New Siding Project – Part 9

(To see all the earlier posts about our siding project, click HERE.)

Earlier this week, Harland started removing the old siding.

So far he’s finished the north side of the house,

House (5)

and will finish with the east side today.

House (1)

There are two layers of siding: wooden clapboard painted white, and on top of that, some sort of manufactured slate type siding, also white.

House (2)

House (8)

The clapboard is the original siding to the house, probably about 100 years old, and the slate was added as part of a remodel some time later, we’re not sure when. Before the slate was added, they drilled two rows of holes, each about three inches in diameter, and blew in insulation. Before that, the house had been un-insulated, but since they burned coal back then, they probably didn’t feel the cold too bad. Harland has been filling in the holes with triple expanding foam.

So far we’ve uncovered a few surprises. Looks like there used to be a door on the north side of the house.

House (6)

House (7)

We didn’t know that was there. At some point they stopped using it and boxed in the doorway.

And these two window openings on the east side used to be tall tall narrow windows,

House (10)

and at some point the openings were modified and new small square windows put in.

The biggest surprise though, is that our house used to be just one small room. Below, you can see the outline of what would have been the roofline and exterior wall of the tiny house.

House 11

Looks like it was really small, like one of those houses built by the first settlers you see in old pics.

Sod House

The one above was made of sod, but you get the idea here of how tiny early settler’s houses were.

The original house would have included our present day bedroom and bathroom, both of which are small rooms. If it was like other settler’s houses of the day, it was probably just one large room that served as kitchen, living area, and bedroom. We wonder how old this original structure was. The earliest settlers we know of were Pearl and Faye Benson, and they moved onto this property in the early 1900s.

Here are Pearl, sitting, front row left, and Faye, standing at right holding the baby.

Benson 1909

This area of Kansas was settled in the 1870s. Does this house go back that far? I need to get to the courthouse and look at the old plat maps. Been meaning to do that for a long time anyway.

Harland’s been using the bucket truck (what a wonderful thing to have around the farm and home) to access the higher siding. After he peels it off the house and drops it onto the ground. Then he puts the old siding into the bucket on the tractor and hauls it away.

House (3)

What a mess.

House (4)

Noisy too, lots of banging.

And how are Muffy and Kitty dealing with the disruption to their normally quiet lives? Muffy has been following along from window to window soaking up all the action.

House (9)

“NEATO!! Wish I could ride in the bucket truck!”

And Kitty?  Well, our sensitive girl has been hiding under the couch, poor thing.. Didn’t get a pic of her there as it’s kinda dark. She’s rather embarrassed to be so wimpy around Muffy. He understands though, and ducks his head under the couch every once in a while to see how she’s doing.

More to come…..  stay tuned.



Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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15 Responses

  1. Rebecca says:

    Poor Kitty. I bet she is embarrassed. Think goodness for the love and understanding of sweet Muffin. But “BOY HOWDY” HE SEEMS TO BE HAVING A BALL!!
    Will be interesting to find out just how far your home dates back to. Fantastic photo of the Benson Family. Love the clothes. And that bucket truck is priceless!!
    Looking forward to more on your reno!
    Florida hugs,

  2. In the sod house photo, do you think she always had the sewing machine outside or did they want it in the photo. Seems they have a lot of stuff outside their house.
    Interesting that in the photo you have of the family that were once in your house, someone is reading a book or something.
    Cute with Muffy watching out the window.
    You’re going to love having a sealed house. Nice metal roof by the way!

  3. Glenda says:

    I will be curious about what you find on the west side. There doesn’t seem to be a cut off of the little house on the north side, just the door. Hmmm. It gets curiouser and curiouser!
    We had that slate siding on the farm house built in 1954 that we took off to put on R-Board insulation in the 90’s before installing vinyl siding. So I’m guessing that is close to the time yours was applied over the clapboard as well. I know Harland is enjoying the “destroy”.

  4. Alica says:

    Oh wow, this is really neat to see the process. Who knows what else you might discover under there. It will be fun to see what it looks like when you’re all finished!

  5. Jim McCain says:

    Hi Suzanne, I always enjoy your posts, especially about your travels and photography and about the cats now that I have 2 myself. They are so much fun, aren’t they ? In looking at this remodeling post, I recognized the siding you called slate. It is really asbestos based so maybe you need to be careful where and how you dispose of it…. Hope that doesn’t create an extra problem in your remodeling venture… Take care and thanks for sharing ! Jim 🙂

  6. Mary says:

    Neat pictures. Your house will be so lovely with the new siding. Big job for one man to do alone. I wanted to suggest that Pearl Benson might be the name of the husband. My husband’s family are from the Midwest and several of the men are named Pearl. Just a thought. Names of that era had strong family ties. I love the detective work you are doing as Harlan uncovers more clues. If houses could talk. What fun!

  7. Jeanne L says:

    Oh how fascinating!! You knew it was going to be interesting, but this is really more than I expected. How about you? That was really a tiny house at first! I can hardly wait to see the next installment of pictures.

    I do feel sorry for Kitty. I understand about the loud noises…and so does my sweet little woofie, Sadie!


  8. Dianna says:

    How interesting to find out so much about your home during this project. I’m sure once you make that trip to the courthouse, you’ll share with us what you learn! As for your kitties, my Sundae would be like Muffy, but my previous kitty, Beezy, would do exactly what your Kitty is doing!

  9. Linda says:

    Harland’s work is revealing so much that’s interesting! I’m especially taken with those historical photos. It is true that when the photographers showed up, people sometimes brought out their possessions to be included in the pictures. One of my favorites was taken on the Nebraska prairie, by Solomon Butcher. Look at their pump organ!

    A house with a history is a wonderful gift. I’m going to look forward to further “unwrapping”!

  10. Mrs. H says:

    It’s always so interesting to see surprises that turn up in old houses.
    Our house here in east Tennessee was built in 1930, and during the home inspection our inspector discovered a huge storage bin still full of old coal, leftover from the days when the houses here were heated with coal.
    After we moved in and my husband was tilling a garden area for me last month, we discovered little pieces of coal in the ground. I don’t know if it was remnants from when the coal was brought to the house, or if this small mountain we live on has coal in it.

  11. Rochelle says:

    Is there anything that man can’t do?? 🙂

  12. Farm boys can do just about anything. I married one too. We have grown older now and have to hire somethings done but, he still does quite a bit of it himself. I am really enjoying the progress on the house. That is a real undertaking to say the least.

  13. Tina says:

    Wow, what a job but will so be worth it. Poor Ms. Kitty but Muffin understands. I love the history lesson, what fun!

  14. Becky L says:

    Interesting history of your house and Kansas. My mom grew up there as well. Her dad was a farmer and was in the Army WWI. Glad things are going along ok with taking off the siding, always noisy. I’m sure the cats will be relieved when it’s all done as well as you and Harland!

  15. Rural TN says:

    It is going to be so nice.

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