A New Year...

Dateline: 1 January 2014

Well, I must say that I enjoyed my vacation from blogging all last month. It wasn't, however, a vacation in any other sense of the word. I stayed very busy with the demands of my Planet Whizbang business. Very busy, indeed.

I don't make resolutions at the start of a new year. I have plans, and goals, and visions for the future every single day. But I do like the idea of starting another year, and I welcome 2014 with hope for the future.

Yes, the American empire is still collapsing and, barring some economic miracle, the standard of living for most Americans will continue to decline from here on. But that's beside the point. If lived wisely, life can still be full of joy and satisfaction, even in the midst of economic collapse.

Old farmhouse of our dreams
(click to see enlarged view)

I wrote here back on November 13 about The Old Farmhouse of Our Dreams. Everything is in process for the purchase. Barring any unforeseen problems, we should close on the place before spring.

Marlene and I took a walk down to look our dream property over (again) on this brisk January day. That's Marlene all bundled up at the top of the page. Every time we go there, we get a better idea of what we're in for with this project.

I stopped by back in December when we had a thaw and rain. The inside of the house was leaking water like the Old Granville Place on George and Mary Bailey's honeymoon. The roof (without any roofing) will be the first challenge. All the OSB plywood will need to be removed. I will re-sheathe with plywood and then shingle.

When I built the house we now live in, our financial resources were such that I didn't put shingles on the roof for three years. We got by with heavy tarpaper, held in place with wood lath nailed over the edges. It did there job very well. 

We built the house with a $10,000 loan from my father-in-law and finished it little by slow, as we had the money. It was basically a little tarpapered house in the beginning. But we built a home with no bank loan and  minimal debt (which was soon paid off). I would do it the same way again if I had it to do again.

Well, come to think of it, I kind of am doing it again with this Old Farmhouse of Our Dreams. Planet Whizbang has earned us the money to buy the place for cash, much like when Marlene and I worked and saved when we were first married and paid cash to buy the 1.5 acre lot for our house. My father-in-law is not around to borrow money to get started, but the house (what there is of it) is already there. So now we will pay as we go to get it fixed up. If the home business continues to prosper, we might be able to have it done in ten years. I'll be 66 years old. That's my plan. 

I should point out that my plans don't always work out the way I want or expect them to. Sometimes God has other plans. And that's okay. In the final analysis, I trust in God's Providence (the outworking of His sovereign will in my daily life) more than I do in my own plans.

Future home of the Classic American Clothespin company?

Last fall I made two production runs of Classic American Clothespins in a 10ft x 10ft tent in my yard. One of the first things I'll do with the old house (aside from the new roof) is clean out the garage pictured above. The space will be put to use as a much needed place to make clothespins. There is even a saw already there….

If the clothespin idea takes off, I might just use the whole house as a manufacturing facility. Hey, check out this old wainscot in the garage….

What you're looking at in that picture is a horizontal board around 18" wide, with a beaded top edge, nailed on with cut nails. It is one of the only remaining bits of interior woodwork. Oh, how I wish I could have seen this old farmhouse back in the day.

The picture above shows the attic over the garage. The roof over the garage and mud room is metal and it is still doing a pretty good job. There is an enormous wasp nest directly over where I was standing to take the picture. I'll hoe that out  before spring comes.

That log structure in the picture above is in the back yard. I would classify it as "trapper cabin architecture." When Scott Terry tells stories on his Christian Farm and Homestead radio program about trapping in Alaska, I imagine he and Leah lived in a cabin just like that. :-)

My Thanks…

Thank you to Mrs. WaterBuck for posting A Review Of My Classic American Clothespins at the WaterBuck web site. The picture above shows two Classic Americans in a Granny's Clothespin Bag, which Mrs. WaterBuck makes from recycled denim britches. She also sells the bags for a downright reasonable price.

And thank you very much to "Canned Quilter" at Hickory Holler Farm for Such A Nice Review of my Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners!

While I'm at it, thanks also to those of you who sent me a Christmas card last year. And special thanks to David the Good down Florida way for sending me a genuine, original Planet Jr. wrench. That was quite a surprise.

Here's wishing all of you, my dear readers, a blessed New Year!


Sunnybrook Farm said...

Good luck on the old house, even if it were in better shape, you would still have to rip out most of it to do the work right so don't worry about what it looks like as it doesn't matter at this stage.
Have fun bringing it back to life.

You Can Call Me Jane said...

I'm so looking forward to watching your dream farmhouse journey unfold. A very happy new year to you and yours!

Survival Gardener, AKA David the Good said...

I'm a total sucker for old lumber and woodwork... I was horrified by some of the tear-outs I saw occur during the Great Federal Inflationary Housing Boom...

"Gee, these old wood cabinets look dated! Let's replace them all with slick Chinese crap with plastic fronts and faux nickle hardware!"

Brenda said...

It's good to have you back! May the Lord continue to bless you and your family in the coming year. May He grant you the desires of your heart.

Cynthia (C.L) Lewis said...

You will definitely have a treasure hunt on your hands when you clean out that garage. Think of the "waiting for a use" pile you will have. Thank you for being a good example of debt free, delayed gratification, hard working living with a few touches of ingenuity thrown in!

the canned quilter said...

May 2014 bring health and prosperity to you and yours. Thanks for the great book that is at present filling my snow filled winter nights with dreams of future gardening projects.

The Canned Quilter
Hickery Holler Farm

Herrick Kimball said...

Thank you, all.

Everett said...

Hi Herrick, Glad to see you back. Put a few thoughts here but when I went to sign in I'd forgotten my google password 'cause I'd never used it before. So while resetting itI lostthe whole comment!

Got a few pictures of our last Turkey butchering of the year. Wanted to show you my setup using a few of your ideas and tools. Should I just sent them to your email address?

Happy new year to you and Marlene. Best, Everett

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Everett,

I know how discouraging it is to spend some time writing something and then lose it. Sorry about that. Yes, send any pictures to my e-mail. I'd love to see what you've done. Thanks.

Tucanae Services said...

Good luck with the farmhouse! I read your six part series on economic survival, very good. We have Iranian neighbors who eventually fled the country after the revolution there. His observations track yours -- those who had productive land and used it faired pretty well during the hyperinflation. City folk were devastated.

Ann from KY said...

It is so awesome that you have the skills to fix up the old farmhouse!! I keep telling my children, that you NEED skills! So awesome that you don't have to do the bank mortgage game to do it either! wish we didn't have to!

Interesting article here about cost of home/value of money and how people could save up for a home.

Ann from KY

RonC said...

Google "Kachelofen" before you get too far into your re-build. I just ran across the concept this week and thought I'd pass the idea along.

Herrick Kimball said...


I looked into those masonry heaters many years ago and thought I would like to build one someday. But I forgot about them. This house would be a perfect opportunity to make one. I don't know if I will, but you have me thinking that I need to re-research the possibilities. Thanks!