Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Slow and steady...

 November has been siding month. It's been going pretty slow. Part of it is the weather, some of it is the shorter days and some of it is probably burn out.. but not willing to fully admit that to myself because there's too much to do!! That's healthy right? So here are photos of us working on siding!

I spend a lot of time on top of the staging

Matthew does the cutting

This is how you straighten out a warped board

Ok, the next three photos is just to show how good Matthew is at this, which is crazy because he has never done this before.


drawing out the cut

beautiful result! 

This was after he cut the bottom of the siding boards. We have been putting them up, making sure they are long enough to later cut at once so it looks even.

I also finished the drain side of the plumbing! Haven't glued it yet, but dude, I did all of this by myself! We'll see if I did it right once we start installing sinks and such lol

This shows the outlet to the septic tank and the drain from the main stack, that the future sink and toilet are attached to

the pipe comes around and meets with the secondary stack that is connected to the future tub and dishwasher

it then runs over to our future kitchen sink, which will be vented with an AVD (automatic venting device)

location of future dishwasher, secondary stack

this shows the secondary stack (right) being connected to the primary stack

Oh, right, I also built a deck.. ok, no. I built the floor of the deck. I did that alone as well so proud of that. I did have Matthew do the final cut along the sides because he has more practice with it. I almost did it myself but wanted to be sure it would look good.

using a jigsaw to cut out for around the posts

using a bowrench(love it tool!) for bending the boards straight. This was the only way I was going to be able to do this alone.

Doing it in the cold and snow

My part done

After Matthews cut, so excited about the porch, it's my favorite part of the house.

And more siding

corner done, took a day! It was tricky for several reasons

sketchy you say?

wasn't thrilled but it went well, felt secure when I was on it.

That's all I have for November, we are headed to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving and finally getting more than an single day break. Looking forward to resting my body and mind so I can get back to working in freezing temps to, hopefully, finish the siding before serious snow hits!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Installing water/septic/electric, siding started - Aug/Sept/Oct

At the end of July we had the house and got the septic tank in. I took no photos of it be we laid the pipe for the septic and the electric line. It was a lot of work, didn't think about taking photos, mostly busy think about the task. It was exhausting work. Mostly the electrical because we had to use the largest wires for home use, it's called 500 mcm. It's so big you can't pulling through the pipe. The wire was run out the entire 450 feet from the house to the power line, we then had to carry a 10 ft pipe along the length of it 45 times, and attach them. It was August, so it was hot 90 degree days, working in a ditch that in some areas was muck that you sunk almost to your knees in. Good times. We were extremely happy the day we finished. 

Somewhere in the middle of all that the well guy showed up and set up our water! I got a few photos of them attaching to the well and laying the tubing. It would be several weeks before we actually could use the water as the electrical needed to be done. We had the wire in but Matthew then needed to attach the main wire (500 mcm) to the house. 

connecting to existing well
running the tubing

Thanks to my lovely mother-in-law there are photos of the electrical wire.. this is it laid out in the ditch

in this photo you can see one of the cleanouts for the septic

We had many mucky dirty days!

We were very productive in August. While Matthews parents were visiting his dad helped him get started on wiring inside the house. We got the circulation unit installed. Our house is very well sealed and if we don't have this system installed the house would get humid from our breath and we would run out of oxygen. No joke.
This is a Zehnder unit

Zehnders are great, we got this unit because we were told it's a lot easier to install. I don't know how difficult an alternative would have been but this was really straight forward. 

On to September! As I look back at photos I'm reminded. The electrical was also held up by needing to put up some siding where the electrical box would mount to. So, we got siding and had to restack it, then let it sit and cure for several weeks before we could use it. It was green and green wood will cup and curve badly if you don't let it cure a little first. We ended up doing just enough siding for the electrical box then went on doing over things for a while. 

up on staging we borrowed from a neighbor, putting up flashing and corovent for the window before we start siding, we then attached furring horizontally the finally siding on top!

This was as far as we went until recently.

My Mom, Cindy and Helen came to visit! I had a much deserved break with them for a few magical days

And then back to work, this is Matthew working on one of the penetrations for the house. We've done several and are complete now so we can just focus on the siding.

temporary stairs! It was amazing getting these from friends. We spent a month climbing into the house.

By the end of September we were moved into the basement of the house. That was a big goal for us, to be moved in for winter and before Matthew went back to work. He's working part time at his previous job and is enjoying it. Weirdo. Anyway, we keep plugging away together when he's off and I have been doing some things on my own. On to October!

The beginning of the month was our anniversary, 3 years!

We poured this small concrete slab for our future heating unit

I call this the ugly corner of the house

oh yeah, somewhere in my 'free' time I worked on restoring this tub for our future bathroom.

We built a new compost bin! pretty excited about it, this was before we added anything lol

I'm pretty good on a tractor these days. This was practicing using the forks. Came in handy later when I had to unload several packages weighing from 300-750#

One weekend we had friends help us make progress on the siding.. 

Heather installing more siding under the window

By the end of the weekend we finished one wall! 

When Matthew is at work I'm at home mostly doing plumbing. He did all the electrical without my assistance so I decided to take on the plumbing. Been learning a lot! I'm doing the drain side, I'm mostly done with the dry fit and in a few weeks we will take it all apart, glue it and leave for a week so it can cure without us inhaling it.

getting good at doing a square cut on these pipes!

Ok, that's all for now. It's November so I'm slowing down. It's crazy the shift in my energy levels between summer and winter. I don't expect to be as productive in the next few months. We, in our naivety, thought we might be done by the end of the year. Experienced me now hopes to be done by spring 2022.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The house! July 2021

This month has been the most exciting for me this year. Tatiana came for a visit, all by herself! It was our first time alone for several days. It meant a lot to me, and I've been waiting patiently for this chance.


cookies and movie night

canoeing in worcester

swimming at the cascades

We had a fabulous time, albeit entirely too short. I got a new tattoo, we did archery, canoeing, swimming at an amazing swimming hole. It was hard when she had to leave. The only thing that made it palatable was the excitement of our house arriving the next day.

I'm going to be lazy and use Matthews email to his parents to describe the house raising...

On the day of the build the crew of 4 guys showed up at 7:30 on the first morning and started prepping. We'd been told they'd use our generator, but turns out they brought their own. The truck was a bit late showing up at the site, but as it turns out they weren't *actually* late. We'd been told they'd move the walls to smaller trucks, but everything came on 18 wheelers! In addition the Lull hadn't shown up

From left to right: log skidder, crane, 18-wheeler with first delivery

Somehow it seems to have showed up a month early and then been taken away again, there was a lull sitting at the end of our driveway for a week a while back... but they hadn't actually ordered it yet, it's like the company listened to what they initially said and got the dates wrong, and ignored the actual order.

Anyway, we don't really have space to turn an 18 wheeler around, but Bill was hanging around to help get anyone unstuck who got stuck. So Bill came up with a plan to pull the trailer around sideways with his logger, a trick apparently he did a lot in the past when logging. The driver thought he might pull it off in our turnaround past the house, but he did it by driving down past the turnaround to the unimproved road where we hadn't put any rock down, so he couldn't back up. Bill had set up to pull the trailer down so had to drive the skidder through around and pull him back up, then he swung his trailer around.

Later that day the next truck arrived. His trailer was longer but his truck was shorter, he only barely made it in without losing his trailer off the edge of our road. I explained to him what had happened with the previous driver and he had a different idea about how to turn around, he had me knock over a bunch of stuff and flatten out what I could with the tractor to give him a bit more space, and actually pulled the turn off. It was pretty impressive to watch, I don't think anyone thought he'd actually do it.

Meanwhile the crew was working on squaring up the sill plates. The foundation precision was good enough, but not better than that. They had a pretty hard time getting it all to come out right but did a fantastic job in the end. They got the decking (floor) on that day by unloading the trucks with the crane. That slowed things down though since one of the bundles (the walls) was too big to safely lift from where the truck could park, so they had to break it up and lift the walls off one at a time (4 wheel sections one for each wall).

Sill plates

beam for the basement

Post, beam and first section of floor deck

Next morning it started raining and when the crew arrived I went up to talk to them, there was no way an 18 wheeler would make it down our road safely. Bill showed up again to help out and he was pretty adament that the 18 wheeler should NOT come in and he went out to stop the driver when they arrived.

The lull had arrived late the previous day so alex (the head of the crew) thought he could just pick up the roof sections and drive them in. The roof sections are 27 feet long. Neither Bill or I thought this would work well or was a good idea. Apparently Alex pulled it off with 40 foot bundles at a previous job, weaving between the trees, but we remained skeptical. Anyway, after much standing around in pouring rain and talking eventually Angie and Bill drove off and found a tow company and called a flat-bed wrecker. I stood out front with Alex chatting for 45 minutes while we waited for the wrecker to arrive, then Alex loaded on a bundle at a time with the lull and the wrecker drove in, lull followed unloaded, repeat. It worked and only cost us $350 for the wrecker...

In the meantime the rest of the crew got the walls on in the pouring rain.

rainy day wall installation!

another angle

looking in from the front door. Post in the center, a wall section passed that which will separate the bedroom and bathroom

The last section they got on that day

The 3'rd day the crane operator didn't show. After an hour and a half Angie and I drove out and called and it turned out the poor guys basement had flooded and he had a new born baby. But they said someone would be out by 10:30 or so. Eventually they showed up and it turned out to be the founder/owner of the company who's like 70 years old. The crew had to help him up in to his crane where he obviously took a few minutes to remember how to operate the thing. He smoked a huge cigar the whole time, it was pretty funny actually. Another guy showed up a couple of hours later to relieve him, but it was a sight.

looking in from the french doors to the porch, post and beam in place, wall sections in to break up the living room/kitchen from the bedroom/bathroom half of the house

Alex got started on the porch while we waited for the crane operator

After the crane operator arrived, getting the first section of roof on

last roof section

getting the porch supports in 

porch roof!

End of the third day

Anyway, the crew worked until 7:00 that night before quiting, because they wouldn't have an operator for the crane the following day. They had predicted 3 days to complete the build, but there were too many delays. They finished what they needed to and we took them to get pizza and beer down in Montpelier. They were a really sweet bunch of guys actually, interesting people, and very appreciative :). We had a good time.

Then day 4 they finished up and did the blower test. Peter, who had been our contact was there on day 1 and day 4. Apparently he'd never seen a build before, so he was pretty interested. It all worked out, despite all the problems, and now we have a house! On day 4 we also helped Bill put on the roof paper so the house would be weather tight. We're still missing a front door and a basement door to be able to seal the building though.

Peter doing the 'blower test' to make sure we aren't leaking any air, or very minimal amounts

happy home owners! 

view from our roof

helping Bill put on the roof paper

Since the house went up we've been working on other projects like building these awesome shou sugi ban stairs to the basement...

Installing a bulkhead...

And getting a septic tank...

This last week of July we will be laying the pipe for the septic. With any luck we will be doing the electrical install soon after. We have been working really hard and not taking a lot of time off... but we are working on that. took a day off yesterday to go for a hike. It was our first hike this summer! It awakened our love again for backpacking. Hopefully we can get some down time to do at least an over night trip soon. Anyway, super excited and happy to have a house. We might even live in it before winter!