The "Old Shack" project.

Posted by: redsnow

The "Old Shack" project. - 08/24/13 06:20 AM


Here's a picture of the old house I've been remodeling. My Mom refers to it as the "Old Shack".

This picture was taken 1/27/11. It's underwent quite a bit of change since.

A family by the name of King owned the house and property. Dad bought the place back in 1972, I believe? Everyone around here calls the place King's Ranch. And it's not really that big, we pay taxes on 70 acres.

It's been a challenge! But I've had some very good help, and I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel!

I took my Mom up a couple weeks ago, gave her a tour. Mom's homeplace is just across the river and up on the mountain to the West. Mom told me that her homeplace was built in 1910, and that the King's place was built before that.

The house is about 900 yards from the county road. Boys it's peaceful up there!

Every now and then a couple fighter jets will come screaming down the valley, otherwise, it's very quiet. smile

I'll post more pictures if photobucket cooperates.

The house has a history. Some folks say that it's haunted.

I told Mom the other morning that I'd spent the night at King's, she asked if I'd seen any spooks. laugh I sleep very very well in the old place. smile
Posted by: musher

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/24/13 06:46 AM

Pretty big to be a shack!

Nice spot. smile
Posted by: Hal

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/24/13 08:50 AM

Yeah, that'w way more than a shack. Is the house two full stories, or a story an a half?

Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/24/13 10:49 AM

Yes, but the ceilings are low. In the one little bedroom I can bump my elbows on the ceiling. Not much head room in the attic either!

The house was built, (as well as I can tell) in 3 sections. The original part is log, and part of it is framed. The walls in the log section are 10 inches thick or better.

You can see that the house is built in the shape of an "L". Looking at it from the crawl space. So, I call the "front room" 1-A, 1-B, 1-C. Upstairs is 2-A, etc.

But, I'll try to give you a tour. smile

When you first walk in room 1-A, this is what you'll see.

The fireplace is one of a kind.

Up the stairs. They're steep/dangerous, we sanded, stained, varnished them. And put up a handrail.

Room 2-A.

I'll try that many pictures, and add more later. smile
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/24/13 11:15 AM

Room 2-B.

Room 2-C.

Check out that old bed-spread. It was just about 10 seconds away from being tossed in the trash! Someone spent a lot of time putting all of those little knots in that thing.

And here's part of the kitchen, room 1-C.

I'll bet that a lot of you guys remember sitting on a bench at the kitchen table. We just built that one a week or so ago. And just got another kitchen chair "wickey-whacked", think it was Wednesday.

Everything is plain and simple, nothing fancy. It's an old house, and nothing is square, but it turned out pretty nice.

A friend of mine has some crop-damage permits for deer now. We're going to have a little feed, in a week or 2. smile
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/24/13 11:43 AM

Here's the backside of the house. The bathrooms have low ceilings too. But really to keep them on the same floor level, and still have enough roof pitch, didn't have much choice.

But driving up the road, this is the first thing you'll see.

Posted by: musher

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/24/13 05:21 PM

Wow. Just wow.

Very well done, Sir.
Posted by: sbausum

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/25/13 09:17 AM

Yeah, what musher said! That is a neat "shack". What a bunch of work. I love the simple furnishings. Nice to see old places saved and put back to service. What a simple and peaceful looking house. Reminds me of my Great Grandma's house. Great job!
Posted by: Hal

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/25/13 09:25 AM

The picutures of the upstairs bedroom answered my question. It a story and a half. A lot of houses were built like that back then.

You've done an exceptonal job.

Posted by: Hal

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/25/13 09:27 AM

That little porch on the back, does that cover the entrance to a cellar? -- Hal
Posted by: Dale F

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/25/13 09:33 AM

very nice! I would live in it... haunted or not.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/25/13 08:16 PM

Let me tell you how this project started, first.

My brother and I own the property and house. He's always busy, and so am I. We're never up at the King's place. Dad rented the house, dirt cheap! And they were to keep the place, respectable, and do whatever maintenance needed.

Well, a few years ago, I went up and the metal roof was showing more rust than paint.

That kind of got under my skin. You can't let a house go for 25 or 30 years and not fix anything.

Without a good foundation and good roof, a house will go to hell quick.

I won't say anything bad about the man, because he's not here to defend himself.

But I walked around the house one evening, and didn't like what I'd seen.

Long story short, I sent word to the man that we needed to talk. Dad was a very easy going man, and so am I and my brother. But at the same time, we're not going to let someone step on us.

I'll give details of his and my last conversation in the morning. smile
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/26/13 07:39 AM

The house rent was $500. $500 per year! And Mom and Dad were paying the electric bill. That's cheap. A medium sized storage unit will cost you more than that.

The man (Bill) that had the place rented, stopped by one evening and we talked. Bill had his checkbook in his hand. And he told me that he'd like to rent the place one more year.

He told me the floors are getting "springy", the foundation was about gone. He said: "That old house is only going to be there another couple years".

I was thinking to myself as we talked, (you know a little maintence now and then, would go a long way). So, Bill offered to double the rent to $1000. Per year.

We had a good talk, but I told him that I didn't want to rent the place. We'd just keep it for our families. smile

Go up and look at the first picture I posted. It's hard to see, but on the right side of the house is a 150 or 200 gallon water tank, sitting there on a platform. They had water gravity fed into the kitchen sink. And when the sinks drain line got stopped up or colapsed? Some genius decided to just crawl under the house and cut it off.

So, who knows how many hundreds of gallons of dirty sink water drained under the kitchens foundation. That kind of pissed me.

But, you know how some renters are "It's not mine, I don't care". It's just an old shack.

But I'll tell you a little bit about the house. At one time we had 5 hydraulic jacks under the house. A little bit here and a little bit there. We had it creaking and cracking.

I've lost count of the bags of concrete we mixed in a wheel barrow. It's around 75 or so?

We did replace the foundation of the kitchen. It's sitting on concrete now.

The floors in rooms 1-A, 1-C, 2-A and 2-C were all just rough sawed lumber. Pretty rough stuff too.

The beams (floor joists) under the front room and kitchen were logs. Flat-sided on the top. Hand hewn. Some oak, some pine and a couple American Chestnut. Saved them.

But the kitchen floor today, is 3/4 tonge-groove Advantec, sitting on 2X12's. Front room floor is the same sitting on 2X10's. And room 2-C's floor is 5/8's plywood on new 2X6's.

All of the 2" stuff is rough sawed.

The floors aren't "springy" anymore! smile
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/26/13 08:42 AM

About the little porch on the back, there's no cellar. Very very little crawl space under the house. We just built the porch, it's only 6' X 8', give or take. We just built it there to keep the rain off of the kitchen door.

The house is almost sitting on the ground.

I had to crawl under the bathroom and front room the other day to run the gas line for the fireplace thing. Was bruised up, scratched up, wet and muddy. My head carpenter, Wardney, made me ride on the tailgate down to the river. laugh

But we got her done! wink
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/26/13 05:45 PM

Here's on my favorite things about the King's house. See that line of trees, down across the bottom fields? That's the river, and the county road is on the other side. It's very very quiet, and when it gets dark, it's dark. smile

But I wanted to tell you guys a few things that we've done to the house. I've learned quite a bit on this project. And maybe some of you can get an idea for your projects.

Part of the old house does look fancy, but it's not. Everything was bought on a budget.

I'll start out in the kitchen. The walls are just a "better grade" of plywood. We sanded them down, put on a coat of polyurethane, let it cure, and lightly sanded it again. Wiped them off, and put on another coat of varnish.

The walls are smooth, and will be easy to clean. And a gallon of varnish goes a long way.

Room 2-B (part of the framed section), the outside walls weren't insulated. It had 2 or 3 layers of wall paper, once it was off, you could see daylight in some spots.

It's a small room to start with, but we put 1/2" styrofoam on the walls, and taped the joints. Then put on the "Luwan" (sp). It's just a thin plywood.

Lightly sanded it, with a vibrating sander, probably 150 or 180-grit sandpaper? That's a quick job. Wipe it down with a damp rag, let it dry and then varnish. That's "semi-gloss" polyurethane in room 2-B.

And the baseboard and trim molding, that's all just 1"X4" pine boards. We'd set the saw on a 45* and split them. Nothing fancy. And we took a screwdriver and stuffed fiberglass insulation, into every little crack. The wind doesn't blow through that room anymore.

But notice the little oak table in room 2-B. It had 2 big circle shaped stains, and lots of spots. Not sure, but it looked like someone had set a hot/greasy skillet or pot on the thing?

A friend of mine came to visit. He said to sand down the table top, wipe it off and make it wet with bleach, let it dry over night and repeat. Forget, but I sanded and bleached it 3 or 4 times? Then gave it 2 or 3 coats of glossy varnish. Guys, that's a beautiful little table today!

Room 2-C, was never finished inside, at the start of this job, it was piled completely full of crap. Old bed springs, tractor parts, just overall junk, you name it.

But it turned out to be the nicest room in the house, except maybe the kitchen? Or maybe the front room. I like them all. smile

But as someone mentioned above, it's just a shame to let these old "shacks" fall down.

If the old house is better than 100 years old now, it should last a little while longer with it's remodel. smile
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 10/16/13 08:59 AM

I'll add a few more pictures of earlier work, but I'm still pecking away at the old shack.

Just a little bit more work, and I'll declare this job finished! smile
Posted by: Swampy

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 10/17/13 08:35 AM

It looks like Heaven! You are a lucky man!
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 10/20/13 08:04 PM

I'll add a few more pictures of room 2-C, this is the room with a history.

This is the room that was never finished, these pictures were from April, 2013. smile
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 10/30/13 10:44 AM

While I've got a little time to kill this morning, I'll comment again. The last 3 pictures I posted are of room 2-C, the room over the kitchen.

Notice the styrofoam overhead, there's a "flea market" type of place near here, and they sell the 4' X 8' sheets for $5 each. That's 2" thick. Sure does make a mess cutting it with a circular saw, but good insulation. Used a bunch of fiberglass too. That room is sealed up tight, will be easy to heat. And found some used double-pane windows, cheap. I think it was $65 total for 3 windows. smile

But I wanted to tell you why some folks think the old shack is haunted.

Everyone that you talk to will give you a slightly different version. But, I'm 99% certain that a lady was found deceased in the house. I've been told that she was found room 2-C. I guess the old timers thought that it was taboo, to go use the room. Maybe the reason that it was never finished?

Rumor goes like this: A man confessed to bonking the woman on the head with a stick of firewood. I have no idea what year that was. Not sure if the case went to trial? Apparently, the charges were brushed-under the rug. Maybe he was a "somebody"? Never know?

But the house is build in the shape of a reversed "L". Once you get to the top of the stairway, there's no hallway. To get to room "C", you walk throught "A" and "B". Thinking about it today, if someone threatened a person, room 2-C would be your final refuge. A place where you'd have to make your final stand.

Just about everyone that would have "quality" second-hand information is dead. The last living descendent of the King family is in her 90's, in a nursing home today. I've met Mable King lots of times, we just never talked about what happened at the house.

I know a lady that works at that nursing home, and she's going to find out for me. Just interesting.

But I went up to the house the other night after work, it's only 18 minutes up the road, and fixed my supper. I fried 3 hotdogs and nuked a bowl of soup, washed my dishes and then sat in the rocking chair watching the gas fireplace thing till bedtime.

It'd been a long day! But I slept in room 2-C that night, best night's sleep I'd had since the last time I stayed at the King's house. It's peaceful up there! And still haven't had any spooky encounters, but it's almost Halloween. smile
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 12/01/13 09:53 AM

Well, I got word from my nurse friend that works at the nursing home, and Ms. King's mind is not as sharp as it used to be. So, we'll probably never know the real story. frown

She's just a tiny little lady, I'd guess, maybe in her prime she'd weigh 120 pounds. Sweet and polite, never married and no kids.

But I wanted to tell you, our deer season started 11/25/13, (last Monday). After all of the work and sweat spent on this little job, now it's time to enjoy the place.

My bud Moe and I, hunted together 5 days last week. Wednesday, with a late start, Moe met me at the King's house. We've got around 13,000 acres to hunt on, within 10 miles of the house. I went up early, fired up the gas fireplace thing, it was chilly inside. We made a little hunt Wednesday evening, I saw one deer. Not sure what?

We had a few friends stop to visit, before we fixed supper. "Moe's braised deer heart". Guy's, if you're leaving your deer hearts in the gut-pile, you're wasting some tasty meat. (We just happened to have 2 fresh deer hearts.)

Very simple recipe. An onion, a green pepper, carrots, heart meat (peeled and cleaned) and a pound of noodles. When the carrots are cooked, fry the meat, in the same skillet with a cup of wine, and serve over the noodles.

With hot rolls, that's a good meal. smile
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/03/14 01:37 PM

Here's a couple of pictures from behind/above the old shack. Years ago, it was a pasture/hay field, we've been steady pecking away at it, soon I'll have a pasture again. It's either 6, or maybe 7 truck loads of wood, we've cut so far? It's all locust, good wood. Taking everything down to about 3", and burning the brush. The cedar trees all have 2 or 3 tops, not big enough to saw for lumber, so, putting them on the fire too. smile

That's Wardney, behind his white truck, he's got a heck of a pile of wood. And, we've probably got 2 or 3 loads yet to cut. smile
Posted by: musher

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/04/14 05:27 AM

That's a fair bit of work done.

If you cut your stumps at 3 feet or so, you'll be able to rip them out with the truck. That might help with preventing excessive re-growing.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/05/14 11:02 AM

Here's an interesting link to the BTU values of firewood:

Notice the little trees, behind my little red truck, and the bigger ones, off to the left of the picture. That's all black locust. One of the best trees we have here, for firewood. It's very dense, heavy, and once it's dry it'll take the edge off of a saw chain quick.

The little trees were alive, and most of the bigger trees, were nearly dead. That ground is hard up there, even with a small dozer, it'd be a pain to push out the stumps. We've been cutting them off, right at ground level.

I'm trying to get the stumps down where I can get in there with a tractor and brush-hog, and keep it mowed.

See that "sage grass" behind the little truck? Wardney said the field needs lime. Honestly, I'd like to get in there and spread about 15 tons of chicken litter, and plant some good grass or clover.

The other day, I went around the house 2 times, with a grass seeder, spraying out clover seeds. Darn, that stuff is expensive.

I'll tell you something else, I've been thinking about planting 15 or 20 apple trees back behind the house. That one tree behind the little red truck is a pear tree. Years ago, there were 2 Wolfe River apple trees, just above the pear tree. Some of those apples would get as big as a softball. Good cooking apple. smile
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/05/14 11:13 AM

Sorry, I mispelled the apple's name, it's Wolf. My Mom's maiden name is Wolfe. Here's a link:

They get huge. smile
Posted by: Hal

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/05/14 06:26 PM

Black locust makes excellent fence posts. They will last 20 years or longer. -- Hal
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/06/14 06:32 AM

Yes, a good 7-foot locust fence post is worth $5 or more. The little trees are just not quite big enough for a post. And all of the bigger trees are so twisted, knotted-up and/or pithy on the inside.

I guess it's been 5 or 6 years ago, I went up and cut just about everything that would make a good post.

I'll tell you something that I didn't know until a few years ago. There's a difference in locust posts. Trees that grow down in the "low-lands", along the river, won't last as long as a locust tree that grows up in the mountains. I mean as far as the longevity of the post.

I might be up there today, I'll count the growth rings on one of the little trees, I'll guess they're around 20 years old.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/11/14 03:55 PM

Here's a picture from above the old shack. The little field is starting to look like a pasture.

Wardney and I burnt a total of about 4 tanks of gas through the saws yesterday, we're back 125 yards behind the house now. It was windy, not enough snow cover to burn the brush. Next good snow or rain, we'll fire them up! I notified the 911 center the last time, I'll need to again. That one pile will light things up.

I counted the growth rings on a couple of the little locust trees. Any where from 15 to 30 years. You sure can tell a difference between good years, and bad years. Calling for 3-5 inches of snow tomorrow night, we might just fire them up. smile
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/09/15 06:25 AM

Well, it's been a year since I've mentioned the Old Shack project. We've made some improvements, and I've found a couple problems.

Last summer and fall, I'd been staying at the house, 4 or 5 nights per month. The first problem I found, I need more heat. I always turn the fireplace thing off when I leave, no need for me to keep the place warm and waste gas, if it's going to be empty for a week or 2. I can close all of the inside doors and warm up rooms 1-A and 2-A, in just a little bit. The rest of the house, it takes a while. I found a little electric heater, for $5, it'll warms up my room, 2-C in 30 minutes or so.

Last summer my neice, Rebecca, ask me if her and her family could spend their vacation at the house. I gave her the key, on the condition that she'd sweep up and vacuum up all of the dead flies, lady bugs and wasps. That worked out good for me, she did a fine job, and they had a good time too.

That's another problem, bugs. Back in November, I got up one morning before daylight, and there were about 50 wasps clinging to the ceiling, at the foot of my bed. This summer, I'll caulk that little crack. And once the house gets warm inside, the flies and lady bugs come out of the woodwork. I've got enough of those little bug bomb things, I'm going to set off about 3 in the attic, and one in each room. Not sure if you can ever get rid of them?

Late last fall, we got the little field behind the house brush hogged off, it looks good. Painted the front porch floor with used motor oil, it looks good. The lumber was dry, it really soaked in, and it's not slippery either.

When I get time, think I'll add a few shelves in the front room. I need a gun rack, coat rack and a shooting bench.

Notice the 2 trees in the picture above, a man offered to trim them for me, for ONLY $600. I've got a couple of my guys lined-up, won't cost me more than $50. The one boy needs firewood anyway.
Posted by: musher

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/09/15 05:22 PM

Looking good.

I'm not sure painting anything with used oil is a good idea. It does preserve the wood but I don't know how healthy or good for the environment it is. There was a time around here when guys would paint their log cabins with transmission oil. They also soaked wooden footings in it. If a footing was heaving in the frost they would pour oil around it and the problem was solved.

The environment people would frown at that pretty severely nowadays.

Did you ever consider using Sista on the cracks instead of just caulking them? That way you might eliminate more of the bug problem.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/10/15 04:27 PM

Here's a picture of the front porch floor, that was taken 1/4/2015. Doesn't look bad. My head carpenter, Wardney, and I talked about treating the floor. Wardney is 76 years old, he told me that he'd tried everything on treating decks.

I wasn't up there when they painted the floor, but they only used a gallon and a half of oil, the porch is give/take 30'x7'. The floor is all 1" rough-sawed pine, spruce or hemlock, and it was dry as a bone. Nope, I wouldn't want to pour oil on the ground!

But, up on the boards, it should keep everything treated and bug free. The timbers in the ground, are pressure treated 6"x6" stuff, on concrete.

I searched Sista, now is that an insecticide? I found Siesta.

I've sprayed stuff called Tempo around the outside of the house when we first started the job. I used a little pump-up garden sprayer. It'll kill ants, waterbugs, wasps, bees, ticks and fleas, just about everything. Slugs too. But you need a license to buy it. Then you can buy that granual stuff, to sprinkle around in the grass, I used it too.

Last time I stayed up, in December, next morning when the house got warm, lady bugs were crawling around here and there. And a few flies too. Just enough to make a mess.

But the biggest problem I've found, is where I'm losing heat, above the log part of the house. You can touch the walls above the log part, and feel cold. Not sure, but since it's a 1 and a half story house, I may be able to stuff the walls with blown in insulation. I'll check on that, when we trim the trees.
Posted by: musher

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/11/15 04:47 AM

If you really want to seal it, use spray foam. It's pricey but work extremely well. You'll deal with the bugs and the heat at the same time.

Once that stuff expands, everything is nice and tight.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 02/11/15 08:13 AM

About the only place I'm having trouble with wasps, is in room 2-C. If you go back up and look at some of the early pictures, that's 1"x3" molding, we used over the luwan. It's in and out, a couple places, that's where the wasps are coming in. I think a bead of clear silicone will take care of that problem. Might be best to use that clear, paintable caulk, if case we'd ever decide to paint that room. I don't see that happening, I like the room as is.

Two years in a row, I've found wasps lined up, a double-handfull, right along that one little crack. It was too cold to caulk, both times.

The morning sun hits that window first, not long ago, the window was crawling with wasps, couple flies and lady bugs too.

Seems like these old houses, they always have bees, flies and lady bugs. Early on this job, we took a wisk broom and swept the attic. I'll bet we picked up 10 gallons of lady bug shells. Then we took a shop/vac across the attic, and got a bunch more. We did that before we started putting down the insulation.

The ceilings in rooms 2-A and 2-B, are tounge-groove, but with us crawling around up there, the dust and dirt coming out of the cracks would cover the floor.

That one time we were up there running electric, there were 100's of lady bugs against that one wall. Should have sprayed them then. Hopefully the bug bomb things will snuff them out. I guess, it's some type of nest?

The main place I'm losing heat, is the wall, at the top of the stairway. Above the logs. It's just tounge grove lumber on the inside, and the siding. There's just a cold spot there, at the top of the steps.

If I remember right, that little crack is open in the attic. Might just be able to stuff it full of insulation. Or shovel it full of the blown insulation. ???
Posted by: Ronaround

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 03/23/15 09:43 AM

You have done a good job! Congratulations. Your a lucky man no one messes with your place while your away. it seems we have had bug ,(flies, wasps,jackets come out with a warm up in a room. I do believe that they go dormant for years until that nice bit of heat comes back. Then wammo..
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 03/30/15 05:52 PM

Well, knock on wood, so far no one has tried to break into the house, (not since I've been working on it). Seriously, the only thing any lock, door lock or padlock does, is keep an honest man honest! If someone wants inside, bad enough, they'll find a way.

The neighbors keep a pretty close eye on the place, and several of my other friends, stop by and check on things now and then. Probably the biggest thing that helps with that situation, a lot of people don't even know that the house exists. You can't see it from the main road. There's nothing inside that's really expensive. No guns or anything like that. Stuff that people like robbers would steal.

Well, last Friday night after work, I went up to the King's house. When I cut around the corner behind the house, there were 5 deer standing in the headlights. Another couple weeks and that little field should be green. One morning last fall, 4 big hen turkeys fed down through the field, first turkeys I've seen up there for years. The deer are using the "salt lick" that Wardney started last fall too.

It was 20* Saturday morning, about 10am my guys Wardney, Mike and Moe arrived and we went to work on the tree trimming.

Scroll back up and look at the picture I posted on 2/9/15. That tree on the left is bigger than it looks! I sawed it off to about 25 feet, the biggest limb was still 15" across. Moe got 2 truck loads of fire wood, and Wardney took home maybe a half a load, just from the one tree top. And trimmed the little pear tree behind the house. The sap is starting to come up now, I'll probably wait until next winter to trim the other hickory tree.

Back on January 1st I drained the water lines and winterized everything, think I'll wait another week or 2 before I turn on the well pump. I hope everything works out as smooth this year, as it did last time.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 04/19/15 08:45 AM

Well, I went up to the King's house yesterday, just to check on stuff. Notice what a big change in the little field behind the house. Compared to the pictures I posted Feburary 2014. Only 14 months ago.

That little pear tree just behind the house is covered with bloom, we trimmed it hard, just a couple of weeks ago. The pear tree in this picture, it needs trimmed, but last fall they picked maybe 4 gallons of pears. Nice big pears, and they're sweet too. Years ago there were a few apple trees on the place, they're all dead now, really should plant a few more. Would need to plant them inside a cage, to keep the deer from killing them.

I'll just keep pecking away at the place. Just thinking, there are another 4 or 5 acres of brush that needs cut. It takes time!
Posted by: Hal

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 04/19/15 10:05 AM

Those old homested pear trees are tough. -- Hal
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 05/19/15 10:27 PM

Here's a picture of the same field, as above, just a month later. It's really greened-up. Talking about the 2 pear trees behind the house, both of them were covered with bloom. We've had 2 or 3 frosts, and at least one freeze, since 4/19/15. Calling for the temperature to drop into the 40's this week. Strange weather!

I turned on the water today, didn't see any leaks. Note to self: 54# pressure at the tank. I flipped off the breaker to the well pump when I left, wrote it down up there too. I'll check the pressure, next time up, hopefully it'll still be at 54 psi.

Weedeated around the shack last Sunday, makes 2 times so far. Raked up 2 loads of twigs, from the tree trimming project, hauled them off. Drove around the place, did see 5 deer, and set off a "bug bomb" thing in each room upstairs. Wasps were crawling around. You know, the bug bomb things, set off my upstairs smoke detector. Will need new batteries.

Last Sunday morning, I opened the door to the out building, stepped inside, there were 4 little Carolina Wrens fluttering around inside. Pretty sure their nest is on the top shelf. That's 3 years in a row, I've found a wren nest. Once upstairs inside the house, last year on the front porch, now in the shed. I'll try to find that one picture, of 2 adults inside their nest.

Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 05/20/15 02:38 PM

Carolina Wren nest pictures.

If you look at the first picture above, the nest was built on top of an old medicine cabinet. The cabinet was on the wall of the room 2-A, the first room upstairs. The pictue was taken in November, I left one window up, just a crack. But they stayed there all winter.

In the second pictue, you'll notice the one birds tail, there are 2 of them in the nest. All fluffed up, trying to stay warm. But I have pictures from eggs, to chicks. There for a while during this project, first thing we'd do is get a nest report.
Posted by: Hal

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 05/23/15 12:23 PM

Wrens are neat. At one time, in the barn I had an old wood pop crate nailed to wall where I kept small garden tools. Every year a wren would make a nest in the back of that box. It's funny how Carolina Wrens can adapt to buildings. I have all kind of bird fly into my barn and can't find their way back out. I hear them banging against the windows. But wrens fly in and out with no problem. If they see a crack as big as a mouse hole, they'll go through it.

Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 05/25/15 06:46 AM

The wren nest above was built during the early part of the house project. We were making lots of dust, mainly hauling out junk and trash, and it was hot. We had about all of the windows open. Not long after we found the nest, then I found eggs. Tiny little eggs, maybe 1/2 inch long. But they all hatched, we left the one window up, I had one little crack or opening about the size of a business card. Through the day the nest would be empty, but at night there would be a couple back in the nest. It was fun to watch them, as a family group, they'd work their way across the front yard, all in a little cluster.

Well, those bug bomb things must work. I stayed at the King's house, Friday and Saturday night. 38* Saturday morning, 48* yesterday. All of the bugs upstairs were dead, got them cleaned up. Set off 4 more bug bombs down-stairs before I left, hopefully it'll kill the spiders too.

Let's see, it was Friday night, I heard a whip-poor-will, then Saturday night I heard 2. First one's I've heard this spring.

Noticed the old house needs a paint job, all of the new sections just have one coat, starting to bleed through the paint. It all needs painted. Then it should be good to go for a little while. Wardney has a plan for the painting party.
Posted by: musher

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 05/26/15 04:38 AM

Great photos. Don't the wrens "chalk up" the room?

I hope that Wardney's plan doesn't include a sprayer.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 05/26/15 06:18 AM

Chalk up? You mean bird crap? Actually, they were very neat, very good house pets.

I think about it now, the Mommy wren had a new metal roof over her nest, almost against the ceiling upstairs. No wind, very little threat of anything molesting her eggs, chicks. She picked a good spot.

Well, my hunting buddy Moe was off work yesterday, he stopped and got the key for the King's house. Just wanted to go up and check everything. Here's his comment after he came back home: "I was impressed. Everything looks so nice inside and out."

As much as Moe has helped at King's, I'll have a key made for him today. And I need to hide a key, up there someplace.

About Wardney's plan. It involves about 10# of hamburger, lots of help and a keg of beer. I talked to 3 folks yesterday that would be glad to come up and help paint, all 3 are good at "cutting in" around windows and doing trim. Think I can round up another 5 or 6, and we'll do the rough painting. Probably 3/4's of the house we can paint from either the ground, or standing on the roof. Not much ladder work.

Not sure? It'll probably take 6 gallons of paint or a little more. Just as well do it all.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 06/02/15 04:08 PM

Sounds from the old shack, Saturday night.


Hopefully that'll work. Turn up your volume.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 07/17/15 08:24 PM

Operation "White Wash" is on for 9 am, tomorrow.

Not much notice, but I'll invite everyone. Take "Bass Lane" across both bridges, turn left on "Sundance Trail", that's where we'll be. Food is cooking as we speak!
Posted by: FLSH ETR

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/16/15 07:48 PM

There was some talk on this thread about wasps and I'd like to hear some opinions about how to get rid of them from my pop up camper. Seems they found a small hole at the bottom of the door hinge and are going in and out all day. The camper is in the closed position. Sometimes they have to wait for a few to pass to the outside before a bunch can get back in. Just inside the door is a pull out drawer filled with jack stands for leveling the camper. It's heavy. It looks like that might be home for these little bastards. I let darkness set in, then reached into the camper to remove patio blocks laying on the floor in front of the drawer so I could open it up. The blocks are used under the jacks. I got two removed. Reaching in for the third which is the one directly in front of the drawer I must have bothered the three guards goose stepping in front of the drawer. Man did I get drilled. I let things settle down, then hit the whole area with wasp spray, and with 'home defense'. When morning came there were lots of dead wasps at the door opening, but still active flyers. I hosed down the area again then shut the door. I can't find a suitable 'bug bomb' to deal with this concern. Something I can just toss in and close the door. What I've come up with so far is to hitch the camper to my truck, hose down the door area again with wasp spray, then move the thing down the road a piece, and perhaps hose it down again. I'm thinking if they fly out, they might not find their way back. I need this camper the weekend after Labor Day for our annual WTA convention, which doesn't give me much time to make sure I've vacated the source of my dismay. I would open the camper up before hauling it to the convention to make sure it's clear. I would appreciate any and all suggestions on possible solutions to my problem.

Thanks, Frank.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/17/15 11:41 AM

Hmmm, not sure. These "bug bomb" things, for them to work best, you should open up everything inside. Cabinets, drawers, boxes etc. Set them off and keep it sealed up as tight as you can, for as long as you can. When we set them off at the old shack, it sat there sealed up for a week or so, I didn't see any bugs alive inside, next time I went up. Lots of dead stuff, laying around. Forget, around $3 each or so?

If your wasps are like the ones we have, I figure there is new larva that will hatch out every other day or so? You'll need to find the nest, pull it out and stomp the thing or plunk it gas, or spray it with starting fluid or something.

This sounds goofy, but my ole buddy Earl had a nest of yellowjackets living in the wall of his house. They were going in/out of a little hole, Earl propped up the nozzle to his shop-vac, right at the hole. He turned on the vacuum, and then started pounding on the wall. He put a little water in the bottom tub first, I forget how many he did get, it was a quart or 2. But she worked.

I'd try to find the nest late tonight, if you can open the door, let them chill out for a while and then go to work on them. With a pop up camper, makes me wonder if there isn't more nests inside and around the fabric and folds.
Posted by: FLSH ETR

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 08/17/15 07:15 PM

My bride found a raid product on the internet. Just picked up the product at our near by Walmart. $7.50 if I remember correctly. The box has three 'bombs' in it that will each clear a room size area. I'll use all three if I have to. Going back up this weekend. After I execute the execution, I'll be dragging the camper back home to give it a complete cleanout. The hard part about this endeavor is that they fight back!!

Thanks, Frank.
Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 09/23/15 06:42 AM

Well Frank, how did the bug zappers work in the pop-up camper?

I've been decorating at the Old Shack. I've been buying these fruit bowls/candy dishes cheap, pretty nice collection.

I hung up 3 old eel gigs the other morning, in the front room. And a fishing pole that I found in the river. Think I'll hang up a few old traps in the other room, 2-A. I've got a painted cross-cut saw blade, I put it on the wall too.

It's almost that time of year, I'll need to drain the water system before long. Here's something I wanted to show you. When it was time to do the plumbing, I hired some guys that do it for a living, and told them first thing I wanted to be able to winterize the whole works, without a lot of work.

Hard to see in this picture, everything is sloping downhill. All I need to do is open the 2 valves under the downstairs bathroom. Open the faucets, take the little piece of garden hose and stick it in the commode, and open that valve on the water heater. Takes me about an hour.

Always something to do.
Posted by: FLSH ETR

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 09/23/15 09:05 PM

Them bug bombs worked really well. Wearing total coverage garb, I put in the first bomb with my five foot long clinker-picker. (the kind used with the old coal furnace) Did this at dusk, and was quick to slam the door. The next day, just before dark, I peeked into the camper. Did not see any movement, so I opened up the heavy drawer that I thought the wasps were in. Sure enough, I tore open the nest which was affixed to the drawer front and top of the cabinet. Saw some movement, so in went bomb number two. That did the trick. Hauled the camper home and popped it open to vacuum and clean. Man what a mess. I scrapped out the nest, and sprayed everything with Raid's 'Home Defense'. When I got to our trapper's convention, a two hundred mile trip, I popped open the camper. Three area yellow jackets dialed right in on that drawer!! Geez, I wonder what kind of calling card them things leave?

Posted by: redsnow

Re: The "Old Shack" project. - 09/24/15 09:00 PM

Glad to hear the bombs worked for you. This was the first time I'd ever used them, darned sure worth $3 each. We cleaned up the dead bugs at the old house, a few weeks ago, honestly I don't recall seeing anything crawling around since.

Here's a couple pictures of the old stuff I've been hanging on the walls.

Just bought an old oil lamp today for $15. The electric up there is kind of hit and miss. Seems like every time the wind blows, the power will go out!