Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Inspection that Wasn't...or Was?

Troy called Inspector BS on Monday to arrange an inspection of the framing. BS said ok he could do it the next morning, but could Troy please call him to remind him. [The next remind him that they had talked yesterday for an inspection today.]

So Tuesday morning Troy calls BS to remind him of the inspection they had arranged yesterday and BS says, oh yes I came by yesterday and snooped around while you weren't home. (Ok, ok, so Inspector BS probably didn't use the word snoop.) He made no comment on the framing except to say that Troy had to have the roof done (sheathed and shingled) before he could do the framing inspection. So all this time we had been waiting to start the shingling, we could have actually been shingling. (You know, me shingling while Troy was finishing up the framing piddling things.)

AND Inspector BS verifies with Troy that he's going to also add a moisture barrier* over the part of the roof that overhangs the eaves. Troy replies, you know I am going to be adding R-50 insulation and there will be no need for that, right? BS says, oh yes that is true but the code says it needs to be there. Besides I couldn't get a variance when I built my own house so I am not going to give you a variance. [I will insert here, na-na-na-na-boo-boo, but I'm sure BS didn't really say that either.]

So we will commence with roofing including the moisture barrier with two thoughts in our minds:
1. We are basically approved because if Inspector BS had seen something wrong when he was around Monday he would have said something; and
2. Inspector BS saw that the roof was not done and stopped the inspection there only to wait til the roof is done to tell us what else we need to fix.
(Ok, really there is one more option: 3. Inspector BS basically approved it but when he comes back to see the roof he will decide he doesn't like something that he thought was ok the previous time.)

Wish us luck and just a touch warmer weather!

*Moisture barrier, you ask? This is for houses with insufficient insulation in the attic. This causes the attic to heat which causes the snow on the roof to melt. The melted snow runs down the roof and reaches the part of the roof over the eaves which is not heated and then freezes into ice and oh-so-picturesque-on-someone-else's-house icicles. This can cause an ice dam and then the melted snow can back up under the shingles and ruin your roof. The moisture barrier is used to try and protect the plywood from the damaging moisture. Of course, if your house is insulated, your attic is cold and then you have no need for this barrier, thank you very much, Inspector BS.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Inspection Time

Troy has called for an inspection of the framing and Inspector BS has said he will show up tomorrow morning. Please pray the cold wet crappy weather will put him in a good mood and we can get this done, and done in our favour.

In anticipation of the roofing that may follow the inspection, Troy bought me this lovely toolbelt. It is about the only "ladies'" toolbelt available so let's hope it works. He has not yet bought me the suspenders he seems to think are so necessary for his own, but hopefully I won't be carrying the 18 lbs that he is carrying in his belt. (I think that was without the screwguns.) Troy looked for it in red, but this is the only colour available. According to reports it will bleed onto my clothing so soon I will have "coordinating" pants! I can't wait.

Procrastination has Consequences...Still

So you think to yourself...I can skip that, do it later, same 'dif. But no, consequences seem to keep popping up. ::sigh::

We have all our firewood stacked and covered with tarps, as you've seen in numerous pics I've posted. When it all got stacked this year, I reused two tarps and used new tarps for the rest. Well the tarps apparently do not stand up to two years' use. We had noticed they were starting to wear thin and even rip when pulled out of the way to reach the wood...and then we had a windy day:

What do you think? Are they doing any good now? Ho hum...

And now back to procrastination. The windy day was Sunday. I had time to retarp the wood. I had tarps around I could use. I thought, "It's too windy today; it'll be too much work; I'll wait til Wednesday when I have the day off." So now it's Monday. It's been raining all day (actually it's slushy enough to say it's snowing) and the wood is now soaked. Someone had to take a leave from work and now I don't have Wednesday off either. I am a big fat loser and it's my own fault.

I do not deserve the nice roasty fire I am sitting in front of.

Of course, being a Calvinist, I don't believe I deserve anything but can only thank my Lord for showing mercy. And so I enjoy the warmth of the fire resting in his grace,

Best. Popcorn. Ever.

The title about sums up Troy and my thoughts on his home grown popcorn.

Troy had picked it about a month ago, let it continue to dry in the house (on the cob), had been sorting out the good kernels from the bad, and finally announced last night that it was dry enough we could try to pop it. And so he did.

And pop it did. We have an old air popper (I'm talking from 1994) and it works better with the lid off. (Not the large top part, just the little cup thing.) Regular commercial popcorn hardly ever pops enough to go out the top, but this fresh stuff was popping like crazy. It was all coming out the top until there was enough to sort of jam the opening.

But the best part was eating it. I don't even know how to describe how it was so much better than every other popcorn than I've ever had, but it SOOOO was! Super fresh, good texture, light and flavourful. Oh soo good. Troy and I each unsuspectingly took our first bites, and then looked at each other and said, "Wooowwww" at the same time. I'm serious, we did.

We just have a little more left
but Troy assures me that it will be no trouble to plant enough (next time...or some day) to keep me well supplied...can't wait...mmmm...

But meanwhile I very much enjoyed the popcorn I had and can look forward to one or two more servings.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

We had some company last week, including my niece Lennea (3.5) and her brother Lewis (2.5). One day I had them help me pick some dandelions for the rabbit and our volunteer gourds (for me). As we were walking past piles of scrap metal; piles of wood either being used for or disgarded from the shop; the pockmarked and rutted lawn; etc, Lennea asks me very cheerfully, "Why's your house so broken, Aunt Christina?"

Why indeed?

I told her it was so broken so we could fix it. Which leads me to wonder, which came first: the desire to fix or the brokenness?


ETA: When I relayed this story to Troy he said, "It's not broken; it's just showing its parts." Clever boy, my Troy.

Quick update: Plywood done.

Yippey kiyay. The plywood is done on the roof. Mathematically, that's 81 sheets. Each sheet has approximately 100 nails in it, so 8,100 nails went through the nail gun. This is the penultimate step to having a weather resistant shell so work can continue apace regardless of what the weather does.

The next step (assuming a passing building inspection, and not a trivial assumption I might add) is to roll out roofing felt (aka tar paper) and then shingles. So, three bundles of shingles should cover 100 square feet, so now we "just" need to nail on 81x32 = 2592 square feet of shingles, or 26 squares, or 78 bundles of shingles, give or take.

I was feeling a little bad that my plywood is getting rained on and starting to look a bit weathered. Eventually, that would damage the structural integrity of the plywood. Yesterday, I realized that short term exposure to a little rain can be a good thing. There were 4 sheets of plywood that had internal defects (glue voids I would guess, or just crappy wood) and they got some major warps and sags. Only 4 spots. If I had done the roof with a big fast crew, the plywood would never have gotten wet and those 4 defective spots would never have been revealed. Now they have been chopped out and replaced with sound plywood.

I still have a few more details to tidy up to get my proverbial ducks all lined up in a neat row, then I call the inspector. Proverbs 19 says, " In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has." This suggests that wise Christians should use their God given intellect to plan ahead. We should anticipate problems, issues, and needs so that we can live in the future in ways that give glory to God. This verse and the underlying principle have vast and far reaching implications. The immediate application for me is to make sure there are no loose ends that muck up the inspection.

We'll see how that goes.

Finest regards,


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fiddly prep work.

Tuesdays, I have a morning available to work on the shop/house since I only work 5 hours at my day job. I try to "set the table" monday so I can get real and significant progress done with my big block of time. That didn't happen this week. By the time tuesday AM rolled around, there were 429 little details that demanded they be looked after first. So even though it wasn't very satisfying, I got a bunch of piddly stuff taken care of.

For example, when we hung the fascia boards on the tails of the trusses, Christina and I worked together because that's a four handed game. To maximize the utility of my trusted helper, we would clip right along, just putting one nail in each truss. They really want two nails per truss, so I went around and got everything nicely tidied up. There was one last piece of trim/fascia that needed installing on the west gable, so I got that taken care of as well. As an aside, I used sort of an unconventional material for the fascia boards. Traditionally, you used a 1x6 piece of pine. A hundred years ago, when it was good old growth pine, the boards were really an inch thick, and we still used the evil oil based paint, fascia boards could last 80-100 years with modest care.

These days, about the only old growth pine out there is in places where logging is not allowed. I once saw a house over by Detroit that still had the original 2x20 pine flooring. And they were actually 2 1/2" thick. Trees like that are just gone.

Since the big old giants are unavailable for lumber use, we use the quicky designer Spruce/Pine/Fir trees from the managed renewable forests. These mature in about 1/4 of the time of the old species. The down side is that some of today's SPF lumber is, in some cases, slightly stronger and more durable than styrofoam. So, renewable is good, but there is a down side. A 2x4 from a mature old growth hemlock tree could easily be twice as strong as the modern SPF wondertree equivalent. The immediate consequence for me is that using cheapo SPF 1x6 pine for the fascia board might produce rotten no-good worn out wood in 10-15 years, no matter what you paint it with.

Since I am lazy, AND a good steward, I chose instead to use pressure treated deck boards. In theory, these are 2x6's doped up with either CCA (copper-chromate-arsenic) or the newer friendlier borate/borax treated stuff. The great irony here is that these special "deck" 2x6's are almost exactly the same size as the traditional 1x6 from 100 years ago. They are thinner than the normal 2x6, which itself is only 1 1/2" thick. Please please Lord may we switch to metric now??? Anyway, the additional thickness and preservative pretty much assure that I will never have to replace these in my lifetime. I may also oil them with used soybean oil as additional treatment rather than latex paint. Much less expensive and probably more durable, along with being far more water repellent.

Thus, pretty much all the insignificant yet necessary details are behind us. Plywood dead ahead! I got a couple sheets put up before work this morning and should be able to get ALL of the roof sheathing done by next sunday, PM. I know it's dangerous to set goals like this, but oh well. Perhaps Christina will start an official plywood count. The total number of sheets for the roof will be 81 and we are presently at 40. I can do slightly better than 2 sheets an hour.

Finest regards,


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Catching Up

Been wondering what we've been up to? I can tell you Troy's been busy with plywood. The south side of the roof is done except for the final pieces along the east side. He still has to add the overhang for the eave on that side and he can't do the plywood until that is done.
Troy did cut off the plywood on the west side over the eave so that side is looking very finished now.
I don't know if this picture will convey the feeling I had the other day, but I was walking to the compost pile and glanced over to the shop and thought, "Wow! That looks like a room now." I guess it was the trusses making a ceiling, even if an incomplete ceiling.
Troy has also made the frame for both windows in the shop. There will be one on each of the north and south walls.

As for other little projects around the house, the upstairs sink is now working again. (Super YEAH! Especially since we are expecting company soon.) And while we were having the super deluge of rain a couple weekends ago, I mentioned to Troy that it would be really nice if he could find the time to fix our chimney since rain was falling into it and making our stove and pipes rust inside. Not nice. (You may recall that the chimney topper and top section of pipe were ripped off in a big wind storm last winter.) Troy found time in short 
order, and the chimney is now working splendidly.

I tested it today with a nice roasty fire. The air is getting
 chilly, that is for sure; this is the second fire for us for this season. (The first one I insisted Troy make for me after helping him outside on a cold drizzly day.) Currently I am absolutely cooking in the living room, even with all the fans running. As soon as this is done, I will seek cover in another room.

I think this is all for now. I tried to do shingles today, telling Troy I had a whole day free to offer him. But (alas) the work must be inspected before we can continue to shingles. So I was off the hook. (I'll try not to "yippee!" too loud.) Troy said he needed to finish the plywood on the roof (including the east eave and leveling the east gable) and then it's inspection time. Let's hope nice (but still crazy) Inspector shows up instead of his other personality, evil and crazy.

Take care of you and the ones you love,

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