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First concrete pad for stairs 6/4/2023

I poured the first pad for a set of stairs yesterday - I'm happy with how the pad turned out. But not so much with how the 12" square post support pads came out.

For the 48" square pad, I used 6 bags of just regular high strength concrete mix. I gave it about 1/4" per foot slope to help it drain properly.

For the post support pads - for some reason, I thought the quick set concrete that you don't have to mix would be fine, so I used 3 bags of that. Supposedly, you just pour the dry powder in the hole, and pour water over it, and then wait 30 minutes for it to harden. I've used it before to set posts, and it seemed to work. But this time, I wasn't setting the post IN the concrete - just providing a support base. I thought it would be the same process, but the water didn't filter down very far into the hole, and the square tops enclosed in wooden frames came loose. I picked them up to see what happened, and it was just the top that got hard! I quickly poured water into the hole where there was still dry powder and then added the square tops back onto them. Hoping it will work, but I'll probably have to tear them out and start over.

Measuring for the location was a nightmare because there is now flat reference point. How do you know if the pad is parallel to the wall of a cabin made out of bumpy misshapen logs? So I just used the door frame as a reference, even though that reference point is so narrow it would be easy to screw up the measurement, and then eyeballed the placement. Ok, I did use some triangulation and drew some arcs to double check my measurements. I have to do 2 more sets of these stairs outside. For the front door, I think I'll start at the front door, and measure out 3 feet on each side, and then make my triangles from those points, using the door frame as my flat reference plane. Again, you can't just measure out from the logs like you would the walls on a normal house, since the logs vary in size. I guess I could do some kind of average...

The stoop, or the landing area outside the door, will be 6 feet long (matching the width of the future wrap around porch). 3 feet is the minimum required for code. The stairs will almost be 7/11's (7.5" rise, 11" run), and they'll rest on the first 12" of the 48" long concrete pad. Code requires 3 feet of landing space at the bottom of the stairs.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/ in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 7488) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 7488) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

The garden we are not planting this year 6/2/2023

Nope, we are not doing a vegetable garden this year. We don't have time for it right now. But we have stuff we planted last year, and some stuff we couldn't resist planting this year, so....

  • Bananas - we planted these last year. Got them from a lady near the TN line - and I saw some in her yard with bananas on them already! They grew a bunch at our house, but didn't produce anything. We understood that they wouldn't their first year. So I overwintered them with a fence and covered them with dry leaves and mulch to keep them from freezing. They survived those three days we had near Christmas where daytime temps were around zero, and came on strong this year with leaves. I've been fertilizing them every month because I heard they really need a lot of it. I hope they flower and produce - and that we can divide them and get new starts for next year!
  • Blackberries - some friends at church bought these a few years ago, and gave us some starts after we raved about how good they tasted - so big and sweet, and thornless! They said they got 50 lbs of fruit from 10 starts. They are called "Freedom" blackberries, and they produce twice a year - spring and fall. Since we just got them, it will just be fall this year. They got them from Starkbros.
  • A few stray sunflowers. This one popped up from last year's crop - it is now at least 10 feet tall. I think it will probably bloom next week. I'd like to have a whole patch of them! But we are "not having a garden this year". :)
Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/ in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 7493) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 7493) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

Finished insulating South Gable wall 6/1/2023

I finished insulating the south gable wall last night. R-15 is required, but for a few bucks more, I did R-19. Took 4 bags of the roll-type insulation (40' rolls). The north wall is also almost done - more than halfway. We are curious, with the hot weather coming on, whether this will make a significant difference on inside temperatures. It is the last area of the house that is not insulated.

And I'm hoping we can get away with not covering it until after we move in. The plan is to do board and batten on the inside. I can't imagine hanging drywall that high, plus expect it to look amazing (perfectly flat), plus sand it, plus paint it. B&B will look great and will be very forgiving on small imperfections.

This means it's down to just finishing a bedroom, tiling one bathroom, installing exterior stairs, the HVAC, and then install wood floors. And we have 2 months to do it all.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/ in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 7498) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 7498) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

Apply poly to middle RPSL 5/30/2023

Here I'm about 18' up, and there's still about 6 feet above my head, meaning that RPSL (Ridge Pole Support Log) is about 30' tall. I was too tired to add the 4th section of scaffolding, so I taped the brush to a stick and just applied poly that way for the last few feet. This, after sanding the whole thing, vacuuming the dust off it, applying the first coat of poly, and then buffing it with a green scrubby pad. This one is the hardest one because there's nothing to lean the scaffolding against. Ladders aren't safe up against "things that are round" (ask any lineman). Anyway, it's done now, glad that's over with.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/ in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 7503) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 7503) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

Main bath ready for waterproofing 5/25/2023

This is the main bath - it is a standard 5x8 bathroom. We decided we don't need mile-long counters in our bathrooms - it's just for showering / brushing teeth / doing your business.

Installing the walls was harder than it looks. That 1/2" fiber-cement backer board (that gray stuff) is really hard to cut. I scored it with my razor a few times before breaking it on the cut line - that was for the big cuts. For the little 1/2" cuts on the edges, I ended up using my diamond blade on my skillsaw - and it was very dusty and slow. The round holes for the handle and the outlets, I used spade bits.

And we decided to just leave the girder log exposed. For the un-initiated, the girder log is a 17"x42'-long log that holds up the 2nd floor 4x12 joists. I covered it with 4 coats of poly to help keep it dry. I think it'll be fine.

Next we have to use some thin set mortar along the joints, then tape them, and then more thin set on top. And then finally coat it with waterproofing agent before we can tile it. The non-backer board walls (the purple stuff) will just get a waterproofing (paint) base coat, and then paint.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/ in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 7508) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 7508) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

Kitchen Almost There 5/21/2023

Finished the counter top last week and installed it. Also installed the faucet and the line to the fridge. The only thing left in the kitchen is installing the floor - half tile (entry way + sink) and half hardwood (in the dining room); and installing the duct for the HVAC. This (flooring and duct) is also true for one bedroom, and almost the living room (still have some chinking to do in the living room).

Now the focus is the main bathroom - needs tile in the tub, and on the floor, toilet and sink installed, lights hung, and the ducts installed. After that will be the master bedroom. But that could all happen rather quickly.

The focus for my wife is mudding and painting and tiling. The focus for me is ductwork and exterior stairs.

I have the wiring for the HVAC unit partially installed - the breaker and wiring is connected, I just need to put some conduit on it and run it out to where the unit will be. I need a concrete pad for the unit, and 3 concrete pads for the stairs (3 exterior doors). The stairs will just be 4 steps each - later they will be moved away from the house and connect to the future wrap-around porch, but that will be after we move in.

Getting closer every day!

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/ in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 7513) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 7513) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

Kitchen counter final glue up 5/1/2023

Kind of stressful getting this thing ready to glue. Once it's glued, you can't unglue it, so I had one shot to get it right. First we had to plane each section, all at the same thickness, then lower the blades and do it again. This was to get all the glue off the back sides, and to flatten the top.

The pieces were 10' long, so I had my wife help me keep them level going through - otherwise it bows up in the middle because the ends are so long and heavy and the feed table is only 3' long. Thankfully, we only had to run it through 3 times - taking off about 1/16" total - to get it flat.

Then it was just a matter of cutting slots for biscuits, gluing the edges, and clamping it all together. This time while clamping, I didn't end up needing any vertical clamps. But I put a 4' level across it and found that it was dipping in the middle due to the pressure of the clamps being all on one side. So I loosened a few and put them on the bottom instead and that flattened it out.

Next step is to test fit again (need to cut off the ends a bit), then sand with a really fine grit, finish, cut out a slot for the sink, and install.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/ in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 7518) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 7518) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

Started gluing counter tops 4/25/2023

Started gluing the kitchen counter tonight.

Last night was all about test fitting. We discovered that the last board needed to be supported while test fitting, and when I finally got it supported, we found out we needed another inch to make the whole thing wide enough to hang over the cabinets just a little.

So tonight, I cut a few strips out of scraps I saved, made sure it fit, and wife gave me green light - "glue it!"

We decided to glue just the back three boards for now - this will give us support on the back while we work on the front. It's all going to be held together with glue and biscuit joints, thanks to my neighbor's generosity with his tools....

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/ in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 7523) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 7523) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

Good progress on kitchen counter 4/21/2023

We're still sore at the soapstone people who wouldn't sell us a slab big enough for all our counters. Actually, we went through 3-4 slabs before we finally got so frustrated with them telling us "no" that we just said "forget it" to all but a piece big enough for the island. But what are you going to do when you're dealing with the only soapstone dealer in the country who will sell to the public without going through a middle-man?

So we needed counter tops for the rest of the kitchen. I had this oak sitting out back that I didn't know what I was going to do with, so I started measuring it, and it looked like I had enough for the counters, except it was 2.5" thick, and I needed to plane it down to 1.5". Ran it through the planer 14 times, and stacked it up inside so I could work some more on it the next day. A lot of the pieces were 6", 8", and 10" wide. I thought it was going to be beautiful!. But the next day - all of it had started splitting at the ends! Wow! Never seen that before. Didn't think we could use it.

We went and looked at just pine lumber - 2x6 pieces - and bought some. But realized we got "white pine" instead of "SYP" (Southern Yellow Pine). It clashed pretty bad with the closet door and all the other SYP in the house (all the exterior logs are SYP....).

It was pretty depressing to not find what we wanted, and have to do so much work to get there.

The next day, I was sitting around chatting with my wife, and happened to look down at the temporary desk I made for my daughter - just an extra stair tread I made from the same oak that split. Except none of the stair treads have split. My wife loves how the treads turned out. Then I had a light bulb moment - "Hey, wait a minute! Why don't we cut all those slabs that are now splitting into 3" wide strips, and just glue them together like we did the stair treads? We won't get the nice wide slab look, but at least it'll be strong and match the rest of the house." So my wife said I should cut a few strips and see what we think.

And now we are in love with our future kitchen counters. Just giving a sneak peak here, but it's going to turn out really cool.

Oh, by the way - in the pic, we just have all the boards laid out how they should go - not glued together or anything. And they will be pushed back into a "yet-to-be-made" channel in that back log.

Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/ in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 7528) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 7528) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

Planted some blackberries 4/13/2023

Ok, so you can't see them very well because they are only 3" tall, but there are 20 blackberries under that geotextile fabric. Some friends at church were growing them last summer and we tasted them and they were so big and sweet that we asked about them. They are a thornless cane variety and heavy producer called "freedom", sold by They dug them up, and potted some extra canes for us, and now they have all put on leaves.

Anyway, we decided to put them in front of the blueberries for now, or maybe forever. We'll have to see how they do. Also, we need to clear out some trees before we can plant stuff anywhere else, and that's not going to happen until next year - after we finish the cabin.

Other garden updates:

  • we aren't doing a vegetable garden this year - only taking care of the long-term stuff we've already planted:
    • apples: they blossomed about a week ago. Cross our fingers, maybe we'll get something edible this year. Last year, we almost did - got 3 apples, but they weren't good. Trees are still too young.
    • blueberries: we had a sneaky freeze after they got tricked into blooming. It looks like we'll still get some fruit though.
    • blackberries (noted above)
    • I left the bananas buried under piles of leaves all winter, but then they started shooting out some leaves, so I "un-buried" them to give them some breathing room. All of them had at least one large leaf on them until two weeks ago when we had some crazy wind (and tornados up the road a few miles) - the leaves all got shredded. But now they've all put out more leaves. Looks like they want to do something. I hope they can.


Posted some time or other (Can't locate DateTime/Calendar/ in @INC (you may need to install the DateTime::Calendar::Discordian module) (@INC contains: /etc/perl /usr/local/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32.1 /usr/local/share/perl/5.32.1 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl5/5.32 /usr/share/perl5 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl-base /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.32 /usr/share/perl/5.32 /usr/local/lib/site_perl) at (eval 7533) line 3. BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at (eval 7533) line 3. -- hail Eris!) Tags:

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