Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Giant Tree project: update

Now that I've knocked the thing down out of the tree it was leaning on, I've got to haul it up the hill and down to the house spot. Since it's so wet out, and this thing is SO big, I've decided that using the truck to pull it up and over a hill (the truck could only be on the other side, about 100 yards away) wouldn't really be all that smart. So, it's a game inches.

Here you can see how, as Surfer Mike says, 'I'm going all Egyptian slave on the thing' with my little log rollers. I'm using two parts of the upper part of the tree as rails, and small (maybe 4 inch diameter) oak logs as rollers.

Once I get the chains all hooked up to tree stumps up above, I just crank on the chain winch until I'm tired. The thin yellow rope is there to hold the tree in place while I change the chains. This is a big log.

In both pictures, you can see the 'shiny' silver chain of the winch (between the blue thing and the log). It's maybe 10 feet long. I do one length of that in the morning, then another link in the afternoon. while, that's what I did yesterday and today.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tree in the Road

This morning, the neighbors called and told us there was a tree in the road. It's actually their tree, and he was just sort of calling to find out what to do, but I had gotten my saw out to do some other stuff, so he called at just the right time. This photo is after the initial clean up... now just a matter of time until new firewood!
More Snow!

again this morning, the meadow is white. You can see where I had been clearing out the small shoots off the old madrone stump in the foreground. I'm going to put some grape vines in there.

Measuring for Posts

Now that we're almost done with the stone wall making, and it's too cold to make mortar, Melissa is figuring out how tall our posts have to be... they have to go all the way to the ground, ya know!

So we have to figure out the heights of the concrete footings. We got a small-time laser level and built our own transom (I think it's called) with a long 1x1, a measuring tape strapped to the side of it, and a little post leveling device we had from the yurt building period. By setting the laser level on one footing, we can easily tell the height difference by seeing where it hits the measuring tape on the 'plumbed' stick. I built a white background piece of plywood stand so we can find the laser during the day. You can see the laser level sitting on the closer footing here:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The New Chisels

Moving into the next phase, I ordered some fancy chisels for the timber frame project. These are like $100 a piece. You can see the size by the quarter between the top two. Turns out though, the bottom one is a 2" wide, and I need a 1.5". Now I have to send it back. sheesh.


The snow started coming down last night around 9pm, and started sticking to the top of the yurt right away. We watched the dome slowly cover over:

and got up the next morning to a white meadow!

It's a wet, heavy, sloppy snow, so we're not trying too hard to work today. Making mortar in this stuff would be cold on your fingers.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

More Excitement in Compost!

Continuing my ever expanding quest for the best compost, I've expanded the garden & kitchen waste compost pile so I can easily flip it over for stirring. Now I can just use the pitchfork and toss it from one side of the bin to the other, allowing air to mix in for faster decomposition. Fun!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Just me and Charlie in the cold yurt.

Melissa has gone off to play and work in the big city for a few days, and so it's just Charlie the giant German Shepard and me up here on the mountain. It's getting cold this week, and last night I had a road assoc. meeting, so I didn't start a fire. It was pretty cold here in the yurt when I got back. Charlie was saving heat and energy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Leaning Tree Obession.

So a while back I noticed this really long, dead redwood leaning on a madrone. I started thinking that it's probably not rotten, and might be good to use in the house construction. Throwing a rope over it to pull it down was not an option. The valley slopes down below it.

I took my chainsaw down to the base and cut off the stump. It didn't fall much further, but looked really great inside. Here's how big it is down by the base. That's my hardhat sitting on it.

I got my farm jack down there and started playing with the log, trying to get it to slide down and out of that tree.

Got the stump part to roll down and hold it up every time I jacked it up a few notches.

Then, bam! it came down hard, and didn't kill me. Now to figure out how to get it up out of the valley.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A little moist

We've had a bunch of rain and fog all week. It's actually slowing us down, as we can't mortar while it rains. Right now, it's just foggy, but they say there's more rain on the way. It's pretty, of course. If there wasn't so much to do, it'd be great.

This first picture is basically the view from the living room of the future house looking SW. That's the hot tub down there.

From the same spot, looking more SE. That leaning tree is the 'death madrone', the standing half of the tree that came down last year. I'll have to take it down sometime, as it will probably fall on someone's car or something.

Extra chips

Preparing for the coming rain, I redid some of our paths today. Before putting down redwood duff, I picked up the usable chips around the wood chopping area. Got two buckets worth. They're going over by the hot tub, for throwing in a little extra heat. I always feel good when I don't waste stuff.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Some final wall bits

I also managed to do two bags of mortar in the lovely sunshine of New Years Day. Here I'm putting on the highest (and last!) bit of the bermed wall. The stuff to the right of my hands got done today too, and they might have another layer, but that's not really on the 'house' wall, but the retaining wall that meets the bermed part of the house.

Getting stuff Done day.

We were going to go to Grandma's house today, but Melissa is down with a cold-like thing... so that let me get some stuff done around here. I cut down a standing dead Madrone (no branches, about 5 inch diameter, 20 feet tall) and part of anther big dead madrone that was lying on the ground. Hauled the pieces over to the wood pile(s) (about 80 steps, done numerous times)

stacked nicely...

and managed to fill up the 'close-to-the-door' bin before dark.

Cabin shower pan getting in place

Actually, kind of happy about this progress.  It needed to be up so the drain trap will fit.