November has turned out to be home improvement month for us. Some planned improvements and others not so planned. It started earlier this month when we had a shed built in our backyard. The shed which is actually a mini barn was built in one day, by one person. It was impressive to see how quickly it went up.
While the kids and I were in Arizona visiting family, Keith painted the shed. He wanted to surprise us so he didn't tell us the color he was painting it. When we returned home, we were delighted to see it painted to look like an actual barn. Little did Keith know that he was painting our shed to look almost identical to a shed that I grew up with. When I was around the age that my boys are now, my dad had built and painted a backyard shed that also looked like a mini barn. I wish I had a picture of my childhood shed to show the comparison.Also planned for this month was a new Lopi wood-burning stove, fireplace insert. Keith installed this himself, with a little help from me. It weighs almost 500 pounds and took a little creative maneuvering to get it in place. Keith made a wood plank to fit on our car jack in order to raise it up to the height of the hearth, and we pushed it into place. He had to order special stainless steel pipes to fit into the chimney which then had to be fitted into the stove. It was a lot of work but well worth the effort.
The stove makes our house very cozy and warm. In fact as long as the fire is burning hot enough, the blower stays on, and it heats our house to the point where our gas furnace doesn't even kick in. The stove is also EPA certified. It recirculates the combustion gases and doesn't let them escape like a typical fireplace or stove. When the gases are recirculated they get burned a second time. Not only does this make it a "greener" burn it also creates more heat.
The fireplace insert can actually be used as a stove top. Keith really likes this function. He's heated soup, tea, and cider on top of the stove.
The new fireplace insert also brought a few more unexpected expenses such as a new fireplace mantel. We had a limestone mantel cut to replace the wood one which would have been a fire hazard above the stove. Also during the process of the stove installation, the picture hanging above the fireplace was broken, along with a lamp shade.
We have one more, less exciting home improvement still to come this week - replacing our broken garage door. This will require some not so fun, labor intensive, garage cleaning! Everything needs to be moved out of the way, including emptying shelves, so that the door can be installed. Yuck!