Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall Pictures

 We went to Pioneer Village with the Cross family on Saturday.

 I would think that these two should be about tired of each other :)
 The Cross family

 The leaves were perfect for playing.
 Our fat, happy baby.

Monday, November 4, 2013

 A lot has changed at our place since we last blogged. The most wonderful change has been the presence of this very happy, chubby baby at our house. James Allen was born on July 27. We like him a lot and I think he like us too! ;) This pictures were taken recently when he was about exactly 3 months old. He is by far my chubbiest, most easygoing baby so far.

 Gwen and Myles love their baby brother.
 Evidently Myles loves Gwen too!
Since Mom and Lisl were showing off their pretty fall tablescapes, I thought I would too. (That's really the reason I decided to blog :) )

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This Old House

 **EDIT** This was originally posted in 2009, and currently we are moving a new house in beside this old house.   We will demolish this house in the spring of 2014.

 In the year 1836, Marcus Whitman and his wife, along with their party, traveled west. They were the trailblazers of a westward route that would become the famed Oregon Trail. Mass migration did not start until the year 1843. By then, the route used differed from the trail the Whitmans took, being shortened by taking a more direct route across Nebraska to Fort Kearny, instead of following the Missouri river north and the looping Platte river west. Seventeen years later, in 1860, a newer route was established that left the Missouri river at Nebraska City. It cut off about 40 miles from the trip to Fort Kearny, and was a nicer trail, as it primarily followed ridgetops, making the best use of the natural terrain. Across these trails cumulatively went nearly half a million people, seeking new homes, new lives, a new beginning. They met with many hardships and are now famous to us, as the pioneers of the west.

Situated about five miles due east of Beaver Crossing, NE, our house sits within about 100 yards of the Nebraska City Cut-Off of the Oregon Trail. If our house would have been in existence at that time, it would have seen wagons and wagon loads of people and goods heading westward. They would go past our house, continue west until they disappeared over the ridge of the Walnut Creek Valley. After crossing Walnut creek they would continue on westward to the town of Beaver Crossing, named for Beaver Creek, at which crossing the original town site stood. (The town is also purported to have derived its name from the abundance of beaver in the area) That crossing is located about six or seven miles west of our house.

Our house has been in existence in some form or degree, almost since the dust of the passing wagons subsided. No one that we know of can tell us when it was built, but all guess that it was toward the end of the nineteenth century. Originally a two room frame house about 22' by 34' it was added on to several times, to provide modern amenities such as indoor plumbing. It entered into my family (as far as I know) when purchased by my Great-Grandpa, John Burkey. The first family story I'm familiar with about our house, is one my Grandpa told me.

The house was in disrepair, an old falling down house in which no one lived. My Great Grandpa doubted anyone ever again would live in it. The year was probably either late 1930's or early 1940's, when they had some grain that was spoiling because it was too wet. My Grandpa was told by his Dad to shovel that grain (I think it was wheat) into the now-living room of our home, and spread it around on the floor so it would dry. It was later shoveled out the same window into which it had come.

Sometime after that, the house was repaired to the point that a portion of it could be lived in. As I understand it, it was at that point that the kitchen was added, and maybe the bathroom too. A basement (cellar, really) was dug under the newer part, the which is now in pretty bad shape and houses too many rodents. Now I will relate as best I can, the chronology of homes in this house from that time on. I can't provide all the dates, but will try to give some idea of the time each spent here.

My Grandparents, newlywed, began housekeeping in this house in 1945, and spent their first year here, before switching houses with my Grandpa's parents, who lived one mile down the road. It was in this house that they lost their first baby, Sherril Jean Burkey, at birth.

My great Grandparents, John and Sarah Burkey, lived out their final days in this house.

My great uncle Willius Burkey and his wife Elaine, lived here for about a year, caring for my great Grandmother until the time of her death.

My own parents, newlywed, started in this house in 1973, and lived here until 1983, the time that I was one.

After my parents, my uncle Richard and his wife Jane lived here with their family for several years.

Following that time, Keith and Julie Schweitzer (my cousin), newlywed, started their home in 1993 in this house, living here at least a couple of years.

After Keiths', the Nelson family lived in this house for a time (maybe a year), as well as another family, the Craigs, who spent one summer I believe.

David and Beth Burkey, my brother and sister-in-law, newlywed, began living here in 1999 and lived here until about two years ago.

Following that, Justin and Abbie Troyer, newlywed, lived in this honeymoon house for the course of one year.

Jenny and I, newlywed, began living here in February of 2009, and we couldn't be more happy. As I look over the list I've just compiled of eleven different families who've lived here in the last 65 years (I know I've probably missed some), seven of which were newlyweds beginning their homes, I wonder just what's to become of this old house. How many more people will have the opportunity to call it home? This house was an old house when my Great Grandparents lived in it. It was thought so old and run down then as to be not worth saving, but look how many families have called it home. Perhaps it's a matter of how long people will work to improve and fix a landmark they don't want to see removed.

This old house of ours has a lot of "old house" issues. The windows leak and are hard to clean, the basement and foundation cause raised eyebrows, the insulation isn't great at all, and the floors slope and wave like a gentle ocean swells..... But as poor as this house is in so many ways, it has an incredibly rich history of happy families, godly homes, and warm friendships.

As Jenny and I begin our home and family here, we're blessed with the wealth of good memories so many hold from this house, the common thread that we share. A link that connects so many or our relatives and friends together, a link we would not have without the rich history of This Old House.

**EDIT** This was originally posted in 2009, and currently we are moving a new house in beside this old house.   We will demolish this house in the spring of 2014.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The finished product

This will be the last in a three part installment on the refinishing of our living room.  To finish off the floor, we ended up putting a polyurethane over the paint.   Now it's just about perfect as far as finish and clean up capabilities as far as we are concerned.

So here are a few pictures of the room after we got our things back in....

We like it quite a bit so far!  The outer edge of unpainted wood is hardly visible since we put our stuff back, but we knew it would be that way.   All in all we think it turned out really well.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Continuing on.....

As you know, we've been working at enhancing our living room floor....   We chose to paint the center area of the floor, leaving the finished wood on the outside of the room alone.

This is not a tutorial, but we took a lot of pictures.   First thing to do was figure out the exact size of the area we would paint.  Getting it precisely the size we wanted was crucial, as you will see.
 Time to put a coat of primer on that old unfinished wood.
 After some drying time, Jenny applied the base coat while the children watched enviously.
 Nothing like a cup of coffee to speed drying time.   Well, that and a wood stove.   Actually, the wood stove speeds the drying time tremendously.   You just crank the stove up as warm as you can stand it in the house and that drying time shrinks quite a bit.
 Ok, here's where the fun starts.   And here's why it's so important for this rectangle to be perfectly square.    It's going to have diamonds in it, and they've got to be perfect!
 Taping the diamonds was sort of tedious.   The tape has to keep jumping from one side of the line to the other.
 Done taping!   The squares with tape in them don't get paint.....   (It's easier than you might think to start painting in the wrong one)
 Time to paint the tape with the base coat.   This ensures (hopefully), that any leaking under the tape is done by the color that's under there anyway.
Checkers!   We're going to play checkers!
 After one coat....   We put several coats of red on, and went to bed.
 After another coat in the morning, it's the moment of truth!  Time to pull up tape.   Yep, we got a little too hurried and put tape on before we should have.   We have a  few boo boo's to fix.
 So, add a little primer on the bad spots, and then a little fine tuning with an artists brush....
 And here we are!   It's going to sit a day or two before we move furniture onto it.   Since it is specifically a floor paint its not supposed to need any finish over it, but it's not as glossy as we thought, so we might end up putting a finish on it to make it a little easier to clean.
That's it for now.   We'll have to try and get a picture up once we have the room arranged again.   We aren't to anxious to move that piano over this paint for a few days at least.   It's time for bed, but let us know what you think!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Work in Progress

I bet you know where this is headed.  

This morning we decided that it was time to pull that old worn out carpet out of the living room.   Well, my wife sort of decided that she'd had it up to 'here' (that's about throat level) and that now was as good a time as any for me to follow through on the promise I'd made to help her take it out this winter.    She was right, I'd been promising to do it "when work gets slow", and it looks as though right now is as slow as we'll get, even though it isn't actually that slow.
 So we moved the stuff.   All the stuff that is, except the piano, which we covered up.   We put  a sheet over the opening to stop all the dust, and got started.   I guess you can see from the pictures that it really WAS time for the carpet to go.
 Starting to pull it up.....
 We cut it down the center so it would come out in two pieces.
 Gwen was quite eager to help!
 Myles liked playing peek a boo.
 Whew!  Got the worst part done!   The carpet came out really easy, the pad underneath wasn't bad either except for all the dirt!   It was only an accumulation of  50 years or so, but it really was kind of bad.
 Time to get down on our hands and knees and put a little elbow grease into this.
 The center of the room must have had an area rug, and the outsides were finished.   That was, of course, prior to the carpet (yes, THAT carpet) being there for fifty years.   (I say fifty years, but it's probably longer, that would only go back to 1963)
 Did I mention the dirt?   We dumped out five or six buckets like that.  
This is what it looks like where the unfinished and the finished meet up.  

So I'm sure you're wondering..  Now what?   So are we.   We're going to either paint it, re-carpet it, or possibly (but quite unlikely) just get an area rug of the same size as they used fifty or more years ago and let that old wood as it is.  

I guess whatever we decide will likely be the subject of the next blog!   Any great ideas are welcome in the comments section!