Sunday, October 15, 2017

The T2 Trusses are Up!!!

And it got a little hairy toward the end as the ratchet handle teeth started failing but with a little help from Hal's tractor we got the 4 trusses up! Here are photos and a time lapse video. He has ordered bigger, stronger winches for the rest of the house. Hopefully those will work better with fewer hiccups.

4 winches, one on each pole 

smooth notch atop pole of for straps

destroyed ratchet handle
Hal bent that handle off to be able to attach a socket wrench to continue turning. At that point we were only about 8 inches from the top and he used a 4 x 6 pole in the tractor bucket to push each truss corner onto their respective poles.

And now the video. Photos were taken every 90 seconds using my Panasonic FZ300. I will make the photos every 30 seconds on the next lift.
In the meantime, until the new winches arrive, we have plenty of joist and purlin (joist hangers on the roof side) hangers to attach.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Happy Anniversary to Us

Actually our anniversary was a few days ago but we finally were able to go out to dinner tonight on Hubbard Lake at Churchill Pointe Inn. Had a great corner table with a nice view of the lake, and the food was wonderful.

There was garlic butter escargot for an appetizer with crusty bread, then we both had a terrific thick lobster bisque. Hal had crab cakes for a main course, which I got to try. Great flavor, perfectly cooked. I had pan fried lake perch with homemade dill tarter sauce. The fish tasted great with and without the sauce.
forgot to take the photo till I'd eaten the other 2
the lobster bisque with a dribble of sherry in it
lake perch

Maryland style crab cakes
The sides were sauteed zucchini and buttered parsley new potatoes.

And because it was our anniversary we got to share a complimentary slice of key lime pie.
And Hal selected a pinot gris from J Vineyards in California. An excellent choice.

We may have to eat here again when they reopen next spring.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Trusses in Position

Click on the photos to make them full size.
garage in the front with trusses placed willy nilly but off the ground
It took more than one day to set them all up off the ground and then another day and again today to take the ones placed alongside the garage and lay them back down then pick them up again with the tractor, ropes and a winch to maneuver them inside the garage and line them up where they are going to go. But here they are, all 17 trusses, in the 300 pound and up range, set up to prepare for lifting.
all the trusses in place

Looking at the garage end
Next we have to add purlins and some hardware before lifting them into place. But not tomorrow, it's going to rain and we need a rest!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Trusses Came

The trusses finally came 3 days ago. When the delivery guy dropped them however, we had to drag them back off the hill they slid over. Can't have trusses bending over a hill no matter how low a hill. It is recommended to stand them up as soon as possible so Hal did what he could before it rained.
rotated trusses
One truss also had tails 1.5" too short but we confirmed with the pole barn company that we can use it, just attach the fascia differently. Hal stood the 3 smallest ones next to the poles they will attach to. The others are all much bigger and he will need help today to position them.
trusses 2 and 3 are are the right, stacked together
Other things Hal has been doing is lining the crawlspace skirt boards with rigid insulation. This will help keep the crawlspace warmer in winter which will help keep the floor warmer as well.
foil covered foam boards
It's slow going but it is still progress.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Little More House Build Progress

After the concrete cured for a couple days we took the bracing down and Hal got to work on laying perforated 200 feet of drain pipe inside the future crawl space to keep things dry in the spring. He covered the pipe with drain stone, then landscape fabric and fine sand one half yard bucket load at a time. More fill will have to be added to ensure the concrete footings are buried to frost grade. In our area that is 42 inches. That won't be fun as we have to bury those footings only 6 inches at a time, tamping the fill solid with an 8 foot long 4 by 4 dropped from a 4 foot height. There are more than 25 footings.
laying out the drain pipe
covering pipe with rock
Till then Hal has been adding the skirt and underskirt boards which do a couple of things. The finish grade comes to the bottom edge of the top skirt board and provides a base to attach the steel siding. The under skirt board is buried and is there to help deter digging critters from entering the house.
a few skirt boards and the sand inside the crawlspace

6 nails per end on each board
I don't have any photos yet as he only bought the insulation yesterday but Hal is also lining the interior of the skirt boards with rigid insulation to help keep the crawlspace warm in winter which will in turn keep our floors warmer.

And our steel siding did come. I don't have a photo of the gray roof sheets but here is the lovely blue of the sidewalls. It took the two of us 3.5 hours on a very hot and humid day to move the blue sheets one or two at a time into the pole barn. Some of the sheets were over 20 feet long. We opted to leave the gray ones outside and cover them from the weather. Hopefully they won't rust.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Rain Stopped

On last Friday the rain finally ended. Saturday and Sunday were spent bailing out several holes, probably about 70 gallons total. One hole collapsed so much from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey that we had to add new bracing to straighten the pole.

Lots of water
more water

Then we had to scoop out all the mud from collapsed holes.

Hal and I were exhausted by Sunday night but at least it meant Hal could call the local concrete company on Monday to schedule the delivery.

On Tuesday we had half the holes filled and today the other half. At last we have a foundation!

the truck driver threaded the needle to fill the interior holes

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


There are 23 poles up, at least, but it's been raining, and the deliveries that were supposed to come on August 31 have not arrived. There has been no contact from the pole barn company or any of the vendors or delivery people. It's getting, old, boring, and frustrating. Hal was able to do a little on the build today but without me there, we can't finish the leveling and straightening of the poles. It takes 2 people and I have to wait at home for the shipment that is supposed to come here.

I am annoyed.
23 poles before leveling

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

18 Poles

We have 18 poles up now. Put up 8 yesterday including the 6 tallest, heaviest laminated poles. Today we hope to put up the last 8 tall poles, but it's going to be hot and humid so we'll have to see how long we can last. But here is the current photo of 18.
We hope to get everything ready for the concrete pour by the end of the weekend as next week the roof trusses and steel siding get delivered.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Putting Up Poles

The holes were approved by the inspector 2 days ago and yesterday Hal, with a little help from me starting putting up the poles for the walls. Yesterday the 4 corners of the garage went up. We also made sure they were straight, level and in the exact spot in relation to the strings on the batter boards.
4 poles at garage corners
 Today we put up another 6 but decided to wait until they are all up to square them up to each other.
10 poles
It's going to rain tomorrow so we will have to wait another day to do more.

At last it's starting to look like something other than ground with a bunch of holes in it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

And the House Build is Started

Yesterday Hal rented a bobcat with 24" and 18" augers. We have to dig several 36", 30", 24" and 18" wide holes for the concrete footings which will support the frame of the house. As 24" was the biggest auger we could get we have to dig them out wider. The soil is clay and very hard. We hired a neighbor to help yesterday but he wasn't available today so we continued digging the holes wider by ourselves. The holes need to be about 21-24 inches deep though the plans call for 18" deep footers. A little extra concrete in the footings doesn't hurt.

Photos from yesterday.
attaching the 24" auger

Hal getting ready

The first hole
Today Hal and I worked on making them wider and perfecting the ones our friend dug out yesterday.
Hal digging

Lots of holes

removing dirt
If it doesn't rain tomorrow we will need to dig some more.

Tiger Game

Went to the baseball stadium the night of the 9th. The Tigers were playing Pittsburgh. The Tigers haven't been doing well but we were treated to a near no-hitter. Justin Verlander was pitching and the final score was 10 to 0!  Had a blast with Hal's sister, older brother and his wife. Tried out my ZS-50 from our seats in row 13 behind the Pittsburgh dugout.

Hicks hit a standup double and advance to 3rd on an error

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Batter Boards and Post Hole Marking

A couple days ago Hal and I started marking post holes with orange spray paint. We ran out and had to quit till he bought more the other day and finished them up himself. Yes, he's walking around again, the gout that delayed him for 3 weeks has mostly abated, and he's back to work.

The first day we marked the holes we had the pups with us. Even though the weather was so hot it was hard to get them to stay in the shade of the golf cart. I turned the well on and let it run into the ditch for their enjoyment but I had to take them there several times as they wouldn't leave my side. Though I know they liked being with me and not alone at home I left them home yesterday. They will stay home until this hot weather breaks.
Hot Luna and Ziggy
There are a lot of post holes and we will be renting a skid steer with auger to dig the actual holes. Unfortunately 12 of the holes have a 36" diameter and we can only get a 24" auger around here so the sidewalls will have to be widened by hand. He will probably hire the grandson of Mrs J to help with that.
Back wall holes marked
In the meantime we managed to place 3 batter boards. I cut the lumber into 30" and 36" pieces, we both used the manual post hole digger to dig holes to a depth of 18" and, as you can see, screwed the long piece to legs using the shorter pieces and buried them in the holes. Two sets of these must be placed perpendicular to the walls at each corner of the house. We will run strings around them to square up the walls. We need at least 12 of these but it is very hot, humid, and in 4 hours we only got 3 done. There is one in the back of this photo on the left side. The weather isn't any better today but now that we have a system down, maybe we can manage a few more.
batter boards at the northeast corner

Staining Hiatus

I stained one coat on the west side of the house north of the chimney. It needs 2 coats though I think it looks pretty good with one. But I had to stop as it was so hot I was on the verge of passing out on the ladder. So I thought I would wait till it cools off a little which is supposed to happen Wednesday after thunderstorms move through. Highs in the 70s will be much nicer than the high 80s. But now I see there is rain possible every day for a week which will keep the humidity high as well so it might take longer to get it done. However, I can always start cleaning the north wall. It will be shadier, though buggier, and not requiring the tall ladder.

So until then I can help Hal with the barn-home build. And how is that going you might ask? Next post.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Exterior House Staining

It took me 2 days to clean the front side of the house. Lots of standing on ladders, lots of scrubbing, 2 days worth in fact spread over a week because of the constant rain. But it got done, and when it finally dried up enough I taped plastic over all the windows, front door, exterior lights, deck, etc and stained. Two coats were required. I finished about 7:30 that night. Cleaned up the next day. It looks a lot better, it looks waterproof in fact, nice and shiny and sort of plasticky. I swore never again would I stain a wall, screw the other 2, we'll just sell the house "as is".

A few weeks later (delayed due to tendonitis of the knee, aka "runner's knee") I tackled the west side which took a much taller ladder as it's a gable end. That also took 2 days, I have to go back to Alpena and Home Depot to buy more stain before I can actually finish. Not looking forward to getting back up 20 feet in the air to finish that top section, but it has to be done. Then I have to find the energy to tackle the north wall which, though shorter in height, is 48 feet long.

I will be so happy when it's done!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The New Home Plan

So here is a rendition of the exterior of the future house. The 3 car garage is on the right, the little gable bump out on the left contains 2 small bedrooms. The kitchen was originally right behind those 2 shorter windows but now it's in the back but I think the window sizes are set. I don't know yet.There is a small porch on the front where those 2 white posts are supporting the roof.

Here is one of the previous floor plans. I have not made a copy of the latest one but at least this one is pretty close to what I am currently thinking.

The master bath has a separate shower and soaking tub. There is a beverage center in the kitchen that is essentially a wet bar with wine fridge, small sink, microwave and another small refrigerator where Hal can make his breakfast and stay out of my way in the main kitchen. That fridge will also hold the maple syrup every spring until it is processed and canned.

There is a workshop in the garage and the other room holds all the utilities, as well as the chest freezers and upper cabinets which will have to hold my pantry which is in the basement in our current house. We also decided to enclose the space between the 2 garage rooms and essentially make those 3 rooms part of the house, with the firewall between them and the garage. They will simply be a couple steps down with a concrete floor, a very common feature when anyone converts their garage to a family room. That pantry/utility room will also have a dedicated doggie door in the wall so I don't have to have one in the kitchen door resulting in dogs running back and forth while I am cooking.

Since I made a photo of this plan I have replaced the fireplace with an aquarium (finally, one of them comes out of the boxes they've been in since we moved from California in 1996) and placed a see-thru fireplace between the table and he TV room in the back of the house. I wonder how much more tweaking I will do before the plan is finalized.