Well, as any of you know who have been reading (or, rather, trying to read) the blog, I've been a bit behind! Sorry about that. It seems that whenever I've been home long enough to do it, I'm too tired to think straight. Such is life. So, in no particular order . . . .
That first day that the garage carpenter was here (one of the very few days he's been here) Tom and I finished cleaning out what will be the chicken yard. We'd had our excavator do the major clearing of it earlier this summer, but there were still ankle biters (stumps) and scrap to clean up and haul out. Tom had seeded it earlier, too, and the grass is coming up nice and thick. I did some fill-in seeding within the last week or two there and over the ditch Tom had to dig between the solar panels and garage (for the electrical lines and copper tubing for gas) and in the small (what will be an) open field across from the pond (which is still settling and remaining empty until next spring).
The rivers are low, and, for the very first time in the 7 years that we've had the property, the Swamp River has smelled, well, swampy. Wouldn't want to eat any of the fish out of it right now, that's for sure! The fall colors are really becoming gorgeous - the maples are ahead of the yellows this year. They'll probably peak in a week or so. But, the temperatures have remained up, and, fortunate for those of us building, it seems like summer is changing into fall slowly.
Our cement guy has turned out to be quite diligent and very concerned over the downward turn the house slab took with that chipping in so many places and the subsequent shallow holes Tom had to grind out to stop the chipping. He's been out to check over the entire pad on his hands and knees and, last week, came out to specially treat and repair them. Now they're as fixed as possible, and time will tell how they blend in with the rest of the slab. But, overall, we've been pleased with how he's tried to "make things right" (his frequently-used words) . . . even if it wasn't right in the first place.
The garage crew has been a source of aggravation. I don't know if they are playing us or if this is just the way carpenters and contractors work (and I use that term - "work" - loosely). I was hoping (assuming) that the work would be steady, but they've been out only 3 days, I think. Granted, they got a lot done in those three days, but it's all about START! . . . stop . . . wait . . . DO SOMETHING! . . . wait . . . and so on. Now the supposed hold-up is the trusses for the roof, and, let me tell you, waiting on that roof has caused no small amount of worries because, as often happens in the fall, the rains have begun.
The carpenters got the bottom three walls framed and sheathed the first day (very exciting!). The second day they were out brought the fourth wall, the second floor I-joists, and the framing of the rooms downstairs (battery/electrical room, Tom's workshop/office, and the garage parking area). The third (and last we've seen of them) resulted in stairs up to the second floor where the sub-flooring was laid and partial walls erected on the east and west sides of the 2nd story. Let me tell you though, seeing the view from the second story of the garage (which is a little higher even than the house) is something! The pub (the Swamp and Pigeon Rivers Inn) and guest apartment will be well suited up there!
Before the rains came when it was still so dry and dusty (more neighboring wells started to go dry) we had the amazing opportunity to see where the main road is - four miles away - from up there! At that time, many dumptrucks were hauling, and you could see the dust rise up as they drove down the road. I never would have guessed that those four miles look so (are so!) relatively close, as the crow flies!
So, when the carpentry crew left, Boss-man gave us some heavy-weight plastic with which to cover the 2nd floor sub-flooring should rain be predicted. Otherwise, it was good to leave it all open so the laminate on the sub-flooring didn't hold in any moisture. Excited that we now had (what seemed like) a solid roof over our heads of the downstairs, Tom and I zipped into town and bought insulation and vapor barrier and all the supplies needed to insulate and enclose the battery room. We contacted our electrician and had him slated to begin. Soon we would have power! So, Tom and I worked hard on a hot day (last Sunday, the 11th) and got that room all finished. It looked like there was a chance of rain that night, so Tom spread the plastic over the second floor, weighted it down with wood, and stapled it within an inch of its life. No water was getting through that!
Tom met the electrician at the appointed time the next day and they unloaded all of the high-tech, expensive equipment. As they were standing in the battery room discussing where to place things, the rain started. No big deal. Wrong. The rain started streaming down on their heads - through the thick plastic on the floor above, through the glued seams of the sub-flooring - down along the interior walls and insulation we had just finished putting up. The electrician quickly said, "I'm not doin' ANYTHING with electricity in here until you have a roof on!" and left. Smart guy.
It rained, on and off, all that day, and Tom left for work in the Cities that Monday night, the 12th. I went up the next morning to survey the damage. Water stood 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch deep in the workshop and in the battery room - soaking up into the finished walls and, presumably, into the insulation beyond. Water was pooled on every bit of plastic Tom had wisely covered wood and tools with. Upstairs, water was standing on the plastic of the sub-flooring. Downstairs, water was still running through the seams of the sub-flooring and dripping off the I-joists. It was a nightmare.
We don't know how in the world it happened, but that plastic - that we didn't think a drop of water could get under - had, instead, helped hold in the rain and pushed it through the sub-flooring to the downstairs. I took off all the soaked pieces of wood, I ripped the plastic off, I MOPPED the standing water on the 2nd story sub-flooring. Then I started cleaning up downstairs. Maisy could actually drink fresh rain water off the floor - that's how bad it was. After that, we decided that any rain that was going to fall could just come on down - the garage could hardly get wetter than it had with the "protective" plastic covering!
I spent every spare second that I had last week when Tom was gone up at the property sanding the 4,000 square feet of shiplap that will go on the ceilings of the house and the floor of the upstairs. I've made hardly a dent in it, but every board done is one less to do. (Shiplap is a 3/4" piece of wood much like tongue-and-groove but with simpler - more robust - grooves . . . called shiplap!)
Tom picked up the stain and wax for the house floor last week when he was in the Cities. We're using a combination of two stains (Vintage Umber and Malay Tan) to create a soft, warm, wood color as well as two waxes, Cola and Clear, to finish it. Each slab takes this acid stain differently, so it's a bit of a gamble, but there's no way around that. We'll do it this week - I'm anxious to see how it turns out!
After he arrived home late Friday night - exhausted, as usual - Tom and I headed out bright and early Saturday morning for a day in Duluth in the ol' pickup. Now, let me tell you, taking the truck into the big city is not luxury travel. These two incidents should perfectly explain the situation: 1) on the way down, a small stone that had flown up from a hole in the floor struck Tom just below the eye, and 2) when I turned the rear-view mirror to check out my face before going into a reststop, it came off in my hand! So, you get the picture.
But, it was a successful trip. We had to get the shower surround for the guest/pub bathroom - upstairs in the garage - because it has to go in before the room is framed in (otherwise it might not fit through the door). We loaded the rest of the truck with 16 rolls of insulation, strapped the whole lot down, and we were off. We also got a lot of much-needed looking at and pricing done for shakes for the siding of the garage, shingles for the roof of the garage, interior doors for the garage and house, etc., etc.
Sunday was a bit of a much-needed boondoggle - we've both been going too non-stop lately. This past weekend was grouse opener, but, much to our surprise, we've seen nary an orange hat. Our surrounding roads are known for their hunting grounds, and, even though the grouse cycle is down this year, we were amazed at how quiet things were (although we're not complaining).
The rains came again yesterday - over 1 1/2" this time - and, when it finally let up last night around 5:00, I headed up to mop up again. Our mop and bucket is a huge commercial thing, and I filled the bucket with the water from the battery room and workshop alone. Those are the worst rooms as they are closed off from the rest of the floor - the parking area - which slopes into the center where there is a drain. But, oddly enough, the sub-flooring upstairs was less wet than when we'd had the plastic on it. I think it helps to have it open to the air. But, still, the whole garage situation is a mess. We need those trusses and that roof SO desperately! Think good garage thoughts for us, will you?