“Open your eyes…prepare for surprise…”

As a beginning to our story, below are some of the pictures we took of the house, many of them about a month before we actually bought it. My wife and I had already spent a couple of weeks peeking in the windows (most of them were covered, but we could catch small glimpses of some rooms through the curtains),…

“A dream in disguise…you know we can help it…”

Shortly after buying this house I was painting the living room. It was January, about 55 degrees inside the house due to the wonderful single-pane aluminum frame windows installed sometime in the 1960’s, and I was beginning to wonder when it was that I lost my sanity and took on this project. In the background I was playing the classic…

Salamanders in the Septic Tank

Yes, you read that right. Welcome to Hillsboro. We had an old septic tank on the property that wasn’t connected to anything useful. Whoever installed it did a pretty bad job (the inflow pipe wasn’t actually connected to anything coming out of the house), and my guess is the tank was abandoned right after installation because it didn’t work, but…

Repairing the Large Crack in the Living Room Ceiling

After removing the drop-ceiling from the living room we found a large crack that ran the entire length of the living room ceiling. This was originally caused by a roof leak where the porch met the house, but the leak had been fixed before we bought the house. The crack was pretty ugly, not to mention that it let a…

Putting the Propane Tank on a Concrete Slab

Our propane tank in the back yard was sitting on four rocks instead of a more traditional concrete slab. The rocks had settled over the years so weren’t level anymore (assuming they were ever level), so we decided to remedy the situation by pouring a small concrete slab for the tank to sit on and retiring the rocks with honors….

Removing the Living Room Closet/Wall Heater

The living room closet we have in this house is small and not terribly useful. It seems like it was really more of an effort to hide the stairs and the vent pipe for the wall heater than an actual storage space. The closet has about 5 feet of heater vent pipe running through it, and the pipe gets pretty…

Removing the Backyard Cesspool

When digging out some of the plumbing pipes on the side of the house leftover from removing the laundry room, I came across the rusty edge of some kind of metal plate. The plate was about 3/4″ thick, 5″ wide, and of unknown length. It was buried about 2 feet deep, and ran towards the fence between my neighbor’s house…

Moving the Water Heater

After removing the laundry/utility room and sealing the wall, I had to move and reinstall the water heater. My original plan was to leave the water heater outside for the winter and build an insulated “shed” around it, but finally decided it would be easier to just flip the water heater to the other side of the wall into the…

Sealing the Laundry Room Wall

After removing the cinder block laundry room, the now-outside wall had some plumbing and electrical that needed to be removed before winter. The plumbing included hot and cold water supplies for the small sink and washer, and the drains for the same. The electrical was for the clothes dryer and the 3 or 4 other outlets that used to supply…

Some Local Wildlife

One of our favorite things about this town and this area is the wildlife: there are lots of animals around, sometimes closer than expected. At night the sound of coyotes is common, deer are often seen walking down the side streets, and cows frequently hang out on the side of the road just thinking their cow thoughts. Here are a…

Repairing the Front Chainlink Fence

This fence project was one that had very little visual impact, but just made me feel better. Because of the large amount of work involved and the end result looking almost identical to how it originally looked, my neighbor jokingly called it “general mischief”. 🙂 The short (about 30″ tall) chainlink fence surrounds the front yard of the house, with…

A Few Historical Pictures of the House

Our house was built in about 1896. Several people in town are amateur but very talented historians, and send us historical pictures of our house whenever they come across them. Here are a few: This picture was apparently taken in 1949 from across the street: These two pictures are undated, but are thought to be from the mid- to late-1950’s….