Hi, Amelia!

We love you, we really do. It is such great fun to know that people near and far, connected through curious and curiouser ways, are following our travails and wishing us well.

It’s Been Two Weeks

When last we met, Mark had parachuted in to get us rolling with our vinyl siding. Well, he worked with us for three or four solid days, imparting (almost) all his tricks, and when he had to zoom off to attend to actual paying jobs we had:

  • Two whole sides of the house completely sided
  • Jaison’s pump-jack staging set up on the third side, and the work there about 1/3 done
  • All the knowledge we needed to proceed on the things we could do ourselves, which will ultimately include the fourth, southeast, wall of the house — the porch wall and the short wall above the porch, which is easily reached by standing on that shallow roof
  • The trim solution for the back door, and the faceplate under the sill in preparation for putting up a pressure-treated landing and a set of steps
  • Not insignificantly, the front of the house included remounting the electric and phone service, which we had floated off the wall — that’s all refastened and properly attached.

Here’s some of the eye-candy:

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The far back:

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The instant Mark departed, Tim returned!

So we got cracking on various indoor tasks that included an over-the-head component, to make the best use of Tim’s presence and ease the strain on my shoulder. So we installed the collar ties that Mark had argued for, which will also form a vaulted ceiling in the cathedral space upstairs.

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As part of the collar-tie effort we also started the shimming-out of the roof joists, adding the width of a 2×4 to each one, enlarging the insulation cavity from 5-3/4″ to 9-1/4″, which will get us to R-30. Not R-49 as is usually recommended for this climate, but a good start.

After Tim left, Reid (Jaison’s assistant) called out of the blue, and worked one Sunday with us. We went back to siding, and made major headway on the complicated back with the various rooflines. We applied housewrap, insulation, adjusted ladders, put J-channel on windows, created a piece of metal flashing for one problematic area, and extended the vinyl up the main wall about as far as we could with the pump-jack staging.

This milestone meant the house was truly weather-tight in all respects for the first time!

Reid thought he might be able to return Monday, but ended up having to go to another site with Jaison — and we haven’t seen either of them again this week. But I forged ahead — with the weather clear and warm, the balancing act was how to attack key outdoor things without losing sight of the priority tasks required for moving in — most of which are inside tasks.

We had found new vinyl siding at Marden’s (at a very good price) to supplement the salvage supply we’d been using up, and I ran the new stuff up the porch wall:

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The next day, more nice weather, and Marsh and I tackled the insulation under the porch. We’d had these huge bags of rock wool batts sitting under there, and it was time to put it in its place.

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I used the opportunity to install a series of blocks across the floor joists to stiffen and strengthen them. When we get back to it, we’ll sheath this whole underside with plywood to keep pests and direct moisture out (say, from driving snow in a blizzard — thay have that here, I hear!).

Yesterday was to be our last in this incredible series of temperate, dry October days, and I tackled three outdoor necessities: I redid the insulation on the windows above the porch, in order to retrofit improved weatherproofing around them (no pictures); I laid out, dug, mixed, and poured the two piers for the back-door landing; and I picked through our dwindling lumber pile to start a second rabbit hutch, so Fiver is not so exposed to the weather and to relieve the cramped quarters for the other two bunnies.

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Today, just before the rain started, we finished the new hutch. Here’s Fiver in her new home:

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And for the rest of the day we transitioned to the long-awaited task of clearing the porch, putting a plastic vapor barrier down, and topping it with a new plywood subfloor. This completes the insulation job we began underneath with the rock wool.

The room cleared and vacuumed:

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Spreading the first layer of plastic:

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Splicing the remaining strip to cover the floor:

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The first few pieces of plywood subflooring:

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For Tomorrow

Rain overnight, and into tomorrow. I’ll finish the floor and proceed to finish the drywall in the porch. The goal is to allow Marsh to set up a rudimentary office there by lunchtime. We’re also hoping to bring in one of our larger bookshelves from the storage boxes and set it up on the new wall next to the stairs.

The moving in has begun!

Other Notes

In and amongst all these major activities, the plumber finished the kitchen sink; the electricians finished the first floor wiring so we have actual working light switches and receptacles; and the gas guy installed the propane line to the stovetop.

We haven’t prepared a meal yet in that kitchen, but we could — and we can’t wait!

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