The Hopeful Homesteader

The Hopeful Homesteader

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Working on The Icky Pool

Remember The Icky Pool?

Another of the unfinished projects we got started on last week was the Icky Pool. We thought for a long time about the best way to do this and all we could come up with was that we would have to completely take it down and set it back up come spring.

We started out by taking all the posts down. The rope that was strung through the loops on the liner had dry rotted and we had no trouble at all with this part.

The posts came out relatively easy.
Next we had to try to start draining the water from it. Boy was it COLD! The pool was placed wrong in the first place and had several high spots that made draining the water out a huge chore. 

The water started draining a bit before we even had all the posts out.

It started collapsing in on itself as we removed more of the posts.

Finally all the posts removed and the water just started pouring out. At first.

It stopped draining with a good bit of water left still in it.

Once we had as much water out as we could get we tried to pull the liner over to get more out. When we did we found out that it was placed directly on the ground instead of sand or anything. But on the upside it was totally dry underneath, so we're relatively sure there are no holes or leaks in the liner.

The ground beneath was very compacted.

We got it pulled a little more over. Took forever. Its super HEAVY.

That's as far as we got it.

Once we got the liner pulled as far as we could, boy was that thing HEAVY, we decided we'd have to wait and let it dry up some on it's own so this is as far as we've gotten at this point. We still have to remove a lot of debris that has collected on the bottom of the pool, clean the liner and let it dry, and then get it stored for the winter.

There's still a TON of debris to be removed.

I'm glad we couldn't figure out another way to clean it because once we got it all pulled up we found out that if we hadn't done it this way we most likely would have lost it next year due to roots growing under it. They would have penetrated the liner and cause leaks.

One of several patches of roots that were growing under the pool.

Also, by taking it down instead of attempting to keep it in place as it was we've decided that when we put it back up next year we're going to move it to the front of the house in a much better spot where we wont have to deal with it being situated under all those trees and this wont happen again.

The new spot. Just have to cut one tree and it will be perfect.

Now if I can just get up the courage to put my hands in all that ick to remove it we'll get it completely put away for the winter. Unless someone can come up with an idea of how I can remove all this gunk without using just my hands and without tearing a hole in the liner.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Busy Week

It's been a very busy week here. We're continuing to unpack and find a place for everything. Sheesh how to does one family collect so much stuff?! It's amazing how much junk you collect through the years.

We've started a lot of projects this week, although I can't say we've completed any of them yet. It seems that we always seem to get side tracked.

We've gotten all the holiday decorations out to the storage shed. Yeah, I know. Its only a short time until they are needed again but, hey, its NICE to not have them cluttering up our closet like we've always had to do before.

We did a lot of raking and burning outside. We got rid of two large stumps that were almost in the back door. I don't know why but they were nearly three feet tall. But at least they are gone now. There are still at least two more out there that need to be burned out but its a good start.
The enclosed front porch area that we had thought we were going to be able to turn into a dining room turned out to be more trouble than anything else. The previous owner had moved the front door, put carpet down over the porch boards and tin all the way around with the spray can insulation so it was a nasty eye-sore.

Enclosed Porch - Before
We really needed the dining room space so I "attempted" to work with it.  We didn't have the money to buy plywood or anything but the previous owners had left a ton of tar paper and shingles out behind the shed so I thought I would be able to make it work, at least temporarily, anyway.

So I pulled up the carpet and swept it as clean as I could.

Carpet removed.
Then  I laid down tar paper. Of course I ran out halfway through so I finished with just shingles and then replaced the carpet. I knew it wouldn't be as good as if we'd been able to do it right but I thought it would at least be more air tight than it was.

Finally I set the room up as my dining room, even though we weren't able to do the walls or ceiling or anything it didn't look as bad as I thought it would and at least now we had a place to eat.

Hubby insisted on hanging the pictures. LOL
Well it stayed that way for about 3 days. Until we had a cold snap and I found out that it still was NOT going to work. The temperature in there was at least 10 degrees colder than in the rest of the house.

We decided that since it would cost us more in heating than it was worth we'd turn it back into a porch for the winter. So the next day I had to take apart my table and chairs and put them in the storage shed, pull up the carpet again and remove all the shingles I had laid down. At least this time I had help.

Devin just loves to have his picture taken!
Kevin moved the door back into the original position and now we're using it as a covered porch. We still need to take the tin off the outside but that will have to wait since we don't have the correct bit for the screws.

And that's just one of the unfinished projects we started this week. We also started on The Icky Pool but we'll save that post for another day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meeting new friends

Yesterday we went to a BBQ to meet some friends from Homesteading Today Forums. The whole family had a great time meeting Carol and Cheryl and interacting with all the animals as well.

I must say I think Devin had the most fun since he not only got to ride a horse, he got to feed the pigs, play with ferrets and even a few snakes. He was so proud of himself for being brave enough to have the snakes on his neck.

One snake - he's doing okay

Two snakes and he started to get a bit nervous

Three was all he could take.

Looks like a little jockey don't he.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Canning soup stock

Today I canned for the first time. I remember Mama canning stuff when I was little but I was always too young to be allowed anywhere near it. By the time I was old enough to be able to help she was too sick and I never got to be in the kitchen with her when she canned.

I did grocery shopping yesterday and after putting away everything, (I always go through and chop up all the celery, bell pepper, green onions, carrots, etc. and freeze them for quick use) I had a ton of veggies in the freezer waiting to make into stock.

This morning my hubby took me to Wally World and bought me a new pressure canner!

My first brand new pressure canner!

I took it out of the box and washed everything according to the directions before getting started. I also washed up some canning jars that my mother-in-law had given me a month or so ago since she no longer needed them.

Fresh clean jars

Next I put all my veggies, seasonings and water into a stock pot to boil like I do for freezing.
Soon to be stock

After boiling for an hour the stock was ready to be canned. It turns the most beautiful golden brown.

After filling the jars I loaded them into the canner.

Ain't it purty!
Then came the waiting. I had to wait until there was a steadystream of steam coming from the canner before I could place the "jiggler" or pressure regulator onto the canner. Once the ten minutes had passed I set the jiggler for 10 pounds of pressure and placed it onto the canner.
3 piece jiggler set for 10lbs pressure

Wating for it to "jiggle"
Once the jiggler began to jiggle I set the timer for 25 minutes, which is recommended for stock,
and waited. I had to turn the temperature down once or twice to keep it at a steady rhythm.

At the end of the day I had 6 quarts and one pint of beautiful stock!

A good days work!
All in all a great experience and I can't wait to have my own garden going so I can do many, many more things.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Restoring a pair of old chairs

In the old shed on the property we found two old chairs in really bad shape. Hannah decided she liked them and wanted restore them.

The frames weren't too bad but needed a bit of TLC.
The seats were in awful shape.
She has decided she wants to do her room in chocolate brown and a light blue so she set to work fixing her chairs.
She turned it upside down to begin tightening it up.

She's making sure everything is squared up.

She caught us taking pictures!
After she got the frames all tightened up and squared she spray painted them chocolate brown.

Side view after painting.

Front view after painting.
While she waited for the paint to dry she moved on to the cushions.
Removing the old upholstery.
Stapling on the new fabric.
After the new fabric is on - bottom view.

After the new fabric is on - top view.

Both recovered seats after new fabric and cardboard cover for bottom.

One of the finished chairs.
She's quite proud of the finished product and I must say I am extremely proud of her as well. She took something most people would call trash and made it into a very nice and completely functional item for her room.

Way to go Hannah!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The kindness of neighbors...

Yesterday, I spent much of the day trying to weed eat the head high growth from aruond the house in an effort to control the mosquitos. We don't have a lawn mower right now and the weed eater, along with an axe and a machete are all we have access to right now. It took quite awhile to get roughly a 20 ft X 20 ft area done and needless to say I was quite worn out as well as mosquito bitten from nearly head to toe.

We had planned to go to a community yard sale in the afternoon so I finished up what I could and we headed over to my mother-in-laws house to pick her up and go to the yard sale. While there she said we could borrow her push mower so we loaded it up and made it home about an hour after dark.

When we returned home we were met with a HUGE surprise. Someone had mowed our entire property! We were flabberghasted and extremely greatful. We had no clue who the kindness had come from. After talking about it we narrowed it down to two possible people. It was either my husbands great uncle or the neighbor who lives in front of us and across the road.

Today we found out that it was a combined effort of two of our neighbors. The one we suspected had come over and started to push mow it and the neighbor behind us brought his tractor over to complete the job.

Take a look at these pictures of one of the greatest kindnesses I have ever been blessed to receive.