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.


So much is happening!  When we left off, we were headed to warmer houses for the weekend.  It ended up not being *that* cold.  Contrary to the belief of some of our family members who live in Arizona, there is a big difference between 18F and 3F.  It only got down to 18F.  The RV came through just fine (no frozen pipes, no running out of propane unexpectedly), and we all are just fine, too.  It has now warmed up (today was almost 50F – practically toasty), and the forecast is looking decently mild for the the next week.

Now.  Back to the excitement on the house!  In my last post, I had a picture of concrete-filled forms.  Here is a crazy wide-angle shot Lars took of the action from the pouring of the walls:



The concrete guys came back on Thursday and took all the forms off.  And we have a basement!


I tried to walk in, but there’s a 4-foot deep hole in front of and inside of the eastern wall (where the door is), and the guys had put up a 2×6 gangplank, but my nervousness around heights got the better of me (in my defense, I had Nya on my back), so I didn’t go in.  But here’s a shot from just outside the door:


At this point, there was still a moat around the basement.  Lars and Craig both walked around the top of the walls some, but I didn’t watch.

Friday morning, a delivery of framing materials arrived on this cool truck with a built-in crane:


Tuesday (11/14), the concrete guys came back and knocked off all those little blips you see in the photos above.  Then they waterproofed the basement walls:


And can you see them?  Floor joists!  A big beam running the whole length of the building!  So exciting.  (That’s Lars on the ladder and Craig sitting on the floor joists.)

I’m not quite caught up through today, but in the interest of getting enough sleep, I’m signing off.  Next time: basement wall insulation, driving the skid steer inside the basement, and filling in that moat.





It’s snowing

Actually, I think it has stopped now, but our grill looked like this when I went out a couple of minutes ago:


House stuff got real when the excavator was delivered a couple of weeks ago.  Living in an RV in Vermont in the winter just got real today.  Actually, it’s not even really real yet compared to what is coming later this week:


Note Friday’s high and low specifically.  It should be exciting!  (And mom, don’t worry – we’ll go sleep at Par and Debbi’s if the forecast is still so dire when Friday is a bit closer.)  Tomorrow I’m taking the completely inadequate step of putting plastic film over the windows and weatherstripping the door.  I might also buy an electric space heater.

Now, having buried the lede nice and deep, this happened today:


That’s cement in the forms, in case you can’t tell how this photo is different from the ones in my last post.  Basement walls are poured!  More details tomorrow.  I missed the excitement (so bummed!) but Lars took some good photos.  There were 4 cement trucks here at once, and two poured at the same time.

Catching up with all the goings-on

This week has been just as exciting as last week.  The contractor gods were friendly; Mother Nature less so.  It rained and rained and rained Sunday and Monday.  But here is how things looked on Tuesday, with Lars to give some scale:


It’s hard to tell what is going on, of course.  But Lars is standing on the bottom of the foundation hole, and that lower area off to his right is where the frost wall will go.  (The frost wall extends 4 feet below grade and keeps frost from getting below the basement floor.  It’s only needed on the walk-out wall of our basement.  All the other basement walls are 4 feet or more below grade.)

Wednesday, this happened:

The concrete guys showed up first thing in the morning and had built the forms for the footer by lunch.  Then two concrete trucks came.  Talk about mind-blowing driving skills.  I couldn’t always watch them driving because I was afraid they were going to fall in the hole.  But when I could watch, they were controlling the concrete chute by driving it to where it needed to go.  Super impressive.  Nya thought it was great, too – “that truck is pooping, mama!”  Here’s a video of the action for my truck-obsessed nephew Jimmy.

By the end of the day Wednesday, we had a complete footer.



The two round footers in the middle of the floor will support posts that will hold up beams that will hold up the house.  We put our hand prints into one of them.


Nya wasn’t getting her hand anywhere near that wet stuff, so Lars put her croc print in instead.  She then insisted that the concrete foreman put his hand in, and she really wanted him to add his name, but he said he’s save that space for us.  This is all going to get covered by the floor, but I’m thinking it might be kind of fun to put our names and hand prints into the floor when it gets poured.  Maybe Nya would be game if we gave her a latex glove to wear?

Thursday the concrete guys took a bit of a pause.  But Lars and Craig did a bunch of work on the well.  Fingers crossed that it can get us enough water.  We’re practicing our water conservation skills here in the RV, though.  Every heavy gallon gets carried in, so it’s always high in my mind how precious it is.  We’re going through 5-10 gallons per day for drinking, cooking, dish washing, and hand washing.

Today (Friday) there were so many guys here.  The concrete crew had at least 6 people working, and then the excavator was here, too.  The excavator dug a 4-foot deep trench from the well to the foundation, and Lars laid the water line.  I failed to take a picture, so you’ll have to just imagine how muddy he was when that project was finished.

digging the water line

While Lars and the excavator were playing in the mud, the concrete guys put up all the forms for the basement walls:

If I squint really hard, and ignore the moat around the walls, I can almost picture a basement there.

The excavator will be back tomorrow to finish the driveway up to the walk-out level of the basement so that the concrete truck can get up there in spite of the mud.  (Have I mentioned the mud?  Our whole world is mud.  I wear rubber boots when I’m outside at home, and I have other clean shoes that I just leave in the car all the time to wear when I drive anywhere else.)

And because this post is really long anyway, and this doesn’t warrant its own post, here is a picture of the panels the forms are made out of, because I think they are pretty spiffy:


They lock together with those metal slotted rectangles.  The concrete foreman and the excavator both have told Lars that this is the deepest basement they’ve ever dug.  But Craig assures us that his basement is 13 feet deep (ours is ~9), and that everything is going to be just fine.

The basement walls should get poured Monday.