The benefit of having Mike remove the old siding (much of which has residual lead paint), in addition to cost savings, is that he can closely control the removal so that lead paint debris does not contaminate the soil and yard. He has established two different levels of plastic barriers, with the top barrier replaced daily, and the lower layer in place for the duration.
There have been a few treasures behind the old clapboards, such as newspapers from 1910, and very beautiful (and large) sheathing boards, such as the one shown above. In case you can't read it, that is a 22-inch wide board (at 1" thick).
I will do a separate post on the siding. The clapboards are being milled in a local barn shop by our neighbor. He makes them the old-fashioned way... with the rough stock dried out in his dad's barn. Soon, Nate and Darren will arrive to fix the rotten sill under the front door (which will be replaced) and start installing clapboards.
It's very exciting.