Tuesday, January 31, 2012

catching up on little things

Well, the spare room is going to need a third coat of gold paint.  The dark color is very hard to paint on and get an even coverage.  I dug out the step ladder and went into the attic, dug around and found our back porch light.  This week I want to get the back porch light wired and the outside outlet working.  We have not had this functioning yet.  It will be a nice change to be able to turn on the porch light and actually see outside. 

I got a night vision camera for my birthday.  Just need to get it hooked up so I can start spying on the chicken predators.  Annmarie just told me there can be no streaming video to website.  We don't have enough bandwidth to support that.  I don't want to give up any bandwidth.

I wired a new chicken light today.  I have a metal shielded glass covered light.  The chickens will bounce right off it without breaking anything.  I wired in an extension cord so I can just plug the light right in to an outlet.  This should help with my egg production issues. 

I started some grape starts today.  One of my generous coworkers brought in a bunch of purple grape cuttings in to work and let me take them home.  I trimmed them up and put them in some soil on the breeze porch.  I have over 20 starts going.  Hopefully, I can get at least 15 of the plants to start and root.

December 2011 financials/ 2011 final numbers.

December report:  I am positive again by $19.84 for the month on an average 27 hens laying.  My net income total is - $241.43 for the year.  I would have almost broken even if I had not spent $220 on the chicken butler automatic door.  It was an abysmal failure.  I was sent a second one for free and it didn't work any better.  Not sturdy enough to handle the chickens and child and predators.   I had $37.16 in expenses for feed (150#) this month.  We collected a total of 226 usable eggs (decrease of 7 eggs)  averaging 7.3 eggs/day collected.  My productivity for the month was 27% (decrease of 3% from last month).  The chickens ate 0.66# food/egg (a decrease from last month of 30%).   It cost $0.16/egg or $1.92/doz for feed (a decrease of $0.48/dozen over last month).  My monthly net income is a loss of $20.15/month this year (a decreasing loss of $3.60/mos).  Chickens cost me $20 month just to have!!  I had so much predator kill this year that I had to buy two separate batches of baby chicks.  Crazy problem.  I will electrify the outside fence again in the next couple of months.  The predators always start up in the spring.  Annmarie got me a remote night vision camera that I will allow me to watch the coop 24/7.  I am going to try and get her to set it up soon and maybe even get it to stream live to our website!  Will see how it goes.  It is slowly getting better despite production dropping off. 

For the year 2011, I had an average of 24.6 laying hens.  I collected 11 eggs/day.  For a total productivity of 45% for the entire year.  The chickens consumed on average 0.71 pounds of feed/egg.  My average egg cost was $0.17 or $2.04/dozen.  I lost $20.15 /month over the whole year.  Not going to do the automatic door again next year.  May get a temporary woven electric fence.  Not sure where I am going to go with the chickens.  We did learn that 40 is the maximum number of chickens that I can have.  Here's hoping 2012 is a better chicken year.  

I did call our insurance agent today.  We are looking into converting our insurance into a farm policy.  This would hopefully cover more outbuildings and give us some more protection when selling the animals. 

November 2011 chicken financials

November report:  I am positive again by $13.58 for the month on an average 26.3 hens laying.  My net income total is - $261.27 for the year .  I had $46.42 in expenses for feed (200#) this month.  We collected a total of 233 usable eggs (decrease of 20 eggs)  averaging 7.8 eggs/day collected.  My productivity for the month was 30% (decrease of 6% from last month).  The chickens ate 0.86# food/egg (a decrease from last month of 15%).   It cost $0.20/egg or $2.40/doz for feed (a decrease of $0.36/dozen over last month).  My monthly net income is a loss of $23.75/month this year (a decreasing loss of $3.78/mos).  It is slowly getting better despite production dropping off.  I keep changing the light bulb in the chicken coop.  The chickens keep flying around and breaking the light bulb.  I keep changing the bulb every week.  Gonna need to fix this eventually.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spare bedroom painting in progress, color is the order

First coat of gold paint, pretty colorful.

I spent most of the day painting today.  Three walls of gold and one wall of dark green.  Color, lots of color on the walls.  White is my normal color of choice.  I also mounted railing for two different shelves in the furnace closet.  Still need a second coat of paint every where then I get to paint the ceiling.  The yellow tape is special tape that gives a clear paint line.  Will know next week if it actually works.  I have to let the paint dry for 24 hours then I supposedly can apply the yellow tape to the new paint without it causing any damage.  I have to tape the new paint so I can paint the ceiling next.  Hopefully, by the end of next week I will have the room all painted and ready for floor work.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Doing the right thing

I had to pee in the middle of the night around 0200.  It requires lots of sneaking to not wake the puppy on the breeze porch.  If he wakes up and hears you then he thinks he needs to get out of his crate and pee also.  I had successfully navigated the construction equipment lined hallway down and back.  I was curled up next to the super warm wife when I heard a very very faint "meep" (newborn baby sheep squawk).  Since I have the occasional tinnitus, I just passed it off as nothing.  Three minutes later Annmarie rolls over and says there is a baby sheep making noise in the barn.  I remind her that the sheep are locked up in the barn.  No go, she gets out of bed and starts dressing to go check on the sheep.   I ask her if she really needs me to go?  Her reply, "I am giving you the opportunity to do the right thing".  What's the comeback line for that one?  I drug my warm, cozy butt out of bed and got dressed to go to the barn with my lovely wife.  Who again reminds me, "Whose idea was it to have sheep?" (mine).  Of course, Zeke, said puppy wakes up and wants to go to the barn with us, we holler no at him, grab flashlights and a dry towel on the way out to the barn.  One of the ewes had just given birth to twins.  One of them was a squawker and just would not be quiet.  We left them alone and went back to bed.  Zeke protested for another 20 minutes from his kennel after we crawled back in bed.  We told him to go back to sleep, which he eventually did.

I went out and separated the sheep, keeping the new mom and babes with the last ewe to have babies and her offspring in the barn.  Every one else got kicked out.  The ewe was #3 and she had little twin girls, both mainly brown with a little black in coloring.  So far every ewe that has given birth has had twins.  Pretty nice.  Annmarie and I have agreed to have no more than 30 adult ewes.  As of today we have 29 sheep counting all the babies in the barn.  I will talk with the butcher tomorrow, unless I have jury duty, about a time for #3B to be processed. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Closet painted

Spare room primed.

Furnace room/closet primed.
Well, I got the spare room all primed.  It took two days, I always forget how long it takes to paint.  Since I truly despise painting it just seems to go that much slower.  We decided to just use our kestrel white for the closet.  It just needs some fresh paint on the walls and ceiling so I can install the shelves on the walls.  I am going to put a shelf over the top of the door to store our used paint from various projects.  I am going to put a 20 inch shelf over the entire back wall.  I am even going to squeeze in a 12 inch shelf between the return and outlet ducts.  Not a lot of room, but I don't want to waste the space.  I can store the empty canning jars on those shelves. 

Old cutting board, with new one.  I oiled it after this picture was taken.

I cut and sanded our new cutting board today.  I used a piece of plywood and another piece of that oak flooring from the lot bought for the utility sink.  The oak made the facing piece.  I was going to reuse the old face, but obviously it had tried to come off several times in the past.  There were 12 different finishing nails trying to hold it in place.  For a finish I just coated the new board in olive oil.  I just kept coating it until it was all soaked up.  I will continue to soak the cutting board occasionally until it is totally saturated.

Annmarie brought home paint chips for us to choose colors for the spare room.  We are going to go with Olde world gold for three walls and Vogue green for the fourth wall, with Greek villa, off white, finishing out the ceiling.  This will be the only room other than Sarah's that will actually have some color on the walls.  Who knows, eventually I may get brave and change the colors inside the rest of the house.

Furnace room/closet painted

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sheep duties caught up

Sheep dog, Zeke,  Annmarie taught him to hang out on furniture.

Baby girl twins
 Well Sarah and I went out yesterday and got all caught up on the sheep tending duties.  We retagged three of the ewes that had ripped out their ear tags.  I had to use the other ear, hopefully they won't rip this set out.  We tagged two of the baby girls and then tagged the baby boy and banded him.  We banded him first and then tagged him.  The banding slows them down for a few minutes after it occurs.  Once every thing down below goes numb they perk right back up and run around.  We have three more babies to catalog and treat but they are too little.  The 2-3 week age limit makes them big enough to handle the trauma and not so fast that they are hard to catch.

Zeke is having a hard time.  He is starting to get aggressive toward the sheep.  We have encouraged this up to a point.  We don't want him to be afraid of them, but he cannot be barking at them all the time.  He got rolled again by a pretty aggressive ewe yesterday.  She jumped up into the barn and chased him into the hay room just to roll over him.  He was running and barking for all he was worth, but she still got him!  I had to chase her out of the hay area.  She tried to get him one more time, but I smacked her on the nose with the grain bucket.  She is so aggressive that she keeps the other sheep four feet away from her feeding area on both sides.

We went out yesterday and decided not to build jugs up in the main section of the barn yet.  It is much cooler up in the barn as the wind blows freely through the barn.  The babies just curl up in the straw next to the feeders and stay pretty comfy where they are now.  This year when we redo the barn I am going to insert windows into the barn window openings.  Currently, there is a screen or nothing covering these openings.  We need the windows for the light.  Once the windows are in that should stop the wind.  If I have time I will trench over some wiring so we can have lights. I will only be able to take one 20 amp line to the barn and it will already have three outside lights on it.  I will be enough, I plan on using fluorescent fixtures and they take less energy.
I will build some jugs this summer.  We will have to decide on a location for the jugs, our chute and scale, and the dividing fence to split the barn in half.  

Baby boy, his mate vanished from barn.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Frozen Solid

 We are quite literally frozen solid.  Thankfully, we only get encased in ice like this once every 10 years or so.  And I am quite thankful that this has not been accompanied by a power outage.  That would just be plain miserable.  The sheep are confined to the barn, which means hauling water out to them a few times during the day.  This is of course, not as easy as it sounds since the bridge is coated in ice just like everything else.  We literally skate across the bridge, scooting the water bucket in front of us until we get to the far end, where we go up the grass, not the ice-coated concrete steps.  Thankfully, a thaw is forecast for tomorrow so this should break soon.

The horses appear to be navigating without difficulty, and actually prefer drinking the running water in the creek to drinking from the bucket I took out to them this morning.  They've come quite ways from when we brought them home and they tended to stay in the smallest fenced in space they could find.  It's now a usual sight to see them running full out around the perimeter of their pasture.

We did loose one of the newest lambs.  I'm not sure what happened.  He had gotten separated from the flock and had gotten cold, so I gave him a bottle one night, and he looked fine the next morning.  But last night when I went out to feed, he was nowhere to be found.  I don't mean he was dead, I mean I couldn't find him, nor his body.  I am puzzled. 

Schools have been canceled for two days, and its  good thing we have plenty of food in the pantry, because we're not going anywhere without some serious effort.  The cars are literally encased in 1/4" of ice.
The chickens did not get locked up last night because the latches are frozen in place.  They seem to be doing fine as well, although I did just send Sarah out to make sure they have access to water, since their ramp is literally a sheet of ice and they are not looking any too keen on coming outside.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Babies are fine

Sarah and I went out at dusk to feed and lockup the sheep.  She actually only went because she knew there were baby lambs.  Ewe #12 had two baby boys.  They were both doing well and jumping around.  Sarah's didn't make a peep, but the one I caught started bawling for momma the second its feet were off the ground.  Newborn sheep don't actually bawl, they MEEP.  After about a week they start to bawl.  We still cannot tell when the mothers are going to give birth.  I was certain that the lead ewe was going to have her babies two days ago.  I did get some 2x4 lumber at the hardware store for the Jugs Sarah and I will be building this weekend.  I picked up the stuff to install shelves in the furnace closet.  Annmarie wants me to replace our pull out cutting board also, the veneer is coming off suddenly after 50+ years.  I bought lots of odds and ends to finish out the projects for the winter.  I really want to get into the upstairs bathroom and build more closet/storage space, but Annmarie is vetoing that project.  She wants floors downstairs and window trim.  So I am just going to finish the spare bedroom and work on the attic floor after that.

new babies!

 When I went out to feed this morning one of the Baker girls had just delivered her twin babies!  They were all cleaned off and dry but their umbilical cords were still bloody.  The skinny ewe in this picture is the mother.  The white headed sheep with horns is Lucky, the ram.  He kept harassing her, so I didn't want to further traumatize her by stealing the babies for a quick look.  I fed everybody and they settled down.  I locked the horses out of the barn lot.  Sarah and I were going to build two jugs (mother & baby enclosures, used to allow bonding and isolating mother and babies for a few days) in the old barn and it looks like it is much needed so that is top of the priority list for this weekend. 

Both babies in the background.

it snowed finally

Yesterday we finally got some needed snow.  Now we just need a few more feet in the mountains.
Snow, we need it, without it we are going to have a dry summer.  Here's to hoping we get several feet in the mountains in the upcoming months.  Hard to believe our first snow was mid January, incredibly late for us.  The weather is definitely changing. 

We purchased a scanner designed for all kinds of negatives after Christmas and Annmarie has been scanning in the old negatives we found in the attic when we cleaned it up.  We found four more pictures of this house.  One of them is of the farm before the main house was built, so prior to 1910.  We also found a letter from one of her relatives written in 1896.  She spent the weekend scanning in negatives, so far over 170 have been scanned in.  I will try and get one on the blog occasionally.  Some of them are fabulous!   After looking at the old photos of the farm, I realized how important some of the bland landscape and building pictures are for comparison.  To us it is the same view, but in fifty years someone else may be looking at them and living in our home.  They might want to see what it used to look like and why things were changed.  We found a company that will print our blog (with pictures) as a book.  So we are going to have each year printed as a separate book.  It would have been incredible if we could have found a written diary of the previous owners, but we didn't.  Therefore, we are going to create one for future generations.

I feel 100% finally.  Sucks to lose half my vacation to illness, I didn't get the spare bedroom completed.  Which means I will have to keep after it over the next month.  All the inside house work needs to be done by early spring so I can hit the barn early.  The barn is a huge project and it is going to take me at least six months.

Farmall tractor

That really is the moon in the upper left corner.

Last winter for the barn roof to have a huge hole.

More fire issues, I was very careful to make sure this rock crib did not catch on fire, too hard to build.

Something dug under my chicken yard fence!  Annmarie just found this, I filled it with rocks and will watch for further activity.

Fire casualities

fire extinguished the first time, one can see how I thought it was out.

A little blurry, but you can get the flame idea.
Annmarie went out and took some pictures of the fire damage.  I thought I would post them for future reference.  Again, I was sick and I usually don't burn up more than one or two posts...

This is just a stay, and I think it is just black, should be fine, I needed to burn out the weeds from the metal implements.

My nemesis!  These are the two posts that kept reigniting.  looks like they may still be burning...

Cracks and splits were the reason the fire got inside the posts so easily.

Barn lot, not a big deal, the grass was all dead.

Barn lot, fence line looks pretty good!

Backside of the barn lot, no weeds in the fence.

An occasional weed lodged in the fence escaped a fiery death.

I just didn't get here with the cleansing fire, yet...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Burning lessons, snow or rain only now.

I would like to start this entry by saying that I have been very ill recently.  Annmarie brought the plague home and despite my germ precautions (no kissing or swapping of spit allowed during ill periods) I still managed to catch it.  After the first two days in bed I was feeling like a slug but realized I was still too sick to do anything super constructive.  I decided that I needed to burn some weeds.  So on Thursday I drug myself outside, loaded the large propane tank into the back of the pickup and went to town and got it filled.  Day completed.
On Friday, early afternoon, I went out and got the burn nozzle attached to the tank, took the puppy and we went out to the cattle guard.  I had a hard time lighting the torch and it didn't want to stay lit.  The puppy took one look at the large column of flame shooting out the torch and ran away 40 feet to watch.  He watched for about five minutes and then ran home to hang out on the porch.  I ended up just following a fire along the fence line, but it was really slow going, the torch just would not light.  So, I drove to the machine shop to look for something to clean out the nozzle.  I bumped into the barn owl, but by the time I walked to the house and got the camera, the owl was gone.  I cleaned out a ton of carbon from the nozzle and after reassembly it worked great.  The burning was going on!!  I got half of our fence line burned.  There was some encroaching into the barn lot by the flames.  Not a big deal since the barn lot is just full of dead grass.

Unfortunately, I had one railroad tie on the back corner catch on fire.  I dumped 12 oz of gatorade on it, but that didn't put it out.  I peed on the post, but still needed more water.  I walked over to the spring and filled it with 16 oz of water and doused the flames.  I am happy.  I put out the fire in the barn lot.  About this time Annmarie comes home and lets me know that the sheep shit pile next to the fence line is burning in a few places.  I tell her it will be just fine.  No go.  I end up going to the front creek with 3 gallon buckets multiple times to put out the few hot spots.  Annmarie fed everyone while I was dousing the smoking spots.  We go inside reeking of smoke.  Of course, the puppy, Zeke smells like smoke as he has been running around helping Annmarie feed.  I am told he needs a bath when we go inside the house.  So I wait until Annmarie has had her shower and get into the shower, naked with the puppy in my arms.  Yes, I do work in an emergency room, I realize that real accidents happen when  people don't fully think their decisions through.  The shower was already going and the puppy kinda freaked out when the water hit him in the face.  He tried to scrabble away.  Unfortunately, he has grown significantly and needed his toenails trimmed desperately.  I sustained a near fatal injury to my nether regions.  It required some bacitracin, a bandaid, and some coitus rest.  Not exactly a thinking moment.  I still cleaned the dog and finished the double shower (had to get the smoke smell out of my pores).  I am exhausted.  Too much activity and trauma for the day on top of the illness.

Annmarie looks out our front window and there is a six foot tall column of flames out in the barn lot.  It looks like our old chicken coop is on fire.  I cannot figure out how that could be as I was not within fourty feet of that building with any flame.  So I jump into a pair of slippers, grab a single five gallon bucket and leap into the pickup.  We are at least a 20 minute response time for the fire department on a good day.  I get out there and two of my railroad ties that are connected are on fire.  I have to make multiple trips to the spring, getting my slippers stuck in the mud to get the fire out.  I run water over the top of the posts until there is no more hissing sound.  Annmarie had walked out to "help" (supervise), and she noticed another corner post on fire.  Gatorade and urine had not put the fire out.  So I had to dump a few bucketfuls on my initial railroad tie.  It is freezing cold and I don't have a jacket on.  We go back into the house.  I change clothes again and just sit.  My whole body aches.  We eat dinner.

Annmarie looks out and the stupid double post is on fire again!  I tell her it is because the posts are connected and the heat is trapped between the two.  So I had to go get some fencing pliers and cut apart the posts and dump 15 gallons of water on them, I also grabbed two more five gallon buckets and filled them at the creek and placed them in the pickup and drove right to the posts.  Annmarie had gone down to her mother's house for something.  I go back in the house and change clothes again.  At this point I just want to collapse, but paranoia has set in.  It might be relevant to know that just before Annmarie left for work Friday morning she told me not to burn.  Hey, I thought it would be quick and the results are incredibly obvious and gratifying.

I am watching some TV when Annmarie comes home to tell me that the whole fence line where the sheep shit pile (from the barn) is touching the fence is smoking and on fire.  I am damn tired of lugging water now.  So I go out to the wood shed and grab 250 feet of garden hose.  We drag it out to the fire, attach all the hoses and I turn it on, NO WATER.  At this point it just becomes painful, Annmarie asks me if the hoses got drained before we hung them up.  Because if they are full of ice we cannot use them in the winter.  They did not get drained.  I had to pack another 30 gallons of water up from the front creek until all areas quit sizzling.   We did not get to bed until almost 2300.  At some point, I should start listening to my wife.

The next morning she informs me that I will have to replace at least four separate railroad ties that have been burned out.  The new rule at our house is no burning unless it is raining or there is snow on the ground.  I will no longer be using any railroad ties for fencing.  The extra expense to buy treated round wood posts (fairly impervious to flame) is worth every penny.  I still need to go out and roll the hoses back up.  I ended up taking most of Saturday just laying around and folding laundry (the question was asked why I didn't do that on Friday) and resting.    Nothing is ever easy...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Laundry room trimming

Crawl space above laundry room.
 I worked exclusively on the Laundry room today.  I had to fish out some old trim that I had stashed in the ceiling.  Of course, it all still had nails in it.  I dug around and found enough old trim to trim out the crawl space and the back door.  I did manage to get all the nails out without too much difficulty.  I was cutting out spacing material from the 3/8 plywood so I just cut a panel while I was at it.  When I get the laundry room a little more completed I will touch everything up again with linseed oil. 
Some of the wood trim was kinda beat up, but it definitely adds flavor and fits in with the rest of the house.  I only had to make a few extra trips out to the saw to trim boards.  I couldn't find anything long enough to go around the back door, so I had to improvise. 

Thursday is plumbing day.  I will have to start early so I can make at least two trips to the hardware store. 

Back door before trim

Stair step trim to make it all fit.

Back door all trimmed out

Laundry room window trim completed

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stripping sucks

Backside of closet door, getting yellow color off.

Bedroom door mid stripping.

Closet door frame

I fully appreciate why I had not stripped the paint off of any wood before now.  I spent another five hours scraping on two doors and two door frames.  That is not a very large surface to attempt to clean paint from.  It is taking forever.  The truly lousy part is I have to wear kitchen gloves to keep the cleaner off of my hands.  Kitchen gloves are no protection from large splinters.  I screamed like a little girl this afternoon when a splinter went into my finger.  Annmarie (who is home sick) ran upstairs because she thought I had amputated something.  In my defense, the splinter went directly under my fingernail!  I spent so much time scraping and washing that I did not get a coat of mud on the walls.  So tomorrow first thing I finish the mudding.  I only need one more coat to be totally done.  Then I can texture and paint the room. I did manage to get the worst side of the closet door completely done and started on the backside.  The backside has some kind of yellow stain or diluted paint.  I am ready to work on the toilet just to get away from the paint stripping.  I have filled a large paper bag 1/4 full of just paint scrapings. 

I was reminded again today why, on a farm, you always close the gates.  When I went out to feed I left the yard gate open and when I returned from walking to the mail box (1 mile round trip) I left the front yard gate open.  The sheep got out.  I went out and opened the pen gate and only about half of them figured out how to get back in.  The rest didn't return until I rang the cow bell to put them in at night (cow bell means food so they come running).  Still no babies.  Two different ewes are developing filled out udders, but Annmarie tells me that can happen two weeks before the babies.  I wrestled with #3 boy and weighed him on the scale.  He weighs 90#.  This seems to be our slaughter weight.  So I will contact my buyer and let her know that her lamb is ready.  Live weight cost is still around $2/#.  I am only going to charge $125 for this one and then just stabilize the price at $140/animal.  I have lost track of how many boys there are left.  I think six but I will have to consult our records to be sure.  Maybe seven counting the new baby. 

I did install the laundry room window casing today.  I didn't cut or get any ready for the outside yet.  I needed some dimensions first and that would not happen until the casing was installed.

Laundry room window before trim.
Central trim done, needs external.

Construction time

Sunrise this morning.  I looked out as I was doing the blog and ran out to capture this view to share.

I am officially on vacation now and have been working on the house nonstop.  My goal is to get the spare bedroom completely done.  It was doable, but as usual I have started to "scope creep" and am expanding the jobs to be completed.  I have to keep refocusing back to the spare bedroom.  As usual the first job is emptying out the room.  Unused spaces in our house tend to accumulate stuff.  We stashed the Christmas boxes from the attic here so I did not have to make two extra attic trips with boxes. 

Spare bedroom start

Spare bedroom start

Spare bedroom start

furnace room in spare bedroom closet.

I put all the Christmas boxes downstairs so we could put away all our decorations.  Sarah undressed the tree last night and I will take it outside today.  We have gone back to a real tree every year.  The smell and look cannot be duplicated in an artificial one.  The rest of the stuff is on the breeze porch or clogging our upstairs hallway.  This has to be a limited duration thing, Annmarie gets a might upset if the construction zone starts to become indefinite.  I try to tell her that it is faster if the tools just lay around and the stuff stays stacked and out of the way, she doesn't buy it.  I think it is a woman thing. 

Once emptied, I had to go dig through the old house looking for my sheetrocking tools.  Luckily, the organization I did this summer paid off.  They weren't too hard to find.  I use the bucket method of tool organization when working on a project.  Everything needed just goes into a five gallon bucket and this becomes my tool box for the duration of the job.  I wanted to put a little sheetrock patch around the bedroom window.  I just needed some 3/8 inch thick sheet rock.  Now I had saved some old sheetrock for the patch specifically.  Unfortunately, I had neglected to measure that sheetrock.  It was 1/2 inch thick.  I didn't want thicker, if anything thinner would be better than thicker.  So off to the hardware store (I needed another piece of cedar anyway).  I didn't want to drive to Home depot (45 minute one way drive), so I went to the two local stores (15 minutes one way) and big surprise no one had 3/8 inch sheet rock.  Not a common size any more (no big surprise since the room was sheetrocked a long time ago).  The only thing I could buy that was 3/8 inch thick was some fancy sanded on one side plywood.  So that is what I have to fill the gap.  Literally, all I need to do is fill the gap.  The window trim will cover up that area so it doesn't need to be fancy. 

Empty spare bedroom ready for sheetrock mud. Plus a couple of holes in floor.

Spare bedroom entrance to closet (furnace room).

I have subsequently put on two different layers of mud on the holes in the wall.  I even sanded between them.  I will sometimes just knock down the high points with a knife and put on another coat.  I am making sure to go really wide around the outlets so I get a nice taper all around them.  Yesterday I made an executive decision (scope creep) to strip the doors and trim around said doors.  I have some citrus based paint remover that works very well.  I had six bottles in the old house for just this reason but had not used it yet.  I thought that it might be painful so I was delaying the inevitable.  I pulled down the door going into the furnace room and then slapped stripper on all the trim around that door, then put stripper on the back of the room door and all the trim around that door.  I let it sit for a few hours and went up after dinner last night to scrape.  Ugh, it was hot and sweaty work.  The stripper worked well, but there are THREE coats of paint on all the wood.

First coat of stripper before removal.

Stripper doing its job.

White, yellow and green were the colors discovered.  Only the first two colors wanted to come off easily.  So I had to add a second coat of paint remover.  Unfortunately, the stripper had started to dry on the entrance door so it was harder to remove.  I decided to only second coat the door that I had taken down.  Today I will strip everything else.  This last coat of paint is going to be the hardest to get off.  I want to stain the wood again.  I realize this is a far reaching goal, but I am not a man who loves painted wood.  Wood should be seen not covered up.  I am going to take some hot soapy water and a greenie scratch pad and try and get every little bit of paint off the door this morning.  Trial and error, it is how you learn. 

Before trim (should have done picture at night)

Completed window.  It turned out nice.

I did manage to get our master bedroom closet window trimmed out.  I had to buy "clear" lumber (no knots) and they add almost 800% to the price of this wood.  It is crazy.  The cedar (rest of the closet is cedar) cost $80.  After cutting and sanding the four inside pieces I was ready to go.  It only took me four trips outside to cut the side pieces the right length to match the reveal top and bottom.  I keep telling Annmarie I should have left the radial arm saw on the breeze porch so I would not have to go outside to use the saw.  She still doesn't buy it.  Three years on the breeze porch was long enough for her.  It sits on the old house porch now with the table saw.  Handier for me, but I would like to have the old house done and set up as a wood shop so I didn't have to work outside.  Yes, the breeze porch is covered, but the wind still blows and the light is not very good after dark, just a single sixty watt bulb. 

Ceiling tile needing replaced.
 I did manage to get this tile replaced yesterday.  I had found some old ceiling tiles in the attic four years ago and saved them for repairs.  Unfortunately, they were not this exact tile.  I put it in anyway, it was a newer version that was painted a brighter white and the groove was not quite as deep.  It won't be noticeable after we paint.  What a pain in the butt to install a tile like this in the middle of the room!  That single tile took me almost an hour to install.  I had to pull loose all the surrounding tiles in an effort to get me some fudging room to squeeze the tile in place.  Then I had to staple it up.  Since I had the stapler out, I went through the whole ceiling and stapled all the loose tiles.  The ceiling looked like a kiddie roller coaster before the stapling job.  It looks pretty good now.