Monday, December 21, 2009

...just working on the interior drywall now on the Moose Lake project...


They had the grand opening of the new park building/youth center in Ely this weekend. I have been helping some with that project and it is nice to feel like it is almost completed, thought there seems like a lot left to do. At least the  skating rink part will be up and running so the kids can use it.  I will be down there a lot myself since my son decided to play hockey this year. I was not at the main events of the grand opening, since we had a game in Virginia, but I heard it went well.
I did not take any pictures of the facility this past week. I just didn't have my camera with me at the right times, (or maybe I was just lazy).
  Someone wrote a real nice article about skating history in Ely. I don't often enjoy reading the local newspapers, but this one I found fun:

Also, WDIO TV from Duluth came up and did a piece on it last Thursday, it was on the 10:00 news that evening. You can see the video here:

Friday, December 11, 2009

The lakes are all frozen over now, it has been a very cold week, 16 below zero right now as I write this.
I took a picture of Burntside lake on Tuesday. This is the last lake to freeze and you can see there is still a bit of open water out there with the steam rising off of it. I'm sure it is all frozen over now:

We are getting the insulating done at our Moose lake project. The heating system is up and running now, so things are a little more comfortable in the house for working. The electrical is all done and we unloaded a ton of sheet rock on the site yesterday:

...and my shop project pokes along at the usual snails pace:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter came this past week.
I was doing my weekly visits to one of the houses I recently completed that I agreed to continue checking on through the winter months, and I snapped this picture on my approach:

That was Monday, when it started. It was about 30 degrees and the snow was a sit slimy. We didn't really expect it, they weren't really predicting that sort of thing on that day, but we all knew it was coming, at some point, so accepted it pretty well, I think. That first day is always a shock but by the end of the week, we had made the adjustment. It's amazing how quickly we adapt. This was now going to be our world for the next few months and by the end of the week, that just seemed OK.
I went to the flower and seed store and got some bird seed. Up till now, I think they have been OK in the woods foraging for themselves, but with the snow and then the colder temperatures, I feel like I should try to take care of these little guys. It probably doesn't make a difference to them, but it makes me feel better.

As far as work goes, the Moose Lake project is still coming along. We have begun to put windows in and the "log" siding is almost done:


Fortunately, I have a few shop projects to work on as well:

Saturday morning we had seven degrees below zero and clear sky.
I'm guessing a total of 7 or 8 inches of snow in the last 6 days.
Yup, this week, winter came:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It was a short work week. We are finally getting some cooler temps, but no snow yet.
After our quiet Thanksgiving day at home, we spent some time watching some Pee-wee level hockey games that my son was participating in, in Coleraine.

Some good games. It's been a couple years since we have had the opportunity to be "hockey parents" and sit with all the other "hockey parents", and I wouldn't go so far as to say it was good to be back as "one of them", but it is a fast paced, exciting sport to watch, and despite having to dress warmer as a spectator, spend ten times as much on gear, and drive all over the Iron Range in the worst types of weather, I guess I prefer it to basketball, though it seems to bring out a little more of the "dark side" in the parents.

After one of the games, we asked our son if he could hear all the yelling, if individual players could hear their own fathers and mothers explicit instructions, "SHOOT!", or "GET THE PUCK!", helpful advice like that, and he said no. They can hear the collective groans or cheers, but not much else. We were glad to hear this. Hopefully the parents calm down a bit before the long ride home...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

We are still having great weather for building. It's been sunny all week and highs in the 40s. The nights have been cold though, and there is a bit of thin ice on the quieter waters in the mornings and it's taking longer and longer to melt during the days.
Driving to a job site one morning I found this guy. The water is mostly skimmed with ice, but he was just sitting there on a rock in a little area where it was still open, enjoying the morning sun.

We are getting the log siding up on this project and putting some window in. Electricians and plumbers have moved in, so we can do the outside work now and stay out of their way.

On my other project, the well drillers came this week and drilled a well. Hard to see, but it is that pipe sticking up from the ground:

That slab is cured now to the point where we took the curing blankets off. It looks pretty nice, I think they did a good job:

...and I managed to get a little work done in the shop:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Seems like not a lot happened this week, but the big thing was the concrete work for our next project was finished. The nice weather held into this week, we had highs in the 50s and for a couple days after this slab was poured, we actually had lows in the 40s. Very unusual for this time of year, but I'm not complaining. Here the slap is being finished:

On the other project, we are working on getting the skirting around the base of the building done. This will close in the building so that it can be used in the winter in the future. It was set up as a seasonal cabin, but with our improvements, the heaveir insulation in the roof and the insulated wall around the base, it should be able to be used year round.

The half log siding will go up from the top of the skirting there.
We also poured a small slab inside under the building for the heating and mechanical stuff to sit on:

We woke up to an inch or so of snow this morning. It started off as rain yesterday, but the temp dropped all day and it ended up being snow. I was very grateful for the mild weather up into this past week, but now I am OK with the idea of winter coming.
In mid November, 50 degrees is just weird. Although I can remember the first year I moved here, about 24 years ago, deer hunting in a T-shirt.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

On the modified "A" frame project, we are making progress. The roof is all buttoned up, so, for the most part, we are out of the weather, which is always a good thing this time of year. I have the windows, but there is no need to bring them to the jobsite just yet. We will get all the interior walls framed and then electricians and plumbers can get in and do their thing while we stay out of their way putting in windows and applying the siding.

The "A" frame beams inside will remain. They are Doug Fir that was stained a very dark brown, but we took the time to sand them so they are now the natural Doug Fir color:

On the other project we are getting the ground work in. The masons have finished the foundation walls, and the dirt guys have backfilled inside. We have put the foam insulation down to insulate under the heat tubing, and the plumber and electrician have put their tubes and pipes in place. We are ready for the slab to be poured. Unfortunately, this is opening deer hunting weekend, and the entire world in Ely comes to a complete stop. I don't understand this, even after living here for about 25 years, but from three days before opening day till about the wednesday followong opening weekend, nothing gets done in Ely. Apparently, it is not about hunting, it is more of a ritual. We see men in the grocery store loading up shopping carts with enough food to last months and then at the liquor store loading up on beverages. Meantime, I we just had the most beautifull fall day you could imagine and my slab is not getting poured. Next Wednesday they are looks like the weather will hold, but I am getting nervous. It's all my own fault, of course. I dragged my feet this summer on getting this project going and now this is where I am.

I did manage to get up on the roof of the youth center building we are constructing in town and finished the upper dormers. These stayed open last winter, although is wasn't a big deal then, we really didn't have the ceiling finished inside or anything, but this year I wanted to make sure no snow blew in there and wrecked anything. This is totally a volunteer project, so I have to find time here and there to fit it in. A bunch of kids from IRYA came and finished, (or mostly finished) the soffets, so we are moving along. We will have the warming room ready for the ice season, so, hopefully that end of it will get some use this winter once the city starts making ice in the rinks.

Inside, the floors and ceilings are done. Hopefully it will be ready to use as a "youth center" or whatever this winter, but there is still a lot of work to do...

For more info on the Ely Youth Facility click HERE.

Or copy and paste:
On one of my errands this week I was confronted by this guy. He appeared pretty full of himself, so I let him cross and go on his way:


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It looks like we might just make it with the concrete work for this new house before winter sets in. We have the footings poured and ready. Before we back-fill we will put one row of ICFs around to take it up to the floor height. Here are the footings with the forms stripped:

We have a few ICF forms on the site:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I finally completed the finishing touches on the little sauna building we have been working on this summer. It has been largely complete and usable for a few weeks now, but I had to finish building the cedar slat floor in the sauna room and the doors. Everything looks good now. I added pictures to my gallery, they can be seen here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I was meeting the electrician at a new job site yesterday, but I got their a little early. The lake was like glass and the colors were nice, though this isn't going to be a great year for leaves. It was chilly, probably about 32 degrees and very quiet. I put my little camera in my pocket and took a little walk around.

I walked up on the rock in front of the cabin and was standing there when I caught something something out of the corner of my eye. It was a fox curled up looking at me over his bushy tail like I had disturbed him. He had the expression on his face that he was not quite ready to get up and face the chill of the morning yet.

I thought he would disappear quickly, like every fox I had ever seen in my life, but he just laid there looking at me, so I slowly reached for my camera. Then he got up and slowly walked over to me. Very strange. He stopped about ten feet away and sat down looking at me. He didn't seem concerned, possibly more bored than anything. He didn't look sick or anything, (like I would know if a fox is sick), just mildly interested in me. I tried to coax him a little closer, but he had no interest in that. I wonder if I had had some food, maybe he would come, but I had nothing.

We spent about 15 minutes there together, I would guess. He walked around me looking at me, sitting there looking bored, yawning, scratching. I felt a little silly taking pictures of him, he had that cat like attitude that makes you feel like you are really an inferior being, but I didn't really know what else to do. I said a few words to him, but he didn't seem to hear or didn't care if he did hear. I wondered if some of the cabin owners in the area fed him and he was waiting for something from me.


Eventually, he seemed to get tired of the whole thing and just wandered off slowly into the woods.
The electrician drove up and I told him about the experience. We talked briefly about the grouse we had seen on the road on the way in and the chilly morning and then the day moved along like any other.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hopefully we will be getting started on a new project here sometime over the winter. The most important thing is getting the foundation in, all the concrete and dirt work done before everything freezes. I always like to wait for the last possible minute to do this, just because it makes my life a little more interesting.
I was at the new home site on Wednesday of this past week and took this picture. This is the site, pretty much untouched except for a few ribbons and marking to show where the footprint of the house will be. They all start like this:

Today we woke up to a little bit of winter. About two inches of new snow, 26 degrees and very windy. It's only mid october so I am not worried, but it certainly is an unwelcome blast of reality. Here is a shot I took from the deck of the house, some of the snow had alread melted, but most of it stayed all day:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We got the siding deliver this week. it is half log siding from Homestead Timbers. I don't know anything about this company, have never worked with them before, but it looks like nice stuff, as far as half log siding goes. It is all Northern White Cedar, which is interesting because we don't see White Cedar around here consistently large enough to get that many of that size of board out of.  Here's one pile of it:

A plank way up on the side of the building to get the last few soffet boards in:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This is an interesting project we started last week. It is an "A" frame with "wings" built lower down and we are going to raise the "wings" and give it room for a few extra bedrooms and baths. This is the profile before we start:

This is what the profile will look like after:

Here is a shot I took before we started:
It is hard to get a good shot of it with the dumpster in front, but you can see the new roof line through the trees:
Here, you can see it better from the lakeside:

I stumbled upon this the other day, I have no idea who this is, but I sure do like how it's done. Let's see...I'll put it right Here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I was back at the house we finished up at earlier in the summer.  It is not completed, but the owner wanted us to pull out for a while and they were going to do some of the work themselves. We are going to build a little roof over the basement entry area and I was just there to fill the Sono tube form with concrete. The landscaper dug it in while he was there:

I was really impressed by the work the landscaper had done here. His name is J.J. Day. This is the second job that they came after me and worked on, and I am really happy with how it turned out. Here are some pictures:


The owner of the house has been working on the scratch coating of the foundation, getting it ready for stone veneer.

 Another beautiful day. Seems like winter is still a long way off.

Here's a nice totally unrelated music  video just for fun.