Butterfly Update (before the REAL update!)

The kid and I walked down to the bottom of our road.  Really, we ran, twirled, swirled, and occasionally walked.  There also may have been some skipping and hopping, although I am not sure.  Walks down the road blend together into a never-ending hike in my mind.

At the bottom of our road, we found the butterflies.  They were not in the road, but rather were gathered in the drainage ditch right next to the road.  My best internet sleuthing leads me to believe that they are Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and that they may have been puddling – sipping up minerals from the small amount of water at the bottom of the ditch.

Finding them in the ditch and watching them startle up into the air when we got close gave me hope that perhaps they aren’t getting squashed every time a car drives through.  I searched the road for evidence – with the excuse of trying to find pretty rocks on the tip of my tongue, but Shorty never noticed what I was doing.  No butterfly guts to be seen!

In other astonishing news, we walked all the way back up the road without a piggyback being needed.  She has gotten so much stronger in the eight months since we moved to this hilly, rocky, wonderful patch of earth.





A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies

A kaleidoscope of butterflies has been hanging out at the bottom of our road.  I imagine they are soaking in the warm sun and exclaiming over the flickering beauty of their yellow wings opening and closing.

When I pass by, I tell them that it’s not a good idea to sit in the road.  They don’t listen; I am not their mother.

Squished butterflies aside, it makes me think there must be some magic in this place, on this road.  Every time I drive out, I leave a swirl of butterflies in the air behind me, like a fairy closing the door behind her when she crosses over to our side.

Morning Rain

Still learning what rain sounds like on this new roof, I awake to the drumming in a grey pre-dawn hour.  The drops are so big I can see them out the window without clearing the sleep from my eyes.  With a hopeful thought that my tomato seedlings can withstand the pounding, I go back to sleep.

Some hours later, I am woken with a cheerful “Hi, mama!” just inches from my ear.  I go outside and the sound of rain drops surrounds me.  Loud and persistent, the kind of rain that I might duck from if it started suddenly.  And yet.  No drop hits me as I walk up the hill.  The water is dripping from leaf to leaf in the trees, filtering downwards, not making it to my lowly level on the ground.


The red efts are out in full force.  I believe them to be reveling in the dampness.




Washing Dishes with a Beetle

Washing the dishes in the RV after everyone has gone home from Lars’ birthday celebration, I notice a beetle as big as my thumb on the screen door.  It glitters coppery black, and I think, “how pretty.”  And also, “please don’t come in.”  Lars is putting our daughter to bed in the house.

When I finish washing, I put on my headlamp to take the compost out.  There is a lot – we had corn on the cob and cantelope for 11 people – and my hands are full.  The moon is bright and just past full, but now that the trees have leaves, it won’t light the compost pile until the wee hours of the morning.

Halfway to the compost pile, I am dive bombed by what turns out to be the giant-in-the-dark beetle from the screen door.  It gets tangled in my hair, and I shriek inelegantly, drop the compost, and rip the flashlight from my head.  I toss it on the ground, leaving it behind as I leap away.

It takes some steeling of my nerves to go back to my headlamp and pick it up.  The light is flickering in the grass as the beetle climbs all over it.  I seem to have an upper limit to my bug tolerance, and today it has been used up by avoiding black flies through the party.

Back in the RV, a text from Lars: “Everything ok down there?”  The windows in the house are open.  I steel my nerves again to go back outside, and hurry up the hill to the house with my headlamp in my hand for a quick getaway and just the red light turned on to light my path.


Special Delivery

The floor system for the second floor is getting delivered as I type!


All of our recent material deliveries have been by the local hardware store (RK Miles), and they send very competent drivers.  For those of us hoping for more excitement ala the insulation delivery, competency is boring!  But I suppose that for those of us trying to get this house built before the big snows come, boring competency is hoped for and very welcome.


Wall Week

This week was wall week.  (I’m restraining myself from adding lots and lots of exclamation points.  Everything is exciting, and each new stage feels even more exciting than the last.  So just picture exclamation points flying every which way through this post, and you’ll maybe get how excited I am.)

We got a text message from Craig last Saturday saying that they had framed the whole south wall on Friday, and that it would be standing by noon on Monday.  (!!!)

He also emailed a list of layout decisions that needed to be made on Monday morning, which sent me and Lars into a frenzy of design.  Where should the kitchen sink go?  How about the oven?  Can the first floor half bath be only 29 inches wide?  And where should ALL the windows on the first floor go?

Here’s a low-quality (but to-scale) scan of what we came up with:

first floor plan 2017-11-26

Things have gotten refined since then, of course.  The windows have changed size a bit, the southern window on the west wall got turned into a door, and a window got added. The stove and that northernmost window on the east wall have swapped places.  Probably that long dividing wall that runs from north to south has moved at least a couple of inches one way or another.  But more or less, that’s how we think things will look.

Have I teased long enough?  Show the walls already!

Looking north.  Those big windows face south and let in lots of light.  (They also currently let in lots of cold wind…but glass will help that.)


Looking south.  The front door will be nearly smack dab in the middle of this picture, on the wall closest to the camera.


A brief interlude on how the walls are getting framed: on the floor!


Then the crew stands them up and braces them in place with diagonal temporary braces.  I have been off site for EVERY SINGLE WALL LIFT.  There have been maybe 6(?) because each wall goes up in multiple parts.  It would be cool to watch.  Or maybe even to help.  When they put up the south wall, it was heavy and they were struggling with it.  Our across-the-street neighbor must have been watching the excitement, because he came over and helped.  (He’s also the one who gave us his wifi password, which is how I have posted all of the posts since we moved.  Yay for Jim!)

Now a tour from inside.  Here is the overview (annotated using MS paint for a less-than-professional look…)

IMG_0228 (2)

I didn’t put the first floor bathroom on that picture.  It’ll go between the stairs and the kitchen.  And the metal working shop goes the whole length of the west wall.

Here is the kitchen from the inside:


That’s the north east corner of the building.  The front door is the opening on the far left (only half of the doorway shows in the photo).  The window on the left is in the bathroom, and the middle window is over the kitchen sink.  The window on the right (on the eastern wall) will look out over the road, and a little farther south on that wall will be the stove.  After the stove, there is a door for the future porch that you can’t see in this pic.

All the photos above I took early this morning.  (It’s really hard to take photos without the building crew because they get here early and leave just as it’s getting dark.)  Today, to finish off wall week, the guys put up all the other walls on this floor. (!!!)


I hadn’t realized it, but they framed it in an order that made for the clearest photos given our nice vantage point up the hill.  It’s much harder to look at that picture above and see where all the rooms are going to be.

Last picture for today is of Nya racing around the floor.  I don’t think she had been up there, so we went over this afternoon when the guys left.  I tried to explain where everything was going to go, but she just wanted to run on flat ground.


I think they are going to work on more sheathing (filling in the plywood) next week.  And Lars has been spending lots of time in the basement getting it ready for the concrete floor to get poured, which also might happen next week.  He and Craig laid out the metal mesh yesterday.  And I got to help – I tied all the mesh together!  Preschool is a wonderful thing, even though it’s only 3 hours/day. 🙂  I used a fancy crochet hook thing and had all sorts of fun.  They also laid out one loop of radiant floor heating.  I don’t have any photos of that, but I’m thinking it’d be a good idea to take detailed pictures of where everything ends up so we can have good records once the concrete covers everything up.

Last bit of news:  we got internet installed today.  It reaches as far as the outhouse and it is so speedy.  (!!!)



Two weeks is too long without an update

We are still moving fast over here.  Too bad my post-writing isn’t as fast.  Here’s another photo recap with minimal words.

Another shot at the same stage as when I wrote last:


And here is from inside the basement:IMG_0075

Keep your eye on all that gravel, but before it got distributed, they installed a small section of floor.  This was taken from inside the basement, near the door in the eastern wall, looking up:


Did you notice all the junction boxes Lars installed down in the basement?  Here are two wall’s worth, circled in blue:IMG_0075-circled

There is conduit from the top of the concrete wall down to those boxes.  Gotta have lots of outlets in a workshop!  Unfortunately, some concrete got into a couple of those boxes when it was poured, so Lars spent a bunch of time drilling the concrete out with his giant drill bit.


And you can see some sheets of duroc (I think?) leaning against the inside of the moat in the foreground of that photo.  That’s foreshadowing for the basement wall insulation that happened next:

And then back filling the moat!

The south wall got back filled on Friday 11/17.  Meanwhile, inside the basement, Lars was driving around (<– video link for Jimmy), spreading out gravel to go under the slab.

Last thing that was accomplished before I left on the Sunday before Thanksgiving was putting in all of the floor joists:


While Nya and I were off gallivanting with the cousins, Lars and the building crew added the plywood subfloor:


And got to see a spectacular sunset:

I think we are now caught up through 11/26, and that’s where I’m going to leave things, because the next thing that happened was WALLS!  And I think they should get their own post, so I can properly complain about always being off site and missing all the excitement when they have gone up.