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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It Takes A Strong Back And Strong Will

    Ed has been working hard every day to get the foundation ready. That requires a lot of rebar bending...well bending in general, because the rebar has to be bent, then bend over to put it in the hole, then bend over to tie the rebar to the supports, bend over to build the forms for the cement. Over and over.
 












Then straps, cross straps, nails, supports, more nails, screws, Then do it all over again on all four sides.Sophie supervises until she gets bored, then she comes back up to the house.









  In the center are four large support columns.


    Then the footings have a cement wall that brings everything else up to grade. Repeat all steps listed above.

    After a flurry of phone calls, the cement for the first part comes today. One pumper truck, 21 yards of concrete, several friends, for whom we are very grateful.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

We're Not Really Done

   We're not really done, we just thought we were. Ed wants another barn...this one for farm implements and potentially an RV or trailer. And hay...and maybe cows. That way the first barn can have woodworking tools and a workshop.
    Ed found a likely spot in the east pasture. It's on high ground, close to the road, and relatively level.........or not.
  We staked out the perimeter and had James Trott come out with his equipment to excavate the site. He started by scraping off the sod.




   It wasn't as level as we thought. Ed and James set up the transit and rest was excavated. Now Ed can form up the footings and get started.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another Codel Catastrophe

    For the second time during our building process we have been sorely disappointed in Codel doors, both in the product and in the customer service. For the first chapter in this saga, take a look at a prior post http://washnewoldhouse.blogspot.com/2010_08_01_archive.html
    The current fiasco is a result of the stops on the exterior of the french doors pulling away from itself and separating from the door frame. I contacted the Codel door representative in July, sent photos and was told someone would get back to me soon. Then On August 15th, I again contacted Codel, sent pictures again, and was told someone would contact me soon. Yesterday I once again contacted Codel. Someone will call you tomorrow.  That was today. Today I was told there was a problem between the supplier and Codel that they were trying to resolve.
    I said "What does that mean in real terms?"
    Long silence. "It means we're working on it."
   "OK," I said "when can I expect this to be resolved?"
   "We'll get back to you in about two weeks."  she said.
   
    Not good.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Raise The Bar or Get To The Point

   Ed is still working on the basement, the official Man Cave. It must be official, because we have a sign.

  At the base of the stairs is a portrait of great . great, however many Uncle Jubal Early, who fought on the wrong side of the War Between The States. In spite of that, I'm sure he was kind to his mother.  Really,  we didn't have good portraits of those in the family that fought on the Union side. What an awful time!

 

    In any event, that's the entrance to the first part of the Man Cave, which includes the theater area.  We wanted some special hinge plates for the doors he built, so we contacted a local artisan, Dave Curl from Solstice Forge, who made beautiful arrow hinge plates for us.
   They weigh a ton, but the doors are solidly built and they just look awesome.


   Ed has been working for some time on making frames for artifacts collected over 50 years ago. He has carefully stored many beautiful blankets  and other items, hoping for just the place to display them.  Pressure hangers are used to hang the fragile blankets on the wall. Frames of arrowheads, bird points and beads are carefully hung. To see these things is to feel the weight of time.




I'm not sure how this all ties in to the modernity of a home theater, but somehow it all comes together to make a very comfortable room. We hope to have Soup And A Movie night with friends soon.








And right next door? Yee haw! Big Ed's Saloon. It's stocked, although I'm not quite sure what to do with most of it.  I'm sure I'll figure it out.










Along the far wall is a row of cabinets that was a mis-measure for the upstairs craft room. We bought them at a discount and installed them in the saloon. Display frames are mounted in the cabinet surface, and more frames above. Ed has had a life-long interest in First Nations history, inspired by family connections to the Cherokee Nation. I'm so glad he has a place to come in daily contact with different aspects of his heritage.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Welcome Home

   After surviving a severe case of Builder's Burnout, complicated by a rash of Stuff That Has To Be Done Immediately, Ed started cleaning up the last of the detail work on the house. He began by casting the cement caps on the columns. After looking at several different products used to form up the caps, he decided to just build his own. He made forms out of strips of plywood, then mixed the Portland cement in buckets and hand carried it up to the porch to pour into the forms. Bag after bag, bucket after bucket...it adds up to a lot of pounds of cement. One and a half bags for each single column and three bags for every double column. There are two double columns and two single columns front and back. You do the math.
   Once the cement was poured he cased out the posts. Because of the Northwest weather, maintaining anything made of wood is a challenge. Ed decided to use a product similar to PVC, except it is formed in sheets, similar in dimension to plywood, made by Kleer. He cut it with a regular Skil saw then glued and nailed them together.
   They were easy enough to lift into place. The problem we had was getting them lined up square and plumb. The columns are tapered and the cement caps are sloped for drainage. That creates a double whammy of misperception when eyeballing the alignment. So the conversation went like this:
Ed:   "Is it straight?"
Me:  "Um...I think so."
Ed:   "OK, I'm going to shoot the nails."
Me:  "Oh....wait...."
   Once the casing was completed, he sanded the cement caps, put trim pieces around the crown and base, mounted corner bead, and gave everything a good sealing with caulking. The columns are finally done!

 
  We decided to put skirting around the bottom of the porch, partly for eye appeal, and partly to keep critters...skunks, possums, whatever...from taking up residence.








   The Man Cave gets worked on when the weather isn't conducive to outside projects. We ordered bar edge trim for the bartop along with brass foot rails. While we were waiting for that to arrive, Ed did some more work on the bar cabinetry. There will be a small fridge under the counter. We decided not to get too crazy with beer taps and kegs. Ed has been working on a backbar which will have the obligatory mirror and a place for bottles.



 

   He also finished up the theater seating. He built a platform for the second row of seats. The seats have motorized recliners so he wired in for boxes to plug in the chairs.
 Then we lifted the chairs onto the platform, plugged them in, and aligned them for perfect viewing. Now all we need to do is agree on a movie to watch!


     We would like to have soup-and-a-movie night with friends and neighbors. It'll also be a great place to keep the grandkids entertained on those rainy days.









 
  One of the best things I have done since moving to the Northwest is blog this building experience. Sometimes you lose sight of what motivated you in the first place. Sometimes you forget just how much you have accomplished. Sometimes it's just good to review the obstacles and be reminded of your blessings.






   We managed to get through an eight-year process without major illness or injury. We didn't make one unexpected trip to the hospital. Ed is an amazing individual whose problem solving skills and patience are truly inspiring. For the first four years, he made a weekly 1700 mile commute for work.  He worked on the building project on his days off, essentially working 7 days a week, month after month. Then when he retired, he worked 6 days a week to build the house. He says he didn't really retire, he just changed jobs.


   Front or back, each porch beckons friends and family to enjoy our home, and really is there much else that is important? Our hope has always been to share our home with those we care about.
     Recently someone asked me "Is this a Craftsman style home?"
     In my heart I thought, "Oh yes, it is. Not only in style, but in actuality. A craftsman built it...a true craftsman who cared about each step. He thought about every nail, every joint, every tiny detail."


   And so I find that each time we come up that driveway, and each time we open the door, the very house itself whispers "Welcome home, welcome home."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Renewal And Redemption: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

   Yes, I know. You thought I'd given up on keeping up, what with no entry since October. Frankly, Ed was just burnt out on construction, and who could blame him? After working like a man possessed for six years, he finally took a breath. He built the barn to keep the tools. He built the apartment to live in during the house construction and then he built the house. And all without a trip to the emergency room. No I managed that one, and in a garden, no less. But that's at the end of the story.

    And of course, he's back at it. The Man Cave has been patiently waiting for his return. First things first...we need a sign. We found a font he liked, he traced it on the board, routed it out and painted it. Then he ran it through the planer one more time, stained and varnished the rest. Since he's going to put a bathroom in the basement, we though a manly sign was in order for that too.

   This afternoon he installed the Man Cave sign in the stairwell down to the basement...just so you know exactly where you're going. No girlie stuff down here!

   He also put the baseboards in the theater room and unpacked the rest of the chairs. There are four chairs in the front row and three in the back. The next step will be to build a raised platform for the second row so that whomever is sitting there can actually SEE past the first row. He put together the mining cart table and set it on an old wool blanket. Fear not! The blanket isn't an antique.

    Yes, that is a popcorn machine in the background. What is a theater without popcorn? Ok, maybe it's a clean theater, but it just wouldn't be right. That is a contribution from my son-in-law and daughter to the project. Soon we hope to have Soup-And-A-Movie night with friends and neighbors.

   And then there is the saloon. You will recall I scoured the internet for a wagon wheel light fixture. That little item merited some snickering. But now...it fits right in. Ed is working to build an old fashioned cowboy bar. He's using more of that old spruce tree that fell the first year we were here. We're still working on a plan for the back bar.

   I've been working on some stained glass and on my vegetable garden. In April the garden very nearly did me in. Ed and I were outside putting the PVC hoops in place so I could start planting seeds. We started spreading the plastic over the hoops. Note to self: Do not stand on something tall and lean over. I caught my foot, went over the top and smacked my head into the 2x12 that forms the raised bed. This is not a good thing when you live an hour from everywhere. I'll refrain from posting trauma pictures, but the bruises turned some amazing colors of green and purple. The stitches weren't so bad though. Ed said the first thing I planted in the new garden was my face.

   The garden has redeemed herself though. I planted seeds May 1st, and there is stuff growing everywhere. The tomato seeds I direct seeded did better than the ones started in pots. Around here, tomatoes are iffy, so I'm pretty happy. In order, beets, garlic, carrots, sugar peas, green beans, radishes, onions, lettuce, swiss chard, broccoli,  kale, cabbage, spinach, spaghetti squash and tomatoes. The potatoes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and zucchini are in the fenced garden by the chicken coop. This morning I thinned things out a bit. Sugar snap peas, radishes, spinach and two big bunches of kale are now in the fridge, and plenty more still in the ground.

Monday, October 8, 2012

We Are The 98%

By August, most of the major construction was done. The house is down to that 98% complete phase. Our time has been consumed by the annual summer frenzy. Friends and family have traveled up for a visit.  Berry vines needed spraying, firewood prepared for the winter and the million maintenance chores that had been put off during construction really needed attention.
   One of the things holding up the building permit was the lack of rail on the basement stairs. It didn't take Ed long to do, it was just getting to that item on the list that was difficult.   The trim work will have to wait until winter.

   Before Ed moved the winter wood into the storage area of the basement, he wanted to build a storage area to contain the bulk of the wood mess. And while we're at it, let's put in some shelving for the overflow from the kitchen pantry. I like the sound of that! Next year I hope to be canning garden produce, and this will be the perfect place for it.


But the basement is, after all, a Man Cave, and what Man Cave would be complete without some tools? Yes, Ed found a corner for a small workbench (in contrast with the big workbench in the barn).

   Really, the only things left to do are to finish the trim work on the exterior columns and finish the trim in the basement. Those will be winter projects.
 
   Oh yes....one more thing.... that pesky permit. Chuck-The-Building-Inspector came out and did the final walk-through. The building department here has been a very pleasant surprise, and a joy to work with. Chuck patiently answered every question during the building process. He was thorough but never heavy-handed and we thank him for all his assistance.

  So now it's official. We can breathe a sigh of relief and relax a bit. Summer is winding down and we'll tuck in for the winter. Not that Ed will stop building, it just won't be under a timeline.