Little Cottage Quilt Shop – Part 4

And So It Begins – Part 2

It was a filthy job.  We were in the worst time of the year to be working out in the summer  heat doing hard physical work.  But there wasn’t really much of a choice, we had to get it done.  Our kids came to help us when they could.  (2 of our kids and their families live in San Antonio)  And we hired a man to help us wade through the demolition and reconstruction.  But it was, without a doubt, very hard physical work in the sultry heat of the summer.

We decided that all the wiring in this little old house was beyond dangerous and needed to be replaced right back to the power pole.  The power company decided that we needed a new power pole too.  The service was only 100 amp coming in and we needed 200 amp for all the modern electronics and equipment we would eventually have, including air conditioning !!   This little old house did not have any air conditioning, nor heating systems for that matter, in it.  There is an original fire place that was a heat source originally, I’m sure.  And it looks like there was maybe a wood cook stove in the kitchen at one time.  We also found the connections for propane heaters in a couple of rooms and pipe under the house that had been cut off.  But the fireplace isn’t in working order now, the wood stove is gone and the old propane heaters have long since been taken out.

Back to the electrical,  we found old knob and tube wiring in the attic.  We found arced and burned wires circa 1950-ish.   It’s amazing that this little old house didn’t burn down years ago.  We discovered incorrectly installed fixtures and overloaded circuits.  Dangers every where in the house.  We also needed to remove the wall that the breaker box was in.  So all the electrical, EVERYTHING was removed for a fresh start right from the power pole on.

It was a similar story with the plumbing.  So everything came out and we started back at the septic line with new lines and parts.  In that process we discovered that the entire back end of the cottage was completely rotted out and falling down.  Three different kinds of ants inhabited the walls.  Huge ant nests, eggs and all !! It was enough to give even the toughest guy the creeps !!   I felt like I had ants crawling on me for a week.

At this point, we realized that we would be rebuilding most of the cottage from the ground up.  There seems to be a wet weather creek that ran directly down the center of the house and out the north east corner.  Rendering the “foundation” useless.  [During that time period, setting cedar stumps on the ground and building on that was an accepted building method.]  Cedar stumps are rot and bug resistant.  But this little old house has been standing here for almost 100 years with water flowing around those stumps and keeping them wet.   It was amazing that it was still standing.  Back to the drawing board, we gotta do something different here. 🙁

Our solution was concrete and more concrete.  We built a concrete dam, now under the front porch, to push the water around the house, not under it.  Then pour concrete footers under the perimeter of the house to support it and build from there.  We had already put concrete blocks and treated lumber under the center of the structure.  The more we did, the deeper we got into the massive repairs and rebuild.  The more we saw,  the more depressing it got.  But by now we’re too far into the project to stop.  The only way out is straight through, so we kept at it.  Seven days a weeks, 14 to 16 hours a day.  Keep your eye on the prize.

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