Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Turtle Speed

Our "Fortress of Isolation" is moving forward at a very slow rate of speed. We keep asking them if it will be liveable by the end of September and they keep telling us it will be. But it is hard to believe them when we see nothing happening for days on end. In Minnesota the building season is short. 6-7 months, tops. As we wait for things to happen, we look at the calendar, we get worried that time is running out and there is so much left to do.

Here's what has gone on in the last 10 days.

The concrete people came and leveled the ground inside and out. They also put insulation along the walls. That took them a day.Once that was done the plumber came in and roughed in the plumbing. That took another day.

So now we are waiting for the concrete people to come back and regrade it again. Install the rebar and lay down the foam. Once the foam is done the plumber will come in and install the floor heat.I am going to pause here for a little rant. The blogger website that I use has gone and changed the format of the whole website. WHY? If something works, don't mess with it. Or give a person the option to use the old one or the new one. I don't know why all of the sudden everything is underlined and in a different color. I have wasted 10 minutes of my time trying to figure it out.  I inserted a picture and that is what happened. Why do people always feel the need to change S**t?Back to the topic at hand. Things that Lisa was been working on in the mean time have been ordering gutters. She ordered our wood burning stove. Also our propane tank has been delivered.
Those little white flags in the foreground are where our new well will be going. We got that taken care of and we should have water in less than 2 weeks now. So there are things getting done and once the concrete is in it will move at a faster pace we hope. There is so much that needs to get done in such a short amount of time.We also started building a first aid kit. You know for those times that Lisa has those accidents. She is very accident prone for some reason.
I carry it around like the guy carrying the briefcase with the nuclear codes following the president. Just to be safe.

One more thing. Frankenleg is healing fine. She got all of the stitches out now. She will have a great conversation starter as she sits by the fire.

"What happened to your leg?' an inquisitive camper will ask.

"You should have seen what my husband did to me, bless his soul." She will say.

That's how I picture the conversation going but in reality there may be many more expletives. 

You can hardly tell anything happened. 

Things will start to move at a more rapid pace I think so stay tuned.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Gandolf Becomes an Ambulance

Disclaimer! This blog may contain some graphic images of raw carnage. If you are squeemish or faint at the sight of gore (and I'm not talking about Al) (that was a joke) please stop here and have someone with a strong constitution read it to you. You have been warned.

When last we left you Gandolf needed new tires. He did get some and he is very happy about it!

We are at the mercy of our builders as the rollercoaster of building this house continues its ups and downs. What I mean is this. We waited for a while to get the shell up. We were excited to see some progress, but then things slowed down again. So the waiting game begins again. We are doing what we can in the meantime as we wait for something else to happen.

Lisa has some ideas of what she wants the inside to look like. One of the things she does is search the Marketplace universe for things that we could use. One of the things she found was some cedar boards (70 twelve foot boards in fact). Tongue and grooved and full of character. They have been in a barn since the 60's or 70's and they have never been used. She also has an idea of where those boards are going to go so I then prepared the parts of the walls for the tongue and groove.

Since this building isn't like your typical house construction, things are different.
Since this is more of a pole barn type of construction I had to make some modifications to how some things would work. Normally they would just attach steel siding to the boards that run horizontally and be done with it. Since we want tongue and groove cedar there going horizontally I had to use 2X2 boards  running vertically so that I would have something to nail the cedar to. The board by the hammer doesn't have the 2X2 on it and the one behind it does. It then makes everything flush for the next phase.That wall between the barn and bungalow will be 10 to 12 inches thick once it is all said and done.

Mowing is always a job that needs to be done so that helps keep us busy. I had cut down some trees along the side of our road because they were just too close. I didn't have time to remove them the day we rented the stump grinder so we decided to finally cut them down with a chainsaw.

Disclaimer time again. Some images may not be suitable for everyone.

Cutting a stump with a chainsaw is hard. You have to get it low to the ground and then you are likely to cut dirt and gravel which really dullens the saw, making it much harder to cut. We had about 20 to 25 stumps to remove and things were going well. Confidence was high. One chainsaw chain went dull, so I replaced it with another. We continued cutting until that one went dull. Now on our third chain and only 3 very large stumps left. Then that project would be in the books.

That's when everything went wrong and it went wrong very fast. I was cutting the stump and struggling. Lisa was there to help push the stump away so that the weight of the stump wasn't resting on the blade. How it happened is unclear but somehow I hit Lisa's leg with the chain saw. GASP! I know. This turned into the scariest day of my life.

I heard her scream "OH NO!" and saw her fall backwards onto the ground. I saw the blood instantly as she grabbed her leg. It was not spurting which was good but it was oozing a lot. We jumped into the Ranger and sped off to the barn to get the pickup(Gandolf). We didn't have time to wait for an ambulance because we were 10 to 15 miles away from the hospital. Lisa found a hoodie in the back seat and placed it over the wound and applied pressure. I drove like hell to get her to the ER. 

Surprisingly though, she was very calm during the whole ordeal. That was good because it helped me stay calm. We got to the hospital and they brought her into a room. I parked the truck and by the time I got back there they had it all cleaned up and were waiting for the PA to look at it.
Once you take all of the blood away it didn't look that bad. I am so glad that it wasn't deep. She said that she saw the saw coming toward her and had started moving away so that helped. The nurse reassured us that it would be okay. WHEW! I felt terrible knowing that I had caused that. The PA came in and started stitching it up. I watched. I thought I would be queezey with it but I found it rather fascinating. 9 stitches and she was good to go.
The reason that I shared all of this is that I hope we all can learn something from it. Were we complacent? Maybe. Were we tired? I know I was. Cutting stumps is a lot of work. We learned that we really need to have a first aid kit around. They are called accidents for a reason. You have no idea when or where they will happen and we were not prepared. Thank God it wasn't more serious.

After the incident you always have the what ifs?  What if it was deeper? What if I cut an artery? What if I can't get the blood out of the seats of the Ranger and the pickup? And most importantly, what if she wrecked my chainsaw? (That was a joke) 

Lisa is doing great and is enjoying her recliner. 

Please no lectures. I have lectured myself in my head already. I just want you to know I did not wake up that morning and say to myself, "I think I will cut Lisa's leg with a chainsaw and see what happens".

Stay safe out there and if you see me with a chainsaw, run for the hills. (That was a joke. You can just walk briskly because I am slow) (Again, another joke)

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Building the Wall

We are still hunkered down in our super secret undisclosed location working on our "Fortress of Isolation". The builders have finished the enclosure. We added a living quarters that I like to call our bungalow onto the side of our barn.

Back or Lakeside.

Side view.

So now our next steps into making this livable is to have the plumber, spray foam insulator and the concrete people come in. The concrete people have to prepare and grade the inside of the bungalow and the barn to prepare the ground for concrete. Once they do that the plumber will swoop in and do the rough in plumbing and floor heat. Then the concrete people will come back and lay the floor. Once done the insulator will come in and spray the walls with foam. Plus there are many other things that need to take place as well.

As we wait for all of this to take place, I needed to build a wall between the bungalow and the barn so that it would be ready for the insulation.

The only thing that the builders put between them were the existing beams, the original wall of the barn.
Since the concrete floor isn't in, I had to make it a floating wall. Not sure what the technical term is but that is what I am calling it. I started by placing 2X6 boards across the bottom to support the 2X6's going up. I also secured them to the horizontal 2X6's behind them for added support.
I did the bottom 8 foot section first and then added a 4 foot section above that. It was a little more work but it was all I could handle. Lisa did help lifting the sections into place. Next came the 4X8 sheets of OSB to complete the wall. I knew I was going to have to have help from Lisa for that so we had a big ceremony to commemorate the occasion. I sent out invitations but nobody showed up. I guess our super secret undisclosed location is hard to find. (That's a good thing.) Lisa was promoted from  Gopher to Carpenter's Helper. 
It was a big deal. We both had tears in our eyes. I bought her, her very own hammer and nail pouch. Best $5.83 cents I spent. Did you know that hammers are cheap? I think it is because nobody wants to use them. They just want their air nailers. So I was able to teach Lisa a soon to be lost art. I would measure and cut the sheets of OSB and then we would both position and fasten it to the wall. Once tacked up there Lisa would finish nailing it and I would measure and cut the next one.

We had a system going and it progressed more quickly.

Inside the bungalow view.
The first row was easy. Next row required some lifting and finally the third row required some effort. For the top row we slid the OSB up the ladder and set it in place. I would hold it while Lisa tacked it up there.

It took us about 4 days to put that up. Usually we just worked 3 to 5 hours because of the heat but it came out great. That wall looks so good that it could be down on the Mexican border. 

Over the past few weeks with the heat and humidity here, it can spawn some severe thunderstorms. Although not uncommon for this area, but what is uncommon is the frequency of the storms. We are having 1 to 2 severe storms a week. They bring along torrential rain, hail, high winds and some tornados.

Our driveway still washes out from the rain, even after asphalting it but it is getting better. There was a campground in the county we are in that had straight line 80mph winds that tossed RV's around like toys. Several tornados have been spotted in the area as well.
This one was spotted near a small town in our area. It was an EF4 so it was a very strong tornado. There was one death and several injuries. so this is wanting us to get our storm shelter buried soon. Our builder was impressed with it and took down the information for other customers. I hope I get a commission.

After every storm we head out to our secret location to do damage control. Usually there are some trees that come down.
I will go get the tractor and push them off of the road and then later on go back and cut them up. 

Ever wake up some days and think that maybe you should have stayed in bed. I got up the other day and we were going out to our property as usual when I looked at Gandolf and saw this.
 We took Smaug to work that day and I wanted to get my bottle jack to jack up the truck so that I could change the tire that evening. Well I forgot the jack and used the tiny little jack vehicles com with. I get all of the lug nuts off and the tire off the hub when the truck falls off the jack coming down on the inside of the wheel, bending a stud. Sheesh. There was no way the tire was going to go on it now. So it had to be towed into town. On the brighter side though, I am getting my new tires now instead of later. They were getting pretty bad anyways.

So that is our life in a nut shell. Stay safe out there.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Fortress of Social Isolation AKA Zombie Free Zone

Busy- having a great deal to do.

That is what the dictionary says. I say that it, is us. We have been going out to our property nearly every day to get things done as we wait for the construction to begin. Projects that we can do on our own.

One of our big projects was to clear under our giant oak trees. We are thinking that this area would be our yard. I bought a tractor to help with so many of the projects and if you look behind it you can see what the area under the oaks look like.
There are hundreds of small trees that we need to remove. Our son came out one day and cut most of them down.

Those three pictures show the progress we made over a three week period to remove the downed trees. Once the trees were gone we had around 150 tree stumps. So we rented a stump grinder for the day and went to work removing those. It took a solid 7 hours of continuous grinding to get them all.

This was a great little unit and it went threw the stumps like crazy. Once the stumps were gone we did a little bit of raking and cleaning up of the area until we had our finished project. 

It looked amazing. Now we need to plant some grass and then we will have a great area for the grandkids to play in.

We built a new driveway to access our property. It was on a hill and everytime it would rain heavily (and that happens a lot here) it would wash out.
I can fix it and I have the means to do it. It only takes 1 to 2 hours to do that with my ATV.

It looks good after I grade it but each time I do that it feels like the gravel gets softer and softer. Many times I would have to put the truck into 4 wheel drive so that I wouldn't get stuck halfway up the hill. Tired of dealing with that, we decided to bite the bullet and pave it. We called and got a bid and they said that they could have it done in a couple of days.
This is the look before they started working on it.

It looks great. As we felt that that would solve our problem of traction and washing out, we still felt like we would have a problem on the left side. So that created another job for us. Drain tile. So Lisa and I got some drain tile and started to trench along the side of the driveway.

It was 100 feet, uphill, both ways. That's what we will tell the grandkids anyways.
It always feels good to get one project done. Then we can get started on the next.
While we have been doing our projects, they have finally started working on our bungalow. They started with prepping the site and then they had to dismantle half of our barn to finally begin building the new section.

All in all it is really coming together now. We took a drive to see if the resident eagles have survived the storms we had lately.
We were amazed that that tree is still standing. I also took a couple of days to travel to Indianapolis to get our storm shelter. Our bungalow does not have a basement and in this part of the country you get a lot of storms. So for piece of mind we found a fiberglass underground storm shelter that we will bury next to the bungalow for emergencies.
Before you get your hopes up,it only holds eight people. So those people who are going to be saved should have already got their notifications in the mail. Sorry to those who didn't get their notifications.

Well that is it for now. We remain busier than ever and hope to be able to live in this over the winter. With the virus thing, we feel that it isn't a good winter to be traveling around.