Sunday, November 30, 2008

The incredible end of November weather and cement

Early on the morning of Monday, November 24, we arrived to find the crane in place and the welders hard at work installing the steel beams for the basement floor and the main level floor. (They will be back later when we are ready for the last of the beams for the loft floor.) Jim carried out some much needed site clean-up while Kathleen enjoyed a day off. The next day, Jim got the weeping tile placed and following that we shoveled washed rock into the wheel barrow and Jim dumped it in the appropriate spots. He figures that he shoveled the best part of 20 tons of stone but because of his hard work and bowed back we are ready for our first inspection.

Mother Nature has been very generous this fall and, as the temperature was +7 Celsius by noon on Saturday November 29, we were able to do the follow-up cement work that needed to be done before the floor joists are put in place. We had to fill in under the teleposts and create a "cement" washer in the areas of the walls that will carry the floor joists.

Bob and the sticky membrane

On November 16, Bob and Jim continued to take down bracing and the next day, rented a cube van to take all the bracing and turn buckles back to IC Forming (the company that supplied the materials for the basement). On the 18th all three of us began putting the vapour barrier over the blocks. This process was hampered by a couple of cold, windy days. The membrane was quite sticky and adhered to the walls well in the warmer temperatures but refused to stick in the cold. We bought a small propane heater to pre-heat the areas we were working on and that helped but mother nature kicked in towards the end of the week and provided lovely warm days to finish off.
After Bob had left for home, the insurance adjuster called and authorized us to rent a replacement vehicle for at least part of the 3 weeks that we would be without the much-loved Ford.

The replacement GM is a much more basic unit but gets the job done.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

November 15, 2008 Demolition Derby Day

It's Saturday, November 15 and Ian has come to help put on the sill plate and take down the bracing and turnbuckles. It was a beautiful, sunny day but again, quite windy. It was a good day as Jim and Ian accomplished a lot, Bob arrived from Regina to lend a hand and Allan and Ben joined all of us for supper. We had lots to talk about as on the way home from the cow pasture a large buck jumped out in front of the truck and our much loved Ford F150
4x4 had to be towed to the auto body shop.
No, Buck didn't suffer...he didn't even know what hit him. Jim and Ian were was just the truck and the buck that didn't fare so well.

November 13, 2008 we get concrete

It started out as a very windy, cold, gloomy day and stayed that way but still no snow. The cement trucks eventually delivered 63 meters of concrete to the pumper truck. As the walls filled with concrete Jim and Wes English screted. We are so very grateful that Wes gave up curling and drove in from Cold Lake to help. The pouring started at around 12:30PM and we were done by about 4:30PM.

Yee-Haw, we're ready for concrete

Finally, after 2 weeks of solid, intensive work we are ready for concrete to be poured into the waiting forms. Yee-Haw!!

The well, septic mound and Kathleen's pants

Here is Kathleen modeling her construction wear. The pants are heavily quilted, work, overalls that are very stiff and, because the crotch is a little low, make her walk like a penguin. However, they are very warm and need only be topped with a polar fleece jacket for the fall weather. She is also smiling because we now have a well with what is promised to be good water.

The yellow caution tape is surrounding the septic mound. The fluids from the septic tank flow into the mound and once every 3 years, or so, the solids will have to be pumped out of the tank. As the mound is constantly being fed by the tank, the grass will always be greener there. Good to know if we ever enter a grass growing contest.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Homage to Allan and bracing

OK...OK...I forgot to take a picture of Allan when he came out to help put up blocks but I managed to take this very artistic photo of his gloves. Better luck next time. Thank heavens both of our boys are composed of a little bit of mountain goat as the scaffolding and bracing made it difficult to construct. The walls ended up being 13 feet high in some places to accommodate our raised basement floor and 9 foot basement ceilings.

The braces were screwed to the blocks and turnbuckles were attached to them to provide support for the concrete and ensure a straight wall. Scaffolding was then placed at the top of the turnbuckles so that the wall could be built higher.

Jim's happy as he has managed to get the window and patio door bucks in place. This is on the back (south-facing) of the house where we will have a walk out basement.

Footings and ICF blocks

On October 28, the footings were poured and the insulated concrete form blocks, for the basement walls, arrived two days later. The blocks made building the walls much like playing with giant Lego. It took us two weeks of stacking blocks, tying them together and laying rebar before we were ready for the concrete to be poured into the hollow centres of the blocks.

We have a road and septic tank

Look at the lovely backhoe! We were ecstatic when the digging began and it was only a few days later that we were the proud owners of a hole, a road and a septic tank.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Start

In the beginning, there was cow pasture. Then it was subdivided and we bought this heavenly little piece of terra firma on which to build our new home. That was back in August. We submitted our development permit and building permit to Leduc County and waited for their timely(?) response. Finally, toward the end of October, we were granted permission to start construction. Our beautiful, warm, dry fall was almost over and we now had to hustle to get the basement in before freeze-up.

Jim is not one to waste time, though and decided to build a shed ... our little house on the prairie. It is vital to the build as it not only houses tools and materials but also my porta-potty. I must admit that there have been days when the cold temperatures have made using said potty challenging, but it's far better that the bucket with a garbage bag in it that had been suggested.