Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Countdown to Winter - and Moving!

Well, here it is the middle of November yet again and work continues. We have had lovely, mild weather but it is supposed to turn cold this week. Thankfully, all the work that "needs" to be done is inside work.

The last couple of months have been about dealing with and letting go of stress: the stress of having workers show up - or not; the stress of having so much left to do before we can move in; the stress of impending cold weather; and, last but not least, the stress of trying to get enough done so we could host Thanksgiving. THAT stress we've let go of! While I soooo wanted to host Thanksgiving this year, we really didn't need that pressure. Letting go of that sure made us feel better!

We've also had to deal with water pump going out at the trailer - yet again - and batteries dyeing. Pump got replaced and so did batteries. But, still, no fun! Plus it took us away from working on the house. All of that is behind us now and work progresses.

We really have completed - or almost so - most of the really BIG bits. Now it's a lot of little things that need doing and as time progresses, the list of things that absolutely have to be done before we can live in the house has gotten shorter. I would dearly love to get the final coat of plaster on the office, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen walls but if that doesn't get done, it can be done once we're it. Not optimal but I'm more concerned with being warm and snug this winter than having walls finished <g>

The plumbing needs to be done - which includes propane lines. Most of the plumbing is done and the propane lines are in the walls. We're just waiting for the lines to be laid outside which should happen this week. Once that is done and inspected, we will call the propane company to move our tank.

The plumbing depends on electrical to run the pump. The electrical got hooked up this week so we now have power!!  We only have 8 panels installed (out of an eventual 20) and only 2 are currently hooked up but we will be moving more this week. Those two along with the 16 batteries we have give us enough power for now. We still need to have panels at the trailer but we can get by with fewer for a few weeks.  We are now waiting for the pressure tank and pump to arrive.
We spent almost a week installing these tubes and filling with cement. We have lived with funky wooden racks for our panels for ten years. These racks are going to be great!

Here are the first eight panels installed.

Light fixtures got installed....

and out.


Here are other things we've been doing.


Bathroom floor.

Living room floor.

A close up of the adobes and poured floor.

Hall floor.
The hall floor is still drying but we hope to be able to finish it up in the next week or so. The only floor left to do is the studio floor and that can wait. The hall floor is taking so long to dry - even with the wood burning stoves going - that waiting until spring to finish the studio floor will be fine.

Help from Family

My cousin and his wife visited us for a week and we managed to get a lot done with their help!
Rick and Jim working on putting up the corrugated metal on the end of the garage.

What a difference!

We built the forms for the cement apron that needs to go in the garage. This is where the washer, freezer, deep sink and water tank will sit. We hope to pour the cement this week.

We also got the first coat of mud on the garage walls.

Dry wall got installed, too. Starting to look more "finished".
AND we got the trench for the propane line dug!


We have decided to tile all the window sills which needs to be done before the final coat of plaster is done. I am totally amazed at how labor intensive tile work is! I've done the windows in the office, living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom plus the thresholds of doors in the living room and sunspace and it feels like it has taken me forever. And I still need to grout some of them! Oh well, slowly, slowly, I guess.
Kitchen window.

Office trombe wall window sill.

Dinning room door before grouting.

Living room door grouted.

Pantry doorway.

Bedroom window sill.

The one really major thing that HAS to be done before we move in is the shower which will get started this week - hopefully.

All the tile we're using we got at one of the Habitat Re-Stores locally. We've saved tons of money and while there is a mixture of tiles, I'm really happy with the way they are looking. But, boy, is it hard work! I must say tiling has been one of my least favorite tasks.

Last but not least . . .

We are going to be moving from 500 sf to 1100 sf of living space and while we have some furniture stored, we will need other things - like a nice sofa. I have been checking out all the re-sale and consignment stores in the area for just the right one. Have seen some really nice ones but just weren't ready to get anything - until last week. I found just the right sofa at the Re-Store! It's leather and in great shape. We have been enjoying it!

We're getting close!!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Flying Time

Boy how time flies - especially when you have a "deadline"!!! Winter is coming - yet again - as is family so we have been madly, and I do mean madly, working to get enough done so we can move in SOON! We are also scheduled to host our community Thanksgiving in our new home this year - so more pressure.

BUT - things are getting done! Here are some pictures of what has been accomplished the last month or so.

We finished the ceiling trim.

The fill coat of plaster is pretty much done on all the inside walls throughout the whole house!

Truth window.

For my birthday I decided I wanted to have flagstone installed in the kitchen. I first had to lay some adobes.

Then the flagstone was installed.
We are very happy with the way it turned out!

Office floor is done and drying.

And the dining room floor is done and drying as well.

Right before we started pouring the dining room floor (each floor requires two pours, 2" deep each) I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and purchase a cement (mud) mixer! Boy are we glad we did! We were able to pour the dining room floor in two one-half days of work. Something that probably would have taken at least 4 days mixing by hand! Needless to say, my body is VERY happy with this setup!
One of the reasons it took so long to decide to get one of these beauties is that I couldn't start the generator we had. We got a new generator that has an electronic start - yea! Now it will be easy for me to run the mixer by myself, if necessary!

Final electrical will start next week. Solar equipment will also be ordered soon so in the next couple of weeks, hopefully, we will have power. In the meantime, work will continue on the floor. We plan to start sealing the bedroom floor in the next couple of days.

Thanksgiving here we come!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July Update

Wow, I can't believe it's been over a month since I updated the blog! Summer is here and we have been super busy - that's why!

There is still so much left to do but it is starting to feel like we are actually going to be able to move in this fall!  Each day I get up and think about what I can do. We still have some big projects, like wall plastering and floor pouring - but there are a lot of little projects that need doing as well so when I can't work on a big project, I work on a small one.

Flagstone Toe-Up & Banco

In the sunspace where the flagstone floor is I decided I needed to do a toe-up to protect the walls when wet moping the flagstone. We were gifted a bunch of flagstone strips that turned out to be just the ticket!
All the pieces were pretty uniform. It was just a matter of finding the ones that went together. Here they are laid out, ready to mortar.


There were so many pieces of flagstone that I decided to see if they could be used to top the bancos in the sunspace. To break up the linear aspect of the pieces we added some irregular pieces of flagstone and some slate that I picked up in Death Valley many, many years ago. 

In order to keep track of how the pieces went, we used a piece of sheet rock on which all the pieces were transferred just like they were to be on the banco. Then they could be placed one or two at a time. Worked pretty well!

Shower Pan

Another "small" project that needed to be done before a lot of other things can be done was the shower pan. That was Rick's project.


In between big projects I've been getting the fill coat done on the inside walls.

In preparation for plastering the adobe wall, I needed to cover all the gringo blocks and wood window frames with burlap and mud slip.

Ceiling Insulation

By far the biggest project we accomplished this last month was blowing in the ceiling insulation!  We chose to use cellulose not only for the "greeness" of it but also because it's so much easier to work with. In all honesty I can not imagine blowing in the amount of fiberglass it would have taken to do this job! The cellulose was dusty beyond description but at least it wasn't something we had to wear haz-mat suits to do!

The really funny thing was that the product we used - GreenFiber - came from Charlotte, NC - my hometown. As I was stuffing it into the blower I imagined that all that recycled paper from my home state was going to help keep us comfortable year round out here in the wilds of New Mexico!
So, here's the set up. I stood at the blower - that green box on the left - and broke up the insulation - the bags in the center (that pile is just a fraction of what was used!) - into the blower. Rick was inside - inside the ceiling, actually - holding the hose. It wasn't hard work but it was tiring!  AND DUSTY!!!

I wanted to get a picture of us in our blowing garb but at the end of the day, was too tired to do it.

We had left a slot three t&g boards wide throughout the whole house so that Rick could access the "attic". We had to come up with something to keep the insulation from falling out and came up with the idea of using the roofing underlayment. Worked great!
This is Rick admiring his handy work at the end of a day of blowing.

We are using rough cut 1x6s for trim.

We still have some t&g to install in the studio and office but ALL of the insulation is DONE!! What we have found is that now that the house is totally insulated the temperature only fluctuates about 6 or 7 degrees in a 24 hour period - and we've had some 90°+ days!

Now that the ceiling is just about done, we will be focusing on plastering the walls and pouring the floors. More building sand has been ordered and adobes for the floor will be here in a couple of days. We have been having rain almost every afternoon and evening - over 2" in the last two nights - so the ground is very wet! Hopefully it will dry out soon so I can dig mud for the plaster!!!