Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sept 30th - Stackin' Logs

Pat and I have spent the day putting more and more logs up and now we are up high enough that the material handler is crucial in getting the job done. With a heavy nylon strap, the log hangs from the end of the forks and we guide the holes we drill in the logs onto the all thread. It works well and the fit on the dovetails on the corners of the building is nothing short of a miracle. For being in storage for the last 5 years and standing in the Mississippi River Valley for another 150 years, they stack quite nice. Peeling the logs and drilling them is tough work. We are on the 4th course now with the last 2 rows to go up soon. The next course we will have full length logs that will tie the entire cabin together. When the all-thread is cut in sections, we have to rethread the cut-end with a die so that the nuts and couplers thread on easily. It takes, time, patience, some forethought, muscle and a little bit of luck...

Sept. 29th - Rafters Up

It's been an amazing week weatherwise as well as progress. The full Autumn colors are surrounding Rico and it is incredibly beautiful. Greenbay and Joe made some great progress and have probably close to 1/2 the rafters up. Perhaps in a week or 2 we can have this portion of the house dried in. Working with varying dimensions on old lumber can be very challenging, but the roof framing looks great and dimensions are right on. They are doing a great job.

Pat and I continue on the logs for the garage. We now have all our all-thread, couplers, nuts and washers. It's tedious work preparing each log to be installed. First, the old bark and old powder post beetle damage must be removed. We use a draw knife for peeling off the majority of bark. The powder post beetle damage is nearly always in the white area of the log just under the layer of bark. A grinder with a wire wheel works great to further clean and prepare any powdery or soft layer of wood that need removed from the top and bottom of the logs. The all thread sections are added as we need them and the higher we go the tougher it gets with lifting and setting the logs in place. Using this system with washers and nuts we can adjust the height of each log. As you can see from the photo, some of the chinking is as tall as 6" in between the logs.
Each log has one or two 7/8" holes that we have to drill the entire depth of the log. Some of the holes are 18" in depth and deeper than the length of our drill bit. These require measuring and drilling from the opposite side. We use construction adhesive and Ollees on each corner to fasten each log to the one below by fastening it through the end of the dovetail. Tommorrow we'll have to use scaffolding for lifing the logs up and into place. Only 6 courses of logs are used on this red oak cabin, as the depth of the logs are 2-3 times those on the aspen cabin, which used 14 courses

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sept 28th - Movin' On

Moving day today...moving lumber once again. I decided that since we won't have the material handler forever, I need to get all my lumber situated on the lot and it looks like the front of the house on the area over the leach field is the best spot. The old Dodge Power Wagon on my trailer starts up amazingly and I park it next to Joe's old trailer.

Pat and I spend the entire day moving and organizing bunks of lumber as well as the crates of doors and windows in such a way that we will have easiest access to the material when we need it. My heavy trailer really comes in handy for getting the job done.

Brian, from Colorado Fasteners, makes a delivery late in the afternoon with our all thread and so tommorrow we will be back on the logs again. Some delays on the framing the roof with the rafters, but hopefully we will have the rafters up tommorrow so I can start the decking.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sept 27th - Beam Me Up!

What a gorgeous day and 75 degrees is the high. A beautiful clear blue sky, by far the best week we have had since I’ve been here. Pat and I continue on the logs at what seems a snail's pace and yet we are staying busy on the south area of the logs. Our all-thread was supposed to arrive today, but didn’t. I will have to go to Telluride at noon tomorrow to meet the truck and get what we need to continue up with the logs. Luckily Tom Bennet had a few 10’ sticks, which we cut in 3rds to start on the south wall, lots of holes to drill and some careful fitting to get the cabin all back together. Some of the spaces between logs are nearly 6” and will require a lot of work to prepare them for chinking.

Greenbay and Joe have started on the roof framing and carefully measure and cut the main ridge beam and mid-span beam over the north bedroom. Won’t be long and we will be ready to put up rafters for the roof. Its takes all 4 of us to get the ridge beam into place using nylon straps, ladders and planks.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sept 26th - Logs, Of Course

The weather is holding and thank God it's not raining. It’s quite cold in the mornings but by lunch time we are down to T-shirts and we all are very much enjoying the sunshine. It does wonders for how much you can get done.

Pat and I started on the laying down the first course of logs for the garage. It’s a tricky thing to get started as the bottom row or courses of logs have to fit flat against the foundation wall or the 6x6’s we have installed on the south and north walls. Each wall has been stacked and banded with the bottom log on top and since I had already stacked the logs once back in Iowa, I know how they go together.

These are especially heavy logs, originally cut 150 years ago in the Mississippi Valley near Quincy, Illinois. The logs are red oak, dense and hard. A 6’ long log weighs around 200 pounds! Each log has to be cut to length for new and old window and door openings. The logs never had the bark removed and because of this the powder post beetles had infested the bark as well as just under the bark layers. Using a wire brush disc on the end of a grinder, we remove the powdery and bark surfaces from the top and bottom of the logs.

Next we mark where the holes must be drilled and using Pat’s heavy duty drill and a 16” drill bit we have to drill holes in the area that the all thread will run. This involves drilling some difficult and lengthy holes in each log. Each log, after drilling has to have the bottom surface cut to fit against the bottom plate. This takes considerable time and effort, If you can imagine cutting a 6” nail infested oak timber it's entire length. After hitting a couple of nails while cutting, the carbide saw blade has been destroyed. I am bone tired by the end of the day from lugging and lifting the logs.

Greenbay and Joe have built the entire east wall of the north bedroom. This one wasn’t easy and had to be built in place using scaffolding and ladders. It takes good concentration and a concerted effort to figure the details out before building. Tomorrow they should be ready for installing the ridge and mid-span beams.

Pat also came across my glasses today dropped inside some bunched up plastic. I was glad to find them.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sept 25th - Blog on

Pat and I are down at the yard treating the lumber that needs attention. He has a mixture of Clorox and water spraying some of the moldy boards that didn’t get covered and got wet over the last 2 months. I have a brush and go after the oak material that I found had powder post beetle problems with the Boracare. By 3 pm we have restacked and stickered much of the piles of lumber and reorganized it so it will be easier to get out with the forklift. We have to make room on the hill above the house soon as we will only have the forklift for 3 more weeks.

The weather forecast looks good now for at least 10 days. Joe and Greenbay are completing the many small areas of framing we needed on the first floor as well as completing the nailing of the OSB.

Alpine lumber was supposed to show by noon and instead dropped by at 6:30. Tomorrow we have enough material to complete the framing for the 2nd floor walls and hopefully the 2 remaining outer walls will get framed.

Pat and I finish out the afternoon preparing the garage with logs. I’ve actually pulled out the first log that I know will need to be cut flat on the bottom, patched a rotten area and glued and screwed in a new piece to replace the rotten cut out. This log is only 5’ long and takes two guys to handle, solid oak 6’ x 15”!

I’ve lost my glasses somewhere along the way and rewalk everywhere I was today with no luck; my glasses may be gone for good…I hope they turn up.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sept 24th - Sort of Lumber

With yet another beautiful day, I spend the entire day at the lumber yard, sorting and restacking the lumber. We will need the 1” thick oak barn boards for decking the roof within a couple of weeks. There are 4 large stacks and since they have been wet a time or two, I cut the steel bands and start restacking the lumber using sticker material. Stickers space the lumber apart allow the boards to dry out and keep air flowing in and around the lumber. It also stabalizes the stacks from falling over. I take out any moldy lumber as well as any of the lumber infested with powder post beetles.

I use Joe’s old trailer frame to spread the material out ready for spraying. I’ve sorted and stacked nearly 12 bunks of lumber at the end of the day. Once again the material handler has been great for moving and sorting the stacks.

Hagen has returned this morning to stack concrete block on the 2nd floor for continuing the chimney on up and beyond the roof. He has also added the first chimney tile, hopefully within a week or 2 we can have a fire!

Sept 23rd - Welcome Sunshine!

A warm sunny day all day.

I drop off the all-thread couplers at Tom Bennets and pick them up later once he has welded nuts on the end. This will help me use a smaller thread size on the all threads we will use to attach the logs together.

We’ve removed the plastic tarps from the concrete to let them dry out even further. We remove the forms from the slabs we poured a couple of days ago.

Hagen is back today and begins tile construction on the fireplace. We have to get the stove pipe tied into the chimney at this point and the two elbows I bought yesterday work perfectly for the job.

I have reinforced the south wall of the mechanical room with more studs to help hold the weight of the concrete slab and the steel balcony. I have also filled in framing on the south wall to get the correct rough in sizes on the door and window on this wall. Joe and Greenbay have framed the two north walls upstairs for the 2 bedrooms and begin on the east wall. In a few days we should be ready for beams and rafter and soon a roof.

I have cut a hole in the 2nd floor around the chimney. Mike will continue another 20’ overhead with the concrete block all the way above the peak of the roof. Before I leave, I have pulled off the form on the south side of the garage slab and find a small void under the tin we laid down. I end up using the leftover mortar Hagen left to begin filling the void.

It's great that it won’t be snowing tonite.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sept 22nd - Winter Snow on 1st Day of Fall

It's dark outside when I wake up sometime during the wee hours and it’s raining. I go back to sleep and wake up at dawn only to see snow on the ground and more coming. I decide to go to Cortez today for supplies and think I'd better leave early as the snow is now really coming down and very wet.

I don’t see the tracks in the snow in our front yard, but Lynn tells me tonite that Cody, our landlord, saw them this morning. We had a visitor in the night…a large cat…and not the household kind. Yes, we had a mountain lion walk through the yard last night.

The snow is heavy down the canyon to the county line and then lightens up with only sleet and rain. I make a stop to pick up the manifold for my water system, some stove pipe parts we will need for tying the wood stove into the fireplace chimney, my usual trip to Belt Salvage where I pick up all thread couplers which are 1/10th the price of new ones. We will use these in assembling the garage log cabin. Also 2 plastic scoop snow shovels which DD has recommended (snow doesn’t stick to 'em). A trip to WalMart and I find a better work coat, a shirt and some waterproof insulated boots…and an electric heater to keep the cabin from freezing.

I stop and pick up the old ranch house rocker I bought several weeks ago from an antique shop. John Green helps me load the rocker. He asks me if I am related to the Butlers around here. He knew my uncle well…”You know where I picked this old rocker up?” he asks. I would love to know (it makes for good stories). This rocker I took as trade for making Linda Gray some cabinet handles out of railroad spikes…you remember Linda Gray aka Sue Ellen Ewing on the hit TV drama, Dallas. Turns out she has a ranch up on the west fork of the Dolores River. I love the old red rocker with dates, initials and brands carved into the arms and seat.

I’ve gone to Cortez to drop off my diesel Dodge to have it fixed......again. It has lost power since I had it worked on a few weeks ago. While it's being fixed, they drop me at WalMart. I call my cousin, Grace, and she comes to pick me up and takes me to her friend Pete’s house. I enjoy my visit, seeing his shop and his metal handiwork around the house. He has some great ideas for tables, beds and lamps.

Grace takes me back to the dealer and I pick up the truck. Grace has agreed to let me store the rocker in her old restored cabin. It’s a great home for it until I get the house completed.

Back in Dolores I stop at my 2nd cousin’s house. I haven’t see Dottie in 8 years. I have a great visit with her and neighbors and now back to Rico.

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Sept 21st - Mayor Joe is in the House

We’ve spent the morning dissassembling tents, sweeping off slabs and removing melting snow and standing water on the 2nd floor. There is mud everywhere and the 4” is melting quickly.

Joe has just taken on the job of Rico mayor…congratulations Joe?! He is replacing the former mayor, who resigned several months ago, and will finish out the term.

Joe and Greenbay begin framing the west wall of the north upstairs bedroom. The top of the vaulted ceiling area of the wall is nearly 18’ high. DD helps me cover lumber and concrete with 2 layers of plastic.

This morning the slabs are still putting off heat from the calcium. The patios are still soft and luckily with a wire brush I can put the broom finish back on the areas that were marked from draped plastic.

Meanwhile, Pat has taken the material handler and we begin moving the lumber we need to the back of the alley. We moved the complete set of logs that will become the garage walls to where they will be handy when we install them. Some of the heavy oak logs weigh as much as 400 lbs each. Pat has also moved the old rafters up from the lumber yard as well as the ridge beams required for the rafters.

By 5:30 we are ready to stand the completed wall up. It takes all of us to stand it up and we brace the wall with diagonal braces to keep it upright. Pat and I have drilled and bolted the treated 6 x 6’s down on to the north and south foundation walls of the garage. We are ready for logs. We cover up with plastic and sheets of OSB; another winter storm is forecast for tonight.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sept 20th - Concrete in the Rain & Snow

What a change in the weather, summer to winter in one day; Joe calls me this morning to see if we want to go ahead with the pour. The sky is completely clear and yet the radar shows it's coming. The next few days don’t look so good, so we decide to go ahead with it.

Seven yards of concrete coming and 4 different pours…The largest is the garage pour and then we have 2 separate patios. We are also helping out my neighbor, Dean, by pouring 4 soni-tubes for him in return for his time on his mini-excavator when getting our electric line in. I am happy to help him out. Mark Sumner, who runs the Enterprise Bar here in Rico, knows his concrete. Between Mark and Pat, they keep the rest of us rolling in getting the pour done.

Within a few hours we have the slabs poured, but we are far from completion. Most of the crew breaks for lunch and it’s cloudy with some major rain clouds developing quickly. I have enough time to inhale a peanut butter sandwich before the wind comes up strong and I, knowing we have some challenges ahead, head back to the cabin in a hurry. The rain is begninning and we cover the wet slab.

The rain lets up long enough for Mark to run the long floats across the slab, but now the rain starts up again and is coming stronger. Quickly the crew pulls it together and builds a tent across the entire slab. Mark, DD and Pat are under the tent hand-finishing the slab. Greenbay, Joe and I, being the less experienced with flatwork, do what we can to keep the leaks plugged and attend to what the rest of the crew needs. It is definitely a group effort and everyone pulls their weight and soon the rain turns to snow with large white flakes and slushy snow landing all over our tented tarps.

Greenbay has done an amazing job in keeping things dry on the upstairs floor. It's an endless job trying to keep the drips stopped. It’s total slop outside with mud everywhere and very challenging to get a decent finish in the rain and snow. The temperature has dropped at least 20 degrees in the last few hours. It will definitely freeze tonight, but the catalyst in the concrete produces enough heat that it won’t freeze, however, the next few nights it will have to be covered.

Pat does a broom finish on the south slab and Mark has completed the final finish on the garage slab. I put the final broom finish on the north slab and it's time to go home. It's raining again and I go next door in the cold wet dreary weather and hose my pants and boots off to remove the concrete and mud debris clinging to my clothes. A hot shower will feel good.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Snow in Rico!

Snow on September 20th. We were expecting rain but had no idea it would turn to snow.

Enjoy these photos of our snow covered peaks.

Sept 19th - East Wall Is Up

An incredibly sunny warm day with a clear blue sky; it truly feels like summer.

Pat and I start the day by laying down the insulation blanket in the garage area. The 3’ wide rolls have an adhesive edge along one side so you can overlap them. This keeps the moisture out and the heat in once the slab is heated.

DD has been cutting rebar for us and then cuts all the steel for the two patios on the north and south side of the house. Once all the steel is tied in a grid for the garage floor, we begin rolling out the heating tubing which will be buried in the concrete. We have had to add lumber forms along the south side of the garage since we are pouring a slab over the bathroom and mechanical room. Once poured, we can actually begin constructing the log cabin structure that will become the garage.

Meanwhile, Greenbay and Joe are busy framing the south wall of the 2nd floor and by mid-afternoon the 5 of us are ready to stand the wall up. They also complete the framing for the east wall of the sun room. The south wall is a heavy sucker and nearly 30’ long but within a minute we have it up and nailed in place. I have taken some photos of the view from the windows.

Pat and DD have completed the forms for the patio. We are ready for concrete. We have had a long productive day and have 7 yards of concrete ordered for tomorrow morning.

A prototype of an invention I have created arrived last week and so tonite after work I have gone down to Tom Bennet’s shop to have him do some fabrication and modification on the project for me. Dylan also works for Tom who is one of the most talented metal fabricators I’ve seen. I hope my son, Jens, gets to visit his shop sometime and see some of his blacksmithing work in progress.

When I arrive home, Lynn tells me she has been watching the weather and after viewing it myself, I decide I should go cover things up, but only after one of Lynn's superb dinners. I appreciate so much all that she does for me, with taking care of me and doing so much of the paperwork…thanks Lynn.

The Weather Channel shows it will be raining all over Colorado tomorrow. I call Greenbay and he comes back down to the jobsite and after about an hour in the dark with only a light bulb we have it all covered, enough that we hope things won’t get too wet. It’s been a long day and I am beat.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sept 18th - 2nd Floor Framing Begins!

Fabian and Dylan are filling the holes around the soni tubes at the front of the house. Fabian has stacked the large rocks laying in the street up nicely into a retaining wall on Silver Street . When completed, they go to the alley and now begin filling the cavity between the newly poured foundation walls with gravel. Dylan is great in spreading out the gravel we need to the perfect level we require to pour the garage floor.

Joe and Greenbay begin the exterior framing and by end of the day have laid out, framed and raised up the west gable wall on the 2nd floor. It’s exciting to see it go up. More to come.

This morning when everyone arrived we did a major cleanup and reorganization, a great way to start a Monday morning. I was glad to have the cover on as there was frost covering the plastic tarp this morning.

Pat and I begin framing the ceiling over the mechanical room and ½ bath on the first floor. We already have the cantilevered balcony in place and now we have to fill in with microlams to frame a floor that we can pour concrete over. At the end of the day Pat and I have completed the framing for this section of floor and begin to attach the old sheets of galvanized corrugated metal to the joists. We hope to have the entire floor ready to pour by Wednesday.

The weather was perfect today with a beautiful clear blue sky and Indian summer day; I hope it continues.

technorati tags:, , ,

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sept 17th - Sunny Sunday for Work

Hagen adds more courses of block to the fireplace and the block is now 6’ high.

It’s really pretty cold this morning and when I arrive on the jobsite, my first job is to uncover the upper floor by removing the plastic cover we have used to cover the entire floor. Since it rained, there are a couple of small holes in the plastic that have leaked water to the wood below. I use some housewrap tape to repair the tiny holes, so when it rains again, we won’t get so much water below. There is frost and ice all over the plastic as well as under it as I carefully remove all the plastic.

Since it's still early and Sunday morning, I want to find something quiet to do inside the cabin. I go ahead and drill the holes I will need for attaching the mantle brackets I made yesterday. I want the sun coming over the mountain to quickly dry out any remaining moisture on the decking before I start nailing the warmboard down.

By 10 a.m. the wood is dry and I start nailing down the warmboard. Lynn offers to help and shows up a bit later to help me handle the heavy sheets. We have lunch at the Argentine Grill and I pick up a left hand sheet of warm board we need to complete the job. The job goes well and by end of the day the warmboard on the 2nd floor is complete.

Lynn has moved down to the old cabin and begins removing the old chinking. Barbara Walker, a local log chinker has called and said if we remove the old chinking, her price will be much better, so Lynn has tackled the job. After a couple hours, it's pretty obvious why the price would be so much better. It's a dusty, dirty, difficult job.

I use the material handler to bring the remaining warm board off the top deck and then move it down to the lumber yard. My return trip I pick up a load of beams and bring them up to the lot; we will need them for the framing on the 2nd floor. I bring all the tools down and once again cover the floor up with plastic. It’s been a long but productive day

technorati tags:, , ,

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sept 16th - Sunshine & Snow

I am up early and on my way to Telluride to pick up sticker material for stacking lumber as well as some PVC pipe and fittings for wiring the lights in the fireplace. A stop at Timberline Hdwe and Alpine lumber and I am back by late morning.

Elevations above 11,000 feet towards Telluride are covered with the white stuff. It is beautiful. On Lizard Head Pass, Lizard Head Peak is completely obscured and it's still snowing up there. Once I hit Trout Lake it is lightly snowing on the highway all the way into Telluride. Wilson Peak, Sunshine and Sheep Mountains are covered in snow. The further north you go, there is more snow…

Hagen is stacking block for the Rumford fireplace and the PVC conduit has to be installed now before the block gets too high. A lot of forethought goes into how the lit glass blocks will be installed. I have to make a decision too on what type of mantle brackets I will use on the front of the fireplace.

My crew was all supposed to show up today, but since it was cloudy in the morning, no such luck. By noon the sky is clear blue and sunny. I have attached the steel angles to the top of the mechanical room south wall as well as the steel ledger I need for attaching the floor joists over the bathroom. I am ready to install the cantilevered balcony that Dylan had been welding on.

With the material handler, I drive down to Fabian’s shop and with the forks I pick up the monstrous hunk of steel and drive it up the hill to the house. Coming in on the alley,I set the assembly down on the ground and have to do some grinding in a couple of spots so the bottom sits flat on the outer wall. Using nylon ratchet straps I run the bands kitty corner and with the forks I pick up the 1,000 lb balcony and extend the boom out over the mechanical room. Slowly I drop the balcony into place, tap it with the sledge a few times and then clamp it into place. I am ready for bolts. I have to drill 4 large holes for the bolts that I will use to bolt the rear bracket to the ledger I have bolted on the wall. It’s complete and ready for additional framing.

Soon we will sheet the section over the mechanical room and hopefully this week we will pour a slab over it and complete our concrete work.I now work on the mantel brackets and I have decided to use the old clod buster wheels Mark has delivered. Within a couple of hours and some serious cutting with a Sawzall and metal blades and grinding, they are completed. I will use a section of another wheel run horizontally in the stone for a place to hang fireplace tools.

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sept 15th - Unbelievably.....More Rain!!

Another rainy day in Rico. Mark and I meet at the lumber yard this morning.  It was windy in the night and one of the tarps has blown off, now more soaked and potentially moldy lumber. The banding will have to be removed and then the lumber restacked and stickered. It’s nearly impossible to keep things dry. Joe has offered to let me use the old trailer house to store some of things Mark has brought from Iowa. Mark is leaving today for Iowa and we spend the next couple of hours taking all the truck parts off my trailer and loading them onto his now empty trailer. Thank God for the material handler which saves our backs.

Mark takes off through the mountains, headed for Estes Park to visit a friend. Snow is in the forecast. When the clouds on the mountain clear there are tiny patches of white at the very top of Dolores Mountain.

Over at the house Mike the mason, is laying up the firebrick for the Rumford fireplace. Water has leaked in everwhere. I climb up on the ladder to the 2nd floor area we have tarped with plastic. To keep the plastic on, we’ve nailed down lumber to hold it in place. This creates a nice little swimming pool now holding a ½” of standing water. With the push broom, I move as much as I can by pushing it off the edge of the building.

It rains off and on all day, dries a little and then rains again. No one is working today and I figure it's time to reorganize the tools in the cabin. It takes me most of the afternoon and finally we have a little walking room. I decide to go down to the old trailer and attach a new hasp on the sliding glass door to the trailer so I can lock it. The latch for the hasp is running the wrong direction and I have to install another type. Using the same holes to attach it, I run the screws in with my drill, POWWW! The entire safety glass in the door frame explodes, my screw has hit the glass! What fun; I have to cut an old piece of plywood and screw it into place to cover the gaping hole. It’ been a fun day…

technorati tags:, , , ,

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sept 14th - More Rain Forecast

Today started out early as Lynn and I were both awake at 5 am. For 4 hours I worked on the advance forms for the loan. What a pain!

I showed up at the job this morning and rain is the forecast. Mark is there too and with Greenbay the forms are stripped of the 2x4 bracing.

Dylan was nearly finished welding one side of the platform and now it’s time to drill the holes and bolt the lintel to the concrete wall. It will serve as a ledger to set the back side of the platform on. Joe has skipped over to Telluride to pick up a roll of plastic to cover the newly placed decking above. Mike Hagen shows up to begin the building of the Rumford fireplace. By afternoon he has the base of fire brick built up at the correct level, the beginnings of a great fireplace.

The rain starts about noon and it's somewhat dry under the plastic above, but the weather has cooled off. There is snow in the forecast for tomorrow night…too soon.

Mark and I have lunch at the Enterprise and then I take him up the mountain to see some of the mines. We go all the way to the top to see the old Tram tower of the Blackhawk mine. It's tram cables reach all the way to valley floor. Later I take him down to the old abandoned Enterprise mill and show him the two open mine shafts. Back in west Rico I show him the old mine shaft and rails that go to nowhere. Mark has taken at least 120 pictures and seems to be enjoying himself. Bailey, his black Lab, is in heaven.

Back in town I close up the cabin and put tools away. I head for Fabian's Green Room and find Joe, Fabian, and Dylan discussing the platform. Dylan has completed the welding on one side and now Dave drags the entire assembly out of the garage and into the parking lot. The rain has quit for the time being. Dylan has welded two large #1 rebar in an x-pattern underneath the grates. With his backhoe bucket, he picks up the whole assembly and we flip it over on its backside so Dylan can finish the welding. We will attach a large piece of angle iron to the back side which will help strengthen the assembly and make it easy to attach the assembly to concrete wall.

Tonite, Lynn and I, Mark, Fabian and Sue have been invited to Joe and Kathy’s for dinner. We had a great relaxing and fun evening, something we all needed.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sept 13th - Garage Foundation Poured

I head for the convienence store this morning and buy 2 bottles of Clorox. Mixed with ½ water, I have sprayed the top of the floor with the bleach to make sure the mold is taken care of. It won’t take long to dry in the warm sun.

Greenbay and I are working on preparing the fireplace area for concrete. We wrap bithuthane against the exposed wood joist in the fireplace area. I have also had to drill holes for some 1” plastic conduit that will run up inside the masonry structure of the fireplace. I intend to install some antique glass bricks that will light up from the back. These will be used horizontally near the mantle of the fireplace. The conduit will be used to install the rope lights which will light the glass blocks.

Mike has cut steel for us and Greenbay ties it in. A huge load of chimney tile and concrete block arrives so Mike can begin tomorrow. The concrete truck has arrived again today and DD and Pat are now pouring the foundation wall for the garage. Once poured, the concrete truck moves around to the front and Pat pours the soni-tubes. As the concrete begins to set up, all of us pitch in to finish the top of the wall. Dylan has been helping us with the pour too. We have installed some large anchor bolts into the concrete as we will soon be ready to put up the next cabin, which will become the garage.

Dylan and I have finally gotten together to begin to assemble and weld the south cantilevered porch that will be installed over the south patio. It’s quite a monstrosity that weighs over 1,000 pounds; all made from scrap or recycled steel, including some cool old large heavy cast iron floor grates I have had in storage all these years... they will become the landing. Dylan is only 28 and is good at anything he tackles and his welding is no exception. He will put the new 220 outlet to use today with the Arc Welder. Much of the welding requires Dylan lying on the floor. By day's end the upper side of the big steel platform is nearing completion.

Greenbay, Pat and I have also completed the balance of the subfloor installation. Tommorrow we will be ready for the balance of the warmboard. Everything is covered with available tarps & plastic as it begins to rain at the end of the day. Well at least we had 2 days of sunshine.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Sept 12th - Happy Birthday, Lynn!

Greenbay and I have started laying the warm board over the log cabin. It’s been decided that we will lay the exposed ceiling/subfloor down over the kitchen and dining room. I have been concerned that once we lay the warm board over the sub floor, if it gets wet we could have potential for a mold problem between the two layers. Without the warm board down it will be difficult to start the framing so we decide to go ahead with it. We'll just have to keep it dry which is a challenging job, to say the least.

Greenbay and I have begun to look at the bunks of subfloor that I brought from Iowa. With all the rain, they have gotten wet and when we pull the bunk apart, there is some mold and much of the wood is still wet. It’s a bit discouraging and just requires more work and preparation. We have lifted up the bunk onto the area of the new cabin where we have already laid the warm board. We begin laying the long lengths and laying them in place.

My neighbor, Mark Kukuzke, has arrived from Iowa at noon. He has a few things on his trailer that will require the material handler for unloading. He has also dropped my 3 clawfoot tubs in Delta, Colorado at the tub refinisher and somehow figured a way to unload them by himself! Even with all the driving for 1250 miles, Mark pitches in to give us a hand in nailing down the new old subfloor. With the bandsaw cut side nailed downward, these old heart pine slabs look great over the top of the old rough cut beams.

DD and Pat have completed the foam forms for pouring the garage which we will pour tomorrow. Fabian and Dylan are back digging holes for the soni-tubes used in forming the footings for the porch posts at the front of house. Digging down in front of the old cabin, Fabian hits a large rock and soon retrieves the monster rock from the excavated hole. How he was able to get the rock out of the hole, I have no clue. It’s at least 3’ in diameter; we figure it should stay in the front yard since it’s too damn big to move anyway. Joe has assembled the soni-tubes onto the plastic footing bases.

Today is Lynn’s birthday and she has a surprise birthday cake at the Enterprise tonite. The place is pretty full and everyone sings Happy Birthday while she turns bright red… Happy Birthday Lynn!

technorati tags:, , , ,

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sept 11th - Scraping Ice Already

First thing this morning I jumped in the truck to start it up only to find I had to scrape ice off my windshield! It was 32 degrees this morning, but the sky was clear blue and guess what…no rain in the forecast.

Mike Hagen stops by and wants to form up the slab for the fireplace. It's time to cut a hole in the floor where the fireplace goes. With a one square foot hole cut, we look inside. When poured, the original footing was wide enough to have 4 small surrounding walls poured on top of it. With all the rain the cavity has now filled up with mold and 4” of water. We try siphoning the water out with a garden hose with no luck.

Another trip back into the crawlspace with Greenbay’s hammer drill. I have to drill a 1” hole at the base of the footing through the 8” foundation wall. Once the drill bit breaks through, the newly drilled drain hole spills water into the loose gravel of the crawl space. Back on top of the floor I cut the triangle shaped area out of the floor in the area where the masonry fireplace will be built. Mike attaches some of the steel angles onto the inside of the wall and builds forms on top of them for the new slab which we will pour later this week.

Now I have to cut a 4” hole through a 4” microlam beam at a 45 degree angle. Soon I have the hole cut and install a 10’ length of 4" pipe into the back corner of the fireplace area. This tube will become the chase for me to run in-floor heating tubing, water lines and electrical wire up to the 2nd floor. Normally this is done in a wall cavity, but since we have solid walls we have to use the pipe as a chase.

Joe has been using the material handler and unloads 2 truck loads of lumber for Cody who is building a house up at the top of Silver Street . He has also been helping Greenbay complete the floor joist framing over the cabin. He brings up the warmboard from the lumber yard so we can start first thing in getting the subfloor nailed down.

Now I have to lay out the walls so DD and Pat can put up the concrete forms. They do a great job in erecting the styrofoam forms with plastic ties. By the end of the day they have nearly completed the forms for the garage.

Greenbay and I complete the top of the cabin wall, attach the top plates and then install the microlam rim joists. Once the rim joists are in, I lay out the TJI’s.

Today we completed the framing for the 2nd floor and we are now ready for the subfloor. Thank God the weather has held, our first day in weeks without rain…

technorati tags:, , , , , ,

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sept 10th - Another Great Hiking Day

I’ve gone over to the cabin this morning to drill some of large holes needed to run the plumbing pipes through.

Lynn and Max come by a bit later and I stop work and we take off on foot over the Dolores River and up the side on an old mountain road. Not far up are the remains of another old mine shaft, complete with mining rails and mining cars down below. The entrance to shaft is partially caved in. We continue up the road.

It is a beautiful day with alternating sun and cloud cover. We never see a soul it seems when we walk and it's just good to be out in nature again. After our 3 hour walk which took us nearly to the top, we return in the rain. After a quick rinse of our muddy pooch we head off to the Argentine Grill for our weekly Sunday brunch. We will miss the hotel when it closes in 3 weeks.

Back at the cabin I continue with the plumbing for several more hours with a good part of the time spent in the crawl space while above it rains on & off all afternoon. By 5 o'clock I have completed all the drain rough-in plumbing for the first floors and have drains and vents run above the 2nd floor. I am pleased with the job and relieved to have it completed.

Since I am down in the crawl space I take the trouble light back under the newly erected cabin. When I look up I see something that I don’t like. Mold is beginning to form on the bottom side of the floor and on the soggy floor joists. It is a bit disheartening that its can creep in so fast. With a saw I mark and cut out several areas on the north and south walls for crawl space vents. They should have been installed earlier for good ventilation and I am kicking myself for not having done so. I stop off at Greenbays to borrow his fans, take them back to the house, into the crawl space and turn them on. I have to get air drying this the crawl space out just as soon as possible.

Tonight as I sit down to write, I am contacted by my good friend, Surin, from Thailand via Skype. Today I have received his Skype instant message via satellite from deep within Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. It is yet another milestone for the Western Forest Conservation Club and the country of Thailand to now have internet and satellite communications between two of Thailand ’s largest wildlife sanctuaries. Please take time to visit their great website and see what this profoundly dedicated organization is up to and be sure to read about our recent trip there in February 2006 at

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Sept 9th - Rain Again!!!

Greenbay is working on the final section of top logs on the cabin, trying to prepare it for floor joists; however the weather is not cooperating.

 Lynn and I have gone to Cortez again for our weekly shopping and to pick up my truck at the Dodge dealer. The truck has its old power again and is much easier to drive now that the engine and power steering have been repaired. I make a stop at Belt Salvage again; this time to pick up more 4” angle iron for Mike Hagen to use in building the Rumford fireplace. He has ordered material and will begin on Wednesday.

A few more stops at the hardware store and an antique shop, where I have had my eye on an old red rocking chair. It obviously has come out of an old ranch house and has many names, initials and dates carved into the arms, some of which are over 100 years old. I buy the darned thing…It’s a great old rocker and will look right at home next to a roaring fire someday in the house.

We’ve stopped by my cousin Gale’s house on the way out of town. He has donated an old weathered beam from his ranch and I will find a place to use it in the house. We take a nice walk out on the irrigation canal that runs through his ranch. What a backdrop - Mesa Verde National Park borders the south end of the ranch.

It has been sunny, but as we head up the canyon again toward Rico, it's obvious it’s raining and has been a good part of the day. Greenbay has had to stop 3 times and cover things up and finally gives up. I call Fabian to tell him I have picked up the electrical items needed to complete the 220 volt hookup he has wanted for sometime. In about 2 hours we flip the breaker and plug his wire feed welder in for a test run. Seems to work great. I have traded him the 220 hookup for some shop time use in building the steel stair landing. It won’t take much to put it together now.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sept 8th - Another Soggy Day

It has been raining all night long and it’s a muddy mess all around the house. I woke up in the middle of the night wondering (and worrying) if we would really get the roof on before winter.

It's still raining this morning. Greenbay shows up for a bit to sweep the standing water off the warm board. Everyone in Rico has been saying that they haven’t seen it this wet in years; not much of a summer.

We have concrete ordered for 2:00 and I call to cancel as it is just pouring. When the company tells me that they can’t deliver any concrete until next Wednesday I reconsider. At 1 PM I call back and let them know to go ahead with the delivery. With the weather outlook, it may be no better and we can’t wait until next week.

Everyone leaves and I head for the crawl space to begin to install the horizontal pipe runs for the 3” pipes. I have it nearly completed and need a few more fittings to do so. It rains off and on and when it does rain, the water drips through the joints on the warm board. I have my trusty rubber gloves and respirator on to deal with toxic PVC glue.

A quick lunch break and I am back on the job. By 2:30 the concrete truck arrives and Pat, DD and I make the pour for the footing. We set the vertical steel in the wet concrete after finishing off the top of the footing. It continues to rain and now picks up again once we have completed the job. We hang a piece of plastic over the vertical rebar. Pat and DD leave for the afternoon after cleaning the concrete tools off.

I head for Fabian's (workshop) green room. Now comes the time to try out my Stihl brand portable cut-off saw. It works well; a little smokey, but since I am cutting from the outside in, it dissipates quickly. I have cut the old bridge beams and another I-beam to the correct length. By the end of the day the cantilevered walkway is cut to the correct size and ready to weld.

Tonight we celebrate Lynn’s birthday on the 12th a little early at the Rico Hotel. A superb dinner as usual. I couldn't resist having the swordfish again & Lynn had the beef short ribs. A bottle of vino & of course, apple pie with a candle, for dessert. The hotel will be closing for a couple months at the end of this month & we will miss having such a great place for dinner available to us. However, the hotel closing allows us the opportunity to rent the beautiful apartment upstairs here. We will be moving one month from today. It's much more spaceous than our current digs & we can't wait!!!

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sept 7th - Hurricane John Makes a Wet Mess in Rico

The aftermath of Hurricane John continues to dump rain on Rico. With a few dry hours in the morning Greenbay and I complete the top log on the cabin’s west wall. It’s yet another tedious process that requires fitting the concave underside of the log on top to the convex surface of the log underneath. We have only a few remaining pieces long enough to complete the job.

Joe and DD have completed the forms for the garage footing which will get poured tomorrow. Pat, another Rico resident is working on tying the steel within the forms. Just a few days ago he gave me some printed history on the Rico cemetery that was very interesting.

I had heard rumors that my Great Grandather Victor Lee had been married once before and that his wife had died. He remarried my Great Grandmother Harriet Lee and had adopted her two sons, Hartley and Charles (my grandfather). No one in the family knew his first wife’s name or when she had died. The history Pat has given me yields the following information: From the Rico Sun News Obituary May 25, 1901 45 years; wife of Victor H. Lee; born Germany , to Detroit at 18, Rico in 1885…Rico News Sun May 6, 1899 , Victor H. Lee and Marie O’Morohn married Thursday. Rico News April 19, 1902 Estate Settlement…. We now know more about the details. Thanks Pat.

My neighbor, Mike Curran, who is head of the Rico Historical Society, walks across the street to visit with me. Amazingly, he produces a picture of my cabin taken in about 1920! It is exciting to see. The corner of an old Victorian House is barely visible to the north of the cabin. During excavation, we found small parts of the remains of this old house which burned to the ground years ago. My neighbor Annie’s house is also shown. The photo with numerous other photos of Rico was given to someone in Rico and was turned over to Mike for historical preservation. I’ve asked Mike to make me a copy. The photo is very clear and shows that the cabin had been recently chinked when this photo was taken in about 1920. The donor said that his grandparents had taken the photo in Rico years ago. The photo also shows a small porch and steps at the front of the cabin as well as a neat boardwalk that was the original side walk. I am tickled to see the photo. I can’t wait to get a copy! When we get the photo, we will scan it and post it on our blog…

By noon it begins to rain and after lunch I walk back to the house. Joe is figuring yardage for the concrete pour. The rain has let up some, but the mountains around are fogged in and it looks like the weather will stay put for the afternoon. With the rain slowed down and nearly stopped, I begin to work on more of the plumbing on the first floor. With a few more hours work I should have the drain lines completed in the crawl space and on the first floor.

Joe has managed to work out a deal with the electrical contractor to allow me to work with one of the electricians to do much of the rough-in work in running wire and boxes when the time comes. This should save quite a lot on labor.

The propane company has delivered the propane tank today and hooked up the gas line up to the house.

Late afternoon I stop by Fabians famed “Green Room”, the old state hwy shed. He has offered me the use of his shop to fabricate the steel parts I will need. He has asked me to install a 50 amp 220 volt outlet for him. I will need only a few parts to make the installation. I appreciate his offer for the trade and it will help both of us. I’ve picked up a new metal cutting blade for my portable cut off saw. This will help us in cutting the large I-beams for the metal steps we have to build.

Kathy stops by for a visit and informs me that while in working in Telluride today she saw the first snow fall on the mountains above Telluride…looks like winter is near. At least nearer than in many other parts of the country.

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sept 6th - Errands on a Rainy Day

We are working on the top of the log cabin now and deciding how the top log on the north side will be cut down. It’s been a pleasure working with Greenbay and I like how careful and efficient he is. We discuss it briefly to make sure we are on the same track and then mark and begin to cut the top curve off the top log at the correct height. While Greenbay makes the difficult cut on the wavy surface near the top of the log, I begin to make a list of the items I need to pick up in Cortez.

Joe and DD are now working at the back of the lot beginning to form the footings for the garage and upper master bedroom. Fabian and Dylan are moving the huge boulders we pulled out of the ground during excavation around to the street. They have cleared a wall of dirt away at the edge of the street and will construct a nice retaining wall to hold back the front yard. I’m sure it will look great.

Dennis has hooked a hose up to the meter pit and hands me a valve and wrenches to attach to the main water supply we have stubbed up in the crawl space. In a few minutes we put it to the test, bleed off the air and find there are no leaks.

At lunchtime, it starts to rain and Greenbay and I prepare to cover the log walls once again. As it turns out he won’t be back as the rain continues through the afternoon. In the meantime, I head for Cortez for a list of errands. The weather changes dramatically as you make the 50 mile drive from Rico to Cortez; generally there is a 30 degree difference between the two towns.

First stop, Belt Salvage and within minutes I have chosen the pieces of used rusty angle iron I need to make the beam brackets and also 2 larger pieces of iron I will be using as a strong ledger that will bolt to the concrete wall and hold up one end of the floor joists, which in turn will support a concrete slab overhead. It’s not a common thing to construct things this way, but remember we are working with unique materials in building this house.

Next I stop at Standard Plumbing. The manager is helpful in getting the proper material I need to start plumbing the water system. Next, a stop at Slavens Hardware to pick up some needed electrical supplies and some tools. I walk out of the store with a new worm drive Skil Saw, my other bit the big one last year and it’s time for a new one. I meet DD, who has driven down from Rico, to meet me at the Dodge Dealer. Some engine problems with my diesel truck as well as some power steering problems. Luckily the engine problems are covered under warranty. We will pick up the truck on Saturday morning. DD and I enjoy a nice ride home and we unload all the purchases of the day at the house…

technorati tags:, , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sept 5th - Water & Propane - Utilities Almost Complete

Fabian and Dylan are continuing to backfill over the newly installed septic system and once again the front of the house is beginning to look like it really has a yard. They have dumped more gravel into the patio area to bring the gravel up to grade so we can very soon pour a new slab in those areas. Fabian has expertly placed some huge boulders with the excavator to retain the dirt and gravel around the new garage and parking area, which we hope to begin working on tomorrow. He likes doing it and does a nice job.

Fabian always thinks ahead and suggests laying some underground conduit down in the gravel before the rocks are installed. This will be a channel for the propane company to run their propane line from the tank to the house. Speaking of propane tanks, my tank will be arriving on Thursday and the propane company will install the new line up to the house.

Dennis, my neighbor, works for the Town of Rico and comes up to the house for another project. Fabian, using his backhoe, digs yet another hole in the front yard and finds the water line that I had buried up to the street nearly 10 years ago. It was never hooked up to the meter and now Dennis begins preparing the hole for a new meter pit and in the next few days he will make the actual water tap into the main line on the street. With water and sewer, all I need is a toilet and sink and we can move in...well maybe not just yet.

Joe and I take some time out to put together a new material list and a final check on the windows we need to order. We make a few changes on windows and will wait for a final estimate to come back. Joe has retrieved some drilled steel plates from his garage that we will cut up to make some nice rusty metal corner brackets for hanging our beams off the stairwell header.

Today Greenbay and I continue and complete the framing for the 2nd floor over the kitchen. Most of the beams are old reclaimed rough sawn beams that came out of an old barn. We have doubled up two 3” x 8”s and bolted them together with some old square headed lag bolts that I brought from Iowa. I like the way they look. We will need some longer ones in different areas around the house and tomorrow I will pick up some that I saw sitting in some old buckets at Belt Salvage in Cortez. This doubled up beam becomes a stronger member to hang the header for the staircase off of. The header is a 4” x 10” and we notch and cut it for a nice fit. One side of this beam will become a face for the final stair riser going up to the 2nd floor once the stairs are completed.

Because of the variation in dimensions of the beams, each one of these has to be notched specially to fit on the ledge on both the south and north walls of the kitchen and dining area. Because they will be exposed, care is taken where each one will be placed. Any imperfections or forklift marks are hidden as much as possible. We have found that these old beams are very straight and once they are installed we find them consistently straight when eyeballing across the top surface.

We will be ready to install the heart pine subfloor soon. The heart pine material came from an Amish friend of mine, Paul, who lives near Kalona, Iowa . Paul had a contract to cut heart pine flooring. By using a band saw and cutting through some very big heart pine beams, the beams are sawed into 1” thick slabs and then machined into expensive tongue and groove flooring. If you’ve ever seen this type of flooring, you’ll understand why there is such a big demand. It’s beautiful. Before he starts cutting the beams up, he has to cut the initial face off the beam. These cuttings are usually about 5/8” thick and when cut off give the next cut a fresh face. My friend Jim bought all the 1st cuttings which aren’t considered thick enough to use for flooring. Since the beams I’m using will be exposed in the kitchen and dining room area, these heart pine slabs will work perfectly for a sub floor before laying down the 2nd floor warmboard. We will turn the cut face down and then attach the warm board plywood over the top.

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sept 4th - Labor Day Means Labor, Right?

Another great sunny and warm day…Labor day, I guess that means time for work.

Greenbay and I spend the day preparing the kitchen and dining area for the heavy 4' x 8' beams. We have to complete the rim joists and check our layout to make sure that they are laid out perpindicular to the outside walls. It lays out perfectly.

Up on the hill on Joe’s other lot, Greenbay runs the material handler and moves the bunk of sub-floor out of the way so we can access the pile of beams we need. We have moved the load of beams down to the edge of the retaining wall and now have to move the beams one by one down the side of the bank and onto the floor. As it turns out there are exactly the number of beams we need; that means no mistakes on cutting.

We have laid the beams on the floor on their edges and Greenbay and I pull the remaining 5” old square nails out of the beams. These particular beams are fir and are more than 100 years old and still amazingly straight. Because each beam is slightly different in size, we have to notch the ends of each beam so the top surface remains flush for attaching the sub floor. We’ve laid out the rim joists nice and straight and each beam is cut the exact same length. By day’s end we have cut and installed 6 of the 15’ beams over the kitchen area…the beginnings of the 2nd floor.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sept 3rd - Hut, hut, hike.......

Lynn and I, along with Max, went for a long walk up the mountain today. What a beautiful day! The weather was perfect & along the way we enjoyed beautiful wild flowers and even a hint of color as some of the aspens have begun to turn already. From a high vantage point we could see the tiny town of Rico far below us. The 3 hour hike wore Max out but he had so much fun & just loves going for walks with us. He was a muddy mess, almost unrecognizable as a white dog, by the time we were done.

We enjoyed a delicious brunch at an outdoor table at the Argentine Grill. Afterwards, I went back to work by myself.

I have cut the top of the south log wall off to accept one of the reclaimed rim joists. Once the cut is complete, I find a dry-rotted problem area in the top log…nearly 3” deep and about 3’ long. It has to be cut out. I make a clean cut with the Bigfoot saw and take out the rotted section and replace it with a section from another log.

By the end of the day I have the outer rim joist up over the south log wall. This week we should begin installing the exposed beams over the kitchen and dining room.

technorati tags:, , ,