The rebirth of a country school

Month: August 2017

The Little Stuff

We’ve been so fortunate to show some great progress in the last couple posts, but I wanted to take a step back and show some of the little things that are happening as well. ¬†Or maybe, I just want to prove I do more than take pictures and write for my part in all this. ūüėČ

Project one: ¬†bat houses. ¬†A couple evenings we sat out front and just watched the school in the late evening, counting bats. ¬†Turns out, we have about 15 mama/baby pairs. ¬†Fortunately the babies are now big enough to manage on their own and fly about in the evenings. ¬†Just in time, as the roof replacement is looming. ¬†To encourage them to find a new apartment, we built and hung 5 of these around the yard. ¬†We love the mosquito patrol they do, but we’re not so hip on sharing our attic space.

Project 2: ¬†tin ceilings. ¬†Eventually, all the tin ceiling will need to go back in, but before then, each one need to be reshaped, sandblasted and fit into the plan. ¬†I’ve taken on the sandblasting project, one tile at a time. ¬†At least I can catch a few rays while I do it.

Project 3 (see, I told you I was busy!): tuckpointing. ¬†You might remember my desperate plea for knowledge on how to conquer the tuckpointing technique. After questioning everyone that even looked at it, reading whatever I could get my hands on, and about a dozen failed tries, I think I have it figured out. ¬†I’m at least to where I’m ready to add the red colorant again. ¬†(this picture is an earlier attempt…I did get better after this….

That’s it for me, but it more is happening. ¬†It looks like we will be getting fiber optic phone line and moving into the 21st century soon (don’t mock, this is huge for us!)¬†

Another biggie was opening up a back door.  We removed some of the brick under one of the windows to put in a second access.  The door is cool, but the bricks are cooler.  Miracle brick, the form is stamped 1903?  1909?  From the archivist, we are guessing they were made right down the road in Cushing, or right up the road in Atlas.









Last but certainly not least, a sneak peak at what’s coming this week..

Check back after this weekend or drive on by if you’re up this way. ¬†Things are looking rosy!

Let’s get one thing straight

As much as I thought getting the beams in was the pinnacle of accomplishment for the summer, we have literally topped it.  Last weekend we tackled that leaning tower of bell and got it standing up straight and in the front of the class.  If I start out with the before and after pictures, can you see the difference?

¬† ¬†¬†¬†You might see it in the “birds’ eye view (aka look at the owl and the tree in the background).

It’s subtle to the naked eye, but significantly straighter now. ¬†Not only did temporary bracing go in, but a back wall and saddle too. ¬†Those get the water moving off the roof, and not down the trough into the middle of the school, like it must have done for the first 100 years.

We had to raise the back support posts quite a bit to get things level. ¬†See the 2×4 we stuck in there? ¬†That’s how much it went up, plus a little on the top as well. ¬†And don’t worry about the now-missing arches…they will go back in eventually!









A lot of people ask us what we are going to do with the bell tower when we are all done, and I’m keeping that a surprise for later (although I know I’ve already spilled the beans to many of you ūüôā ). ¬†Home office? ¬†breeze-way? sleeping nook? ¬†OH the ideas!! ¬†But I do have something in mind, at least for the first iteration. ¬†Here’s a sneak peak…this is the new view from inside the school looking up. ¬†You can see all the way up to the floor of the tower. ¬†Can you see where the old door used to be? ¬†With the old ceiling removed, it looks a looonnng way up there.

I’ll leave you with a sneak peak into the mind of Janelle – no good plan is good without a plan. ¬†This is the roadmap to moving in. ¬†I think we are going to make it! ¬†Just 56 more steps! ¬†

The Beams are In!!

I wanted to name this post off something catchy like “Beam Me Up!” or “BRD – Beam Raising Day’, but I am just so excited about finally getting them up after talking about them for so long, I took the straightforward route. ¬†Long story short, we went from this…

to this!        


Of course, no friend or family is safe from being recruited when it comes to weekend warrior projects of this magnitude.  We talked Mom and Dad and buddy Paul, who are all trying to be retired in some fashion or another, into helping us raise the beams.  Everyone had a job РDad and I cranked the lifts, Mom was in charge of getting the shims in, and Kevin and Paul up on the plank guiding it into place and securing it there.  All for the price of brats on the grill and some cole slaw!

That wasn’t all we did. ¬†The west wall is now framed. Once they all look like this, we can start thinking about regular house things like electric and insulation. ¬†Do you like the view out my windows?





In the on-going war against the chipmunks, I think we are one up. ¬†One little guy kept burrowing his way in the well access. ¬†So I poured a bit of leftover grout in there…let’s see him chew through that! ¬†He’s gonna need a Chipmunk dentist!









And as a reward, the camper cook (named Kevin) cooked us up a batch of Sunday pancakes with hand-picked blueberries.  Definitely a keeper (Kevin too)!



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