We had perfect weather and it was a highly productive week. I got it semi-dried in with rafters and sheathing and tarpaper on the roof. The only thing left to do is put in the metal, sheathe and wrap the walls, and pop in windows - 4 day's work. I've already bought the windows at Builder's Surplus. 7 windows at $129 a piece - they're large, new, modern . . . 32" x 54". The addition's a combination sunroom/living room, with maybe some greenhouse space.
The first thing we noticed when we pulled up to the property at night were the flowering peach trees covered in large pink flowers. These are the first things we ever planted on the property, 2 years ago. It's nice to see them thriving, even if the fruit is small.
The next day I finished putting in the joists for the cabin floor:
The girls fertilized the apple trees and a few garden beds with the last of the aged humanure compost:Once the joists were in I put in 2x10 blocking down the middle - this supports and straightens the joists:
The joists tie directly in to the cabin girder. I needed a nailing surface for the edge of the flooring so I run blocking along this side:
At the end of the first day I've finished the frame and put in the first few sheets of flooring with adhesive and 2 1/4" screws:
Here's a shot of one of the flowering peach trees in front of the barn:
On Day 2 I get the rest of the flooring in - Advantech, $20 a 3/4" sheet, heavy-duty, with a 50 year warranty:
Here are some interior shots of the cabin, a lot more comfortable than the early days of sleeping in the tent, gazebo, and the back of the car:
I can't order lumber for the addition till Monday. So I spend Sunday putting up the rest of the posts in the upper story of the barn - these outside walls are the bearing walls for the roof:
Here a couple of beds are done:
I build conventional stud walls for the addition. They're not nearly as heavy as I thought they'd be to stand up alone - even the 12' walls with 2x6 studs are no big deal:
The long 25' wall I do in three sections, two at 8', one at 9'. Here's what I've got accomplished as of Monday evening:
Tuesday I stand up the rest of the walls. The 9' section fits perfectly in between the 2 8' outer sections, both at the top and sole plate - a good sign of a square layout and plumb walls:
The rough openings for windows are next. Since it's only one story with a 3' span 2x4 headers are sufficient - I however box them in with an additional horizontal 2x6 to shim against:
One of the most amazing sights on the property are the 2 huge autumn olives covered in flowers. They're full of bees and butterflies coming and going. I wish I could order more, but they're now illegal to sell in Tennessee because they're considered invasive. I'll have to order them from outside the state.
Brooke took several photos of the swallowtails in the flowers. Here's one:
Once the rough openings are done, I move on to the rafters:
For the rafters I make a seat cut at both ends, as well as a plumb cut where they tie in to the cabin. To make life easy I clamp one 2x6 rafter @14' against the edge of the cleat and cap plates where they'll run. I draw my lines of where it needs cut, and once the rafter fits just right I use it as a template to cut all the rest. It works great and saves a lot of time. For each later rafter I watch how it fits - I fine tune it as a go, modify a seat cut a hair where necessary, and am happy with the results. Also it's expedient. It takes me no more than a day to cut and install all the rafters - much different from the hell I went through with the rafters on the cabin, and each one's custom cut.
Where the rafter ties in to the cabin, I predrill and screw it into the cleat, the blocking, and the cabin for a secure hold.
I use 2x4 blocking at the cap plate, to allow ventilation out the soffit vents:
I'd like to buy a tiller and till peat moss into the clayey soil. But the cost of both a tiller and the moss is high. I can get a truckload of topsoil delivered for about $200. We may do that this year.
I'd love to get a fence around the garden - even a cheapo metal one and grow fruiting vines and shrubs all over it. It would help establish and protect the space, as well as shield it from drying winds. It's the intense sun and dryness that we struggle with most in the garden:
It's difficult as my ladders are worthless and the girls don't have much muscle. I end up going back to the old methods I used in the barn to hoist joists - rope and bungee cords, then once it's there, clamp and tap it into position:
I use plenty of screws and nails to sister it to the outer rafter, but I think knee braces are necessary if I really want it to be secure. I'll install them after the wall sheathing's up.
Here the frame is finished:
I cut the rafter tails after the rafters are already in. I run a string along the top, mark the tails, then draw plumb lines and make the cuts with a circular saw from the ladder. I end up with a very nice line for my fascia and gutter:
The only hitch is this awful 3 in 1 ladder that no longer works. The locking mechanism is busted, and I can't lock the ladder in any position. So every time I go to move it it buckles. I need to get a regular extension ladder. As usual, the more sophisticated something is, the more likely it is to break down - and soon. We've only had it a year.
Here's another shot of the frame:
Next is the sheathing for the roof. Here's a view out the french doors once I have the first few sheets in:
After the sheathing, I lay down 30lb roofing felt and secure it with button cap nails. I secure it well, as this felt will be left exposed 2 weeks until I can get up there again and put in the metal:
Here's a shot of where it is at the end of the week:
Overall it was a great week. I lost 5 lbs working dawn to dusk and eating small meals the girls prepared, like potatoes and oatmeal or spaghetti. I got very tan, my hair bleached blonde in the fierce sun and cloudless sky day after day. We had one short episode of rain Saturday morning.
We took a couple of trips down to the creek to jump in and cool off and bathe. The girls took a few bike rides. They also helped me with mowing and mulching. Our neighbors from Knoxville brought us ice cold lemonade one afternoon, and fresh-baked bread one evening when we were running out of food. It was much appreciated. There may be even some work prospects for me building french drains for a neighbor - something I've done when I built the patio for my parents.
The only big downer was Mishka. He went next door and killed 2 more chickens. They said if he goes over there again they'll shoot him. So we had to tie Mishka up the whole week and he sat beneath the building. We're not going to be able to take him up there for a while, at least the rest of the year.
I'm going back to the property the first week of May to finish the addition. Patty and the girls and I are spending the entire month of June up there. We'll plant the garden, put up the siding, maybe plant some fruit trees, go canoeing and hiking, and have a great time. We've never all spent so much time up there together - only 2 weeks 2 years before, and that was sleeping in the gazebo.