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!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Landed Gentry May/June 2021

 In May we got a lot of rock deliveries to patch up the road in the worst spots. As time has passed we realize we will be putting rock down on the entire driveway. We were hoping to avoid that as it ain't cheap! Oh well, it will make our road a lot nicer and easier to drive up, mostly during mud season. We bought a blow torch, yay fire! 

We want to use it to treat wood that will be outside. Shou sugi ban, is a Japanese technique for treating wood. You burn/char the outer layer (driving the liquid out), then sand it and treat with linseed oil. We only did the burning part for the post on our mailbox. TBD how well or for how long this will work. 

we have a mailbox! This was a milestone

This is my amazing friend Heather helping out on the land

Build site dug and ready for a basement!

That's all I got for May, in June things got more exciting. The basement went in and Matthew started a leave of absence. He was going to retire, but they really wanted to keep him and we decided a little more buffer wouldn't hurt. He goes back in October but only part time. 

setting up the forms

pouring the walls

finishing work

cut my hair, thinking I'll go even shorter soon

after the forms were taken off

I forgot to mention I helped Bill put in a drain for our basement. In the right corner of this photo you can see the drain. We placed it one inch below the level the floor would be. We then attached a pipe that went under the footing and wrapped around the outside of the basement along two walls until it reaches a ditch. This photo shows the before rock...

This is after four hours of shoveling rock and leveling it out... I fell alseep at the dining table that night.

We moved out of our apartment and into the hunting cabin. This is our outdoor shower. We use a 5-gallon bucket of water and a cool pump attached to a hose and shower head.

Backfilling around the foundation. Missed taking photos before this step. We added perforated pipe, above the previous drain pipe, and wrapping around the entire foundation. The pipe was surrounded by rock and wrapped in landscaping fabric (to keep sediment out and allow the water to drain through without clogging the pipes). 

This was when were were almost done backfilling

Separate day, I didn't get the whole process, but those two protrusions on the right are precast cement piers for our porch. We helped Bill place them, it was pretty tricky. 

The floor got poured on the last day of June, and we were officially ready for Unity to arrive with the house!

Landed Gentry Feb/March/April 2021

I can't believe I haven't posted since February! I have so much to share. I'll pick up where I left off... 

So, the first two weeks of February we didn't do a whole lot. The first week we quarantined prior to Matthews surgery, and the second week he was recovering and I was taking care of him. Once I got back to work, I was trying to maintain the road by snowblowing. One week I got the truck stuck in the ditch at the end of a long, cold day and Matthew had to come rescue me. The next day I got the tractor stuck in the ditch and he was able to get it back out. One thing we realized, we didn't put the footings on the snowblower back up once there was a nice layer of snow on the road. The result was every time it snowed we were leaving an inch or so layer of additional snow on the road. It make for some iffy conditions. To get the truck out we just used the winch on the front. For the tractor... it took him about 10 minutes of messing around going back and forth, digging the snow, to finally work it out. 

By mid March the trees we cut at the build site were done and Bill, our general contractor, dragged them off to the lower field. He cleared the stumps as well so that toward the end of March we were siting the location of the house. 

That was pretty much it for March, we spent time playing in the snow as well. Oh, and at the end of the month we realized the culvert we replaced with two was no longer working. We would have to replace it because the dirt between the two culverts had washed out!

hubbard park

trail in Worcester (forget the name)

Near the edge of our land, there's a swamp. Saw a lot of moose sign out there!

In April after we got back from VA, Bill had started digging the foundation. 

We bought a new land plane to work on the road, make it flat and pretty. It has been extremely useful! 

We also bought a generator, we were told by Unity we would need it for the build.

That's about it for April.. based on my photos anyway! Not much to report because I can't remember that month very well.