Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Solstice


Summer Solstice moon
Rising over future home
Illuminate me

Haiku is a poetry form that presents a little snapshot of a time and place.  I composed this poem on Thursday evening as I was pursuing a photo of the moonrise. 

I drove out to the house after working a 12 hour shift at BWH to get a photo of the moonrise.  I had tried the night before, but the sky was still too bright when the moon rose around 6 PM, and the photos did not come out very good.  I knew that the moonrise was a little later this night, and thought I would get a better result. 

It was nice to be there by myself, at dusk - so quiet and warm with a nice summer breeze...

The greening of the hump

We have germination.

More growth.

And still more growth!

And now this is what we see as we drive up to the house.

OK - I think that is enough pictures of growing grass for now...


I found some pretty mushrooms growing near our brook.  Is anyone out there a mushroom identifier?  I would love to know what these are.

Don't tread on me

Tom is doing an AWESOME job on the finish stairs!  We are very happy with his work. 

Check out the beautiful skirt board, risers and trim.

Nice POV on this one Dean!  Were you standing on a ladder?

The stairs look SO nice, even with the working pine treads still on.  Can you imagine how pretty they are going to look with the finished Hickory treads?

The happy home owner!

On Friday, Tom delivered the Hickory treads - they are gorgeous.  Dean will polyurethane them, and Tom will install them.


OK, I have to give yet another little dig to Genie.  I have taken to referring to her as Dean's girlfriend since he has been spending so much time with her!   And I have figured out how she saves time and energy compared to going up and down a ladder - when Dean is up in the basket, he calls to me to get what he needs!    See my previous post "Just call me Fetch"

So this week we had to move Genie into a pretty tight position.  Under the best of circumstances, she is not at all easy to move, and now that the septic tanks are in, we have very little room to maneuver on this particular corner of the house, so here was the procedure for moving her:

  • Lift the outriggers

  • Drive the backhoe up close to the tongue end

  • Hook up some chain between the backhoe shovel and the tongue end of Genie

  • Try to pick her up (this did not work)

  • Try to drag her into position (this did not work either as the small wheels dug into the soft sand)

  • Remove the basket

  • Reposition the chain to create a better pivot point

  • Lay some pieces of plywood on the ground to encourage the wheels to roll

  • Lift and pull into position using the backhoe  (This finally worked!!)

  • Replace the basket

  • Lower the outriggers and level the unit

Elapsed time - about 75 minutes!  I'm just saying...

But OK  - I must also take a moment here to give Dean some props.  I am always amazed at his problem solving ability, and very impressed with his understanding of mechanical advantage and other basic principles of physics like pivot points, and torque, and simple machines, and stuff I have no understanding of!  I mean he ALWAYS figures it out!

Still shingling...

Oh yeah - we are still shingling...  It is a pretty slow process putting up one shingle at a time, but it is coming along, and looking really nice!


And still flooring...

That's it for this week.  You know where to find us most days, so stop in for a visit if you are so inclined!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Finish phase

It's mostly been great fun being a grasshopper and learning a whole bunch of new skills, but it has also had it's moments of frustration!  I had one of those times of extreme frustration this past week that resulted in a mini meltdown - tears and all. 

I had gone to the house early, before Dean, and had my little list of grasshopper jobs. 

I have been doing most of the flooring, which has been very satisfying - but now I am at the parts of the floor that are very close to the walls, and this requires different technique.  You can no longer use a hammer to pull the strips of flooring in, as there is no clearance between the wood and the wall.  So, you can switch to a system of wedges, or as Dean had showed me, use a mini crow bar to gently place a load on the wood and hammer flat on the board to vibrate it into place.  You cannot use the air nailer either, so you have to drill a pilot whole and drive finish nails into the tongue. 

OK, so I had been having some success with these new techniques, but this particular morning, nothing would move! 

I could not get a single piece of flooring to pull into place!  Boo-hoo, weep-weep-weep, WAAHHH!

Here's a couple of pics of the flooring we have started in the upstairs hall into the bathroom.

Later in the week, after my meltdown, I came to the realization that we have entered into the finish phase on the house. 

Now don't start looking for your invitation to the house warming party just yet, as we have still a couple of boat-loads of work to do! 

But, whereas before, everything was rough plumbing, rough electrical, rough stairs, etc - we are now doing a lot of the finish work!

Speaking of stairs

We have hired my brother Tom to do the finish stairs, and he came out yesterday to get started.

Here he is working on the skirt boards.


Also out at the house yesterday, the plumbers were at work.

The shut off valves for the bathroom sink were installed.

And they worked on getting the water tank hooked up...

The case of the 42 inch base cabinet - part deux.

You might be wondering what ever happened with that 42 inch base cabinet??  Well, the fourth one was delivered - in a wooden crate and in the upright position - and it was also damaged!  We now have four 42 inch base cabinets, each one with a different bit of damage to it.  In talking with our kitchen guy at Lowe's, we decided, that between the four, we could construct a single complete cabinet. 

So we installed the cabinet that had an intact body, and the cabinet company will send someone out to install the doors and drawers for us.

So, with the exception of the doors and drawers on the 42 inch base cabinet, and the little finish pieces to bridge the gap between the cabinets and the wall, the kitchen cabinets are  installed!

As built

I thought we were done with the septic once it passed inspection, but no...  The septic engineers have to draw up the "as built" plan, and it has to go to a Board of Health hearing for final approval.  Another $450 invoice coming our way...

So here they are taking their measurements for the "as built".

We got the freezer

As promised, we went and retrieved our freezer from Ted's house where he kindly stored it for us - plugged in because it has stuff in it! Probably a lot of stuff to throw out after a year in the freezer.  I will sort through it later when I have some time.

Getting stoned

Ashby is a very rocky terrain, and our spot of land being no exception, has a lot of rocks.

Our excavator is using our rocks to build some stone walls for us.  Here he is working - with his helpers Cheyenne and Pumpernickel -  at the North side of the house.

And here's what it looks like now.  I love it and am already thinking about what I will plant here!

Still fixing stuff

We are still fixing the things that were done sloppily by our former builder.  This week Dean fixed the lock that was taking 2-3 minutes of jiggling to get it to turn each time we tried to lock or unlock it.


And then there is still plenty of shingling to do.  Dean has been doing the most of this work.  One of the challenges with shingling, is getting the shingles to line up with the windows.  This requires some math, and making slight adjustments on the spacing of each course, and sometimes a bigger adjustment is needed.

Small adjustments are not very visible to the eye, but if you go from a 5 inch reveal, to a 3.5 inch reveal, it is very obvious, so this is tricky business getting it just right.

Dean decided to try the "snaggletooth" solution in this one area, thinking the up & down pattern would trick the eye a bit so as to make the change in the reveal less noticeable.

I like it!  We also plan to use some shingle patterns on the gable ends of the house.  Stay tuned to see what we come up with.

OK for now...

Pumpernickel seems to be  indicating that it is time for a nap, so signing off for now.