Saturday, December 26, 2015

Moving Right Along

Well no, we're not actually "moving in" just yet. But we are continually making progress. It's been an entire month since our last post, and during this time Tim has put up the drywall, and we've begun preparation to get it textured and painted soon. Here is (left to right) front door, kitchen (showing back side of counter, where the sink will be), hallway (utility room window at the end), bathroom door, and the edge of our closet.

We've begun covering the ceiling with pine from a local sawmill. We like using local and/or "green" products as much as possible, and have found a sawmill where we've ordered all the wood for the interior: ceiling, trim & flooring. We found a tung oil product that uses a natural citrus solvent, and is "zero-VOC", meaning: it smells nice and won't give off dangerous pollutants. (see Real Milk Paint) The vertexes of the ceiling and walls, and the compression ring under the dome will be blue-stain, or "beetle-kill" pine for a nice contrast. We plan to build our kitchen cabinets with the blue stain pine as well. We will be attending a class in January to get tips on building the cabinets, and I plan to help and learn as much as I can about the process.

We took advantage of some holiday sales and ordered some appliances through**, and received them a couple of weeks ago; a range, microwave & "combo washer/dryer", which washes & dries in the same unit. A nice space-saver, we have a smaller one in the RV and have grown to like it. It's ventless, so we won't have to vent it out, and it runs on just 110, so is also an energy saver. Tim has the washer set up, so I've begun to use it in the utility room--it is nice to be doing larger loads! 

We will be setting up a temporary kitchen, with sink, range, microwave, shelves & enough counter space to get by after we move in, while we build the cabinets in our workshop alongside the barn. They will take a while to build, and we'll be cozy in the house while we do that. We will also probably move in before we install the flooring, and will do as much of the finishing for that in the workshop as well, prior to putting it in place.

We enjoy being inside working where it's warm. Our gas stove does a nice job of keeping the place toasty. We are coming along nicely, and think we may be able to move in within a couple of months. Only time will tell.

We had a nice brunch on Christmas Day at a neighbors' home. It was a cold, snowy day, and nice to travel just a quarter mile for some neighborly fun.

**We've become real fans of and Amazon Prime, here in our rural location! We can order all kinds of stuff and get it in two days, which means fewer trips to Canon City or Colorado Springs.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Triple Clink and Ready to Start Finishing

We have developed a fun tradition with our dear friend Trisha (in North Carolina). Whether we're together or apart, if we have some good news to share we celebrate with a toast. We call it a "clink" (think of glasses clinking together). Any drink will do, ice tea, water, wine, fruit juice. it's all fun. And if we're not together a "virtual clink" over the phone is just as good.

We called Trisha the other night to report a Triple Clink. We passed the electrical rough inspection, plumbing rough inspection and framing inspection all within a few days of each other. It was a stressful but rewarding week.

Here's a pic of the crawl space with the electrical and plumbing ready for inspection:

This pic shows the interior walls all framed up:
You can see the plumbing and electrical in the walls. 

I did all the plumbing and gas pipe myself. We sub contracted out the electrical work.

The framing inspection passed with flying colors. This is where the inspector has a last chance to look at all the structural components of the house before you're allowed to cover anything up. Once again, he complimented us on our work.

Now we're ready to start finishing the interior. I started putting up drywall today. The floors, ceiling, kitchen, bathroom, trim, etc. are all on the agenda and we'll be working on those things over the upcoming weeks. The timing couldn't be better. It got pretty cold outside and started snowing today, but that's OK because we can now work inside out of the weather!

We bought our gas heating stove. Here's a pic from the brochure:
The brand (Jotul) is Norwegian; I'm half Norwegian, so that's a good fit :) .

We're getting the propane tank delivered on Monday. Then we should be able to fire up the stove and keep the house nice and toasty while we're working inside.

We're truly amazed at how much progress there has been. We looked back and determined that we broke ground on June 29th, and here we are working on the finishing phase of the house. What an adventure!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

It's "Ex-Siding"

OK, ok, really bad phonetic pun, but I couldn't resist. We have a little over half of the house sided now and we're truly excited about how it looks.

I did all sides of the house where it had a deck. I will have to put up the remaining siding from a ladder.  First, we put on the house wrap:

Here I am putting on the siding:

Here's a closeup:

This shows a view from the deck:

Here's a view from the pasture:

We have to still put up railing around the deck, but that will come later.

The weather is getting colder, so I have fewer hours in the day where I can get out and work. Oh well, I work outside when I can. In bad weather, I'll be able to work on the inside putting up interior walls, roughing in plumbing and electrical, etc.

We're really amazed at the progress to date. Not bad for a couple of amateurs.

  • Note from Laurie: Last night Tim called some neighbors to ask a question, and when the wife handed the phone over to the husband, we heard her say, "It's the round house people!" I guess that's how we'll be known around here!  By the way, I think Tim does great work, eh?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

All Decked Out

We've had unbelievably nice weather so far. We just got our first snow on Oct. 22, 2015. It was only about 2 inches, and it melted off by the next day. That's really late for our first snow of the year. By now, we have usually had several snows. I wonder if that means we'll have a warm winter, or if we're going to end up paying for that nice early winter with severe cold and snow storms. Time will tell. At any rate, we have taken advantage of the nice weather by continuing to work on the outside of the house as much as we can. When bad weather hits, we'll move to the inside and work on that.

We got the deck put up (except for the railing). I guess I knew this, but it's really big! It wraps around a little more than half the house. There is almost as much square footage on the deck as there is inside the house. That's a good thing! It will encourage us to spend more time outside. Here are a few pics:

We're now working on putting up the siding.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Why We Moved Here

There are several reasons that we moved here. First and foremost is our Father's leading. But, there are plenty of other benefits for which we are grateful. One of the highlights of our year is to ride our horses in the mountains when the aspens are in full fall color. This year we trailered the horses to Kenosha Pass to take in the fall plumage. Here are some pics. We hope you are as amazed as we are when we get to see God's handiwork in such glorious splendor. (Click on each picture for a larger image)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mega Post

This post includes a lot of topics. I'll try to keep each one short so you don't nod off...

The Roof is Done
Whew, the roof is finally done! All the metal flashing is up and we should be water-proof now. All the ups and downs on the ladder, putting on the harness (so I don't fall off), fighting the wind that frequently tried to pull the metal out of my hands, etc.
Lest you get the wrong idea, Laurie has been a tremendous help in all of this. She stays on the ground and does things like cut metal, pre-drill holes in the metal, hands metal and other stuff up to me, makes great suggestions, etc. She truly is an invaluable partner in all of this!
Here's the finished roof:

Happy House Mini-Me
A while back, before we even started the Happy House, we build the duck house. We thought it would be cute to fashion it similar to what the HH would look like. It has 8 sides and we call it the Duckagon. Here's a picture I couldn't resist:

Looks like a HH "mini-me", huh?

More Digging
We did some rough grading around the house and it started to look pretty good. Unfortunately, we had to dig more holes for the deck posts. We'll be starting on the deck soon.

Horse Pasture and Changing Aspens
I took some time out a few days ago to expand the horse pasture. The boys were eating the existing pasture down to bare dirt (can't let that happen!). I don't know how many acres I now have fenced in (with electric wire) for them to use now, but it's probably around 8 acres (out of 40). I took this pic with the horses on the other side of the fenced area to give some perspective:
Laurie is actually standing in the middle of the "herd", but you can't see her. When we get the whole thing fenced, they're going to look like tiny dots. Notice the aspens in the background are starting to change colors. 
Here's a close pic of the aspens: 

And we actually took a few hours for a ride today! Can't work all the time :) .

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dinner and Water in the HH

Dinner and water? Sounds like an odd combination. But, things are continuing to move along in the Happy House (HH) and these are two things I wanted to share in this post.

A few weeks ago, Laurie and I set up a card table and plastic chairs in the HH. A few times we took some cheese, crackers and wine out there and enjoyed the view while munching. The other day Kelly and Carol (who are building a house on a property across the road from us) came over to share dinner. We decided to eat in the HH; a preview of the time we will be living in it and enjoying this experience every day. Carol snapped a picture with her phone:

What a view, eh?

Up until now, we've been dragging multiple water hoses around in order to fill up the RV, the stock tank for the horses and water for the ducks. Now that the house shell is complete, we were ready to get the well water run into the crawlspace and hooked up. We included a 300 gallon cistern for spare capacity. Here's what it looks like in the crawlspace now:

We had put in hydrants (faucets) at the barn and at the RV. A short hose is now connected to the RV. We no longer have to fill up the tank in the RV, the water goes directly into the RV water system. This provides better water pressure and is really appreciated when taking a shower. Oh, life's little pleasures J .

The ducks can now be watered with a short hose connected to the hydrant. And, the hydrant at the barn fills up the stock tank. No more dragging hoses around and having to remember to manually turn off the well pump when not in use! WooHoo!

We have been putting the metal roofing on and will have a post with pics when that is done, hopefully in the next week.

One by one, the pieces are all falling into place. And, we to continue to meet new neighbors and build relationships and connections in our new "hometown". (I saw a person wearing a T Shirt that said: "Guffey, you either get it or you don't". You have to come see Guffey in order to understand that T Shirt J )

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Duck Story

In addition to building the house, we took on 13 ducklings, which arrived June 4th.
13 Ducklings, June 5
They grew, and grew, and at 12 weeks, they really filled the pool!

A few days ago we finally found time to "reduce the flock". We sold two of the females, and butchered three drakes and two of the remaining females. As planned, we had six remaining ducks; presumably one drake and five hens, all the Golden Cascades.

The only problem was this little stinker. "She" turned out to be a "he". This one looks pretty much like the other hens, and with 13 ducks, I hadn't noticed that he talks like a drake. Just after the butchering was over, Tim noticed that this duck was making the drake sound, and sure enough, he also has the drake curly tail.
Golden Cascade Drake

He doesn't have the white ring around his neck as the other drakes, nor the yellow bill. In fact, this bill is quite blueish-grey. All along I've just thought this was one of the hens. I had wanted to keep 5 hens for laying, but it's not a real big deal that there are only 4 now. There will be plenty of eggs for Tim and me. We'll have to figure out what to do with this extra drake, but we'll figure it out.

For now, it's awfully nice to have a mere six, calmer ducks. There's less competition for food, they all happily float in the pool a great deal of the time, and it's nice putting out half as much food for them. I don't have to clean the water bowl or pool as often, either. Ahhhhh.

For more about our ducks, see the DUCKS page at the Golden Gaits Garden blog.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Getting Closer to the Vision

We went to Colorado Springs to pick up the windows and doors. We installed them and added the overhangs:

Here is a pic looking out from the interior:
 What a view, eh?

This one shows the skylight:

When we headed off to bed it was 68 degrees inside the house. When we got up next morning it was 42 degrees outside, but still 60 degrees in the house. Not much heat loss overnight. And, we're not even fully closed up yet!

This is a good time to review what we had envisioned and where we're currently at. Here is our lot before we started:

 After many hours designing the house on Sketchup, we hired an architect to draw up the plans:

Here is our Sketchup  model superimposed onto the lot (the barn was partially done at this point):

Here's where we're currently at:

We are thrilled with the amount of progress to date. Over the next 2 weeks we plan to get the roof and siding done. Once that is done, we will be "winterized" and be able to work inside whenever the weather outside gets nasty.

As always, we give thanks to our Father for His this wonderful gift and opportunity.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Instant House

After months of planning, reviewing drawings (correcting mistakes on the plan) and getting the SIPs panels made ahead of time the big day has arrived. All the pieces should fit together and in 3 days we should have what looks like a house. Here we go...

The first floor panel is in place:

The horses are clearly not impressed (or interested) as more floor panels are added: 

With the floor done, wall panels start going up: 

Now for the roof: 

After several roof panels are in place, it's time for the compression ring: 

The last roof panel goes in: 

Now for the crown, the skylight dome: 

Perfect fit! (as if there were any doubt :) 

Total time: 3 (very long) days. 

At this point, the house shell looks kind of like a water tower. But, there's more to come!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Foundation Done

Whew! The foundation is finished and passed inspection with two whole days to spare before the SIPs crew gets here to put up the house :) .

Here's a pic of the foundation:

You can see the plastic around the outside of the foundation wall and the beams across the middle that will support the floor. 

Next up: SIPs installation.

Monday, August 10, 2015

House on a Trailer

On Tuesday, ‎August ‎4th, ‎the SIPs panels arrived. The floor, walls and roof of our house were all on a single trailer:

The driver unloaded the panels and I directed where each set of panels was to be placed (around the house) in order to make them the most convenient to grab and put up in order: 

Here you can see several piles of panels with the foundation wall just visible at the right: 

You can see that the panels are kind of like an Oreo cookie; OSB on each side with foam in between. The floor is 10" thick, the walls 8" and the roof 12" thick. Each panel is made ahead of time to assemble with other panels. They interlock and form very tight seals. The thick insulated walls along with the seals (greatly reducing air infiltration, a major source of heat loss) is what gives SIPs their incredible energy efficiency. 

The installation crew has been delayed for a week, so we're now expecting to have the panels installed starting on the 19th. 

Now, I just have to finish the foundation before they get here :) .