Sunday, December 6, 2020

What a difference a year makes!

 As I was thinking about this Thanksgiving I was wondering where we were last year at this time. Well, I remember where we were, I was wondering where we were in terms of the house.

I don’t think I will get much of an argument that this has been one of the strangest and longest years on record and one no one is going to forget in their lifetime. But here in the rural lands of South Dakota it is not nearly as weird as other places in the country. To be honest you would hardly know anything is different out here. The fact that we never go anywhere plays a big role in this perspective however.

This Thanksgiving found us celebrating with our good friends Kevin, Cheryl, Dan and Bonnie. The exact same group we spent the holiday with last year. Besides the obvious, the other biggest difference is where we are at with the house. No, we are not done, in fact we are far from it but we are sure a heck of a lot further along than we were last year at this time!

This is a picture taken last year at Thanksgiving.

A house of poly and insulation
That same week last year the fireplace and hearth was put in. At that time we thought that was a big accomplishment and it was, but as we look back at these pictures only a year ago, we are amazed at what we have done!  

And here is the same shot of where we are at this year.

For those of you who have been closely following our blog you will notice one big change this week. Yup, it is the stone on the fireplace! Earlier this week Kevin said that if I got the lath and scratch coat up he would come over and put the stone up over the weekend. I could not pass up an opportunity like that and to work I went!

The first step was to staple metal lath on any surface the stone was to go on. A fairly easy process but that metal lath will cut the heck out of your hands! The next step is to put on the scratch coat. This is basically a thin layer of concrete (mortar) over the metal lath. This provides the surface to which the stone and mortar will adhere to in the next step.  

That step took two full days and is one I was glad to have done!

The next day Kevin came over and we started putting stone up! Stone by stone we fitted and put them into place like a huge jig saw puzzle. 8 hours later we were done with our first day and about 1/2 done. We got the entire wood storage area done and about 3' above the fireplace.

The next day we were back at it again and 6 hours later Kevin was putting the last stone in!

Last stone being put into place!

It looks awesome and we are so glad to have that project behind us. Another one that we could not have done without Kevin's help.

The next steps are to grout between each of the stones and clean it up. We also need to get our hearth stone and mantle into place, but we are close! Until then it looks like we are going to have scaffolding in our living room again....

Barb has been staining and varnishing the handrails for our stairs...

...and also paid a visit to the cabinetmaker where she received some good news and some bad news. The good news is that all the doors and some of the cabinets are done. We are going with rustic hickory. 

The rest of our doors
One of our doors

The bad news is that they will not be done until late December or even into next year.

But back to Thanksgiving itself....Like many, we cannot wait for 2020 to fade into the past and are looking forward to 2021. But in the meantime we are fully embracing this holiday season starting with Thanksgiving. Barb cooked a wonderful turkey, stuffing, potatoes. Bonnie and Cheryl brought other sides and desserts. But I think the highlight of the evening were Barb's White Russian and Buttershots &Baileys pudding shots. We lost track of how many we had but by the end of the evening we were full in several ways!

You will notice two people missing from this picture. The picture taker, (me) and Kevin who after supper went to the couch and assumed this position.....

He even has his stabilizers out

Thanksgiving behind us, we are looking forward to Christmas. So much so we got our tree the day after Thanksgiving and have been watching a Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel almost every evening. This is a first for me and I have learned a couple things; The first is that there is only about 6 actors that play the main characters in about every movie on the Hallmark channel. They will mix up who is the boss, mom, dad, sister, brother, whatever but they are the same actors. It can get kind of confusing. The second thing I learned is the plot is the same in every one. Pay close attention and I can save you countless hours of movie watching and tell you the plot so you won't miss anything. 

Every one of them go something like this... The main character is a woman (often the same woman in the last movie you watched) who is in a relationship with a horrible boyfriend. About 15 minutes into each movie she runs into a handsome stranger but they don't get along (for now) but she is in a relationship anyway right? Wait another 15 minutes and she breaks up with her horrible boyfriend and is going to be alone for Christmas. (oh no!) But happenstance brings her back together with the handsome stranger and they slowly become closer and closer. Then you need to throw in a spontaneous snowball fight, an interrupted first kiss, a reappearance of the old boyfriend trying to patch things up and drama with the new boyfriend through a misunderstanding. Fear not, they make up, have their first kiss and live happily every after! You can thank me later but now you do not need to watch any movie ever put out on the Hallmark channel.

The weather here in South Dakota has been great in the past two week. 40's and 50's everyday which has allowed us to get out and cut some firewood in our spare time. Barb has taken over the tractor is becoming a regular farmgirl!

But we know winter is coming and we will be cooped up inside. Warm or cold, we have plenty to do to keep us busy for there is still a lot to be done to finish the inside by spring!

41 comments:

  1. We’ve seen the previews on those Hallmark movies and said...ahh NO! Your place looks awesome and great job on that fireplace! Glad you’re all staying healthy.

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    1. You should watch just one to see how accurate my description is!

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  2. After that picture of Kevin, you can be sure, he will NEVER do another fireplace for you (like you will ever NEED another...) LOVE the house. And it isn't just Hallmark Christmas movies that follow that script!

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    1. Kevin does not read our blog so it is just a matter of whether or not Cheryl tells him about the picture!

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  3. Ha! You nailed it on the Hallmark movies! While at Steve’s stepmoms in AZ we have to watch them everyday now that they gave a Mystery version not just holidays! You place just keeps looking better. Love the rock!

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    1. Did not know about the mystery versions, will have to check them out!

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  4. Love your fireplace rock and the wood storage. Well done guys. Great to have friends who help you and who you help to make the jobs easier. Merry Christmas.

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  5. You definitely have come a long way. It sure looks good. Just remember that you have plenty of time until we do another inspection of your work so carry on.

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    1. If you give us fair warning we will make sure we have plenty of work for you to do!

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    2. I hope that it only requires the use of one hand.

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  6. Glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. The house looks great! Best wishes for many more happy holiday memories. Les obliges me with watching Christmas movies each night, but we go more old school movies rather than Hallmark (seen 1, seen them all). In keeping with our longstanding tradition, we kickoff with watching "Christmas Vacation" on Turkey Day and "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" on Black Friday!

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    1. We love the old school movies as well, in fact we were probably watching Christmas Vacation the same time you were!

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  7. You forgot that the big ol’ kiss comes in the last 5 minutes! You must be burnt out on HGTV...

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    1. Now that you mention it, we have not watched HGTV in a couple of weeks, we must be burnt out on it!

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  8. That's a dramatic change to your home. Next you'll be posting pictures of it on HGTV.
    Glad you were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with your close circle and hopefully you'll do the same for Christmas.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. We could not believe how much it had changed when we looked at it. I remember at that point thinking we had done so much, now we are that much further!

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  9. Wow! What a difference a year makes. Your home is really coming along. The fireplace is gorgeous!! Your kitchen cabinets are beautiful. Can't wait to see the finished kitchen. So glad you filled us all in on what we are missing on the Hallmark Channel with Christmas movies. I must say that I have never watched one. Now I definitely won't bother...haha!! Stay safe.

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    1. Come on, you need to watch just one to see if I was right! No one is looking more forward to the kitchen cabinets than Barb!

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  10. Your build is beautiful . My wife and I put man made stone on the front of house we built 40 years ago in Iowa. She didn't like my grouting so she took over and finished the job. I don't think she ever for gave me for that and to tell the truth may arm still hurts from that job. Keep up the good work . Oh by the way that stone job still standing and looks good. Vern in Boise.

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    1. We are grouting on Wednesday, I think I am doing the squeeze bag while Barb is doing the scratching. Wish us luck!

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  11. Looking fabulous. Even though it seems to be going slowly for you, it looks pretty fast to me. What a showpiece you will end up with. I'm still waiting for the wonderful, rich, good looking Prince Charming to show up .... and I'm REALLY tired of watching those movies!! LOL

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    1. Fear not, I watched on episode where if you made the perfect Christmas wish, one will show up!

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  12. The stone work and area is beautiful! WOW! Yes what a difference you've made the last year! Barb needs to be on the other side of the work she's doing LOL..too close to the edge! What a great Thanksgiving you all had together. Love the pic of Kevin, he certainly earned the rest! Love seeing your progress!

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    1. I know, when I was looking at that picture it looked like she was standing on air!

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  13. Haha, boy did you nail the Hallmark channel. When we're in WI, my sister-in-law likes to watch them from time to time so I get caught watching with her. At least the non-holiday/one's with mystery are bearable. The house is looking great and really coming along. Nice to spend the holidays with friends. (3 days in and Al has had no luck)

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    1. You can't fool us, we know that you (more likely Al) was recording and watching them everyday as well! Hope Al has some luck!

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  14. Love the stone work!! You've certainly come a long way since last year. We will be out here by the 15th, I was just telling Dave I would probably be able to catch up with most of the holiday movies I've missed. His bedtime isn't until they've finally kissed at the end of the movie. Wonder if there's a club for spouses of Hallmark movie watchers.

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    1. Oh, I am sure there is some kind of therapy group for such spouses. But that group and discussion would be sadly predictable. (Lots of beer drinking!)

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  15. Looking great grampa and grandma Nelson (camper Grammy and pappy)
    love Dylan amd Kendall.

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    1. Thanks Dylan and Kendall! Tell your mom and dad that you want to come out here next Thanksgiving!

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  16. "White Russian and butter shots and Bailey's pudding shots" sound like the best worst idea ever! I can feel the hang over from here!! LOL

    The house looks incredible and it's amazing to think how much you guys have accomplished. The stone work over the fireplace is just awesome. It's all gonna be so cozy... but not cozy enough to justify watching Hallmark movies. Nothing justifies that. :)

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    1. You have to try them sometime, they are addicting and you just cannot stop at 1...or 10 for that matter!

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  17. It is amazing how much you have accomplished in one year. I really like the open design. Merry Christmas!

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  18. Your house is looking like a lovely home. You both have put so much effort into it and it shows. I think you made the best of 2020. Love the Christmas tree. I think that waiting for your new cabinets will be worth while. Lovely choice of wood.

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    1. We are sooooo.... looking forward to the cabinets, once those are in we can start on the floors!

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  19. House looks great with the fireplace stone as well as the cabinet colors you have chosen. Lots of work accomplished this year for you two. Stay well and have a Happy Holiday. J & B

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    1. Hope to see you next year so we can show it to you in person!

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