Restorations

{Making a Home} | Welcome

Door Blessing

O God, make the door of this house wide enough to receive all who need human love and fellowship, narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and strife.  Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling block to children, nor to strained feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the temptor’s power.  God, make the door of this house the gateway to thine eternal kingdom.

Amen.

 

Door Blessing

We began moving in to our home this weekend.  We will likely take the next few weeks to be completely moved in.  There is still painting and floor finishing going on around Brian’s work schedule.  Yesterday, the china cabinet and jelly cupboard were moved over to be painted and placed in the pantry, giving us a place to store food until we can order more cabinets.

It’s giving the little house a sort of “camp” atmosphere.  We’re eating in the living room because the table is doing duty as storage for everything that was in the two cabinets.  I’m trying to embrace it.

 

Door Blessing

In the meantime, I am enormously grateful for the weather, which has been perfect for playing, packing, loading and unloading… and for exploring our fields and woodlands, which we did briefly last Friday.  We were doing a land survey and soil samples for our crop planning.  I found lots of places for beautiful photographs, and for nature walks.  Partridge berries, ferns, mosses and mushrooms, seedling trees and decaying trunks, animal tracks and streams.  Blessed are we.

Moving Day Approaches

The old hydrangea on the southwest side of the farmhouse. We pruned it back really hard the first year and it has rewarded us with a glorious profusion of blooms ever since.

Many of my friends will remember that we have had a lot of trouble with uninvited guests on the farm since purchasing it.  We are convinced that it is these hunters and others who are responsible for letting our animals, and our tenant’s animals, out of their enclosures.  This has been a source of significant consternation to us, as well as to our neighbours.  Recently there seems to be an increase in the number of people ‘visiting’ our farm without permission or invitation.  Either that, or we are just fortunate enough to be catching them.

Last weekend, I met a hunter driving down from our upper field on our tractor road.  He had to drive around me.  He had to drive around farm equipment that was parked in the tractor road.  He had to walk or drive around electric fence and a herd of cattle.  He had the audacity to smile and wave at me.  I turned around and followed him to his home after asking Brian (who was at the farmhouse working) if he had spoken with him.  We phoned the police, who sent out an officer to speak with us.  He turned out to be a friend of ours from high school!

The end result is that moving into the farmhouse is more urgent than ever.  Trespassers with firearms, and those on foot, as well as those on ATVs pose a danger to our animals, our family, and our neighbourhood.  If we are there, we can stop people who don’t belong on the farm before any more damage is done.

We have spent most of the last two weeks – at least every minute we can spare – finishing up projects at the farmhouse and preparing the pack-out of the little house.

Happily, the entire family is excited about finally moving into our farmhouse and getting to work on the plans we have for the farm, for our ministry, and for our precious family.

{Making a Home} : More Floors and…

While I sat in a chair and knitted, Brian, Jack, and Carrie continued working on the floors downstairs.  The dining room floor is made of a totally different flooring material and is wearing out the sanding pads right-quick.  But the wood underneath is gorgeous.

 

{Making a Home} | Floors

{Making a Home} | Floors

The library floor is being patched with salvaged pieces which will be sanded, oiled and waxed soon.  If you remember from when we first started the restorations, this room was in the worst shape – the floor, joists, and wall in here were all rotten through.  It has been the one room that has given me nightmares from the beginning – even after repairs.  It was that bad.

{Making a Home} | Floors

Here you can see where Brian has trimmed out the hearth with new red oak pieces.  They aren’t the same species of wood as the floor (which is Douglas Fir), but they’ll do nicely for now.  Later, Brian is thinking about making a beautiful marquetry border here.  Fancy!

{Making a Home} | Floors

The countertops, salvaged from interior barn board walls in what is now the mudroom are getting a filling (with saved sawdust and wood glue) and a final sanding before they are rounded over, oiled and waxed.  If the waxing method doesn’t satisfy our needs, we have bartop varnish waiting in the wings.  I hope we won’t have to use that.  The fumes are awful and we’re a little freaked out by the chemicals.  But you knew that.

{Making a Home} | Floors

After a day of working at the farmhouse, there is only one thing left to do: eat chocolate cake.  JoJo enjoyed hers… thoroughly. 🙂

{Making a Home} | Floors

The last of the paint is on the way to us now, as are a couple of gallons of Soy Gel stripper to get the gunk off of the stairs and floors.  If there is any gel left, I’ll start stripping the white mantel from the living room, and the built-in china cabinet in the dining room {which you can see in the first photo}.  nearly there now!  I really think so.

Progress

stumping

Our friend Henry and his crew arrived this afternoon to clear out overgrown nursery stock.  Much of it was half-dead, and we had already lost over an acre of cluster birches in an ice storm our first winter on the farm.  There is another two-acre area of trees that never seemed to take off and the cows have largely knocked those down.

These spruces are popping right out of the ground and leaving the soil in place (thank goodness!).  The remains of the trees will either be burned or dragged to the gravel pit along our west border to compost.  Pigs, cows, and goats have all grazed in the area and we are hoping we’ll have an opportunity to cover crop here before it gets too late in the year.

Between the livestock and the mechanical help, we will have added four more acres, give or take, of cropland.  That’s going to increase our CSA and farmstand capacity, as well as what we will be able to donate to area shelters.  Yay!

You can just see the maples turning there behind the little excavator.  Gorgeous.

{Making a Home} : Beautiful Floors

We chose to use natural, non-toxic finishes in our house, including old fashioned milk paint and natural oiled and waxed floors from finishes we made ourselves. That means a bit more work, but no worries about chemicals out-gassing into our home and making everyone sick.

We were so blessed to have intact wood floors that needed only a sanding before refinishing, though we did have to pull some linoleum from the hallways.

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

After the floors were sanded and the dust removed, we applied a linseed oil finish that we made ourselves. No scary boiling, no nasty chemical solvents. You still have to be awfully careful because the orange oil is strong and doesn’t feel nice on bare skin in that concentration and quantity.

Renaissance Mama’s Floor oil {to cover up to 1400 sq ft}:
2 gal. Flax oil
2 gal.Orange oil
5 gallon bucket (or size appropriate to your project), with a gamma seal to close it up tightly.

All you need are equal parts of both oils mixed together in your bucket with a clean dowel. The orange oil helps to loosen the flax oil, which is very viscous. Thinner flax oil will spread, penetrate, and dry better.  Coverage depends upon the dryness of your wood.  If you don’t need as much as this, it’s easy to make smaller quantities.  Super simple.

Spill onto your floor and spread with a squeegee. Work quickly in sections and be careful to spread evenly – don’t leave any puddles. Blot the floor with a car or bar mop cloth. You may also wish to apply kraft or contractor paper after waiting 30 minutes. In 24 hours, check to see if your wood has fired or not (it shouldn’t in most cases). If it has (the grain pops up and makes the surface rough), do a light sanding and wipe-down before repeating the oiling process.

Then after another 24 hours, you are ready to wax! You don’t need to wax if you don’t want to, but it makes the finish much more durable, which is important with our big, busy family.

Renaissance Mama’s Floor Wax {Updated}:

1 lb beeswax
1 lb carnauba wax (makes a nice, hard finish. This is what is in Turtle wax)
3 quarts olive oil (increased from 1/2 gallon to make the wax easier to use and apply)
2 oz. essential oils of your choice (I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our Essence of Chrism oil for this and it compliments the orange oil scent)

In a double boiler, candle pot over simmering water, or homemade Bain Marie, combine the waxes and olive oil together.  Stir, stir, stir until the waxes are melted.  Remove from heat and wipe the bowl.  Wait a couple of minutes and add the essential oil. Pour into large, clean disposable baking tins and let cool. You can use this wax on positively EVERYTHING. Wooden toys, floors, furniture. If you add oil soluble pigments, you can rub it on painted walls for a really beautiful, luminous finish.

This recipe makes enough for about 225 sq. ft. depending upon how dry your wood is.  {I made 6 times this recipe to start with for the first and second floors of the house}

Scoop out a handful (for floors) and spread it around. Work quickly in sections. Have a partner come behind with a buffer and buff the floors to a gorgeous sheen as you go. WEAR SOCKS, bare feet, or cover your shoes with scuffs. DO NOT wear your street shoes on the floor until the buffing is done. Apply a second coat if you’d like.

Wait 12 or more hours before putting your rugs back down to give the wax enough time out in the air to harden up.

 

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

Easy peasy! Well, OK… Simple. But hard work. Soooo worth it though.

You can buy your bulk supplies for a big oiling/waxing project at Jedward’s. They were crazy fast, but we’re not that far away.

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