Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring at last!

And we're enjoying every outside minute! Here are some of this week's "firsts"...

First bulbs to bloom (We're enjoying the fruit of the previous owner's labors as we watch to see what pops up around the house!)

First bee sting...

First time we've actually liked this tree, Autumn home to those Hitchcock-esque birds... unfortunately, these beautiful blossoms smell like they were fertilized by a dead something in a shallow grave.

First gummy smiles, my reward for keeping the little guy fed and happy.

Still waiting for that first good night's sleep...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Like an old-fashioned "barn-raising"

As new homeowners, we have quickly discovered what most of you already know: we can save A LOT of money if we do things ourselves. This includes everything from fixing a furnace to... dum, dum-dum, dum... re-roofing our own house. So, after perusing a few web articles on the process, Dave rounded up a work crew, we flew two of my brothers out to help, ordered supplies and plunged in.

Rural Kansas is a great place to live when facing a project like this for a number of reasons:

1. Everyone has tools. Now when I say "tools", I don't mean hammers and nails and screwdrivers; I mean nail guns, air compressors, woodworking gizmos, tractors, farm trucks, front loaders, and all kinds of loud things I didn't even recognize, in large quantities.

2. Men here know how to work. Hard. They know what they're doing, and enjoy doing it! They showed up in droves to pitch in, and stayed late to get as much done as possible.

3. Boys as young as six are brought along to learn the ropes--and they're actually HELPFUL!!

4. Home projects are kind of like community events. Guys stop by after work to lend a hand and later to see the finished product; neighbors sit outside to knit and watch the spectacle; men laugh and joke and sweat and get to know one another better on roof than in a church building.

The one bad thing about doing a job like this in Kansas, is that leaving a job unfinished can be rather perilous. With the roof completely stripped and tar-papered, we had a storm with 70+ mph winds all night long. After hearing some loud thumps and the sound of things falling to the ground, my brother climbed up in the dark to nail corners back down, while I worried that HE would be the next loud thump!

All came to a happy conclusion, the roof looks great and withstood our last rainstorm, and the kids had a blast watching it all happen. To top it all off, they got to spend a week with their uncles!

The little builders, working on a roofing project of their own!