Farm Life: Projects on Country Time

Here in the country things get done… when they get done. While we know that we will always be “come here’s” (even after owning our property 30 years, having a cabin for 28, and living here 18). However, we have the option of being “country people” versus “city people”. The former is the highest complement that a local can give a come-here. The other… well, you will either never get your project done, or it will cost you a lot more to get it done.

Country-people recognize that they should listen to the locals to learn how something should be done. “If I were dong this…” should be heard as, “I’m not going to tell you what to do, but if you pay me to do what you are telling me to do, you are a fool”. Usually, the local people know why they would recommend X, Y, Z. They are just not going to go into detail to explain why. If you can’t see the reason…

City-people on the other hand, usually believe that their higher education, higher pay jobs, stock portfolios, well connected social status, and $70k vehicles (no, do not arrive in a Tesla, Range Rover, Cadillac SUV with VA, MD, or PA sporting a “Don’t Tread on Me” license plate out here) means that they call the shots. A local crew here will either give them exactly what they asked for, while taking the money and running (we have three ridiculously steep driveways in our association because that is what the city-people told the excavator to do… we have never seen those excavators back again), or their project will mysteriously never make its way up the list of the contractor.

A local contractor will usually have half a dozen or so other projects in line before a city-person’s projects. Stall long enough, and the city-person will get impatient and go away. Get rid of that headache once. Do not have multiple headaches by jumping each time the Ranger Rover’s owner honks their horn.

So, being a country-person is the way to get something done.

That might take a couple of months or years even. Or, maybe the crew will drive up the next day. No hurry. Our place will be here.

And, our place has been here, coming up on three decades. That means, remodeling time.

When we moved here nearly two decades ago, we did finish up or add some remodeling. We finished the kitchen cabinets. We had the screened in porch closed in for a dinning room. We built a garage and barn.

A few years back, we began reworking some rooms for more formal guest rooms. We now have “A Room With a View”, “The Two Much Fun Room”, and “Peach Blossom Suite” to accommodate our family & friends.

A couple of years ago, we decided that the downstairs bathroom was due for a make-over.

We had the bathtub removed. Instead a walk-in shower stall filled the space. The toilet was ready for an upgrade. The sink and mis-matched cabinet (yes, the “store deal” which had two different cabinet door styles) was ready for burning. While we were at it, we had the great room downstairs tiled, with the same tile going right into the bathroom.

As this was an indoor project, we let the contractor know that we could wait for cooler weather, when his crew would prefer to not be framing additions to houses. Come winter, it was time to start tearing out the tub, leveling the floor, and moving walls and plumbing. In a few weeks, we had a cozier downstairs.

We call the shower stall “The Roman Grotto”. It has a stone sloping floor with no threshold, floor to ceiling tile walls, clear window (like, who is going to be walking around our yard looking in our shower in the middle of the forest?), and built in seat and niche for all our shampoo and soap needs.

Building the vanity and sink became my project. I took one of the cherry boards (1”x11”x8.5’) stored out in the garage, sanded it down, cut it in half and secured the two pieces together for a four foot, six inch long top. As it was cut with a three or four foot diameter saw mill blade, I left some of those semi-circular markings visible for a rough effect. I built the frame from smaller dimension cherry boards, put in shelving, and enclosed it with doors made from similar grade pine boards.

The sink is a glass vessel sink, with single pump handle.

To add a woodsy aesthetic, I cut floor to ceiling length limbs from our pear tree (it needed trimming anyway), removed the bark, and cut them to fit on the corners. To secure these to the walls, I used four inch cross slabs from small oak and maple trees which became shelves on which I attached used tea-tin boxes to hold brushes, perfume bottles, etc. One, thick branch became a grab-bar next to the shower.

That all happened in 2019 and early 2020. The bathroom has been quite serviceable. But, a final touch was missing. A mirror.

We knew a wood worker who made just the style mirror that we wanted. We saw him every year at a local artist event held on the weekend of the 4th of July. We had intended to buy a mirror at the show in 2020. But, a pandemic got in the way.

So, we waited. A year and a half went by with a temporary mirror leaning behind the sink in a not-too-useful fashion.

And, this past 4th of July, we caught up with the wood worker. We made sure that we arrived first thing of the opening of the show. We needed only about a minute for both of us to say “That’s the mirror” (along with an end table, but that is another project story). Within minutes of writing the check and having the “sold” sticker placed our acquisition, someone else came in and lamented “I love that mirror, but it’s sold already”. We were on to decorative pillows by then.

We have a tall friend whose usual guest room is next to this bathroom. We held onto the mirror until he visited to be sure that we hung it at a height that would be beneficial to him and us.

Our project is complete… on country time.

Now, let’s line up some more projects… there is tiling the rooms downstairs, replacing the deck, remodeling the upstairs bathroom… when we ‘round-to-it.

About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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4 Responses to Farm Life: Projects on Country Time

  1. I like your perception of time!

  2. I love this post! What a good outcome, mirror and all. And what you say about country life – so true. We had a neighbour right next door, who had great difficulty hiring local workmen, and when they came, she was unhappy with the work and let them know. We, meanwhile, never had that problem.

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