Monday, January 21, 2013

Adventures of an On-line Auction

Winter continues as does the work on the house - all be it slowly. Along with the work we are also collecting bits and pieces for the inside of the house. Rick gets notification of a monthly auction that takes place in Albuquerque. Most of the items are usually things from Los Alamos or Sandia Labs - pallets of computers, electrical equipment, etc. This month there were lots of new Pella windows and doors listed! We have had great fun at auctions in the past so we saw this as an opportunity to have some fun and maybe get some windows for the house at a good price. The auction was scheduled to start at 9:30 am which meant that we needed to leave home no later that 6:30 if we were to get down there in time to be able to view the items we were interested in before the bidding started.

The morning dawned dark, COLD and snowing AND windy! The thought of a 2 hour drive in nasty weather was not appealing so we decided to not go. The auction house does, however, offer the opportunity to bid on line. Something we'd never done but as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. While I took off to get grocery shopping done, Rick stayed home and started following the auction on line. As it turned out, it was a good thing we did not go down.  All of the things we were interested in didn't come up for bid until well after 3 pm which would have made for a very long day.

So - our items come up and the bidding is fast and furious. We didn't get some of the things we wanted but we did get quite a few things we wanted - and some things we didn't know we wanted!  It was pretty confusing and at one point Rick bid on - and got - a door. The pictures were not very good so we weren't sure what kind of door we got!  Another thing we bid on was something that was listed as a "three part door" but the picture was clearly of a large window.  We got that as well.

Finally the bidding is over and we are sitting here wondering just what it is we got!  At one point it even looked like we got SEVEN French doors!  What would we do with 7??  Both of us spent a restless night wondering about that one!

The weather was much better the next morning so we were able to drive down to see and pick up our items.  What a surprise we got!  The two large windows we got were BEAUTIFUL!  And just perfect for where we wanted to put them.  One of them even has the blinds in between the glass - snazzy.  The door we weren't sure about is a front door that is gorgeous!  It's solid wood in the craftsman style.  The final tally was two large windows, two French doors (not 7) and the front door.  All new except one of the French doors AND the cost was way less than we would have paid for ONE of the windows.  It was quite a score and very exciting!

These are the two large windows.  The one in the back will go in the living room and the one in the front will be in the office.  AND they fit perfectly!!

This is one of the French doors.

This is another.

And this is the beautiful front door!  We can't wait to install it!!

And work continues.  The north and south walls in the garage are now done.

And I've started on the walls in the living room.

Slowly, slowly, little by little...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter Has Arrived

After a very mild fall, winter has arrived cold and dry. While we do have 3 or 4 inches of snow on the ground, it's a lot less than normal.  It has, however, been colder than we're used to - lows below 0 and highs below freezing.  We've been staying very close to home and praying that our pipes don't freeze. So far so good!!! The good news is that the plastic we wrapped the house in is doing a great job of keeping the walls safe and dry!

We have had some days, though, that have warmed up into the 30s and I've tried to take advantage of them by working at least two or three hours on the house. I have begun working on Phase 2 of the straw bale walls.
Here is the window above the trombe wall in the garage.  There will be two double hung windows here.  Still have to hang the box above the windows for the straw.

The north wall in the house with boxes installed above the windows ready for more straw.

We still have to hang the ceiling for the bedroom and bath so straw is up to the bond beam. Once we get the internal walls up and the ceiling hung, we will finish the straw on this wall.

Window on the north side of the garage ready for more straw.

Day one....

One more course to go!

Straw on north wall of garage done!

This phase is turning out to be very labor intensive. We at first thought a full bale might fit vertically between the trusses but that space is 22" give or take, and a bale is 18" wide so the bales have to be split and loose straw stuffed between them to fill in the cracks. And while half a bale is much lighter than a full bale, it's still challenging to get the half bales up there and in place. At the end of a couple of hours, I am totally covered - inside and out - with straw!

The forecast for the coming week is for highs to get back into the 40s, which is normal for this time of year. With any luck, I'll be able to get a lot done before the next cold snap arrives.