Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What We're Up To

I said I was going to start my blog back up, and wrote a couple of little blogs and then…

Well, there’s this, that and the other thing! I’ve been working on the house as much as I can. Danny’s still looking for a job, which is tying up the computer a lot. And I’m spending a lot of time with him. This has been pretty stressful for both of us. So far, we’re OK with money, but with everything so uncertain, it’s hard to tell what “OK” really means. And on top of all that, I just haven’t been really sure what I wanted to put in this next blog.

We’ve got the roof on, and closed off the front of the house with greenhouse plastic. The greenhouse plastic is temporary. The front of the house needed to be closed off, and we just weren’t ready to plunk down the kind of money it would take to do that, so for a measly $500, I got the front closed off, the back of the living room where the brick still needs to be laid is closed off, the windows on the camper are sealed up for the winter, and I still have plastic leftover for whatever else I’ll need to do.

The Real Plan for the front of the house is to put some awning windows across the top with thermostatically controlled electric openers. Then the slanted part, which is where the greenhouse is, will be mostly glass across the front and solid wall down the two triangular sides. That will be a little ways down the road though.

The main things we’re working on right now are the pine log ceiling beams, the QuikWall on the inside, and installing the windows on the back and sides of the house.

The ceiling beams are going up slowly, as we have decent weather to cut the trees down, and trim them to fit. We’ve been cutting the pine trees for the beams in the house out of the woods on our property, starting with the floor beams for the bedroom and the upstairs bathroom. When we did the beams for the living room ceiling, we used mostly trees that had been blown over by the tornado. Before the tornado came, we’d already planned to thin out the pine trees in the woods and let the hardwoods kind of take over. Over the last few years, I’ve also been slinging the seeds, nuts and acorns of trees that I found interesting into the woods. Then when the tornado came through a lot of the pine trees were blown over. We used the ones we could and have been slowly cleaning up that mess. Most of them are too far dead to be used now, so we’ve gone back to cutting the suitable pine trees down. It’s going to take years before the forests around here recover from the tornado, ours included.

The QuikWall is a slow process. QuikWall, Surface Bonding Cement is a masonry material containing fiberglass that’s used to bond together block that has been dry stacked. Eventually all the concrete block surfaces, inside and out, must be coated with at least an 1/8 inch of this stuff. It’s heavy, and gritty, and I don’t like working with it!! I do like the way the finished wall turns out though.

And then there are the windows. I’ve still got 2 windows to go on the back of the house, and an arched window that goes over the front door. First of all, the window openings must have the QuikWall put on them. Then I have to put a wooden frame around the inside of the opening to screw the window to. I’ve been stuffing plastic grocery bags in the gaps between the wood and the concrete before I caulk them. Some of the gaps are over a ½ inch wide in places. OK! Maybe I could have gotten the walls a little straighter… So far I’ve been able to get the windows in using scraps of lumber I have on hand.

I think this has gotten long enough, so I’ll go ahead and post this for now. I’ll try not to take so long before I get the next installment up!