Trenches & Drywall

First off, I have to say thanks to everyone who read and commented on my post earlier this week, which was a little bit of a departure from the usual sawdust and beer and hugging chickens that goes on around here, but no less a part of my story. In some ways I feel like my whole life is one big deviation from “the the stories we usually hear” and I suppose that’s why I’m compelled to share, and to be as authentic about it as possible (without, you know, oversharing.) And it’s always humbling to hear that my words resonate with other people, too. So, you know, thanks for being awesome people to share my stories with.

**Now back to our regularly scheduled sawdust and beer. And chickens.**

I haven’t been spending all my time lately being philosophical about the farm and life choices, I’ve also been working my ass off.


Not literally.

There have been some ass-related projects going on though, like this…


That’s a trench from the electrical service to the barn, which means LIGHTS IN THE BARN. And not needing to stretch 200′ of extension cord out there for the water heaters in winter.

This was something I meant to do two years ago, and I even brought the local electrician out to quote the work back before the donkeys came to the farm. (It was a fun little interview in which he told me “The only things that will give you trouble in life have tits, tires, or wires.” and to which I responded, “Only if you don’t know what to do with them.” So that was the beginning and end of our working relationship.)

A few months ago I renewed my search for an electrician that would make the drive out to the middle of nowhere, preferably one that wouldn’t tempt me to teach them manners with the business end of my four-pound sledge. Luckily I found a great, trustworthy guy who was happy to do the work…


We’re running a new line from the pole to the barn, installing a few lights and outlets in there, and then replacing this badly frayed wire on the pole…


And also replacing the solenoid in the flood light (which has been annoyingly turning itself on and off every 90 seconds for the last 2 years.)

It’s been difficult not having good subs to call on when I need to offload some of my projects on to a pro, but I’ve finally found great HVAC, plumbing, and now, hopefully, electrical guys, which makes me feel a lot better about some of the bigger house-projects I have on the horizon.

And, speaking of house projects, I’ve been making a concerted effort to put and hour or two in on the bathroom whenever I can, and I’m happy to say we’ve graduated from “constantly tearing shit apart” to “re-building.” Which, right now, is mostly drywall work.


For example, patching the holes that were cut to wedge the new tub into place. (I used the same method I use for smaller holes. Cut a square patch larger than the hole, trace it on to the wall, and then cut the wall to fit the patch instead of the other way around. Works wonders.)

I replaced the green board around the tub surround that was torn out when the old tub came out. (I don’t put much stock in “mold-resistant” wall board myself, but these sheets were in great shape and easy enough to reuse.)


I also finished re-framing the wall I tore out here. And then I needed to put a new box in for the light switch (and wired in a new switch, while I was at it.)


All of the pictures of the bathroom are going to have that awesome hazy glow for a while because DRYWALL DUST. EVERYWHERE.


My oscillating saw has actually become my new favorite tool for drywall work (sorry RotoZip) because I can shave small amounts of drywall off to get a good fit, which is notoriously hard with a utility knife or a round cutting bit.


I just have a few small spots to hang wall board, and everything needs to be taped and mudded, but I might even be ready for paint by the end of the weekend. And then it’s on to tile! (Finally.)

And, because I promised…


Which is how you know that all is well on the farm.

18 Responses

  1. A fitting email for a Friday. Have a great weekend and I look forward to reading more tales from Black Feather Farm next week.

  2. So it isn’t just my hometown where subcontractors are like “I don’t really need this job”???? They just seem so unhappy to come out and give an estimate. Getting them to return a phone call is a minor miracle. Is the economy so good that they don’t need the work?

    1. Or IF (and a big one at that) they do respond… just say it is too small of a job or they don’t want to work on old houses instead of just jacking up the price so high, or never getting back to you period. We are willing to pay in thirds or through the job to keep the worker eating and able to pay for the materials… and you would think we wanted a trip to the moon. Once we have stated a job requirements, we don’t make too many changes either. Past aggravating all around.

  3. I am going to have to try my multi-tool thing for drywall, never thought of it. Thanks for the idea.

  4. Woq, I have to say, good come back with the electrician!! I would have fired his ass too!! Looks like vathroom is comi g along!! Cant wait to see the tle work!! Need to replace tub for pre fab surround shower insert. No one here yses the tub anymore- have 3 boys- showers all the way!! Maybe some day Ill have an attacjed bathroom off my bedroom with an awesome tub!! Some day!!!

  5. “The only things that will give you trouble in life have tits, tires, or wires.” and to which I responded, “Only if you don’t know what to do with them.” …. Best quote EVER. I love it! I’ve had some fun finding contractors too, and agree with a a previous commenter who wondered if the economy is THAT good that they don’t need to return phone calls. Yeesh. Glad to hear you found some good help though!

  6. I don’t know why some contractors think insulting women is okay. They really must not need the work.

    About that drywall dust. How about putting a portable air purifier in there?

  7. Great come back to the sexist cad who has no professionalism or scruples, cares none about building his business or the customers.
    I’ve had similar success getting estimates for some concrete mud jacking because the job was smaller and I’m north of the big city in the middle of nowhere along the Wapsi river. Never owning a roto-zip, I used my osscilating saw on all my dry wall as well as the OSB I placed under it to get the windows to flush out with the dry wall. The previous owner was going to do the inside with ribbed steel building liner, put 15 ft.on and I changed it to dry wall. It’s very well sealed and insulated now.
    Love, Dreams, Gut Feelings,
    yeah…some choices must only come from within, no one can really help much on making them and usually don’t want to. Sometimes a persons got to do what a persons got to do.
    Daily chores will be easier with power where you need it. Can’t wait to see the bathroom when it’s done. Be well, constant growth and awesome sunset chicken photo!

  8. At the risk of sounding unoriginal, totally awesome comeback!

    Are you lucky enough that all the plaster and lath has been replaced with drywall in your house? Our old farmhouse has really thick reinforced plaster that makes all remodeling efforts something special!

    I love your spirit, Kit!

  9. “Cut a square patch larger than the hole, trace it on to the wall, and then cut the wall to fit the patch instead of the other way around. Works wonders.”

    This I’ll have to remember when I need to patch drywall. Pure genius!

  10. So I see you have your floors preped for tile with some hardie backer board and… HOW DO YOU CUT IT EFFICIENTLY????? I’ve suffered through the scoring it with a razor and snapping it bit, but it’s terrible and the edges look real jankey. Please help!

  11. I am guessing we need the same thing done to our dusk to dawn light! It goes on and off all night long.

    Why do you not care for green board? Just curious, since we just installed it in our bathroom. Is there something else we should have used?

    1. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with green board, it’s just more expensive and I don’t feel that it does anything different in practical applications than regular drywall. I’ve used it before, but I really don’t anymore, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using it!

      1. Ok! Yes, it is more expensive and I had always heard that it is what you should use around the shower area, so that is what we used. I was just wondering if maybe there was some new info that I was not up to date on! Thanks!

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.