Enon Hall


These journal entries track our progress as we undertake our adventure of restoring this very old home. The main reason for keeping this journal on the web is that we have found that there are very few resources (books or websites) that follow all of the trials and tribulations of restoring an old home...from start to finish.

July 6, 2003

We took delivery of the new tractor Thursday afternoon and over the course of the weekend put 11 1/2 hours on it. Most of this time was spent bush hogging the new lot...2 1/2 acres of 5-foot-tall growth. I was impressed with how well the bush hog cut right through it. But cutting around the trees definitely slowed things down.

The new lot is everything to the right in this photo.

Gay cut most of the yard herself. Only took about 3 hours to do over 3 1/2 acres. And I imagine we'll get quicker once we get a system down.

The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating the holiday with my brother and his boys. We got the boat back in the water and took it out several times. It's amazing how much faster the boat will go now that the prop is no longer covered with barnacles!

Big mistake of the weekend...we turned on the AC window unit in the kitchen Saturday afternoon. Once we did that it made it really hard to go outside to work. Won't be doing that again! -- Bill

July 13, 2003

This weekend I decided to continue the exterior painting. I figured the gable end of the screened porch would make a good weekend-long project. The clapboards are in great shape. They look like they only ever had one coat of paint before being covered by the asbestos shingles in the 1950s. However, the facia board and drip cap were both badly rotted.

We removed all the screen from the end and one side and decided it would be easier to replace all the lattice strips than to scrape the old ones. While I worked on the gable, scraping and filling nail holes, Gay worked below, scraping the posts and removing countless nails and staples.

When I removed the rotten facia board I uncovered a small carpenter ant nest.

It doesn't look like they have been active very long. The damage is minimal. I sprayed the area good and then waited until Sunday to install the new facia after I could see no ants left moving around.

The old drip cap was a piece of decorative moulding...the same that is used to trim out doors and windows around the house. It's no wonder it failed, as it was sloped almost as much into the house as away from it. I replaced it with standard drip cap.

After caulking, priming, and painting everything the gable looked 500% better.

Next weekend we'll continue with the project so we can get the porch re-screened and back into use. In the photo above you can see two missing pieces of decorative trim. I removed these so I could more easily scrape them, but I may need to re-create one of them as it has some rot.

William started a new dig near the kitchen quarters. From a hole about 10" in diameter and 18" deep he uncovered all this "loot," including a button, a Flow Blue china fragment with an English maker's mark on the back, a watch body, and the requisite animal teeth and old nails.

I intended to take a visiting friend out for a boat ride yesterday. The boat started fine and then the engine just died in the middle of creek as we were pulling away from the dock. William sprang into action and paddled out to us in one of the kayaks. I threw him a line and he successfully towed us back to the dock. It was quite a feat. To my surprise, I was later presented with an itemized invoice for towing services, including $1 for "struggling" and $3 for keeping me from having to get wet. $10 total. -- Bill

July 21, 2003

Our screened porch project grew and grew over the weekend. But it's all good.

We love this porch, but it's always bothered me that the horizontal rails were too thin to set anything on. Like...you know...a bottle of Guinness perhaps. So I bought some 5 1/2" X 1 1/2" stock to replace these rails. I notched each piece for the vertical rail and then installed them with counter sunk wood screws.



It's amazing how these new shelves also beefed up the structure of the porch. The old rails were pretty wobbly under any kind of pressure. And it's wonderful to be able to lean against them...of just set down your drink.

But it doesn't stop there. On the door end of the porch, the same spindly boards are used to hang the screen door. (See the door opening behind me in the photo below.)

I think I am going to replace these with 5 1/2 X 5 1/2 posts and then run the same shelf at that end of the porch too. Just can't decide if two posts that close together (on either side of the door) will look too massive. It will sure make the door more solid. The present support members tend to move if kicked, causing the door to bind at times.

While we had all the screen off of the porch it became painfully evident that now was the time to scrape and paint the bead board ceiling. The aqua-greenish paint had long since been reduced to tiny chips that you could wipe off with a rag. I decided the best approach to preparing the ceiling was to go at it with a stiff brush. It worked great.

What's that on my head? Funny story...William and I went to Eubanks Hardware to get the brush and some other sundries for this project. In the paint aisle I grabbed three of those head sock things. Two to keep in the lead paint chips and dust out of my hair and Gay's. And the third for William's amusement...even though he was to be exiled far from the porch area during the project. When we stepped up to the register the cashier picked up the three head socks and looked at them for a second, then asked, "Which one of you has three feet?" Turns out they were shoe covers. I was too embarassed to admit my blunder, so I bought a pair anyway. Well, here's a news bulletin. Shoe covers do fit on your head...and they come with a handy reservoir tip.

Once I finished that dirty job, it took an entire gallon of primer to prime about 60% of the porch ceiling. It was just sucking it up! But I was actually glad to finally hit the bottom of the bucket. It's hard work working over your head all day.

While I worked inside, Gay was hard at work scraping the outside of the porch, getting it ready to prime.

William manned the first aid station this weekend. He assembled his own kit of bandages, antiseptics, eye cups, etc...and sat around anxiously waiting for Gay or me to injure ourselves. Finally, Gay pinched her finger and drew blood and William took care of things.

He also made and installed this speed limit sign for our dirt road.

Sometimes cars and trucks fly on the road, putting unecessary wear and tear on the surface, and then we and our neighbors have to pay to have it repaired. Maybe this will help. -- Bill

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