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Showing posts from September, 2017

How to Remove Carpet Tacks From Hardword: Best Tools & Steps

When it was time to remove the carpet from our vintage house, I learned all about how to remove carpet tack strips from hardwood floors.  I thought I'd share the steps we used, as our goal was to not tear up the floors in the process since we planned to refinish them. We hired two strong men to help us remove the old carpets upstairs in our house. It was among the best $200 I ever spent.  That's really hard labor, as I could see by how overheated and exhausted they were after the three hours they spent busting their butts getting that carpet out the door and into the dumpster. (And I should mention -- the previous owners had pets and there were many urine stains on the carpets -- we were so grateful to the workers who helped us get these nasty carpets out!) Once they were done, the next chore was a tedious one: remove carpet tack strips from the hardword floors.  We had a total of 1,000 square feet of wood floors that needed attention.  Four of the seven rooms upstair

Settling in to a Small Town, Part 2: Evening Walks

At the end of almost every day, we go outside and enjoy exploring or taking a long walk. Sometimes our walks take us under apple and plum trees, where we see if we can reach any more of the ripe fruit just ready for the taking.  On those days, if we've got apples, we head into the community barn, where we stomp an apple into a few big chunks and then feed the pieces to the horses.  Mocha, Holly and Bugsy come eagerly over and leave slobber on our hands as they quickly gobble up the sweet fruit.  Patches, the donkey, makes a loud, jealous braying noise, HEE-HAW, HEE-HAW, obviously angry that he can't reach the gate from his pen.  But I guess he has not learned his manners yet, and so he's secluded there in the corner.  Usually we also encounter a neighbor in or around the barn or community garden and so we visit awhile. Other times, we head on down the road, over the bridge and along a path that runs by the creek.  There, we've recently seen salmon spawning.  As w

Settling in to a Small Town, Part 1: Meeting Friendly Neighbors

When we left the city and embarked on a new chapter in our lives in a smaller town, we looked forward to experiencing wide open spaces, a slower pace and getting closer to nature.  A benefit we had not really thought about but that we've grown to appreciate immensely is the many friendly and welcoming neighbors we've met since arriving here.  There's just something to be said about the friendliness of small towns. The first day in our new home was on a Saturday over Labor Day weekend.  We were busy cleaning the den, where we planned to set up camp inside the house, and I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor when our real estate agent and his wife showed up with a 9x13 pan filled with homemade blackberry cobbler.  It was an impressive cobbler made from blackberries they grew on their property, and it had both a pie crust and a cake topping. They also brought a half-gallon of vanilla ice cream and all the supplies needed to eat our special treat.  I think they

Getting Through Buyer's Remorse as We Start Work on the Old House

Five days ago we set up camp in the old house.  One room - the den - serves as our primary living space while we work on the other rooms.  There is a lot of work to do. Going in, we knew there was an incredibly long list of improvements needed, but now that we are in the midst of it, the sense of buyer's remorse at this stage is overwhelming at times.   Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, I go for a walk on our property or head on down the road to see what's going on. I check out the community garden, the chicken co-op  where there are at least 25 hens pecking and scratching the ground, and the horses by the big old barn. I look at the hills and mountains in the distance. I encounter a friendly neighbor who cheers me up. Then I head back inside to continue working on the house. One of the biggest tasks facing us at the start is removing old carpets and cleaning the floors.  The previous owners had a dog that peed on the carpets in pretty much every room. I also discover