Saturday, October 30, 2010

One year ago today, much better.

I have neglected taking pictures of the house as of late. Actually, as I type that I think I have some on the other camera which I just found. Here is a rough pic of the house before Thursday- I have up until Thursday framed in 4 of the "bays" downstairs- in between the posts for windows, Kat from 2MtN came over and helped me finish up 1/2 of the decking upstairs, and had all the rafter stock unloaded on site. That last part might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but believe me it is. The 38 2x10"x16' made the truck squat a little; it was all green hemlock.

Ralph came over and helped for a day. The day before I finished one knee wall, and most of another. He brought some staging, and we got the ridge up, and a few rafters. He cut all the rafters. I had never cut rafters before, and was hoping to get some professional help since I could very easily mess it up. I am surprised that it was all simple math and just pivoting your speed square. Still, he did a nice, clean job on everything so well worth it. Thanks Ralph.
I promise I didn't stand around like that all day.
This is what the house looked like at the end of Friday. You can see the framing downstairs that I mentioned, but more importantly, the beginning of what will become the upstairs and roof of the building.

And today! So a little background. I need to be at work by noon- and it is a half hour away- So I have from when I finish milking and chores to work on the house (delivering eggs is usually my one other necessity, which I missed one delivery this week, and it was an important one. =( So for me to get any real work done, I need to get my ass out of bed. So if I get up between 5 and 5:45 I am ok- anything later and I am late. I had 2 4:30 mornings this week, and hauled through them to get all the "prep" work done for Friday and Saturday. And it was worth it. Every tool we needed was there, ever piece of wood- well, almost every- Ralph was very nicely accepting of the fact that 1/2 the upstairs decking was still missing. But this Thur-Sat I got more work done than I ever would have on my own prior to having to go to work. Huray! So uptop- Grandpa, Zac, Harinder and Chris putting rafters into place. This was a big deal getting the help cause putting them all up alone is not feasible, and grandpa and I would take forever. Grandpa running the crew, and Chris, Haridner and Alex being superb helpers for the day- we got them all up.
And Action.....

Alex and Chris from ground hoisting up rafters. Alex showed up with a toolbox and a belt, which impressed me. Those two brought up all the rafters- think green hemlock, heavy, Harinder and I took them from the top. We stopped for lunch. I had brought a grill out, and lamb sausage, donuts, soda. Marianne showed up and cooked them for us.
And Tadah! Looks much more like a house now. Still a massive amount of work to be done, but looking possible to get sheathed/shingled before winter.

Tools. So I have a tool list. A list of items I would like to have. Last year I picked up the chainsaw- it is the same model my grandfather has had for the last ten years- it was pricey, but I waited for a deal and bought it new at cost. The chaps and helmet were not at a discount- you don't wait around for a deal on safety equipment, you buy them and thank them when your head is still intact. And the truck itself was a craigslist find- I needed a truck, and couldn't believe what I could get in my price range two years ago with this find. The flatbed is great. The comealong in this picture has long been on the list, and is the real showstopper. I search craigslist for my "list": jacks, welder, air compressor, horse drawn (more of wants than need on that one...) nail gun, torches, etc. and when one comes up- make and model and price- I go for it. This was a suggestion out of the Small Farmers' Journal. You know the tools you need, and the ones on your wish list. Now write down what you want, and what you're willing to pay for it. The comealong had to be cast and over 2 tons. This is a cast steel comealong that is rated for 6000lbs. So I can pull a good load with this thing. The big deal was that it was only $30 - not the 300+ the new cast or chain ones can fetch. It involved a late night drive to Hillsboro after work and back, but well, well worth it since sometimes I will borrow my grandfather's weekly.

But to end the post- This week, thank you Ralph very much, and the staging saved us today. Chris, Harinder and Alex much obliged, you kick ass. Grandpa as always couldn't do it without you. Thanks.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bathroom Filtration System

There is a company, BFS, that is advertising custom built and designed bathrooms for male users. The owner of the company, Greg Crochman, came up with the business just prior to marrying his second wife. Greg was a flatulent man, and realizing that he could prevent an awkwardness in his household he went to the task of designing the world's most scent guarded bathroom. Six years and 1300 bathroom remodels later Greg and his wife Liana are opening their third showroom in downtown San Francisco. Greg's initial bathroom added simple, yet beneficial design reconstructs; such as fiberglass insulation on the inside walls. "Normally a contractor will only insulate the outside walls, ignoring the inside ones because there is no heat gain/loss. But with insulated interior walls you can go into my bathrooms and cut a loud fart, and she'll never know." And she'll never know is right. Greg's bathrooms have come a long way, and now include hospital grade HEPA filters, teflon coated toilet bowls (the inside of the bowl to prevent streaking) and air exchange regulators that trigger to moderate the outside air exchange during high use periods. "I wanted something very special for my clients, so we came up with the Gruntmaster. It's the highest tech toilet on the market today, next to NASA's redesign of the Zero Gravity Dumpite5000. " Greg continues "We gave it our standard features- the teflon coat, the high pressure emergency flush, with built in silencer to hide the fact that you might be double or triple flushing, and the nitrogen air filled cushion seat. We even turned the manual footrest into an automatic feauture, which recognizes your contours and weight, and adjusts the footrest height to your previous desired setting." But the real showstopper comes with their newest upgrade. For an extra 2000 dollars you can have a HVAC technician run a small air hose from your toilet bowl through an exhaust system to the outside of the house. Greg says, "Look, we're going to take care of the problem at the source instead of trying to deal with the nuances later. Glade and other airfreshners just try to mask the problem. We take care of it with a real solution. We even went so far as to make the air hose seamless with the porcelain bowl, and with a secret backside switch. Now all the bad air is pumped out before it even gets a chance to enter the room." And that insulation we mentioned earlier has been customized and patented. They genetically modified a fungi to emit a quaint rosemary fragrance, and then wove the fungal mass right into the fiberglass. Greg just said after our interview, "Hey people ask how'd you get into your line of work. And what can I say. Some men want to be firemen, others doctors. I'm just playing hide and seek with bathrooms and loving what I am doing."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Animal Power Field Days

My place looking pretty in the fall.

Grandpa, Jack and I headed up to the Animal Power Field Days at the Turnbridge Fairgrounds this Saturday. I had a blast, grandpa enjoyed himself, Jack shook like a thin icicle laying loose in the back of a speeding pickup truck. It was cold. Rather the sun chose not to come out, and we were a bit nipply as a result. It was fun though!

I went to a horse drawn mower workshop. Jay went through the mower as completely as he could in an hour and a half. I didn't know anything about sickle bars. The class was a wonderful intro. I purchased Lynn Miller's book on mowers, and am amazed at the simplicity of this machine that transformed hay production, and the unbelievable joint complexity in its components. Previous to the fair I sent a deposit away for a rebuilt number 7 horse drawn mower. So excited about it now.

Wrapping up this post since I am really just killing time before I milk-

1. I am very proud of how much I pulled with Kristin last year, and as a consequence how much I learned. I still have miles to go, but it was great watching teamsters and being able to eye things I should mimic/work on.

Second when I got home grandpa turned to my grandmother and said "They all looked the same! The girls all looked like they all put on the tightest jeans they had and then went and rolled in manure before they showed up." and the guys they all looked just like you! Scraggly beards and carharts. Again, not sure if it was a compliment, but I didn't see where the complaint was. I guess it was hard to find me in the crowd, and probably distracting too.

Gonna go milk! Woo my ladies! Today- ordering rafters at Colby's- bunny bop in the am, working on house- framing in for windows- moving heifer and other young stock over to my place for winter.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Maria's Bee Project

Actually just tossing pictures up here for Maria. She got a Wesson's Honors Scholarship to work a couple bee hives over the summer at Colby-Sawyer College. I really like this last picture. If you look closely you'll notice the honeycomb does not come down to the bottom of the frame. We used starter strips of foundation at the top of the frame. Everything south of there is simply the bee's good work. Nice frame of bees: nurse bees, capped brood in center and a slowing, but still active laying queen. Maria did an awseome job this summer- relaxed and totally into the hive. Notice the lack of safety equipment.