Sunday, December 13, 2009

A visit from our handsome son, his beautiful partner and the cutest bulldog in the world!

It is so wonderful to have our son living just a few hours away!!! We were so happy to see their new arrival and she is the cutest bulldog with such amazing character.
She played with our dog like she was just as big and fierce!
We really had a blast with them!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Side story: A mothers story

Finding herself with child after a night of experimentation, Liddy was at a crossroad. She was 16, wanting to live more life before committing to raising a child, alone.
The father never knew he had a child on the way, and she wanted it this way : he was not the father/husband type.
Liddy worked at a day care center and let it be known that she was planning on putting the child up for adoption. A close friend of one of the co-workers was unable to have children and was planning on adopting. Liddy and her met up and hit it off. All of her expenses were covered and she would at a distance watch her child grow-up.
Liddy felt this was a gift from God, that she was able to carry and give birth to a child that another women who was more prepared and financially set was not able to conceive. She signed all the papers and felt completely at peace.
That was over 20 years ago and the child is in her life, he knows the whole story and is so grateful to have such an amazing situation that his loving birth mom was wise enough to know what was best for her and her son, and give such a selfless gift of life.

Life is magical and can flow so beautifully if everyone allows it to happen.............

Friday, December 4, 2009

A warm place for the plants to winter

Well it doesn't look like the garden shed/greenhouse will be finished before the first frost, so we are constructing a temporary cinder block space to house the plants and keep them at least above 40 degrees.
To build this structure we used the fiberglass frame from the shower as a guide for the width. Cinder blocks were dry stacked (with-out mortar) on the sides and a few in the front for strength. We then placed the fiberglass frame with yupon holly sticks as the support for the plastic that encloses the whole structure. The important thing to pay attention to is not allowing any air to escape, it will surley be the warm air you want to keep inside.
We heat the space with two 75 watt light bulbs and when it gets below 28 degrees or so we fire up two kerosene lanterns. All the plants fit and It really does work!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Winter is fast approaching!

It has been a very wet and warm fall. The leaves are turning colors and slowly falling. We have not had a freeze yet, but it will be here soon!
I love the wet falls and winters for the green grass that grows!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The cement arrives...

We scheduled the cement to be delivered mid-morning so it would be warmer than an early morning pour. Cement needs the warmth to cure properly, it is better to pour in the middle of summer than in the winter, but the summer in this part of the country it is so hot it would have been very hard to have worked in the hot sun setting the forms, so we compromised with the fall .
The crew finished up with last minute details just before the 1st truck arrived .
To extend the 30 foot chute the crew used a 4X8 sheet of plywood, it sorta worked but the cement was so heavy the plywood collapsed easily. So they used special cement tools to move the cement in place.

We were a little worried after the first truck because it appeared not to go very far. We realized that they started in the corner with the deepest forms so as each truck arrived they covered more area.
Each truck carries 10 cubic yards. So how it works is the contractor estimates the cubic yards by measuring the ditches and slab top.
One cubic yard = 27 cubic feet.
Cement is ordered by the nearest full truck then after the last truck dumps the last truck is ordered to complete the job. Our two slabs took 48 yards of cement.

After the cement partially cures ( it will become thick enough to hold some weight but soft enough to move steel through it, there is a small window of time for this) we put in the weld plates(metal poles will be welded to these) anchor bolts (6X6 cedar posts will sit on top of these) for the shop and re-bar for the cinder blocks in the bath house (the re-bar will go through the blocks to anchor them to the slab) .

The slab sat for a few days then the forms were removed and the out side was smoothed and finished.

Larry and his crew did a wonderful job and for a reasonable fee. Here they are on the steps to somewhere.......

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The slabs for the Shop & Bathhouse

The best way to do slabs is from the solid ground up to the desired inside grade. We started from the highest point of the natural grade of the land which for us was the south west corner of the shop. We wanted the floor to be at least one foot above out-side grade. We then pulled a string level from one approximate corner to the next corner getting an idea of the change in elevation; meaning the difference in the height of the floor from one end of the building to the other end, with the floor being level across. Doing this we estimated a difference of 2 1/2 feet from the south west corner to the north east corner.
Because the foundation is one of the most important aspects of a house we had it engineered by Strand Systems Engineering of Irving, Texas. Dick Martter drew up the plans and gave us excellent instructions as to how to handle the deep sand we have. it is so important to have someone that knows the details of how the cement needs to be reinforced with re-bar for maximin strength and crack prevention in your specific soil. He told us it would be better to use #3 re-bar , one foot apart to prevent any cracking.

We realized from the other buildings that we mixed and poured ourselves that this building was to large for us to do by ourselves. It took 5 guys, that do this for a living, a week to complete the slab. We could not have done this ourselves . The crew worked very hard and did the job according to our plans and they were very reasonable! Larry was the crew head , his phone # is 1-512-308-1283 for the Austin, Texas area. I would highly recomend him And his crew.

The project was started by 9 , 12 yard loads of sandy-loam, which has some clay in it to help it hold its shape.
Then Larry used a laser beam to find where the building is square. They then put up the exterior form boards and staked them to support the tremendous weight of the cement.
The cross beams were the dug and a plastic barrier was put down to help the cement stay wet as long as possible and to help moisture from wicking up from underneath the slab after it cures.

Larry and his crew had an amazing system for cutting and placing the re-bar and did this part very fast.

We placed the plumbing rough out ourselves with a good friend that is a wizard with building, he was such a tremendous help.

At this point it is important to have the fixtures that are going into the building measured so you know precisely where the drain goes. And for the floor drain we build a wood frame and packed the inside with dirt so it will be easy to dig down to place the drain just the height we want it to be.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Garden shed rafters

Here I am going over the plans.
I sketched out the floor plan and all four sides to make sure there was enough room for the doors and windows we have gotten for the building. Like always we had to think from the end and incorporate all the components of the building , from the wood supporting the rafters to the floor elevation.
Putting up the top 2X6 established the top line square & plum to the building as a whole. The rafters sit on top of them on 2 foot centers, meaning from the center of one board to the center of the next board it is 2 feet. This is the measurement for putting standard insulation in between the rafters. We will be putting in 19 R covered with black plastic.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Setting the Garden shed poles

When we set the poles we use a post level which makes the job a lot easier . It gives you the levels all the way round and up & down. We attached it by sewing elastic tied together and then it attaches to a hook on the side of the level. Very easy to move from post to post.
From the plans we drew up , we knew how far apart to place the poles. We started with the corners and stabilized the poles with 2X4 bracing screwed to the poles and screwed to a 2X4 stake hammered in the ground 2 feet.
We then pulled a string around each corner pole so we knew where to line up the center poles.
It can be very tricky to get everything lined up and plum and square. We measured at every pole to check the diagonal , width and length.
When it was right , we used a tamping rod to make sure the ground was tight around each pole.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Garden shed post holes

I couldn't resist taking these pictures of the foggy morning...............

Back to the shed..... Next we dug the holes for the posts and filled them with 4" of cement, letting them cure for a day.