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A fall (full) weekend in the life of: Grandma’s House DIY

Jan 20 2017 -
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Here’s a bit of a flashback! I had intended to post this this last fall when I wrote it and never got the chance to. Now that we’re in the dead of winter it was fun to be reminded what it was like a couple of months ago. The biggest most obvious thing I’m taking away from this is: WOW, I’m not into winter but it is nice to have a bit of a break! Right now our weekends are not nearly this full, with dad’s house finished (finally!) and my basement basically done (also a finally!) and hunting season over with and Joe not working out of town anymore our weekends now are quite a bit less crazy lol, makes me almost appreciate winter a teeny tiny little bit ๐Ÿ˜‰

(It dawned on me when I went looking for fall pictures of our farm that I hadn’t taken very many! No wonder I didn’t post this back in October when I planned to! My best friend Rachel (and also my cousin) helped me out a bit with that fabulous sunset photo and the river picture! Thanks Hon!)

A fall (full) weekend in northern Minnesota at Grandma's House DIY!

There is never a dull moment here on my grandparents’ old farm ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m scrambling right now to get my basement workshop finished for two reasons: First: pretty soon the weather won’t let me work out in the garage at all and Second: I really need to get my car in the garage this winter and the garage is full of stuff that belongs in the basement! Meanwhile Joe is in the middle of hunting season and (with him working out of town) he is confined to harvesting enough meat for us for all next year to just the weekends so he’s scrambling hard as well! But I bet this is about how it is at everyone’s house in the fall in northern Minnesota. There is a feeling in the very air, in the urgency of the birds and the squirrels, in my suddenly ravenous horses, that everything must be done before winter gets here! So, here was our last weekend at Grandma’s House – a very typical fall weekend for us!

This last Saturday morning Joe was up and gone by 5:30 to go hunting, I was up at 8:30 with a cup of coffee and settled on the couch for my quiet hour. I am NOT a morning person, I need an hour with coffee, a blanket and Facebook on my phone without anyone expecting anything of me. By 9:30 I did the dishes, cleaned up the kitchen and fed the birds. Joe got out of the woods around 10, he started his laundry and we headed over to our neighbors to help them put in a drop ceiling in their laundry room. By noon, job finished, we loaded up his truck with palette wood that they gave us as a trade so I can use it in the basement. We went home and unloaded it down to the basement then I grabbed my camera and we ran out to a stone job Joe just finished and I snapped a bunch of pictures of it for his Facebook page and website. On our way back (around 1) my dad called and asked if I could come over and help him with some things.

A fall (full) weekend in northern Minnesota at Grandma's House DIY!

I hadn’t eaten yet that day but didn’t really feel like it so I headed to dad’s as soon as we got home to help him install his kitchen sink and a few other things in his new house. By the time I was done there (around 3) Joe was back out in the woods hunting so I headed to the basement. Dad wanted to make us supper so I had a couple of hours to put the tub/shower combo in place and get the drain all done before heading back to his place at 5:30. After supper dad and I figured out how to run his new washer and dryer and Joe text me that he had a deer so he stopped, ate supper quick at dad’s and then he and I both headed home to butcher the deer. (First thing I did when I got home was go to the barn to feed the horses though before doing anything else.) Joe and I have butchering a deer down to a science, I ran an extension cord to our garage for lights and we got to work. Within two hours (by 8) we had the deer turned into roasts, steaks and stew meat all packed up and in the freezer and I had a bowl of cleaned and cut up meat in the refrigerator to grind the next day. We use this incredible Vacuum sealer now by FoodSaver, it is amazing how much better it works then just plastic freezer bags and its saved us money too! (Joe and I take deer season (and also fishing) very seriously in our home, he harvests enough deer and fish for us to eat all year and we save a fortune by never having to purchase either beef or fish in the store – check out my post on how we save over 4,000 a year on groceries!.)

Then I made myself an adult drink, took some ibuprofen and Joe and I had two hours together on the couch to watch a movie which we both managed to successfully stay awake through and then we went to bed. Joe fell asleep immediately and I tried unsuccessfully to read for awhile (I kept falling asleep and dropping my kindle on my face) so I gave up and was sleeping quick too.

A fall (full) weekend in northern Minnesota at Grandma's House DIY!

The next morning Joe was gone by 7 to work on splitting and stacking a bunch of wood he had cut the weekend before. I got up around 8 and, after my coffee hour, I tackled cleaning the kitchen, grinding all of the venison from last night into burger and packing and freezing it, doing a load of my laundry (Joe had finished his the night before) and then heading to my computer. I published the photos I took for Joe’s business the day before on his website and facebook page and then did some work on the blog. (I don’t normally do very much on the blog on weekends but I try to get there on Sunday mornings to enter all of the Saturday and Sunday link parties that I participate in.) Around noon I was done at the computer and Joe came in and I made us our favorite: pepperoni and cheese omelettes. We enjoyed an hour together watching a favorite show of ours while eating. After that I helped him bring in a bunch of wood. (We heat entirely with wood all winter so hauling wood is something we do every single weekend until summer comes back.) Joe needed to clean out his truck and pack up all of the gear he needed for his job in the morning so I grabbed my camera to take a bunch of finished shots of a project I want to post on the blog. With that done I headed back down to the basement.

A fall (full) weekend in northern Minnesota at Grandma's House DIY!

The week before Joe had helped me move the kitchen sink base and the bathroom sink base down to the basement and I had noticed that the drain was a little high so I moved it down now. (I designed the basement as smartly as I could by putting the kitchen sink and the bathroom sink back to back so their drain is literally a shared sanitary t in the wall between them.) I did this by cutting a section out beneath the drain and moving the drain down with a coupling and then putting the cut out section in above the drain using rubber gaskets (the rubber gaskets worked in this case because above the drain is just the vent pipe – it didn’t need to be high pressure tight.) Joe came down then and he helped me get the fixtures installed on the tub/shower combo. With it all hooked up we cleaned out the tub, turned the hot and cold water lines to the shower on, I plugged in the sub pump, turned its breaker on and promptly did nothing but stand there and stare at the shower. “What’s wrong?” Joe asked. I installed that sub pump two years ago, I don’t have the manual for it anymore and I was SO worried that it wouldn’t work for some reason. I told him, “I’m scared.” Well, there was nothing to do but turn it on and see if it would work.

A fall (full) weekend in northern Minnesota at Grandma's House DIY!

We turned everything on and I held my breath and, by some miracle: It worked! And nothing leaked!! We didn’t have time to celebrate though I ran out to the barn to feed the horses then we cleaned up quick and headed into town for supper with my cousin, uncle and dad. We stayed there hanging out with them for a couple of hours before then heading to my mom’s house to watch a show the three of us are addicted to. (Yes, it is the Walking Dead) Finally, by nearly 10, Joe and I got home and went directly to bed where he was sleeping instantly and I proceeded to try to stay awake long enough to read a little. With Monday the next day it was time to head back to our day jobs!

So, that’s generally how our weekends are around here! My dad’s house will be done soon so I’ll be spending that time on my own projects but, honestly, it has been really nice to have someone else’s house to work on for a change. Between hunting, fishing, his own business and the never ending gathering of wood for winter Joe is often left with only enough time at home on the weekends to do his laundry, eat and sleep. (And that’s a real shame especially lately with him working out of town.) But we’re getting better about making sure to do things alone together, I help him bring in wood/he helps me in the basement etc. We also schedule dates now, carving out time to go and do something that isn’t “work” together. (Say what you will but hauling wood together is not quality time… yes, it is better then nothing, but I digress.) Week nights are a real crap shoot for us, whether it is my helping (or spending time with) family, Joe hunting (or fishing or working out of town or hauling wood) or us helping neighbors we often have no alone time together until we’re sleeping. Friday nights are my favorite night and I guard them very seriously now especially with Joe working out of town because Friday nights are usually when he comes home. We stay up late together (like 11 – because we’re lame adults), eat something terrible for supper (like pizza), play a game together (like Mario Cart on our Wii) or watch something we both want to see (like American Horror Story) and we share our plans and go over what we both want to get done the coming weekend. It is a busy but a good life ๐Ÿ™‚

A fall (full) weekend in northern Minnesota at Grandma's House DIY!

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Iris Nacole
Making a shoe rack and closet storage out an old ladder

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