a staging/storage room until such a time as we can have a yard sale and get a storage trailer to put all the extra things into. So far, three rooms are almost finished (Both girls’ rooms, and the school/play room.) I’m amazed at all the STUFF we all have!

At any rate, today we didn’t do ANY packing or sorting or organizing or anything.  Nope, we’ve decided that today would be a day of rest.  So, we went to church this morning,  then to lunch at my mom and pop’s  house. After lunch, the grandparents watched the girls while the Hubby and I went and saw The Hobbit. By the time we got home, it was evening, so Princess Girl and I played dominoes till bed time while Hubs watched tv on his laptop and Flower Girl ran around. It was a nice, relaxing day, and I’m so blessed to have been able to just relax. It was hard at first, though. On the drive home, I kept thinking of all the things I could get organized or packed in the hours till bedtime. But I also knew I just needed to spend some quality time with my girl before we started back into another hectic week. It was a great way to finish off a wonderful day. And tomorrow, with a trip to the DMV  to register the trailer and finding boxes and packing, packing, packing is going to be productive enough. I’m so thankful for restful days. Now here’s hoping I can sleep well and get a restful night!

Trailer Transformation: Part 2

Part 2 in the continuing saga of turning our trailer into a home over a year ago.

November 22, 2013

It’s been a while since I updated about the trailer. We’ve gotten quite a lot done in the last two weeks. Take a look 🙂

My 2 year old niece “helping” paint. She helped for about 10 minutes and then was done 🙂
Working on the bunk beds. Nearly done.
The girls trying out their new spaces for the first time.
Finished building the bunks, now just gotta sand and paint.
Yes, it’s actually large enough for a full-sized adult. Cramped but possible.
Painting cabinet doors
Break time
Building the back bed platform.
My 13 year old nephew helping paint.
He was a huge help!
Painting the ceiling
The little girls trying to stay out of trouble
Coffee break! 😉
Princess Girl is finally back from the birthday party she went to (thus the painted face) and now her cousin thinks it’s play time 🙂
Cousins!
Taking out the bathroom wall.
Almost there (I forgot to get an “after” picture. I’ll have to do that later.
The first curtains are in! We decided to go with curtains here rather than putting the doors back on so that Princess Girl has a bit more elbow room and she will be able to access the spaces easier while on her bed.

So, I realized as I uploaded these pictures that I do not have any pictures of the completed (well, almost completed) cabinets. Over half of them are fully painted but nothing has the hardware on it yet. 


Today I want to work on the seat cushions that go next to the beds. Yesterday, I bought the hardware needed to string up the privacy curtains for the girls’ beds, so maybe I’ll whip those up, too. Of course, I also have quite a few other projects to do around the house. Since we’re putting this house on the market in the Spring, we have a lot of little (and some not so little) things to do. Last night the Hubby and I put in a door at the bottom of the attic stairs (we converted the attic when we moved in.) We’ve had a baby gate at the bottom of those stairs off and on since we built them since I babysit little kids and now our own daughter is old enough to get into real trouble if the gate wasn’t there. That door is soooo nice comparatively! Still have to put trim around it and build a “window” above it. But the door is there and it’s functional. I’ll post pictures once I take them. (Edited to note: I never did take pictures and now that house belongs to someone else. Oh well. 🙂 )


Well, a lot to do today, and it’s already mid-morning, so I’ll sign off for now.