Monday, August 29, 2011

(Not a very good panorama but I'm too tired to go out and take two more pictures.)

WHOO HOO!!!!!!
Gravel is DONE!!!!!
Used just about 6 of the 7 loads we got. (The other load is for the garage.) And it took about 5 weeks. But it's done at last. I'm not sure I believe it as it seems I've been shoveling gravel all my life.

Next step is to cut the foam to the height of the grade beam, build the other side of the form for the grade beam and install the rebar. Then we can call for an inspection then the cement.

Onward and upward - at last!

Before - note the tall pile of foam and the pipe for the French drain - all in the hole now.
Trench filled! It's a little hard to see but, trust me, it's DONE!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 23rd update.

It feels like I have been shoveling gravel for months now but looking back at the blog I see that it's only been about a month! And progress IS being made. (As Rick says, at least we're not going backwards!) Every week I set goals for myself and each day I review them. So far I've been making my goals. Last weekend we reached a big one: 18" of gravel in all of the trench! This also means that most of the sleeves for the water, etc. have been roughed in, too. It felt like quite an accomplishment. One that was made with the help of friends! Thanks again Steve and Karen!

Steve and Karen shoveling gravel.

Rick and Steve checking the top of the grade beam with the water level. Zeke in the middle.
Rick and Steve setting cinder blocks for the post for the large truss.

Two old farts.....

With the 18" of gravel in the trench, the next step was to make the corner forms. There will be a large diagonal truss in the living room and the forms will support the large posts for the truss. That done, we have started the final push with the gravel. Another 8" is needed all around and then we can start building the forms for the grade beam. After hauling all the gravel needed to reach the 18 inch level , 8 inches seemed easy. It is stall hard, slow work but I do believe I can see the light at the end of this particular tunnel!
One corner form.
Corner form with gravel added.

My hope is that we still have time to get the roof up by December. There's still a lot to do before that can happen but I'm hopeful! One step at a time.......
Zeke the dog . . .

Monday, August 8, 2011

Slow but Steady Progress
Slow and steady progress has been made over the last week and then today we made a LOT of progress. Steve came up once again and brought his son, Sam, and this morning we all got out to the house site and got to work. It's amazing how much MORE work 4 folks can get done in a morning than just me by myself. We have installed just about all the foam insulation; the French drain is in and gravel is in up to the top of the drain. The only foam we have left is between the garage and the house. We will probably wait to install this bit so we can get the wheelbarrow easily to the other parts of the house with gravel. Next we need to install sleeves for the water lines (electrical will go through the wall) then the next stage will be to get gravel up to the 18" mark at which time we will need to build some forms for posts that will carry the large diagonal truss that will rise over the living room.

After this bit is done it will be time to build forms for the grade beam. THEN we will start to see stuff above ground! It feels like I've been working on this foundation forever and folks who have done this house building thing have told me that's a common feeling. Once the framing starts going up, things should move a lot more quickly. Looking forward to that stage!

Steve and Sam taking a well deserved break.

Rick working.

PS. As of this writing we STILL do not have a working well. The well guy was supposed to be here tomorrow but he has run into problems on his current job so it will probably be Thursday or Friday before he can make it out here :-( We are praying for rain so that we don't loose all our garden and orchard. We do have water for living, however, but at 15 cents a gallon, we can't afford to keep buying it and we can't afford to water everything! Even though I know there's nothing we can do, I feel so guilty that my plants aren't getting the water they need. Oh well . . . . .

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adventures in Rural Living

I know this is a bit off topic but everything is connected when you're living on the Land. Last Saturday we were watering both gardens when Rick ran out of water pressure! Now, that's not supposed to happen so he quickly ran to the well house. The pressure pump was running so he turned off the breaker and looked in the cistern. It was DRY!!! That's not supposed to happen either. The cistern is a 3000 gallon one. We pump from the well into the cistern and then take water from there. Our solar well pump only pumps about 3 to 5 gallons a minute so doing it this way allows us to do more watering and so far it's worked great. Obviously the well pump wasn't working. What a drag!!!

We called a friend who's an electrician to come check the electrical side because it looked like the pump wasn't getting power. What Samuel found was that there's a breaker in the well house that seemed to be fried! He said that sometimes lightening strikes will blow out a well pump. Lightening strikes???? A week and a half earlier we HAD a lighten strike on the property. In fact we were outside at the time and it hit so close that both of us got hit by it! Neither of us was hurt - obviously - but at the time it sort of freaked us out - needless to say.

So Monday Rick was on the phone to one person or another trying to track down information and, low and behold, the pump folks said they thought it was lightening also. Who knew! Seems it's not that uncommon. But we were still without water. Good neighbors (thanks Abel and Sarah!) let us fill up water jugs to get us by. We called the well guy - the good news was that he could help us - the bad news was that he was on a job and wouldn't be available for a week! Sooooo - we called a water hauler and had him bring us 1000 gallons for the cistern. He came today. But was the pressure pump going to be OK? We've had problems with them before. It was a bit tense for a while once we turned it back on because it didn't look like pressure was building up in the pressure tank - the gauge wasn't registering any pressure! Oh darn!!!! But wait - then the pump went off. Did that mean that the gauge wasn't working? Did it get fried, too? We turned on all the faucets and while they spit and sputtered a bit, before too long water was flowing smoothly. The pressure pump went back on and then off again so it DOES seem to be working fine - thank goodness!!!! The water hauler also said this lightening stuff was common! I think this is definitely a chapter for "Rural Living for Dummies"!!!

We're getting another 1000 gallons more of water on Saturday that will allow us to water the gardens - assuming we don't get any rain. The rain has done a good job of missing us lately. So we're back on track. Hopefully that means I'll get a good night's sleep tonight and not wake up at 4 am stressing. A shower never felt so good!

And, oh yea, I did manage to get some work done on the foundation. Back to it tomorrow.