Monday, March 31, 2008

And two windows installed is even better yet

Yup, Troy got the second window in last night. I don't know exactly how far he got on the sealing and caulking because I was upstairs eating my popcorn dinner and then when directly to bed. This was one of those Sundays I spend all day in town so having the window open all day didn't bother me a bit: I wasn't there! Plus the weather is "milding" a little.

On other news we completely burned through all the glycerin Troy and Isaac had distilled the methanol from (despite the slightly milder weather) and Troy worked on a new batch of that yesterday as well. Yes he can be a very productive man!

I have worked on emptying one of the shelves of tools in the living room in anticipation of cutting the opening between the living room and dining room wider. The shelf has to move so we can cut out the wall behind it. Troy first mentioned this three weeks ago and has mentioned it several times since, but I sense a certain reluctance to let the mess extend beyond the gutted dining room. We really live in the living room. The TV's there; the woodstove's there (where I spend all my time!); the furniture is hard to move (big couch)... We're going to have to work harder to live around that mess. The dining room is easier to seal off and ignore if you're not actually working in it. But we'll have to do it sometime...

Another thing that's come up is that our oven quit. Now, I don't cook or bake a lot so this isn't quite the crisis it might be in some households. But I sure miss it whenever I think about cooking or baking! That is something on Troy's list of things to fix, but I'm not sure how fast it's moving up the list...

And my final note is that the resumed production of biodiesel has rendered the oil stove in the kitchen "useful" again and it is merrily pumping out heat. I no longer need to wear my toque or winter coat in the kitchen. We kept thinking spring was right around the corner and it wouldn't be big deal, but it certainly was as cold temperatures continued to hang around.

all for now,

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Windows are good; having one installed is even better

So I didn't want to write earlier in case it sounded like complaining, but now I am pleased to report that we have a new window installed in the dining room!

"What is there to complain about?" you ask? Well, during the process our house was without a window for a full day. I came home shortly before Troy on Tuesday and did notice that the house was chilly. But the weather's stayed cold and it's not unusual for the house to feel chilly. (We're talking low 50's F, just for a rough number. Cause I know one person's chilly is another's comfortable.) As I was thanking Troy for starting the fire in the woodstove, he made a comment to make me suspect what I soon confirmed: the west window in the dining room had been out all day!! The opening was covered with naught but an old thin curtain he had stapled to the outside frame. Brrr...

But as I said, things continued to progress and Troy had the window in by the end of the night. He had to grind at the oak frame so we also had a lot of smoke floating around the house, but it had cleared by the next morning. We got the window lifted into the opening (we are thankful for handles with good suction cups for lifting glass) and Troy got it sealed, caulked, and foamed. The house doesn't feel quite as drafty now.

And as expected, it looks great: just one big sheet of glass, 69" tall by 53" I believe. I may post a pic if I can get a good one. Getting a pic OF a window (instead of through a window) is a little tricky.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Walls, Old Walls...illustrated

Let me try to add some pictures to illustrate the previous post. First of all, here's a shot of the header board of the wall that was in the basement. Looks nice and solid, doesn't it!
And here's a before...
and after...
of the basement support wall. The pics are taken from opposite views, so sorry you don't have a direct comparison. But look at all that fresh new wood. Yum.
And here's a view of the dining room just before we moved in. (The left window faces south, the right window faces southwest.)
Here's a mid-destruction shot: (now the left window is the southwest window, and the right window faces west)
Notice how high the insulation goes. There was lots of empty space in the walls.
And here's the dining room as it sits tonight:

You're seeing the south window on the left again, and southwest window on the right. Troy is putting house wrap on the inside of the walls where he can, and a lot of foam where he can't. And look! There are our new picture windows stacked against the wall ready to go in. How exciting is that!!

All for now, this girl needs some shuteye.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

New windows

Just a quick update: our new windows are in at Menards! I'm so excited. Hopefully this will be the last post for a while as we will be busy putting in the windows. Ha ha.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New walls in...old walls out

Wow it's been a while, hasn't it? Well, we've been busy...

Troy finished the wall in the basement so now the wall jacks are out and a nice 2x6 stud wall is in. And by "finished" I should specify it is a bare (empty?) stud wall. But it is holding up the house so that is a big improvement.

While the weather remained too cold for work outside, Troy started on the dining room. Hmm...I should give you a house layout to reference...let me think about how to do that. Meanwhile, Troy is in the dining room tearing out the plaster, lath, ceiling and anything else he can find. He also ordered the replacement windows. Twice. Ok, so he wanted to replace the old big picture windows b/c they are horribly inefficient at insulating. I want to keep them, but can hardly argue the point b/c my teeth are chattering too much to be able to talk. Troy orders a pair of double hung windows to replace the nice big sheet of glass we have now. It's a solution. But you know, not one I'm crazy about. We have a few more of these circuitous discussions and Troy does some more calling. What do you know! you can get a piece of glass that big without getting a new mortgage. So he was able to cancel the old order and put in a new one. And you know what? it was cheaper that way too. Hmmm...chattering teeth or not, my expression is smug...and satisfied.

So last week Isaac came up for spring break and Troy's parents (dad and stepmom in this case) came up to visit and then the work really started getting done! Let's see...

  • For one, my washing machines now plug into the wall instead of sharing one extension cord that I would have to trade between the two machines. Not only is this easier on my hands (not having to dislodge the plug from the stubborn cord), it also frees up the ("the" as in only) plug in the bathroom. Nice.

  • Our lightswitches were rewired and fixed so they no longer sort of "hang" from the wall instead of being mounted securely to the wall. I feel a little safer already.

  • Our visitors will be happy to hear we have a guard rail along the back basement stairs. Now, I never felt unsteady around the gaping hole in the floor, but I did worry about the visitors who didn't have this trap marked in their mental maps of the house. Sorry, it's still not safe for kids as the stiles are a good 24 inches apart yet.

  • In addition to being stripped completely bare, the dining room got at least 4 or 5 more electrical outlets. Too many for a dining room you say? I do not agree. Especially since the room may serve as entertainment room or office at some point.

  • Troy also managed to use the "warm enough" weather to distill the glycerin (to recover the methanol) and he made a mould so that the glycerin bricks exactly fit the pot we burn them in. He is clever sometimes, I have to admit. This also means the fires are running very hot again for this last kick of winter.
Well, that's all the work I know about, noticed, or can remember. I was at work all week so I did not get in on all the fun. (In fact all I got was a cold!) We had good visits with Tom, Clures, Isaac, Mom and Aunt Marie Ann. It's feast or famine with us and guests I think, but that's ok. Thank you to Tom and Isaac who pitched in mightily and Clures who kept us very well fed.

Sorry, no pictures for you to ogle. I got tired of waiting for a good time to upload them. Maybe I'll add them later.

All for now,


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