Motorhome Waiting - and Replacing Farmhouse Siding

I had been hoping to come back and write a new post of the completion of the motor home repair, along with the diagnosis, cost, and the happy news that it was running again. But alas, that is not yet meant to be---

The motorhome is not yet finished, after having been towed 90 miles back to Oconto two-plus weeks ago.  (see my last blog post for more details)

It is located at Oconto Truck and Power Center, a small shop run by one guy with a few helpers from time to time. He is working his way through all the little stuff before hitting on the big expensive things. We like that approach best, and don't care if it takes a little longer.

So far he is getting fuel up to the injectors, so it's not anything with clogged lines or filters. That is good.

He is thinking it's possibly electrical and checking all of the sensors, sending units and selenoids, before replacing the entire electronic fuel pump. He did find two broken wires so far. He is tracing a lot of electrical connections before he does anything else major.

He did have a wonderful week long vacation planned this week with his wife. It is celebrating their anniversary. They were out-of-state all week and will be back to work again next week.

Like I said, he's a small one-man shop for big diesel trucks. Last week he ended up working with a big municipal firetruck repair, so we said it was just fine to put us on the back burner. That type of job is much more important for the community.

So maybe next week he will get to our motorhome. Steve has even offered to go over to the shop and give him a hand if needed. I would rather he tries all the small stuff before throwing big expensive parts at it. Just the electronic Heui fuel pump is over $1,000. or it might be the EMC, the electronic brain, and that would be the next step--- that is over $5,000.


In the meantime, we have kept ourselves very busy. You know we always find something to keep us occupied.

I wove a couple more rugs for a customer:

 I also am working on an interesting one
 in all wool fabrics
to put up for sale in my online Etsy store:


Our main project to keep ourselves occupied is pretty intensive.  We decided to work on the next section of siding on the house.

The north side of our home has old wooden clapboard siding, and it's probably original to the house which is pre 1900s. We love the look, but this old siding has seen better days and needs to be removed and replaced.  (some people just toss vinyl over the top, but not us... can't stomach the though of vinyl on this cute national folk farmhouse!)

We stole little 8 year old Clayton from day care because he is the happy new owner of a birthday tool box full of new tools. Namely a hammer and a little pry bar!! He was so anxious to get to come and help grandpa pry off the old wooden siding. What fun!

While the guys were busy removing the old siding, granddaughter Chelsea was helping me lining up 16' long strips of Smart Siding.  Each strip needs 3 coats of paint to get it completely sealed for our rough Wisconsin weather. Especially on the North side of the house. We like the exterior paint from Pittsburgh and we wait for sales and rebates before we stock up a couple gallons at a time.

Chelsea is the perfect painting partner. Her attention to detail and making sure she completely covers every board along with the edges and sides. She is precise and careful with her painting. That's pretty good for a 10 year old kid.

Demolition is what Clayton does best. He really enjoyed the idea that he could pry off and break and bust things as they went along removing the old siding. It was fascinating to find the old square headed nails that were used back then. Thinking aboat how each individual nail was hand forged is amazing.  In those days, when you were building things, you were sure to never drop a nail. And if you did, you looked hard to find it again.

Speaking of that window, as you can see in the pic below, it was in pretty rough shape. We have future plans to replace all of the windows on the house. But this was a pretty good time to jump ahead and replace the one window over the kitchen sink now,  before we put the new siding up. Just in case we had to trim it out or get a little different size.

Once all of the old siding was removed in that section, we replaced a few of the boards. You can also see where an original window had been,  and filled in some time in the past. Not sure how the inner layout of the house went at that time, but the window now is shorter and smaller and higher up over the kitchen sink.

We covered the entire wall with tyvek house wrap and the children really enjoyed being able to help staple it up into place. A staple gun is not the quite the same as a power tool. But they learned how to use it safely and correctly and enjoyed the idea that they could staple Willy Nilly all over to hold that fabric down.


We were able to get the correct window, already in stock, in almost the exact same size. We had to shim it in a little bit for a half inch in either direction but it worked perfectly for the opening we had. Being able to buy it in stock meant we could get it immediately and bring it home, and put it into place. Some window orders are taking 2-3 months right now.

Clayton was so happy to help push out the old window... and was excited to learn about wrapping and window flashing with tape and how to center it in place.

He really enjoyed using the level and telling Grandpa when the "bubble is centered" each time that Grandpa added another nail to the flange. He was a lot of help, especially in sitting up close on the inside on the counter to reach the new window jamb and frame with the level.


I would never begrudge my husband the chance to buy new tools. I know usually acquiring new tools means that something's going to get fixed or repaired or improved or prettied up. He decided to invest in an air powered nailing gun for siding. It is much more controlled with the pressure for siding compared to a regular construction nailing gun. It sure is a lot easier to use this tool rather than a hammer. It takes big coils of galvanized ring shank nails, to prevent rust.

The next day the kids were back at the day care center, so Steve and I started doing the siding. Being careful with the level and matching and up each piece precisely to the corner where the she shed is. That is the same Smart Siding product when we removed the attached garage door and installed 3 windows in its place. At that time last fall, the Smart Siding was on clearance, so we picked up an extra 80 pieces for future use on the North side of the house.

We had already done the siding like I said on the west facing section of the attached garage when we closed in the She Shed.  Every piece of siding takes 2 people to nail it up and level in place. Because they are 16' long we need to work together as a team.

A side rant:  When I posted our progress on Facebook, I got so many comments of how "Steve is doing such a good job"  ARGGGHHH!!!   It takes TWO of us to do this job, and I am doing every bit as much as he is.  Why do people assume it's just Steve doing the work...???   So they think that I am probably the housewife saying: "I will have a sandwich ready for you when you take a break, dear".   I know I am turning 60 this fall, but I think I am doing a lot of hard work here, it's not just Steve.  Rant over. 

We got the first board up, and double and triple checked before we went up up up with the rest of the pieces. 

Then we used these little guide blocks to help space each board, along with using a level to line up with the other boards from the west wall of the She Shed.

We had decided to run the entire 16 foot strip of siding across to an upright vertical trim board that lined up with the laundry room window. That way we didn't have to stagger any joints. Each piece would be a completely solid strip of siding.  Then the rest of the distance from that vertical piece over to the front corner of the house is also another 16 ft strip. Yay! No staggering joints or seams!

Once we knew we were level and even, we were able to go zoom zoom zoom and get it up to the bottom edge of the window in just an hour and a half.

We decided to stop for the afternoon because the weather was getting very hot and humid. The next day we finished up the rest of the pieces on either side of the window. Then Steve was able to complete the soffit and fascia overhead too.  He did that up high on the ladder (because he was tall enough) while I handed him the pieces from below.

A few days later, after the heatwave passed, the grandkids came back to help us with a few more projects and start on the next section of siding.  I was really missing an outdoor faucet with water access. It had been removed to work on the siding and hadn't been yet re-installed. Both of my rainbarrels were bone dry as we hadn't had rainfall in over a week. I came up with this innovative way to water my tomato patch which is situated directly below the bathroom window. Clayton really loved assisting.  


It's pretty handy
 to have a handheld sprayer
 on a clawfoot tub, isn't it?

The grandkids helped Steve locate the hidden access holes for the faucets. We have both external hot and cold water faucets. Very handy to have warm water for washing the dogs, or the cars, or being able to rinse a dye pot of fiber, yarn etc. 

They helped him drill from the inside out
and locate the new holes to run the 
freeze proof sill cock water faucets. 


Shutters are back up, the raingutter and downspout and in place for the water barrel, and new soffit and faschia up along the roofline.  Ahhhhh that part is DONE! 

Now it's time to do the next 16 ft section to the right.... 

Like I said, the grandkids came over to help again.  Clayton eagerly attacked this next section of siding with his little prybar. He is very careful to help stack the old wood in the trailer, and not let any nails land in the grass.

Chelsea came to help with more painting.  Three coats on each and every board, along with the edges and the ends.  What a great helper! We crank the 70's tunes on the radio and we talk about lots of things.  I love the rambling conversations and where they lead and the things she comes up with.  What a delight!

We had to haul them off to their dentist and eye doc appointments,
so they couldn't help with the next step. 

 Whoooo boy! Caught up to TODAY! 
Here we go with the next section!  We had already replaced that window in the laundry room last fall, so we were good to go, unhindered with stopping to shop for more materials.

I got the final coats on the next 24 strips needed for this section of the house.  It sure feels good to paint them flat on sawhorses instead of later when they are up on the wall! 

We got three more strips installed today
and it's looking good.  We called it a night, and 
I decided to write my blog instead.


Last weekend we also had a wonderful time celebrating our oldest grandson's birthday and one of our younger granddaughter's birthday.

Jameson turned 12 
 little sister Whitney turned 5. 

Their birthdays are only a few days apart so the family celebrates both of them together. I cannot believe how big they have gotten already. I know it seems like such a short time ago they were little babies. I think all grandparents say that?


Whitney intently watching as Jameson's cake gets cut. He is proud his is cut first, as they tease him about missing one candle when blowing them out (means he has ONE girlfriend!)

What beautiful cakes,
made by a relative on their dad's side of the family....
 each gets their own cake.


The next day I took them out for a special shopping trip for Jameson to use up some of his birthday gift cards at the GameStop. This was my first foray out into public in 6 months. We stopped for a little lunch at a tiny remote George Webb location by Peshtigo. The kids had a fun little lunch while we were waiting for the noon opening at the GameStop.

Instead of Burgers and Fries, Jameson opted for a bowl of chili and a bottle of Sprecher's root beer. His grown-up tastes are changing. It used to be chicken Mcnuggets at McDonalds?

I caught Whitney in the middle of a bite, but she enjoyed a kids grilled cheese sandwich and french fries along with some fun assorted deep fried cheese curds, deep-fried mozzarella sticks, mini corn dogs, and onion rings. We all shared those.

It was my first time out in a restaurant for such a long time. I kid you not, I was jittery and shaky. We wore our masks to get to the table. And we wore our masks to leave again. Booth seats were blocked off every other table so we were spaced apart and there were only two other tables of patrons in the entire restaurant.

Soon the GameStop store opened in Marinette, and Jameson was able to enter the store with his mask on with his mother, and get the exact game that he was hoping for. It was the last one on the shelf of that particular game. The GameStop in Green Bay had been out of stock for a while. He was pretty happy to get it!