Sunday, December 28, 2008

Walls, Lazy Sleepy Walls

December 27, 2008
Kathleen is still on days off but her brave and daring family have taken up the sand moving task. Bob has already spent a couple of days re-distributing and, today, was joined by Ian and Coreen. My happy, little elves have almost all the sand work done. I just have to crawl under the trusses and move a little bit along footings.

Bob spotted a vole in the sand... the poor thing probably fell into the basement and, as there is no way out, I expect to find a body when I get back. Sand, sand everywhere and not a drop to drink or eat or anything. Starvation due to stupidity!

Meantime, back up on the main floor, Jim and Rob have been busy building walls and getting ready to stand them up.

The Sun, The Sand and Floor Trusses

It was the day before Christmas and all through the basement not a creature was stirring as Kathleen took the day off. C'mon! I had to get ready for Christmas. After shoveling the snow out of the basement, I distributed sand over the clay. As it was a windy day, Jim and Rob put some of the floor trusses in the basement and managed to stay out of the wind.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sun dogs and Smoke Signals

December 19, 2008's another chilly one in the cow pasture. This morning started out at -30 but rocketed up to -28 by the afternoon. The ice fog created some amazing sun dogs and some very slippery highways. The locals love to practice ice dancing with their cars and lots of them were entering the ditches at very artistic angles. The farmer in the pasture next to us finally took pity on his cows and moved them. I am sure he has taken them off to the sunny south for a Christmas vacation. That or the feed lot next door. As the wind chill made working on the main floor uncomfortable, we worked in the basement. Jim had to drill into the concrete and set in anchor bolts to hold the basement floor trusses, securely. I continued with my snow removal and when I tired of that, I moved over and chipped ice off of the beams in preparation for truss placement. After I left to return the rented hammer drill, Jim and Rob finished the snow removal and began spreading the sand that is only part of the preparation of the ground that's underneath the wooden basement floor. We still have insulation, poly and washed rock to put down before the floor can go on permanently.

Telus assures us that we will have a phone line in the next 18 months to 2 years. We've fooled them...we're sending smoke signals!

Does This Mean Cows Can Read?

Wednesday December 17, 2008
Leduc County has sent some poor soul around in the cold to place address markers at each of the lots in the subdivision. One wonders what he did wrong to have to work in the sub-zero temperatures with metal posts and signs. He was followed by the local contractors putting their advertisements up on the posts. Curtis Ryll, who owns ARC, asked for our permission, which we gladly gave, as he has been a great help to us with all the dirt work and septic installation.

I worked in the basement shoveling the snow out for most of the day. Jim and Rob worked "upstairs" getting the rest of the main floor down. Rob answered an ad for "help" that we left at the local Co-op. He has been a great help to Jim as he can carry heavy stuff and is pretty handy with the tools. Hopefully, he will stick with us until we can get the old hacienda all closed in. by the end of the day, he and Jim had the main floor all down. I still had nearly half the basement to shovel out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cleavage is Everything!

We have managed to get at least half of the main floor decking down. Jim hauled the plywood over, cut any pieces that needed to be cut, put the adhesive on the joists and placed the plywood. I had the tremendously, difficult job of standing on the plywood while he pounded the tongue and groove part together. Then, with increasing skill, I screwed the plywood in place using a rented floor screw gun. At the start of the day, I had a few misses as the screw gun was finicky but by the end of the day, I could claim several sheets as perfect screws. No comments!! The trick is to hold the trigger in your left hand and firmly jam it between your boobs. When you bend over to set the next screw, you and the screw gun are perfectly perpendicular and the screws go in just dandy.

Check out my new Ryobi cordless drill! Jim got me my Christmas present early as we were putting down the flooring and needed the extra cordless. This gives us two Ryobi drills so we can share battery packs. And yes...I asked for it. Next Christmas, I'm thinking diamonds but this is the perfect gift for this year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

David with the Strong Back

As much as yesterday was challenging, weather wise, today is lovely. It's been made even more so by the arrival of Jim's brother, David. The sun is shining, the wind has dropped and the temperature is above zero. David spent the day helping Jim finish off the truss placement, haul the floor trusses for the basement floor around to the back of the house and placing the strong backs in the trusses. Strong backs are 2x6's laid end to end and designed to stiffen the floor and reduce vibration. They are placed under the top rail of the truss and nailed into place.

Big Brave Jim and the Nasty Weather

Here it is December 9 and the world, as we know it, is about to freeze over. It's -17C with a nasty southeast wind and snow off and on. This is our first real taste of winter this year and according to the weather broadcasts it isn't going to get any better until April. I run out of the warm truck to help Jim carry another truss and run back and hide out of the wind while he secures it in place. There's Jim waving bravely as I go to fetch his glove which has fallen into the basement. Unfortunately, this is the last day for our rental truck but as the much loved Ford 4x4 is in the process of being reassembled, it shouldn't be too long before we have all the Farrell wheels back on the road.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Two Handsome Fellas

Poor Allan was suffering from a dreadful cold but donned Dad's quilted coveralls and hauled washed rock to cover weeping tile in the freezing rain. What a guy! Both he and I noted all the ruckus coming from the cow pasture next to us...Jim didn't have his hearing aids in so he missed it. The cows, obviously, don't like freezing rain any more than we do. They were mooing up quite a chorus.

Jim and Allan posed for a photo just before we had to call it a day. Handsome even in their work wear.

Dry Wells

Jim has put extra insulation over the weeping tile to ensure that the basement wall will be the warmest possible. As our house is built on a hill and the back is much lower than where the house is sited, we can avoid installing a sump pump by having the weeping tile drain to the low area in the back...essentially, a dry well. When the back filling continues next week, this will all be filled in.

Mud, Mud Everywhere

December 5 and the wood package has arrived. Star Building has provided all the wood, etc. required to get the floors down and do the framing. This was only the first part of the package and we will get the rest a little later as we didn't want all of it out in the winter weather. There is another house being built down the road from us and concrete was being delivered to them today. We needed a little bit to fill a piling that will support the front veranda, so we asked the concrete people if they could off-load any left-overs into our waiting sonotube. Sure enough, a little while later the truck was backing into our yard and one more job is finished. Although it was quite cloudy all day, it was very warm and all that dirt that you see was actually mud. We managed to drag a fair bit back to the condo in Beaumont. Yippee...more work.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Frig, It's Cold!

December 1 was +6. Yesterday, although it was -1, was one of those big, bright, blue-sky days that we prairie people take for granted. Then today, December 4, dawned dreary and -15. Winter seems to be here to stay. We can't complain (though we will anyway) as we've had a very long, warm fall.

Regardless, it was a banner day as the back filling has begun. This makes moving the floor trusses on to the wall much easier, not to mention, safer. It also may act as an enticement for Bob to come back as he won't have to work in the "trenches".