Reclaimed wood (and being the change I wish to see in the world)

I mentioned yesterday that Sunshine wanted reclaimed wood walls instead of sheet rock, and that I chose not to fight that battle because I’m saving my arsenal for the kitchen cabinetry battle. I don’t mind letting him win that one since he is giving me a lot of control over the way the boards are arranged on all the surfaces that are getting them. I also like that reclaimed wood is reducing waste and all that hippy-dippy-trippy crunchy stuff, because it’s important to me and I have to be the change in wish to see in the world.

Before I get into pictures of the wood and such, let me give you the back story on the reclaimed wood. Sunshine searched craigslist for reclaimed wood, and came across The Tired Lumber Company just north of Dallas, offering reclaimed pallet wood for sale. He set up an appointment with them and took off without me to go get some wood. When he got back, he told me a story that made me wish I had ridden along.

The Tired Lumber Company is two young, minority teen-age boys who’s dad wanted them to learn the value of money and work and all those important life lessons.

Side note: I mention that the boys were minority because supporting woman & minority owned businesses is one of those things I really like to do. These are populations that have been disadvantaged for centuries, and the only way it stops being that way is if people start to step up and seek out these businesses and support them; so I have to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Apparently, the ad hadn’t been on Craigslist for long, because Sunshine said that he was their first sale. He cleaned them out. Sunshine bought every single board these two kids had reclaimed from palettes their father brought home from work.

When he got home with this wood, I was delighted to see that some of it had interesting markings on it. I was a bit disappointed that much of the wood was really new looking. Sunshine donated some wood stain that was left over from the window framing project and took me to the local hardware store for some supplies. We picked up 2 gallons of goof paint (white and light blue) and a can of stain so we could add some variety to these boards. We also grabbed a few random objects from the barn to use to distress some boards and give them a bit of character. The carpenter got into the spirit of things and made me a special tool to distress the boards.

It was really just a stick with a bunch of little metal objects attached that I used to beat some dings and dents into the boards. Then the carpenter got even more into it, and he started cutting remnants of cedar from the window frame project so they’d be a thickness that worked with the thickness of the palette boards. Then the carpenter went batshit crazy and drove to his house and loaded up a trailer with old fence panels and baseboards and such he had in a pile after he made some repairs to his home.
Sunshine and I stained and painted boards for several hours. Not all of the boards got painted or stained. Some were delightfully weathered already, and some showed several years of paint colors from the carpenter’s house. Some boards got both paint and stain to give them a cerused effect, which is a technique that uses paint to highlight the grain in the wood and then stains the wood the desired color.

Mr B got into the spirit of things, too. He broke out his torch and burned some of the boards.

I wasn’t around when he did that, so I gave him creative freedom. I was intending to have the boards feel more “collected”, and giving up control over Sunshine’s staining and Mr B”s burning was a way to achieve that feeling.

We’ve already put some of these boards to use. The bedroom will have a sliding barn style door leading into the bathroom, and the carpenter already has the door mostly assembled!

Sunshine and I will be putting the vast majority of these boards in the bathroom, on the outside of the bathroom wall in the living room, and on the bedroom side of the wall the sliding door goes on. We are also going to be using these boards on the living room side of my kitchen island. By doing it ourselves, we save the carpenter from having to deal with me and we save some money too. The money we save by doing the walls ourselves can be spent letting the carpenter do more specialty stuff, like building me a couple of spice cabinets to inset in the kitchen walls on either side of my stove.

We’re now getting into the fun parts of building a house. While I am absolutely the girl who thinks the hidden stuff is the sexy part, I do still like the process of making this house my very own with all of the lipstick and mascara stuff. And yes, I think it’s sexy to talk about things like structure and proper plumbing and safe electrical systems. Having a house fall apart because it was poorly built is not sexy; there’s definitely an appeal to having a solidly built home that protects me when I’m inside it.

We’re also about to slow down the progress a bit, so Sunshine doesn’t have to work so hard. I’m hoping we can find a refrigerator and and dishwasher at the ReStore or at the used appliance shop near us. It will save us some money while helping the planet, and that’s definitely a win-win.


This is what the windows of my house will look like.

They’re going at the top of the eastern wall of the house. They’re wrapped in cedar, just like the frames around our doors.

I still can’t believe we got these massive, double paned, tinted windows for free!

It’s starting to come together, slowly but surely.

Final note: it’s getting very close to time to start making sure the plans agree with my wants and needs for electrical outlets and lighting and such. I’ve been window shopping for our lights and appliances and storage solutions. It’s almost like making my Christmas wish list 🙂

Pieces Parts

We’re using a lot of freegan (and otherwise sustainable) pieces parts in our little house. The giant foam blocks (that will provide amazing insulation) we are using came from a marina that was being refurbished nearby. The exterior doors came from the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. A lot of the wood cladding we will be using inside is freegan cedar and reclaimed pallet wood.

We had planned to use some plate glass doors as windows on the eastern side of our house. We were going to turn them from a portrait orientation to a landscape, and place them near the ceiling on that side of the house. However, the frames weren’t in good condition, causing the seal to give up and condensation to form between the two layers of glass.

side note: We want to let lots of natural light in, yet keep the heat out. We aren’t too worried about things like passive solar heating since this is Texas and it stays hellishly hot throughout most of the year; therefore, there won’t be a southern exposure to keep us warm in the winter. We don’t get much winter, so it would wind up causing us to get too much sun-baking during the summer.

A friend of Sunshine’s over in Shreveport had come into possession of some large, tinted plate-glass windows (probably from some skyscraper project somewhere), and told us we could have some of them for our house. Since I had several reasons to be in Shreveport anyway on Tuesday, I picked up three of them while I was there.

Sadly, one of them didn’t survive my driving intact, so Sunshine will have to go get some more of them. I think he has some reason to go to Shreveport anyway, so it isn’t necessarily a special trip. It still sucks that I broke one, but at least he took it far better than I might have if I were him. His unbelievable patience with people is one of the reasons I love him so.

final note: I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you about the new (to me) truck you can get a sneak peak at in the pictures.

The ugly window

Sunshine added a window to the house plans. It might take us some time to get a geothermal system set up, and he needed to make sure we had a window to hold an air conditioner because nobody wants to sweat inside their home in this brutal Texas heat.

Side note: also, I breathe so much more easily when I am in cool air.

The (fugly ass) window he used is one that was salvaged off of some random construction project he worked on somewhere (yay freeganism!), so I’m not pitching too much of a fit over it. The frame that our carpenter built for it is beautiful, and the double paned glass is still sealed so it will function well. I just hate hate hate the white frame and the white faux pane thingies. I prefer plate glass, with an uninterrupted view of what’s on the other side.

Pancho was hearing me whine about how fugly it is and had a brilliant suggestion: shutters. I can put shutters over it so I don’t have to look at the fugly white panes thingies. This is one of many reasons we like Pancho. He has also been to cooking school, which is amazing beyond words since he’s helping me learn new stuff. I digress.

Without further ado, I give you the fugly window.

It’s in our bedroom, of all the damned places to put a fugly window. Gotta get to work on finding some shutters.

Learning to pickle things

So I decided to try learning to pickle some things. I started with pickled chard stems, which I have now tried two ways. Mr B like both of the formulas I tried, but he said that the second one was even better. Sunshine got to sample the second formula, and he liked it too. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures. Maybe next time, after we grow our fall chard.

The other thing I have tried pickling was turnips. Sunshine loves turnips; however, the turnips were going soft and rubbery before he could eat them all

side note: that’s what happens when you plant as many fucking turnips as Sunshine planted, but that’s a post for another day

so I decided to try a pickle turnip that Tia and I found on the internet.

pickled turnips

side note: here’s the link in case you’re interested

Sunshine and Mr B tried them last night and said that they were really good.

I’m glad I’m finding ways to preserve foods that don’t require a freezer, because freezers are quite electricity intensive, especially here in Texas.

Going all in

So, I told you about the ridiculous couch I picked for my little house. Well, this week I bought some ridiculous throw pillows to go with the ridiculous couch. I went maximal.

I went for texture, and a bit of sheen, and a hint of purple.

There are two sets of the printed and pleated pillows, accounting for four of the six pillows I bought. The printed one reads black and gold in the pics, but it’s not black. It’s a deep brown that has a purple undertone. My accent colors are going to be deep blues and purples, so the couch can have some purple pillows to tie it all together.

Then there are the two oddball pillows that I just couldn’t say no to.

Yep, that’s a faux mink pillow and a faux silk dupioni with embroidery.

I have no words for myself.

final note: the pillows came from the thrift shop, and cost me a grand total of $13. I’ll give them a good cleaning (along with the couch) before they enter my house

Wild blackberries

We have wild blackberries growing all throughout the back portion of the property. They’re growing so thick that it’s like the briar patch in that old Brer Rabbit story.

I made Mollie come with me to pick some blackberries yesterday and she kept trying to run home. So I carried her around to share in nature’s splendor (which was probably lost on her) and crawled through the blackberry thicket carrying a baby Mollie in one arm (she wouldn’t be still long enough for a selfie, that little wiggleworm).

and picked a handful of blackberries.

a handful from 16 may 2017

I could have picked a lot more if I had just let her run home but I’m trying to get her to not be scared of the clearing out back. Sunshine thinks she smells predator cats or some other scary thing out there, which could very well be true.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go out there without her and pick more blackberries. They’re starting to ripen, and if I leave them then the creatures will eat them all up. I don’t mind sharing with them, but I want some too!