Ruckus Ridge Farm
 Irene, South Dakota


Building a Home
The Original Section
Out with the old

The first thing we had to do, was completely gut the original section of the house.  The actual framing was cottonwood which had come from a local mill.  We found an old aerial map from the late 1880s that actually showed a building on the site and was marked as a homestead.  So we know that the framing is at least 125 years old.  The map is on the wall in the hall across from treasurer's office in the Vermillion County Courthouse.

It was amazing some of the things that we ran across when were ripping out the old interior on the 1880's section of the house.

This was the interior wall.  To the right is the doorway that leads to the kitchen and to the left is the enclosure of the chimney for the furnace.  The pieces of gypsum board that you see leaning against the wall are pieces that we just tore out.  The odd part is, that the wall paper that you are looking at was on the inward facing side, face to face with the stuff that is still on the wall above the exposed lathe.  They had apparently re-used some old drywall from somewhere else, and then plastered over the back of it.  There were two walls like that.  We tore out one layer of wall board just to find another one underneath it.

And then there was the ceiling.
There were asbestos ceiling tiles in place when we bought the place.  When we started tearing that out we discovered wall paper which was about four layers deep (see below)over painted bead board.  We didn't even bother trying to figure out how many coats of paint was on there. Someone had actually used strips of cloth over the beading to smooth it out before putting up the first layer of wallpaper.


This is what it looked like when we finally got all the drywall ripped out. (this is where the bookcase will be.)  Note the patch.  This was probably an exterior window before they added the addition in the 1920's.  Most of the old plaster had already been scrapped off this section before they added the drywall.  There was however, still quite a bit of it still in the grooves of the lathe, and inside the walls.  All of this had to come out too.

I am showing you this photo because I wanted you to see why we decided to take out the old picture window and put in the
two narrow windows instead.  We were basically replacing what was there originally.

So here we are.  There was still a lot of clean up to do.  Not to mention taking out the rest of the chimney and patching the floor.  And it was at this point that we decided that we were also going to have to take out the rest of it as well.  We discovered that someone had decided to beef up the ceiling joist by sandwiching them with new ones.  The only problem was that they only thing the new joists were attached to was the old joists.  They had neglected to attach the ends to the wall plates.  They were just floating.  

Also, there had at one time been an opening in the floor right where our little platform is sitting.  There had either been a stairway or a ladder for access to the loft from the main floor.  Well, someone had patched it, but the only thing that those joists were attached to was the flooring.  So when we started to take up the floor boards, all of a sudden we had a whole section came up at once.  Needless to say, at that point we decided that we may as well just take it down to the exterior walls and put in a new floor.  One that we would actually feel safe walking on.

And while we are talking about the amazing things we discovered, do you notice anything missing in this photo? There are no headers!  Here is a closer look at the opening for the window on the east facing wall after we removed it.  The only thing there is a 2x4 which was slid between
the two wall studs and then toenailed.  Oh and it doesn't
end there.

Take a look at how they made the whole wide enough for the window. (below)  This was done with an ax or hatchet.

In case you are wondering about all the little holes in the sheathing.  Apparently in the 1970s, the government decided to help out with heating bills for lower income residents by subsidizing new insulation for their homes.  It was done by drilling holes in the side of the existing siding and pumped in foam.  The holes were then plugged with little plastic plugs and steal siding was then added.  So when we tore out the interior, we found old fiberglass, foam and vermiculite.  Oh, and the mice just loved the foam.
 The stuff was riddled with tunnels and nests.
 You talk about a mess, it was disgusting!

So now that the dirty work is done, we decided to take some time off for the Christmas holiday.
We'll pick it up again after new years.

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