Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dirty Work

I had meant to post some more this week but work had other things in mind. Our boss wants two, 200 yard pours a week in order to get this parking lot done on time and even though we were short a day this week due to rain, he still got his 400 yards. I have been wanting to show a pour but due to the nature of the work, it's very hard to stop and take any photos. These pours are actually fairly easy for us, the carpenters. Just help with the screed (that long metal contraption spanning the forms), line the forms after pouring, chalk some lines and so on. The forming and getting ready is where we get roughed over.

I felt bad for the finishers on this day though. Several of the young guys (finishers) did not show. These forms are 40'x 120' and it's August. Not a time when you want to be short of help. The first 2 trucks were slow and we thought, well if it stays like this maybe it won't be so bad. We heard that the nearby batch plant had broken down so the mud was coming from a downtown plant, accounting for the delay. Well, the plant picked it up or something because all of a sudden two trucks pulled in almost together and they kept 2-3 trucks on us the whole time, as you can see in the background. As soon as one would pull out another would be right there waiting to back in. On larger pours you kind of count on some time between trucks for a breather, grab a bite to eat etc. but there was none on this one. And all of the guys, with the exception of the one running the chute, were our older finishers also. We ended up running the screed for them and shoveling mud back in low spots. Pulling concrete is one of the physically hardest things you can imagine. It may be because you have to keep a certain pace at it. You can't just piddle around. And you are standing in the concrete, which makes it hard to move because of the weight on your feet.

This is me with the two older gentlemen I mentioned a few posts back. Al, on the left, is the younger brother at 70. You can tell Abe is a little older (75) because he actually has some gray hair. Abe said he has been finishing concrete for 53 years. One of these days I'm going to put all these photos and things together in a scrapbook. For who I don't know. I guess just for myself, to show I did something in my life.
Some of the truck drivers you meet on pours are interesting. You get some drivers that can put those big concrete trucks in places you would never imagine; on sides of hills, down in holes, you name it. And then you get some that you wonder how they even made it to the job site. I know years ago, I often saw this one driver that everybody called "Cowboy" due to his habit of always wearing a black, leather vest, even in the summer. He was a pretty good driver but never said much. You could tell he was from the backwoods, as we say. Now, sometimes if you have a bad driver, tempers can flare and ugly words fly and so on. Well, we were pouring out Cowboy's truck and our foreman, who was a short, slightly round guy whose mouth is much bigger than even his ego, decided he didn't like the way Cowboy was driving. So when Cowboy got out of the truck about something, this foreman goes stomping towards him fully intending to chew him up one side and down the other. Cowboy just straightened up, putting one hand on his hip and as he did drew his vest back ever so slightly to reveal a .45 strapped to his side. Our foreman didn't miss a step doing a complete U-turn as he yelled "good job Cowboy!"

*Rolling Stones

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Let It Rain

I could not remember if have used this song title before but since it is a Clapton song that really doesn't matter. Nor the literal hundreds of songs dealing with rain. Clapton is king and so worth repeating. I have not posted a photo of Grendal cat in some time so I thought I would put one up. You non-cat people out there just chill. She is a sweetheart and does her best to keep me company. Yesterday, after I got back home from work, the rain was so heavy on the roof and I was sleepy from getting up so early. Me and Toxicat (as Allen calls her) piled up on the couch and snoozed for a couple of hours! Grendal just loves to sit or lay in front of the door and watch the rain. Sometimes, I will even sit with her for awhile. The two foot eaves on the house protect all the openings, unless it is a blowing rain, so I can open the door and windows to enjoy the cool air without worrying about water coming in. It is very nice but I have to say, just an accident. I didn't realize that would be one of the benefits when I designed the overhangs. I have enjoyed the solitude of the past couple of days; it has been very relaxing. I have tried to get some stuff done. To be somewhat productive.

My garden has just gone to hell basically. The raccoons got into the corn but I just let them have it. It was so pitiful it didn't matter. The rain has all the plants just laying over on the ground right now. Most of my tomato plants have burned up or been eaten. I still have a few that are doing OK. It is really frustrating to me that I don't have time to take care of anything. The pepper plants however are still doing well. My paprika experiment is going pretty good. I have harvested about 2 dozen peppers. They have a structure like a bell pepper, just smaller, like a little pumpkin. I am trying to dry them now but they seem to just sit there. Their skin is so thick I have no idea how long this is going to take but everything I have read says to just let them air dry like you would any pepper. Then you store them in a jar or whatever and grind them as you need them. The other red peppers there are some I got from Seeds of Change. They are aci sivri, an old Turkish pepper that can be mild or very hot. They look like a very large cayenne as they get up to about 8" long. Supposedly fairly rare. The green ones are just some banana peppers and some dried peas in the bowl. I have gotten a lot of okra and green beans but I don't think this garden did as well as last year. I have pickled some of the okra with the banana peppers and hope to put up a few more pints before it's all done. I'm going to try to redo and plant some stuff for fall if I can get the time.

This is one of the little bowls I threw yesterday. I also threw some mugs and a big platter and some soup bowls to replace all the ones that Allen has broken. I have not been able to trim anything because the rain has got it so humid here that nothing is drying. Maybe this weekend I can finish these pieces up. While I was throwing I thought how cool it would be if I could get some video of me making a pot and post that. I can usually throw a bowl in just a couple of minutes so that would not be too long. If I can figure out how to do that and get some help maybe I will.

*Eric Clapton

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays

I couldn't think of a more appropriate song or artists for today! It's still raining here although it is much heavier today. We actually went in to work this morning as it had stopped raining but only got to work to about 8:00 a.m. before it started again, so we all went home. I have to admit, I was not disappointed. You know, it's hard and aggravating sometimes living in an unfinished house and taking so long to build it because I didn't borrow money but, man, is it nice to not worry about a house payment if I have a short week. Or truck payment or lots of other stuff like that. I know lots of people that are just killing their selves working all the time because they have all this stuff to pay for but I'm so thankful that I don't have that. Now, I know in a lot of cases it's not the person's choice or fault that they have so many bills (I was there once too) and I heartily sympathize with these people but I don't understand the drive to have certain possessions if you can't afford them. Lots of people's eyes bug out when I say my house is less than 1000 square feet. They can't believe somebody would live in something so small! I get irritated with myself though because a lot of times I find myself quickly adding, "well, it's not done yet; I'm going to add another bedroom etc"! As if I should make excuses for having a house so small! Ha!
Well, I'm very glad for the rain. Our state still needs it. My creek has been down quite a bit and the spring could use some water although it is not really low. One of the comments/questions I get the most about my house is about the rain on the metal roof. Is it loud? Does it sound nice? I like the sound myself. In the summer when the clerestory windows are open, it is much more noticeable but not overwhelming. If I am in the bedroom or bath (flat ceiling and attic above) I don't really hear much on the roof. I have been surprised a couple of times when a big stick or something fell out of one of the trees onto the roof and I hear this big BONK! But that's OK.

These are my bathroom lights that I installed this past weekend. I thought the dark steel fixtures went well with the steel beam in the living room/kitchen. Of course, the sink and countertop that goes underneath them is still missing! I need to get that done. I think I am going to go with a concrete counter. And that gaping hole in the wall is where the stained glass window goes. My BFA (big fancy architect) is supposedly designing this for me but I have yet to see a drawing. He is very busy so I hate to ask him about it much. I don't lack much more in this room to have it completed. Oh, a mirror will go in between the two lights. I know you already figured that out but it looks kinda funny to me with nothing around the fixtures. Well, looks like more rain tomorrow so maybe I'll post again and get to work some more on my pottery. I did throw yesterday!! Yea!

*The Carpenters

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Higher Ground

I was finally able to start on that side job I spoke about a few weeks ago; the one repairing the temple-like structure in Birmingham. Lightning blasted the crap out of this thing so I get to patch it up. This is the view from when I was standing on top. I'm tied off with a harness and safety cables so it's not a big deal. It's a little trouble to haul 10lbs. of non-shrink grout up there in a bucket but other than that not too big a thing. Great view of Red Mountain also. Fay has started making her presence know here so I was not able to work on the temple today and won't tomorrow. It was raining when I got up this morning and has been just a slow, drizzly day. I suspect the rain will get harder tomorrow and might stick around until Monday or Tuesday.

While I was at the temple I found this creature on the ground. Yes, it was dead! What is this thing? A hornet? I never imagined they were this big. This thing was huge! I held it so you could see the scale as compared to my fingers. Is this some new imported thing? I have never seen a hornet/wasp thing of this size here before.

This is a view from behind so you can see the markings there. It's wingspan was at least 2.5". Thankfully I did not see any more alive or dead. It gave me the willies. Can you imagine something like this coming after you?!

I received my bathroom light fixtures that I had ordered and installed the wall fixtures today. I would have installed the ceiling fixture but it was mixing one important part so I have to call the company Monday and get them to send me the part. Bummer; I was so wanting to get all that done but it's OK. The wall lights look great. I'll try to post a photo soon. If I would try just a little harder I could get the bathroom completely finished. Most of the items left to do would not cost hardly any money as I already have most of the materials etc. I just need to get my act together. I have been using long and hard work days as an excuse to lay around on the weekends. I have been tired lately and my regular job has been pretty rough for the past 3 months but I need to get a move on. I've just kinda lost my motivation a little or something. I'm distracted. Anyway, I'm going to make myself throw tomorrow and get some creative mojo going. Hope everyone in Florida is OK and not flooded.

*Stevie Wonder and later, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Either version of this classic is great!

Dirty Little Secret

EDIT: Many thanks to Randy who commented and told me how to move this post up! Thanks so much Randy; it was very easy which is why I couldn't figure it out. Ha!
Randy is a very talented local (Birmingham) artist and you may view his work here,

Ok, I finally got my photos to load so here we go. A lot of people have asked me about how I did this handrail and various other questions so I'm going to try to expound on the subject. I don't feel sometimes like I describe processes very well so if this is not clear please ask me to clarify. I will probably include some superfluous info but I don't know the skill or experience level of those wanting the information so I'm just trying to be helpful.
Basically, I first determined at what intervals I wanted the posts, which was determined somewhat by the lengths of my rebar, since it was scrap. I found an acceptable, equal spacing (about 4.5') that also utilized as much of the rebar length as possible. My rebar came in 8' pieces, I think, so I did have to cut some of it. I cut the rebar so that the ends, obviously, are concealed within the posts. Keep in mind also that too long of a span on your rebar might cause it to sag if someone were to prop their foot up on it or some such, as people are prone to do. Also, consult your local building codes for handrails. I used #5 bar (5/8") but I think a thicker bar would look nice too. I don't know that I would go thinner. Anyway, once you have your materials ready, install only enough posts that your first set of bars can go through. If you put all of your posts up and it has a corner in it you will never get the rebar in. Even if you have a straight run but with short pieces of rebar, it's just easier. Loosely attach the posts because you want to be able to plumb them after you get the rebar threaded in. My first set of rebar runs through the first post but butts into the house so that holds the rebar in place. If you don't want to butt the structure just drill only halfway through your post to form a cap of sorts. When you "cap" the other end, this is what contains the rebar and it cannot slide out. This is sort of like threading a necklace except that the beads (posts) stay stationary and you move the thread (rebar) through them. Once you have that first run in, install your next few posts and thread the next set of bars. After I have installed about 3 posts I would plumb them and snug up the connection.

The corners were done with bars I found already bent. These are very common on construction sites because they are the bars that are placed in footings and protrude upward for a wall to be build around later. They had a 9" "foot" so I just went with that and put both corner posts at that dimension. So, the long end of the bar runs through 2 posts and the short part just goes halfway into one. I think it would be very hard to try to get both ends through more than one post. Leave these post very loose because you have to lean them way out to get the foot started in the one post. Run the long end into it's posts first. Once it starts into both sets of posts you can slowly draw the posts inward. Then plumb these posts and keep going!

Here's some info about rebar. If you have read my blog long you will know that if I catch you buying rebar from Lowe's I will smack you. Those places are going to rip you a new one on that kind of stuff. There are many alternatives. If you are going to do a handrail similar to mine, you are going to need a fair amount of steel. My first suggestion is to try to salvage it off construction sites. You may know somebody, who knows somebody, that works in the field. They always have rebar left over on jobs. Always. The guys don't like to have to fool with it at the end of a job because it's nasty. In most cases they will gladly give it to you to get it out of their hair. If you can't scavage it, go to a rebar supplier. They will sell to the public and in most cases, don't have a minimum order. They will also cut the exact lengths you want and bend your corners for you. One note about this. If you are using rebar that has it's original end on it, it will be slightly crooked on that end for about 1 1/2". Rebar comes in giant spools and the suppliers just pull off the length and shear it, so the force of that kinda crimps that end a little. For reinforcing concrete, rebar is technically not supposed to be cut by heating, say with a torch. So, because of that kink, it may not go through your hole in the post very well. I trimmed my ends off because I didn't want the post hole to be any bigger than necessary. Also, rebar is nasty-dirty whether it is new or old. If it's new, your hands will be black; if it's old, your hands will be brown and if your nose begins to itch your face will turn the same color. If you pick up several bars at once, it will pinch your hands and it's very painful. So, wear gloves. I sealed the rebar (and the deck) with linseed oil. You can do this before or after and use Thompson's or whatever you use on your deck. Linseed oil and beeswax (50/50) works very well to seal metal and lasts a surprisingly long time outside. Seal it immediately or it WILL stain your wood.
An auger bit works best to drill your holes in the posts. Paddle bits are OK but will bog down a lot. A drill press is nice to keep the holes straight but it can be done without one. I mark both sides of the post and start drilling on one side until I feel I have reached about midway. Then flip the board over and drill completely through. This straightens your hole up if you were off any and also prevents you from busting out one side of the post, which sometimes happens as the drill bit exits the wood.

I hope this helps and I explained everything well. Please feel free to ask any questions if I still didn't cover all of it or have got you confused now.

*All American Rejects

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm A Moron

No, I don't think that is a song title! I published a new post but because I started it a few days ago and didn't think about that, it was posted several days back! Scroll down to "Dirty Little Secret" to see latest. Does anybody know how to fix this? It's too late and I'm too tired to fool with it much.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tougher Than The Rest

They made a fairly sizable pour yesterday on the job; around 200 yards of concrete. That's not huge by any means but to put it in a way that you might imagine better, that's about 20-22 full concrete trucks. It was on an area of our job that I don't normally work but we did end up going over there to help out by lining forms and sticking dowels.
Anyway, it's a parking lot and so a lot of square footage. In this kind of situation, they need a good many concrete finishers so I got a chance to see 2 of my old buddies that have now retired but come back occasionally to help out on such jobs. These 2 guys are brothers and were some of the first men that I met and worked around when I first started. Abraham is the oldest at 75 and Al is 70 and they still finish concrete. Granted, they just do the floating off and not the placing but still....I'm hoping to just be able to walk when I hit 75, not go out and finish 200 yards of concrete in freaking August! I think Abraham gets bored and so does a little here and there to have something to do and be around the guys. He always gives me a big hug when I see him and has always been one of my favorites. I told him about my land and building my house. He seemed pleased for me. Then he turned with this real serious look on his face, "Annie, you still by yourself?" Reluctantly I admitted, "Yes, Abraham, I'm still by myself." I knew I was about to get scolded. He gave me one of those stern looks, as if I were being difficult and kind of shook his head. I smiled, "you know I can't find anyone willing to put up with me!" He just laughed and I had to go.

*Bruce Springsteen

Monday, August 18, 2008

Whole Lotta Trouble

I'm trying to get a post up showing how I did the rebar handrail but Blogger is being a butt again and won't load my photos. So, I'll try again tomorrow. I don't really have time tonight anyway. I need to get some sleep. Didn't work on a whole lot this weekend but I did get my bathroom light fixtures ordered. Yes, I still have not installed permanent fixtures there. I'm trying to work on a lot of little things that will actually get some rooms finished. Work has been kind of dull; we're just wrecking forms. Oh, you know I mentioned a short while back that I tried to get sent to that job we have in Tennessee? Well, my boss here told me the other day, that boss called for me to come to that job. I said I'd still be willing to go but my boss said he couldn't let anyone go yet; they would have to send him a replacement. They offered a new hire (inexperienced) in my place here to my boss. My boss just laughed and said he wasn't giving up an experienced man for a new hire, so I think they decided I was not to go.
Maybe I'll have something for ya'll tomorrow.

*Stevie Nicks

Friday, August 15, 2008

Coming Around Again

Well, we have made up for getting rained out that one day! I was going to try to post again during the week but there are just not enough hours in the day. The 3-day weekends are nice (when we get them) but the ten hour days just don't leave time for anything else because it ends up being 13 hour days with travel etc. So, anyway, we have formed our last panel and now we will wreck the forms and let the panels sit for a while to gain strength before they are picked up. We still actually have to pour the last two. Most people think that concrete is as strong as it's going to be just as soon as it sets up but that is not true. 7 days is usually a minimum cure time and I believe the concrete reaches it's full strength after 28 days (I could be mistaken about that) although concrete really continues to cure for years theoretically. If you have poured any concrete that is suspended in any way or will be moved, 7 days is a minimum to wait before you drop your forms out.

In these photos you can see that we just keep stacking the panels on top of each other to save space. A chemical, called a bond-breaker, is sprayed on each panel to keep the next panel from sticking to the one below it. Hopefully. That's a lot of concrete to break up and dispose of if you screw them up. These panels average around 24'x 36' and probably weigh 35-40 tons each. Each has 2 mats of reinforcing steel in them, which you can see in these photos. In the old days they hired rodbusters to tie all that rebar but nowadays the carpenters are expected to do it all. We wear many tool belts these days, literally.

In the last post I made, I mentioned that I had deleted a post from last weekend, citing that I thought it made me sound unstable. I was surprised to hear from so many of you who said that you had written things that you later deleted or never published etc. I think it's funny that we are so sensitive about things we write for complete strangers to read but are willing to act like freakin' nuts in front of our friends. Why is that? Why would you care what some people, whom you will more than likely never meet, never speak to on the phone even, are going to think? Anyway, what I wrote was nothing indecent or truly psycho, I just talked about more patterns I had noticed happening lately. Look at the photos above, do you see any patterns in the grids of steel? I see all kinds of stuff. I don't know if it is my art training, which taught me to see pattern, color, etc. or just my natural inclination but I always pick out the repetition of line or shape in scenes, sometimes to the exclusion of the actual object I am looking at. One time we were building a hospital and I was walking across the parking lot after it had been striped and painted. I found myself standing over some shapes in the paint that I just could not make out; they were so odd but lots of them. Suddenly I realized I was just standing on top of a series of arrows pointing the way out of the lot. I felt like an idiot but all I could see was the series of same shapes the negative areas created around the painted arrows. Now, my sister on the other hand is just the opposite it seems. She can find a four leaf clover in about 2 seconds no matter how big the patch of grass. I can't find one to save my life. I've tried for years with no success. I asked her one day how she does it. She thought for a moment and then said, "well, I guess I can just see the one thing that is different from all the rest."
So I'm wondering if this tendency to see literal things a certain way translates into how we, as individuals view life. I know I'm not the only one who notices variances in patterns etc. Does my sister only notice certain events if they are different that what would normally occur, like the 4-leaf clovers? I don't know as I'm not around her enough to tell. I notice repetitive patterns of behavior or events, as I have noted in this blog before. I have always thought, because of this, I would have made a good detective!. Further discussion just gets you into predestination and related topics, which I definitely do NOT believe in, and is really more than can be mused over here. I have only the most minute understanding of life but I wonder about lots of things. I guess it is just an effort to make sense of a life that is so different than what a lot of other people seem to experience. Or is it?

*Carly Simon

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


We got rained out this morning first thing. Get up at 3:30 a.m. Drive almost an hour to work. Sit in the connex for 20 minutes and then turn around and go home. Another hour drive. That sucks. But it does give me some time at home to work on things. However, we will have to make today up on Friday; messing up our 3-day weekend. Sucks. Well, that's the way it goes in construction. And you don't get paid if you don't work. When the building is further along we will not get rained out but we are still coming out of the ground and will be for a while. This area really needs the rain though so it's hard to complain much. Plus, this front that has moved in over the weekend has brought some marvelously cool weather with it. After the past 2 weeks it is just heavenly. We were joking at work that we may have to break out our coveralls.

I ran some interior trim around windows this weekend and was really pleased with how that came out. It is so amazing what just that little bit of trim can make on looks and it helped my feelings a bunch! I hope to stain some more trim today and get it ready to run later. I'm using up material that I have had in the basement for months so that is good too. I plan on doing a post on trim work also, hopefully soon. Maybe I can show some details here and there with helpful hints on making it easier to do such work. A lot of people apparently find trim work aggravating.

I also will do a post very soon on the rebar handrail and just how exactly I put that together. I need to get some photos etc. I wish now I had taken more as we were putting it together but I honestly did not think many people would be that interested in it! So, hang with me and I will get that up just as soon as I can.

I did post some stuff over the weekend (and some of you might remember that photo) but I deleted it shortly after putting it up. And so those , hopefully few, that caught it, you're not imagining things; there was a different post up. After I went back and looked at it, it occurred to me what a complete lunatic it made me sound like, so I trashed it. I am a little different but not nutso! And so there you have it, ask me technical questions about building things and you won't have to read my demented ramblings about my personal life.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Every Last Drop

This is some of what I worked on last weekend. I have had a stack of siding sitting out in the yard, getting muddy as you can see, and so the big push was to get all of that used up somewhere on the house. I have not finished painting on the front and did not want to break that scaffolding down just to have to put it back up, so we came around to the back of the house and installed a bunch of the siding there. I also got several runs above the door and windows on the east side so I can, at least, install some porch lights now.
This is not really the back of the house, it will be the side you enter from mostly. To me, the house doesn't really have a front or back. I think that will be more obvious when it is completely finished. This side will also be about on grade with the landscaping when finished. I need to waterproof and backfill this concrete wall and then this area will get a flagstone walkway and patio. There will be natural cedar posts that sit on short, stone columns which will support the roof over the walk also. When the entire house is built, that little bit of roofing overhang will extend down another 12 feet or so and butt into the other part of the house.
Looking around lately I have realized that I have quite a bit of unused material lying around. Interior and exterior trim, paint, sinks, stone etc. so I am going to work on getting all this material in place before I go purchase more. If I get too much stuff in one area I get overwhelmed and frustrated so I need to get rid of all surplus stuff right now. This has several advantages; I'm not going to spend any money because the stuff is here and it will all be going towards finishing the house.
It cleans up clutter and lets me see what I actually have in supply. When I have used up absolutely everything I can get a very close estimate of how much I need to finish each project. This obviously saves money because you don't end up buying more than you need or buy too little, which can actually end up costing you more, if you figure cost of travel or shipping, which you really have to these days. Yes, I'm a little OC but it drives me crazy to waste or go buy something and then get home and realize I had enough but just couldn't find it. I also have some items that I can use to make some really cool decorative, artistic things for the house with and I would really like to do something like that right now. I have had a strong urge lately to make the house look a little more presentable. I don't know why. I'm probably just tired of looking at bare dirt and plywood. Although I have had more weird stuff happening every month on the 7th or 8th.....

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pulling Teeth

Lately that is what it feels like trying to get anything done around here! I actually did get some work done on the house this weekend and I will show that soon. It's not very exciting though but it is some progress. It occurred to me recently that I have not shown the inside of the house in quite a long time and some readers may not have seen much. Unfortunately, it has not changed a whole lot lately. I have sheet rocked the living room side of this partition wall. The other side is the kitchen. I need to continue the Durock wrap on around the upper sides and then this area (the Durock) will be tiled. I may also build a small hearth with a stone cap below the wall heater there. I plan to make at least part of the tiles myself for this wall. I'm thinking of tiling it in a commercial tile, either ceramic or stone, and then inlay a design of my own making of tiles I do, to create a mural or something along that line. Where the wall indents on each side, there will be built in bookshelves. I just had that small bookshelf already that I put there to hold a few of my books and art. And in case you have not been reading long, that plywood wall is not finish; it will get a better surface than that. One day....
On a completely unrelated topic but one that still is related to the title, Pablo asked the other day if we ever get to do anything like the little time capsule on any of our jobs now. You may remember a long time ago when I worked on that mansion restoration, our crew put a small capsule of items into a cavity in a chimney on the house for whomever to find one day. That was Pablo's idea by the way! Anyway, do we ever get to do anything like that on new jobs? Well, no, it's hard to find a good place on new construction. Something about commercial work just doesn't make for good opportunities. We do have a few old traditions that we still hold to though and his question, for some reason, reminded me of this story. The superintendent that I worked for at the railroad always insists that we throw money (small change) into the first footings that we pour. And yes, he'll throw his own; he doesn't make us throw ours! It's best if it's the very first pour you make on the job but can be any one of the first big pours. He says that is an old tradition observed so that you assure your job makes money. In other words, you don't run over schedule etc. so that you lose money. He is one of the most esteemed supers we have so maybe he has something.
Anyway, back to the story... We have this older carpenter that works for us that is just one of those people you have to meet to believe. We call him Hippie (years ago he had real long hair) and he is about as backwoods redneck as you can get. Hippie is so redneck, his false teeth are missing teeth. He is an absolute sweetheart though and I love working with him although he pisses and moans all day long. So, one day they are making this big pour. I was not on this job but one of my regular partners was relating this to me. Now, as I have said before, on big pours you often don't have time to eat. Sometimes someone will bring a bag or box of food out and you take turns running over and grabbing a bite to eat in between trucks or whatever. Well, someone had brought chicken wings to share with everyone this day and Hip got a break and ran over and grabbed a wing. He was talking to my partner and eating this wing, when he took a big bite and as he tore some of the meat off, two of his teeth came flying out also and sailed over into the fresh, wet concrete! Hip just looked at Anthony and said, "well, I'm not going in after those." I was laughing my butt off when Anthony told me this and I asked Anthony, if throwing money in a footing makes the job go well, what you reckon throwing teeth into the footing does?! He just laughed and shook his head. "Your guess is as good as mine".

*Green Day

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Round Here

The photo is of a plant that is known locally as mountain mint. It grows abundantly here. The colors in the photo are correct; the tops of the plant become almost snow white as the flowers on it bloom and age. When I first saw the large clumps of it growing on the roadsides, my first thoughts were that some truck had come by and accidentally strewn some type of powder out onto the plants. But they are just that way naturally. If the leaves are crushed it produces a very strong menthol smell. Traditionally the plant is not taken internally but used to make salves or compresses for sore muscles or sinus problems. I need to harvest quite a bit of it. I have transplanted several clumps of it into my little native flower garden by the drive. The bees and butterflies just go nuts over it.

Thanks to you all for your wonderful comments and encouragement on the last post. I'm glad some of spoke up on what type of posts you like. I have always written about what I wanted too, and will continue to, but I had considered not posting about work anymore as no one seemed interested. I know commercial construction work is not every one's bag. But knowing now that some of you do like the posts, I will still occasionally show some things. I also know you can't please everyone all the time and some people are not interested in some posts but I think that is why it's good to mix it up a little and have posts about a variety of things. Plus, I just like to talk about different stuff and see what other people's ideas are on those subjects. Again, if you don't like to comment or whatever, please don't feel like you need to. As long as I can see that people do keep coming back then I know someone is, at least somewhat interested.

I am still looking for a tractor and will have the tractor naming contest. I have heard that sometimes in the late summer some of the dealers come down on their prices somewhat because the height of the season is over. Can anyone verify this for me? Have you seen such a thing? It makes sense that they would. Plus, I need to pay off one particular bill before I make this leap, so I am holding out just a little longer.

I am working on siding this weekend (YEA!!) and hope to get a fair amount up. I'll have some pics of that. I know that's kind of boring but hey!, there's nothing else going on! It's too damn hot to do much. I hope to start some of the creative projects in the house soon that I already have materials for and so will not call for more money. Such as the stained glass window for the bathroom etc. I think ya'll will like that.

Well, back to work. I'll try to post during the week some if I don't spontaneously combust from the heat at work!

*Counting Crows

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Problem Child

Update! It's not Blogger, it's Explorer having trouble with some Blogger sites. I don't think it's just me because Allen can't access the same sites. I switched over to Mozilla and am not having any trouble. I know some of you use Mozilla; I assume you like it better than Explorer? I may just switch over. Anyway, I'll try to reply to comments soon. Thank you all for talking!

Hey Everybody, apparently there is some problem with Blogger right now and I cannot access my own blog to see the comments. I know they are there and can post this but can't pull up any pages on my site to respond to comments. Hopefully, this will be worked out soon. Blogger says they are working on it.