Thursday, October 25, 2012

Renovation Day 1388

Yes, it has been 1388 days since we started the Knotty Pine Purge.  But who's counting?

Today started off auspiciously:
This was our sunrise this morning.  Glorious.  I never, ever tire of our views.

Today Eric installed the new culvert in the drainage ditch that divides our property in two.  With the building of Highway 30 and the drainage work that was done earlier this year, our old culvert was removed last February.  Now that the soy is cut and our field  is accessible again, the new 25 foot-long and 5' diameter pipe could be placed:
Eric still needs to place some rocks around the edges to prevent the clay from washing away, but the biggest part of the job is done.  Our two lots are now accessible again, and heavy tractors can access the back field without having to make a big detour over neighbouring properties.

Here's the back field:
If you "embiggen" the above photo, you can see the two ginormous light standards lit by the setting sun just behind the forest.  Using Google Earth's handy measuring tool, I can tell you they are just shy of one kilometre away from where I'm standing.  This is where the new Highway 30 will pass just before it goes under the Soulanges canal, and then over the mighty Saint-Lawrence linking Cedars with St-Timothée.

Walking back to the house,  I captured this shot:
The phragmite  grass is as beautiful as it is annoying.  Short of using napalm, we can't get rid of it, so we might as well sit back and enjoy it.

Here's a view of the sun setting behind the house:
All's right with my world today, how could you tell?

And if that progress wasn't enough, Eric started work on the final (well, not final, but getting there...) stage of our upstairs renovations.
The missing link is the frame around the door to the master bedroom (behind the formidable plastic zippered door).  Although the master bedroom is finished (well, again, finished but not done to our liking...), the frame around the bedroom door is proving to be quite the production for many reasons.  Part of this is our fault, and our high-falutin tastes.  At some point in time during the upstairs renovations, we decided to finish the master bedroom with a sliding glass door.  Our chosen product is made in France by Sadev, and the hardware has been sitting in a huge tube in the living room for the past 3 years.

Part of what makes this work challenging is the fact Eric is working at critical part of our house.  The unfinished wall you see in the above photo is the old exterior of the original house which has already been butchered by previous owners.  Also, the door leading to the bedroom is not a standard size, and to top things off, it's located right beside the stair and close to the chimney.  It's like a trifecta, a perfect storm of sorts, where more head-scratching, planning and procrastination are needed to fix the various issues.

Of course, the fact we're using a product like the Sadev sliding door rail compounds things even more.  By this point in my life, I don't think we're complicating things, I know we're complicating things.  But when that door is finally rolling on smooth stainless rollers, I'm convinced we will have made the right decision.  I say that with the ease of someone who hasn't had their knuckles ground off against rough-hewn wood, of course.

Eric, who over-engineers something fierce, set about putting up a frame composed of 5"x5" BC fir.  The beams need to fit squarely against the original structure of the house, which, being about 170 years old, calls for some fiddly framing work:
Here's a look behind the chimney, where we have legal clearance of just over 4" (really not obvious from that angle, but the clearance is there).  The old wall needed to be notched and carved out to fit the new beam, but thanks to our new Fein tool, even this onerous task proved do-able.

Again, we can't laud the Fein MultiMaster enough.  We actually hold it and shake our heads in dismay, wondering why we didn't buy it earlier.  We'd probably be finished our renovations by now, come to think of it...

Here's another view of the ensemble, where I'm letting it all hang out, so you can get a good impression of the hovel we somehow manage to thrive in:
Once the frame around the door is complete, we can finally finish the insulation and vapour barrier.  The white thing taking up valuable floor space is but a tiny corner of Eric's massive drafting table.  I'd love to hurl it out the window, but Eric's somewhat disturbingly attached to it.  I fully intend to offset the drafting table with my junk when the upstairs is finished.  That should serve as a warning to Eric that my three sock machines are heading upstairs, along with my sewing machine, and a table large enough to let me work comfortably.

Anyhow, we still have a way to go before finishing the upstairs, but the start is made, and Eric is back into the swing of things.

Hopefully, my next report won't be 1388 days in the making.

As Eric likes to muse, "This is not a race, it's a marathon".

Truer words have never been spoken.


Miriam said...

I feel your pain! And the satisfaction at making progress with a job that has been lurking on the back burner for a long time. Our house is only about 20 years old and I know how many wonky things we encountered while renovating - I can only imagine how resourceful and creative you have to be with a house as old as yours!

Shim Farm said...

Oh Miriam, I could have gone on and on about how weird that corner is, and how previous owners just CUT OUT part of the structure of the main house. It's unbelievable. But things are moving forward, and that's the main thing.

Sometimes we just sit and stare at what we find, shaking our head and trying to understand "why oh why" someone butchered things the way they did.

Even more discouraging is the fact the house WAS well-built originally. But we will persevere...we might be slow, but we're steady!

Robin said...

Sometimes you need to procrastinate so you can figure out the best solution. At least I am telling myself that to make me feel better. I'm glad Lee and I aren't the only ones that make things harder for ourselves then what they need to be. I do lament often that I wish we could do things the normal fast way. But nooooooo. :)

You are a bit ahead of us on the nice house front so letting it all hang out in that pic still looks nice. You have a normal floor!

That reed grass is really pretty. Wikipedia says it grows in temperate and tropical regions of the world. I laughed as I pictured Canada being tropical.

Shim Farm said...

Robin, I quote: "The normal fast way"! I got a good laugh out of that one! I don't think we're the only ones. Sometimes I get freaked out by the drill press in the living room, and other times I shrug my shoulders, and say, "Wow. We have a drill press in the living room!", like it's a value-added benefit when I want to put a hole in something...anything LOL.

Hahahaha, that normal floor is so pinged, dented and scratched that we are going to paint it white, just like Eric's office. We still haven't gotten around to painting the floor in the guest room either, yet. I mean, "normal, fast way" does not apply here either, or we'd just slap down a carpet and look the other way.

I guess you could say we have "issues" LOL.

The reed grass is becoming a real invasive problem here in Quebec. It grows along most highways, and some innovative dude is trying to use it as a heating source, as well as use it for thatched roofs. I found this YouTube video:

That's just great. Now I want to learn how to thatch a roof!

(How people get bored is just beyond me LOL!)

Robin said...

I don't know French but I watched the video. That is neat! How long does a thatched roof like that last?

Shim Farm said...

Hi Robin, that video had me laughing so hard, you have no clue. Cue the flamingos at an African theme-park. Then cut to a windy, snowy field, where people are cutting phragmite by hand. I dunno, there's something about the diversity that just makes me laugh. I checked on-line, and one Irish thatcher says the phragmite lasts 60 years. That's quite enviable. Don't know if I'd go putting it on our house, but the concept is interesting.

Terry said...

So how was it? Did you figure out how to deal with the door-stair-chimney problem? That does seem to be a head-scratcher, if may say so myself. Anyways, slow and steady it goes, especially if you want it to look amazing at the first try. :)

Terry Arnold @ Integrity Alaska

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...