Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bathroom Renovation Project ~ Update

When we first pulled the drywall off the exterior wall we noticed (who couldn't!) that the wood was rotted, clear through. We knew there was extensive water damage to this room because of the roof leaks. After continued excavation of this wall it became evident that the bathroom window was originally located in this particular spot, and guessing the window was left open for ventilation for decades.
We wanted to install an exhaust fan but the ceiling doesn't have enough room to handle the housing or ducting, so we chose a wall-mounted unit.
Installing closed-cell insulation into the walls and will place fiberglass insulation in the void that has never had any. Irene has fully inspected this area, swept clean with her whiskers.
Once the green board is installed we won't be getting into that area again, in our lifetime.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Water Pump

I've been wanting to paint this water pump for over a year. Finally have the paint, a good brush, and the time with decent weather.

He got this pump on E-Bay when we first moved here. It covers the water pump in the well room, which last Sunday got 18 1/2 bags of concrete poured into it. Surely this house had a well pump similar to this before indoor plumbing was introduced into the household.

The well pump house has an elevated platform and the missing pump created a hole, which was apparently great entertainment for the previous occupants. The well room had beer caps and cans and toys and assorted debris inside. He felt it should be capped because it was open to the elements and anything that might happen to drop in.

I love the pump but it had faded over the last five years. Time does evaporate!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Askew Shoe

I really don't know how this could happen. The boys are in a 'safe' field with manicured orchard grass, but somehow KC can do this to his shoe!

Sara the Farrier could come out earlier than scheduled and with a few back and forths she arrived late in the day. By that time the shoe had gotten itself off. It is somewhere out in field #2.

She did everybody while she was here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Two Radon tests, done weeks apart by independent testers, showed our levels were HIGH. Radon remediation commenced immediately.

A beautiful day to ride, but we're not going to. We spent the day mixing 18 1/2 60 lbs. bags of Sakrete in a tub, in the basement, outside the well house room. It took all day.

Excavated all the surface rocks and pebbles, relocating to the ditch that the mail carrier has created at the box at the roadway. Plastic poly sheeting and rebar-mesh and away we go! The door will be outfitted with weather-stripping, too.

We'll retest in a couple weeks.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


I was surprised at the sleet, but the snow this morning was just crazy. I thought at first it was petals coming from the apple and pear trees but it disappeared in the bucket I was scrubbing out and it just got thicker. Winter does not want to leave us!

No ride time today, and the rain came later in the day to stay with us overnight. Again the horses are staying in, not that cold but the downpour was heavy and don't want them out cutting up my good grass.

Friday, April 24, 2015


Everyone stayed in overnight. I was shocked when the rain turned to sleet. Going into May and this is the way April is treating us!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day ~ 45th Anniversary

We're all in this world together; we have to really love our Mother Earth.
Took a quick trip to Gettysburg, and the storms looked frightful but we did need the rain. Makes the battlefield look dramatic.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stormy Weather

We had stormy-looking weather, but we didn't get more than a scattered shot of rain drops. We did enjoy the lightning, which was more than just the normal awesome. It was going horizontally and up, too, changing directions and lighting up the sky. But no rain.

Down county there were flood watches and warnings, high water and wind damage. Tornado warnings to the south and north. We just had an incredible light show.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday, Monday

Rained overnight, heavy at times. When all done we had over two inches of rain. The boys spent the night inside although the temps were mild. I don't like them out in all that rain, tearing up my store-bought grass. Plus, Skip doesn't always let KC into the shed with him.

By the morning the rain had moved out, but continued to be overcast and cooler. The sun came out later in the day.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday! Let's Ride

We took our time getting ready to ride, but the boys were up for it! I got to the gate and called them and they came running! Anyone that says riding a horse is cruelty to animals hasn't a clue. These guys like getting out and being tourists. They can handle what is asked of them and do it with alacrity. They bound into the trailer and like to go for a ride.

We arrived around 10:30 and friends were already there, tacking up. We quickly finished that and headed on down the trail. Not as many people out as should be, the weather is beautiful, rain expected after 5 p.m. Mostly fishermen, but some hikers with dogs and a bike or two.

We went down the drive, crossed the roadway and into the park, and then straight down the hill to the river. Picked up speed after crossing the railroad tracks. When we got to the parking lot at 'downtown' Marriottsville we picked up trash that was along the tracks. The parking lot was busy and had to wait at the roadway to cross because of the traffic.

Picking up more trash on the other side we finally crossed the tracks again and headed along into the woods. After passing the 'frog pond' where the snapping turtles were seen, we turned left into the woods instead of the fields and headed along the path that parallels the train tracks. A train came along, pulling lots of empty oil tankers.

KC was pretty darn good! The path is wide with a sheer drop off on the track side and sheer cliff on the up side. I stopped to trim some branches and he was good about that, all the while the train is coming by within feet of us, some cars screeching on the rails.

When we got to the restaurant there were several cars parked up against the hitching post. One guy was there and he graciously moved his truck after I bitchily pointed out we needed room, as the sign says.

We were still in the parking lot when another three riders came up, but they hitched up at the post closest to the road. We were at the porch when another, much larger group came in, taking their horses up the hill and into the trees to tie up.

I ate too much, too.

I led on the way out, mostly to control the speed, and because I'm a control freak in general. When I asked them if they wanted to run up a particular hill I started out in a nice canter, KC was being so good today! and Filip teased that he never got out of trot! I said when I'm following you and you're going to trot, I'm behind you cantering!

It started raining a while after we were already home and at dusk I got them in to feed and after brushing them all I decided to leave them in all night. It was going to be a mild night, but it was raining and the wind was gusting, so I left them in.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bathroom Project: New Vanity

Saturday dawned clear and warm. I admitted I was going to be the first to say it: it's too hot!

He wanted to ride today, but actually it was supposed to be like 80! and that is too hot to ride. And we had honey-do stuff around the house and at our old house, so let's do that instead, ride tomorrow. Or ride today and tomorrow! But we needed to get some things off the list so we did the responsible thing, like adults do sometimes.

We also picked up the new vanity that had been ordered but not ready for pick-up. That place was busy, but got it loaded and home with not much delay.

And Lil Fred needed a bath. He was last on the list of horses to wash and is the worst of the lot.

He was actually better than he ever has been, didn't do the striking out thing at all, and only reared up a couple, few times instead of constantly or continually. Earlier in the week I trimmed his ears, with scissors, and he actually let me do that. Long time coming with this guy!

Second night in a row we had a fire in the burner at the bricks. What a delightful evening.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mid-April ~~ Friday!

The weather today is delightful and Sprite needs a bath, badly. She's gone into heat a time or two and the blood is dried on her legs and tail. Her tail is almost like a horn, the matted hair and blood have hardened.

She's actually a pleasure to bathe; she's a girly-girl and likes the attention and the froo-froo of it all. Lil Fred protested her removal from their paddock; after calling out a number of times he took off, bucking and racing around, and around.

Later on we had a fire in the patio burner, quickly going through the sticks and twigs that dropped over the winter. Delightful sitting out on the bricks at the table in our own Dude Ranch!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tax Day - Carpet Day!

This is a huge big deal for us. This has been on the 'list' for nearly five years, and today is the day. I've been painting the moulding in the living room and upstairs for what seems like months. Wanted to finish all the painting because don't want to worry about any paint on the new carpet.
The hardwood floor is nice but not perfect. He likes it but feels it will be too drafty.
Living room ~ before and after.
We expected the 'crew' to arrive between '10 and 2' but they got here at 8:45. We were not ready, frankly, he had just gotten up! I was up, had been up with feeding and taking care of the dog and cat, too, but was still in my pajamas and here they are, banging on the door. We still needed to move some furniture into the now empty bathroom, but the crew of two already had dumped their tools and effects in there.
Carpet on the stairs ~
While they were upstairs we moved the remainder of the furniture downstairs into the dining room.
Cowboy room ~

Bigger Bedroom ~ Before

Bigger Bedroom ~ After

The two of them were here until a little after 4 o'clock. Max spent the morning hours locked in Lil Fred's stall. He occasionally barked, but was mostly quiet. I took him for a walk and played with him in his yard but later we snuck into the basement and watched TV. Irene was locked in her kitty carrier for the duration.

We should have done this years ago!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Ride Time - Not Deja Vu!

Similar ride, different outcome.

Beautiful Sunday! The wind had died down, finally, and it was going to be a lovely day for a ride. The stiff breeze had dried out the mud spots, too.

This day was also day two of the grounds clean-up weekend. We did not participate. There has been much activity at the club this year. Electrical upgrades and tree trimming and clearing. Chainsaws and power tools were in full force. There is one pine that was dead in the general camping area that needed to come down, like last year. No bark on it, crispy brown limbs, all the needles have fallen off, like a neglected Christmas tree.

We were dilly-dallying with this and that, waiting for the others to get tacked up. While we discussed which way to go out: left, right, down and straight, the tractor now was up against the dead tree and the chainsaw was buzzing. Our horses don't care about the farm noises, we use plenty of power tools, sometimes right under their feet. While we were deciding on which way to go, the first chainsaw was replaced with another. At that same time we decided we would go left, putting us going right past the tractor and dead tree. I had barely got myself into the saddle when the tree fell, breaking at the trunk and slowly going down. KC spun around and I was more off than on, so I stepped off. That set the tone for the first half of the ride. Amped up and wary.

We proceeded left, out of camp and KC was pretty antsy. Maybe he thought more trees would topple over. We went down the trail, him going sideways some of the time, and that abrupt rocky trot that I hate. I tried to stay in front to set the speed.

After the Archery Club I made the sharp right into the woods, following the trail that is seldom used. It was a lovely day and everyone calmed down.

At the bottom of the hill we crossed the train tracks and got into the river. The small pools are full of frog eggs! While coming out of the river I scanned the trail left and right to make sure no bikes or hikers or dogs were going to be in the way when five horses came up the river bank and noticed a BALD EAGLE in the tree watching us. I had heard there was at least one down this way but never caught a glimpse of it.

We turned left and picked up speed along the trail when it was appropriate and KC was perfect. We encountered three riders that appeared lost because they were on the pedestrian trail that had no good creek crossing for horses, but they said they were not lost. We choose the higher trail on the far side of the river and wound our way through the mountain laurel and ravines. What a delightful day!

We again picked up speed along the river plain, hopping over logs. He was much better this day, not over-jumping the logs on the ground. We crossed the road and took the trail to the right and took the same path as last week. While I was planning on staying in the woods, to control his speed, Filip took a hard right into the field, leaving me and him in the woods. Uh Oh is right!

Filip double-backed, going in the opposite direction than we were heading and we cut back to follow them, but they had already started cantering through the field.

You would think after all this time, I'd either be good with the bucking or he would have outgrown it. He bucked right into Skip - and we stopped. Finally got ourselves together and went on again, much better.

We caught up with them and resumed in the right direction and I tried to stay close to the front to manage his anxious attitude.

When we got back to the river there was a rider in the water, but her horse was just standing. On the far bank was another rider and two loose dogs. When she got in the water I noticed she also had a dog on her lap. O boy! We waited until they got themselves together and the brown dog reunited with the rest of them.

We had lunch at the Woodstock Inn and KC had an attitude adjustment while he rested. On the way back he was stellar. We stopped by Fox Rock quarry, the same quarry where rock was sent to Baltimore for the granite steps and to the Capitol construction in Washington, DC, and curbs and window sills in Annapolis.

We also visited the 'witch' in the '58 Chevy.

After we crossed the river, again, into McKeldin we picked up the pace. I tried to stay in front, but Filip got ahead of me and while we were talking about Becky's stirrups being too short, Filip whirled around and took off - so did I! I let KC fly up the hill right behind him and he was so good, no bucking or throwing his head down. At the top of the hill I could hear thundering hooves so I urged KC to go faster. He was breathing pretty hard by this time, but I kept at him and could see a car parked in the roadway and kids playing basketball. I kept KC going straight and Skip passed us pretty darn good.

While we were airing up at the corner a woman drove by and blew her horn. Why? I yelled out to her, calling her a name, and Filip said he must be getting old because normally he would chase after someone like that. Yea, we are getting old.

When we got back home there was plenty of daylight left to give the boys a bubble bath. Skip smells like vinegar and they have been wearing their coats for so long, it seemed like a good idea. We use EZAll - no affiliation - but it is a great system and they stay cleaner longer. I highly recommend using it.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bright Windy Saturday

Spent the day painting, he spent the day pulling walls down and putting plywood down. When we got tired of that we decided to take a break. Let's go to the dump!

Got rid of the vanity, which was in pieces, the tile and tile-backer board, moulding, and assorted metal pipes and fittings. Big plastic trash bags full of debris and other odds and ends. Each minute the bathroom looks better.
I'm also rehabbing this end table/night stand that I've had for nearly 40 years. It was given to me so long ago and I really like it. I want to have it another 40 years, so it got sanded, holes filled, sanded and stained. Will seal it and keep it forever!

It would be a beautiful spring day if the 30 mph wind would die down!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Behind Door #2

Upstairs Bathroom Project:

He is moving the door about eight inches to the left to accommodate the new shower installation. We actually have not picked any particular shower kit, but decided to go with a shower instead of a tub for several reasons.

We heard that no one will buy a house without a tub because of kids. I'm going out of this house in a body-bag so I don't care about the house not selling. Besides, anyone that would buy this house would certainly not have infants or toddlers. It is a horse farm, not a baby factory.

We have a hot-water exterior faucet for washing the horses and dogs, so it is unnecessary to bathe dogs in a tub in this house.

Neither one of us soak in a tub. By the time the tub would be filled the water would be cold. What a waste of hot water; who has time anyway?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter ~ Sunday Ride Time

Happy Easter! And it is a glorious day, too. We traditionally host Easter dinner, although I usually don't actually cook that. My beloved Aunt does all the heavy lifting for this event, I just clear the table and let her do all the planning and execution of this holiday meal. This year we are not having Easter festivities and are taking the day to ride with friends instead.

We met them at the horsey club grounds, where extensive tree clearing is underway. A few campers are having their holiday here, too.

We chose a route that would be interesting and give several chances for extended speed. Their horses are a Morgan/Thoroughbred cross. Their trot translates to KC's canter. KC was amped and when allowed to canter he threw in a buck or two. Also, reverting back to his childhood; while going over logs at ground level at the trot he clears them by easily three feet. This is extremely hard on me and seems to be a source of delight and amazement for anyone that sees it. "He should be a show jumper!" No, really, no.

We were trying to time our arrival at the Woodstock Inn to take advantage of the '$10 Bucket of Domestic Beer' special so planning the route and the speed were taken into account. We also stopped to let the horses eat grass and chat several times.

The Woodstock Inn was busier than expected, and were just winding down from the Sunday Brunch crowd. One of the $10 buckets we were given five beers instead of four. O boy.

On the way back I found myself leading the group and was feeling very loose. KC had rested enough and resumed his wits about him and was not as juiced. On the stretches that we could I asked for more speed. It was warming up and he was getting warm, too.

After crossing the river Filip took the lead and took off. The rest of us in hot pursuit. KC didn't want to be left behind and really got strong going around the turns and water breaks, but the last run was so long that he finally eased into not pulling my arms off and I just let him go, trying to control his speed and path, he is strong and fast.

I'm so tired I am literally falling asleep while walking, stumbling around. And a Happy Easter to everyone!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Repair ~ Replace ~ ReUse ~ Reject

He's been working on the upstairs bathroom. It's a horror story, too. This house is going on 70 years old and it has seen some interesting modifications. Only by unearthing the floor and walls can you see what actually happened.

For one thing: the tub is not located in its original spot. It had been on the opposite wall. Because of that, the door was not in the right place for the new location. That made the bathroom door a failure. Why the door was not moved I can only guess. It is going to be moved and replaced.

The house was originally painted with the now banned lead paint.
Later in the day I made a dump run, taking the tub, which is recycled, and all the other junk, wall tile, backer board, and debris that needed to be disposed of properly.

Insulation is missing in the dustpan exterior wall.
There was a small skeleton in the wall. Maybe a mouse?
The cross beams are rotted through.

The tub had issues, too. It was rusted at the drain and was installed improperly. The floor was too uneven for proper fit and caused the tub, especially when using the shower attachment, to leak over the lip and into the ceiling below. Earlier this year he repaired that ceiling and now we know why it was so badly damaged.

Also, the flat exterior roof needed replacement and the amount of chronic water damage is now evident. This takes decades of neglect to achieve.
After much research he has come up with a scheme to level the floor by installing custom-sized grid to be topped by 3/8 plywood. This will make installing all the replacement fixtures a lot easier and give them a longer life.