Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Houston, we have a floor!

After several days of being without tools while the van was being fixed (a special thanks to Glenn's brother Kal for figuring it out and getting it running), we are finally making decent progress on the homestead. Floor joists and some of the plywood was done on Saturday courtesy me and Glenn and today, my brother Jer and Glenn almost finished the floor.

Saturday was the first day I got cold, cold on the job site. Usually, my Carhartts and hoodie and headband are enough, but we had sideways snow most of the day and it took me several hours and a hot bath to thaw out. I have a nice little "skiers tan" going on though.

The day began of course, scraping ice off the boards - imagine that. The picture that I got doesn't do justice to the amount of ice was actually on this particular joist.

We finished installing the floor joists and began putting plywood on before it got dark. Believe it or not, we were still working at 7:30 even though we couldn't tell if we were hitting nails square or bending them over.

For those of you who are wondering, let me describe the physicality of building in the winter. First of all, you are about 3 sizes bigger than normal because of the several layers you wear to keep warm, causing you to get stuck between joists and studs that you can normally walk between. That many layers also makes it next to impossible to bend over without shoving the contents of your stomach into your throat. If that wasn't enough, lifting your snow trodden heavy boots and fighting against all the layers to raise your leg enough to climb a ladder, adds a whole other dimension to the word exhausted.

Once you get past all that though and begin to see a house materialize in front of your eyes, all the obstacles seem worth it. (It helps, too, that we're finally out of the basement for the time being).

This is what it looks like at the end of work today.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Slow, slow, slow....

Slow going is the name of the game this past week. We had weather issues. We had generator issues. We had floor joist issues. None of which is completely resolved. Now we're looking ahead to holiday issues. I'm seriously considering removing the countdown clock as it about gives me a stroke every time I look at it.

The good news is, we've got reinforcements coming next week. Son Steve is on Winter break and can help and even brother Jeremy may be able to help out a couple days. Once we get the floor on, it will be smoother sailing, but until then we're slowly losing faith that we'll come even close to making our deadline.


At least someone's still smiling.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Staying ahead of the weather

Most of this weeks work has been bracing the tall foundation walls for the rest of the backfill, covering the lumber so we can find it after the snow storm and strawing the footings so the frost doesn't heave them. Despite the winter delays, progress as of Tuesday evening includes all of the exterior basement walls standing. Interior structural walls next and then rim and floor joists. If it were summer, we'd have the floor on by the weekend. We'll see.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Finally Framing

So we dusted off our Carhartts, let out our tool belts out a couple inches and began framing the basement walls. We didn't get started until 2 and it was dark by 5, so it wasn't a real productive day, but we made a good start.

It's been well over 3 years since I've done any building, but it must be in my blood, because I felt like I was in my element. It all came right back.

Me and the Delta are long-time friends.

Basement walls are such a challenge. The ground is uneven and makes building walls difficult, every stud has to be cut, and there is a lot of planning that will affect future progress.

Spectators and photographer/helpers.


Four lone walls is all we got up. After scraping frozen sand and ice off the walls, getting all the tools out and set up, we finally got rockin' and rollin' and then it was dark.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Getting closer

These pictures were taken at 5:30pm. It seems like I have to leave work at noon in order to get a shot in the light. I can't believe how early it gets dark.

Forms were stripped today. Damp proofing is complete. Inspection tomorrow and backfill next. Hopefully, we'll get a good portion of the basement walls up Saturday.

In the garage.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Forms, forms, forms

FORMS ARE UP!!! Cement tomorrow and even at the November rates. (Nyah Randy!)

Pray that more of my trees don't perish.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The most important element

Footings. They went in on schedule but we're still waiting for a wall. It has to be poured in November to avoid an extra "winter" charge. Any bets to see if they can set forms and get it poured tomorrow? Oh, and when they poured the footings, the cement truck ran one of my new apple trees over. The one in the middle. I don't know how they missed the rest.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ready for footings

Sunday evening. We're ready for footings tomorrow. Hopefully the wall the next day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tree movers extraordinaire

Huge progress was made today as we were able to dig up and move Owen's tree, a six year old Weeping Cherry. I priced out professional tree movers and they wanted $250 just to come out, so we decided to try it ourselves with the backhoe.

We had many obstacles - slow traveling, tree too close to house, Glenn knocking Michelle over with the scoop TWICE! - but all in all, it was a huge success. At least we think. We'll see if she takes root and blossoms this spring.

Here she is at her new home....


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Earth Movers

We began the day hoping to have the house staked out. We were pleasantly surprised to get soil borings, topsoil stripped, a new survey and the hole dug. Footings are going in Monday. Already we're over budget as the house has to be placed further back than we wanted because of easements, sidewalk, septic and setbacks. Oh well, it sits in there very nice and really, what's a couple more loads of sand?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Well, we didn't close on the lot last Friday. We didn't close Monday either. Some issue with the title work. But we did close today, Tuesday, November 17 making our official title Project One Oh Seven, but I'm not changing it now.

I purchased a few apple trees today in celebration of the event and me and Emily planted them this evening before it got dark.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our Lot

Our lot. A small parcel of land to which we can lay claim. A small piece of subdivided property in a quaint little neighborhood with surprisingly ample amounts of privacy. Our little slice of ground is on an outside corner and butts up to woods and Glenn's parents' field on the west side and another field on the north side. It's a perfect walkout site where we will build our next home.

We've had the lot in mind for about six months and are finally closing on it this Friday (which will leave us 111 days to build). The blue print is ready, the subcontractors are ready, the tools are ready....we're ready! I think.

View to the West

View to the North