Sunday, December 6, 2009

Plastering Done!

We finished the last of the first coat of plaster on Saturday, with a little help from John D. (one of Adam's co-workers at ADOT who has selflessly come out at least four times to help with this process. winning the "most frequent and BEST helper" award)!
It was a cold and blustery day, and we were glad to see John's smiling face in our doorway, as it meant we were able to complete the last 24 feet of the 2nd story in just about four hours total!

We were able to stand on the deck roof to do this portion, so we fortunately only needed the scaffolding to come and go, and haul the mud buckets up.

We were cold when we finished, and the plaster was crystallizing in the cold wind as it dried but it is done and so far, is sticking to all walls!

The house is (very nearly) officially closed in now, just in time for our first big snow storm of the season (expected to start tomorrow mid-day with a total accumulation of 12-18 inches). We do still have both ridge caps to place, as well as a tiny portion of this last wall, over the window, to finish. There are also some gaps in the rafters to seal, on the east-facing first story but these are well protected by the roof over the covered deck, so we hope we won't have too much snow infiltration to worry about.

Next steps: place the ridge caps (once the roof is free of snow again), seal up the last of the holes, insulate the ceilings (including placing the tongue and groove finished ceiling in the living area), finish the radiant floor heating (including the hot water heater installation), then plumbing and electrical.

Not to mention plastering the INSIDE of the house.

The list is endless, but at least we'll be out of the weather for the rest of the winter. Yahoo.

Thank you everyone who helped with the plastering...only two months from start to finish(!) Whew!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Second Story Mudding!

Since we last posted to the blog, Adam spent three laborious weekends placing bales in the second story, a process which was time consuming and frustrating due to the poor condition of the bales and the need to trim many as well as replace quite a few with fresh bales stored in the barn. No pictures of this painstaking process, sorry.

(before, west facing)

(before, east and north walls)

We set our sights on closing the building in this past Thanksgiving weekend, with four days to work. Unfortunately, sickness slowed Adam down and the weather interfered on Sunday (just an inch of snow but enough to give us a very late start waiting for snow to melt off the three story scaffolding necessary to do the second story of the house).
We did manage to get one side done each day Friday (west facing 2nd story wall)

and Saturday (north facing second story wall)

but the third (East facing) is the longest and Sunday was the day we got the latest start due to snow overnight. We also had to put the ***FINAL*** window in before we started...notice the difference between the pics above and those below...on the east facing wall, closest to the north gaping hole anymore!

It was exciting and back-breaking to be working on 2 - 3 stories of scaffolding to get the process done; we had considered rigging up some sort of a pulley system for the 50 lb (plus) buckets of plaster but in the end Adam just muscled them up every time we ran out. Between that and physically pushing the intact scaffolding around whenever it needed to be moved, his back got quite the workout!

We appreciated all the friends who have been out for all the other mudding weekends to this point, in their absence we found ourselves moving much more slowly, especially when the extra height was taken into account!

We have set our sights on finishing up next weekend, December 5 (if anyone local happens to check this blog and wants to come out to help complete the project...this portion anyway)!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Last first floor wall plastered!

Exterior, that is!
This view is from the roof of the trailer, a new vantage point! (That's what the shingles in the foreground are.)

We had friends John D. (again), and Michelle G. and kids out on Saturday to get us started on the last section of first floor wall. We got a late start because we had all the prep work (tar paper and expanded metal to apply to the posts) to do, as well as some additional work with bamboo to set up a frame for the interior kitchen cabinets (at some point in the future). Though our helpers showed up by noon, it was well after 2:00 when we started plastering.

this is a "prep shot" for inspection purposes

We got most of the way through it but Halloween interfered, and we had to knock off early for a stellar party at a fellow PF 4th grade family's home in Boulder Pointe.

We finished it up (just Adam and me) on Sunday, and we'll see if the freeze/thaw cycle affects it much. It hadn't dried out much by Sunday afternoon (even the part done Saturday afternoon), and it is definitely freezing every night now (though up near 60 during the days...don't you love the temp. range here?)

We also managed to get a couple more windows installed on the second story, and used up the last of the mud on that section.

We (read "Adam") still have a lot of bales to place upstairs, so look for the next mudding update to be around Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, we'll have pictures as the bales and windows get placed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another great weekend

And another wall with a first coat of plaster to show for it! This time the northernmost portion of the east-facing wall, which is the northern part of the entryway (laundry room and half-bath on the inside).

We got a late start Saturday morning, as Adam spent his weekday evenings studying instead of prepping the remaining ground-floor walls (he takes his Professional Engineering exam on Friday, October 24 in Phoenix).

But help from Dahna C. and Christian and Alister, as well as John D. (again) and Ron D. meant we got as much done as we possibly could.

We didn't take a "pre" picture, or pictures during, but here's the finished product, taken in the rays of the rising sun on Sunday AM.

With the remainer of Sunday, we put the eating area window in place, and Adam stacked bales leading from the entry way to the kitchen, and got a long ways toward finishing it.

After Adam returns from Phoenix on Saturday, we'll finish this wall and hopefully be ready by Sunday for more mudding with friends!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Three more walls plastered!

We made great progress this weekend, with a lot of help from friends!

This is how we started, with the north wall with Adam's prep from the weekday evenings.

The Webelos II from Sechrist, along with good friend, Dahna C., came out and helped on Saturday...

Several of Adam's friends, John D., Aaron and Max B., Tobin and Dwight came out as well.

The finished north wall (kids' bedrooms)...first coat!

On Sunday we had friends from Pine Forest, Jan and Fuller B. and kids, as well as Chuck G. and son, come out and we got the second west-facing first story done, as well as the other north-facing first story...we tried chicken wire on these walls, as opposed to putting the plaster straight on the straw. We'll see if this method ends up with less cracking.

This is the wall we started with on Sunday, the first wall with chicken wire on top of the straw (though it's hard to see here).

We left the scaffold-climbing to the adults, and Chuck and Fuller rose to the occasion!
We are thrilled by the progress, and surprised by how much fun we can have when we have a little help from our friends!

A great time was had by all on both days. We couldn't have made this much progress without all the help, as well as the great weather!

Hopefully we've got a few more weekends of helpers and weather to last us for the four additional exterior walls!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Status Report - First Full Wall Mudded!

Okay, so I may have neglected to mention that Adam had knee surgery on Sept. 8 (or thereabouts) and that, combined with his trips to Phoenix for PE review, have slowed down progress on the house somewhat (read A LOT).

However, we did manage to get a volunteer crew of about 15 folks out here this past weekend to help us put mud (clay plaster) on our first official wall.
Thanks to friends from Southwest Windpower: Rob V., George T., Chris and Kathie R., Donaig and Steve, and Pine Forest friends Terry S., and Kristi B.!!

Before: the straw was pre-treated with a thin mixture of water and clay (shot out of a drywall texturing gun); and the wood posts and wood around each window were papered and covered with expanded metal so the clay plaster would adhere.

We made a first batch of about 1 part powdered clay to 2 parts sand to enough water to make it a good consistency.

As the day wore on, we lost a few volunteers but we made GREAT progress!

The next day, Adam and Therese touched up a few bare spots and repaired some cracks that had formed, experimenting with a little lime in the plaster mixture, for extra stickiness and stability.

We also put some more windows in on Sunday, in preparation for doing some more mudding throughout the month of October.

One finished wall (first coat)...two more coats to follow.

Here's hoping for good fall weather and still-genereous friends!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Entry Way Bales

Adam got the holiday weekend "off" from traveling to Phoenix for his class, and he took advantage by almost finishing stacking bales in the entry way.

This is the view from the driveway. Paul Rauch will appreciate the full disclosure as we show folks how far along the walls REALLY are (quite a bit further than when he was here visiting)

The entry way view from the main door...with part of the half bath in the picture.

Utility room window

Therese wasn't much help this weekend as she was busy taking the kids to the County Fair and doing her first month of billing for the aftercare program at the kids' school.
This is a view of the "ladders" that Adam builds over each window to support the bales above them.

Monday, August 31, 2009

More bales stacked!

Adam had another weekend of classes in Phoenix to study for his PE, but he did take a coupla days off last week and managed to all but finish stacking bales in the kids' rooms...

Aiken's room...

Aurelia's room...

Amelie's room...

The outside