Monday, November 5, 2007

The blessing of windows

As I mentioned previously, We were given three 4x6 picture windows. Two of these we installed in the living room, they are flanking the future fireplace/hearth for the Kuma stove we hope to purchase. The third is horizontal in the kitchen, making a nice seating area with a view.

The two front windows are Pella windows, much like the ones in my parents house, with a picture window in the middle and opening windows on each side. We bought these used three years ago. They have blinds inside the glass. The highlight of all the windows are the two sets of french doors, one for the dining room and one for the Master bedroom.

Installing a window in a log house means first cutting the proper size hole in the wall with the chain saw. this must be precise, which is difficult with a chainsaw, you must make sure the chain is sharp. Secondly, the hole must be chiseled and sanded to be exactly level and perfectly sized for the frame that must be built to go around the window itself. The third is building the frame. We used 2x12, nailed it together, then screwed it into the log wall with lag screws after making sure it was square and level. Next, we made quarter round with the router and table saw, using the chop saw for the angled corners. We glued and nailed this to the edge of the frame. Then, after spreading window sealant around it was finally time for the blessed glass itself! But, before we could stand back and admire, we needed to nail more quarter round on the inside of the frame, securing the window in place. Eventually, there will be molding to go around the frames, but for now, there is just tons of foam insulation. It such a wonderful feeling to get another window installed, each one is a thrill, as the house starts to take shape and we imagine what the rooms will look like. We envision watching deer out the living room windows, throwing open the french doors in the summer for an evening of hospitality in the fresh air, and taking in the beautiful woods that surround Providence Lodge. Aaahh, it's a good feeling.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

chinking nightmares

We finally began the chinking process, using a mix of lime, water, and morter mix. The result is a consistancy of peanut butter. After several long hard days, I began chinking in my sleep, that is, dreaming I was still chinking. No wonder I woke up so sore!! Chinking is very hard work, at least for a middle aged mommy. The younger help would fill the gap with mortar, then I would come along behind them and smooth it to look, well, as pretty as cement can be.
Everyone got in on the job, with such a big job, and the threat of winter over our heads, anyone who volunteered was quickly put to work. (Thanks a million Matt and Terry!) In the meantime, Brian and I are installing windows, mostly on the days that are too icky to be chinking. The two big windows in front were bought used three years ago, the two big living room windows were given to us. we have another one just like it to put in the kitchen seating area. With the windows and insulation, it is quite cozy inside. We think it is looking like home.

We must say a special thanks to Nanny and Anna who kept the home fires burning and the little ones occupied during the two weeks we really buckled down to get this job done. Our children
John, Rose, and Joe really worked hard. We couldn't do it without them, nor would we want to, you guys are great!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The flooring battle

As summer is ending, and we haven't spent much time working on the lodge, we planned a few weeks "vacation" from the ministry to devote to getting the flooring (and hopefully chinking) done before the rains and winds of fall ruin our lumber.

We bought a pine/spruce 2x6 tongue and groove to do the floors with, largely because the fir we desired was too expensive. So, in the end, we found the soft wood to look fine, but be a bear to install, as it had so many twisted boards per unit, that culling it out to #1s, 2s and 3s, left a bigger 3 pile than the 1s or 2s.

The Ross family, from SPUR HARDWOOD came out and showed us how to install the flooring with the tricks of the trade, then, the Ross's stayed and helped with their "young man" power.(Thanks Steven and Alex!)

We stained the beveled side the same "natural" stain as we used on the outside of the house and the floor joists. We also choose specific boards to go in front of the main door and down the hall. Brian was incredible with the coving around the log collumns, using a coving comb. Stan, aka Grampy, stayed three weeks helping us out all over, mostly chop saw man. Anna, Rose, Joe, Mama and John all got in on the work too, Daddy called us girls "squirel power", Joe- Glue Boy, and Bethany a cross between monster and little llamb, depending on the day. :-)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Floor Joists Going Up

It has been just about a month since we have been able to get out to our property and work on the house. Today we had John and Rose hammering chinking nails, Anna home with the little ones until lunch time, and Brian and Julianne hoisting 4x10 floor joists up to the 2nd floor girders via block and tackle. We got a pretty good system worked out here. The block and tackle hung from a perlin. The rope that wound around the joist and hooked onto the B&T would slide along the beam so we had our son John tack on some 12” boards with a gap just big enough for the rope. Next, Brian pulled and Julianne used a long board to guide the joist into the right place. This long board had a nail tacked in that helped to get the rope off the joist from the floor instead of climbing a ladder each time. Then Brian would use the board to shift the joist down the log girder until it was in the right place. We had one slip off the girder on one side and come crashing down. That was frightful, so were extra careful after that to not let it happen again. We had pretty much used this same system to get the third floor joists up, which had to take place prior to the second floor, of coarse, the only difference was we had to have someone up on the third floor girder to help the joist into place. I am continually amazed at how beefy these joists are. T&G flooring is next, in fact, it is sitting right out the door waiting for us. We have to stain the undersides before installing, and will sand and stain the floors after they are all in. It will be so exciting to be able to walk around all the floors in the house and admire the views, plan the rooms, lay out the windows, and dream of how it will all look when it is DONE, which is: hopefully before Jesus returns, or possibly Christmas.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Gable Ends

Framing in the gable ends on the house, and installing cedar tongue and groove in the soffit took the bulk of the last two weeks. We deliberated on what material to use on the gable ends. The cedar looks so great, we were tempted to use that, but Papa Dave advised we save it for the interior. Log slab seemed like a worthy possibility, but in the end, we thought it would not be similar enough to the real logs to look good, so we went with blued pine 1x12 and 1x10 board and baton style. We are quite pleased with the results. We bought this lumber from a local guy with a mill, the same mill we got the 4x10 floor joists from.
John, who is 15, learned to use the chop saw, table saw, and measure and cut for his dad. They spent hours and hours, rain or shine, finishing this part of the project. The overhang on the roof is so great that even in blowing rain storms, they were not much affected and kept working.
Although we looked at some angled windows at Habitat for Humanity, we opted for the less expensive all around Pella 48x48 lo-e, which we will use on the second floor as well.At this point, we are pretty much done with the exterior with the exception of the chinking, and will move to installing floor joists and flooring next, maybe the porch as well, as that would make bringing materials in and out of the house much easier. But alas, there is Vacation Bible School at the church this week and then a Staff Conference to attend , so I suppose that the next phase will have to wait until July. That will likely be a welcome break for Brian, who has been putting in some really long hours, studying early in the morning, squeezing in visits, counseling, Bible study, meetings, and family around the daylight hours he can work on the house. What a guy!! We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful daddy and husband.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Friends and Solar Panels

The Dole family showed up a couple of Fridays ago to help us with the house. It was a very nice surprise. Mr. Dole went right to work, the boys went right to shooting ground squirrels, the mamas went right to fixing more pizza dough for dinner, Savannah baked cookies, and the babies played in a mud puddle. The rest of the children ran from tree fort to pond to tree fort, and all had a great time. It was so encouraging to Brian to have a buddy there to help him with the project.

The next weekend, the McKinney’s came up. Brian had asked for the wise council of Mr. McKinney in getting a fused service disconnect hooked between the generator and the invertor.
Getting power into our slightly remote location was going to cost a bundle, and we had always wanted to be off-grid, so we have solarpower with generator backup that will provide all the electricity we will need. Our set up came from Mike Slanga who owns and operates Inland Generator in Spokane, WA. Mike built us a 10KW generator powered by a 3 cylinder Perkins diesel engine. We have a battery bank to store the electricity and two solar arrays that total about 920 watts. With all the beautiful weather, the solar panels are powering all of the electrical tools and the electric man lift. That is pretty satisfying! Making your own energy is a wonderful feeling. Equally great was watching the 5 teenagers hammer away the next Monday when the Doles returned. There must be a nail every three inches on the top of eqch log insikeand out on eqch log. These are put in right next to the center of each log, and leave 2 ½ inches of the nail up for the chinking to hang onto. Each young person got a hammer and a bag of nails and went right to work. Many hands make light work! They did a great job, getting up four logs in an afternoon. Brian and Mike were working on the gable ends, and Mike jack hammered a hole in the foundation for the septic to go through.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Never Dull

I have found, since starting this building project that being my husband’s helpmeet is a very interesting and variable job. Training and raising our children, teaching them at home, keeping house, cooking, practicing hospitality, visiting older people and the like, in the name of our family seemed a good job description. But now, I am finding myself stretched to reach new ground in helping my husband be successful at whatever he is about.
I am overcoming my fear of machinery as I measure and cut the tongue and groove he is installing for the soffit. It is cedar, bought a few years ago at a great discount, and now it takes it’s place next to the log walls, stunningly framing in around the roof. I, with fear and trembling, climbed the ladder to the third floor to help him get the insulation started. The view from up there is wonderful, but, wow is it ever a long ways down!!!
Here I am driving the 4 wheeler. This was the very first time. With burning season over, the stumps and such that were left from our burn piles needed to be choked and hauled to one large burn pile until fall. I admit driving the 4 wheeler is pretty fun.

Next, I got on my dad’s tractor and dozed the last remaining burn pile over so that I could extract the last large pieces out of it. When that was done, I graded it level, or, as level as a novice could. This was all very helpful to Brian who is busy with the house, using the rented equipment, meaning his time is of the essence.
With Savannah and Rose very capable of babysitting the little boys and Bethany for a few hours, I am able to help Brian, which is a nice change from my usual line of work, and it made him smile to see me on the tractor!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

At Work Again

The end of April we were able to get back to work on the house. The rafters weathered the winter better than anticipated; we only had to replace a few. Extra hands were much appreciated for this job, and we prayed everyone working so high up would be safe. Next came blocking the rafters and securing them to the perlins with hurricane straps. Lastly, the leveling of each rafter was a slow and tedious process, but it’s got to be done.

Sheeting the roof, with a pitch of 8/12 at 30 some feet in the air proved difficult and dangerous. We hired a local crew to assist, and again prayed for safety. We rented a fork lift to hoist the plywood up to the eve, and a snorkel lift (also called a cherry picker) to hoist BIG ED. This lift has been really beneficial to help raise the metal up to roof level, ease getting the soffit in, as well as the gable ends framed, and the staining of the logs. The price for a month long rental was much better than that of a weeks rental. So we kept it for the month of May. It has been well worth it.

With a work crew at the building site, and our own tribe of children to feed, we were fixing lunch for 15 every day. That led to some interesting dishes, one of which we call “Dirt Cheap Tacos.” Two trips to Mexico have influenced the way we cook now. In Mexico anything in a tortilla is a taco, so this is how we came up with what everyone declared a delicious meal, and by the way they kept coming back for more, I believe it was.

Dirt Cheap Tacos: (Feeds 15 hungry people)
3 cups dry red beans.
4 cups dry brown rice
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, with chiles
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated chedder cheese
2 T. taco seasoning
corn tortillas

Boil beans in water for 2 minutes, soak for one hour, simmer until done, about 2 hours.
cook rice in 8 cups water. This will take about 45 minutes.
Remove excess water from beans, adding 1 T. salt to beans and stirring thoroughly. Mix these with the rice. Also add tomatoes in juice, sour cream, cheese, and taco seasoning, stirring well. You can set this aside and warm it later, or use it while it is hot.
In small frying pan, pour in enough oil to cover most of bottom of pan. On medium high heat, fry tortillas, one at a time, until slightly crisp. Put these into a hot dish with a lid to keep them warm until you have enough tortillas to serve your group. Just a small dot of the rice and beans mixture ( maybe a cup)will be plenty filling for your tortillas. These are good enough plain, but would be wonderful with salsa/ guacamole.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Planning Ahead

Warm rains have taken all our snow away bringing on the spring breakup. Although it is only February, and we can typically expect snow until April, this weather has gotten me to thinking spring. Brian and I sat down for a thorough brain storming/organizing meeting regarding the building of our house. How on earth are we going to get everything done before next winter?!!! We plotted each task out, detailing how long it should (most likely) take. Week by week we have a schedule of events that will take us from the first week of April to our goal date of moving in the first week of November. All the dates are tentative, and we realize there will need to be some flexibility, but, ya know, if you don't have a target; you don't know where to aim.
April will open with rafters, blocking, sheeting and roof metal. Mama and the girls have jobs outlined for each month, such as staining all the flooring before it is installed, chinking and painting. Speaking of chinking, we will be hosting a chinking party or two or three, possibly four(it is a big house) throughout the summer. I am planning on the little boys running through the woods the majority of the time we are all working out at the property together, and the baby(now almost 11 months old) toddling around not helping, but looking cute non the less. Joseph is ready with his very own tool belt (he's 7) and we are counting on a man's days work from our oldest, John. There will be help from friends and neighbors all along the way, thank the Lord, and our hearts are hopeful that we will be enjoying fellowship with brothers and sisters in a finished lodge a year from now.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

winter blues

The rafters were in place with only a few weeks before the bad weather set in for good.
The process of bringing each rafter to a level position (each rafter touches three different logs... uneven logs, I might add) working 36 feet in the air on icy ladder rungs was daunting. 
In good weather Brian was able to level four sets of rafters (eight individual rafters). This slowed down to two sets in an 8 hour day when it got icy.

Currently, half of the 26 sets of rafters are leveled and strapped. 
Our hope of getting the roof on before winter just wasn’t meant to be. So we are trusting that come spring, work will continue, and praying for only minimal damage to the exposed rafters. 
It has been quite stressful to leave the house in this condition over the winter. Likely one or two more weeks of good weather and we would have gotten the sheeting on.
Lesson learned….work hard in the spring if at all possible (we were waiting on equipment) and leave plenty of room to finish project before fall rains make ladders too dangerous to work on.
In all this process, Brian and Julianne have seen the hand of God guiding and providing in an abundant way. Here is an example of God’s providence: A man from the church knew of a fellow who was remodeling his kitchen, and had the entire kitchen of oak cabinets for sale. These were available to purchase for $500. A kitchen sink, bathroom sink and claw foot bathtub were also located for around $150 total. Interior doors, multiple windows, 1x4 cedar tongue and groove, a commercial gas 6 burner oven (much to the delight of Julianne), and 6 boxes of 12 x 12 ceramic tile were also given or obtained for next to nothing. 

Most recently, a man in the church bought a high lift crane at auction just so we could use it to finish up the house without having to wait on the for-hire one to be available! The list of such blessings is indeed long, and keeps growing.
How good our God is!

Brian and Julianne have a vision for Providence Lodge being a multigenerational home for their family,

a respite for weary missionaries,
an open door of hospitality to traveling home school families, 
and perhaps, in the future, a haven for wayward children. 
Here is a current photo of the house. 
Beautiful Idaho!!

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

Popular culture has a decidedly feminist bent.  Recent movies, tv shows and prominent women  are displaying heroins as   to...