Just Ahead of the Drops (of rain)

The rain is back and looks like it will be around for a most of the coming week.  I can’t say we are too happy about it but I think the school of salmon fry that ended up in our little pond after a particularly high tide, are happy with the extra water.




We did manage to get a couple of projects done.  If you recall the little foam blocks we made from a previous post,  Jeff made good use of them.  In places where the foam forms are touching the rebar, he put a block to act as a spacer.  Jeff then tightened any loose wires supporting the foam.  This pulled it back towards the rebar in places where the gap was too deep.


Dozy got a good workout this weekend hauling sand and railroad ties up the steep bank behind the building site.  We will be placing our 1550 gallon water tank up amongst the trees at the top of the hill.  But first we need to make a flat level “bed” for it to sit on.  It would have been a challenge to haul 3 yards of sand up the steep hill by hand in buckets and nearly impossible to get the RR ties up there.  Dozy is a wonderful little workhorse.






We were planning on having a bunch of friends show up on Memorial Day to help roll the big tank up the hill.  But it is now a muddy slippery slope so we will have to wait for it to dry out.


Note about the picture of Jeff.  You may recall me telling you about my “indestructible” Motorola camera phone a while back.  Well there is a crack in the glass top that goes over the lens part of the phone.  It sometimes produces unusual effects in the pictures I take.


Dumpy, Dozy & Sasquatch

Beckett and his friend pastedGraphic.pdfJoe stopped by to check on the progress of our building.  After doing a little climbing on the rebar, I gave them a ride in Dumpy, our motorized wheelbarrow.  The whole time they were singing “We love you Dumpy” as we were zipping around and  spinning on a dime.  It was a lot of fun.


Earlier in the day, I spent some time honing my welding skills.  I had a pile of scrap metal and decided to make a box scraper for Dozy.  We borrowed one when we first started work on the property.  It was a great tool to help level the site but at 6 feet wide, was a bit much for Dozy to handle.




Our bulldozer is only 4 feet wide. I wanted to make a box scraper that was pastedGraphic_2.pdfmore “Dozy Sized” so I designed one that is 54” wide and attaches to Dozy’s scarifier bar.


If there are any welders out there, don’t look too closely.  My weld joints are not really pretty as I’m still learning the delicate balance between wire speed and the different settings on my Mig welder.  Still, I am very pleased with the outcome and now have a handy addition to our earth-moving arsenal.  Plus we didn’t have to spend $500  to buy one.


Now for the big exciting news.  For those of you who were wondering if Big Foot, Yeti or Sasquatch really exist, we have proof.  Coming up to the building site in the morning, we discovered this footprint on our concrete floor.  You can see in the photo below the size of it compared to Jeff’s foot.  Too bad it didn’t happen when our concrete was still wet.  What an impression that would have left. I guess this is one reason we moved “out to the country”, to commune with nature and the wildlife that abounds.




Actual photo!


All Tanked Up, or “What’s that up ahead Marge?”

Since we seem to be faced with a resurgence of winter weather, Jeff and I decided to head into the Valley and pick up our new water tank.  We are currently using a temporary 250 gallon tote for our water system.  A larger tank will be more convenient.


It must have been a curious site to the drivers behind us on the road as this 1550 gallon tank is a few feet wider than our Subaru Baja. All they could see is what looked like a self propelled tank.  It’s very bulky but surprisingly light (212 lbs) and was easy to load and unload from our utility trailer.




This current rain storm feels like February with a cold, persistent downpour.  Last night, Jeff and I experienced the Oregon Water Torture: two new leaks in our trailer just above the bed.  Around 4 in the morning we had to move to the couch.  There is now a tarp over part of the trailer until it dries out enough to patch up.  Oh the joys of trailer life.


Not the only builders on the block

We are not the only ones building a house around here.  There are two sets of Violet Green Swallows getting their boxes ready for habitation.  It was quite comical to watch the bird in the picture above, try to get a feather that was as big as him in through the hole.


Much was accomplished this weekend.  We finished off the East end wall.




Jeff cuts that last piece of the “puzzle”.pastedGraphic_1.pdf




Jeff’s important job of Safety Officer.


pastedGraphic_3.pdf        Jeff is applying the form release agent on the foam panels.  We will keep these covered until we are ready to put them up in the main part of the house.


I had some fun with Dozy this weekend.  We will be putting a water tank up the hill and into the woods.  We needed to make a ramp up the hill to make it easier to get the 1500 gallon tank up there.  A very large stump was in the way and it took a lot of digging with Dozy to dislodge it.








That’s one big stump.


The last project for the weekend was to make small “cubes” of foam.  pastedGraphic_7.pdfThese will be used as spacers to make sure there is a minimum distance between the rebar and the foam.  I built a hot wire cutter so that it would be easy to make consistent “cubes”  My first couple of tries didn’t work out as the voltage (from a car battery) was too high and burned the wood on my jig.  But once I got it right, the process moved along quickly.










Unbelievable what lil dozy can do for you.  But which hole did you finally   get dozy out up there?
Was so glad to see that Jeff was growing cover for his head, since I never seem to see a hat on him during sunlight time!
Loved the nature scene.  Did you build that too for the bird?
Hope weather holds out long enough for the cement application!
Monday, May 17, 2010 – 07:11 AM
The first time I got Dozy up over the top of the hill, he got stuck in a hole. I used a winch to get him out.  We made the bird boxes for the swallows.  They are great birds for controlling the mosquito population.  We will put up more boxes when we have places to put them.
Monday, May 17, 2010 – 09:42 AM
Nigel Walker
Beautiful cubes of foam, unlike ours. Your house is looking great.. Nigel
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 – 09:53 PM


A Stitch in Time

Again, it’s been a while since we have had a chance to really work on our house.  We are almost finished with the forms on the East end retaining wall.    After we finish that, the next step will be to start coating the foam boards with concrete release agent.  These will get covered to protect from rain until we are closer to spraying the shell with shotcrete.  We don’t want the release agent to wash off before then.  Otherwise it will be a challenge to remove the foam boards from the interior structure.  The forms will stay in place around the retaining walls which is why we have been able to put them up ahead of time.


Meanwhile, check out this cool panoramic picture that our new friend Randy Julian from Salem put together.  The image might look a bit distorted because it was stitched together from 6 pictures but it does get the whole building in.