Working Our Way Up the Porch

The railings are starting to go up.  One at least.

Lynn went to Spokane this past week for his consultation on getting a pacemaker.  He is a candidate for the modified pacemaker, but to satisfy the insurance company they have to monitor him for the next 3 months and then get another heart echo, before he is eligible.  Irregardless of the fact, that they have been trying to control his arrhythmia with medications for the last 5 years.  The doctor also changed his heart medication and that has really caused him to be extremely tired and lethargic.  Hopefully, after the pacemaker is in, and functioning well, he can get off of some of the medications he is on.   He feels he is over-medicated, but which one do you get rid of?  Alright this is a blog about DIY Building projects, just thought I would let you know that my significant other has not been able to get into this project, too good.  I am amazed at what he can do, as he will be turning 74 in a couple months.

We didn’t get the scaffolding moved like we wanted this weekend, so I had to settle for working on the railing.  I really wanted to work on the porch by the stairs leading from the side yard, but we have some other things that need to be done first and that involves the scaffolding.  Next week we will tackle that.

Our do-it-yourself center that is closest to us, is Home Depot, so that is where we buy all our paint and most other building products.  I have found that their paint is good if you use a good foundation primer.  I prefer the Kilz Premium Primer as it works the best.  It is worth the extra money if you want the finish to match.  I had primed the balustrades and the 2×4’s before putting them up, then quickly put on 1 coat of the Behr Semi-Gloss White.  It will need one more coat.  Hopefully, I can paint the whole porch before bad weather sets in.

I guess I will be in the roofing business one for time before I hang up my hammer.  We have decided to put up asphalt shingles to match the rest of the house, if we can match the color.  If not, we will get as close as we can.  I would have like to put up metal roofing, but that should be done professionally, and that isn’t in the budget.

This particular blog will be short as I am pooped.  Gotta fix supper, do sock fairy duties, take a shower and get ready for another week at the salt-minds.

Take care,

Annie, the porch wizard.

Storm rolling in from the south on 9-5
Storm rolling in from the south on 9-5
First railing goes up
First railing goes up
Kinzie the building inspector, fell asleep on the job.
Kinzie the building inspector, fell asleep on the job.

Porch Project Moving at a Snails Pace

Well, I have the next 7 days off and I’m hoping to get some progress on the porch.  Though the temperatures will be in the upper 90’s, it is at least a dry heat and we can somewhat work in the shade.  Went to Home Depot yesterday and picked up more lumber and paint, plus ordered the crown molding that goes on the fascia.

Today I was excited about cleaning the house exterior which will actually be covered up.  Then preparing the eaves by washing, scrapping and painting.  Didn’t get too far in it when I was moving the ladder with the hammer still on the top.  You guessed it!!  The klutz that I am, the hammer fell on my head.  Couldn’t believe I did that.  I said some pretty awful swear words and got a gash of about 1 inch with lots of blood.  Maybe the elderly shouldn’t be allowed to have sharp heavy implements.  Or should be monitored closely.  Remember a couple of weeks ago when Lynn accidentally hit  me in the head with the 4 foot pipe clamp?  Well, I had just gotten over that.  Now this.  Ugh, I think I will be getting a head ache from this one.  I’m just glad it was my little hammer verses Lynn’s framing hammer.

You know when you are working on a 100+ year old house, you are going to find some remuddling.  Well we didn’t escape that.  Where the fascia boards and crown molding will go, the carpentry was cobbled up.  it appears that maybe they couldn’t do it right from being on the roof so there is about a 2 inch difference in the opening from one end of the porch to the other.  It is something we will have to just do some adapting because to do it the way it should be done would require reworking the whole roof on the house.  That isn’t happening.  The part that will needs to be modified is not structural.  Somewhere along the line, someone put a pony wall in and laid the roof rafters on that which is well done.  It was cobbling the extension of about 6 inches to accommodate the crown molding that is  done incorrectly.  The underneath fascia is straight and level, so that will stay.  When you find something level on an old house you want to leave it alone.  So I did get more old rotten trim boards off and a couple more will be coming down.  So I washed then primed the fascia board with Kilz Premium Primer, (the best primer) and put one coat of paint which is a sage green/grey.  I Like earth tones.  I hope it will all come together in the end.

While I was doing the cleaning, scraping and painting on the eaves, Lynn was replacing the floor in our horse trailer.  That needs to be repaired before we go on our trip in August to pick-up on 4 month old colt.  We are naming him Cheyenne.  I will post a picture of him when he was just a few weeks old.  What a beauty he is.  It has sparked some new life in Lynn.  Something to look forward to.

Speaking of Lynn, we will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary on Tuesday.  With all our projects and working on building our dream home and all the other projects in between, I am surprised we haven’t throttled each other.  Those 25 years went really fast as I look back on it.  We lost both our mothers, survived a major flood in 1996, back surgery in 2004, heart surgery for a stint in 2008 and numerous other life events.  But the fact that it appears to have gone by quickly says that it was a happy 25 years.

More in a couple of days.

Annie, the klutzy carpenter.


1975 horse trailer
1975 horse trailer
Lynn's photo-op
Lynn’s photo-op
Fascia problems
Fascia problems
The other end of the fascia
The other end of the fascia

Happy 4th of July – Progress on the Porch

Happy 4th of July America.  This holiday gives you pause to count your blessings that we live in a country where we have all the freedoms we enjoy.  If you work hard you can achieve your dreams.  You know we are not wealthy, but we have our health, a roof over our head, food in our belly, and the right to worship as we choose.

Building our dream home is one our dreams.  Granted it has taken a looooong, time but we have worked hard and have enjoyed the fruits of our labor.  With a few detours.  The present one being our back porch in the little house we live in.  So now that I have led into that, here is our progress for today:

A day off work at the office, but a day of work on the back porch.  I did take some pictures as I wanted to record this project and have a look at the before and after pictures.  Today Lynn put up another trim board and cut away some of the obstacles to it laying flat.  Then he cut the deck boards to size, about 10 of them, then went in to get out of the heat and recuperate.  That is when my job began.  I drilled pilot holes so I wouldn’t split any of the boards then screwed them down with 3″ deck screws.  Love to see progress and watching the porch be transformed from something that I was ashamed of to something that I am proud to show off.

My two week project has turned into March, April, May, June & July, maybe August project.  Not regretting doing it.  Just sometimes get impatient with myself that it takes me and Lynn so long to do any project.  We always envision the projects going much faster and smoother.  I guess it teaches us patience.  I should be about finished with learning patience, and I am ready to graduate.

Lynn managed to mow the weed infested back yard on Tuesday.  Looks so much better.  It is dried out weeds, but at least they are all the same height, so it doesn’t look so bad.  Looking at the back yard and front yard, just lets me know what other areas of this house have been neglected.  My wish is that someone stops me the next time I am in Home Depot and offers to do a yard makeover.  I want a rich luscious green lawn with underground sprinklers on a timer and well groomed flower beds with beautiful butterfly bushes and humming bird feeders.  Weeded and no fox-tails in the lawn as they burrow under Kinzie’s fur.   I absolutely hate fox-tails.

Nodded off for a minute in dreamland, but I’m now back awake.  Well maybe someday that wish will come true, but I don’t think it will happen this summer.  Ho hum.  I will just have to settle for a beautiful porch.

Our plan for this weekend is to finish up the deck of the porch and begin the railing.  Back to Home Depot to get the railing material and I will then get out my trusty paint brush and begin more painting.  Oh, I can’t wait.  But for tomorrow I am back to work at being a paralegal and loving that job too.

Take care and thanks for reading my little blog 🙂

Annie, the tired patriot porch builder

This is looking from the back kitchen door out toward the yard.
This is looking from the back kitchen door out toward the yard.
Doesn't that look so much better?
Doesn’t that look so much better?
Porch Deck about 3/4 done.  Then the railing and roof.
Porch Deck about 3/4 done. Then the railing and roof.
Finally got the dryer vent put together and it will stay that way with little screws.
Finally got the dryer vent put together and it will stay that way with little screws.
Next to the stump, not able to dig, so we improvised.
Next to the stump, not able to dig, so we improvised.
We get to remove the 4x8 sheet of plywood and get some more done.
We get to remove the 4×8 sheet of plywood and get some more done.

The Porch is baking and so are we.

  • The weekend started with grocery shopping, of course.  A necessary chore.   Then on to Home Depot for more lumber, stain, and miscellaneous painting implements.  By the time that was done, so were we.
  • Began assessing what we would do on the back porch Sunday, and Lynn went in as he is still recovering from the back injections.  I have been amazed he has been able to do as much as he has.  He is no spring chicken (rooster) as he will be 74 this year, but hopefully the back injections will relieve some of the pain in his back.  So far so good, he has been able to do about 3 times more hours of work without hurting.  Before, after only an hour on his feet and his legs and back would hurt so bad he would have to stop, then it would take him a couple of days to recover.  Needless to say his life sucked, and he hated it.  Add to that, he needed to lose some weight.  Quite a bit of weight.  Which is very difficult when you can’t be the least bit active, and when moving around any, is a chore.
  • It has been almost 2 weeks since the injections, and he has been losing weight easier and has more stamina.  He still has problems with getting winded and dealing with exhaustion.  Hopefully, that will subside as he continues to lose more weight.  We can only pray.
  • While he recovered from the two trips to town, I proceeded to stain the 24 more 2×6’s.  They are ready to be put down.  I stopped for the night and decided to do some laundry, and get some needed house work done.  The plan is to wake early and get out and moving on the porch as it is predicted that we will be having some record breaking highs this week.


  • Up bright and early.  Had a little breakfast then began lugging all the tools, extension cords, compressor, gloves and anything else that we thought we would need, out to the porch.
  • Lynn cut the pressure treated posts and we put down some concrete square bases for them to set on.  I want to say pavers, but that isn’t what they are.  I’ll include a picture next week.   We couldn’t put a footing in as the stump roots won’t let us.  Remember that monster stump, well we are building around it the same as they did 50-75 years ago when the original porch was built.  Wise people.
  • I played the demo diva again and removed more of the old porch for about another 6 to 8 feet or so.  Attached the dryer vent which runs underneath the porch.  It has been a problem crawling under there and trying to put it back together when it comes apart.  It was constantly coming apart.  Put it together this time and used sheet metal screws to attach it so it won’t come apart.  Much easier to put together when you aren’t laying on your belly.
  • We attached the remaining 11 foot  2×8 along the front.  I am starting to get excited with the progress.  What can I say, doesn’t take much to please this girl.  Just a little progress.
  • Now, with all the demo, we can’t get to the back door, which means that I will need to go out later when it cools down a little and put more boards down.  At 1:30 the temperature was 96 outside so we broke for lunch and decided to stay inside for a bit.  Although we have been drinking lots of water, it is still too hot to try to work in that heat.  It will probably be about 6:00 or after, when we will go back out.  I am doing this on Word and will copy and paste to my blog later and add to it with further adventures of this weekend.
  • Later, Lynn still hasn’t recovered well enough to go back out.  It just isn’t worth it to his health to try.  So, I had some cleanup, of the old porch tongue and groove boards that I ripped off earlier.  Needed to cleanup any debris, so if Lynn feels like mowing down our weeds in the back yard, he can.  Since I won’t be putting down anymore deck boards, we went and got a 4×8 sheet of ¾ “  plywood (out of our scrap pile) so we can access the back door.  That is a must for Kinzie, our beautiful collie building inspector.  She has been spending a lot of quality time with us in the house as it is just too hot for her outside.  She is getting a wee bit spoiled.
  • We may be able to work on it on the 4th as it is supposed to only get in the high 80’s.  So back to work tomorrow and squeeze 5 days work into 4 days.  Love holidays, and you really need them by the time they come around.
  • Well that’s all for tonight folks.  I promise pics next weekend.

Anna, the hot novice carpenter 🙂

Happy Father’s Day – Porch Progress

First of all I want to wish my Husband a wonderful Father’s Day.  Also, happy Father’s Day to all those out there in Blogville, and I hope yours was special.

Usually, I always have upbeat posts and try to be positive, but this week really sucked.  There just isn’t any other word that quite fits.

I try real hard to be patient and roll with the punches, but I have found this past week particularly challenging.  On Wednesday I ended up coming home and taking my husband into the emergency room.  His degenerative back disease has been getting progressively worse.  There really wasn’t much that they could do to alleviate the pain.  He is scheduled for injections this week and I pray they give him some relief.  That is pretty much why I am the muscle and he is the brains.  But I have become increasingly aware of my limitations.  Having used power tools, some I am comfortable with and others I tend to be a little leery of.  Skill saws and table saws are not my favorite.  Try building a deck without either one.  Ugh.  Though, I do love the palm nailer.  That thing is awesome.  I took a picture of that little gizmo.

Trying to learn from my husband when his fuse it short, is not fun for me.  We end up arguing and the deck still doesn’t get done.  Frustrating for us both.  The dream house is setting next door and I feel like I am running out of time and afraid I won’t get to work on it this summer.  I am stuck on this damn porch!!

This blog is suppose to keep me on track and encourage me.  If I write it down, and know that I plan to write it down, I am more motivated to get things done.  This week it isn’t working.  I did take pictures of some of the progress, but not nearly as much as I would have liked.  Oh, I am really throwing a pity party now.  Anyway, this is where we are now:

We got the front 2×8 on the posts and have a good start on that, then put in some crossbars.  We are almost ready to put on some of the 2×6’s that we will be using for the decking.  I wanted to get at least this half of the porch done so we can move the freezer over and work on the other half.  Usually a patient person, I am almost ready to throw in the towel.  Finishing this half would have given me the inspiration to keep going.  Add to that I have a tooth ache, and my knee is swollen (haven’t a clue what that is from).  Oh, and the “sock fairy” hasn’t finished the laundry or gotten anything else a domestic diva is supposed to do, done.  Thank God for work tomorrow, I can escape into that world where I can master the things I need to.

Have to get back my positive attitude, so I will tell you what I plan to do next weekend.  The plan is to get the porch deck framed ( like a picture frame) and get about 8 feet or so of the 2×6’s down and get the freezer moved over there.  If I manage to get any of the old decking demolished, that will be a bonus.  My 2 week porch has turned in to 2 months so far.  Now do you understand why my blog is “15 years and counting dream house!!”

Annie, a very frustrated novice carpenter

Not a very complementary photo, those are part of the clothes I intend to burn when this is done.  Using the palm nailer.  Love that thing.
Not a very complementary photo, those are part of the clothes I intend to burn when this is done. Using the palm nailer. Love that thing.
Some of the power tools
Some of the power tools
Palm nailer.
Palm nailer.
Front board of the deack
Front board of the deck
McKinzie, tolerating us ruining her porch.
McKinzie, tolerating us ruining her porch.
A little bit done.
A little bit done.

Porch Progress – Moving Slow and Steady

Lynn reluctantly spending his Sunday, working on the porch.  McKinzie staying close.
Lynn reluctantly spending his Sunday, working on the porch. McKinzie staying close.
April is supervising the operation.
April is supervising the operation.
Another detour.  Fixing a leak
Another detour. Fixing a leak
Love the smell of raw wood.
Love the smell of raw wood.
Staining the boards Rubicon Red.  2X6
Staining the boards Rubicon Red. 2X6

I get a little anxious when the weekend comes around as I want to go gun-ho on the porch.  I don’t want to do any of the other things I have to do, I just want to focus on the porch.  Maybe a little OCD?  But Lynn tempers that side of me.  He says groceries first and then we are both pooped by the time we get home.  Well, I have a plan for that…. We go to town (20 miles away) and get the groceries, come home and unpack the groceries and put them away, quickly…. Get in his truck and go to Home Depot (20 miles away) and pick up some lumber and other building materials, because tomorrow is going to be a totally “get it done” day.  We come home and we are doubly pooped.

Then he breaks the news to me, there is a pipe in the horse pasture that is leaking water and that needs to be taken care of before the porch.  Ugh.  Double ugh!!  Okay, I got to rethink this.  If we turn the well pump off Saturday night, the ground will be soft but dig-gable in the morning.  We can do that first thing as that is when the shade is in that area.

Sunday morning, up bright and early and ready to dig and get that out of the way.  I am the chief-whole-digger as I can get down and into it.  (sometimes it doesn’t pay to be healthy)  The whole is dug and the leak is found and the repair is made.  Let the glue set-up and wait a few hours and test it.  In the meantime, back to the porch.  🙂 This is me smiling.

Staining the lumber first with Architect Series Semi-Transparent Wood Stain – Rubicon Red (It is a redwood color).  This is an oil stain and I really like the color.  It is just what I wanted.  I am staining the top and sides so when it is put down, all I will have to do is some touch-up.  Besides its easier to stain standing up (wood on the saw horses) than for me to crawl around on the floor.  I get down okay, its the getting up that is a challenge.

Got out all the power tools set up for the hubby.  Skill saw; palm nailer; nail gun; compressor; hammer; wreaking bar; pry bar; and a multitude of other tools to accomplish the job.  Now to get Lynn (the hubby) out there to do some of the intricate detailed foundation of the porch work.  Some of the floor joists we are keeping as they are sound and oversized compared to the lumber of today.  Some old, and some new.

If you haven’t figured it out by now I am the energetic gopher of this project.  I get the ideas in my head and try to explain them to Lynn, and he does the magic of figuring how to make my visions come true.  He does tend to get a little frustrated at how my visions keep getting modified and more detailed.  They start out simple and evolve, while he stands there and shakes his head.

Took a break from the porch, to turn the well back on, check the leak, and refill the whole.  That job is done until the next leak.  Nothing stays fixed on a Ranch/Mini Farm.  Always something to fix.

Well I got to get back to work, there’s still daylight.

Annie, the energetic gopher  🙂

The lift goes home tomorrow. Clean-up and put away tools

I had my last ride in the lift this morning. I managed to paint a small section of the shop along the side. I would have liked to have gotten more done, but it started to get a little windy and I was just plumb tuckered out anyway.

Took some photos of the house which still has a lot of work to be done. Will work on the outside next spring and summer.  Nothing has been done to the inside. It just has framed interior walls. The steps in the entryway going up to the second floor has been done but rough risers and treads are there until we get the walls sheet rocked. Don’t want to ruin new oak stairs. Lynn built those about 2004 around the time he had back surgery. He built them so strong, they will be standing long after the house drops around them. It will be a grand entry when it is done.

We did not get the last stained glass window in. It will have to wait for next spring/summer when we rent the lift again.

Brought all the left-over cans of paint inside so they won’t freeze. Cleaned the lift up so there won’t be a clean-up charge. Sun Rental will come and get it tomorrow.

Each year I make a calendar for the family and this year the theme is ‘The Year of the House.’ I put photos of what we did this year in there to share with the kids and my Aunt Betty in Michigan. She likes to see it pictures of this area and the house. Walgreens had a sale Buy one and get two free. Which only applied to the first 3 but I ordered 8 of them. I couldn’t believe it but they were ready to pick up today. I just put the order in last night! I am amazed at today’s technology.

It has been wonderful sharing our trials and tribulations during these last few months.  As this has been a 17 year journey so far, I have lots of reflections that I will post a few time a week.  This coming week I am going out of town combining work with pleasure.  Going to a seminar, but staying with my Son and Grandkids in the Seattle area for just a couple of nights.  Which means it will be a very busy week.  Without further a-do, here are the latest pictures.

Annie, the tuckered-out novice carpenter

The Dream is getting closer.

A view from the sidewalk 10-14-12

Still need to paint the upper gable of the shop. I painted a little of this, this morning, but not photo yet. Our horse, April, just enjoying the cooler temperatures.

The way it looked this morning 10-14-12