Sunday, November 18, 2012

A busy week around the homestead. And the contract on the blue house fell through.

We'll be going through this week in reverse, excepting the thing that made Friday a less than pleasant day.  We've had a contract on the blue house, to close on December 1, and the young couple's financing fell through on Friday.  It soured most of the day.

Yesterday, Saturday, the kids and I made a run to the dump first thing, where for $5 we emptied a truck full of carpeting and ceiling tiles, the kids charmed the dump-man, and we met a couple from Oxford who ended up going to the BTC for breakfast and mentioning our visit to Alexe.

We came home and started removing the forms from the porch footings.  The kids were very helpful, carrying my bag of tools between each footing.

Caspian covered this section with dirt "because he likes being bad some times," and then helped his sister clean it off.

Each footing was a combination of four wood stakes driven into the ground, a bevelled box forming the top, and vertical walls below that going into the ground.  We saved the bevelled boxes to use as planters, but the rest of the form-wood was scrap, and the kids piled it into the tractor bucket, and I drove it down to the bonfire from Friday night and dumped it on the hot coals.

A temporary art installation.

Farm boy.

Water Valley has transformed into a snow free, mid 60s, winter wonderland.  I snapped this picture on my way to a pleasant Saturday evening grocery run to the BTC, as the kitchen at the farm house is completely barren, no matter how much food we buy.  I think our appetites have picked up from all the time we're spending outside, mine most of all.

I came home, popped a big bowl of popcorn, and we settled in for family movie time.  Last week was Matilda, this week was the Julia Roberts' Snow White.  It was a beautiful, funny, well done movie.  Much better than the Huntsman version that came out around the same time, and very child-friendly.

Friday Night!  Being annoyed most of the day about the sale of the blue house, I had lit one of the massive brush piles, and spent much of the morning and afternoon pushing neighboring brush piles to the fire with the tractor.  (Moving brush has never been easier, just drop it in a row where it's cut, and push it all together with the bucket.  Some piles, sizable ones, I pushed over 100 yards, just catching the front edge, lifting up a little, and sliding them along.)  By the evening I decided the kids needed some fun, so we popped out for some hotdogs and marshmallows, and spent the evening cooking over the coals, dancing around, and when Alexe made it home from her long day at the store, we had a warm spot for her to sit, and a stick for her to roast things with.

Thursday I had the concrete delivered, and was disappointed to find the truck would not be able to drive around the house and deposit the concrete in each form. (At 40,000 lbs, unloaded, the truck would never have gotten out of the back yard.)  I called in some help, two guys with shovels, and using the tractor to move one bucket full of concrete at a time, we shoveled the concrete into each form. Each form took two tractor buckets, there were ten forms, (the large pour was accessible to the truck,) but we got the truck out of there in an hour and a half.

This room, the future kitchen, is already looking better after the shag carpet was removed.  The walls and ceiling will be replaced with something, the floor: we're seriously thinking about just finishing the concrete.  I had my heart set on radiant floor heating, but the room is not very tall, and I'm not enthused at the idea of losing any of that height to bury water lines in a new layer of concrete.

The pour on the front corner of the house, where the porch will be squared off.  We had a little extra concrete.

Alexe decided two more shrubs needed to go, and it's pleasantly opened up the back yard.  Again, nothing like a tractor to get under a root ball.

The new lumber mill the Branch of Hope crew is putting up. (Interesting Christian rehab organization.) These folks are cutting the cypress vertical posts and front facing timbers for our new porches.  Those verticals on the mill are cypress.  (We're avoiding pressure treated for the farm, and cypress has all sorts of natural qualities that make it rot and insect resistant.)

This is some beautiful 1" cedar they have, I'm considering using it for the porch floors.

Mr. Mickey lent tools, time, and a smile to my bracket project.  We started with 1/4 inch steel plate and square tube; cut, drilled, and welded together over a couple days.

Painted.  Somewhere earlier in this post you saw these mounted in the footings.  The 6x6 cypress posts will fit snuggly in these, and be locked in place with 1/2 " bolts.

A before picture of the future kitchen.

Footing boxes being set up and leveled.

One of the kid's future rooms, floor sanded, waiting for darker tung oil.  Again, we want to avoid petroleum or toxic chemicals where possible, but the standard tung oil that we tested in here made the floor look a little orange, so we're going to try a darker version.

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