Sunday, January 24, 2021

Spring Snowfall - January 24, 2021

Taking a break from the House Build...we need a rest.

That's right, a Spring snowfall.  I believe that I've mentioned this before and it was repeated this morning in one of Eric's and my discussions.  Autumn until Thanksgiving, Winter until December 31.  Spring kicks in with the beginning of a New Year.  The sun, when it appears, is getting stronger every day.  It's been over 4 weeks already since the solstice!!

The trick is to get the snow away from the south facing windows, even if that's all you have ambition for.  Tinted windows so much the better.  It's wonderfully amazing how warm the sun can make the interior of a partially snowed over car.  I had ambition this morning and managed to clean all of the snow off of the vehicles, simply helping ol' Sol to do its thing.  The motorcycles avoided the snow covering completely.

I seriously thought about doing nothing with the driveway and parking area but that's what I had done after our last snowfall (5cm).  We had a very nice melt which left a very nice, thick coating of ice everywhere.  Removing today's 10cm seemed like the best approach.  More on the wildlife content of this image in just a bit.

After blowing the parking area and then plowing the driveway, I came in and put my Camo shorts on to celebrate.  Peg shared in the celebration, at least I took her reaction that way.  You'll just have to use your imagination to appreciate our special moment. 

That aforementioned ambition and related haste had me outside before I had the presence of mind to take a quite unusual photo.  The 2nd cup of coffee was essentially gone when the birds started showing up at the snow-covered feeders.  The Cardinals, the Junkos, the Chickadees and more than one of our 'Peckers were scattered, though not very far apart from each other on the railings, all looking (honestly!) at me in the window, every one of them wondering when I was going to have ambition to get my rear end outside and uncover their breakfasts.

After the meals had started.

We've got 5 salt licks out for the deer, this one the most distant from the house.

This pile of cherry wood and limbs was burned a couple of weeks ago and all that's left are a few ashes that will supplement the tall grass.

A late Christmas gift arrival, Scotland is a long ways away you know. 

Some more motorcycle content, what many of your are paying for here.  You may remember the trophy I received from Pat way back on Labor Day, celebrating and educating me both on my level of competence in Sprocket Science.  Well, later last fall a request was made for the actual component parts and that request was granted.  Greg recently presented me with another trophy and now they both are (taking space) on my garage wall.  For that reason, I'm going to request no more trophies, the wall is getting crowded.  I've never had real trophies for anything before, these will do and continue to be cherished.

Giddy - Up Go! (These the actual components)

Yesterday, Saturday morning, Eric and I met for a 2+ hour breakfast.  We didn't cover everything but we made a pretty good dent in it.  You should know and of course fully expected that trip planning has gone on both behind the scenes as well as out in the open.  Stuff will be happening.

Enjoy a safe and sound Spring, get outside even if it's close to home, shorts are up to you.  

We'll get back to the house project soon.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The (1994) House Builds Higher

Following up with some more info on the Design Dept. at Peggy/Doug Construction Co., it wasn't the boss's first rodeo when it came to design, blueprint reading or even the creation thereof.  When I first met Peg, we were both working 2nd shift at a heart pacemaker company.  I had completed my daytime, full time, school degree, she was still working on her education.  I specialized in cutting metal, she in the design and documentation of same.

Jim and Kathy stopped by one day (thanks guys!) and dropped off a drawing that Jim found in their dark and dusty archives; he wanted Peg to have it.  Jim, a former coworker and riding friend, still is at a different medical company that both Peg and I spent time at lo those many years ago.

Almost exactly 36 years ago if my math is correct (didn't use a mouse or any other extraneous device for this calculation!).

I had a single course in drafting and design during my Tool and Die program, one of the prerequisites but Peg's entire degree focused on getting designs placed on paper.  She "went after it" as Gramp would have said.  These were the old days, when it had to be done that way, using honest to goodness real pencils, the kind with lead inside.  Sometime between then and now, leaded pencils were replaced by computers, mice and data files, the tools most everyone uses today.  Though my printing was never as good as Peg's, it was once much better than now....for some reason I'm not penciling as much these days.

As a result of Peg's training and background, she was no slouch when it came to interpreting and using the drawings that I had created for our house build.

Our temporary fence and sheep pasture.

Lauren inspecting my work.

Our next door neighbors, the bison.  House complete, one Easter Sunday we had the extended family over when someone noticed something odd outside.

"There's a buffalo in your garden!!"

My immediate reply, "Not again..."

Left to right...the barn/milk house, large oak tree (sorely missed), house, Ben, me, windmill tower, old summer kitchen.

Progress continued, albeit slow but it kept moving.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Upper Deck And Higher - Another House Build Episode

 A bit more to share before I go any further with this, even prior to owning the property, we were in contact with home builders in the area, 3 of them, all recommended by or actually were friends of the family.  Excitement at first but that waned when cost and, something we heard quite a bit of, "we don't do it that way...".  For a price of course they'd have done anything but we didn't have that price.

Steve was a friend I worked with that was moonlighting as a Designer/Contractor attempting to change careers.  We paid him for some very general, exterior plans, the files done in AutoCad.  I was efficient enough with the electronic drawing program to take over from there.  We made a couple of changes to Steve's design and got started.  There were drawings done in and on various levels for the plumbers to rough in the basement, the heating guys to run duct work and everyone else to give us reasonable estimates on materials with sufficient detail to follow through with purchase.

We did not just start whacking 2x6's together.  Every wall section, designed so that the two of us could lift them, was spec'd out, stud locations and distances to give us the holy "16 on center" dimensions.  Corners were accounted for to provide nailing for the sheetrock, doorway and window header framing, all drawn (and then hopefully built) to the 1/16" of an inch.  Peg made sure of it.

It wasn't only the walls, I had complete drawings of electrical runs, outlets, switches, etc.  We quite simply needed good plans because we weren't good enough without them.  Perfect the framing was not but it was darned good.  Things came out amazingly square (thanks Peg), time was available as well as taken to get things right.  It made all the difference later on.  When I built the garage, Peg stayed out of it and left me to shows.


This trailer was built by my grandfather, in fact he built two just like it, one that he kept and one that he gave dad which was then given to me.  It was our mobile workstation.  I hinged a piece of plywood over the top, pulled it around the building site with the '46 Ford 9N and it housed the tools, the hardware, basically anything that would fit that we didn't want out in the weather.

 K.C., a neighbor and old friend of the family used his crane truck to lift the trusses up onto the walls.  He was determined to help us get them tipped up and nailed in place but there was no way that would work...he'd have been there all day, possibly two.  The Peg and Doug Construction Co's crew was not skilled enough or equipped well enough to go that fast.  Methodical we were and needed to be.  That meant we'd be hoisting, moving, aligning and anchoring trusses in our own good time, one at a time, just the two of us.

Then it got interesting...

 We'll finish the rest of the trusses soon (in 1994) and then get started with the roof sheathing.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

After The Foundation - Next House Building Installment

Back in those early days On The Farm, there just wasn't a lot of pavement or hard surface nearby (gravel and dirt very prominent, just ask our floors) so the basement made for great trik'in with the kids' various wheeled goods.  Keep in mind that even with our abundance of outdoor space, inside space in the mobile home was at a premium with our 4 young kiddos so a lot of living was happening in the house even before it was a house.


Our basement was going to be living space and to avoid it feeling dark and 'underground' we opted for 9' ceilings.  The surrounding view from our upstairs living space only enhanced and the extra exercise hasn't hurt us one bit.

 Looking back, it was a surprisingly dry summer and we were able to build almost every day.