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 such.

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 fencing.

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 later.

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 to know.

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 weeds.

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 scene.

Same chinaberry tree on the left, same powerlines overhead on the right, everything else makes it look like this photo was taken on another property.

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 soaked 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 per day and have to stop frequently.  But like one old southern redneck commedian says, "We'll GIT "ER DONE."

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