House Exterior May 2009
There are 36 photos in this set so
make sure you don't get surprised at how long it is.
Some of my friends and family have probably wondered what we've been
doing with our time. I told Linda we may not finish with this
house until a year is out. I still hold to that. But I'm
constantly amazed at how much progress we've made in 5 months.
Going back looking at the "BEFORE" photos taken last December, you can
see some pretty amazing differences.
In the following photos I'll give you some examples of what we've
been doing recently to the exterior of the place now that we have most
of the interior in shape except for some trim and final painting and
Here's the BEFORE shot of the rear entrance last winter. We
hauled off garbage, cut shrubs and trees, and began exterior
repairs. Glen and family worked hard and did a tremendous job
getting started on the outside. Later, his brother David pressure
washed the place, then returned with some of the kids to remove all the
Here's the AFTER with the new windows and window trim in place that
Israel took care of for us as well as exterior repairs. Soon he
will finish the job when he enlarges the awning for the stoop and puts
on a new coat of paint outside.
Here's what the propane tank and some shrubs looked like BEFORE.
The AFTER shot hardly looks like the same place. I love those
roses in bloom. Linda did a great job pruning them.
The back yard, horse corral, and wall covering on the stable probably
went well with the garbage piled in the back yard in this BEFORE photo.
Here's a different look. Green! Yep, summer changes
things. I'll show you a closer look at the other improvements
I removed the overgrowth from this fence, took down the small corral,
and hauled off the chain-link fencing.
After the improvements were made, I put up an additional 6 ft. of fence
and planted a muscadine grape vine.
The insurance appraiser said if we had left this overgrowth rubbing the
new roof it would cause our house appraisal to be rejected by the
insurance company. We would have cut it down anyway but it's nice
This is what it looks like today.
I thought it would take weeks to remove this overgrown bush to the
right of this photo. it was 8 feet across and 10 feet high.
Linda tried to remove some of the dead branches but there were just too
many. So I set fire to it. That still only removed about a
third of it but it gave me some headway to remove the remainder with my
chain saw. There was a young tree, probably a chinaberry growing
up through the middle of it.
Now it's almost completely gone.
We had a worse problem with shrubs rubbing the new roof on this end of
the house than on the other end. Growth also needed to be removed
around the crawlspace and trash had to be hauled off or burned.
There's still plenty to do. Included in the repairs is building
doors to cover the crawl space. The house also needs to be
painted and the remaining growth cleaned from around the
foundation. But it's taking shape.
Here's another of those dead shrubs. We never did find out what
these things were but they showed no signs of life. The
difference in the next photo is dramatic. It's hard to see the 3
trees in the center of the photo because of the bush blocking your
view. But you can see the horse trailer and the corral.
The corral has been removed and burned and the horse trailer hauled
off. The dead bush was burned. Now you can plainly see the
3 trees mentioned above. Inside the corral, the space had either
been dug out or beaten down by the horses. I'ts now mostly level
thanks to a friendly neighbor and his landscaping equipment.
Electric fences were everywhere to keep the horses in. They also
made it very inconvenient to keep the field grass mowed. Once
David and the boys removed the fence, Glen was able to bush hog the
field. From then on I was able to mow it with my riding
mower. It didn't hurt the appearance of the place to pull these
vines down either.
Doesn't look like the same place, does it?
Here's more of the fence David took down. I also burned this
pampas grass to the ground. It'll come back but hopefully not
quite so overgrown. Notice the power lines overhead.
The powerlines mentioned above are about your only reference since the
same scene looks so radically different today.
To the right of this picture is another view of the stable Linda began
tearing down. She took down the wall covering
single-handedly. It's made of some type roll fabric similar to
canvas but made from some kind of plastic. It's very tough stuff,
not like the inexpensive soft, blue plastic tarps. This stuff was
stiff and sharp and didn't bend well at all, almost like thin metal
except it was clearly some type woven fabric.
David and the boys stacked the fence posts near the stable. I
stood them up by the stable wall, then put them inside the stable once
Linda removed the outside covering. When the neighbor began
removing the horse manure from the stable for us, I had to move the
posts once more to where they are now.
Here's another view of what the stable looked like BEFORE.
After Linda removed the wall covering, her grandsons worked hard one
afternoon removing and piling up the stable walls. When the
neighbor came to pick up the old horse trailer he volunteered to bring
his landscaping tractor to remove the 1 foot deep horse manure and pile
it by the garden in the distance. He then leveled the hole where
the corral had been.
Glen removed the horses a couple months ago but it's taken a while to
get someone to pickup the horse trailer. We contacted the local
scrap metal dealers. They said they were interested but never
showed. Finally Linda took photos and posted the horse trailer on
Craig's List. It was gone by that afternoon. Wow!
About 1 1/2 acres were fenced in for horses. There was nothing
growing in these fields but sandspurs, weeds and briars. After
the fence came down, fortunately a bush hog made quick work of the tall
I worked for 3 days in the hot sun preparing this garden. I know
it's a little late to plant but I hope it succeeds. You can see
the beginnings of a small orchard in the background. I planted 2
blueberry bushes and 4 peach trees all in a row.
I burned the brush pile (and added to it) for several days. When
the neighbor returned to pick up his tractor he made one final pass
over the hole. The corral is so level now it almost looks like
the rest of the property.
Now the stable is far enough along we might begin tearing it down
soon. I hope so. We have 3 buildings to tear down, one pump
house shed and two stables, all pole houses. My plans are to
remove them all, leave what poles I can, and rebuild two of them to be
a bit more functional and attractive. Once reconstructed I hope
they'll have real walls and not some fabric stuff.
Back toward the house, here's what the insurance inspector was
complaining about. See how the shrubs had grown so tall their
limbs were over the top of the new roof? The roof would not have
lasted if we had left them that way.
Glen had a new air conditioner / heat pump installed. He also
trimmed the hedges. We removed the remaining shrubs around this
end of the house. Again, there's still a lot of work to be done
but at least, now, you can see day light around the end of the house.
This is perhaps the most remarkable view of any yard. The
differences between this BEFORE and AFTER shot are so great you'll have
to watch the powerlines as a reference or you won't believe it's the
Same chinaberry tree on the left, same powerlines overhead on the
right, everything else makes it look like this photo was taken on
The front yard was no less dramatic. Most of the holes are now
filled and that huge tree has been removed and the stump burned thanks
to Glen and family.
There are still some low spots but we'll catch them as time goes by.
Changes are less dramatic in these last photos. The ramp has been
removed. The steps will be gone soon and we'll have a small
covered porch big enough chairs, maybe a porch swing.
The trees are all pruned thanks to Jo Anna and Linda. Thanks
also to the kids for hauling loads of limbs and brush. Recent
repairs by Israel finally make the place rather
attractive. Here's what it looked like BEFORE all this was done.
Now THAT'S more like it.
It's not always been fun. If it wasn't for family and friendly
neighbors we would be lost. Also, working in the hot sun 'til I'm
with sweat is something I haven't done in years.
It's taking some
getting used to. Now with longer, hotter days, I get less done
and have to stop frequently. But like one old southern redneck
commedian says, "We'll GIT "ER DONE."
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