Sunday, October 28, 2007

back up the hill

It has been a wild week here in San Diego--fires across the county (and all through SoCal) have been raging. On Monday, news accounts threatened that this year's fires could be "worse than the Cedar Fire." The air was thick with ash, and evacuation noticed displaced half a million people as the Santa Ana winds moved flames quickly through the region. Again, the fires threatened Julian. But, for one more time this year, the fires were only a threat and not a reality in Julian.

On Saturday, the evacuation order was lifted, and we went back up the hill to work on the house so more.

The day was beautiful--the view out the back windows is glorious this fall. We did some little bits: bolting the beams to the steel columns, adding a few rafters, adding more brackets to the side walls to catch more rafters, and adding plywood sheathing to the east wall.
The best part of the day, though, was on the ride home--we spotted a glorious rainbow out over the desert. We pulled over to look, and the scenic viewpoint just south of the house. The rainbow stretched all the way across the sky.
As we stood looking, little drops of rain started falling on us. As if to say that God's promise is still with us--we will not be completely destroyed. Both for folks whose homes were spared and for those who suffered loss this year, I take the rainbow as a reminder to claim hope.
The work will continue next weekend--anyone up for some building?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

it looks a house!

Here's the progress as of Saturday evening. There are still a bunch of rafters to install. And plywood sheathing on the house and roof, but the shape looks like a house. :)

On Friday, a wonderful crew of folks came up to help work with the crane to put the walls Dad's been building in place. (And a few beams, too.)

Thanks to Josh, Andrew, Don and Jay for their help. With Dad, Matt and I, and a patient crane operator named John, it was a wonderful crew.
You can see a little video of the action here. We edited out the *long* pauses to make things fit right.

Everyone worked hard on tall ladders to make everything fit together.
Our last "lift" of the day was the ridge beam that will hold the roof in place. With Don guiding the crane, it fit neatly into the frame of the house. All is well.

Today (Saturday), Matt and I, Phil and Shan, Dad and Jay worked on setting some of the rafters in place. That ridge beam is really high. We made Matt climb the ladder. (And tie a rope around his waist and to the beam!)
With a little ingenuity and teamwork, we devised a workable method for hoisting the rafters up all that height. Hooray for ropes.

It was a day of good teamwork. Nearly half of the rafters are up, the walls are all plumb, and the frame should be secure. Dad heard a forecast of "hurricane strength" Santa Ana winds, so we put a few extra nails in...We worked 'til dark (and, well, a little past.) Enough to get the worklights up to help illuminate the nailing-in of the last rafters to go up.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

crane day, revised

Just in case you've been waiting with bated breath...

The crane is coming TOMORROW!!!! (That's Friday. The 19th.)

We're gonna have a work party up there to make it all happen. You can come play, if you want. Or, you can come Saturday. We'll work then, too. ;)

(And, in case you're a word nerd, I looked up "bated breath," 'cause I didn't want to misuse it. I'd have spelled it "baited breath," which doesn't really make so much sense to me. Turns out, it's "bated." Like "abated." Like you've stopped breathing until the moment when you'd know when the crane was coming... Not like you've hung a crane out there like "bait" to draw the folks up the hill to Julian.)

Friday, October 05, 2007


Today, the Dixieline truck delivered the ridge beam for the house. It's really long. And large.

Lest the story of our day seem stressful, I thought I'd start with this picture of triumph: Matt and Dad standing with their successfully off-loaded beam, in a location that will not block the crane we hope will arrive to set it in place.
We arrived just after the delivery truck. The whole reason for our early departure was so that wouldn't happen. (But I'm just not good at mornings...) Luckily, the big, long beam was still on the truck. There were negotiations about where and how to drop it. Proposal one was to aim it downhill, out the way of the street. The wise delivery man nixed that plan. "There's no way I'm gonna let that thing go down hill!" he said.
A second plan seemed better: lay it next to the old, burned electrical pole, out of the way of the crane's perch and out of the street. I continue to be impressed with Dixieline truck maneuverings. Today was no disappointment...
even if the final solution was to just heave the beam off the side of the truck. Here it is mid-fall. Dad's watching carefully, though I'm not really sure what he could have done if it had all gone wrong. ;)
Here's more careful supervision of Matt's activities, as Matt trims the ends of some other beams to the right angle and length. With a chainsaw. We're thinking that if this Mechanical Engineering thing doesn't work out, chainsaw sculptures of little bears could be a real possibility. Such precision.
And, speaking of precision, I thought we should show off Dad's impressive pile of carefully-built walls. They're stacked in the house, waiting for the crane.
Don't they look great?!?!

Now, we just need to arrange for the crane. October 20 is our target date. Anyone want to come for the fun?