Monday, June 28, 2010

Neglecting Real Man Duties

I regret to say that I haven't been attending to my real man duties as much as I should because of all of our work at the Grateful Dumpling, but things are inching along. I've got 1/3 of the final dormer done, and once I get the side pieces on, I'll frame the windows, install them, wrap with Tyvek, and then we're good to go for the roofers. I should also clean off the last of the moss on the on the other side, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

I've also begun the task of moving the firewood, which is 99% cut into blocks, but man are there a lot of them. N and I were stacking wood when it really dawned on me that I have a lot of work to still do in terms of splitting and stacking that stuff. Fortunately we have a year's worth ready to burn, but you just never know how much you'll need. Besides, you can't beat wood that's cured for two years. At least that's what I've been told, and we're awaiting the arrival of seven more cords. What was I thinking?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Lysanne Ooteman for the pic.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And Now For Dormer #2

So, if you can believe this, I'm done with dormer #1, at least for now. I broke down the platform and re-installed it around dormer #2, and the second time around was much smoother than the first. In fact, I got about three days of work done in one day, which is a good thing, because the roofers called the other day and were wondering what the deal was, and I told them I needed more time. They said fine, but probably thought I was a total loser, which isn't that far from the truth. How embarrassing, though I'm not sure if they're too worried, they got their deposit.

After getting the platform up and moving the harness line, I managed to remove the windows and will begin working on the fascia. I ended up doing battle with several wasps/hornets that have built nest in and around the dormer, which is a bummer. Nothing worse than hanging precariously from the roof and then being attacked by wasps. What's crazy is the sting isn't even that bad, but the thought of it makes me freak out. Not a good thing, and I'm glad I'm tied up, sort of.

I also cleaned up the inside of the barn. R got on my case for it being so messy (actually, she tore me a new one), though in my opinion, it wasn't that bad. Besides, does she really spend that much time in there? It is, after all, a work in progress, and who cares if it's a little messy, it's a construction site? My Mentor would probably concur with R, as would most of the civilized world, to whom I would point out that if a messy work area is a sign of a messy mind, then what is an empty work area? In the end, it's a good thing, the place looks better, but when you're training to be a real man, who's got time for cleanliness? There is the safety issue, of course...

I'm hoping to being stacking wood again, as the pile is cut up and I now need to split, while I await the arrival of our next truckload, but one thing at a time.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Little Steps

We had an incredibly busy day yesterday getting ready for our last day of t-ball and preparing for the summer reading picnic, so I had no time to real-man things. I need to finish taping the window on the dormer and screwing and sealing the fascia seams, then I'm done with dormer #1. I'm hoping to get the done today in between prepping for the market, and then it's on to dormer #2. I did, however, manage to mow some of the lawn, albeit it in the dark. You do what you gotta do.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What a Difference 1000 Dumplings Make

You may have noticed a theme in our lives lately. Believe me, it was not the intended goal for dumplings to take over our lives, but it's happened, and needless to say, we have dumplings on the brain. We made an attempt to be more organized and focus our efforts on being more efficient by making as many as we can on one day, freeing up the rest of our week. It's a good plan in theory, but making 1000 dumplings is a bear of a job.

However, it did free up time for me to finish things around the house. Now that I got my real-man's chain, cutting wood is much quicker, though it makes me more tense using a "real" chain. I can feel it wanting to take control, and am more wary when I use it, but boy does it cut through wood. I had a spare chain that I keep on hand in the event that I need one in a pinch, but it was a safety chain. I went in to exchange it and told the guys at Joe's what a difference the chain made, and they said, "We told you so."

I've also finally finished putting the windows in on one of the dormers. It took me quite a while, with the weather and farmer's markets making it difficult, at best, but I've managed to get it done. It was actually a little tricky getting the windows up the second story and then installing them by myself, mainly because they are heavy and fragile. Funny how that works.

I pulled them up with a rope, technique compliments of JH, and then put them into the ROs from the inside. I tied them up to the rafters for fear of dropping them, and once they were in place, I pulled them in and secured them. I then went onto the roof platform and nailed them in. I was actually able to put in a lot of nails by simply leaning out the window, which made it fairly easy.

I would say that I'm about 95% done with that dormer. After finishing touches on the fascia taping the windows, I can move on to the other dormer. What fun. My plan was to get as much done on one dormer before moving my platform, which is a bit of a chore in itself.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Everything's Coming Up Dumplings

Well, despite the fact that there are a million things to do, all I've really been able to accomplish is... you guessed it, make dumplings. Is this how Ben and Jerry's got started? I was on the verge of installing windows on the dormers but the rain made it hard to stand on the roof (funny how that works), and the firewood beckons me. I think eventually we'll find a groove on making our product, but until then, I'll spend my days slaving over a hot stove. I even had to back out of karate last week and had to cancel my COVER building class on windows. What a bummer. Then again, I know how to put in windows.

JH is on vacation so I'm on my own, but such is the life of a real man in training. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chainsaw Revelations

In a move that is sure to get a nod from my Mentor, I went out and got a real-man's chain for my saw. Up to this point, I'd been using what is known as a safety chain, or an anti-kickback chain (probably referred to by some as a "sissy" chain - I know, I'm hiding my head in shame). I had no frame of reference, so I felt it was fine. The chainsaw still cut wood and I felt better with a safer chain, though I'm not sure how well they actually prevent kickback, a fact that was alluded to me by the professionals. Also, I've recently been noticing that in the process of cutting thick logs, I would get increasingly fatigued and by extension, annoyed. Some days it was a chore just cutting one log, especially when it was hot.

So I decided to man-up and put a new chain on (it even has a different color master link), and when I cut wood yesterday, it was like slicing butter with a Ginsu knife. Simply amazing. Firewood, look out, because here comes Fred Bunyan. Cutting last night felt great, and I think I can get through the last of the wood before we get our next load, but that, like many things in life, is much easier said than done.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Firewood News and More Barn

I've decided to move my real-man training up a notch and change the chain on my saw. I've been using a safety chain, what is known as an anti-kickback chain, mainly because the saws scare me, but recently I've noticed that it can be a struggle to get through the wood. Some days I can only cut through two or three thick logs before the strain makes me tired and want to quit. I've avoided the more aggressive chains up to this point, figuring I had plenty of time to cut the wood, but time is wasting, and I need to get it done. I feel I just need to be extra careful, though I'm still not clear how much the safety chain can really prevent kickbacks. So I'll head over to Joe's and get one. This should be interesting.

Also, I've been in contact with my log source, TB, and he said he can deliver in the coming weeks. Great, so at least we're in touch and it's one less thing for me to stress about.

It has been baking hot, but for whatever reason, today is nice and cool. Could be a good day to finish that fascia on the dormer, and maybe even begin putting up siding. I think that once the new roof is in, it'll be that much harder to work up there, so I might as well do what I can while I can do it. This, of course, means I'll need shiplap and stainless steel nails. Off to Britton's we go.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to homero chapa for the pic.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Last Windows (sort of)

JH came by the other day and we managed to get the last of the windows in, sort of. The dormers, which have become the new bane of my existence, are still in need of work, but if you can just find a way to ignore them, then you can say that all the windows are in. The shop window was easy, and I might have even been able to put it in myself, though I must confess, having another person there not only makes the work quicker, but another enjoyable, as well. Besides, JH knows his stuff, and offers expert advice that makes the job more efficient. For the shop window, I had made a framing mistake, and followed that with yet another mistake.

The RO was too big, so JH and I added some boards, which made it too small. We ripped out one of the boards and finally got it right. Once the shop window was in, we had to tackle the upstairs gable window. I wasn't sure how we were going to tackle this one, because the window is massive and heavy, not to mention breakable.

My first thought was to secure the window to a rope, have one of us on the second floor pulling the window up while the other lifts it while climbing a ladder. Kind of sketchy, but what else were we going to do? I was perfectly willing to do the dangerous ladder part, but in the end, JH though it would be better for both of us to pull the window up. We had to do it in two stages. First, pull the thing up and see if it fit properly in the first place. It didn't.

I was ready to whimp our and call it a day, then do the framing on my own, but then we decided to do it then and now. We had to cut boards and then a strip of sheathing to finish the RO, but again, with two sets of hands, the work is much quicker. We got the RO ready, and were about to check the RO again before caulking when we took a leap of faith and just went for it. Fortunately, we got it right this time and the window fit just right.

JH went around and climbed the ladder while I shimmed and leveled the window. He secured it with a few nails and we were in business. Suddenly, the windows were all in. Now, all we have to do it get the door in the other side and finish the (ahem) dormers, and we are well on the way to getting that barn sealed.

Then again, those dormers could take years. Until then, thanks for reading.