Sunday, June 25, 2006

Little By Little

I have started laying out and cutting the webbing for the steel truss that holds up the living room. There are 4 sections of this sort of abstract work and I have gotten 2 cut out. This is the largest section and I think its about 7'-6" long and 18" wide. The kind of white shaded areas are the sections that will be cut out. I will show that when I'm completely done but before I start welding it up. I would have gotten further today but I ran out of oxygen, so no more cutting. I did get the 3rd one laid out and ready to cut. These pieces are not too heavy since they are just 1/4" stock but the top and bottom flanges are 1/2" and will add quite a bit of weight. This whole truss thing may be hard to picture in your mind with it in pieces like this but I hope I'm showing it the best I can. Allen got caught up on some misc. framing that we had just never gotten around to doing. Framed the closet in the bedroom and the bedroom door and finally got the gable end of the house framed and sheathed all the way up. So that end is dried in pretty good.
The house has been moving so slowly lately due to those certain events that happen in life that you just have to take time out for but I'm ready for the pace to pick up again substantialy. That's one thing that's really sunk in to me when you are building your house yourself as opposed to having a contractor do it; if you can't work on it, it don't get done. And sometimes you just have to do other things.
We have gotten some rain lately too. Lots at times. While good for the garden and such (and we really needed it) it has hampered our building. It rained both Sat. and Sun. as a matter of fact. But hopefully we will be dried in soon and that won't be as big a factor anymore.

I found this guy on the driveway today. He was a bout 8" from snout to tail. Don't have any idea what kind of turtle or anything like that. Maybe some of ya'll know? He was right where we pull in the drive at and I was glad I saw him so I didn't squash him. So I stop and get out to move him but he wasn't having any of that. I didn't want to reach down and grab him for fear he might grab me so I kind of tried pushing him with my foot. I pushed him over to the edge of the drive towards the creek but as soon as I stopped he would jump up and run back to the middle of the drive. He could move pretty quick really! So, I said well, maybe he knows what he's doing and left him alone. Silly turtle, ya'll have only existed for millions of years, you don't know what's good for you! When I passed by later, there was no sign of him.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Progress Report

They finally set the 3 chimney pieces I made for the Big House. This corner piece is one of them. I was very pleased with the fit and color. I don't think anyone would know they were not original; I really got lucky on these. These were set while I was away from the job sick but the guys did put a small little time capsule of sorts inside one the the pieces. Many thanks to Pablo who suggested the idea! Charles, the mason foreman, made a little canister out of PVC with a screw on end and put a letter inside telling about all of us and the date etc. and a few coins that were minted this year.
This is the view from the other side and the piece next to the corner is one of mine too. I really wonder if anyone will ever find the stuff we put inside and if they do, what year will it be?
This is Charles, the foreman; he and his crew did a fabulous job of setting the pieces and reworking all the chimneys. I hope to get a good group photo of everybody before the job is over.
This is part of the wood work off of the front of the house that I have been working on. This piece is small enough (about 4' tall) that I could take it to my studio to work on it. This is one of a pair of these heads that go over the front entrance to the house.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Movin' In

Unfortunately, we are not the ones moving in yet but everyone else is trying to. This little nest showed up quickly the other day. It's a little wren I think. It chose a very nice little spot except for there was also a wasp's nest right above it (which may have come later) but I disposed of them. There are several other wasp nests I need to get too. I saw these fake wasp nests that you can buy and you hang them around where they tend to want to build. The catalog said that wasp are very territorial and if they see another nest in the area that they will go somewhere else to build. I wonder. Seems worth a try I guess but then I thought, well, you could just collect some old, abandoned wasp nest and glue them around and that should work if that theory is true. Maybe? Anybody ever tried such a thing? We are also having a time with carpenter bees. They were on that wood within hours of us starting to frame, poking around, trying to find a suitable spot to start boring holes. I don't like to kill them because they are such good pollinators but I would like to discourage them from eating my house.
I was afraid that we scared the little mama bird off because I didn't see it when we would come down to work but she is back now. I try to stay away but sometimes we have to go under the house for tools and such.
Hopefully I will have something about the house tomorrow. Work has gotten so busy that it looks like I may only be posting on the weekends as ya'll have probably figured out by now. I have decided to close my gallery due to work and very poor sales etc. We have just gotten ourselves spread too thin lately so I am cutting back on some stuff and trying to concentrate on getting more done on the house. I like to be busy but when it quits being fun then its time to change something. No sense in running yourself to death; you need to enjoy work and have some quite time too.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Different Kind of Flowers

Since things are still slow on our house, I thought I'd show a little something I've been working on at the Big House. This is some of the fascia board on the front eaves of the house. These are about a full 2" x 14" oak. As you can see, parts of it are split pretty bad and in alot of areas those little rounded pieces in the middle of the flowers has fallen off. I am having to fill all of the splits and holes with a wood epoxy stuff and recarve the missing details. I love it but its pretty slow going.
This is a close up of one of the better preserved areas. I cleaned this spot up and filled the cracks and then made a mold of the flowers to use to reproduce the missing parts for other areas. That took a couple of days but was pretty cool. I used this rubber mold stuff that will stay in place on a vertical surface when you paint it on. After you put enough layers to have the mold about 1/4" thick, you back it up with plaster and then peel everything off and bang! there you go! Now I can make bunches of these flowers or section off certain parts of the mold if I just need part of a flower or whatever.
As for our house, the structural engineer changed a couple of little things about the truss but it is still basically the same and Allen priced and ordered the steel today for it. It was not as bad as I feared, cost wise. So, we should be working on that this weekend and I will have lots of photos of that. As soon as we have that thing fabricated, things should pick up once again. It has finally quit raining here, which is great for work, but now everything is about to burn up.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Beginning

Well, I've been a little under the weather the past few days so we didn't get anything done on the house this past weekend and so, no new house photos. I will try to post something about the land or house even though I'm not sure if we will make much progress this next weekend either. Too much real work takes a toll sometimes and then when you get sick it's hard to catch up.
Anyway, these are some irises that I planted this spring by our little stream and was very happy to see that they really seem to like it there. I love the dark colors. We have some yellow ones planted in the area too and a little further up, some daylilies. Which you are required by law to plant in the South or so it seems anyway.
I put out about 4 clusters of these in this area. This is where we had to do alot of digging and rearranging to get the driveway in and so I've been working hard to get it back to a more natural state. This is also where the turtle from the previous post was laying her eggs or whatever. By the time I got back down there to investigate the turtle, it had come a pretty hard rain and packed the dirt where she was but there was a little mound there. I was afraid to dig around any lest I hurt them if they were there so I opted to just mark the spot with some stones and keep an eye on it. When we were first putting in the driveway, we unfortunately dug into a turtles nest and spilled all the eggs out. I tried to rebury them but after reading a post on PureFlorida's blog I realized it was too late and sure enough, they never hatched. So maybe I can make ammends by watching over these. Or maybe not 'cause the turtle might have just been sitting there, taking a break. I don't know.