Category Archives: Project Journal

Curb Appeal

Now that I have finished stripping both sides of the forms, I have to say I am quite pleased at how well the top curb turned out using the ROCKWOOL ComfortBoard IS inserts.  They did not compress at all and … Continue reading

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Blowout Blues and My Friend Murphy

This week saw a return to the job site after spending ALL of last week catching up on the bookkeeping and preparing our taxes.  I was a lot further behind than I thought and had not reconciled the accounts since … Continue reading

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Pre-Pour Site Visit

For those interested, I did a pre-pour site visit video.  Sorry for sound and video quality.  Did not realize it was so windy and also that I was so shaky that day.  I will also post in next day or … Continue reading

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Relief!

Yesterday the foundations were poured and I am relieved on so many levels. 1) Last Oct/Nov – I would have never imagined that my back would have held out while I installed the 50-100 lb ICF blocks (depending on water … Continue reading

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Where’s the concrete?

I have had a few people today ask “what happened to the concrete?”  as today was my scheduled pour day. Well – what else – there was a delay 🙂 Last Sunday I knew I was not going to be … Continue reading

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On the Level!

It has been a great couple of days. I have now received the sign-off on the structural inspection of the forms.  I had given Tacoma a heads up that Brian from Stantec was coming and needed a fast turn around.  … Continue reading

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Thank full for friends

It has been a reasonably productive few days.  On Friday Ted was by and we were able to install the crucial vertical uprights, on the outboard side of the foundation, needed to install all the whalers at the top of … Continue reading

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Foundation Rebar Primer

I received some feedback to my journal posting yesterday that was suggesting I should look at the ‘other’ ICF manufacturers if I wanted to know how Rebar was ‘supposed’ to be placed.  I did and the result sure is scary.  … Continue reading

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Final Foundation Push

Sorry for the silence folks, I have been on the final push to finish off the foundation forming.  I have my structural inspection, and also my survey, scheduled for Tuesday the 7th, and will try to schedule the District’s inspection … Continue reading

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ICF is complete!

I hit a milestone this last week and finally have finished laying all of the Durisol ICF blocks.  I generally finished off row 9 last Friday, the majority of the required cut blocks for that row on Saturday afternoon, and … Continue reading

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Altitude Sickness

This last week has been a mixed bag of activities.  I started Monday with the raising of the scaffold to the final pouring height, which will also be used to place the last two rows of blocks and to form … Continue reading

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7 of 9

While 7 of 9 was my favourite crew member on Star Trek, it also represents my progress to date on the ICF courses.  I have row 7 about 75% complete and then will only have two more rows of ICF … Continue reading

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Sky-bridge open for traffic

This week ended up being ALL about scaffold.  I anticipated it would only take a couple of days, and 80% of it was finished by Tuesday PM.  But then I got into the cold room under the garage and the … Continue reading

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ICF Rising

The last week has seen some great progress at the site.  By last weekend, I had all the forms stripped, all the form wood sorted and stacked, and had started the second row of ICF. Monday was a light day … Continue reading

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Goodbye

This morning I said goodbye to a kind and dear neighbour.  Joan had been with us for 92 years and right to the end was full of life, generosity, and a kind spirit.  She had a great sense of humour … Continue reading

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Stripping

This week is all about stripping – the forms that is! Ted came by yesterday and we got a good start on pulling up the rental stakes and I was able to return 100 at lunch time.  After lunch we … Continue reading

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Thankful!

Several of you have been hounding me asking “So – How did it go?”.   I am thrilled to advise it went quite well and I am thankful for those that helped me get there! So let’s catch you up from … Continue reading

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The Big Day has arrived – Tomorrow we pour.

I am far too tired to give a lengthy update and still have some instruments to finish preparing tonight that will be imbedded into the concrete, but I am pleased to say the day I thought would never arrive is … Continue reading

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Footing Forms

This week has been all about getting the footing forms finished so I can have inspected and pour this coming week.  Wednesday and Thursday saw the basic XPS forms in place for the internal strip and pad footings. Friday I … Continue reading

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In the trenches

The last few days have seen lots of progress – unfortunately lots has been for the second or third time. It finally was dry enough Saturday to finish the sand overfill of the teck cable. As I had a morning … Continue reading

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Rub-a-dub-dub

Well today was a wash.  Nothing like 3″ of rain to ruin your plans for the day. Instead of finishing the sand fill over the teck cable and starting on the internal footings, I spent the day on emergency storm … Continue reading

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Day by Day

Day by day, I am making progress, granted not the progress even a small crew would make, but I am after all 1 man. And if I am sick, injured, needing to do office work, or diverted to any of … Continue reading

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Alfie is free!

Today Alfie finally gained his freedom from the pit.  I hired Payless Towing to assist in Alfie’s extraction from the pit.  It only took about 5 minutes but was a very tense time.  The ramp slope was one thing, but … Continue reading

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Time Lapse

As feared, I succumbed yet again to illness. This has been a very unusual time for me.  I have not been sick like this since the mid 90’s and even then I would only get sick once and not back … Continue reading

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The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Well this week has presented the full gambit of emotions and experiences. Wednesday was productive in that I got a lot of small but important things done.  Ted came by for a visit while I finished preparing the gravel beds … Continue reading

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So far so good

Progress has continued at a reasonable to even a good pace. Saturday saw the balance of the garage south wall and most of the west wall ICF modules placed. Ted had come by in the afternoon which was fortuitous as … Continue reading

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Reboot Complete!

I am pleased to advise that I have ended 2014 and started 2015 with progress. On the 29th Ted dropped by for the morning and we worked on rechecking all of the previously laid out ICF modules for both elevation … Continue reading

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Merry Christmas

Its been quiet since my last posting.  Although I did not get a chest ‘infection’, the flue going around does have a really strong chest cough component, especially for people with bad allergies or asthma issues – so I ended … Continue reading

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A very poor week

This week lunged off the rails early and continued plummeting down the canyon walls until it splashed into the river below at the end of the week. The first warning sign was last Thursday as I turned into the neighbourhood, … Continue reading

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Footings Continue

Yesterday I was only able to finish the jog in the footings by the NW corner and place one module on the North wall.  This was a disappointing effort brought on by a series of brain farts. I was laying … Continue reading

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Yeah Rain!

In a million years, I would not have ever believed I was happy for the rain – but today I was thrilled!  You see I got the rain beat. The tarp sheds water well without any pooling.  The pit base … Continue reading

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Firsts!

This has been a week or firsts for me. We had our first snowfall and the tarp survived.  It was straining mightily, but sustained no damage.  With the continuous freezing temps, much of the snow is still on the tarp … Continue reading

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Floor Trusses Safe and Sound but am I?

What a day.  I am thankful I made it through it. Although as I lie in bed with my knees over a bolster,  after hanging on the inverter table for 20 minutes, after a hot bath, and after a heavy … Continue reading

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Footing Layout Complete

Sorry for the delay folks.  Hard to believe a week has gone by since my last entry.  SO lets catch up. 20th – Electrical Inspector came by and approved request for additional plugs and some construction lighting. She also approved … Continue reading

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Mud is Vanquished!

As of this evening, I will no longer be worried about storm water or working in mud.  This week has actually progressed at what could even be considered a professional schedule! The E80 Bobcat arrived Monday morning and was quickly … Continue reading

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Blackout

Sorry for the blackout folks.  My SHAW cable model flaked out yesterday afternoon and by the time I found out they were closed for the day.  I will provide a construction update this evening. Cheers

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Sub Slab Insulation – How to insulate around footings

I have had several of you asking “what’s up?” so here is an update. Not much 🙂 The tarp repair went as planned on Saturday and was completed in under 3 hours.  The rest of the day was occupied with … Continue reading

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Huff and Puff

We survived the storms! Between the torrential downpours and the high winds, my site has been under attack.  But both I and my tarp have survived I am pleased to say. With 2.5″ of raining falling in less than a … Continue reading

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String Theory

The last two days has been all about laying out little orange strings that indicate the outside edges of my footing.  I had these dimensions identified by survey, instead of the actual foundation dimensions, to aid in the excavation.  Once … Continue reading

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The B.A.T. flies!

Well, I am pleased to say the Big Ass Tarp is flying high once again – and this time it really does look to be here for a while. Thursday saw only an hour of time on site which was … Continue reading

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Justification

About once a week on average I run across someone who questions my plans to build my house basically by myself.  The first question is always, “How long do you think it will take you?”  They then usually get around … Continue reading

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Relief

As I had hoped, I was able to finish my company books and file both my GST and Income Tax returns yesterday AM.  This is a huge relief and quite frankly was stressing me out more than the house build.  … Continue reading

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Resistance

The last few days have been about prepping for the big tarp reconfiguration and further storm water management. Friday was spent cleaning up the pit floor (moving empty pallets, getting rid of debris, etc.) , trenching from low spots collecting … Continue reading

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I have a plan!

Yesterday I took back the winch I bought from Princess Auto and instead bought this Champion 4500 Lb winch from Canadian Tire.  It was regularly $399 on sale for $229.99 (cheaper than the one I took back). Yesterday afternoon, I … Continue reading

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Excavation Officially Completed

On Monday AM in addition to prepping for my shopping trip, I also met with the GeoTech on site to review the status of the excavation. Ben from DAVIES GEOTECHNICAL INC. appeared satisfied with the efforts I had taken to … Continue reading

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Slow but steady

I ended up not putting in as much time on the weekend as I had hoped.  I needed to spend more time on my company bookkeeping as they are more messed up than I hoped and taking a while to … Continue reading

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Bank Blanket Complete!

Well it has not been a stellar week from a productivity point of view, but progress was made and I am satisfied with that. From Physio and massage appointments for my back, to an unexplained Wednesday night with only 2 … Continue reading

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Hanging Around

Friday saw the start of installing the welded wire mesh over the excavation banks. I took a chance and hired two labourers from embers again. You may have remembered I was less than impressed with the last time I hired … Continue reading

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Grind of a day

Not a lot has happened over the last few days.  It was pretty clear at Physio on Monday that if I did not give my back some down time, things would rapidly get much worse (I have disc issues).  So … Continue reading

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Report Card

Tonight I also wanted to share some of my thoughts on the progress to date. This build is to be a showcase house demonstrating best practices for building envelope and house construction in general.  However I would say to date … Continue reading

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Progress – Finally!

Well I had a couple of people contact me advising that the silence was deafening and wondering if I was really busy or just fed up again.  I am afraid it has generally been the later but today finally was … Continue reading

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Tarp MD

Sorry for the lack of updates.  It has been a week of ups and downs and to be frank, I did not feel like talking about it. I arrived back in town Monday around noon and had a small rest … Continue reading

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Trop D’eau

As I sit here in sunny and dry Penticton, I think back to my last week on site which can only be summed up by “trop d’eau” or Too Much Water! Because the tarp was taken down for repairs, parts … Continue reading

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Inspection

Well – I decided I had to at least try to fix the tarp and re-raise it.  I just cannot accept building a house that would be saturated for months.  I spent the better part of the day fixing the … Continue reading

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Shreaded

Well, it has been 6 days since my last entry because it has been a relatively uninteresting stretch.  As I promised myself on Thursday evening, I took last Friday off and actually spent the day sleeping and watching TV.  I … Continue reading

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Dig Complete!

Well, I thought this day would never come.  I heard many times that ‘tomorrow’ would be the last day of digging, but the hole just kept producing.  Then over the last few days I kept hearing maybe 2-3 more loads, … Continue reading

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Blocks complete

Yesterday only saw a delivery of blocks to the site.  Diamond’s crew were otherwise engaged on other jobs. I spent the afternoon putting in the blocks and back-filling behind them and had an early day. Today the final load of … Continue reading

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Blocked Up

Well I am happy yesterday is behind me.  It was challenging and stressful.  Both Parm’s and Gary showed up just before 9AM (official Saturday starting time for construction based on District noise bylaw) with trucks full of concrete lock blocks. … Continue reading

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2 out of 3 ain’t bad

Both Parm and Gary reported in today.  Gary had a dump truck with a pup trailer and Parm, the big rock truck.  Young Parm was on another job.  They made good progress and there is probably only 2-3 big loads … Continue reading

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Climbing mountains

Was just going through my time lapse pics and found the below. Now that is a climb!

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Water and clay don’t mix

Well, I got my wish today and had Big Girl all to myself for the entire day.  Young Parm came at about 4ish to haul away the only load for today.  I was able to scrape away the rest of … Continue reading

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Sumpilicious

Yesterday was more of the same but a slower haul day. All of the clay like material is going to Squamish to dump which represents 3-4 hour round trips. Garry was worry another site for most of the day and … Continue reading

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Rock Bottom

Just a quick update as it has been a 13 hour day and I am done. We finally hit bottom today. The last 2-3ft has been dense packed glacial till (think clay like material) filed periodically with some of the … Continue reading

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Tight Squeeze

Well we are almost finished digging the basic outline of the hole.  We still have to slope the banks and I have the Geotech coming Monday to discuss procedure to support Ron’s house while we install the concrete blocks.  Lafarge … Continue reading

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Cat Man

Digging is progressing well.  No hurtles or stumbling blocks.  Speaking of blocks, my geotech is insisting I need them in the areas that are vertical.  All the digging crew and other contractors that have stopped by are laughing at may … Continue reading

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Getting There

Sorry for the absence, it has been a very intense few days. As I wrote on Saturday, the excavate accidentally tore a big hole in the tarp.  I had to figure out how to repair and to also raise it … Continue reading

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Family help

Hey folks, just a quick update as not a lot has happened. Yesterday my nephew Jonathan came by and helped me stack the remaining salvaged cedar siding onto the roof of the storage container and the final salvaged ceiling joists … Continue reading

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Rip-Roaring Time

Well today started out so well (even though I was only working with 4-5 hours of sleep).  I go an early start and was making excellent progress in cutting back away from Ron’s house footings, undercutting by the NW tree, … Continue reading

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Admission

Just another quick note tonight. There were several times today when I felt like I was out of my league and wondering what I was doing.  I felt like things were going to fall apart (literally – I thought the … Continue reading

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Low Ceiling

As they say in the aviation industry, today had a low ceiling. I started the day at 7AM with a call from the excavator.  He was going to send a truck, but I had nothing to load and really needed … Continue reading

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Started

Well today officially started the excavation and therefore the construction.  And it started bright and early.  Park mentioned they would be around at 8:30 this morning so I set the 7:30 alarm intending to have breakfast and then getting setup … Continue reading

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Not yet

Today came and went and still no digging.  Yes I am perturbed and loosing patience.  But the contractor is providing plausible reasons why they could not make it and Parm even stopped by tonight to survey what needs to be … Continue reading

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Tomorrow may finally be dig day.

As you can tell by the web cams, the excavator did not arrive today – something about needing to finish grading the bottom of an excavation and a problem with ground water and lack of pump. So I spent the … Continue reading

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Cameras and Update – The dig is scheduled.

Sorry for the down shed cam folks.  I thought the network cable to it was damaged yesterday while raising a corner of the tarp, but it looks like the actual unit is malfunctioning for non-related reasons.  I have asked FOSCAM … Continue reading

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Tarp Raising

Well – it took the better part of 5 days but the tarp is up.  I tensioned the last point this morning. This has been an interesting process full of frustration and learning.  First thing learned is just how heavy … Continue reading

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Wildest Dreams

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined how much work it is to put up a tarp this size.  I heavily under estimated the time to install.  I figured it would take the better part of a day.  … Continue reading

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Sail Away

Spent the entire day trying to tame a sail that Christopher Columbus would be proud of and ended the day with 6 points of attachment and none of them fully tensioned. 2 of the attachment points are neighbour’s trees so … Continue reading

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Movie Theatre

It was a busy day. I started at 8 AM trying to use Alfie to excavate around the tree where the blocks are going to go.  After 4 hours, I had hardly made a dint due to the hard-pan (small … Continue reading

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Salvaged Materials

Now that the house is gone, I thought I would document the materials I salvaged and will keep and re-use. This leaves the material I salvaged and then gave away.  The next photo is a collage of just some of … Continue reading

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Its Gone!

While the house was officially down on Aug 5, I can now report that the house is now officially gone.  I finished loading the last of the concrete into the truck at 1:10 PM today and the truck was picked … Continue reading

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Almost gone!

Parm from Diamond 11 Excavating arrived today with a big-ass yellow truck.  It was the size I was expecting so it was a good thing I moved the concrete and built a ramp yesterday.  He gave me about 2-1/2 hours … Continue reading

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Heavy Haul

Today’s description is easy – I moved concrete.   Speaking with the trucker, it sounded like he was going to be bringing one of the big demolition trucks instead of just a pup dump truck trailer.  This would present two problems; … Continue reading

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Good Bye E

Reasonable productive day considering the rain.  Took care of some chores in the early morning and then headed off to city hall.  I was too late to ask the building inspector questions (need to be there 8 -9:30 AM) but … Continue reading

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A shack to not be proud of.

Today had an accelerated start.  I came out at 8:30 to put the garbage out and received a call advising that the surveyors were on the way.  I was not expecting them till the afternoon and still had two batten … Continue reading

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Change in Tide

Well I did it – I was able to string two productive and positive days together. Sunday comprised of office work in the morning (organizing web-cam photos) and then a dump run, a drop off to a Craigslist respondent, and … Continue reading

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Lucky

I continue to be amazed that we never had an electrical fire in the old house.  Here is another example of a wire where the insulation has completely burned off the conductor.  This was a closet light that was used … Continue reading

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A tragedy

I was informed last night that the person I have hired for the excavation had a close family member pass away yesterday.  My heartfelt condolences go out to Parm and his family. As a result, Parm was understandably off line … Continue reading

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Act Three

Well, I am not sure that this play will end up being a dark comedy or a tragedy, but today certainly offered comic relief. I started the day in the office updating various parties on the current situation on site … Continue reading

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Double trouble

I do not seem to be able to string two good days together, but boy can I get a roll off poor ones lined up. Based on my description of Alfie’s arm weakness, they agreed it was most likely a … Continue reading

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Cursed

I would love to be able to string at least two days in a row that are productive and without challenge.  Today was not one of those days. The ICF shipment continues to be cursed.  The pickup did not happen … Continue reading

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House is down!

Almost three months after starting this process with the removal of the kitchen cabinets, I can officially say that today at 4:12 PM, the house was officially and completely down. I spent the morning finishing the preparations for the storage … Continue reading

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Calm before the storm

Today was a generally low key day.  It started at 11 when a nice chap came by to pick up some plywood.  I then worked on the site cleaning up and stacking lumber.  I figured out the space needed for … Continue reading

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Holiday Weekend

I have generally been good about not making a lot of noise on Sunday’s and have generally spent the day doing office work and some site work like cleanup and the like.  But an event on Friday indicates I will … Continue reading

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Bobcat Deconstruction

A family member had expressed disappointment the last time I used Alfie to tear down the office as they wanted to watch live. So this time I filmed a little of the dismantling of the bedroom to capture for all … Continue reading

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Lafarge becomes a sponsor

Well, we are one day closer to excavation but still have one wall standing. The morning was spent in the office planning the logistics for Tuesday’s delivery of 21 skids containing 37K lbs of ICF block. I looked at having … Continue reading

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One Wall Standing

Well I tried.  I really wanted the house down and gone by the end of the month but it looks like I will be a day or two late. The house has won again.  I was able to proceed on … Continue reading

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Almost Gone

Today capped off a couple of productive days. Yesterday I did manage to get most of my list completed including lifting up most of the hardwood floor in the bedroom, removing all drywall and making a combined run with John … Continue reading

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Overheated!

With a high of 868 watts per square meter of solar energy today and a UV index of 6.25, I felt every radiating watt! Alfie developed troubles around 5:10 PM with the indication he was going to overheat.  I decided … Continue reading

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We are finally legit!

This afternoon I finally finished the re-configuring of the tree protection fencing.  This has been an outstanding task since the root spading was done a week and a half ago.  This completes the last thing I believe was outstanding with … Continue reading

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