Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Backfilled Utility Trench

The utility trench was backfilled last week. There was some delay by the subcontractor. I know, I know, I say that all the time. They came out one night and didn't work because they couldn't find the key to the excavator. They made some calls to the guy who drove it last, looked all around in the cab of the excavator, and still couldn't find the key. The boss ended up buying a new key from the manufacturer and getting to work at our place on Thursday.

On Saturday, 20 miles away at Andy and Mindy's apartment, Benson found a little key and asked Mindy if dad was missing a tractor key. Eli pipes up - "no, that's the key to the big orange and grey tractor". Oooops!Andy hung the pocket door in the mudroom this week. It glides nice and smooth.
The door to the boy's room in the basement is also hung. It's kind of a hassle to use, so we just walk through the walls to save time.
Doors, doors, doors. This is the door from the craft room to the utility room. It works, but we just walk around it.

It was a busy week, and this week is already busy on paper. We'll be at the beach for Labor Day, and have some plans for the house later in the week. Ideally, the utility company will be able to connect our power lines this week. That will be a great change.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Utility Trench

Andy added a touch of home this week. We almost look official now! He was feeling creative with the circular saw, so the post has some attractive geometry at the top. It's nice to see the mailbox there. I really look forward to shoveling it out of the snowbank in a few months.The excavator finally showed up this week. They dug the utility trench between the last pole and the house. The electrician laid a 4" pipe for power, a 3" pipe for phone, and Andy laid a 3/4" pipe for our own line back to the edge of the site. When the trench is backfilled, the cables can be pulled through the pipes and run into the house. It's an awful mess right now, and I'll be glad to see this covered up.
The view from the hill. The power runs along the side of the house, and enters on the west wall of the northwest corner. We were worried about the ledge there, but they seem to have gotten around it just fine.

In the larger version of this picture (click the picture to open it bigger), you can tell that this is the Landy Excellent Excavator. Makes you wonder what other models they have... acceptable? super-awesome? In any case, this is one is excellent. And it has two cranberry zing handprints on it. At the height of a 3-year old. Not much of a mystery there.When he's not painting excavators, Eli actually looks pretty peaceful. He was hanging out in the house yesterday while Karen sanded, Andy worked on the framing for the mudroom pocket door, and Chris and Benson worked on the framing for the pocket door to Chris and Karen's bathroom.
Benson is busy with the hammer. This is the framing for above the pocket door. The drain for the toilet is on Benson's left, and is sunk against the floor. We have chosen to keep the wood floor in the bathroom instead of using tile or anything else. We plan to use an epoxy of some kind, then some marine sealant to keep the wood free of any external moisture.
The half-bath in the mudroom took a bit of intricate framework. It is in a small corner of a small room, so we are utilizing a pocket door to save on space.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The 17th of August

Andy and a local friend worked in the basement for a bit on Saturday. We screwed 2x4 supports to the ceiling - the insulation will run right up to the ceiling, and will be screwed into those 2x4 supports. Andy seems pretty happy with how they came out.
Benson and another friend are painting the siding. We painted a first and second coat on about 40 boards, and put a first coat on another 20 or so. One more sunny day and all the siding will be cranberry zinged. Benson tolerates the brush-work, but greatly prefers the roller.
Another load of materials from Home Depot. There's a pressure treated 4x4 post there for the mailbox, some 3/4" PVC pipe that will be buried so we can run a light from the house back to the edge of the house site. It will be our Narnia light, and it may turn out to be a pretty cool way to watch the snow fall. The light will be about 250 ft. from the South wall of the house.
This is the panel we built to be installed next to the last utility pole. The meter for power and the phone will be mounted to this. We have a few ideas to make this more attractive than it seems, but if anybody has any suggestions, we're listening.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The First Rough Plumbing

This is the rough plumbing in Chris and Karen's bathroom. They will have two sinks here, connected to the drain and the vent seen here. It's nice to see the infrastructure go up, but it sure gets tricky to hide it all well.Andy painted lots of boards on Saturday. I know these pictures all look the same, but really, they're different days. In fact, the upper set of boards has a set of dusty dog prints on the left hand side. I think it was Dory, the Whippet/Russell mix that is new to the family. She and her friend Bean, a Brittany Spaniel, joined us this week when Mindy caved and couldn't resist them. They really are good dogs, and they are both a welcome addition out here. I don't have any pictures of them this week.
We built a frame for the pocket door to Chris and Karen's bedroom. From this angle, the door way will be on the left, and will slide into a pocket that we haven't built yet. Everything is the correct height now, and once the rough inspection is done, we'll get the pocket framed and hang the door.
We did a lot more work in the basement, and have nearly all of it insulated now. There are just a few spots left to do along the lower wall, and then all the trim work at the top. That will take some time, because the rafters are in the way, and we'll have to trim around each of them individually. Our hammer drill broke Saturday afternoon, or we would have made more progress here. We'll replace it this coming week and get right back to it.
We have a new house rule: No more craigslist. Chris took the picture below driving home our latest toy. Tool... I said tool! This will extend our abilities considerably and allow us to take on projects around the house site that we otherwise could not have considered.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Utility Poles

We have a hodge-podge of pictures this week. Lots of work took place, but nothing really coherent. I kind of miss the days when progress was easy, when all day was spent on one thing - the floor, or the rafters, or the dining room bents. One task, one day. Now we are pulled in a dozen directions at once, and things are nowhere near as simple. Still satisfying, but less simple.

The utility company installed the four poles this week. There are three 40' poles and one 35' pole. The poles are not as ugly as I expected, and I must admit, I like to see them there. The pole pictured below is the last pole, placed right at the entrance to the house site. The meter will be at this point, mounted on a panel next to the pole. From there to the house, all power and phone lines will run underground.
If you wondered how Christopher's Miata made it down our driveway... it was fixed this week. Flat and reasonably smooth, at least until it rains again. The long term solution will involve better grading, swales along the drive, and perhaps some vegetation. But for now, if Chris can drive in? Anybody can drive in.The electrician has a fancy rig for drilling through foundation walls. He drilled two holes on Saturday, and this is where the power will enter the house. The drill bits are liquid-cooled, and they were quite messy. We brought water up from the brook for this. Yes, just water. No fish were harmed in the making of this house.
Another shot of the ceiling. We are pleased with the look of it now, and the ceiling won't need any more coats. The posts and beams will, and we have continued to work on that as we get the chance. You can see the scaffolding on the lower right of the picture - one 2x12 stretched over the kitchen and resting between the loft floor and a header on the west wall.
A friend came over on Saturday morning and we put him right to work. He put another coat on all the posts and beams in the loft, and a little bit downstairs in the living room.
Benson helped us put up some more insulation in the basement. We bought a hammer-drill and a carbide bit to drill the pilot, and then we drive Tapcon screws through the firring strips, the 2" of foam, and into the concrete. Benson is using the Dewalt drill to drive the screws in place.
The west wall is partially insulated. The electrician wanted the first 4' done, so he can lay out wires for sockets. We'll finish the rest of the wall later.
Andy is working on the left, applying Minwax to the ceiling. The boys are watching Alice in Wonderland on his laptop. Quiet and peaceful working night. It's tough to work on the house with the boys - they can only stay interested so long, and it can be a real battle to put in full days of work out here. Mindy has done well at keeping them involved and helpful.
With Andy working below, the movie playing in the dining room, and Chris walking around with the camera, Karen and Mindy are plotting something. Lights, maybe? Faucets? It's a mystery.
Ever wondered how far rain falls from the house? The answer: exactly the distance of overhang on the roof. The rain has drilled quite a trench in the soft, unpacked sand along our house. This is one of those things that bothers us, but isn't on the front burner right now. One can only do so much, and it turns out four can only do so much, too.