June 9, 2020

Pantry Project Progress

Lots of rainy days over the past several weeks has meant lots of indoor project days. After Dan replaced that first pantry window, it was time to take down the rest of the old paneling. That meant clearing out the pantry first. Fortunately, it's empty jar season, where we've used up much of last year's harvest preservation and before I start canning again. That made the job easier and faster. It was also a good time to dust the jars and check seals.

The insulation under the paneling was as you see it above, with the vapor barrier torn. Dan thinks it was probably used.

There was an empty gap around the window (expected), but we also found uninsulated gaps in other places, such as between the wall and cripple studs above the window. A number of the batts were cut short.

This is a shot of the uninsulated room corner. What you see between the stud and the corner is the exterior house siding. All of that plus the single-glazed windows explain why the room never felt well insluated.

We left the old insulation batts in place. One-inch foam board went up right over the studs. Next, the second window was replaced.

From the inside.

Dan uses canned foam around the window to fill the gaps and then covers it with window flashing tape.

The next step was deciding how to cover the foam board. Neither of us wanted to spend a lot on this project, so we explored all our options and ended up with the least expensive wall panels we could find.

It's thin, which is okay for us because it's going on top of the foam board which is a stiff surface. It's light in color, which I like, especially for a room which will be kept as dark as possible.

Progress? Slow. Our weather bounces back and forth between rain and sun, so we work outside when we can, and inside when we can't.

Next time, I'll give you an update on our solar-powered freezer and refrigerator.


  1. The old style always itched me to death.

  2. Aloha from Hawaii,
    Leigh,Sue and I are right in the middle of building raised beds made from Pallets, They are free for the taking here (That's my favorite price).
    We have just the other day planted a new Cabbage core and it has started to grow in a pot with Kohlrabi and Beets.
    I have completed Two beds and using pots to get the following things planted...Kale, Pak Choy,Watermelon,Cuks (We picked our first one today, 16" long and almost a pound!), 12 Tomato plants (we have gotten 4 so far from a volunteer from last year. Almost to many to list here.
    I think I may take your advice and start another BLOG. I have to get some things done to my P.C. first.

  3. Gorges, I'm so glad we didn't have to mess with it.

    Tom, that's great news! Be sure to start with the story of how you all ended up in Hawaii. I'm curious!

    That's amazing that you're picking veggies already. The benefit of a long growing season.

  4. I don't suppose you rent Dan out? I sure could use a hand around here but my "honey-do list" is for me! LOL! We've had the same weather as you and now Cristobal has arrived and it is rain, rain, rain. I have my sun plans and rain plans. Today, the rain plans will be implemented. I am moving forward, slowly on weeding, trimming and burning. On the inside I need to order floor paint and lots of organizing and "pitching"....although right now there is no place to pitch! LOL! Take care, stay safe and tell Dan to be careful!

  5. Leigh, thanks for stopping over and commenting about the garlic scapes/flowers. Do these then reseed? Or do you plant them individually? I've got one garlic I've not cut the scape, it's the slower of the 4 to come up. So I'm interested in what happens. Do I do something with the flower/bulbs while on the plant? Your pantry is coming along, looking forward to seeing the finished product.

  6. That is looking buttoned-up and just think how much more comfortable the temperature will be in there! Great job. Slow-n-steady...

  7. Sam, you're not the first one to ask, lol.

    We have heavy rain in the forecast too. I'm hoping to get a few outdoor things done today before that happens!

    Faith, I just sprinkled them in a small garden bed and then covered the bulbils with compost. The next year I thinned them and replanted most of them. I've never done anything else with the scapes, although I think there are a lot of recipes out there for them!

    Daisy, so far, the pantry temp is staying the same as the house temp. That's an improvement! It used to be hotter. Dan plans to experiment with some passive cooling ideas, just to see if we can improve that. More on that one of these days!

  8. Wow! how fortunate that Dan is so handy! We had a huge amount of rain last week- and storms- so much so that trees fell and branches everywhere. The storm only lasted an hour but was fast, windy, and furious.

  9. Looks great. We have talked about moving our kitchen bathroom (in the original floor plan, bathroom was off the utility room, but kitchen expanded later years) to another locations and using the space for a pantry.

  10. Your improvements should make a big difference in how the room feels. Can you imagine back maybe 100 years when wall insulation was probably rare?

  11. Your choice of that light colored "cheap" paneling for the walls was such a good one. First off, no other finish required by you and once you have the pantry shelves, goods, stored items back in place it will hardly show! soon you'll have a pantry that really serves as a pantry. Cool! (In more ways than one!!) ;o)

  12. I don't think I've ever opened up a wall and saw that it was insulated to my satisfaction. I think a lot of that just goes back to the time frame of when it was first insulated and that efficiency was not on top of everyone's list when building a house back then. Some of it goes to just sloppy work then and now. I almost always spend time with a stapler putting batts back in place and using us lots of cans of spray foam around windows, doors, outlets and switches.

    With the foam in place as a continuous thermal barrier, the comfort and efficiency of that room should increase dramatically.

  13. Judee, if it wasn't for Dan, most of the stuff we've done wouldn't have gotten done! :)

    Hopefully, you didn't suffer any damage from the storm. When they're powerful like that, they're scary.

    Kristina, thanks! It's funny how plans change over time. A good pantry is a priority, I think. Bathrooms are important too, but easier to slot in elsewhere.

    RT, our home was built about 100 years ago, and we had one exterior wall (the one the addition was attached to) that was like that. They had put up newspaper to cover the exterior siding and then installed the kitchen wall! At some point, they blew in insulation, which Dan has had to remove as he's replaced windows. Not nice stuff to work with. Plus we found spots that couldn't be insulated, also settling. It's interesting, and our upgrades have made a huge difference.

    Mama Pea, thanks! There were some "cheaper" options, but add to it finishing, like you mention, and they weren't really cheaper---in either time nor money.

    Ed, I think those re-dos always pay off, as I'm sure you've noticed too. We're already seeing an improvement in the pantry temperature! Once thermal curtains are up and we get some ventilation, it should improve even more.

  14. That is wonderful progress. Pantries are vital and often overlooked. We are actually having a run of great haying weather. That has kept us in the garden catching up and anxiously watching the sky. Getting hay custom cut is the best option for us but it can be so frustrating.
    I do admire Dan. Ralph is not a builder but he gets things made😊

  15. Oh Nice! Will be curious as to the before average temp. and after average temp. of the room. Between the window replacement(s) and the extra layer of insulation, it should be quite a difference.

  16. We've done the same thing between the inside and the outside because of the weather. I could use a couple of dry days to plant our tomatoes. Sixty two Roma tomato plants just waiting on a serious break in the weather. For us the inside work entails building the cabinets for the porch kitchen. We spent the week readying the back porch for our annual migration out there.

  17. Looks great! It's always a bummer when you open up a wall and find something really bad! We went to replace our vents in our attic and found some idiot Had cover them on the inside with tar paper. G no Wonder we burned out so many fans up there trying to exhaust the heat out. looks great and all that insulation is certainly a great investment and I love your light-colored paneling! after you bought her house and noticed the furnace was clicking on constantly in the winter the first thing we did was insulate or attic. always a great investment to get that insulation going. Your husband reminds me of my husband Dave he can build anything!

  18. Fiona, even though it's slow going, it's welcome progress just the same. People rarely think about storage space when they first get started in homesteading. Then the equipment, supplies, and process foods all start piling up! I hope your good weather lasts. Good hay is important too.

    Lady Locust, so far, it's maintaining the same temp as the house, which is an improvement because this used to be the hottest room in the house. Once I get thermal curtains up and Dan gets his ventilation system in place, I suspect it will be even better. :)

    Jo, that's a lot of Romas! Nice that you have a porch kitchen! I wish mine was a little larger so I could do more out there, but at least getting the cooking and canning out of the house is a huge help.

    Nancy, thanks! I laughed when you told about your vents because that's the kind of thing we find here all the time! It helps so much to be able to have enough knowledge to know how things are supposed to work. I'm guessing Dave fixed it!

  19. Oh! I must confess..I've fallen terribly behind in keeping up with my blog reading. I know I've missed a lot of what you've been up to lately, but this project looks and feels terrific! I can't believe how people cut corners and what little it takes (sometimes) to fix them and set things right again. I'm looking forward to keeping up with the pantry progress and also looking forward to the solar freezer/fridge update.


  20. What a nice pantry you are going to have. I am looking forward to seeing it when everything goes back in.

  21. Great post on the pantry, Leigh! It is amazing when the layers are peeled off, and we see the bones of a house! Our old farm house is 120 years old, and some of the things we have uncovered have been quite a learning experience! That is really great that you notice a difference in temp already. Instant payoff!!! Thanks for the update. We are heading to Georgia this weekend ... Mom is turning 90! I am praying for some rain for the garden while we are gone. Fingers crossed!

  22. Kristin, tearing into a house never fails to reveal surprises! We sometimes wonder, "what were they thinking?" Then again, we've done some things that we're pretty sure will have people scratching their heads someday in the future!

    Mary, thanks! I will be so glad when it's done. Right now everything is spread out in my living room and studio. Very disorganized!

    Wyomingheart, thanks! Do have a safe trip. 90 Is a milestone! Sounds like we'll all get some rain. Hoping so, anyway.

  23. Ah, the joy of older homes and their "What precisely were they thinking at the time?"

    Dan is a pretty handy fellow.

  24. I think with the updated insulation and window, you will really notice the difference! Phil

  25. TB, at least it keeps things interesting. ;)

    Phil, I can happily confirm that!

  26. sorry to hear that the walls were so poorly insulated when you bought the house, but it good to see you overcome that. Glad that progress is going for you. Hope it gets all set soon.
    So far my potted plants are all doing well, but something is eating everything that I put directly into the ground...I think that it might be the birds...there are pigeons and robins with nests nearby. ugh!
    The apple tree isn't going to give us any fruit this year...got too frozen. But the cherry tree is going great. Of course I am sure the birds will take care of that for me. :p

  27. Renee, at least they made an effort! lol

    Have you considered row covers? I should use them for my strawberries, so I'd get them instead of feeding some critter!

  28. I put a row cover on the lettuce (to keep the squirrels off) and looked up from my computer at it when reading your comment to see a bunch of birds bouncing on top of it. So I go to run them off and there's a rabbit on the back porch. I wonder if he'll come back? lol

  29. Renee, I sometimes wonder if we can really outsmart the critters! lol

  30. Like how the goat barn seemed to take forever to build, and now you're using it, like it was designed for - I know this pantry project will end up being the same. Painfully slow to get to the finish line, but the benefits afterwards are so worth it. I feel your pain in the finishing, lol. I have several projects like that, waiting for me to stop plodding and get serious. But I can only do what I can. We'll get there in the end. :)

  31. Okay, Blogger just ate my comment. :( Let me try again.

    I've got jars and containers all over the house, so I'm definitely looking forward to getting the pantry done. But it's the garden in the morning and wheat in the afternoon, so it will likely be awhile before we see the end. I'm sure you're looking forward to getting your projects done too!


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