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This Old Crack House

From log house to farmhouse. Farmhouse to townhouse. Townhouse to apartment house. Apartment house to crack house. Crack house to our house. Our house to our home.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Preparing for the Next Project


The next project involves getting this firebox rebuilt to accomodate the smaller opening. I bought 45 firebricks and two buckets of refractory mortar this week for the job. All I need now is some angle iron, an ash dump door and the most important thing, some TIME!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Walk in the Woods on Thanksgiving Day

We went to Sugercreek Metropark this afternoon for a walk in the woods. There are a couple of 500 year old oak trees in the woods there. There used to be three but one died several years back and some moron set fire to it and now it is laying on it's side. They are still called the "Three Sisters." We were surprised at how many people visited the park today. Besides hiking around the woods we took a stroll on the prairie walk when Elizabeth began to get fussy. It took us a while to figure out why she was so bored on this walk because this was our view from the path.



Then we got it. This was her view!



Reminds me of the one about the Fukarwee tribe of pygmies in darkest Africa. They got their name because they jump up and down in the tall grass shouting "Where the fukarwee! Where the fukarwee!"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Current Tax Evaluation Update (Hint: It Still Sucks!)

Remember a few weeks back how our real estate tax evaluation increased our property value 96% over last year? The price of everything around us has dropped. Metal and oil prices are down considerably? Well, I made an appointment to plead my case and explained that we don't have three and a half bathrooms, we only have one full bath that doesn't work. a half bath on the first floor that does work and a quarter bathroom on the second floor because I haven't installed the toilet and that room isn't functioning either because we don't have heat on the second floor and the pipes keep freezing. I also explained that the total square footage of the two floors that they count for tax purposes isn't 3970 but in fact 3631. I gave them pictures showing how the front porch is collapsing and we have an extension of the Amazon Rain Forest in our very own back yard yet alone in our bathroom when it rains and the walls blossom with mushrooms!

The guy told me that the value would be adjusted down and should come in about where I would expect it to. He said I would get notice of an adjustment within three weeks. That was six weeks ago! So I check the treasurer's website and noticed a few weeks ago that the value dropped $3000 when the correct number of bathrooms was listed. Last week the value dropped another $44,000 because they corrected the square footage and probably reclassified the condition of the property. Currently we are at a 43% increase over last year and $40,000 - $60,000 above everyone else on our side of the street who have finished, livable houses. I think we are about $60,000 higher than the other side of the street. This equates to a $600 increase in taxes for us every year. The house is worth little more than we paid for it in its current condition, even with all the work because it isn't any where near finished. I told the man if he wanted to appraise it $5000 dollars above what we paid I wouldn't argue but any higher and I would fight it. Especially when 5 properties adjoining ours are vacant and have been for several years. Currently we are $33,000 above last years tax value. They must have justified the increase because I finally rebuilt that chimney and put in the bulk head doors, which are the only improvements I have made in the last 12 months! So you know that economic stimulus check that we got back in June because we pay too many taxes to the Federal Government? Well, it looks like our local county auditor wants to claim ours. In January I can appeal my evaluation to the State. Looks like I might be doing that. I better go find where I packed up the boxing gloves!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is a Test of the Emergency Heating System

This is only a test. If this were a real emergency you would see cups of coffee and hot cocoa in the vicinity.



I need to replace the duct pipe with black stove pipe and I need to line the chimney ultimately but since it is clean and I don't plan on having to use this thing this winter I figured I should fire it up to see if there are holes anywhere in the stove or in the chimney! This old thing raised the temperature in the adjoining dining room from 50 degrees to 52 degrees in three hours. At this rate we might get up to 70 degrees by Christmas! The pellet stove is programmed to come on at 45 degrees. We don't know if it will work this winter because we haven't tested it yet. Hence the need for an emergency heat system .......
The thing seems to be working just fine. I didn't manage to burn down the house today and the upstairs rooms didn't fill up with smoke, which is a good thing, I think.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bulk Head Doors are Done!


These babies lock on the inside. Later in the week when it rains I will find out if water still floods into my basement or if these do the trick!