This has been by far the busiest year since we bought the house. First, and most important, we had a baby! Ethan is turning 1 next week, and I can't imagine my life without him. He has a wonderful, happy personality, and he's incredibly curious and adventurous. He crawls everywhere, gets into everything, and needs constant watching to ensure he doesn't inadvertently kill himself (which on some days it seems he's intent on doing!). Parenthood is awesome, and I'm looking forward to the next year of this never-ending project.
But we finally got the upstairs floors refinished!! I hired out the sanding but did the shellacking on my own. They look so much better. They were never truly awful (except for the office floor), but the polyurethane was really lacking in depth and color.
My favorite project of the year was one I did very little work on and has nothing to do with the house itself. We took the plunge and got chickens, so Shayne built me a beautiful, big chicken coop. My girls aren't laying yet, but should start soon. The neighbors all think they're entertaining, so we let them free-range. They do go a little farther than I thought... Thye've been sighted as far away as the bar or the church at the corner, and once in a while a neighbor will shoo them home. But they come running when they see me, which is nothing short of hilarious. They stick their necks out and run straight at me, clucking for treats. Our neighbors across the street laugh every time they see it, and Shayne calls me the chicken whisperer.
|The girls in their run|
In the past year, we've also managed to flood the kitchen twice more, resulting in laminate flooring that will never, ever be the same. Shayne bought some tiles to temporarily repair the messed up ceiling (I say "temporarily" because that entire room's days are numbered. I cannot wait to gut it. And the bathroom...), but Lowes no longer carries that particular color laminate. The boards themselved don't look awful, but the tongue-and-groove part is damaged from the water. We're going to try cutting off the tongues to see if we can just get it to lay flat until we totally remodel. And we're going to have a clean-out installed in the main drain to prevent future back-ups. And maybe a check valve in the dishwasher line so it can't back-up. Ever. Because if this had happened in my newly remodeled kitchen, I'd have a heart attack.
We added 4 more raised beds to the single one from last year. I only planted a small garden this year, but harvested over 30 lbs of roma tomatoes. My broccoli kind of fried in the heat, but the plants are still alive, and I have some hope for a fall harvest. I also had a bumper crop of green beans. I put up strawberry and raspberry jams, strawberry ice cream or cheesecake topping, cherry butter, pasta sauce, applesauce, and apple butter. I still have corn and peaches left from last year. I didn't freeze anything except the 7 chickens my friend raised. We're in the process of rebuilding our food storage, since we've been using it more than rotating it...!
Another ongoing project (if you can call it that) is getting organized. We've now lived here long enough to know how we use the house, so we've really started to pare down our belongings. I'm saving 90% of Ethan's clothes, toys, and gear, but getting rid of most anything we haven't used in the past year. I thoroughly reorganized the bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom, and we're working on the back porch/laundry room and basement. Some of it is really difficult. There are things that you only use occasionally, but it would be silly to get rid of. And other things, like tools and renovation supplies (paint removers, sandpaper, etc) that I wish I didn't need, but I do. But we're getting there...
In the next year, I'd really like to finish the upstairs. Completely. And install our "new" prairie-style front door. That's all.