Well, another year's over and a new one has begun, as the song goes. This is what I hope to accomplish this year:
Around the house:
- Install the bathroom tub. Yeah, you read that right. We have been without a tub all this time because finishing the floor never moved to the top of the "to-do" list. But thanks to Giselle, the rocks are now done on the tub half of the bathroom, just waiting for the polyurethane coats. There is actually an end in sight of the standing washtub baths! I still need to install the wood trim and baseboard on the wall behind where the tub goes (because once that sucker is in place, I'm not moving it again to do wood work. It's heavy!!!), remove the bathroom door, take out the old flush toilet, move the tub into place, finish the tub plumbing, and hang the new bathroom door. Then we'll be ready to:
- Install our new SunMar composting toilet. We have had constant toilet trouble since moving here. The biggest problem was the constantly wet bathroom floor during the summer. Our well water comes out of the ground teeth-numbing cold. When we flush the toilet in the summer, the toilet tank refills with this icy water...and in our humid environment, condensation immediately occurs and drips all over the floor. The previous owners apparently also had a problem with this; they had replaced the flooring right under the toilet once before. I've tried many things to stop the condensation drip, but nothing ever helped. And then there is our spotty power. After suffering through far too many power outages where toilet flushing became a huge, on-going problem (since we're on a well, and only run the generator for the well pump when we need to do dishes), several months ago we ordered the top-of-the-line, run-on-any-or-no-power-source, might-as-well-be-gold-plated-based-on-what-it-cost, composting toilet from Lehman's. Right now, it is sitting in the living room. My goal is to have it installed in the bathroom before spring, so we can work out whatever bugs show up before summer hits.
- Finish the flooring in the master bedroom. Have the oak strips, have the flooring mastic, have the setting nails, have had lots of excuses not to get to it. No more excuses!
- Replace the kitchen sink. The only section of the old kitchen counters that I haven't replaced is the 5' section that houses the kitchen sink. I hadn't taken the old sink out because I wanted to replace it with a 1950's porcelain-enameled, cast iron, double bowl, double drainboard, freestanding sink. Hey, the girl knows what she likes! :) Anyway, with a little help from smallfarmgirl, I finally found one!! It has been sitting on my front porch waiting for me to build the cabinet for it and to repair a couple of dings in the porcelain. Since the pipes on the old sink are literally falling apart (no joke: they are held together with zip-ties and leak-tape), and I don't want to re-pipe until I install the new sink, this has moved closer to the top of this years goal list.
- Finish the dining room cabinets and bench. One thing older houses are woefully short on is storage space...especially storage space for preps and those items that don't get used very often. I've been staining and installing oak cabinets in the dining room to hold dishes (3 sets), silverware (2 sets), and various canning/milking/holiday and other such items. I have the two wall cabinets hung, but I still need to stain the lower cabinets. Before I can do that, though, I need to build a matching oak storage bench between them for extra storage and to stretch seating space at the dining room table.
- Build the living room sofa bench. Our living room is a fairly awkward layout; lots of doors, one big window, bookshelves across one whole end of it, long and narrow, one small coat closet that is already over-full, and a wood stove dominating one third of the room. Right now, the living room is furnished with a sagging second-hand sofa, a matching wing chair, and several rocking chairs. It also houses my two treadle sewing machines, an antique trunk used as a TV stand, and numerous side tables (as well as the tub, the composting toilet in its box, and the new bathroom door.) We need enough room to sprawl while watching videos, room to sit while reading, a spare bed for visiting family or friends, and still be able to walk through the room without having to limbo. There isn't enough room for a sleeper sofa to fold out. So the solution we came up with is to build a mission-style, oak and leather, 12 foot long built-in bench sofa along the long wall. I'm going to use the dining room bench as practice and then start in one the living room sofa.
- Frame in the mud room. We plan to close in two-thirds of the back porch as a mud room, to give us room for muddy boots, dogs, and barn coats. I also intend to add shelving for extra cans/jars, a worktable for canning prep (using my emergency washtub as its base), and a summer stove (either kerosene, gas, or a very small wood stove.)
Outside the house:
- Build the rabbit colony runs and sheds. These will also serve to fence the majority of our flatland. Once our property is fenced, we won't have to worry so much about roaming dogs killing our chickens, or roaming deer consuming our garden or fruit trees.
- Frame in the greenhouse. This is a main priority, right after the rabbits. Danny wants to get into tilapia. We plan on putting the fish pools in one end of the greenhouse, the better to control the water temps.
- Plant the rest of our fruit trees and bushes. We are ordering several more fruit trees and lots more raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, kiwis, honeyberries, cranberries, and grapes. We will end up with 21 various fruit trees on our property.
- Finish the tin roofing on the new out buildings.
- Dig the outhouse. Yes, I've decided to add an outhouse to our farm. Before you get too dizzy rolling your eyes, hear me out. They are shutting down the coal plant that services our area in 2014 and replacing it with about 2/3 as many KWs from a plant in WVa. Which means that rolling blackouts are a distinct possibility in our future. Just in case we develop a problem with the composting toilet (which can operate without power for a while, but we will overwhelm it if all four of us try to use it full time with no power for a long time), I want to have a readily available alternative. I also want a place to dispose of the SunMar's compost, if I don't have a place to use it (it can't be used on a garden.)
- Build the raised garden beds.
- Frame in the carports. We desperately need to gravel in a place to park our cars, but I don't want to order the gravel until I know it will be contained. I'd also like to be able to get the cars out of the weather (read: snow.)
- Finally get to the new Quaker Friends' group attempting to set up just north of us. We've been playing phone tag since summer with the man who is in charge of organizing the group. Either he's been too busy or we've been too busy to get info and attend. I intend on changing that this year.
- Finish my book. Danny wants to finish his, also.
- Organize our home schooling better.
- Make more time for exercise. I confess, I like food. And it likes me. But I don't like what it does to my (non-existent) waistline. I don't want to give up food (OK, maybe I can give up seconds and thirds...), so I need to add exercise. There is an absolutely beautiful 1 1/2 mile walk around the local lake, it is a quick 2 mile walk to the mouth of our holler, they are building a 14-mile rails-to-trails bike path that runs past our house, and if I can't get out because of the weather, I can do stretches. I need to stop making excuses and exercise!!!