October 2020

Praise the Lord! This election cycle is almost done! What a ridiculously stressful year when it comes to all things politics. I don’t think it matters where you stand, this political season has been awful. But I digress…

October has turned out to be a surprisingly productive month for us. The house is being painted, the yard is almost completely cleaned up, the small garden beds have been put to sleep, the plowing is almost done, the outbuildings are getting cleaner, and the house is being purged and organized and almost done. We’ve tackled a few big projects in the house that really helped facilitate the cleaning process, and we’re finally settled nicely into a good homeschool routine.

We have a few odd jobs to finish up outside. Scott isn’t quite done with plowing, and I’m not sure if he’ll work on that later today or not, but next year will be the first year that we aren’t fighting the clock to get the garden ready before planting. I have to chop up some more leaf-litter to put in the kitchen garden, and I still have to plant the garlic. We’ve got some wood to cut into small logs for burning in the sap stove in March, too.

Oh, and I’m not sure if I’ll get it done or not, but the garage and granary aren’t quite done being painted, so I should probably try doing that while the weather is nice this week.

The garden was fully harvested at the beginning of the month, and all posts and fencing were removed. We harvested the last of the sunflowers and any stragglers that had been left behind (beans, carrots…). I still have a freezer full of tomatoes to can, and I had intended to do that sooner, but now I’m waiting for the house cleaning to be done and the weather to get colder before I take on that project. It’ll be a good project for a cold day.

The insurance issues with the house from the hail storm we had a few years ago was finally sorted out this year, and the house painting is well under way. The painter is hoping to finish the job this coming week since the weather is supposed to be warm enough. The walls are done, but the trim, facia, and all of the odd parts need to get finished, and they have touch-ups to do as well.

When the painting is all done, I’ll share progress shots of the project. It’s looking amazing! And today I was finally able to get the porch furniture put back in place. It has been sitting on the front lawn since the project started, so it’s good to have that cleared off.

Ignore the touchups that have to happen on the blue… The porch swing really shines now that the house is painted!

We’re supposed to be getting new gutters in the next month or two (hopefully). The company we are using was booked out quite a ways, so they said November/December.

After the walls of the house were finished getting painted, Scott was asking me about putting a porch on the back of the house. It’s something we have toyed with in the past, but just felt kind of unnecessary, or at least far-off. The back steps are concrete and suffered some damage over the winter, so we’ve known that something would have to be done for that eventually.

The back entry to the house is also not very well-suited to our family. You can really only have 1 person inside of it getting ready at a time, and it is far from big enough for housing all of our gear. So Scott’s suggestion was that we knock off that entry, add a porch along the entire west side of the house, turn his office into a mudroom, and add another door to the house. He even suggested that we move the washer and dryer up to that room as well so we’d have a first-floor laundry.

It was such a good idea that I just ran with it. The porch, I’m not sure when that will happen, and we’ll keep the current entry in place until we’re ready to do that entire outside portion of the idea, but the mudroom/laundry room… there was no reason to wait on that. That was a Sunday, and we started cleaning out the office the next day.

By Thursday, the office was empty and clean, and I talked Scott into going to get supplies to set up the mudroom at the very least. I said if we had to wait on washer and dryer stuff, that’d be fine, but I wanted the outdoor gear dealt with.

The office, almost empty and ready for the next step.

Scott worked on getting the washer and dryer hook ups ready that Saturday, and Sunday we moved the machines in and got to work tackling our laundry monster. The following Monday, I stayed up late and finished the whole room. That was almost 2 weeks ago that it was finished. We do still need to add a door to the outside, but I’m guessing that’ll probably wait until spring.

Since the mudroom was finished (except the door), we got to work washing, sorting and purging ALL of our clothing and outdoor gear. We got rid of a lot. Everybody had things they don’t fit into properly anymore, the kids have all shifted clothing sizes in the last month or so, and we just had more than we needed. Anything damaged also left the closets. A lot has been donated, some shared with family, and a good chunk had to go to the garbage or for scraps.

This is just a fraction of all of the gear that covered the living room while I sorted things out, and this is largely what we kept at the end of it all!

When we pulled the laundry room stuff from the basement and all of the outdoor gear, it cleared up a huge section of the basement. The outdoor gear was constantly spilling into the nook of a seed starting area, and the laundry was just so difficult to stay on top of since it was in the basement… out of sight, out of mind. The snow gear wouldn’t dry out properly in the basement because it was too cold, and it couldn’t get stored in the entryway for the same reason (plus it took up too much space).

Anyway, we cleared it all up, and now Scott finally has room to get his hunting gear all organized, and I actually have room to work on a better seed starting setup. I didn’t have the proper space for it all, but now I think I should be able to get something good going. We’ve still got work to do on all of that, but at least it’s almost all cleaned up and we’re started on the next phase of things.

Scott’s office has moved to our bedroom. He mainly used his office for storing things that needed to be kept away from the kids, and when he actually got to work in it, he was using it for doing genealogy. Our bedroom already had kind of a historical, antique, family history thing going on anyway, and since he already had a desk in our room that was used as a nightstand, it just made sense to make this work.

We still need to do some sorting and cleaning, but this fits right in with our bedroom design, and it still allows Scott the peace and privacy he likes when he is working.

There’s still a stack of things to go through on his desk and figure out where we’ll put those, but some of the hunting gear that is in our closet will likely go into his new area in the basement, and we can get a few file box type things stored in the closet instead, and he really needs to just set up the desk in general for use. The scanner and printer that he used have moved to “The Laboratory” where we keep a bunch of printer stuff anyway, so when he has to work on that kind of stuff, he can just work in there. It just makes more sense this way.

We moved the bookshelf that had been in his office up to the hallway outside of our room. We had been thinking of putting a shelf in there anyway, so it was just another natural progression. Now it has me wanting to redo the hallway (and a lot of the upstairs). The kids are rough on everything, and the textured walls are hard to wash and the trim is so orange and just not my favorite shade. It’d be nice to give it a sprucing up. Maybe this winter. I’ve been thinking that the last two years though, so we’ll see.

I’m thinking of painting the trim, and the walls could use a fresh coat of paint, but I like how the bookshelf feels here. I might have to build another short one to go between this one and the air exchange vent on the wall.

Now I’ve got 2 closets, 2 rooms, and all of the kitchen cabinets to sort through and clean, and (cross my fingers), the house will be… done. Both clean and organized. No major projects urgently needing to be done. No closet lurking, ready to burst open at the seams, no hiding place for the mice that seem to have moved in since the cold weather struck. (Gosh, I can’t stand it when that happens. They’ve been terrible this year!)

The game closet/homeschool closet wasn’t in too bad of shape, but I did a good cleaning, and we put a good lock on the door to keep things from getting played with when they shouldn’t be.

Homeschooling has finally entered a new phase! I still want to take things a little further with some of the kids, but things have been going really smoothly so far. I set up the schedule just a little differently from last year, and it’s been very helpful for my sanity. We also just reassigned chores to the kids. It’s lightened my load quite a bit, nobody has complained, the house has been staying MUCH cleaner, and I have a little more flexibility in my day.

I’ve been wanting to add games as a regular part of our schooling for a long time. Boggle is an excellent spelling game, and misspelling a word is great motivation to remember how to spell it properly in the future!

Between the adjusted school routine and the kids’ chores, I should have more time for working with the little guys, doing big projects (like building bookshelves or painting the granary), canning, gardening, or whatever else we need to take care of. Have I said just how much I appreciate the kids getting to be bigger and more responsible? Because it’s completely amazing and life-changing. I love it.

I only make note of this las part for the sake of recording what’s going on in our lives and I am not expressing any opinions, just stating what’s been going on. The governor extended the mask mandate twice. It was supposed to end September 28th, but was pushed to November 7th. Then it got extended out to November 21st. The number of covid19 cases has spiked, but the number of deaths has not, meaning the ratio has changed, and the spike lines up with what would be expected this time of year with cold and flu season as it is.

It seems that just about everybody wears a mask when they go out now, and it’s to the point where it’s weird to see somebody without one. Yet it is equally weird to see everybody wearing them and to not be able to read faces or even fully see them. I’ll admit that I don’t like that.

Schools reopened in September with masks and social distancing in place, but several area schools closed down for two weeks after somebody tested positive. The obligation for Mass had been reinstated, but with the rise in cases, it was reversed again, and the GB Diocese shut down religious education classes for the semester (well, they are doing them at home, no computers).

And a note on the election… Put your faith in God, and no matter what happens, you will be okay. Everyone is saying it, but we all know a lot is riding on this election. We head one way or another. Things may seem ugly or bleak, but if you are a Christian, your hope doesn’t lie in this world, it doesn’t lie in fragile humans, but the only person to ever conquer death. So have faith, and act on your faith. Act in true love. And no matter where things go, if you have behaved in a faith-filled manner, at the end of it all, everything will be okay.

For another year, we had an early snow that stuck! Over 24 hours with snow on the ground. It’s been a pretty chilly October!

Anyway… I hope you’ve had a great October, and I hope that November has amazing blessings in store for you all! I’ll share more pictures of the house soon, and maybe I’ll do a post on the mud/laundry room as well.

Love and Blessings~ Danielle

Leave a Reply