The second winter we were here a huge windstorm brought a 100 year old spruce down directly across the driveway. With the help of neighbors and a logging crew who were working on the other side of the road, we got the driveway cleared. We found a local guy with a portable saw mill, and stacked the wood in the newly built barn.
Ed wanted to use the lumber to build all the interior doors, baseboards and door jambs. Luckily he came to his senses before that happened. He did, however, decide to make the doors for the man cave. There are seven. Two from the theater room to the shop, three for closets, and two from the saloon to the gym. The lumber he is using is rough-sawn spruce 2x12s.
I bought two sets of planer blades.
Ed proceeded to make a Mt. Everest sized pile of wood shavings. After the lumber had been run through the planer numerous times, he sanded it. He beveled each edge of each board. Then he used a biscuit joiner to lock three boards together, glued and clamped them and started the next one. When the glue was dry, he sanded some more, applied stain, then set up to spray the finish. He set them up in the shop portion of the basement, just like he did the interior doors.
More spraying....more sanding. He hung all the doors, which weigh a ton. For the first time, the basement looks less cavernous..no wait...that's what he wanted...a man cave. At least now I can't call it a dungeon. The doors are up. They still need trim, headers and hardware. We're thinking wrought iron hinge straps, clavos, and door knobs.
The grandkids were here until last week. They are city kids, used to urban pursuits. Facebook, computer games, iPhones. It wasn't raining and they needed to go outside and DO something. At 14, they are a little past the play age, but I sent them out to explore. They had a bottle of water, a box of graham crackers and complete freedom. They didn't know what to do.
I taped directions on the door.
They did take a nice long walk down the road to check out the neighbor's horses. Yes, I did let them back in the house.
Jackson, at 8 weeks, was just too little to send outside to play, so we kept him in and played "dress-up" Poor kid didn't have a chance, although he didn't seem to mind the attention. I have a hunch we won't have any problems getting this little guy out to get into mischief when he's old enough.
We had friends and family coming up for Independence Day, and the push was on to finish as many things on the To-Do list as possible.
First on that list was the cement. This was one of those things that it's worth paying someone else to do. It's hard, grueling work in the best of conditions. The weather was perfect...overcast, no rain, not too cold. Jim Bjorge and crew worked like crazy. Still, it was a two day pour, and took about 19 cubic yards of cement, front and back.
Oh glorious surface! Oh beautiful stone! I am finally able to walk from front to back without covering my shoes in wet sand or sticky mud. The amount of crud being tracked into the house by pets and people has diminished threefold.
But wait...there's more. We still needed rock to meet the level of the cement. We called Sam Longtain about bringing out some gravel.
I thought that it would be dumped in a big mountain and then Ed would have to use the tractor to smooth it out and spread it around. Silly me! Sam dumped it and rolled forward, so it spread it out in a ribbon of gravel. Ed finished the rest up with his tractor.
Elicia and I were working to get the house ship-shape for company. All of the windows had to be washed inside and out. That's a lot of Windex and paper towels. We mopped the floors, made sure all the bathrooms were clean and tidy. Then I went to the store and stocked up on enough food for an army. It was a challenge, but I managed to get everything stowed in the fridge, or in a cabinet someplace.
As soon as the cement was set up, Ed knocked the forms off and set up to build the back porch stairs.
First he cut the stringers...all 34 of them. Each one had to be scored correctly, then cut. By the time he was done, he was pretty tired. Staying half-bent over while holding that heavy skilsaw all day, well that's just plain hard, repetitive work.
Then he put the stringers in place and nailed them in. The nice thing about having the large expanse of stairs in the back is that there is no porch rail to obscure the view.
Ed ordered Trex for the stair treads so that they would match the deck and require less maintenance. It came to the lumber yard in several shipments and required several trips to town to pick it up, but he was finally able to start installing it. We still didn't have the material for the risers, but what we had would have to do for now.
The cement was in, the gravel was spread. The back steps were functioning. The bathrooms were clean and the fridge was full. We were ready for the holiday weekend.
There are still things to finish. We need to complete the columns, front and back. The Man-Cave in the basement still needs to be done. But it is a comfortable, welcoming home.
We had perfect weather for Independence Day. Friends, family and neighbors gathered for a barbecue. Fireworks lit the night sky. We are so very blessed to live in this country, to be free to pursue our dreams.