Friday, August 31, 2012

site prep

       This is a retrospective photo. Here I am laying out the house site. We drover rebar into the ground at key points so as to allow us to visualize the size and shape of the house. This picture was taken mid July. We began foundation work shortly after this picture was taken.
      The house foundation now sits to about where I am kneeling. You can see the thick forrest in the background and the field to the South. We have since thinned the forest and trimmed the undergrowth to about seven foot. This Winter we will plant hazelnuts in the protection of that pine forest.
To the left you can see some of the foundation work in progress. We gathered mountain stone from near the house site and placed large rocks in a trench. Some of the rocks were excessively large , we laid these in the corners. in addition to the mountain rock we also took gravel from the old logging trail and filled the foundation with crushed stone in fill.
Following the rock and gravel we poured 4 inches of concrete base layer all around the perimeter. once this was set and cured we poured an additional cap of concrete over and around the first layer. The layering created a wide, firm and well established foundation on which we laid mortar and one corse of eight inch block.

Here is another shot of me working on the forms for the base layer of concrete. The photo shows the East side and the North side of the surrounding area. The East side drops off into the lower meadow and wetland and the North gives way to more dense woods. We cleared 3/4 of the East trees in order to create a healthy managed forest enviroment. We kept the maples, sassafras, a few interesting pine trees and sweet gums. The thinned forest will allow these trees to thrive and become stronger well established specimens. It also allows for more light in the house and a better view.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Final rib

The final rib is upright and secured to the others with 4x4 beams. The 4x4 beams will serve as floor supports. They are lag screwed into the main 6x6 beams and extend out of the house. The extension of these beams will allow for connection the ceiling rafters to the front porch. The interconnection of all beams in the house help with stability and structure of the design. 

Stepping back to look at the structure. It is so rewarding to see the house with the actual end walls in place. It gives a real sense of the size and shape of the house. Standing up on the second floor joices gives an idea of the view and how the house is built into the edge of the forest. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Third Rib

The third rib is up, square and level. We have begun "mocking up" the future porch by laying a beam out to a pier. It is shaping up as planned and we will be ready for the second story soon. 

It is nice to see the lumber pile migrating into use as portions of the house. We are most of the way through the pile and will be in need of another run to the lumber mill soon. Considering the lumber mill is 4.8 miles away this should not be too much of a time suck. 

The sub floor is in in the bathroom as well as in part of the main house. We have left a access door into the crawl space so as to allow under house adventures and plumbing/ electric work as needed or when. It was nice to stand up on the future second floor and look down. It was also nice to catch a glimpse of what the view will be from the bedroom. 
The above photo shows our shameless use of lag bolts to hold the timber frame together. We did use angle bracing ( cherry in this case) to help keep the frame in square. While mortis and tenon would have been beautiful and is an honorable craft. It is not a craft I possess and so in the interest of stability the lag screws are countersunk into the frames, hidden but there. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ducks at last

In mid March I placed an order for 23 baby Ducks. My hope was that they would arrive in late April or early May. Baby ducks make excellent show and tell at the local elementary school I work at. I made all the appropriate consideration for our expectant family. I cleaned out the old chicken coop, notified my mail man of the incoming stork ( as our duck breeds are flightless the stork is, I am sure, delivering our babies in cooperation with the postal service) I made sure to check the post office daily, day after day after day. Finally the postmaster just took my phone number and said she would call if I actually did receive anything.  As April folded into May and May gave way to June I began to be suspicious that we were not getting ducks this Spring. July arrived with a letter from the hatchery. INCUBATOR FAIlURE, no birds this year. I was devastated. My wife and I are both allergic to chicken eggs ( but not duck eggs) and the ducks had been our hope of omelet salvation as well as fluffy baked goods. I sulked for the month of July but by August I found new vigor to find ducks.

The great duck hunt reminds me of my early years playing nintendo's game Duck Hunt. Mostly the correlation was in reference to the the dog in the game. With every miss the dog would stand up on two legs and giggle at my failure. I felt like the with every dead end craigslist call or lead the nintendo dog of my past was laughing. Missed another opportunity to buy ducks, "just sold." "Had ducks last year sold them all." The story was different each time but the result was the same, no ducks.

Our fortune changed on a swimming trip to a river about an hour away. We stopped in to a local farm stand run by old order Menonites. As we left for our swim I asked the man at the register if he knew where I might find some ducks for sale. Following a wild goose chase through the entire Mennonite community during which we met numerous folks that all pointed us to other folks that might have some but never actually did, we arrived. Mr. Martin had ducks a large good looking flock. We are now the proud owners of 3 khaki campbell ducks and 2 welsh harlequins. Eggs expected within a month, as they are late in there teen years and are yet to lay.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Canning peppers

Yesterday, We took a break from building and did a little pepper canning. Catching the last of Delano Summer Peppers. These little jars pack a big taste. They are especially delicious in mid February.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

beginning: tiny timber house

Construction has begun on the timber framed tiny house. We have tucked the house onto a terrace in the woods and most all the supplies have been hand carried to the spot due to limited access via vehicles. We are using 6x6 oak beams. The photos to the left show the bathroom area up and framed. The footprint is 200 square foot. The total will be a 400 square foot house with kitchen and bathroom on the main level and laundry, bedroom, closet and sitting are upstairs.