That time we moved a building

Our most exciting and stressful project to date (at least I think so) has been moving this building. This little red structure is something we affectionately call the carriage house. Did it have carriages in it? We don’t actually know. Does the Historical Society consider it a historical structure? They sure do. And without it I’d have no where to park my mower so it’s obviously needed.

I took the above picture the day I signed the papers to buy the house. It is a perfectly fine structure it was just blocking the (then and one day again) beautiful garden so mom and dad decided to change that. Last summer we had a pad poured after we got approval from the city and historical commission to move it. And then dad had a year to agonize and plan. So the first step was to stabilize and brace the building to make it as solid as possible

Then my wonderful friends Zack, Andrew, and Jesse built a rock wall out of the many many stones I pulled out of the garden. Isn’t it a nice looking little wall??

And then we began doing the insane. We pulled a building on top of that wall…. I don’t think anyone felt super confident in the wall except for Dad. But kudos to Zack, Andrew, and Jesse because that thing worked! We used the truck as a movable anchor at first and attached tow straps around and to the building. We jacked the building up and put it on round fence poles as rollers. Then we used come-alongs to actually move it. So little by little this building moved.

And I’m talking LITTLE by little. We had a total of 78ft to move and each come-along pulled around 3ft, if we’re being generous. At times we’d have to stop and reset to make tiny adjustments in what we were doing so we didn’t even complete 3ft of movement each reset. It took 2 full days of constant work, pulling and adjusting to move this thing.

After we ran out of rock wall we built a track with scrap wood we pulled out of the house when we demo-ed the upstairs.

That worked brilliantly too. I don’t have a picture of it but Jesse and Andrew also fashioned a second track that ran next to the existing track to add stability. That definitely helped. Throughout the adjustments we used the truck to move from and the trees along the property line. Here are some progress pictures.

As you can imagine these were taken when we finally got it over the pad. I was very excited. About midday on day 2 I thought it really would never get there. BUT IT DID! Once it got there we were able to use the fence posts to move the building as perfectly as possible. While we were getting nearer to the pad Gordon showed up and gave us a hand! Thank you very much to him for the help too!

As you can see the walls worked very hard

So just a couple of my favorite before and afters:

I don’t know what you guys think but I think it looks phenomenal!! Next up I hope to post about the finish work on the carriage house!

And I just want to say a massive thank you again to my wonderful friends. We couldn’t have done it without them so thank you for 2 straight days of micro adjustments and wall building 💙

Furlough Pt. 3

First I’d just like to start this post with a love letter to my sweet truck Ole Blue and my tenacious little tiller, Tilly. Ole Blue has hauled 3 loads of mulch, a load of dirt/compost and so many plants the last 76342 days of furlough. He does the job admirably even without a beer-can window. And to Tilly, she has worked her little electric ass off on these gardens. Another wonderful purchase by Michael Kieta. He bought her for me as a fun gift and it ended up being the tool I used to complete a thousand projects for his house. Nice work Dad.

Anyway I also cleaned out a bed that we let grow over to the side of the new garage. I took a picture in fall of 2016 and it didn’t look too bad


That was until we let weeds grow over and dad backed over one of the lilac bushes. So I cleared it out, tilled it, transplanted Siberian Irises, another lilac bush, more lenten roses and ferns. Then mulched the hell out of it (again, mulching is really my number one skill)

Also a quick update on the garage garden. When we finished it last summer we were hoping some shade plants and small ground cover would come up in between our rock steps.


Mom and Dad were hoping this garden would look like this in a couple years, it’s exceeding expectations. It’s really filled out, to the point I actually pulled monkey grass out of it to use other areas because it wasn’t needed anymore.  I was very excited about this area a year ago, and it has exceeded all expectations and except for light weeding and re-mulching I haven’t done a thing. But we did reseed and water the heck out of the grass above the area last summer, that’s looking really good too.

Next up I built a ramp up to the pad and seeded it. The first picture is the day I finished it and the second one is from today. The grass is coming in well.  Oh and if you’ve forgotten what the pad is for it was poured last summer to move the carriage house onto. Because we didn’t have time to move the building it’s just been a thing to mow around.

I did a lot of work cleaning out behind the pad and to both sides. When Mom and Dad bought the house it was very overgrown and we’ve done a lot clearing vines and weeds.

Dad did a lot of clearing before the dog run area was built but it was still overgrown and had big piles of dirt on either side of the pad since then. I worked on clearing the plants out, transplanted ferns, graded, and moved a lot of dirt out.

Then I mulched…of course and seeded the area that extended into the yard.


My next post will be the last of my furlough updates. Then comes the big stuff while my parents are here.

Furlough, the final chapter

One last post before moving the process of carriage house begins. First a quick flashback: when Mom and Dad bought the house in 2016 there was a beautiful garden behind the carriage house.

Over the springs and summers that we’ve been working on the house and garage it has completely “gone to pot”. (Which is a phrase I’ve seen on gardening sites meaning it went all to hell.) One of my very first projects on furlough was to actually extricate a lilac bush from being murdered by honeysuckle in this garden. The bush was being pulled down so significantly I had to rescue it and then stake it up, poor thing. Anyway, I tell you that story just to illustrate how bad we let the garden get. So here are some before pictures from this spring. I forgot to take them at the very start but please trust me when I say it was a serious mess.

After saving the lilac I really avoided this garden. I worked on various things in and around it but mostly I stared at it, became a little catatonic, shook my head then walked away overwhelmed. You see the problem is that eventually Mom wants this to be a beautiful garden again, but in a space that would grow new and improved weeds anytime you pulled existing ones out it seemed completely impossible. So then came the gardening websites. (I’m telling you I had a lot of time on my hands). In my research I found a technique called solarization. If you’ve never heard of this you essentially pull everything up that you can, till the hell out of the soil, spray it down with water then cover everything with plastic during the hottest parts of the year. The plastic holds heat from the sun to kill everything under it, I assume not getting any sun has something to do with it too but I’m no scientist. So from my research this is really the only option I had. So my first step was to save everything from the garden that I could, that unfortunately included a LOT of river rock gravel and (possibly literally) a ton of rocks. So all of that had to come out:

To move the medium sized rocks I couldn’t pick all the way up to put in my wagon I built a little sledge. I just think it’s the cutest.


Then I had to dig out all the plants that didn’t deserve to be choked out by weeds. I moved bearded irises, Siberian irises, lenten roses, ferns, the aforementioned lilac bush, daffodils, veggies, blackberries, and a rose among others. Then I got to work on the clearing out. I did that with a hedge trimmer, weedeater with a brush blade (use that on wet days or just do noooot hit any kind of rocks), rakes of many shapes and sizes, and a shovel I named Steve because we spent so much time together.

Then I tilled the holy hell out of it, moved dirt from behind the pad into it and graded everything a bit. Then I used some leftover leaf mulch and built up around the shrubs and trees left to keep weeds down around them and hold moisture while they had plastic around them (don’t worry they have enough room to get water). Then the plastic-ing began. It wasn’t hard or anything but it was a hot job which makes me feel good about this solarization thing.

It has rained a lot since I put it down and we’ve had some decent winds and everything has stayed in place thus far. Fingers crossed that continues. Eventually this will be a beautiful garden again! Oh that reminds me to update everyone on the transplant beds. Mom and I picked out some awesome plants from that we want to eventually fill this garden with flowers from spring to fall. To make sure that we have blooming flowers when we do that we took advantage of a bulb sale earlier this spring and I built the transplant beds to get them started. When we finally have a garden worthy of them we’ll transplant everything over! And then I’ll have some raised beds for veggies. Well that’s it for now! I’ll have a new post next time we have something newsworthy.

Furlough Pt. 2

The outdoor saga continues. Like I said in the last post, I had nothing else to do but work outside so the theme of this post is how much I hate vines, specifically honeysuckle. There were two beds in-particular that drove this disdain home for me.

There was an area in the front section of the road that was completely overgrown with honeysuckle and what I believe is Asiatic Jasmine. When I started it I sent the picture that followed to my Mom and said “wish me luck”.


A day or two later I had it stripped down to this.


I found that the roots from the trees around the bed were dug out, from what I have to assume was a groundhog at some point. So I filled those in, transplanted hostas, lenten roses, daffodils and planted some bulbs.

Then I mulched the hell out of it. A bit of an improvement if I may say so myself.

Then I moved onto what I thought would be my least favorite area. I was wrong, it got worse. But this wasn’t very fun either.


I forgot to take a picture before I cut down the privete hedges but this is pretty much the beginning of this hell. I sent the picture above to my Mom and said “I don’t even know where to start”. What I ended up doing was using a brush blade on a weedeater, cut the vines then pulled and dug them out.


Then I used a farm jack to pull the hedges out.


I took that picture after pulling one out by the porch. And let me just brag that while using the jack was Dad’s plan, he hasn’t actually used one for jacking up stumps before. Sooooo that’s pretty cool! Annnyways I used the jack to pull out the hedges on a very very hot day.

Then I planted some less frustrating ground cover, some bulbs and seed plants. And I threw some grass seed on the neighbor’s side that I cleaned out because I would’ve been clearing a lot more vines off their side to keep that section under control. So we’ll see how that works.

I moved some monkey grass as a boarder and some bearded irises from another garden. Now to keep the vines under control and get the newspaper box changed out.

Some other minor projects I did was building raised beds for transplant gardens. I’ll get more into why in my next post.


I transplanted some hydrangeas from the back of the house to the front. They were pitiful for a couple of weeks but it doesn’t seem that I actually killed them so I’m counting it as a win.


And from where the hydrangeas are now there were a million day lilies. I moved them to surround the mailbox. Then I stained the mailbox and put numbers on it. The day lilies have bloomed and perked up. I didn’t kill them either, someone give me a ribbon!


Using some leftover compost from my raised beds and some leaf mulch as filler, I tilled the hell out of the back area of the house that was largely clay soil that wouldn’t grow grass. I don’t have an updated picture but grass is finally growing there!


Okay I think that’s it for tonight. I thought I could get the rest done in one post but seeing as how long this one has been I think I’ll split them up into two more. Don’t want to push my luck on people thinking this many gardening projects are interesting at one time.

Furlough Pt. 1

Well hello strangers! Long time no see. Sorry for the silent treatment but for a while there wasn’t much going on with the house. After I finished the painting upstairs this time last year then we spent the summer finishing the garage there wasn’t much to do. Then COVID hit…shortly followed by a surprise 3 month vacation known as FURLOUGH.

For a while being off made me nervous but word has come that I, again, am employed! So now with that knowledge I feel compelled to show everyone what I’ve been working on with all my free time.

Like I said before the indoor projects are as done as I can do them so I started working on the outside. Since they bought the house I’ve been telling my parents I will not be doing any gardening. I was a strict lawn mower and sometimes weedeater but now there is nothing to do but garden. So the next couple posts will be all about that.

Last summer we planted a row of laurels, three of which didn’t make it through the winter so they were traded out and replaced. Then I weeded and mulched the row.

Then because that apparently wasn’t enough work I decided to create a bed and a path to the crawlspace on the side of the porch that was just weedy.

I remulched the front laurels too, oh and every other bed outside. I am the queen of mulch.


And between all of that I built a couple things. A garden planter, a couple porch planters, a shoe shelf, and a compost bin.

And I made the porches look real cute for all the people that can’t come over

Well I think that’s enough information for now, I’ll keep posting this summer. Mom and Dad will be here next week so even more exciting stuff will be happening!

The Garage

Ladies and gentleman, we have a garage!! After a LONG, arduous, and irritating process we have a new garage at the Warner Institute!! Its very exciting.

But first, an update. This summer we spent the majority of the time outside the house. Really the only thing that was done inside was dad digging in the crawlspace. (Still grateful I didn’t have to get down there.) Mom, Dad and I spent the first couple weeks having fun, they had their first overnight guests that didn’t get put the work. We went to Music on the Square, Brews and Tunes, and the Farmers Market. Jonesborough is a very fun place to actually relax in..who knew

Anyway, here comes the progression of the garage in picture form!


The only picture I have of the original space, we put the garage where the parking pad used to be.

I think after posting all these wonderful pictures I should specify that this did not happen quickly. It should have…but it didn’t. But when Mom and Dad came in some real work got done. We did the- painting, lighting, landscaping, all that fun stuff. Oh and drainage, which was not fun. But I must say, that’s one damn good looking garage


Complete with excavator parking…because apparently the electrician really wants Aunt Carolyn to try it out


All three cars fit comfortably! They all have a nice, comfy home now.


Our final project before mom and dad left was stairs down into the person door and it is the most beautiful thing we did all summer! Now we anxiously await the grass to grow back.

Now that Mom and Dad have left I’ve taken the last weekend to do very little and I’ll start back on projects this weekend

For real this time

Okay, after this one I’m seriously going to be sitting around for the next 10 days until my parents arrive.

Mom asked me to repaint the guest room, all blue with the accent color. I just want to say….I suggested this from the beginning..

It looks MUCH better and it only took me a day and a half! So I was able to get the landing cleared back off, yey! Darren also lowered the chandelier and I mounted a closet rod/shelf so the room is officially functional!

In a couple weeks we’ll be working on the new garage and windows. Until then please find me in front of my TV or on the front porch

It is done!!

Well pretty much. There’s still a ton to do but a mere 18 days before my parents arrived I have finished making all the upstairs spaces livable!!

The final space I’ve been working on is the tower and the adjacent landing and it is DONE.  Finally!

I used a blueprint the Moore’s had made in 1980 to turn the house into the “Jonesboro Inn”. They’re beautiful and extremely detailed so I decided I had to show them off a bit! They’re hard to see in the photos because of glare from the sun. (I think this is the first room I’ve finished in the daylight!)


Re-doing the staircase will come sometime soon, but for now it looks just fine

I bought this little wardrobe at ReStore, it was the top of some kind of entertainment center. I did some modifications and painting for some extra storage in the otherwise empty space.


Eventually we’ll build a bench to sit under the windows for a really nice place to read a book and contemplate how much paint actually went into this upstairs.


I love the color we chose, I think it’s dramatic and stately, much like Mom and I! It gets so much sun the area can hold it’s own with such a dark color. It’s dreamy…

Oh and here’s an updated shot from the long hallway. I was given a Singer sewing machine table that the top, unfortunately, couldn’t be saved on. So I used floor boards we’d pulled up and made a table top to fit at the end of the hall. I think it looks pretty good.


Next up is repainting the guest room 😦 Mom decided, as I thought she may, that it would look better all blue. For the record I told her that from the start but she just doesn’t want me getting bored. You were right Aunt Carolyn.

The dorm

A couple weeks ago Mom and Dad came to visit and, of course, we couldn’t just relax. We got lots of fun stuff done like building a platform over the tower stairs, a temporary door on the master bath, and planting bushes but most significantly we worked on the dorm. Dad had a goal to get the second floor stabilized enough to get up there and to get the roof fixed.  And it wouldn’t be a decent post without some before pictures..
(Apologies in advance for the fuzzy pictures)

The building has fallen almost completely off the brick foundation and caused the front wall to kick out, sitting on the ground. That separation and just some old fashioned roof damage caused the giant hole to form. This is a picture I took the first weekend in the house…it looked worse than I remember! IMG_20160918_112026

Dad hoped to be able to start the process of lifting the building with a couple of main beams. When we started to jack up the beam, however, the building made some dramatic sounding noises so we tabled that for now.


Dad sistered a large portion of the upstairs floor joists and cut off the rotted sections of old ones. With support from the new joists, beam, and a new corner post we were able to get upstairs for the first time!


Upstairs was in better shape than we thought. There are some old doors and a whole lot of glass and raccoon poop. Gonna be super fun to clean it all up..


The new floor support, at least temporarily. Cameo from Mom and the hole in the roof

And after all that hard work here is the fixed roof! Hopefully this will slow any more weather damage until we get back to work on stabilizing and rebuilding it.



And this is what it looks like today! It’s a bit more secure and a bit more stable. Now onto the tower!

The halls

I’m sure everyone has been anxiously awaiting seeing pictures of the hallways! Well today is the day, here they are! And here are the before and afters.



Both of these halls did not exist in the existing floor plan. We added them to give access to the back of the house without walking through a bedroom.



In the long hallway we put the laundry room. At some point there will be doors of some kind. What kind I’m not sure of, bi-folds and barn doors have been discussed. At the end of the hall Mom asked for an accent wall where, again, I was lucky enough to hang another print of Main Street Jonesborough by Gary Burkett! It fits perfectly.



It is so nice having finished halls to walk through. I only have two areas to finish: the tower landing the the small landing off that. But before I get started and post about that I’ll have to update everyone on what we did during Mom and Dad’s visit. Here’s a hint, I got to go upstairs in the dorm!!