Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tidying Things Up

Things were looking kind of junky around the lot after stripping the forms.  I need to get to some specific pieces of lumber next, and they are buried underneath some big beams that I'd rather not move twice.   So the bigger boards (that started life as driveway forms, then were re-used as foundation forms) became a big lumber rack.  It's going to be nice having a big flat area to stage lumber, and even make some cuts.  A lesson learned from before was, working on a slope slows everything down.  Having a flat surface to measure and cut on is worth a day's work....When the framing is done this lumber rack will be re-re-reconstructed as a steep staircase to the roof for that stage of the project


Monday, August 23, 2010

Building My Own House

            Once again, a neighbor asked when I'm gonna start building.  I wanted to tell her I'm almost finished----plans are approved, utilities are all in, materials are delivered, and foundation is done. 
             Foundation's DONE!  I've been fantasizing about this point for two years now.  It took two months to dig then form the foundation.  It took two hours to pour it.  It took two days to strip the forms.
             One of my volunteers (Kieran) was tasked with dumping the color (iron oxide, mostly) into the forms while we worked the concrete in.  I wanted it to look somewhat like the surrounding boulders---it doesn't, but it's still better looking than plain concrete.  I kinda like how it turned out.
              Stripping the forms wasn't easy.  First I took out all the screws that I could get to; many of them faced inward so it took some prying and breaking to get everything apart.  Then the task of peeling away to fabric and cutting it.  Very dusty work---didn't help allergies at all.  Oh well---I'm out of the dirt now and can start with the wood stuff now!  Next up is the rough floor framing inspection

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Big Day


Yesterday everything (forms, digging, housework, cleaning the cabin) finished around 10:00 pm. Byron got here around 6:30 this morning. We started actually pumping and pouring about 7:00. Other volunteers showed up--Butch Paddock (neighbor) and a few co-workers from HazMat---Kieran and Steve (Mike showed up after all the work was done, just like a blister. He still got a grilled sandwich but had to eat the heels)
After months of prep work, it was only 2 hours of pouring. It got to be a juggling act because the concrete was setting quick in the heat. The forms didn't move a bit, and we had exactly the right amount of concrete.
We had lunch and hung out for a bit. I have to go wet it down, then I'm going to lie down for awhile

Last Minute Prep

So, a full load of concrete is 9.5 yards. I need 14.5 I figure for the foundation. The biggest expense is the delivery charge, so ordering a short load doesn't make sense.
So, I decided it was worth shaping and forming the rest of the driveway, enough to eat up another 4.5 yards. It's hard pan dirt and needs to come down about 8" in some spots. Racing the sun but got it done in time to get some rebar down.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Inspection and Edmund Fitzgerald

Sorry, no new picture.

Met my project inspector---Rob. Rob liked to talk. I wasn't sure what he'd think of the fabric formed foundation---he acted like he'd seen millions of them. Or it's possible that this is his first project, so 100% of them have been like this.
Rob was impressed that I had all my Best Management Practices (BMPs) in place, then proceeded to give a detailed history of BMP's. They were to protect the Great Lakes. He then tried to list the Great Lakes but left out Huron and Ontario. He seemed surprised and impressed that I knew them---I told him just thought of the Gordon Lightfoot song "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" because he lists them all, so Rob was even more impressed that I knew who Gordon Lightfoot was.
Just one little thing he wants done before the pour. He wants me to cut all the fabric out of the bottom of the trench so the concrete will sit on the dirt. I have to have a 20' grounding rod encased in the foundation that sticks out so I can later bond it to the electrical panel, which was already done. Rob is afraid the concrete will not provide sufficient ground if it's separated from the dirt by a layer of fabric. Never mind there are TWO 8' copper rods at the power pole already and I'm grounding to the cold water line, too.
I got about a third of it cut out. He wants pictures.
So I've ordered concrete. 14.5 yards (27 cubic feet to the yard)will do it. I've hired out a concrete pump too. The most I can mix in a day myself is two yards, so there would be 'cold joints' if I did it myself and I want a one piece foundation. A truck holds 9 1/2 yards. Delivery is the expensive part so I ordered two full trucks and will use the other 4 1/2 yards for the section of driveway between the parking area and the main driveway. I have two days to cut, grade, form and reinforce. The pour starts at 7:00 am Monday. Byron's coming to help as are a few co workers.

Monday, August 9, 2010

George Michael Was Right

Lee's post prompted this blog. Thanks Lee

I wasn't born with much talent. Anyone that has heard me sing, watched me dance, and so on can attest to it. No one has ever asked me to model. When picking teams in playground sports I wasn't one of the first picked.
No...What I WAS born with, and took for granted for a long time, is a strong faith. The existence of a creator, with a distinct personality, whom I will get to know better after death, to me is unquestionable.
Before my agnostic friends start demanding proof---let me say that faith distinctly implies that which can't be proven. As such, any faith that doesn't contradict historical proof or physical law is equally valid. Arguing faith versus faith makes no rational sense.
Evangelizing to people that don't want to be evangelized at, is a waste of time. I like the Roman Catholic approach better of just leading by example (true, there are plenty of Roman Catholics that have set a pretty poor example. Those actions have nothing to do with faith and are very damaging)
Half of my hour long commute to work is dedicated to prayer (the other half listening to the news, which usually leads to more prayer) Mostly contemplative prayer, like meditation. Some for thanksgiving, some for forgiveness, and a little for intercession though I try to keep that to a minimum.
Bottom line is, faith has been such a good source of calming and reassurance. If I imagine life without faith there's something good and big missing. From the outside it may look like a crutch. People with faith will understand it puts you more in lockstep with the universe. We are designed for it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ready For Mud

Yesterday the goal was to get the foundation forms completely ready for concrete. I was sooo close when AnnaMarie told me it was time to get ready for church...Cleaned up, went to church, jammed back home just to get all dirty again.
I went back and forth about how I wanted to form the piers. Basically, there is a pier underneath every point a beam intersects another beam under the house. There's a 24" square hole, 30" deep, for each one--then a 12" square form suspended over the hole. The rebar all had to be bent a certain way. The perimeter foundation forms are all set, too.
Next is having the surveyor come out and make sure I'm building in the correct spot. Sure hope I am---there's no practical way to move this monstrosity. They'll draft a letter, which I have to then give to the county inspector---who will make sure all the BMP's (Best Management Practices) are in place.
Made use of the remaining twilight to clean up everything around the lot. I think neatness counts. There's enough scrap wood for a nice beach party