Thursday, September 29, 2011

I have batteries!

That was a long day. This morning dad and I got started pretty early. I finished sealing up the drywall in the garage against fire.

I was wearing my rubber gloves again, so I didn't have any problem with the caulk and didn't even get any on the gloves.

Adam came over and worked a little while on the driveway, but his back was being a pain, so he wasn't able to do much of the work I had planned on. Oh well, dad and I had plenty of work to do. We checked the gas line. It had leaked again, and dad is not able to get the bubble solutions to bubble. So we finally had to start just tightening one connection at a time, a little at a time and waiting to see if we still had a leak. We did this on a few connections today, a few different times. I am hoping we finally got this part of the system leak free.

We got set up for painting. We put down paper along the whole wall, then put down a large drop cloth right were we were working at the moment.

Dad worked with a brush, and got in the corners, up in the nooks and crannies, and along the bottom. Then I came along behind, and rolled the rest of the wall. We got the primer on the wall where the batteries and power equipment will go, and a ways over on the wall that is shared with the utility room.

FedEx called and asked about the best way to get to the house. I told the driver, and then he asked about the road in front of the house. I told him that it was narrow and getting in the driveway is not easy for a big truck. He had a semi! I had told them that was not a good idea, but apparently the dispatch folks didn't think it would be a problem. When he got there, he tried to back in. It was a short trailer, and he got it into the driveway, but he could not back it up the steep part, and with the rain we have had, there was no way he could turn around at the top if he went up forwards. So I backed my truck down so we could load the batteries from the back of his truck into mine. We loaded 4 at a time, and I used the 4 wheel drive to slowly take them up the drive. Dad road in back, and made sure they rode OK.

Once we got them up, we had to get them inside. I was not going to turn around with those in the back. The area I would have to turn around in is bumpy, and I did not want to risk tipping any of them over. So we unloaded them outside and used my wagon to haul them inside.

12 batteries all lined up. Over 1400 pounds of plastic, lead and acid sitting in my garage.

Dad and I went for lunch then. After we got back, we worked on painting the wall we had primed in the morning. It is looking good. After we finished with that, Matt and mom came up and Matt helped us get part of the battery box assembled. Here it is lying on its back. Once we have a finish on the floor where it needs to sit, we will move it there, and load the batteries in.

Hopefully sometime next week, I will be able to charge the batteries for the first time, and try running off the batteries rather than the generator.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Drywall stage 1: complete

The drywalling of the outside walls has been finished. The walls are sanded, and ready for primer and paint. They did a nice job on the windows.

This wall will be getting primer tomorrow. It is in the garage, and power equipment and the battery box will go along this wall. So it needs to be painted before that can be done.

The drywall was cut to fit as close to the steel as they could get it, but there are still places where I have to put in caulk and foam to seal it up from the rest of the house, for fire safety. I started that last night. I am glad I was wearing rubber gloves! I will need to finish that tomorrow before I start with the primer. I was going to finish it tonight and start priming, but my batteries are coming tomorrow and I wanted to have some things on hand before they arrived, and the shopping took longer than I expected. Hopefully I will have pictures of the batteries tomorrow evening to share, and hopefully no dramatic story to go with the pictures.

The grass I planted has been growing quite well. There are still some areas that are not coming along very quickly, and may need more seed yet, but overall, I am very pleased.

The roof has done very well.

 On the 24th, the south slope beside the garage was like this.

Here it is on the 27th, with quite a bit more grass showing.

While grass seems to grow just fine in my lawn, I have much more interesting plants that seem to keep visiting. With moving out to property that is rural, I was expecting to see or find evidence of a lot of animals. I also am not expecting or desiring to have the sort of lawn Chem Lawn will get you (despite the appearance of my roof). I was expecting to have to deal with some plants such as poison ivy. I was not expecting the who's who of dangerous plants to come live beside my house. As you may recall, I had the interesting, lovely, and very tall poison hemlock. Now I have this lovely and interesting looking plant showing up.

It has lovely flowers, and an interesting seed pod. It is Datura stramonium, and some of the other names it is called, are as colorful as the plant and its flowers. This is in the same family as the potato and tomato. However, this plant should not be eaten. It can produce hallucinations, delirium, or even death. I am waiting for the ninja to show up to buy ingredients for poisons to tip their weapons!

Off to bed, I think tomorrow is going to be a long day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Field of Weeds

Well, with drywall being worked on while I am not there, there aren't too many pictures to show. There are a number of things that can't really proceed while the drywall is being finished. But we are working on what we can. Late last week, I started trying to clear some of the weeds, so we will be able to work on the vent house, and the solar array.




I wanted to keep the plants killed off under where the array is going to be, and I had a bunch of cardboard from boxes that materials and equipment have come in. So, we laid the cardboard out under the aluminum supports. That should minimize what comes up before I get the array installed.

Sunday dad and I looked around the outside of the house to decide where it made sense to get more grass growing. I still had seed from the first batch I bought, so I thought I may as well get it going. As we checked on the area around the house, we saw deer tracks on the east side. We followed them, and they proceeded up onto the roof.

Not the best picture, but the dark spots are where the hooves pushed down through the straw and into the soil.

The drywall work is coming along. It looks like they have two coats on, and I am hoping they can put the third on tomorrow. The windows are looking good.

I am hoping that before the end of the week they will have the last coat on.

Next week the batteries should show up for the power system. I will have 12 batteries each weighing 119 pounds!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Exteme underground drywalling!

Yesterday, the adventures in hanging the drywall commenced. Rick showed up by himself. So he couldn't start with the garage like I had hoped. He started back in the office, and worked his way around the outside walls throughout the day. He found the ICF easy to attach the drywall to. Then he got to the wall in the family room running parallel to the joists, and had his first fun. He found that he had to remove over spray from the foam that had been applied to the roof. The joist was pretty much in the way of doing this.
Then he realized he was going to have to wait on this wall, until some of the drywall that was on the floor, was out of the way. Oh well, on to the kitchen.
All the drywall up, above and below the plywood support for the cabinets.

Then Rick started to work on fitting drywall to the curves at the top of the windows. He found that things did not line up vary evenly with the window frame, and that getting the drywall to look good around the window was going to take some work.

I went to lunch, and when I got back, I found that I had lost a window, and had a more Hobbit sized entrance.
Thats not funny, give me back my window and full door!

Rick has seen the light, and works on opening the window.

Now what about my door? I'm short, but not that short.

That's better. The windows are now looking more finished.

He also cut open the drywall covering the door :-)

Now today, Rick had an assistant, Jeff. Jeff didn't know what he was in for. The boards in the garage, were 12 feet long to start with, and two of the walls got type X which is also thicker than the standard drywall. Those sheets are much heavier than a 4 by 8 standard sheet. To top it off, because of certain framing/plumbing/electrical fire safety issues, we were putting up two layers of the type X on those walls. To add a real fun twist, I had put 2 inches of foam insulation on those walls so they didn't have a good sense of where the studs were, and they had to use 4 inch drywall screws. Neither one of them had ever used 4 inch drywall screws! But wait there's more....the type X had to go all the way up to the steel decking. So they also had to carve the top to come pretty close to matching the profile of the ridges in the decking on one wall, and get around the joists sticking down on the other. Oh and they got to deal with two different slopes they had to accommodate. One from the floor sloping toward the garage entrance, and the other from the roof sloping perpendicular to the floor slope. Did I mention getting the drywall cut around the steel angle that runs perpendicular to the joists to stiffen them?

In the morning, they started from the bottom on the first layer, and found how much fun it was going to be to run the 4 inch screws.

 They notched the boards to go around the joist work.

After they had gotten pretty far along on the first layer we broke for lunch. I had an errand to take care of and when I got back, I found they were well into the second layer. They had learned some things on the first layer, and the results were looking pretty good. The screws were also less trouble on the second layer since they didn't go into the studs as far.

Jeff had to leave, so I helped Rick move some boards around and he worked on the third wall.
When we left for the day, the wall was mostly covered.

Tomorrow the tape and mud will start to be applied to the seams and the screws. Dependent upon how things go, they may have the first coat on all the walls tomorrow. From talking to Rick, I may be able to start with primer and paint early next week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

BD's house of drywall

Friday I did sign up for insurance with a company that was willing to insure my house.

Friday also started the drywalling saga. First up, I went and got the drywall compound, and the corner pieces, and tape for the job.

Those got put in the house, then I went to sign for my insurance. In the afternoon the drywall was to be delivered.

Mid afternoon, I got a call that they were finishing loading the truck and they wanted to confirm the address. They showed up with a pretty good sized truck. They pulled it up out in front of the house, where it was pretty solid, and used the boom to get the panels from there, to the front door.

They slid them from the boom, onto a cart. Then once they had them on the cart, they wheeled them to the family room and an area in the dining room where they would not be in the way of getting them put up.
8 and 9 foot long sheets.

After they unloaded those, then they went around to the garage, and unloaded the big boards.
12 foot long sheets! These are big and heavy!!

On Saturday mom, dad, and I went out to do a number of things. As dad and I got into the dining room to start planning the day, we saw a deer right out the front window in my woods.

We did quite a few things. We changed the oil in the generator. We tried out some concrete patch on a place in the garage that I wanted to get filled in before the drywall was put up. Dad did a pretty good job filling in this spot.

We also put up a strip of plywood in the kitchen to provide a good place to anchor the wall cabinets to. I was concerned with whether we would be able to get screws put into the studs in the foam, after the drywall was up, so we decided to put up the strip of plywood so that we would have a good large target to fasten into.

Dad did some more work on the plumbing, and I put up more of the baseboard supports.

Today, all we really did, was get things organized and arranged so the drywall crew will have room to work on the outside walls. I did get some photos of how the grass is doing. The roof in particular is doing nicely.

Tomorrow they start installing drywall at 7:30. This is going to be a long day I think.