Monday, October 24, 2011

More Kindling

I sort of had a sense that over time, this barn project would yield some kindling, and sure enough, after KB had made the stairwell and framed the bathroom, there was tons of the stuff, and it’s only just begun. I know, this feeds into my firewood OCD, but in the end, it’s a practical obsession, so maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

I just need to cut the wood into more manageable pieces, then split it into small bits. I can’t wait.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Progress Being Made

Wow, we should go away more often. Progress on the barn has been made, in a big way. I spoke with KB before we left and he said he could work on the barn while I was away. He had mentioned the idea of building a stairwell, which not only would make working the barn easier, but would make at least me feel as if things were getting done. I hinted that we would all be happy to see a staircase.

Well, sure enough, when we got back from our trip to DC, there was a stairwell in the barn. Amazing, I tip my hat to KB. Then again, he’s a professional, he’s doing what he does best. The kids are thrilled because now, for the first time, they can see the second floor of the barn, though I don’t want them playing around up there too much, it still worries me. Also, we can use the ladder for other purposes, like building a soffit. Yahoo... I think.

Progress was also made on the downstairs bathroom. He started framing in the walls, which look great, though it is a small bathroom. All we need is a place to do our business. Nothing fancy, right? The real bathroom will be upstairs.

Either way, it’s great to see things moving along. Who knows where he’ll go from there. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Finishing the Floor

KB has other projects ongoing, so he couldn’t make it back until this past week, which was when we were away, so I took it upon myself, with his blessing, of course, to finish what I could on my own. KB and I got about 60% of it done the previous week, but again, I had to go, as did he. We discussed this matter and I told him the only way this project was going to get done is if it can be done without me. As much as I’d love to be the hands that completes this barn, it’s way over my head, not just in time, but in experience and knowledge. I just don’t know what to do.

KB, on the other hand, can do it with his eyes closed, it’s just that he’s a busy guy. I figure I can fill in the blanks when I can. So, I went for it. All of the lumber was there, I just needed to get nails and sub-floor glue, or liquid nails. I don’t have the manly caulking gun that KB has, but mine will do. I watched KB do his thing and absorbed his wisdom. The only tools I really needed were a circular saw and a framing hammer, which isn’t as fun or efficient as a nail gun, but you do what you gotta do.

It wasn’t so bad, and kind of nice working by myself up there. When I’m in the presence of a pro, I get big-time self conscious, partly because I’m clueless, but also because I work so slowly. When I’m alone, I can take my time, and take my time I did. It took me at least twice as long on my own to do what he and I did in about a day, but is that so unreasonable? Laying down a floor is a bit like framing, which I like, so it was fine. By the time we were ready to leave for DC, I finished the floor. I couldn’t believe it.

I just hope I didn’t screw things up. Then again, KB will let me know. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


While we were working on the barn, KB mentioned that the next thing we may want to focus on, rather than framing walls, was to build a stairwell. I’m all for that. It would definitely make life easier, especially when we’re working on the second floor. Plus, it would allow the kids, for the first time, to spend some time on the second story. We forbade them from going up there because of the safety issues. Then again, for all I know, they snuck up there when we weren’t around. That’s probably what I would have done.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Lisa Wilding for the pic.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Woodpile at About 50%

We’re about halfway done with year 2 of the woodpile, and thanks a bunch to my in-laws, PR and RR, for all the work they did. They were on a mission, and they split a bunch of wood blocks. There was a fairly substantial pile of split wood that I finally got around to, but in the end, I’ve found that a big pile of wood doesn’t necessarily translate into a big dent in the stacked pile. I stacked what they had done, and it made a difference, but there’s still a long way to go. Then again, what else is new?

I started splitting more blocks, but my bad shoulder started acting up, and had to stop. On a positive note, but bad elbow seems to have mended, so now I only have pain on side of my body.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Working on the Barn

I contacted KB and he showed up to work on the barn. Granted, he said he could do two days last week and we ended up only doing one, but at this point, I’ll take what I can get. He’s very enthusiastic and gung ho about this project, and he has alluded to making lots of progress over the next year, but we’ll see. For now, we’re happy things are moving along.

The first order of business was to put a new floor in the second story. He said the previous floor was too thin, and even I could see that it was buckling and uneven. He mentioned that when it’s like that, the flooring won’t go on evenly, like tiles or wood, even linoleum, so the plan was to put 3/4 inch plywood over it.

The truck arrived from LaValley’s and delivered a bunch of wood. From my wealth of experience, I could recognize the framing material in addition to the plywood, so I could see the KB was planning ahead. The idea is to frame the walls and then the bathroom downstairs after the floor is done.

He said it would go faster if he had a helper, and he could bring along one, or if I had the time, I could do it. It worked out that I had time, also because the kids are recovering from colds, so we could blow off tennis. I told KB, however, that the goal is to get this barn done, even I’m not around, and he’s fine with that. The take home message is that if someone can help him, the faster it will go. Say no more.

I helped out as best I could, helping him unload the wood (there was a ton of it), sweeping, applying glue. I even got to nail the boards in with the nail gun, which scares me. Watch those hands and feet. We got a little over halfway done when I finally had to go to take the kids to an activity. KB stayed behind and worked for another hour, but I think the brunt of the two man work is done.

In fact, I’m toying with the idea of carrying on what we started and getting it as far along as I can. KB can’t come back until later this week, and we might not be around, so if I can knock off a bunch of it, then less work for him and we can move onto the next big stage, whatever that is.

It’s exciting that things are moving forward, though the idea of nailing in those floorboards by hand is a bit daunting after using that nail gun. Oh well, that’s what framing hammers are for.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Clean Sweep

My friend asked if I had the poles needed to sweep a chimney, and I said I did, but I hadn’t used them yet. It’s getting cool outside and we’ve been burning wood, and I haven’t had the chimney swept. I don’t know if you can sweep the chimney when it’s being used, or if it needs adequate time to cool off before you can do it. I figure with pros, they can do just about anything, but I guess it’s easier before you really start using the stove full time.

With this in mind, I finally bit the bullet and swept the chimney. I’d done this once in the past, but my brush was too small, and I didn’t get it right. I found a brush the right size, but was concerned that it would get stuck in the flue. This small anxiety paralyzed me to the point of inaction, as usual.

Winter is right around the corner, however, making the time to take action imminent. We had the market to attend to, and there were unseasonably cold and freezing temperatures in the forecast, so I just went and did it. I love when I do that. It worked fine, the brush didn’t get stuck, and now the chimney is reasonably clean.

Bring on cold, we’re ready to burn. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Meeting with Our Umpteenth Contractor

So KB came over and looked at the barn, and I think things will start moving along now that we’ve got a professional on the scene. This, of course, means paying professional wages, but at least things will get done in a professional manner, i.e., it won’t depend on me. As much as I love the idea of getting my hands dirty in the finishing of this barn, I just don’t have time and my sporadic schedule means that I can’t be there for the time needed.

I’m hoping this works out, because KB’s our friend and we trust him, but also we want to see this project be completed. I think it’ll happen, but I’ve said this before, so stay tuned for more.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Svilen Milev for the pic.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stood Up and Seeking Professional Help

It’s time I got a little professional help, in more ways than one. BL was supposed to come over and work on the plumbing, and he bailed out on us. Bailed out hard. I spoke with him two weeks ago, and we scheduled a day for him to come. He was all for it, and I marked it on the calendar.

The day before, I called him and left a message, and he didn’t call back. I then called him the day he was supposed to come, and again, he didn’t call back. At that point, it was clear that he was just not into it, and we were going to have to look elsewhere. Fair enough. Fortunately, we live in an area where contractors grow on trees.

I called our friend, KB, and asked if this was something he had time to do. He came over and checked it out, and said it was a good time because he was in between projects, and things could get busy in the coming months. We figure that something’s gotta happen, and the sooner the better, so I told him we’d like to have him frame out the bathroom and then install the pipes into the septic. I hope it works out, because it if it does, then progress is being made.

KB’s a professional, so he’s going to make professional wages, but it’s better to pay a little more and get something accomplished than save money and get nothing done, right? As my Mentor always says, you get what you pay for.

Plus, KB’s our friend, and in addition to the knowledge on every aspect of building a house, he’s got every tool in the book, so other aspects of this barn project will benefit from his presence, which means just about everything.

Stay tuned for more, this should be good, and thanks for reading, and thanks to A B for the pic.

Seeding and Blueberry Maintenance

As part of my vow to keep up on the blueberries, I did the semi-annual maintenance that was recommended to us by the people in the know, mainly CS, grower extraordinaire.

There are two things they told me to do. First off, add acidic fertilizer, then add soil acidifier. With pine mulch on top of that, it sure seems like a lot of acid, so I’m only adding the acidifier in the spring, and I’ll add fertilizer spring and autumn. I added the fertilizer, topped it off with fresh mulch, and we’re good to go.

I then seeded the lawn with some conservation mix, with N helping out. He likes to spread the seeds, it’s sort of fun, and I figure if we can spend some quality time doing real man’s work, then all the better. Besides, we might as well take advantage of the time’s he wants to help out, because once he gets to those turbulent teen years, he’s not going to want to have anything to do with us, except, of course, when he needs money, food, or the car.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.