Biography of Westinmoreland House

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March 2006 Archives

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March 4, 2006

The Roof is Complete

You know something we learned? Roofs are conducive to keeping rain from coming into a building! Hehe. And we are now the proud, and tired owners of a completed roof on the guest house. That was a major project we HAD to finish in order to keep the flooring dry so we can lay the flooring.
We also put siding on another side of the guest house, leaving only the front to be done. I've been helping Brian nail up the siding so I am so tired I feel I am going to pass out on my keyboard from exhaustion. We should be finishing the siding tomorrow. We hope anyway!
We are just so happy to make this milestone, for us this is the first MAJOR project that actually got finished. Something we have never really been good at. We start tons of projects, but have a difficult time finishing them it seems. But this time we did it! And boy how tired we are! =0


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March 5, 2006

Color Scheme


Since we will be having the siding up soon, I just wanted to post the basic color scheme we have in mind for the little house. I havent found the exact colors I will be going with yet, but the above photo gives an idea of what I am looking for. Our siding is T-111, not shiplap siding like our current house, but in our plans we hope to eventually have a 2nd story put on the little house, and perhaps upgrade the siding to shiplap at that point.

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March 7, 2006

The Great Cockatiel Chase or Not your Average Wild Bird

Sunday, while Brian and I were adding siding to the little house, I heard a strange sound coming toward us. It was unlike any of the normal wild birds that we have in abundance around here, special thanks to our neighbor who leaves birdseed for all the winged species. I look up toward the different cry, and see an unusually shaped white bird flying overhead. I quickly realize as it perches on a tree in our yard this is no ordinary wild bird. It is indeed a Cockatiel! What a strange site to see perched in a tree and not in a cage, as oddly as that sounds!

So we venture away from our work, not minding too badly since a break was welcome. Brian then called to it by whistling and he was able to coach it toward him. It seemed very familiar with the human voice, and quite accustomed to coming near its presence, for it came within a hands grasp of Brian. However, Samuel, one of our cats, had dinner plans for this bird. One leap and the bird went soaring to the roof of our utility room. Samuel knew it was had, and so he leaped onto the roof. Ah, but this Cockatiel must have had experience with the predictable cat species and off he flew, chattering bitterly at his disturbances. He must have watched many an episode of Tweety Bird while in his caged prison.
The cockatiel then landed in a tree, much farther down on our property, and our bird loving neighbors got out their cage, and their own cockatiel, to help lure the freed bird back into captivity. After our neighbor caught the bird, and what a fuss he made, the bird that is, they noticed it had a band around its foot. Not that it was giving of any vital information so as to return the bird, so we don?t know the origin of the bird or its owner.
But it?s certainly not one of those things that happen everyday and it did bring a little humor that day, which we all can use these around here.

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March 17, 2006

The Chicks have Hatched!

Spring is here and so are our eighteen chicks! This is our largest batch yet! Brian modified the incubator so he could monitor the humidity & temp which means we were able to have a much higher hatch rate. They are sooo cute too, and we have variety this time!! We had about 3 hatch a few days after hatching day...the late comers I suppose. We helped hatch two of the chicks, since they were clearly having trouble and were in the same position for nearly the entire day. In addition they were drying out which makes it harder, sometimes impossible, for them to hatch. They lived, so I suppose we are getting better at that sort of thing. In the past we have lost a few when trying to help them. But if they are stuck too long they will die anyway. Something we noticed though is usually they are already having genetic problems, such as crooked feet, or such which was obstructing the hatching process. Despite this these are very vivacious chicks, not sickly like we have seen in the past. So we will see how they end up. Only a few had feet problems.
I really wish our hens would LAY on their eggs, but as of yet we have not been able to get them to. They will lay and lay and lay eggs, sometimes all three hens laying the eggs in the same nest. The eggs totaling over 30 sometimes, but before a single hen will lay ON them for good, the possums will sniff them out. And speaking of we discovered they were eating only the white eggs....not the brown ones. How odd is that? Maybe they can only see the white ones at night ~ perhaps? Well just a theory anyway. We finally secured the coop and have the three hens and one rooster, in hopes they will lay on a batch for themselves. Is there any way to train a hen to sit on her own eggs? As silly as that sounds, we have never been able to get ONE hen to do such. It?s so bizarre to me.
We have about 30 more eggs still waiting for their hatch day. So who knows how many we will get from those. Baby chicks are soo cute to have around! Almost therapeutic!
Our chicken count is now...18 chicks, 3 hens and 5 roosters. Oh well just a little farm update since not much for the house has been going on, been really busy these few weeks with everything else. We do have a real estate agent coming by next Thursday to give us remodeling tips as to what to spend our money on and what not to. That ought to be informative.

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March 19, 2006

The New Flock

The chicks are doing great. They are eating well, even the "lame" ones, which are only two, and getting around quite well. They sure do qo through a lot of water though! Here is a picture of the "flock in a box"

We had just switched them to that box and they were all getting warm by the light. We couldnt keep the plastic box quite warm enough. So we moved them back into the cardboard box which does so much better at keeping them toasty and warm.

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March 20, 2006

Farrow & Ball Paints

I recently discovered this paint company, Farrow & Ball, and so far I have to say I am quite impressed. I just got the free paint card and promotional brochure in the mail a few days ago. I think $5.00 for a sample pot being shipped to my door is quite reasonable. Now I am going to decide on a color and get a sample pot to see how the paints are, quality-wise.
I really like the idea of buying a traditionally made paint. To me their colors seem more period against the modern paint colors of today. On the back of the paint card they even give a little information and sometimes age range for each of the paints on the card. I just loved that idea!
They have such a range of finishes, including Floor Paint, and some of them are supposed to be more environmentally friendly, which is always a good thing.
Now the hard part....choosing a color!


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March 21, 2006

Spring Cleaning in 1872

Since it is spring now, and a lot of us have spring cleaning on the brain I ran across this little article about Spring House Cleaning published in May 1872. I thought it provided an interesting look at thier idea of spring cleaning, and how they went about it. So take a moment away from all the windex and bleach and see how they did many of the same jobs we do...in 1872


Spring House Cleaning.
Now comes the season of general cleaning, when all the corners and closets are overturned and hidden things are brought to light. Early in the months before the moths-millers show themselves all the woolen sheets, blankets, etc., are to be washed, and the extra ones packed carefully away in deep chests, and cedar boughs strewn over them, or camphor gum.
If you possess a camphor-wood trunk, you can defy the moths, but without that convenience, special heed must be paid to their dislikes, or you may have your blankets destroyed.
Carpets that do not require to be taken up should be loosened at the edges, and with a dustpan and brush, all the dust can be removed; if there are any traces of moths, wash the floor with spirits of turpentine or benzine, put the carpet down quickly and the moths will have had their quietus. The disagreeable odor will soon disappear, if the windows are opened widely, and you can be certain that your carpets will not be ruined this summer. This same burning fluid will drive out and keep away the moths from upholstered furniture. It can be put on with a cloth, and if pure will leave no stain, but brighten the colors. Before applying it, brush out the cushions with a hand-brush and a damp cloth, to remove all the dust. Straw matting should be washed with a cloths dampened with salt water. Take care to wet it but little, for if the matting is soaked through it becomes brittle. If Indian meal is sprinkled over it, or damp sand, and then thoroughly swept out, it will also cleanse it finely.
In washing windows, a narrow-bladed wooden knife, sharply pointed, will take out the dust that hardens in the corners of the sash. Dry whiting will polish the glass panes nicely; and we find weak black tea with some alcohol the best liquid to wash the glasses. For a few days before the cleansing takes place, save all the tea grounds; then when needed, boil them in a tin pail with two quarts of water, and use the liquid on the windows. It takes off all dust and fly specks. If applied with a newspaper, and rubbed off with another paper, they look far better than if cloth is used.
If there are old feather beds in the house, and no steam renovator at hand, put them out in the first heavy, drenching rain that falls. Let them become thoroughly wet, and turn the bed several times; then dry them in the sun, and when one side is perfectly dry, beat it with sticks to lighten up the feathers, and turn up the other side to dry; either placing boards under it, or putting the beds on the piazza roof, if one is at hand.
To take out stains from either mattresses or feather beds, make a paste of soft soap and starch, and spread over the spots; when dry, scrape it off with a knife, washing it with a damp sponge, as it falls off if not clean, put on another paste. This application, if repeated frequently, until all discolorations are gone, will purify any bedding. Cockroaches can be kept away with powdered borax. Keep it in a tin pepper box and sprinkle it wherever they go. Paris green is recommended, but it is a poison; while borax is harmless. Sprigs of wintergreen, or ground ivy, will drive away small red ants, and branches of wormwood will make black ants ?vamose the ranch.? Scald your bedsteads in the hottest soap-soads you can apply; if there are traces of bugs apply kerosene with a small paint brush. It is a sure cure. Tenants of city houses are often annoyed by bugs, and can not tell whence they came. Perhaps the border of the wall-paper might divulge their source, or the cornices of the windows disclose their haunts. Again apply kerosene and they will no longer trouble you. Carbolic acid may be applied; if pure the odor is not as disagreeable as that of coal oil. Papering and painting are best done in cold weather, especially the latter, for the wood absorbs the oil of paint much more than in warm weather, while in cold weather it hardens on the outside, making a coat, which will protect the wood instead of soaking into it.
In papering walls, be sure to remove all the old paper and paste, and scrape them perfectly smooth. Dampen the old paper with cloths wet in saleratus water, and it will come off easily; fill up the cracks with plaster of Paris, and if there are any traces of bugs, wash the wall all over with a weak solution of carbolic acid and water; this will purify the air and destroy all mold and vermin. The best paste is made out of rye flour, with two ounces of glue dissolved in each quart of paste; half an ounce of powdered borax will snake the paste better. People now generally understand how dangerous it is to paper a wall over old paper and paste. Many deaths have arisen from this cause; the air of many sleeping-rooms has been thus poisoned. In some old houses three or four layers of paper have been found upon the walls of the rooms, and their inmates have died, and no doctor could tell whence came the disease.
In whitewashing, a pound of glue dissolved in hot water and diluted with four gallons of cold water, to which is added six pounds of whiting, will be found to answer a better purpose titan common lime. Woodwork can be washed with this glue size, and one coat of paint on it would last for years. A little chrome yellow will give a light lemon-colored tint to the wash. A cheap paint for the floor can be made, which a strong, smart woman could apply to any floor: five pounds of French ochre; one fourth of a pound of glue, and a gallon of hot water. Dissolve the glue in a small quantity of hot water; when wholly melted add the rest of it, stirring it slowly until well mixed. Then stir in the ochre, and apply while hot, with a good-sized paint-brush. When well dried apply one or two coats of boiled linseed-oil. This paint dries very quickly, hardening in fifteen to twenty-four hours. It is very cheap; the glue is about twenty-five cents per pound, the ochre ten cents, the oil about seventy-five cents per gallon. So it is within the reach of any woman. An oaken hue can be given to new pine floors and tables by washing them in a solution of copperas dissolved in strong lye, a pound of the former to a gallon of the latter.
When dry this should be oiled, and it will look well for a year or two; then renew the oiling. Grease can be extracted from floors by applying a paste of wood ashes and quicklime, to be kept on for several days and then washed off. Stains on wall paper can be cut out with a sharp penknife, and a piece of paper so nicely inserted that no one can see the patch.
Ink stains on wood can be removed by a solution of oxalic acid. Cover the spots with bits of the acid, turn on a spoonful of water and place a heated flat-iron over it; when the hissing ceases the ink will have disappeared.
Kerosene and powdered lime whiting, or wood ashes, will scour tin with the least labor. Kerosene and whiting will also cleanse silver-ware, door-knobs, hinges, etc. Wet the flannel slightly in oil, dip in the whiting, and rub hard; wash off with a chamois skin or newspaper. Wash the glasses of pictures with a damp newspaper, dipped in whiting, then rub with a dry paper. Spots can be taken out of marble with finely powdered pumice-stone. Mix it with verjuice, cover the spots with it, and let it remain for twelve hours; then rub clean with a damp sponge; rinse with clean water, and wipe dry, with a cloth. Soapstone hearths are first washed in pure water and then rubbed with powdered marble or soapstone, put on with a piece of the same stone. Gray marble hearths can be rubbed with linseed-oil and no spots will show.
If gilt frames are varnished with copal varnish, they can be washed with cold water without injury. Lace curtains should never be ironed. Wash and starch them, using in the rinsing water a tablespoonful of powdered borax. This makes them very stiff. When wet spread on a sheet, either on the floor or bed, and pin down every two or three inches. Let them dry for several-days and they will look very nice ~ Country Gentlemen
Taken from The Manufacturer and Builder May 1872
Found Here

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March 23, 2006

Attn: Anyone who has bought a house in the past...

Today was the arranged day for the real estate agent to drop in and give us pointers as to what we should do for remodeling work and what to save our money on. I would like your thoughts too! Since many of you were perspective house buyers at one time...Or even looking back on it what would YOU want to have in a house? Any pointers and tips will be very much appreciated!

Here are a few things she said & our thoughts on it:

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Living Room:
1. Scrape/Sand down the texture on the wall.
Our Thoughts - Were already planning on it
2. She said we could leave the floors, just finish them.
Our Thoughts -We just can?t bring ourselves to do this. We have some free flooring we are going to be down since the cracks in the current floor are huge, we are talking wide enough to lose pens and pencils in.
Would YOU be okay buying a house with this kind of floor??? I wouldn't care because I know we would replace them, but I don?t feel I could speak for the general public...so what are you thoughts??
3. Finish trim work
Our Thoughts -Were already planning on it

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Kitchen:
1. Add a hood vent
Our Thoughts - We were surprised to find out this was required by law
2. Add upper cabinets & finish lower cabinets
Our Thoughts - Were already planning on it

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Bathroom:
1. Add ceramic tile
Our Thoughts - We were going to add wood in the sink/toilet area and tile in the tub area, but she strongly advised ceramic tile in all areas so we might go that route.
2. Cover with a cabinet the pipe/faucets for the tub which sticks out of the sink/toilet wall
Our Thoughts - Were already planning on it

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Master Bedroom:
1. Finish Trim
Our Thoughts - Were already planning on it
2. Put up closet doors
Our Thoughts - Were already planning on it
3. Add Carpet
Our Thoughts - Were already planning on it
4. Scrape/Sand down the texture on the wall.
Our Thoughts - Were already planning on it

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Kids Bedroom:
1. Scrape/Sand down the texture on the wall.
Our Thoughts - Were already planning on it
2. Sand and re-varnish wood floor
Our Thoughts - We didn?t think of doing this, but it is a good idea.

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Utility Room:
1. Replace ceiling & ceiling insulation
Our Thoughts -Were already planning on it
She didn?t mention it but the floor would need ceramic tile as well

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Guesthouse (if we leave it)
1. Add bathroom
2. Kitchenette
3. Finish interior walls/paint/add flooring
Our Thoughts -Were already planning on it

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Heating & Cooling
Since we have only a wood stove for heat and do not plan on running the window units, she suggested we buy a window unit that has a heater in it.

So in summary most of what she said we already knew and was planning on doing. Matter of fact we were planning on doing MORE than she suggested. But if we can save a few steps, then that will help out a lot.
We are thinking of leaving the guesthouse instead of moving it, since we found a piece of land, the perfect location that has a really old house on it. We are finding out more about it this weekend. It?s going for only $15,000 which is immensely cheap! Its in the very rural, unlike it is here anymore. Speaking of location, the real estate agent said we live in a really good location for selling. It?s quite a desirable area, which we already knew based on some things we had been hearing.
Anyway like I said before if anyone has any ideas, suggestions or advice we would love to hear it, since this will be our first time selling a house!

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