Monday, December 29, 2008

Aftermath of Christmas

Well, we made it back from my brothers' house. It was pretty nice-we lay around all day and not much was expected of us. The day after Christmas was some pretty thick fog, but warm so I went schlogging around in it. Here is the high school I went to.

On the Dog House front, I got my Kindergarten rocker from my brothers. I bought it on an auction in Quincy, and the lady was a kindergarten teacher. I had a couple people tell me afterward that they remembered when it was in her classroom, but it looked nicer then! As you can see, it's pretty ratty. I took it apart to fit it in my mother's car, which was a blessing anyways because since I've owned it it's been one plump hind end away from a messy insurance claim. At first I thought that the rough and spotty surface was just a piss-poor refinish job, but while disassembling the thing the smell of smoke hit me like a pickled herring. Some dim yestertime It's also been in a fire....yippee. Well I can't squeal too loudly-I paid thirty bucks for it, and used it two years in Quincy, and it's been drug across the state since then. This is what the wood looks like under the varnish. It'll look like a million with the joints re glued and some new finish on!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Christmas present to myself.

I know, I know...I'm greedy, I want it all! I want heat. Inside. Inside the house, no less! Turns out the electric furnace I got from my dad fires up and heats, so it's the logical option, now that the propane company hasn't gotten around to putting in a bottle. I was over there today, and got some pop from the fridge so it wouldn't freeze, and did notice that the house was keeping the heat coming in from the south windows. Speaking of my dad, here he is! He came across a pretty nice Ward's snowblower, and let us take it. This when he could've sold in a second anywhere in town. How's that for nice?

The stove fires up and holds temperature, so I need to pick up a few small cylinders for it, and a new regulator. It's sort of neat to think that the stove has been there since 1934 (there's a receipt in the kitchen drawer for it) and still looks good and works, but then Miss Andrea was immaculate in her housekeeping, so it stands to reason.

My New Year Resolution is to be in there to live by the end of January. Wish me luck...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The ice man cometh

With no real end to the nasty cold expected anytime soon, and the propane barrel in limbo somewhere, I have done more work on furnishings.

My dad found an old oval frame, and it had potential. With some new glass and oil, looks like a million.

Also a neat old tray that I've hauled around for the last few years is finally going to have a home.

More as I can write it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My kind of day!

Any day when it's your duty to eat like a swine and then sleep it off, and eat again is my kind of day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dead ringer

Ever see the old-style door bells that made one loud *pong!* and then you had to push the button or pull the cord again? Well, I got one for the Dog House. It has a respectable-sounding ring, and looks like it's been round the horn. It has a pretty simple mechanism inside, and after cleaning and greasing, works like a charm. I need to build or find the outside part to it, but there doesn't look like there'd be much to it.

The insides remind me of door latches from that time period, in that it is simple and beefily made, one of the reasons it is still able to operate after all this time. It has a patent date of 2 July, 1872, as well as one from 18 April, 1873, so perhaps it's a little older than what would have come n a house the vintage of mine. Then again-it's out past the Styx, so maybe he could've had one laying around somewhere to use up.

I also dug out the old clock from my house when I was a kid. It is a New Haven Tambour #56, and used to run to the tick. It's had some hard luck since then, so it'll have to get overhauled. It was overhauled in 1991 the first time, and ran until one of the mainsprings broke. It sort of makes me feel old, when I think that I first overhauled this clock at age 14, and now the bushings I installed then are worn out. You can't see it, but there are four repair numbers of mine in the back, and one of Ron Sires, from whom I bought it for $15.

Next on the agenda is hooking up one of the furnaces and getting the bedroom floor taken up so I can replace the subfloor. That and the heat are the only real things keeping me from living there right now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fare-thee-well to warmth.

Well, what little summer we ever had here was nice, I guess, but now we had our month of warm weather and it's time for winter again! It's too damn cold to do anything in here without the furnace hooked up, so that's next on the agenda. Here is the roof done on the south side, before the vargeboard got replaced. That porch is going the way of the Studebaker next summer, because the basement stairs are in there and the whole thing was a temporary measure ninety years ago. It's truly had the pickle.

Here is a set of plates that my eldest brother scavenged from some building in Iowa City where renovations were taking place. He used to go to school at University of Iowa, and worked there for a while, so he scavenged some goods from time to time. I think I have six, which will replace all of the plates on the outside doors. At one time I had a knob or two, but they were pretty scabby, and all of the knobs in the house are china, so they'll probably get black knobs this time around.

Also, I have a pair of these old baby gates. I saw some eyelets screwed into one of the door jambs, and sort of guessed there was a gate there, but then one turned up in the attic, and I found an identical one at a local shop for next to nothing. What on Earth does a bachelor want with baby gates? Because they also keep long-snouted hounds in and out of certain parts of the house. Long-snouted blue hounds. Like this one. It's not his fault that his nose is bigger than his brain! He is pretty well trained to respect a baby gate because we had them around when he was a puppy. I do confess that when it's cold and the furnace isn't putting forth, he is a boon to have laying on the bed. He is an eighty pound furnace.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I must be living right!

The mother lode for my house!

My cousins (who always treat me better than I deserve) generously donated this old screen door to the cause-it needs some help, but fits the front door like a glove! It was on their house in town (which my great Grandfather built) but it was not original to the house, and so they were kind enough to give it to me.

It has all sorts of fancy saw work and spindles, and looks like the screen doors on all of the old movies, and there's no way in hell I could afford a new one this nice.

The screen has been dogged, likewise the front corner, but that's all easy to fix. That and a little paint will make it an entry to be proud of!

True story: A friend that I cannot name here was at someone else's house and his dog tore the screen door all to hell. When the lady of the house confronted him with the details, he didn't offer a nickel to fix it-but did volunteer this comforting thought: " got off pretty lucky...he done tore the one to home apart lots worse than this!" The wooden bracing has a really nice fluted profile, and it looks like it grew up with the house. I even had six old white-painted screws on the porch that matched the hinges, and an old hook screwed into the jamb matched the eye on the door for height and location.

I also got another piece of good luck, in the form of this table, which is solid quarter-sawed oak, and forty-eight inches across the top. It has a rather ingenious, but simple little latch that holds the halves together, and they slide very easily apart to put the leaves in. One of the things I remember from my Grandmother's old house as a child was the big round oak table in their dining room. I have wanted one for a while, but they all seem to go for a fortune, so when this one was made available to me almost literally for the taking, I jumped on it. (Incidentally, they told me that it was forty-two inches across, which I measured and determined would fit into my car...turns out it is forty-eight inches, which meant some disassemble time required. Such fun. If I had a tail I would wag it, but I can truthfully say it got brought home in an Oldsmobile Cutlass. I am very happy with it though, and I'd do all of it over again to get it. The people from whom I got it thought it was from about 1920. It has modern casters on it, and at first I was going to remove them, but i like being able to move it with two fingers.

Last, but not least, a friend bought a house here in town, and I went to their sale, and got this desk. It is in sort of fixer-upper shape, but for what I paid for it I am not whinging any. It's one of those combination affairs, that have the desk and book case all in one. It is quarter-sawed oak veneer, and I think I may have some pieces to replace the missing. The mirror for the back is around somewhere, but the glass is broken, so I have that to do, and I plan on replacing the back with oak bead board or car siding.

I have been thinking about the heat situation, and remembered I have the one I bought for the farm, which I may use this year-it did all right...just look at how happy the hound was to have it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fashionable freezing? Bah!

There is a furnace down there, but it is shot. It was probably decent at one time, but not running for eighteen years has done it in. Fortunately, I have a secret weapon, in the form of my dad, who has the knack of coming across the very thing I need, just when I need it. There'll soon be a furnace, of some sort. He found an electric one, which may just be put in for the winter and replaced next year.

The old damper flapper turned up in the kitchen porch, and it's too much fun not to put to use. It was on the hallway door trim, and I'll probably mount it back there. It would really be something to take and rig up a thermostat to it, so I can turn it and control heat with the thing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Well, we'll see how long this lasts.

I suppose now that I recorded my deed and started tearing my house apart, it ain't going away anytime soon, so I may as well begin my own blog. Lookit, ma! I'm on the internet!

My house is not very big, and it certainly isn't very fancy, it's a very early bungalow mutt with some sort of early Craftsman influence. This picture was taken the day I signed the papers. Since then we cut the trees down around the house and the south side has been roofed.
My house was listed on the tax roles as being built in 1914. The last one to live here was Miss Andrea, who lived here from 1934 to 1990. After speaking with some of her family members, there appears to be some question of this house being moved in from their farm, which was somewhere nearby, and replacing a house that stood on the site.
At Miss Andrea's death in 1990, the house
was sold to a neighbor, who intended to use it as an antique shop. She never lived in it, but kept the lawn up and the house painted, and I bought it from her this summer. She likes old-fashioned things as much as I do, and kept it all original inside, and we've had lots of interesting conversations about fixing it up. She used to call it her "Doll House," and a friend of mine told me that it was a bumpy ride from the doll House to the Dog House, thus the name.

The house has 768 square feet; just right for a bachelor. There are two bedrooms, a walk-up attic, a large parlor/dining room, and kitchen.

The woodwork in most of the rooms isn't painted, and is very nice yet. All of the floors are fir, and are laid on a bias. The door in this picture is the front bedroom. All of them are like this, with the exception of the front door and dining room door, which have glass in them.

I had to put porcelain knobs on the doors because the dog can catch the oval ones with his mouth and open them, but he can't get a grip on the porcelain ones. Besides, I have been saving them since I was six, and it's a shame not to use them now that I can. (It's for that very reason that I am installing push-button switches on all of the lights-because I can!)

The kitchen has a built-in cupboard that takes up the whole north wall, and still has the old icebox and Tappan cook stove.
There is an awning on the windows, which opens and closes by a crank on the window trim just left of the cupboard.
You can see where the old wood stove was piped in, but that chimney is chopped off at floor level in the attic, and the rest will be shaking hands with eternity soon.

More to Follow!