Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How to build a deck

Our original house plan includes decks on both the North and South sides of the house.  We put up the ledger boards for these back when we were shingling and finishing the exterior.

I proposed to Dean that we tackle building a deck this fall, and I really wanted to start with the North side because from there we can hear Locke Brook when she's singing and it would be a nice place to sit and enjoy a cocktail while listening to her song...


Before we could start on the actual deck, Dean wanted to get gutters up on the shed dormer that is on the North side of the house - because once there is a deck, Genie would no longer be able to get in there.


Do we go the the home center to buy gutter?  Of course not.  We are going to make our own using PVC pipe - Oh yeah.

One length of PVC pipe cut in half yields two lengths of gutter.

So the first section of gutter is ready to install and Genie has been moved into position


her batteries are dead.

So it's off to Sears to buy new ones which goes down like this:

  • Drive 30 min to Sears
  • Drive 30 min home and get the wallet you forgot
  • Drive  30 min back to Sears and pay for batteries
  • Load up car and drive 40 min (because now the school buses are on the road) back home

New batteries ready to be installed

Now that Genie is all juiced up, we got to work installing the gutter.

So here we go.  The gutter is attached with sheet metal screws.

The next section of gutter is glued to the first.  Later the joint was sealed with silicone caulking.

Downspouts were added.

and now that the gutters are done WE CAN START ON THE DECK!

We started by putting in the footings.  We used the preformed ones.

Using the backhoe to dig, the first footing goes in...

One footing in - two more to go.

In the meantime, I was put to work nailing 3 of these 2 x 8's together to become the main beam for the outer edge of the deck.  Dean was very happy that we got to use these 16 penny 3 1/2 inch hot dipped galvanized nails that he got from his father and had saved for about 25 years!  At first I was like - "what we aren't using an air nailer for this?"  But it actually felt really good to swing a hammer.

With all three footings and the upright posts in place, we are ready to raise the beam.

Next the joists went in.

And then the upright posts for the railing.

And now we are ready to lay down the decking.

Angie loves being out on the deck!

With the railing cap in place, Dean gets to work on the lower level gutters.

The plan for finishing the railing is a cable wire system kind of like this.

But this will likely have to wait until spring...

Here is the deck after our first snowstorm of the winter.

  In closing, I started this post a few weeks ago having no idea that by the time I finished it our sweet little Angie would have passed away.  

We certainly enjoyed the heck out of  her in the short time she was with us...

Friday, October 31, 2014

More Pebble Mosaics

I got on a pebble mosaic roll this summer.

I still had a LOT of pebbles left after this mosaic we did at the top of the outdoor stairs.

So I decided to use some of them to make some stepping stones for the main entrance.

Each one is 15 x 15.

I decided to go with the idea of a compass - creating 5 stepping stones - one for each direction and a center stone.

We made up a form using scraps of 2x4 and plywood.

Dean and I are a good team.   He mixes the mortar for me, and I get to do the creative laying in of the pebbles.

I started with East because I had this broken edge of a clay pot that I thought would work for a sunrise...

East represents air - and the sun rises in the east

So here are the rest of them...

West represents water
South represents fire

North represents earth

This is the center piece

That round stone in the center was specially procured from Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada this summer when I visited with my BFFs!

And here they are all installed.

There are a few more of the plain ones to go in to complete the grid and this will look so much better when the ground cover between the stones fills in...  

I'll update you next summer!

That's it for now.  I'll be posting again soon to show you our deck project.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Solar in Da House!

We've got our Solar system up & running!

Many of you know that Solar power had been in our plans for the house since the beginning.  

When we constructed the garage, we situated it to have a south facing expanse of roof for the purpose of mounting solar photovoltaic panels.

  Well we finally got her done!

Last week our guys from Solarflair took 2 days to install the system.  

Here is day one.

At the end of the day, we went up on the roof for a closer look.

Here's a lovely rooftop view of our house and yard including my septic hump wildflower and wild grasses meadow, and our solar clothesline.

On day two, the PV panels were mounted.

The inspections took place on Tuesday of this week.  

And on Thursday, Unitil came out and replaced our meter with a new net metering one.  The new meter can send the electricity that we generate into our house as needed and any excess energy is directed into the grid.

We are now generating solar electricity!

Can I get back to my nap now?

Angie is not quite as excited as we are about all this...