Friday, October 03, 2008

how'd it get to be fall?

This summer has been a slow one for progress on our project, but, as you can see, Dad's notebook is open...
He and I made a trip up the mountain today, to bring another load of trash down and to meet with someone who's going to help us with the plumbing rough-in.  

Here's my view of the pile of wood we left in the green-recycling area of the landfill.  We only barely made it in before closing time--the shut the gate behind us.  I'm thinking this pile of wood (including the last of the plywood forms from concrete work!!) looks awfully good in the mirror.  As we pull away.
I had some extra time today, waiting for the plumbing help, and played with my new camera and some of the little bits around the house.  I think shims look pretty cool.
One of the happiest moments of the day, though, was when the black water tank in our trailer emptied into the septic tank.  We had a bit of a clog.  Now, there's hope for the trailer--that it can once again be a refuge and not a trauma...
We went up the hill last week, too--for clean-up and weed clearing.  My parents were in town, so they joined in on the fun.
It's not every tourist who gets a trip to the county landfill on his visit.  (The moms and I went to the Julian Apple Festival instead.)
Here's our little work crew for the day, on our front porch.  Which happens to be a pretty nice place to sit, even on a hot day.
Doesn't the house and garage look good?
Here's my view from inside.  I got into the corner to catch as much of it as possible.  I'm thinking it could be fun to try to track the progress from there.  :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

building in, hauling out

On Memorial Day, we made another trek up the hill, after a bit of a break.  It's hard for me to describe just how good it feels to drive up to something that looks like a house.  It's so much nicer than holes.  Or concrete block foundations.  Or even a frame of a house.  

Since I was up last, Dad went up a bunch of times with the HVAC people.  Now there are more ducts.  And a giant contraption down in the crawl space.

Here's Emily and Dad, admiring some ductwork.
Emily and I built some little walls to hide the duct that goes up to the second floor.  We'd been hopeful that we could skip this little step, and somehow fit the duct into the wall.  We underestimated the size of these things--they're big ol' ducts.  But now they're encased in little walls.
We followed it upstairs, too, adding a little wall into the closet.  Someday in the future, we'll have to figure out the walls above the closet and over to the bathroom.
While Emily and I were making walls, Mom and Dad did some heroic cleanup work, hauling a pickup load's worth of old wood down to fuel a neighbor's fireplace in El Cajon.  The scariest moment was when they *finally* got to the bottom of the pile of stuff on the garage side, and wondered what creatures might be lurking under that last board.  Happily, nothing of significance was there.
We hauled it away from the side.
Just look how clean this area is now--I think it's been 3 years since it looked anything like this!  :)  The Julian neighbors seemed happy about these efforts, and even volunteered to help with our weeds.
Plus, in honor of Grandpa, we set up a little low-impact watering system for the apple trees we planted just before Matt left.  Buckets, with little holes in the bottom.  Hopefully, these will help us keep the trees happy without using too much water (or requiring too many trips up the hill!).
What do you think of our new, orange-buckety landscape?
I found a new favorite wildflower growing.
And, just wanted to share, again, the glory of the garage, in all the glory of its near-complete exterior.
We built that!

Friday, April 04, 2008

in living color

Check it out: the house is painted!  It looks beautiful--the siding and stonework are all done, and (except for the door) the paint is, too.
It looks lovely, and complete.  Like this house is a very real possibility.

Thanks to everyone who's helped us get to this point.  It feels really good.  Maybe today is a good time to remember where we were just a year ago.  Or more
The back was is particularly stunning--it looks great in the afternoon sun.
Roger and Larry, who have been working on the house, are definitely the stand-around-and-look-at-it-all-while-having-a-beer-and-talking kind of guys, so they seemed fine with our stop by for a look-around.
I think the little rectangles for vents are particularly nice bits of the stonework.  See:
We watered the little apple trees, too; they have more signs of growth.
Some of Nona's old daffodils were blooming on the west edge of the property.  The looked good in the sun.
And, though we still have a ways to go with our yucky, full septic tank, we heard some movement when we tried emptying it today.  Not all that we might have hopeful for, but it was something.  We added more enzymes, and will hope for even more next time!  (Note to those with trailers: empty your tank regularly.  A full, stopped-up waste tank is really, really gross.)
We also stopped by Jerry's, who has had our HVAC system for 3 years now, waiting to install.  They were glad to see us.  ;)  And, plan to start work installing the system next week!
The weirdest thing we saw, though, was this remote control weed trimmer, which we passed on the way to Jerry's.  It turns out there really are professional applications of skills gained playing with RC cars...
Of course, there's still lots of work to do (like, um, plumbing, and electrical work, and interior walls and ceiling and flooring, for example), but I'm very happy tonight, basking in what's already been done.  :)  

Sunday, March 23, 2008

it looks like a *real* house!

I haven't been up to see the house in person for a bit now, but the pictures are sure looking great...  The siding is all up, the awning over the garage doors is finished, and the rock siding is looking good.  Check it out!

Next week: the painting begins.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

outward progress

It's looking good up in Julian, as the folks we hired to put up siding are hard at work.  And, the guy who's putting the rocks around the bottom level of the house has started making a pile to work from.  Here's our current pile of Julian schist, waiting to be adhered to the house.
The front is mostly done, and looks great--and the lower parts of side #1 are done, too.  I think it makes the house look a whole lot bigger.  We (Mom and Dad, Phil, Matt and I) stopped by the house after a hike, on our last whole day together before Matt's deployment.  It was good to see how the house is moving along.
Here's Mom, surveying the action (well, really, the discussion going on amongst the guys).
Matt ordered some apple trees to plant on the property; they came in last week, and so we thought a swell last project before deployment would be planting them.  We look forward to seeing how tall they are when he's back!  (Though, I should add, it's totally okay if he gets sent home before they've had much chance to grow.)  I wonder how long it will be before we get to taste the apples: Gala, Fuji, Delicious, William's Pride and Cripps Pink (which, Wikipedia tells me, is also known as Pink Lady, should you want to avoid apples that sound oddly like gang colors).
With all the little trees planted, we took a bit of time inside, to enjoy how good things look.  Thanks to everyone who's been helping--it looks really wonderful.
Now, it can be time for more of the plumbing fun Dad started, and wiring, too...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

unexpected snow

Unexpected snow came to the mountains this Thursday--and left more ice and snow on the road than any of us remembers.

Matt, Dad and I drove up Friday.  Here's Lake Cuyamaca in the snow.

The lake is growing from this winter's rain and snow--it looks good.

By the end of the day, the roads were getting crowded with SoCal folks out for a little snow adventure.  This family was loading up a truck full.
The snow went all the way down toward the desert--you can see it on the flat part of Banner Grade (to the left).  The view was clear--all the way to the Salton Sea (on the right in the distance).
I don't think we've show a picture of the front door, but here's one: of Dad shoveling the front porch.
We needed to put some siding boards out by the street, so they can be exchanged for others.  Matt and Dad built a little platform for them, away from the snow.
And, increasingly, away from the mud.  The snow was melting quick--it was warm in the sunshine!
I, however, avoided such difficult work.  Instead, I built a snow-builder, hoping this addition to our crew might get some work done on our behalf.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

a long while and a long ladder

It's perhaps only marginally fair that my first post after a long break would feature pictures of Emily and me...we haven't been the ones working up there the most. 

BUT, the last time we were up there, we went up tall, tall ladders.  And just wanted you to see.

We were working on making sure the nailing was good on all the plywood sheathing on the house, before our shear wall inspection.  Which, happily, we've since passed.

We're also more confidently sure that hiring someone else to put the housewrap and siding on is a fabulous idea.  ;)
Since that day, Dad has been working lots, on the plumbing and more--making sure all the holes that need to poke through the house get poked through before we put siding on.  (Vents and such.) 

It's exciting to see the house all closed in and window-ed up.  Isn't the kitchen window lovely?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

windows on the world

Tonight, I can cross off one of the items on my list of "Things We Need to do That Scare Me":
the big windows are installed on the back wall of the house.

We took advantage of some extra help today, and lifted them into place.  ("We" is used with some privilege.  I just took pictures and tried to remain calm.  When I went to the Julian hardware store to buy more staples today, the total came to $6.66.  The saleswoman assured me that this was only a problem for people who are superstitious.  She said that even after I told her that the staples were part of an effort to hang really big, heavy windows up high on a house.)

Don't they look glorious?

For context, I thought I'd throw in this shot of the effort to carry the kitchen garden window from the garage--it both marks the labors of carrying all those windows from the garage, and shows off the roofing and the landscaping...  The dirt is still in place, even after 6-8 inches of rain over the weekend.  This is a very good thing.  I threw the rest of the wildflower seed we had down on our new dirt, hoping it will continue to hold in place for a good long while!
Here's the window-hanging team, putting window #5 into place. 
Now the big, heavy french doors...but that's for another day.  ;)