Sunday, April 29, 2012

Painted Stairs


We’ve made more progress this week…


The stairs have been primed (3 coats) and the first coat of trim paint is on…




Glenn has been able to get more done in the girls’ closet…





          IMG_0064             IMG_0012

The one on the right is before insulation and paneling – the left is after.  Obviously, we’re not finished yet – but we’re getting there!


And we’re done (we think) with the demolition portion of the fireplace.  Next week the brick mason, Mr. Edens, comes to build the new fireplace (using all of the old bricks), and then Glenn will finish it.


So here’s one last “before” look..


And the current “after”. 



All the stones are currently resting on the front porch after their removal ordeal.




More pictures of the basement soon! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kate’s View: Post #2 Date: 4/26/12, Thursday

Hi again! Yes, I am back!

Open-mouthed smile

I was looking at all the emoticons and I saw one that looked almost exactly like Totorico… Cat face and another which was a dog that looked like Samson…Dog face Isn’t that hilarious?

So… about Kenilworth. Lots is happening… too much for me to write down! So, the clever person I am,Winking smile I have decided to write about our games… what we kids do when we’re not working.

WELL, we love to play with the tree house, and there is a big stick and a blue bucket we use A LOT. The big stick is used as a giant spoon to stir “soup” in the “pot” which is the blue bucket. To make the soup, we have lots of ingredients to make it look tasty… well, as tasty as pretend soup can look! Here’s our favorite recipe:

2 gallons hot water
1 gourd bowl of “spice” (crushed bricks)
4 gourd bowl of “herb” (wild ferns)
as many helicopter leaves as you feel like gathering
about 5 chopped up wild onions

First, add up all of the dry ingredients, except the helicopter leaves, and mix them together. Then put aside. Meanwhile, have someone get the water. After water is fetched, put the helicopter leaves into the water… let them soak for about 5 minutes. When finished soaking, add dry ingredients into the water and stir it up, keep stirring until dinnertime, pour or ladle into gourd or pumpkin bowls. Enjoy!

IMG_9757 Here is a picture of TRENTIE!!!!!!! *swoons*

Sorry, that was kind of random, but, WARNING: THIS IS A BIG SURPRISE! I just ADORE Trent!

WE also like to swing, jump rope, slide, play freeze tag, normal tag, kickball, and a game I made up called “Baby tag.” No, it has nothing to do with babies. So, two people are the taggers and 4 or more people can play… when the taggers are chosen they give the other players 10 seconds to run and then start running and shouting, “No! COME BACK!!!! YOU ARE SO PRETTY! JUST LOOK AT THOSE EYES-EYES-eyes….” It’s kind of like the taggers are spiders and the other players are flies… they try to flatter the flies into coming to them, or at least slowing down. If you are tagged, you become a “spider” or another tagger… the last person to become a “spider” is it. Soon, we will be able to have another choice of play… a zip-line! Daddy’s going to make a huge platform on a huge tree in the back that was trimmed… it doesn’t have any branches anymore. But it’s HUGE!!! The zip-line is going to go all the way to a tree near to the weeping cherry tree! So that’s a long zip-line! Well, there is still lots of play and work ahead, so I’ll be writing again soon! Open-mouthed smile


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Last night at Kenilworth by Isabella Faith Orr

last night Kate and Olivia left to go to ballet but Alix came to Kenilworth with Dad and me and Sophia me and Alix picked some asparagus and the strawberries were doing Great! But their only flowers. There was a hug FAT asparagus it was HUG you can ask Mommy or Daddy. Then Mom arrived to pick-up alix. Right as Mom was leaving I asked her if she had brought Olivia she said no I was SO sad because I wanted Olivia to bike with me. After she left I dicided to go see Reco when Mom got back She was SO inppresed of how mch work Dad and the Boys got done! Dads REALLY close to getting the closet done he said so.

                                       Love Isabella Faith Orr


IMG_9892 This is the fireplace.









And these two are Me!



Friday, April 20, 2012


It’s been a busy week, and we’ve taken a few more pictures of the many things we’re working on at Kenilworth.

Nothing else is finished, but lots of things are started! 



Like the new closet door opening for the twins’ and Olivia’s room.  Old door opening on the right.  New door opening on the left.  That little door there on the right was made so long ago, it doesn’t have nails – just little pegs!  Not sure what we’ll do with it yet..surely we can use it somewhere….


The fireplace has gone from this…




to this…



to this!



Not exactly new and improved.. yet!



We’ve been in the basement the last few days – pouring more concrete leveler, priming the new wood steps and, putting up the rest of the insulation in the ceiling, and….

last night Glenn and the boys began construction of the closet and walls!  Yippee!  No shots of that yet, but later this weekend…. definitely!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Basement stairs


Glenn and the boys have been hard at work in the basement.  To make a new set of (safe) stairs to the basement, they had to jackhammer part of the old concrete ones away. 

That jackhammer has seen a lot of action in a short amount of time!

So here is how things were looking a few days ago.





This shot is taken looking down into the basement from the top step.  The black hat is on the landing, and the bright blue sliver is the basement floor – with score marks on it to help the cement leveler stick to it.


They’re making progress!  So “after” shots will come soon… stay tuned..

Old trees

Two of our old trees were cut down this past Monday.  Even though we hardly knew them, I felt a little sorry for them.  One of them didn’t seem as “dead” to me as we were told, so it was hard not to feel a tiny bit bitter… especially since we found an owl’s nest with one intact egg in it afterwards.  But one had a dangerous amount of large dead limbs in the top – and it’s critical root system is where the barn is going.

Part of our deal with the tree service was that they would cut them down, and then we would clean up afterwards.  I really never imagined how many branches there would be…  Our burnpile glowed all afternoon and late at night.  In fact, we’ve had it going every day this week.  We have a huge long row of fat round logs, and lots of new stumps to sit on around our extra large fire pit.  A perfect place for a big bonfire with marshmallows roasting.

The kids were just fabulous moving all the branches.  I worked them hard!  And they didn’t complain, at least not when I could hear.. Thanks, Guys!  I love you all!  (and yes, Kate, I’m sure part of our plan for a big family was for the slave labor!)


That’s the burn pile way back in the back – notice how high it is! 




  Alix is sitting big!




IMG_2911        This is just one of the trees!



Although it looks like a big branch, it’s dead!  It didn’t weigh too much.





  The twins weren’t quite as productive as they could have been since they wanted to hold hands the whole time.  Oh well!  They looked really cute!






See! We had fun and built muscles!

Monday, April 9, 2012

egress window–check!

Before and After!









Oh Yes!!!!  Winking smile

Grey doors and Cousins

Glenn got the dining room door finished – he did a great job!  So here’s a before and after shot, plus one of the doors that lead out from the kitchen.  I painted those, too.







Olivia wanted to be in this shot… she’s happy and excited… really!







We had all our Orr cousins to Kenilworth for Easter on Saturday.  Although it was a little chilly, we had a great time.  Prep was pretty easy – vacuum the floors, wash the floors with vinegar and water – just to get rid of the concrete dust from the basement jackhammering which had settled over the entire house.  Set up tables and cut some flowers.


This was taken just before everyone came.  That table, as was all available counter space, was soon loaded with food.   The backyard worked out great for lots of tables and chairs, courtesy of Clint and Marianne, Bobby and Julia.  Thanks, Guys!


The girls made flower wreaths from the phlox at Kenilworth to wear to church in honor of Resurrection Lord’s Day!

He is Risen!

He is Risen indeed!

Resurrection Lords Day A.K.A. Easter

By Noah Orr

4/9/2012 10:52 AM

First we went to church, which was about an hour and a half.  Next we drove home, where some of the kids got their stuff.  I simply grabbed my double-bladed NERF sword, my axe, my assault rifle, and my LEGO dune buggy.  Then we zipped to Grandma and Grandpa’s, an hour drive.  I leapt out – well, staggered out – of the van, holding my stuff.  I managed to get them all into my left hand and took the sweet potato casserole.  I immediately began playing with Mason.  The cool thing about my sword is that it can split into two swords.  Here’s me and Isabella sword fighting.


Here’s another one…only Trent found another way to use the sword!


We played Capture the Flag three times, two of which were failures on both sides.  Y’ see, the sides were Boys vs. Girls.  Isabella finally snuck around the barn and got the flag, which was one of my swords.  Then she dashed past Avery, Isaac, me, Evan, and Mason.  We were caught by surprise!

We watched Lady and the Tramp II and part of Ice Age.  Then we left.  Luke, Olivia, and me kept getting squished on the hard turns.  We were all in the back seat.  When we went left, the car went right.  When the car went left, we went right, my side.

Anyway, I’ve had a nice day, so ta-ta!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Basement Projects


Kenilworth is a great house, and for 150+ years old, it’s in splendid shape. With that said, some things just happen over time that need fixing.

First and foremost was the crawlspace/beam project. Our building inspector found that 2 beams on the southwest corner of the house were in significant disrepair (which was the cause for some sagging of the first floor in that quarter of the house). We dug a channel in the dirt to allow better access to the beams, removing the waste with 5-gallon buckets. We also noticed two 18x18 hand-hewn beams that were in excellent shape, which was quite impressive to say the least. After taking a brief look, we headed to Menards and picked up a stack of 2x6 treated pine, 6 concrete blocks (which saved literally days if not an entire week of time – they’re just drop-in rather than pour-in), 6 18-ton house jacks, and 1 12-ton bottle jack. Using HeaderLok screws to create laminated 6x6s out of the 2x6s, we prepped the jacks and assembled them in the basement. After furher investigation in the crawlspace, we found that the previous “beams” were 2x4s laid flat on stacked bricks – virtually no supporting strength to hold anything bigger than an average man.


We attempted to place the blocks level and realized we would have to dig down about 2 feet (18 inch diameter holes) to fit the jacks in, so we began that process. After a couple days, we were able to bring the beams in with some difficulty and get them up on our jacks (3 jacks per beam) and placed our bottle jack under one to begin.


To wrap things up (pun intended), we laid down Visqueen plastic sheeting to give the crawlspace some sealing from the dirt.


Project #2: The Egress Window.

An old basement window was in place, but it was quite shy of minimum sizes for egress windows at roughly 18 inches tall by 30 wide. We removed landscaping timbers used in place of a window well, 6 inches of gravel, and about 5 feet of dirt to create enough room for a bigger window. Along the way, we found an extremely annoying concrete ledge about 2 feet wide and 2 feet deep (it apparently goes all the way around the house). We eventually jackhammered it out, removed the window, and cut the hole for our window. After that, we had to jackhammer the hole our because the concrete saw wouldn’t cut deep enough. After about 2 weeks, we have our window in place and sealed!


After backfilling around the well (which is bolted with 4 1/2-inch bolts to the concrete), we poured some concrete pillars to hold up our ledger (not shown), cut landscaping timbers to bring the well up to dirt height, put river rock in between the timbers and the well (and at the bottom of the well), and filled in around that. Next we’ll be leveling the floor.

That’s all for now folks!

Luke Orr