Monday, November 30, 2020

Happy Holidays

      I took advantage of some warm weather this year and hung my Christmas lights on the house.  The goal was simply to do a better job than last  year, which was not a tough goal since last years lights were an embarrassment.

     I find it strange that Christmas lights are the hardest thing to photograph, too much daylight and they don't show up at all, but as soon as the daylight goes away, they glare and look blurry on the photo. My wife Robin and I took nearly twenty photos with our digital cameras and our phones but nearly every one came out terrible regardless of what settings we put them on. The best result I got was on a video I took with my phone.     

     Anyhow,  here are the two pictures and the video of the lights. They definitely don't capture it well though.

Monday, October 12, 2020

End of season odds & ends

       For the past 4 years the work season on the house has been April through August due mostly to my budget and the weather(temperature) This year, the budget was a little larger, which allowed somewhat constant work through till October. However, the money has run out and now my property & school taxes are due.

     Also, working during the cold winter months is not do-able, and while I did manage to get the boiler hooked up and test fired, the big delay of getting running  water from the well to feed the boiler resulted in not being able to complete the install. Therefore I once again have no heat for this upcoming winter season.

      The take away from all of this is that the work season for fixing up this house has come to an end for 2020.  I'll post updates when I can as they happen. At the end of each season, there is always some "winterizing " that needs to be done, so yesterday my wife Robin and I finished up some odds and ends to prepare the house for the long cold season. 

   We cut the grass, removed the A/C & closed and locked all the windows,  and we took all the paint and freezable liquids back to NY with us. we shut off some breakers and purged all the water from the well tank so it would not freeze.

      In an attempt to make sure the well pump feed pipes do not freeze, we backfilled dirt around the well in the backyard using my truck with the snowplow attached as a "yankee bulldozer".   I got a few pics of the end result:


     We also mixed & poured concrete in the basement behind the brick wall I built:

11/27 edit:  here's a shot of the ledge all cured and with a barrel sitting upon it where the water heater will be.


      Lastly, we put a few of the kitchen cabinets in place. They're not fastened to the wall yet, but it gives an idea of how it will look.

   Until next time, peace and good will.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Before & After (4 years of change)

    For those who are not aware, I bought my Lackawaxen house in 2016.  I got it real cheap due to the condition that it was in. A quick look at the early entries of this blog will show some of the poor condition, but to really appreciate how bad it was, click this link:

     Around the same time that my wife Robin and I were placing a bid on this house, Kelly featured it over at Old House Dreams. When I learned that our bid had won the house, I joined and began posting on that thread. It was there that a few members suggested I create a blog and document the rehab process.

       It has been almost exactly four years (first post 10/1/16) since I created this blog. I was thinking about it a few weeks ago, and I thought it would be neat to be able to see the before and after shots of some of those original views that Kelly has in her thread over at OHD.  I downloaded some of the old 2016 photos and then loaded them onto my mobile phone so I could see them while at the house(there is no cell reception there).  Then I captured the same angles/views as they are now in 2020. 

      I blended the pairs of photos together side by side so as to see the contrast and appreciate the progress. Please take a moment to view them and comment either here or at the thread at

Thanks, Fritz



Sunday, September 27, 2020

Come right this way Fortunato.


    The entire time I was building it, all I could think of was Poe's Cask of Amontillado.   But no, unlike Montresor,  I am no mason and I am not building a brick wall to seal a jester into a niche of my basement.

     What I am doing is building a short decorative wall behind which I will pour concrete and create a ledge for the water heater and water softener to sit upon.  It was real nice to mix the mortar in my cement mixer and use a garden hose with a sprayer now that I have running water in the house.

     Hopefully I'll never have to truck dozens of pails of water up to the house again. I should have fixed the well years ago! The photo of my finished wall came out dark and unclear, but I'll post more as the project continues.



    In other news, a giant tree limb came down in the side yard. Nothing like the one that damaged the roof and window from that hurricane back in August, but concerning nonetheless.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

That Blue House

      On the week of July 4th 2018 I began painting the exterior of my house. Yesterday, I finished it.  It was the North and South facing sides that needed completing due to their extreme height. The front and back had been done, but I touched up a few spots on those sides as well.  I just need to paint the white trim now around the windows.

     Here's a few shots of "That Blue House".  Ignore the unpainted "mudroom" around back in the last photo, that is likely going to be torn off the house when construction is done. I'm just storing tools and lumber in there.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Finally, I have running water!

     Yes, you read it right. After 7 weeks, I have running water at the house. Mark this date on the calendar.  I had a new well pump installed on July 30th, but corrosion and sparks in the breaker panel every we turned on the breaker caused a big delay in the arrival of the H2O.

     It took a few weeks to get the new electric service and new panel up and running, but when we finally did get it completed, the well pump would not run. A call to Tyler Pump and Well Services,  got a quick reply.  Gary Tyler and his crew came out to the house today and fixed the issue.  The true measure of a good company is how they stand behind their work in the event of a problem, and that is exactly what Gary Tyler did.  Thanks for the great service after the sale, and the prompt professional treatment.

     The water was quite cloudy and dirty at first, here you can see its brown color:

 I'm going to try to attach a video to this post below.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Electric panel swap out (part 2)

     Today Matt came out to the house and swapped out the cable to feed the new breaker panel & service disconnect.   Matt is a commercial electrician in N.Y.C. and a member of IBEW  ( ),  he deals with stuff way bigger and badder than this everyday, so I figured this was a piece of cake for him.
      The first think he did was to cut the cable and route the leads to the disconnect switch, he grounded the box to an 8 foot ground rod driven into the earth, and then he bonded the neutral lug to the box also.

          Moving to the outside, Matt pulled the meter, disconnected the old cable to the old panel,  connected the new cable, put new butyl putty around where the cables enter the meter base, and then re-installed the meter.  All done in about an hour and a half.


          Flipping on the breakers for the first time with the new box was uneventful, as everything simply worked as it should.  This chapter is now in the books, on to other projects.