I've taken off again and left Ed on his own. This time it was because my little grandson was about to give his debut performance, and what a performance it was. After a considerable labor, Ellen presented us with Jackson Edward Miller. He's perfectly perfect in every way.
While I've been down south helping with the baby chores, Ed has been preparing for the last big cement pour. He began by cleaning out all the junk under the garage overhang. This was the area that became the collecting point for all of the stuff that could stay outside but needed to be out of the direct rain, including but not limited to plywood, diesel cans, the log splitter, various leftover lumber. He sorted stuff out, threw other things away, relocated other pieces. After taking a massive pile to the dump (why did I save this?) he used the tractor to smooth out the dirt and gravel on the driveway.
He will pour cement under the columns around the overhang of the garage, pour an apron out 20' or so, make a walkway over to the front porch. Then the walkway will continue between the two buildings under the apartment stairs, behind the garage under the back overhang, and walkway over to the back porch stairs on the house. Any way you look at it, that's a lot of cement!
This narrow back portion by the back porch was a bear to dig out. He had to do it with a pick and shovel, and it's a tough job. There was 2" of landscape rock over heavy dryer felt that all had to be removed. Once that was up he had to use a shovel to create the pathway.
The rest of the back area by the porch was a little easier. Ed was able to get the tractor behind the house and let the tools do the work. This is where the stairs will come down off the back porch to a landing. We wanted to avoid putting a porch rail across the back porch because it would obscure the view. Stairs will provide a nice alternative.
In the meantime I'll be here helping with household chores and spoiling baby Jackson rotten. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.
Ed has been working on the "Finish This" list, which somehow sounds so much better than a "To Do" list. When the sun shines (or sometimes when it doesn't) he works on the outside stairs and porch rails. He's been waiting for a few missing parts to be shipped, but is doing what he can when he can. Both stair rails are up on the front porch and they look good!
He also worked on the pickets on the side porch and back stairs. Each picket has to be cut to length. There is aluminum sawdust everywhere, but this is just about it for aluminum pickets. The rest of the rail is tempered glass.
I ordered a patio table on-line, bought chairs and am ready to have BBQ on the porch!
On those days less suited to working outside, he's been finishing trimwork inside the house.
Stair skirting installed.
Finish basement stairs and install handrail.
Install Theresa's transom in the dining room and make trim pieces.
I should break stride here and say that I finally finished grouting all of the backsplashes. I sealed the slate in the bathroom with the spa tub so that Ed could install the final bit of plumbing left to do in the house. Plumbing is not his favorite activity, but at least for this one he doesn't have to dig anything up or crawl under a house. Still...it's not a plumbing project without it's little idiosyncrasies. After several trips to the barn, some mumbled expletives and a spill involving several towels, he got it all hooked up.
Meanwhile, we noticed that the well which is in the front yard by the driveway was making some funny gurgly noises. This is one of those things that should be attended to as soon as it's noticed, instead of the middle of a holiday weekend with a house full of company. We're not crazy...we called the well guy.
The first thing he said was that the well head really shouldn't be below grade because contaminants could enter the well. So out came the shovels. After looking at the whole thing, they'll be back next week to bring it up to speed. Hopefully we can increase our water pressure at the same time.