Saturday, August 23, 2008

Home improvement sticker shock

A 'before' siding photo

In order to ensure that our house will stay solid and strong for the next quarter century, we have been working towards improved siding. Our original plan was to replace a few boards of the existing siding, sand it all, and then repaint it. Upon further investigation, we discovered that it's not in very good shape at all. We set up a couple of appointments to have estimates for replacement done. The first one was this morning.

This company is top rated in the country. They do an extremely thorough job including sealing the house prior to applying the siding. This is very important in a wet environment like the PNW. If we want this job to last, it has to be done right.

The estimate for replacing all the siding was about double what we had expected! We will have to do some serious priority rearrangement in order to afford it. On Monday we have an appointment with another company to do the same job, so we'll see how that goes. It's a really, really difficult decision for us because of the price. We know this will GREATLY improve the value, life and appearance of the house. If we were planning to sell it, we'd do this in a heartbeat because we KNOW it'll pay for itself. But, since we plan on staying, it's hard to qualify the value when buying this now will be a financial burden. We also have to decide ASAP. This is becaue this company is about 5-6 weeks out in scheduling right now. If we get it done in that time frame, that may (or may not) leave us a weekend or two of clear weather in which to paint it before the rains start. We HAVE to get it painted before winter. Decisions, decisions...

Last night we had some friends come by to meet the animals and see the house. It was kind of last minute, so they had to see the house in all it's neglect. How embarrassing! At least we had one room unpacked and the kitchen was clean. We then all went out to a local place for sushi. Yum!

Prior to our company's arrival yesterday, we'd set about picking some of the apples on the one tree that is dropping them. H worked on picking up all the fallen ones while I climbed a step stool to pick them off the tree. I got about half a bag full before we had to call it quits. I couldn't reach them anymore anyway. I need a taller ladder and a fruit-picking thingamajig.

Our first (of many) apple harvest.

I put most of the apples in a cotton mesh bag and hung them in the basement pantry. I threw a few in the fridge for general eating and I washed, peeled and sliced 7 of them to make a baked apple french toast recipe I found online. I used fresh french bread, seven apples of unknown variety (good baking type), 3.5 cups of fresh goat milk, 8 eggs (from the, sugar and misc seasonings and spices. I assembled it all last night and this morning I threw it in the oven prior to starting my morning chores. It was done baking right about when we were ready for breakfast and YUM!!! It was delicious! (Good thing, too...since it made enough to feed an army!). The recipe is here: Apple & Spice Baked French Toast

Delicious! It reheats really well, too.


Anonymous said...

ooooooh my gosh! when are you going to open up as a B&B? You could build a little shack out back and call it a rustic retreat! YUM! - Andrea

Cat said...

Oh man - don't even think it! I can't even find time to cook breakfast and wash our own sheets and towels...nevermind guests! ;-)