June 15 , 2001
Thing Leads to Another
It's funny how things snowball sometimes. Our gravel road took quite a beating this spring. Early spring rains, thawing, refreezing and gravity all took their toll. So a decision needed to be made as to what to do; either regravel the road or blacktop part of it. Since putting gobs of money into the ground is not the most appealing thing to do, we elected to do the gravel approach.
We contacted the local excavator in the area to come out and give us an estimate. When he arrived I started thinking about other things that needed to be done besides the road. There was that dip in the road at the front of the gate that floods during heavy rains. And if that's to be fixed (with a bulldozer), then we might as well get the hill in front of the house landscaped so we can mow it. And since he's going to do all of that, well... why not level an area for our future garage?
So, one thing led to another and we decided to do it all. In a matter of hours, the front entrance was raised about four to five feet. We were lucky that an old wash area existed there and Donny (neighborhood excavator) had no trouble finding adequate rock for the base. Then it was onto the area around the house. Within another few hours, a nice even grade was made around the house. Then Donny leveled an area for our future garage and moved all the top soil around the house. By the end of the day, you wouldn't recognize the place. And while Donny was excavating, new gravel was carefully dumped onto the road all the way up to the house. It's amazing what can be done with the right equipment.
Now that all this work has been done, there's a nice area to plant grass seed. This of course will lead to future projects such as smoothing out the hill, planting the seed, watering the seedlings, watching the grass grow, cussing at weeds and mowing the lawn every week. What was I thinking?
Yes, I'm Still Building Walls
|Here's a photo of one of the many windows to be installed. The windows are 6' tall and 4' wide. There's ten more of these windows that will be located on the south and southwest sides of the house. The windows will also have a wood trim around them once they've all been installed.|
The excavation work did divert my attention away from cordwooding, but progress is being made on the walls. Most of the walls so far have been solid cordwood, so it does take me about a week per wall. Ugh. It is enjoyable work though and I've made a few improvements to the look of the walls. After the walls are pointed, a quick trip around the logs with a foam painting brush puts a nice rough finish on the mortar. Another added touch to the walls is to bevel the edge of the logs. Using a Dremmel-like tool, this doesn't take much time and it really makes the wall stand out. (I'll go into more details in the next journal.)
There's four walls up now and with help from Gordon (one of many friends who came up for the weekend), we were able to install one of the window units. Typically, most sane people wait until all the walls are up to put in the windows, but I'm too impatient. Plus, I was concerned about the window fitting and rightfully so as it turns out. The windows were slightly larger than I was told and then there's the wood frame swelling factor. Sure enough, the window frame swelled up when the mortar was set in place and sure enough, the window just wouldn't fit. The window was about an eighth of an inch too wide. It took a little creative planing, but we did finally get the window in place. The frame will probably shrink down again once the wall dries out -- whenever that is. The frame swelled about a quarter of an inch.
Everyone these days seems to have some form of "fest" going on. And since the moon was almost full, why not have a Moonfest? (It was just a lame excuse to have friends come up for a campout, but it worked.)
Everyone had fun at Moonfest (at least I hope so) and the highlight(s) of the event was a surprise kitty shower (no we didn't wash the cat) and a pajama contest (hey, we were starved for entertainment). The kitty shower was held on behalf of Sundae, the cat that adopted me last year. She had two kitties in the pole shed a few weeks ago, so a kitty shower was given to her -- uh, well I guess me. Sundae and I received far too many gifts to list them all here, but if anyone needs kitten food, I did get some duplicates. I was disappointed though, no one got me any catnip even though I had registered for it at Petsmart.
|Pictured from left to right: Jo (Betty Boop), Debbie (Bear and Moose Outfit), Robo (Wearing a stylish arrow ensemble) and Ei (Big heart or something like that).|
On Saturday evening it was time for the pajama contest, which ended up being held in the house due to rain. (We also broke a Daycreek record for having the most tents in our house so far.) It was a close contest, (votes were pretty evenly spread out - I guess no one wanted the prize.) but Debbie ended up winning. She received the first ever Daycreek T-shirt, and a special Moonfest CD containing hit songs like the Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota, Tirdy Point Buck and Cows with Guns.
Next week it's more cordwooding and then onwards to the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair.