Monday, October 23, 2017

Construction: Weeks 4 and 5

BIG Weeks!

Weeks 4 and 5 were two major weeks. I was too overwhelmed and busy during and between them to write a blog post, so am putting both weeks together in one post now (at the beginning of Week 6). 

Somewhere in the middle of it all, Salinger and I reluctantly moved house, back into our winter digs in Lunenburg. While we are incredibly lucky to have these friendly and comfortable accommodations available to us for the third winter in a row, it was still a bad wrench to leave The Crooked Woods. But my little tiny house was getting chilly and starting to have problems with moisture and condensation and it was time to head for central heating.

Week 4

Week 4 was SLAB WEEK! This was one of the most nerve-wracking stages of the build so far. Pouring concrete is something you want to get right the first time. Second chances at a pour are virtually impossible. Also, if the cement truck can't access the site, there's a big financial penalty and then more work to do to make the site accessible. 

Fortunately, the cement truck was able to get back to the form on its first attempt, thanks to my amazing friend who widened out the driveway and cut a low limb off the big maple during Week 1.
Distributing the cement to the rear section of the form is heavy work, done by wheelbarrow. The work speeds up once the concrete can be poured directly from the truck's chute into the form.
All poured, partly trowelled
The finished slab. I love the marbled look it has. 
The slab needed to be kept wet for three days to discourage cracks from forming. My rain barrel, a bunch of bed sheets and a big tarp helped with this task. Salinger putting his fluffy backside on the wet sheets was probably counter-productive, but very, very cute.
The ever-deepening chill was a big factor in deciding that it was time to move out to my friend's house in Lunenburg. Here is the radiant heater running full blast in the tiny house while I tried to get some desk work done in the early morning on one of my last days living on site...
The sub-contractors who worked on the slab were fantastic to have on site, continuing my lucky streak of skilled and friendly people working on this project.

Week 5

With the slab poured and set and inspected, the framing could begin. There was a risk of rain on Monday, so the work began on Tuesday, and holy cats, did it ever go quickly with four people on the crew and four days of gorgeous fall weather!!! 

Day 1 of framing
Detail, Day 2
End of day 2!
I was stuck in Lunenburg doing desk work on Day 1, but managed to get to the site to spend the morning on Day 2 and then stopped in for quick visits on Day 3 and again on Day 4. 

I was delighted on Day 2 to watch how the four-person crew functions as a well-oiled machine. Everyone had their tasks to meet the inter-locking requirements of the build. Boards needed to be selected and cut and placed and secured and I found it a graceful, intricate dance to watch. And I love the energy with which the crew works – music on the radio, banter back and forth, questions and answers – it all seems to flow with ease and enthusiasm. 

The best contribution I could make was to stay out of the way! So, I turned my hand to sorting out a bunch of paperwork to do with the build and making sure that all of the permits and plans would be readily accessible when I wasn't there. 

I had an unsettling feeling on Day 2. I walked around inside the framed space and was filled with a sense of panic – "It is TOO small!" I thought. "What have I done? What am I doing? I'm having something built that I'm going to HATE living in. Oh NO!!!!!"

Day 2, side view

But then, weirdly, when I came back at the end of Day 3 and two of the walls were sheathed with OSB, enclosing the building somewhat, it felt larger, rather than smaller. I felt perfectly comfortable, and thought "Oh, yes, this is exactly what I thought it would be like; this is plenty of room!"

And when I came back on Day 4, when all four walls were closed in to a height of 8 feet, the space felt even bigger and more comfortable. 

I can't decide if my brain just needed to adjust from my imagination to reality, from 2-dimensional plans to 3-dimensional space, or if there was some kind of cognitive block in my brain that meant I couldn't accurately gauge the volume of space when it was outlined without being enclosed. In either case, it was strange and unsettling, and I'm glad it passed. This project is way too major to have to live with discontent or disappointment about it!

Of course, I am curious to see how it feels once the walls are closed all the way in and the roof is on, as that will make a change yet again, I'm sure. 
Day 4
I got more chances to spend time on the building site over the weekend, because some friends invited me to stay in their nearby house while they were away camping.

Interior space taking shape – I love that high window. The small opening lower down on the left is for my firewood pass-through. 
Light and shadow at my back doorway.
The view from my back door. 
I had a moment, sitting in the back doorway when I could feel what it's going to be like to live in my house, with a deck or even a little screened-in porch to the south, and maybe even a deck on the east side, as well. I foresee a lot of coziness and peace and quiet, safety and comfort, protected and blessed by these trees.

I have been yearning for a home of my own for a long time. I feel very lucky and humbled and I am deeply, deeply grateful to all of the people and circumstances that are making this possible. 

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