Sunday, November 3, 2013

2 year old pictures

Over two years ago I took this series of pictures so that the then final post on the blog would be "big picture" pictures of the house.  I was composing the text when Ilse died suddenly and my appetite for the blog fell off as I dealt with oh so many other things, including Jennifer and my split.    

It's winter '13 now and I am clicking "post" on this draft post which had the following pictures -- taken in July 11 -- already attached.  The garden has grown much, and the kitchen will never be that clean again,  but in general these photos give a better sense of the place than the prior ones.  So I'm posting them!  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tryin' to keep it up...

As I keep repeating, I have a lot of finishing work to do. I confess, some exhaustion is showing itself in the form of scattered focus at this end stage. However, for the past about two weeks I've had the motivation and deadline of Jennifer's request to me: Can you please get the banister up by the before a visit by father, Sukie and some of the NW family come? Thus the time came for me to finalize the design and get realistic about the practical details for the metal and wood balustrades and banister that I had mostly finished designing. The part on the stairs is more complicated, given the angles and changing dimensions that they bring. First came the wooden elements, and then dowels that would later take the small metal pieces.Below you see it with the metal in place, and the handrail on top. Since I work alone now, I have to time things like this for Jennifer's return from work, or the weekend. I can do a lot alone, but things like getting this almost 17 foot long rail onto all those verticals is just not do-able with only two hands.We also needed and upper portion to separate the little "nook" at the top of the stairs from the stair opening. After getting all the angled pieces into place, this was a piece of cake! BTW, like the lower part of the stairway, the metal here is not stainless. It's intended to get a little rusty and "patina-ed," and the oak is black oak from that dying tree that we had cut and milled at the start of all this. It got done in the nick of time, and the house was a lovely place for a boisterous family meal: Since the summer heat and dry has gone its way, we've finally begun having the plants brought in. This is an aspect of the project we've sub-contracted...... No energy to learn a new discipline. So FINALLY, things are looking a little less bare outside: Meanwhile I have been harvesting from my garden, and from the woods. I took this picture for the blog a few weeks ago, when I found the first chanterelles in our woods.

Friday, September 3, 2010


That's right. No mo homo moho. Among the earliest posts on this blog was one of Clayton pulling the mobile home into its place with his bulldozer. I don't have pictures of him navigating the steep hill and the hairpin turn of our driveway -- but it was quite a sight. His skill and terrific attitude was much appreciated, so I called on him again when it came time to deliver the building blocks up our road, since the company's standard truckers had a no-can-do response to the driveway. Here's Clayton as he patiently and enthusiastically taught me to use this funky forklift, back then -- over two years ago: So imagine my surprise the time when Clayton came walking up the road beside his remote control robotic thing. It sure did take a lot of the stress out of the move down our driveway in that this machine practically tucks under the mobile, rather than adding another 18 or 20 feet of length to the (66 foot!) trailer. SHarp turn out of its spot, right off: Well, sharp if you're 66 feet long. Then down the road she went, Even the hairpin was relatively undramatic with the new gizmo, thought it took a few backs and forths. My mom was among the spectators. Barely having had time to get over her jet lag when the noise started. And then there were the horses (left of moho)And the cows joined Jennifer to take a look at the last turn onto the road:Most of the work I've been doing is tiny details. One that's photogenic, though is a a rolling door that is in the plan to close off a room that we call the library -- generally part of the living room -- to make it a private guest room. THere's a murphy bed still to come in there too. Between visits I managed to get the door up. It's big, so I had to construct in in place. I had already installed the track, which we got unfinished and I ground and sanded it to match our rustic metal theme. So, first the frame: Then simple cherry sheathing . I can't say that it's the most beautiful woodwork of the project, but it's acceptable and it does the trick. Here as seen from the living room when the guestroom is closed off. I've been trying to get back into a rhythm now. Started with getting the trim all painted and repainted since the rains may be back any day. I tooka few pictures last night, as the light waned. As usual, haven't even struck the ladders. Visits were fun.... I miss them.... now back to the grindstone for a while.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

As the scale of the work gets smaller, the time between posts seems to grow! Finishing up phase now. It’s going to take a while. First of all there are all the components that were not essential to life comfort but that are important to completion. Things like the doors, drawers, filler pieces and toe kicks on cabinets that are already in use. The banister and balustrades – which we’ve gotten quite used to being without, but which the building inspector is quite adamant about. Also, there are a lot of components in my design that rely on woodwork and cabinetry to form the partitions between rooms. For example the division between the hallway and study will be a shelving unit; a murphy bed will separate the library/guestroom from the bathroom, and a shoe storage piece closes the mudroom from the bathroom too. So lots to do. I had been working at a pretty crazed pace, hoping to get many many things complete by the time of various highly anticipated late summer visits. Workaholic's excuse... I know. My work is now almost entirely in the crammed basement shop. Seen here, a door in progress. More on that later. WHen I have not been in the shop, it's because I've been outside, overseeing my parts of the irrigation installation and landscaping work. We have hired an able landscaper for this, but in order to keep things within a budget that works for us, I've been supplying a bunch of the labor by hiring our own folks for digging trenches, installing sprinklers and hauling gravel around. The place was one big collection of mole hills and leg breakers for a while. Fortunately that's a distant memory now that we've filled back in. We await some fall rain to some grass and plants in, so as not to stress the heck out of our well. Otherwise, we have come as close to being moved in as the current lack of completed closets and cabinets allows. There is progress, but not completion in the kitchen: My shop time over the last several weeks has been spent finally completing most of the interior doors, which I have worked in snatches on custom making since before construction began. They are individually veneered by me and they come from two batches of walnut -- one that I bought from a woman who had felled a tree, an another log that we were given by the former owner of this land who had a dying tree. These were milled way back when by someone I hired and they sat outside to dry for over a year. Then I hauled them into the basement and started slicing them into 1/4" veneers to be glued onto a very stable core made form a material similar to particle board. In the pile below you see various of the veneered doorstiles with a pair of solid panels on top. The panels are solid wood, sliced in two so that each door has a pair of bookmatched panels. Above you see a few panels. I wish it were easier to photograph the finished product, which I'm pretty happy with. If you're not a photographer with a lot of skill, photographing woodwork is always a mess -- the finish reflects and the wood's beauty is usually reduced to a mottled mess... Be that as it may, here you see a pair of the doors, just installed. No doorstop molding yet or anything. Creating all the parts was the bulk of the work and I did not document it well/ It has taken many many woman-hours of notching, cutting, gluing, selecting, moving, stacking, sanding, you name it/ Once all that was done, the dry run of the assembly went something like this: Once the parts were all fitted to one another, I took them apart again and routed in a notch around the edge with a power router. So I reduced things to the bare frame again -- just stiles and top and bottom: A power router does most of the work, but leaves the corners rounded like this: So squaring the corners is by hand with a good sharp chisel: That just left a lot of sanding and finishing of the parts to do before a final glue up turned them into a real and hopefully durable door: That's it for now. I hope to take some more pictures of exterior imrpovements within days. RIght now I'm returning to my break from it all, which just yesterday looked like this: And at it's more hilarious: