Monday, September 26, 2011

This End Up

 You have to keep checking 'cause sometimes it is hard to tell.  This is how far the wrapping went before we got crazy hurricane force wind delayed. Seriously the wind has been unbelievable. I have spent days thinking the yurt was going to lift right off the ground. I have been watching the massive cedar trees all around swaying like toothpicks. But the roof is wrapped .

We wrapped the roof with 30lb felt paper and the sides with 15lb. The word on the street is that felt paper took a backseat to Tyvek many years ago when it unfairly became the ubiquitous house wrap. Tyvek is maybe easier to put on ( it comes in one big sheet that you kind of drop down) but it does not breathe properly. From what we can tell from our research, houses that use Tyvek are WAY more prone to mold. It just holds the moisture in. Ideally, your house is well insulated and allows moisture to escape without allowing moisture in. Tyvek allows none in, but all the moisture you create ( dishwasher, shower, etc) stays in too.  

We used a Hammer Tacker to install our felt wrap. This was supposed to make it easier, faster, like the pros. We messed it up. We loaded the wrong size staple into it and , never having used one before, thought they just inevitably jammed that much.  We asked someone and he told us we just had to whack really hard.  This killed the Hammer Tacker. I took it back and told the guy I hated the thing and wanted to know if I could use a pneumatic stapler. Evidently that is too  powerful and will rip the felt paper thereby rendering it useless.  Who knew? Anyway, long story short, the guy at the lumber yard figured out the staple size mystery and gave me a new Hammer Tacker and, man, are they awesome! The wrapping flew up. The sides were a relative breeze.

Our metal roofing arrives this Thursday and we are supposed to have dry wind-free days this week.  Hopefully we can get it all done soon. We have something else to work around.... John got a job! He is the lead chef at a local ale house. The Main Street Ale House had become a kind of stomping ground for us so when the owners, Kim and Darren, approached John about working a few days a week, it seemed pretty perfect. We figured since we are entering the winter months, and I can take over doing the inside of the shop on my own, it was a good time to make some money and meet people in the community.

 We have been sourcing siding options for the last few weeks and have decided to ( surprise surprise) do a mish mash of various siding options.  As of now, we are scouring craigslist to find some used board and batten, some cedar tongue and groove, and some corrugated metal. We have plans to make a sort of Starburst pattern on the front gable end. The siding will be very unique and a challenge and very fun!

More good news.... we passed our framing inspection! Only two small things we need to fix, but they signed off on it and the very nice inspector gave us some pointers.

I am off now to the greenhouse. I have been using this windy cold weather to make our Yurt more winter friendly and finishing off the summer harvesting and winter planting. I am about to pull up the last of the watermelons and juice them, freezing the juice for winter morning pick me ups.  Anybody know any better ways to save melons?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Roofing A go go


We are in the roofing process  and it is going surprisingly, awesomely, pretty well. There was this one part, installing the fascia, that was lurking in our minds as something that was not going to go well and so we kept putting it off. We tackled it yesterday and it was , in fact, hard but not the demon beast we had conjured.

Anyway, let me back up for a second. The last time you saw the shop it had gotten all of it's rafters and we were installing the bird blocks. So after the bird blocking we had to frame out the gable ends and then sheath them. Basically filling in the triangles we made.  This involved cutting 2 x 4's to the roof angle and putting them above every stud and cripple in the frame on the two gable ends of the shop.  John got really good at being a monkey, crawling all over the rafters to install these awkward pieces.  I played ground control to major John.  ( John said I only get to say that once)

The next step was the sheath them. We held up a full sheet of OSB ( oriented strand board, a cheaper version of plywood) and traced the pattern, put it up and tacked it down using 8d nails.  Pretty self explanatory.

The next big thing we had to was build the overhangs on the gable ends. Our ridge beam was the exact size of the shop so we did not have anything to work off of.  We  built outriggers  that attach to the second rafter in and sit in a notch on the first rafter.  These outriggers stick out about two feet and create the bones for the eve that protects the front and back sides of the building.  Here are the outriggers going up ( and you can see the sheathed triangles)....

Next came the fascia. The funny thing about having some of your lumber delivered is that, sometimes, you have no idea what it is. This happened with the fascia. Three boards were 5 1/2 inches and 4 boards were 7 1/2 inches. Hmmm. The books we had did not comment on why this would be. The carpenters we asked had different answers. Hmmmmmmm. It turns out that the bigger go on the front and the smaller on the side. The sides get the gutters and the bigger lumber hides the gutters from the front view. We figured it out by looking at every roof line as we were driving around. It retrospect it does seem obvious.

  Here you can see the two different sides the fascia goes on, but it is hard to see the size difference.

 Once the fascia was up on one side, we had to find the center and make a miter cut in order for the two boards to meet in the middle and be pretty. I am not gonna lie, this was a hard cut to keep straight from a 12 ft ladder.  John and I both made attempts at it, and we did actually get it to be a clean cut.

So once the fascia was installed, our roof was completely framed and ready to sheath. Very very exciting day. I have been in a bit of a panic about the shop. I have been watching the skies and fearing the day the rains return. but we are looking good now. Get ready for it..................................................


We won't receive the metal roofing until later in the week. You have to have the roof completely framed in order to get an accurate take off. Meaning they are going to cut it to order and it has to land exactly 24 inches on center, so we had to get the actual final measurements of the roof from outrigger to outrigger and including the fascia. We are picking up the felt paper today and wrapping the walls and roof and that will protect the OSB from the weather until we get the metal roofing.

Also, we swept the shop floor which had gotten full of alder leaves. This is what was left behind!

The leaves made alder leaf tea and stained the concrete! We really really love it, but it was a total accident!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wedding Pictures

 While this is a blog for things homesteading, salvaging, building and the like,  for this one entry we'd like to share some pictures from our wedding.  This is also a blog about community, after all, and what's more communal than this?   Enjoy!

                                   Christy walking up to the alter Maple tree

                               Planting the ceremonial pear tree

         Johns family and favorite women

         The band

The ceremony, with Christy's dad officiating. He did an amazing job!

                             Having trouble getting the tree out.....

                              Shade seeking! We luckily had very sunny weather.

                    Christy's parents and grandmother

            The table settings                      

One of the many crazy DIY photo booth photos!

                                        Happily ever after................

Monday, September 5, 2011


It took it's damn time getting here, but there is no doubting that we are in the thick of summer up here.  It's been so consistently hot lately that I think our corn just might do something!  We had given up on it a month ago.

 This is the time of plenty.  Excess, really.  Our first year growing in a hoop house has really proven to be a total success!  Now comes this time of year for scrambling to preserve everything that's ripening too quickly for us to eat it.  Here's how we're doing...

In the front there you can see the start of our blackberry foraging.  I would say we have a good twelve pounds (that's about 5 1/2 kg for you canadians up there....) so far.  We're shooting for twenty pounds, as that should make us one solid 5 gallon (19 liter) batch of blackberry wine.  I've brewed before, as has Christy, but this will be a new one, and I'm pretty excited about it!

The tomato situation is already a bit out of control.  For the past week this pot has been full of rotating sauces.  It's empty only long enough to clean it and start the next one.  What you're seeing in it now is a roasted green pepper and jalapeno sauce made with mostly orange tomatoes.  Behind it is about 20 jars of various sauces we've been playing around with, including one really sweet and spicy yellow tomato sauce we're pretty excited for.  And yes, a bowl of fresh tomatoes that we haven't figured our what to do with yet.  In ziplock bags next to the pot are my "sun dried" (very slowly oven roasted) black cherry and yellow pear toms.  I got impatient at the end and turned the heat up too high and lost about a third of them, but the rest are delicious little flavor bombs!  On the far right is a couple jars of roasted yellow tomatoes in oil and balsamic vinegar.  Also, there are three jars of sweet, sweet onion jam.

In the bags here are some more blackberries, rainier cherries and green beans.  We didn't grow the cherries, but they were so cheap at the produce stand that we had to grab them and store them!  Behind them: the pickles.  After giving away several pounds of cucumbers to friends, selling 20 lbs to a produce stand, supplying TWO weddings with fresh crudites and carving at least one into a friendly face, we still have about 15 quart-sized jars of pickles.  And more pickles in the crisper.  Oh yeah, and we've given away a few jars already.  Conveniently, there's a pickle contest at the Quilcene fair this weekend....

 Another new experiment going on here.  Fermented pickles.  We've stuck to vinegar based pickles because they're so easy, but Christy figured it was time to unlock the mysteries of kosher dills.  We tried with some spears, but they became super mushy.  The brine smells great though, so we're trying again with whole cucumbers.  Let us know if you have any tips on this.

Waiting to be harvested, we have carrots, beets, more more more tomatoes, a ton of salad greens, corn, pumpkins and a dazzling variety of melons.  We've been eating a melon a day for the last week, and the chickens are very happy about all the leftover rind.  I've warned the chickens that if they stand still too long around here they may end up pickled, too!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Birds Blocked!

Okay, Christy here.
So we are back at work after a bit of a delay... a couple days ago I all of a sudden had Vertigo. Very scary. I was eating breakfast and then BOOM! I felt like I had just gotten off a merry-go-round.  I laid down and a few hours later went to the doctor. I had a cat scan. My brain is fine ( insert joke here).  I evidently have had an ear infection that I had ignored. Then it would not let me ignore it anymore. I put some garlic in my ear and am feeling much better.

So we finally got back to work today.  We needed to install the bird blocking ventilation units.  These little annoying blocks allow air to circulate under your roof without allowing birds to nest inside. Handy but annoying.

Right.  John here.

I absolutely agree that bird blocking has been the most frustrating part of this shop so far.  It took two days just get them in.  I believe that this was largely our fault.  Bird blocks are 22 1/2'' wide, and nestle between each rafter above the wall.  This measurement may seem arbitrary but it is not. When we install the roof sheathing, we need the rafters to be 24" on center.  The bird blocking size insures that the rafters will be precisely where we want them when it comes time to lay down plywood. And that time is coming soon.   When we hung our rafters, however, we were not aware of this necessity and therefore were not as precise about spacing them.  Some rafters were 21'' apart, some were 24'', and some whimsically warped and twisted.  Each rafter was also toenailed in to the top of the wall using our pneumatic nail gun with between two and six nails.  Most of our bird blocking fiasco involved balancing on the top of the wall and prying each of those nails out.  There are 22 rafters, I'll let you do the math there.  Nothing is more frustrating than being frustrated at something you yourself are responsible for.

This whole process is about learning, though, and I can assure you that this is one lesson we will not forget.  What baffles me is why nobody, and not one book we've read, has mentioned the fact that putting in your bird blocks as you hang your rafters is a quick and easy way to assure proper spacing, and save you another couple dozen trips up the ladder later.  If you know the reason for this oversight, please let us know before we start hanging the rafters of our house, because that is my new plan.

It's done now.  The rafters are securely hung, birds are forever blocked from our roof, and tomorrow we attack the framing of our gable ends.  Hopefully hilarity will not ensue, but I can't make any promises.  And yes, Christy is firmly balanced, and her left ear smells of garlic.

Our next post will chronicle the preserving of our summer harvest.  Yes, it's actually summer and we actually have a harvest.  It's about time.