Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Making lumber

During the late fall and early winter, Dean busied himself cutting down a bunch of the big tall pine trees on the property with the intent to have them cut into lumber.

Logs lined up along the driveway - in the cue for the sawmill

We hired a sawmill guy - Hank - who brought his portable sawmill to the property and spent a couple of days cutting.

Dean's job during this part of the project was to use the ATV to drag the logs up to the sawmill.  From here, they are rolled into place on the arms of the machine and lifted up into position for cutting.  I thought I shot some video of this, but I can't find it...

Hank's dog Ben - a very friendly giant long haired German shepherd was on the job site.  He weighs like a hundred pounds!

Here's some of the output.

When Hank was done we had a big stack of lumber, and a big pile of sawdust!

We ended up with 6 x 6's, 4 x 4's, and a bunch of 1 x and 2 x stock of various widths in 8 and 10 foot lengths.

From here, we had to move all of this lumber into piles for drying.  

We used the truck and worked together to move the wood to several areas around the yard where we stacked it for drying.

We had some supervision from Missy.

The wood is stacked neatly with these separator strips of wood in between to allow for air flow.

And here it sits for about 6 months before we can use it to build things.

We plan to use the lumber to enclose the soffits on the garage, and to build a shed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How to build a deck

Our original house plan includes decks on both the North and South sides of the house.  We put up the ledger boards for these back when we were shingling and finishing the exterior.

I proposed to Dean that we tackle building a deck this fall, and I really wanted to start with the North side because from there we can hear Locke Brook when she's singing and it would be a nice place to sit and enjoy a cocktail while listening to her song...


Before we could start on the actual deck, Dean wanted to get gutters up on the shed dormer that is on the North side of the house - because once there is a deck, Genie would no longer be able to get in there.


Do we go the the home center to buy gutter?  Of course not.  We are going to make our own using PVC pipe - Oh yeah.

One length of PVC pipe cut in half yields two lengths of gutter.

So the first section of gutter is ready to install and Genie has been moved into position


her batteries are dead.

So it's off to Sears to buy new ones which goes down like this:

  • Drive 30 min to Sears
  • Drive 30 min home and get the wallet you forgot
  • Drive  30 min back to Sears and pay for batteries
  • Load up car and drive 40 min (because now the school buses are on the road) back home

New batteries ready to be installed

Now that Genie is all juiced up, we got to work installing the gutter.

So here we go.  The gutter is attached with sheet metal screws.

The next section of gutter is glued to the first.  Later the joint was sealed with silicone caulking.

Downspouts were added.

and now that the gutters are done WE CAN START ON THE DECK!

We started by putting in the footings.  We used the preformed ones.

Using the backhoe to dig, the first footing goes in...

One footing in - two more to go.

In the meantime, I was put to work nailing 3 of these 2 x 8's together to become the main beam for the outer edge of the deck.  Dean was very happy that we got to use these 16 penny 3 1/2 inch hot dipped galvanized nails that he got from his father and had saved for about 25 years!  At first I was like - "what we aren't using an air nailer for this?"  But it actually felt really good to swing a hammer.

With all three footings and the upright posts in place, we are ready to raise the beam.

Next the joists went in.

And then the upright posts for the railing.

And now we are ready to lay down the decking.

Angie loves being out on the deck!

With the railing cap in place, Dean gets to work on the lower level gutters.

The plan for finishing the railing is a cable wire system kind of like this.

But this will likely have to wait until spring...

Here is the deck after our first snowstorm of the winter.

  In closing, I started this post a few weeks ago having no idea that by the time I finished it our sweet little Angie would have passed away.  

We certainly enjoyed the heck out of  her in the short time she was with us...

Friday, October 31, 2014

More Pebble Mosaics

I got on a pebble mosaic roll this summer.

I still had a LOT of pebbles left after this mosaic we did at the top of the outdoor stairs.

So I decided to use some of them to make some stepping stones for the main entrance.

Each one is 15 x 15.

I decided to go with the idea of a compass - creating 5 stepping stones - one for each direction and a center stone.

We made up a form using scraps of 2x4 and plywood.

Dean and I are a good team.   He mixes the mortar for me, and I get to do the creative laying in of the pebbles.

I started with East because I had this broken edge of a clay pot that I thought would work for a sunrise...

East represents air - and the sun rises in the east

So here are the rest of them...

West represents water
South represents fire

North represents earth

This is the center piece

That round stone in the center was specially procured from Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada this summer when I visited with my BFFs!

And here they are all installed.

There are a few more of the plain ones to go in to complete the grid and this will look so much better when the ground cover between the stones fills in...  

I'll update you next summer!

That's it for now.  I'll be posting again soon to show you our deck project.