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!


  1. Lots of hard work! Best wishes to you both!

  2. WOW! That QuikWall sounds like some strong stuff. I wish it was easier to work with for you. Otherwise, you seem to be moving right along. It's exciting to hear your progress!

  3. It's not too bad, just icky, slow and heavy! Far easier than laying block with mortar, especially for girls!

  4. Made by the same folks who make Quikcrete? Ok I am kinda dumb about such things, but doesn't the pine ooze sap? Are you treating it before hand or does it just dry out when it is cut or what? I am loving what I see in your pictures. Hoping this year will bring good things for you and Danny. For the rest of us too. I have my fingers crossed.

  5. The company that makes QuikCrete makes a lot of masonry products. Mortar for block, ready mix, portland cement, stucco, concrete colorants... Tons of stuff.

    The trees do ooze sap some. I have to peel them as soon as I can, 'cause the bark gets harder and harder to remove as it dries. A lot of the sap is in the bark, but they do still ooze some. I put a waterproofing on them, and when that dries it kind of keeps the sap from being as sticky. The logs still dry out though. The good thing is that pine sap is really good for making leather gloves last!!!

    I hope y'all have a great 2012, too.!!!!

  6. I never cease to be amazed at what you've been able to accomplish, without contracting out. Glad to see you blogging again....now I need to get back to doing it too.

  7. I am most definitely impressed with all you have done. I wish I could do what you do. You're an inspiration. *HUGS*

  8. Hi Steven & Diana!!!! Your encouragement means so much to me!
    Yes Steven, you do need to get back to blogging, I miss your blogs.
    Diana, I couldn't do most of this stuff 'til I tried. Most people can usually do more than they think they can. Whatever you dream of doing, give it a try!

  9. lots of work and things to do... and you still find time to post in your blog... exemplary... lol... Yahweh bless.

  10. Hi there,
    You have lots of work ahead of you. Hope this new year will be a good one for you. Good luck! Greetings from Indiana...Heidi

  11. Thanks for reading, Ralph & Heidi! Lots of work indeed!! Most of it I enjoy, and the parts that aren't so fun make me happy when I've finished them.

  12. I am always amazed when I see the pictures of your house on facebook and how far you've brought it along!! You and Danny do put in a lot of hard work and it really shows!! I admire that you all can and DO do it all yourselves!! I just find that so awesome :)

    Cheers, Jenn.

  13. Thank you!!! It is work, but mostly we're really enjoying it.