The girls and I drove up Friday morning to work on the cabin. The temperature dropped steadily the whole way. By the time we reached Sunbright it was thirties and gray. There was also a cold wind.
To warm up I began leveling the garden beds:
It's amazing how much loose rich soil there is after 2 years of gardening. The mint and strawberry have spread everywhere.
These beds are still not perfectly level. I'll order a truckload of topsoil and level them with that. One veteran organic gardener recommends tilting the beds slightly to the south - if I have enough soil I'll try it.
Our wood came from Christmas Lumber around noon. I had them drop it off on the gravel pile beside the cabin. I thought this would keep it high and dry . . . but forgot that I need to lay down plastic and gravel on the worksite first, before I begin building.
I'll have to do it later. The addition's high enough on piers that I'll still be able to shovel it in.
I put in my 12"x16" treated sill plates on the piers:
One of the piers was 1/4" lower than the others, so I put down a layer of mortar to get it even with the rest:
Once the piers were done, I built the tripled 25' 2" x 10" girder:
The boards are tripled with screws, as well as 7 carriage bolts, spaced every three feet.
This time the girder went on the outside of the piers, rather than the middle, so rain is shed away from the foundation and the sill plates are protected:
I worry a little about putting all that weight on the edge of the piers, thinking they might eventually tip . . . but the installed floor should anchor them back, they sit on massive footers connected by 1/2" rod, and in conventional foundations the sill plates always go along the outer edge - the weight is not centered. So I guess it's fine.
That night the temperature goes down to 21 degrees. We have a heavy frost:
The kids and I drive to the local hardware store in Wartburg while it's cold. I get a ton of metal connections such as angles and hangers at a great price - the guy there knows me and marks everything down. I'd pay double to triple at a place like Home Depot or Lowe's.
Saturday is hot and sunny without a cloud in the sky. Here's the inside of the cabin:
A shot out over the garden:
The girder is fastened to the sill plates on the inside with staircase angles - heavy-duty metal angles. On the outside where there's no room for angles I use a mending plate where it's flush, and toenail [with screws] where it isn't.
I build the outer band for the joists, consisting of the long 25' band joist and two 12' rim joists. Once it's in position, using the still existing original sitework, I screw the corners down and go on to the joists.
The joists need hung along the cabin's girder. Any time I'm using hangers it slows me down and is tedious work. And where before I'd thought I'd gang-cut the joists all the same length . . . the cabin's girder is not exactly straight so that's not possible. I run a string along the band joist so it's perfectly straight, then cut the joists to length so they fit between the band joist and the cabin girder.
I screw up in one part, getting too dependent on the level, and have to rehang 3 joists. To do it quick I just shim them up in the hangers and refasten them, rather than remove each hanger and reposition it.
At the end of the day I've got a number of joists in, but not all of them as I'd hoped - the hangers and trimming to length are slowing me down:
I'm so tired of seeing this ugly unfinished side of the building.
My neighbor George stopped by. We patched up the chicken issue, and he asked if I was building a deck. He was pleased to know I was building on to the cabin and going to have it finished and sided this year. And a wood stove and bathtub inside too, I hope.
The next day is rain:
I get a few more joists in, then quit because of rain:
Water is still seeping in beneath the french doors, even though I've caulked everywhere. It'll be nice to have them dried in when the addition's built:
The girls get a wheelbarrow-ful of aged humanure compost. I haul it up to the apple trees for them:
Rachael fertilizes the trees while Brooke takes the picture:
There were lots of baby ticks out on our one sunny day. They don't bother me much, but the girls hate them.
To me that's all part of what homesteading's about - dealing with issues like ticks. We listened to "The Long Winter" - a 'Little House on the Prairie' book - on the drive up. They're all factual accounts of pioneer living. That was some hardcore homesteading in those days . . .