This last week marked our third anniversary of our ownership of Seven Oaks. We closed on the property September 21st 2010, which meant we signed paperwork that day but did not take possession until 8am the following morning. I was so eager to get the keys to the property that I drove over to Kathy Bussmann’s house (our wonderful, patient, friend and real estate agent) bright and early that morning. I met with various parties at the house that day to begin work right away and received several curious friends, who were interested in our latest project!
First, we had a dumpster delivered in back along with our POD from the old house.
We tried to access both of the double garage doors and neither one was operable. After a quick call to get those fixed – new springs and new openers – we were on our way forward. This was only the first hint of our ‘over-sized’ ownership discoveries since we knew we were up against layers of homeowner issues here.
We photographed nearly every day of our progress since that day so I will try to share some of those initial pics here to remember the progress as it developed.
We got the wall paper strippers to start removing the paper which was on nearly every wall and ceiling in the house. Stripping the wallpaper revealed all sorts of leaks from the roof as well as black mold from floor to ceiling in some rooms!!!
Then we removed all of the old carpeting which covered many of the rooms.
Rooms that didn’t have carpeting had either a 1″ x 6″ oak, herringbone, parquet flooring or a VCT (vinyl composite tile) covering as shown in my office below.
The sad part about the wood parquet was that it was “pickled” or “bleached” to look white, and was severely damaged in many areas from the former owners’ pets. We did not think it could be saved but my great wood floor man, Jerry, was able to restore all of the hardwood to a gleaming finish with restorative results and we then found more of this same raw flooring material in Canada and was able to match it perfectly to continue the pattern in much of the rest of the house as the restoration progressed. Here is Jerry beginning the big job of sanding.
Of course the kitchen was Big Bird Yellow and quite lovely!
All of the landscaping was overgrown, over mulched and over watered and had to be quickly dealt with to keep the house from further deterioration. Crab Apple trees in front were quickly disposed of.
The roof had holes that were larger than basketball hoops and were immediately addressed by a crew of roofers we hired.
This was only the work that was attempted during the first week of ownership! There has been three more years of nearly constant and earnest work that has gone into the changes necessary to make Seven Oaks a comfortable place to live while providing us with a pantry and freezer full of our ‘field to table’ produce to eat and share with family and friends. We hope to report more news on the fall/cool season crops that are coming up now. The 2013 harvest totals as of last week are just short of 1450lbs! I continue to process the fruits of this labor by canning and freezing as much as I am able.
In other news, our little Farley (King of Seven Oaks!), all 12.75lbs of him, is suffering from the back ailment that he had in the spring of 2010. The technical diagnosis is Intervertebral Disc Disease which is common in the long backed Dachshund breed of dogs. As his discs age and deteriorate, the nerves that follow his spinal cord are subject to injury and are inflamed by being pinched. His back legs/extremities suffer the results and he is immobilized (can’t control his rear end). As you can imagine, nothing good comes of this!
We successfully treated him last time (spring of 2010) without the extreme measure that would indicate surgery. Having faced this previously, we avoided the painful (and costly) trip to the amazing Mizzou Veterinary campus in Columbia that we endured last time around. We have been treating him at home under the helpful guidance of our vet. This involves immobilizing him (i.e. crating or tons of lap time), medicating him (all sorts) and treating the side effects much like we did today when we realized he had not urinated for more than 20 hours nor had been able to drink any water.
This resulted in our second, early morning trip to the vet for another blood test; they gave him a subcutaneous water infusion to help re-hydrate him. This was not fun for him and he looked like a balloon for a while, but the affects were positive since he was able to pass water and later in the day, drank some too. I hope this is not TMI but he is a beloved family member and we are caring for him dearly and hope we can report better health news on his behalf soon.
The concrete continues and has moved to the front of the property.
As the crew continues to form and pour the new sections in the front, the rear sections were starting to be acid washed and then sealed.
I would like to acknowledge that my friend, Brenda Zanola, correctly pointed out that the hummingbird moth that I had cited in my earlier post, was indeed, the Sphinx Moth aka, a ‘hummingbird’ moth due to its proclivities in the nectar gathering world, but is solidly in the moth category rather than the aviary group. I happened to find one on the sidewalk the other day to photograph…sadly, it may have been due to his imminent demise?
Update on Farley’s health: I wrote most of this post much earlier in the week. Things got worse before they got better for Mr. Farley. While Dave was out of town for his Aunt’s funeral service, I had some dicey moments with Farley who was so agitated by my absence at work on Friday morning that he clawed his way out of his crate.
I ended up missing out on the Light the Night walk for Leukemia that I was hoping to do for Kathy Bussmann.
I think she understood since she is a dog lover too. Here is a photo of the team that walked in the We Are Family! group that night. The best news is that Kathy’s health is on a positive trend and she enjoyed the company of friends and family at the LLA walk. I wish I had been able to join the group!