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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

More Storm Windows - Replacing Broken Sash Cords with Old Window Weights

My last blog dealt with changing out the two front storm windows on our 103+ year old home. We are replacing six ugly old silver aluminum storm windows with nice new white ones.

Now we moved over to the north side of the home, to change the two storm windows in my sewing room. But first-----

Sash cords! Anyone with an old house knows that the old wooden windows operate with a system of heavy weights that run up and down inside of the window casing. They are held into place with rope, called sash cord. They run over a pulley, going up and down within the window frame and help to raise and lower the heavy wooden windows. Ingenious!

Steve and I have already replaced a couple of the broken sash cords over the last 4 years, so we knew what to do. One of the windows in the sewing room had only one broken cord, but the other one had two. We had been propping it up with a wooden stick any time that we wanted it open. Well, those days are gone, it's time to fix the cords!

Here are the two broken pieces of cord 
at the top edge of the lower window, 
on each side.

The first step is to remove the lower window. To do that, you need to carefully unscrew these four screws in this wooden strip on each side of the window casing. That holds the window into place. These strips also are adjustable forward and backwards a little bit to keep the window from rattling, or from binding up too tight. By unscrewing them and shifting it a little ways in either direction, you can fine tune the windows to operate properly.

We removed the window 
and here are the two broken pieces of sash cord. 
Over years, they rot and fray, 
necessitating replacement.

While Steve had the window out he replaced some of the loose glazing on the edges. While that dried and firmed up, we were able to replace the sash cord on each side of that window's casing.

Now we need to access the window weights that fell down in the casing. If you look carefully along the side of the casing there will be a rectangular outline and a single screw. Unscrewing that allows the piece of slanted wood to come out. Now you can access to the window weight and the space that it travels up and down in.

Using real sash cord, do not use clothes line because that will stretch. I also use sash cord on my weaving looms for the ropes and pulley systems. It's much more firmly woven than regular clothes line. Measure the new piece to match up to the broken pieces.  Tie a firm double knot lump on one end, and feed the free end down over the pulley and into the window casing.  Sometimes it helps to hang a little fishing weight on a string to get down first, then tie that string to the cord and pull it from the bottom though the space.

Now tie the loose end of the cord to the weight. It's important to tie a good firm double knot on the window weights because otherwise they can fall down in the casing, or even deeper down into the wall. Then you are really screwed!

Once the weight and cord is in place, and the rectangle of slanted wood covering the access hole, the window can be put back in. Carefully put each knotted top cord into the edge of the window and run the cord up in the side groove to the top surface. Now the window can be set into place in the casing.  This works better with two people, one holding the window and one arranging the cords into place.

SEE?  All new cords and ready
to slide back into the window casing.

Carefully holding the window firmly in place, now the wooden strips can be put back on each side. The way the heads of the screws are encased with a ribbed washer spacer, you can shove the board either forward or backwards to allow it to hold the window snuggly without rattling, but not too tight that it binds up.

There, all done! 
The window weights and sash cords 
are fully operational now on this window.

Now that the window is working properly, it's time for our original project--- replacing the outside storm windows.

We are fortunate that there is a roof below this pair of windows to stand on. It is the bump out roof of the bay window from our dining room below. Steve is able to just step right out through the window and stand out there on the roof to work.

He first had to remove the ugly old aluminum storm and screen combination from the exterior surface. Many of the screws are stripped or gunked up with paint and don't come out very well. He had to use a pliers to grip the screw heads and snapped them off on many of the windows.

He was being a smart talker while doing this, so I threatened to shut and lock the windows and leave him out there!  Sometimes he gets a little big for his britches????

That would be a long jump down 
or a prickly one,
 landing in the bushes.

The weather has been extremely accommodating each time we have decided to work on the windows. Temps in the mid-seventies, light breeze, and no mosquitoes!

He did drop one tool that I had to go outside and down around into the bushes to find it. See? That's what I get for being the "Gopher"!  I think he might have done it on purpose?  Heh heh.  The previous owners who grew up here in this house suggested she come and teach Steve how to sneak in and out of those bedroom windows. She did it plenty of times when she was a teenager! LOL !!!

Remember in my last blog when I mentioned about the hail storms? Some really awful storms had passed through Chilton 17 years ago. The storm stalled right over the town for 30-40 minutes and hailed onto everything with disastrous results.

It was reported that the storm produced 120 mph (190 km/h) straight line winds. The National Weather Service reported that at least 75 mph (121 km/h) wind gusts were achieved.[6] Residents who were in St. Nazianz as the storm hit said that it went from noon light to midnight darkness in a matter of seconds.
The storm roughly followed U.S. Route 151, with St. Nazianz and Chilton receiving the worst of the damage, caused largely by wind and hail. The hail ranged from golf ball-size to baseball-size. Many houses were destroyed by the storm, while others sustained major damage. Many cars were totaled or needed hail damage repair. The total damage caused by this storm to St. Nazianz and surrounding areas was estimated at $122 million.[6] It was the state's first storm to exceed $100 million in damage.[7] No casualties were caused by the storm. 

Many homes had roofs and siding and most of their windows replaced, and ours were done by the previous owners. Most of the 27 storm windows on our home were replaced. The ones we are doing now are the last 6 so they match.

This window ledge still shows you just how bad the hail hammered down. No wonder the windows broke!

Finnegan offered to help with the windows, but Binney hates the sound of the window cleaner spray can, so she booked it downstairs to keep a safe distance from that can.

Soon the storm windows were all back into place, and I was able to hang up the curtains in my sewing room. I have a collection of little stained glass suncatchers, so those were arranged all around. As I sew in this room I can look outside, but there's not a lot of visual interest other than the neighbor's house next door. By putting all the beautiful little suncatchers on the window, the light filters in with pretty dazzling colors.

Steve help me put my quilting frame and table back into place, and I was able to reorganize things back into their proper positions.

Well, that's two more windows done. We have two more windows to go in the guest room and we'll finish those up probably tonight after Steve is home from work.


A quick side note.... sadly, our friend passed away on Tuesday.  We have known each other since school days, and Steve and I stood up in their wedding. He is leaving behind a loving wife, caring grown children and sweet grandchildren.  We sympathize with his family and we hope to make it to to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan next Tuesday for the funeral. It is hard to say Good-bye, but also we want to support the family left behind. May you rest in peace, Dave.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Our Old House Project - Replacing Storm Windows

Another Our Old House Project here....  this time, Storm Windows!

Our house has 27 windows, not counting the 13 on the front porch. If I include those, that makes 40 windows in all!

The interior windows are lovely old wooden ones, with the patina and varnish of 103+ years gracing the woodwork.  We will never ever change those. The wood trim adds to the theme of the crown mouldings and high mop boards of our home.

I love these old turn locks
and the handle lifts 
on the old interior windows.  

The previous owners had replaced some of the exterior storms over the last few years after a big hail storm, I imagine due to damage.  So all of the storm windows were replaced except for six windows.  (I guess because they hadn't been damaged by the hail?)

Two windows on the upper front of the house (our master bedroom) along with 2 along the south (the guest bedroom) and 2 along the north (my sewing room) ... Those six are still ugly old silver aluminum, with sticking latches and worn tracks that let the storm windows rattle with the wind.
See the two up high on the second story? 

(Plus, I think that they look ugly)

Time to make a change.

A few weeks ago, after careful measuring, we ordered 6 new exterior storm replacement windows. They had to be made to the exact size so they needed to be special ordered. These new ones will be WHITE and will match the other exterior storm windows and trim on the rest of the house. 

We got an email on Tuesday while we were camping that the windows were in. You know Steve, we had to rush home and go get those windows. Mister Zoom Zoom.

Here are two of the new storms that he carried up to the bedroom to get started on replacing the old ones. It was my job to wash them up in advance, and also wash the interior windows before he began the installation.

We are fortunate that the two front bedroom ones are right over the roof of the front porch. All that my Mr. Zoom Zoom has to do is step out onto the roof to work on these windows. 

He removed the old storm frames and started scraping away at any of the flaking paint or old glazing caulk between the two windows. Of course it ended up all over the brown roof shingles. Our neighbors must have thought we were nuts to see my husband with the Shop-Vac, sucking up all the paint chips and leftover window glazing pieces from our roof!

He fixed the missing pieces of glazing on the outside surface of the interior windows, and washed them to remove all the accumulated dirt WOW... we can see through them now!

We dry fitted the new storms into place to be sure they were exactly the right size. Then he put a very generous bead of silicone caulk all of the way around to attach it on the sides and the top. The bottom edge has a slider spacer to allow weeping in case of rain buildup between the interior and exterior windows.  He then screwed the frames down into place with the long white screws to secure them to the window casings.

We slid in the new windows and screens with a nice firm click click click,
and they don't rattle like the old ones did!

Once he got the windows all screwed into place, now it was my job to clean up the space in between the interior and exterior windows. They sure were grubby, take a look at these "BEFORE" pics:

After scraping, I added a fresh coat of primer 
and then white paint 
--- it really made a difference!

Here we are,
 nice new fresh storm windows and screens in our bedroom. 
Two windows down, 
four more to go.

And I think it looks a lot better, don't you?

We didn't get around to doing the other four windows over the weekend, because our littlest granddaughter Claire was here to spend Saturday and Sunday with us.

Along with her two doggies, Biscuit and Ewok.

It sure was a lot of fun having our youngest grandchild to visit and give her some special one-on-one time. When we have all 7 grandkids visiting, it's kind of hectic and the babies can't be down on the floor with so many others running around.

We even went out to the motorhome to "help" Grandfadddah install the remote panel unit for the inverter that we replaced the other day.  While he put in the wires and screws, this silly little girl was getting her toes tickled by my lint brush!  She kept putting her toes up for more more more .....


She is almost 10 months old now, and had a preemie start in life.  I am happy to say all is going good and she is thriving.  I love watching her discover things and using her little fingers to explore with great small motor dexterity.  Here she is clicking her tiny teeth in the metal edge of the little toy Strawberry Shortcake dishes.

I really feel she is developing her MOTHER'S personality! 

Her parents came about 3 p.m. to pick her up to take her home. It was fun for us to have her here, but tiring as well. With both of us getting close to sixty years old, these Wee Ones really take a lot of energy.

We did manage a nice walk with the dogs around a couple of blocks, before coming home and crashing on the couch for the rest of the evening.

Monday, today, is a new day. Steve is off driving his old fart party bus this morning, but only until noon or 1 p.m. Knowing him, since the temperatures are in the mid-70s today, we will be upstairs and attacking the windows in the sewing room next.  I already went up and cleared away anything that is underneath the windows and moved my big quilting frame table to make room.

When Mr Zoom Zoom starts a project,
 get out of his way, 
clear the decks, 
and be ready to assist.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

CAMPING - HIgh Cliff State Park in Sherwood, WI

Last weekend we were sitting around on Saturday morning. Can you imagine, WITH NOTHING TO DO?????    So I checked with our good buddies at High Cliff if there were any open campsites, which sometimes happens if there is a cancellation.  Yup... there was one open!  Soooooo in half an hour flat, we tossed in some groceries, some dog food, a few extra clothes (we keep a lot in the rig) and off we went to High Cliff State Park!   (on the NE corner of Lake Winnebago, just east of Appleton, WI.)

As most of you blog readers know, Steve retired from the park in January.  We still like to go back and hang out and visit with the rangers and staff.  This is our first time camping there for this season, and it was like Old Home Week.  The Rangers, the Camp Hosts, and even the Park Superintendent stopped by our campsite to visit.

High Cliff is situated on part of the Niagara Escarpment and it built on the remains of an old Lime Kiln processing facility and mine.  The park is large and narrow, encompassing almost 1,200 acres.

Here is their website: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/highcliff/

Campsites with electric are $28 for WI residents and $33 for non-residents
Campsites without electric are $18 for WI residents and $23 for non-residents.

We are pretty proud of this park, and it's like our home base a lot of the first year we were full-time in our motorhome.  We could stay two weeks and then had to move out for a few weeks to the county park nearby, then move back again.  Steve worked here for 4 and 1/2 years before retiring in January 2017.

We decorated up our campsite, set out our lawn chairs, put up our signs and flags, got the awning put up, hung out our camp lights ---- all settled in for three or four days.


Yep, this looks like home to me. Kind of fun to camp with electricity again and run the party lights out on the awning. We do turn them off at night. These draw more wattage than our other set, so we only use them when we have electrical hookups.  The other set are LED and draw much less and we put those up when boondocking.

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon, so I brought out my sewing machine and set it up on the picnic table. I keep this sewing machine in the motorhome closet all of the time, along with enough tools and material, etc. to sew on things when I want.  Less having to pack up when we go on the spur of the moment, like this weekend.  I was working on some little hot pads for a friend of mine, and just putzing and puttering around.

These came out kind of cute. I guess it's supposed to be roses or tulips? It is called paper piecing and then I use two layers of Insulbrite batting in the middle for better protection from the heat when using them on hot handles or baking pans.

The doggies settled in by our chairs and are Good Campground Doggies. I found one of these big carbiener hooks, bought at Home Depot, secures their leash handles right to our lawn chair. Very handy instead of tying them up to things.

They learn to not bark too often at passerbys, but sometimes when they see other dogs they get pretty excited. We try to keep them quiet and shush them and keep them close to us when sitting outside. They are never left outside unattended, and go back inside the motorhome with us. We try to be very good pet owners when camping in public places.

We are enjoying our new oven as well as the four burner cooktop on the stove that we installed aa few weeks ago.  The four burners are nice on top, compared to the two we were limited with before.  The propane oven is a nice alternative. Before we only had the microwave/convection combo. We made lasagna and also used it to brown up some barbecue sauce on ribs that I made in our electric pressure cooker.

On Sunday morning, our friend Vicki came out with her two Shetland Sheepdogs, Tara and Stuart. She enjoys walking out on the trails at High Cliff with the dogs, and we have joined her a number of times to go walking.

At one time, part of the campground had been part of a farm. The old stone walls remain and they make a nice border along a couple of the walking paths. We lined up the dogs and told them to sit and managed to snap this picture with all of them looking in the same direction.

(Left to right: Tara, Stuart, Binney, and Finney)

I made a map of of how far we walked on the trails. It was a pretty hot humid morning but we still managed almost 3 miles. Most of the trails are underneath the shady canopy of beautiful trees so it wasn't too bad.

There is a blossoming romance between Binney and Stuart. Binney on the left and Stuart on the right. Don't worry, both are neutered/spayed so there will never ever be puppies in their lives.

I wore my appropriate accessories for dog walking, which include these wonderful socks given to me by my friend Linda from Tennessee.

After our walk was done, Little Stuart was totally exhausted and fell asleep in Vicky's arms. He is just over a year old and this was a big day for him.  All of the dogs relaxed and drank plenty of water before napping.

Tara was pretty tuckered out as well and curled up at Vicky's feet to snooze for a while while we sat and relaxed under the awning.

Later that evening, the rain clouds moved in, so there was not going to be a campfire that night. We snuggled in our cozy motorhome. Steve watched a good movie while I did some more sewing. The dogs curl up in their little area under the dash. Home sweet home.

He looks pretty relaxed, doesn't he? 
He said it's kind of nice being retired.

Although, the next day the park workers had a problem with the big wide mower. One of the volunteers was using it and suddenly something broke. Steve buzzed on over to the shop and worked on it for a couple hours. He sent someone off for parts and had it back in shipshape and ready to mow again. Once a maintenance man, always a maintenance man!

We rolled back into town on Tuesday afternoon. A shipment had arrived at our home for our next project that I will write about in the next blog.


Today, Saturday, a wee little munchkin came to spend the weekend with us---along with her two furball doggies. This is Claire, our youngest grandchild.


I collect blown glass paperweights. 
The grandtots love to play with them, being glass and all. 
Like a forbidden object they usually can't touch....
but at Grandmuddah's House, they sure can! 

She came along with her two fur balls named Ewok and Biscuit. They have all had a good runaround the back yard and are now begging Steve for some of his breakfast.  "Bacon Bacon Bacon" is what they say....

The dogs are all good around the kiddos, and ours give curious sniffs and then avoidance to not get their fur pulled.  Claire makes a beeline to their doggie tags and hangs on tight and the dogs are trapped! hahaha  The dogs soon learn to jump up on the couch out of her reach.   Smart Doggies!

It is nap time now, so I had a chance to write up this blog. We will have our hands full today and tomorrow with these three visitors in our home.  No projects going on, but I do have one we did during the week to write another blog about.