Bonafide Farm

The snowcottage weathers her first storm

December 23rd, 2009 § 0

And what a doozy it was! IMG_3746Web

A  snowstorm last Friday and Saturday dropped a “historic” two feet of snow on the farm. The roads weren’t clear enough to get up to the house until late Tuesday night, when the Intrepid Tractorplower arrived to clear the driveway for the siding delivery later this week. Thanks go to I.T. for both the photos and his mad snowclearing skillz.


I can’t wait until next year when I’ll be able to awake to these wintry views and make my own footprints through the fields.


The board and batten siding was installed on the second floor last week. That will all be painted one color, same as the siding below, so my house will lose its charming zebra stripes. As soon as the horizontal siding–which was delayed in the storm–arrives and is installed, the exterior of the house will be truly buttoned up and work will head inside, where the HVAC ductwork has been completed and the plumbers are now roughing in for fixtures.



December 20th, 2009 § 0

Gone are the days of getting up and downstairs like this:


Check out the new stairs!

IMG_4119 Web


These stairs are a pretty good metaphor for my whole experience of buying/building this house. The first time I showed up to the site when it wasn’t much more than a few sticks of timber and had to climb up a wobbly ladder to get to the barely-built second floor, I was shaky and scared and almost couldn’t do it. But the more I forced myself up and down that ladder, the easier it became. And then the weekend before the stairs went in, I sailed right up the ladder holding an open can of paint in one hand and a camera bag in the other. Just walked right up and down as easily as if the ladder was already a staircase.

This project has forced me to learn and get comfortable with something new on an almost daily basis. The lessons have run the gamut from how to bush hog to how to run an HVAC duct to how not go crazy with the anxiety of managing a big project involving lots of people while also holding a demanding full-time job. If I can get through this, just think of what I can tackle for my next project!

Under lock: A major milestone

December 13th, 2009 § 0

Last week marked a huge turning point in the development of this little dream I call my home. My builder installed a contractor’s lock and for the first time, when I left the house, I locked the door behind me. It’s a big moment for a house–when it crosses from being a public to a private space.


Lots of developments last week. The delayed windows arrived and were set Thursday. Of course, the doors had gone on a week or so earlier. I spent much of last week and even the week before agonizing over exterior trim. I had a very specific idea of what I wanted…kind of a vintage-looking Craftsman trim. But we lost at least a week while my builder ordered a PVC sill that looked horrible and definitely wasn’t what I wanted. IMG_4241Web

I’m thrilled with how the trim turned out and particularly grateful to my dad for helping me persevere to get what I wanted. When the PVC sill didn’t work out, I was discouraged enough that I considered scrapping the idea of a sill altogether, thinking that my builder would never “get” my vision and be able to make it happen–which was disappointing as what I was asking for really didn’t seem that hard! Thankfully my dad was there to mock up exactly what I wanted, using scrap trim pieces I pulled out of a wet garbage can, and when we showed it to the the trim carpenters they were immediately were on the same page. So…yet another lesson learned in what seems like a daily education in when to push and when to concede.

The HVAC crew also got started running the ductwork on Thursday:


All of a sudden, the house went from being a pristine frame, all lumber and light and air, to being the skeleton around a series of vital systems. I missed the unadulterated cube immediately, but I sure am going to enjoy being able to push a button on the wall and get nice warm heat or air conditioning! This is just one more step along this home’s path toward growing up:



Starting tomorrow, the siding will begin going on, which means the house will be weathered in. The plumber is also slated to start rough in and we’ll keep hustling toward the finish line. It’s been great to see this burst of action–between the framers, trim guys, and HVAC crew, there must have been a dozen guys on site last week!

Sunrise over the mountain

December 13th, 2009 § 0


Up at the house at dawn last Thursday morning to finalize the window trim. I ducked into the wellhouse to get some tools. When I emerged, this is what I saw. It was an action-packed day as the HVAC installers arrived on site at 8:30 a.m., right at the same times as the trim guys and framers, who were setting the last, most important window (the triple in the front gable).

Daily Commute

December 10th, 2009 § 0


December 10, 11:36 a.m. Headed to the farm at lunchtime to check out the exterior window trim mock-up.

Full-frame image, shot from the moving car. Best viewed large. I love everything that’s going on in this totally random grab.

It’s electric!

December 2nd, 2009 § 0

What’s that electrifying development I hinted at a few weeks ago? Perhaps it’s best explained by what’s no longer there:


The Pole is gone! Remember what it used to look like, all gangly and awkward and festooned with overhead lines?


The Central Virginia Electric Co-op folks came out and plucked this unsightly necessity from my viewshed, dropped it back in the ground way up by the road, and laid underground wire to the house through that nice long trench you see at the base of the first photo. Not having the pole looming over the back corner of the house is a huge improvement and really classes up the joint. It is strange, but the backyard feels even more expansive now that it’s gone.

It also improves the view from the soon-to-be-screened back porch:


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