Tree sale and firewood

We braved the craziness of our local Master Gardener tree sale this weekend.  We were not prepared last year…the advertisements said come early to get the best selection. So we showed up at 8:45 (doors open at 9am) and o.m.g.  The line was wrapped around into the parking lot!  It was like a black Friday sale!  In preparation, we arrived at 8:15am and we were not the first in line.  (This is looking to the back of the line about 10 minutes before it opened up.)

Once we got in, it was a mad dash to make sure we got a Meyer Lemon tree this year!  Our county has citrus restrictions due to a disease that is running rampant, so we cannot transport any out of the county.  The master gardener sale has great quality trees!

We picked up another of each (that we bought last year)- lime, lemon, fig, pear, peach, and some more blackberries.

While we were at the tree sale, Wade had some friends over and they cut up firewood.  (Yes…wonderful friends to come over and do manual labor for some beer!)

And then we burned wood scraps (not freshly cut wood…it needs to cure about a year before it is good for burning).


Framing- Part 2

At the end of week 1 of framing, the house looked like this-


You can see it starting to take shape.  And to think the head guy told us they would have the roof on by Monday…

Since we are building ourselves, there will not be anyone coming behind to clean up.  The trades will do their job and leave.  It is up to us to clean up.  It is like cooking in the kitchen, it is easier to clean up as you go along rather than save the huge mess until the end.

The girls reluctantly helped.  We stacked all the long boards, burned all the small scraps, and swept the whole house. Daisy was so excited to get in on the action!

Every afternoon after work, we go out and pick up nails so they do not rust on the concrete since we will be staining.  Sometimes we miss a few…

Framing continued throughout the week.  They use long boards EVERYWHERE to square up the house (like across all the windows, doors, rooms, etc…), then add more structural support (like the osb on the outside) to keep it squared.  You can really see the progression below.







The end of week 2 of framing!

Framing- Part 1

Framing started this week for the most part.  After a small misunderstanding with the place we were getting our lumber, it was delivered the day before New Year’s Eve. The power pole was also delivered by the electric company.  It was supposed to be installed before the new year…that did not happen.

The guy that is in charge of framing came out and chalked the walls and his crew started on New Years Eve.

And then it rained.  And rained some more.

So, I sat impatiently in our super tiny apartment and designed all of the cabinets for our house.

The sun finally came out and Monday, the guys were back at work framing.

The girls had a day off from school so they spent most of the afternoon out there.  Sydney enjoyed taking panoramics of the guys working.  The girls were fascinated with them building a wall, and then standing it up and bolting it down.

Tuesday had more rain, but it was nice and sunny Wednesday so they guys finished up all of the walls.

More rain on Thursday, but by the end of the day on Friday, the ceiling construction was mostly complete.

On a side note…this water had been sitting in this spot for over a month.  It needed a place to go so I dug out a trench leading to the ditch so it would finally drain!

By the end of the day Saturday, they had the side porch ceiling finished and the dormer support finished.

This wraps up the first week of framing.  Still no electricity.

Scoring to look like tile


Our foundation has been curing for 16 days now.  Something we had planned on doing just after the pour (but got delayed due to life moving on…) was to score the concrete to look like tiles and then stain it.  After discussing the options, we almost did not go through with this.  Everything we read said to use a straight line and a circle saw for making score marks in the concrete.  Well…the thought of being on my hands and knees for hours…and the uncertainty of what it would look like…had us convinced that it would look ok to not be scored.

I spent Friday working in my office and the more I thought about it, the more I decided I wanted to score it.  Luckily, I have an uncle that has built a few houses and done much of the work himself, so I messaged him and he told me to rent a walk behind saw to do it.  We have a Home Depot sort of close (we only have to pass 2 other HD to get to this one) that rents just about everything, including walk behind cement saws for $70 for 24 hours.  We decided to get the saw first thing in the morning, so that evening Wade and I made grid marks along the perimeter of the foundation.  Then we ran out of daylight.

Morning came and it was go time!  We were at HD at 7am to pick up the saw.  The girls had to help because there was no way to chalk the foundation with just 2 people.  The girls helped stretch the line and then walked along snapping it to make the VERY faint marks.

We made the lines on a diagonal spacing them 3 feet apart (roughly a 2 ft square).  Once we finished, Wade and I agreed we wanted bigger tiles, so we skipped every other line, making the diagonal 6 feet (roughly a 4 ft square).  Pythagorean theorem at work!  I decided to cut the first set of lines before drawing the cross lines so I did not erase them as I worked.

(Yes it was VERY hard to see the lines!!!)

Using the saw was not difficult, rather the hardest part was making sure the heavy saw stayed straight.

What I did not realize was that the saw blade (that was on it when we got it) was so worn, it was simply leaving a black mark!  Seriously!?!?!  Off I went back to Home Depot to buy a new blade (for $70).

***Side note- the saw rental does not normally come with a blade.  This was left on from the previous user.  The guy warned us when we picked it up that we might need a new blade.  However, when we made the first line, it worked…barely…but it worked.  That is why I kept going after the first line because it all looked the same even though it was not scoring.

I should have known I was not doing anything the first time, given this time there was dust flying everywhere as it actually scored the concrete!!!  It looked awesome!!!

With something so big, I doubt a straight edge would have worked at all.  Looking down the lines, you can see how wobbly they are, but when you stand above them you cannot tell.  I think once we get the walls up, it will be even better.

The cross lines took much less time since we actually knew what we were doing.  I would say the whole thing took about 4 hours…maybe less.  We were out there all day because it was a learning process (including the practice run making black lines, then an additional trip to Home Depot for a new blade).

Total cost for the cement saw rental and a new blade= $150 and we have 4 ft tiles throughout the whole house.  SCORE!! (get it…haha…)

Foundation Pour

YIPPEE!!!!  The day finally arrived for them to pour the foundation.  Just getting to this point is such a relief!

Over the last week (since missing our first pour date) it has rained… A LOT.  The trench they dug in the back was full of water and the plastic they put around the perimeter were full.  The guys came the day before to pull the plastic and get any misc things cleaned up.

The pour was scheduled for 5am so we left the house at 4:30.  Stacey was THRILLED to be up so early to watch a bunch of concrete trucks, so we bribed her with hot chocolate…this was probably the coldest morning yet this fall.

The pumper truck was already there.  The electric was not up yet, so the guys put up some flood lights running off of a generator and also lit a fire to stay warm (and fix breakfast tacos).

The cement trucks were behind, and the first one did not show up until 6:30.  Once they did, it was go time.  About 9 trucks were there right in a row, but then it slowed down about 9:30 and there was a truck coming about every 20 minutes.

It was neat watching the pumper guy control the arm using a remote control.  Wade joked with him it was like playing video games all day long.  Yeah…something like that.  The pumper was brand new…we were the first pour with it.  As the guy moved his body, the arm moved with him.  It was fascinating to watch!  (That is him below standing just under the “elbow” of the pumper arm.)

They missed the amount of concrete needed by about 6 trucks.  We ended up needing 22 trucks…about 210 yards of concrete for a 4300 sq ft foundation.  That is a lot of concrete!

Our culvert took a beating but survived.  We have heard horror stories about culverts caving in with the weight of the cement trucks.  Not only do you have to repair the culvert, but you have to pay for a truckload of cement!

The guys had to scramble at the end and did not spend as much time polishing the last bit (the art room).  Of all the rooms to not be perfect, I guess that one is okay.

Tada!  I just need to add these guys are artists with concrete.  If you can call a foundation beautiful…this one certainly is!  It is amazing building your own house what a better quality you get compared to a speck house in a neighborhood.  A huge shout out to AMP Concrete.  We LOVE our foundation!