Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ahh..Canadian Winter...

Well, shortly after the last post we joined the many thousands without power due to ice laden trees falling on electrical wires. Crews from out of province worked long hours to restore the power but it was 6 long days and nights without.
It was interesting that just as in a third world country without the basics, people naturally gathered at the community watering hole, in our case a roadside springfed hose just outside of the village.There news and gossip was traded and coping skills shared. We were most thankful for our old fashioned coffee percolator and our wood stove which produced quite a magnificent Christmas dinner for ourselves and some neighbors. Future survival purchases will be a hand pump to access water from our well and enough solar panel/battery storage to run one light bulb for reading without eye strain.
We have some broken trees and everything is coated in a thick layer of ice, but with the power finally back on we feel immensely cheerful, even with the next storm bearing down on us as I write. 25 or more centimeters expected today and overnight, turning into freezing rain at some point. There's never been a winter like this one, I'm sure.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ice and more ice...

We're now on day 4 of continual freezing rain and counting our blessings such as having power, where thousands from Ontario to the Atlantic provinces are without. We look out gloomily at the stalled building project and say, Thank God all this wasn't snow....
Many trees are bent over to the ground with their weight of ice and wont be able to carry much more without snapping.
I'm lucky to have a workshop, cosy with a wood fire, to get on with projects for the house.
I have been building this frame to hold this piece of glass I sent away for, which arrived last week. The glass is actually made to be a sidelight in a vertical position alongside an entrance door, but what I have in mind is to install this arrangement horizontally high in the mudroom wall above the coat cubbies. (None of which is built yet.) I looked a long time to find a glass design that is agreeable to the inside door that will go from mudroom to new living room.
Which is this one, presently serving as a side door in the kitchen of the old part of the cottage. When it is taken out, the hole will be filled in and become the new home of the fridge.
Another nasty weather project has been this decorative bit, to go on top of the door frame for the basement door.
The green color is the exact green of the steel roofing, to be. All the little triangles are off cuts from making around 500 pointy shingles, to continue the design around the house that was started on the old cottage. The frame is cedar to blend in with the cedar shingles that will butt to it.

For readers who celebrate Christmas (or not) all the best wishes go your way for a peaceful and warm time with lots of good friends, good food and family.
All the best from our coop to yours!
(Freckles is put out and sulking because she didn't get to be the angel..)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Here comes the Christmas deadline..

It's been a 2 steps forward -one step back kind of week (or maybe the other way around) with really nasty weather, snow load upon snow load and constant digging out and driveway clearing with worries like "Is that building supply truck going to make it up the driveway ?"
The main floor wall forms are almost finished, so on monday the openings will be cut out for the windows, the bucks installed to keep the concrete in place, wall bracing the final pour can be done just before the cement company's deadline of tuesday noon. That is if anyone can get to the site after the next 30 hours of freezing rain and ice pellets!
Christmas has almost taken a back seat here with all the building busyness, but sometimes you have to leave the worries alone and do something fun and silly...
Like dress up your chickens for Christmas !

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Concrete in the basement walls..

We've been in a deep freeze the last few days, miserably bone chilling cold with a high of -15 but they managed to get the basement walls filled with concrete. The Bay out there is soooo cold there is frozen mist rising off it.
 First the guys filled the sections under the basement windows.
Adam came behind trowelling the cement off level..

With the floor frame in it was easy to walk around filling up the walls with the big hose from overhead. The other guy in the pictures is operating some sort of remote control that controls the rate of flow of the cement.

I took a picture looking down inside the forms of the back basement wall. You can see where the L bolts are sticking through from both sides. Some are holding the ledger 2x12 in place that supports the floor frame and from the opposite side those are the bolts through the LVL beam that was holding up the old part of the cottage. So when the form gets filled with concrete all these L bolts are in there solid and tight, binding together the old and new parts of the house .

Those pipes will allow heating and ventilating systems to pass through.
Tonight we are waiting to get slammed by our first major snowstorm with high winds and 35mm of snow...bad timing with us ready for backfill and grading and septic tank work. Well whatever comes we'll just have to work around it somehow....
Oh, and those snowflakes falling in the first picture above....I have NO idea how that happened !

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ready for concrete..

There's so many details to look after before the basement walls are poured. The guys have put the rest of the floor frame in place and the big beams to define the stairwell, and have carefully straightened and braced the wall forms plumb and level. Everything that has to be bolted into or passed through the concrete has to be planned for at this point.There are vent pipes for the air exchanger and future heat pump, conduits for outside electrical, outside water tap, and anything to be bolted on later needs its bolts in place now. Above, the guys are lining up the roof parts for over the basement door in order to mark the spots on the foam where the L bolts will go through into the concrete. These are the roof supports I was building in the workshop back near the beginning of this blog.
Because the grade level will be just under the front basement windows we will need retaining walls to contain the gravel and dirt away from the door. I'm recycling some of the pressure treated decking and 2x8's taken off the old cottage, into low walls for this purpose.
Ryn is always there to offer encouragement and to be in the way...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Here comes the floor frame...

The walls are dead level, the 2x12 ledger boards are attached, joist hangers nailed on with a gazillion stubby hanger nails, floor trusses cut to the exact length and are now being installed in the joist hangers. These web trusses are a great idea as ducting, electrical and plumbing can pass right thru the webs without having to drill holes.

Tomorrow they'll be putting on the subfloor so there is somewhere to stand to steer the next load of concrete into the walls. Before that happens all the passages through the concrete have to be thought of and accomodated. There will be conduit passing through for outside electrical connections for lights, pvc for an outside water tap, and galvanised vent pipe for the future heat pump and air exchanger. Easier to plan these now than drill through concrete and steel rebar later.
    The weather has been erratic as usual with 2 miserable rainy days  this week and another coming tomorrow, but yesterday was glorious and calling us to walk down to the beach..
Last weeks wild storm has brought in a deep layer of sand, covering most of the smooth shiny pebbles.
Hole-in-the-rock was half buried in new sand, which we'll likely have til the next storm takes it somewhere else.
How blessed we are to have all this beauty a short stroll away...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gale force winds....

and wild rain sent us a temporary hiccup last week.
...but the guys had it back to rights pretty quickly.

Here's where they left off friday, so the next thing will be to attach the ledger 2x12's which the floor frame will rest on. Hoping the weather doesn't get too messy this week..