Sunday, June 24, 2007

Here's how to make a huge mess of your yard

This weekend is the rental of the skid loader or "Bobcat". It's a really useful tool for moving rocks and dirt around and placing them right where you want them. It's also a dangerous tool, as after a hour you feel you have mastered everything there is to know and then you run over the tomatoes. At least, that's what I did. They survived in their raised planter, and after we scurried over to replace the masonry blocks they were not much worse for wear.

Moving all this dirt and backfilling around the house is exhausting--we got about 9 hours of sleep last night and didn't hardly move. Woke up really sore and stiff--who'd have thought that driving the Bobcat could beat you up so much? Here are some pictures to show you what's been happening. We need to finish it up tomorrow so we can take it back to Vandalia rental.

Linnea working on Saturday moving our supply of river rock. We call it river rock because that's what we had in California growing up. Out here in Ohio it's glacial rock, as a glacier went right through our house (where it would be anyway), cutting the limestone and granite into little bitty rocks and tumbling them as it went. So convenient to have a rock quarry on the back of the property.

This is the front of the porch, showing the retaining wall under construction. The drain pipe from the gutter runs under the front eave to collect water and send it down towards the pond area. Yep, Linnea found a place for the pond that she wants to build.

Here is the front yard area--I told Linnea that this is the biggest mess she has ever made--it must be a whole acre that has been torn up. Compare it to this picture from before the Bobcat!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Mom's Cafe

I haven't been able to tall about this project so far this weekend, but Linnea finished the tile front of the range hood. It's a monster 1,200 cfm exterior fan that has a 10" opening outside attached (somehow) to the 8" duct at the range hood. We puzzled about how to build the sheet metal duct, and ended up using leftover cement board to build a box over the hood that went up to the 10" opening for the blower motor.

Linnea and our youngest son spent part of Saturday and this evening finishing the tile over it. She got some chalk board paint from Lowes to add a message area that she can decorate as she wants. Linnea says "It's mine to decorate--it's not for everyday stuff". I think it looks cool.

And here are some more pictures to show where the room paint is in the kitchen and living room. More painting tomorrow and it looks like we will start the final grade backfill and rough landscaping this week.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What's happening?

We have been working like mad to get the drywall done and get the house ready for paint. In a nutshell, we have finished the walls, ceilings, cement board for tile floors and showers and Linnea and our daughter have started painting the kitchen. Here are some pictures to show where we are.
This morning as we started work. From there, after laying out the tile for the range hood, we went to primer.

Cutting in the green heather #3 from Laura Ashley at Lowes

To here:

At the end of the day:

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Drywall in the homestretch

Here's a picture to tide you over until's another three day weekend as I am taking Friday off from work to spend on drywall. We have almost all of the ground floor finished, and will start tomorrow with the stairs going up to the first floor. I have to explain that we have not decided what to call the ground floor/first floor/downstairs and what to call the first floor/upstairs/second floor. You see, we have lived eight years in Europe and came to Ohio from England--where the ground floor is the one that has a front door. The first floor is the one you walk up stairs to from the ground floor. Here in the States it seems to be a little more confusing with the first floor being the ground floor and the second floor is the first floor. As clear as mud.

Anyways (my Mom would kill me for starting a sentence with "Anyways"), here is a picture of the basement and first floor with lights--new and improved. We are getting fluorescents for the can lights--the new ones from Sylvania seem to work well and don't have a color tinted toward green. The kelvin of the one's we like is unknown (from the packaging) but it is their 100W incandescent replacements that are 23W. A nice, yellow light very similar to the light from an incandescent.

The front of the house, now with running water and lights!

And the back of the house, looking into the living room.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Another tool review

The Bosch Drywall Screw driver bit tool review

While shopping at Lowes I found a screw driver tip from Bosch. It's their Drywall Dimpler/Driver and it's great. It attaches to your regular screw driver and turns it into a drywall driver and dimpler. Using a drill with a clutch set fairly low, it avoids overdriving screws and allows someone unskilled to set them accurately at the right depth. It's not perfect, but it works about 90% of the time. It's weakness is inside corners, where the drill body keeps the bit from being square on to the drywall--it leaves a slightly proud screw. My kids and I call these screws "need to be humbled screws" as they are slightly proud. We have a kid running around with either a hand powered screw driver or a battery powered one with a regular Phillps bit in it. It wears out pretty quickly when it slips in the cross slots of the screw, and I am not sure if the tip can be replaced or not, although it does come out.

About $10-15, depending on where you buy it. Reversable to lock out the built in clutch. Worth buying for a single house worth of work.

Insulation done, drywall underway

Well, the drywall went up a big way this weekend with the first annual Simonalle Drywall Party. We tried to see if drywall floated on soda up to the ceiling. It took more than just refreshments to get it there though--pizza turned out to be the ticket. We got almost all of the downstairs ceiling board up, and lots of the walls too. The weather was hot and humid, and cutting gypsum drywall board with the loose insulation laying around made for a miserable day, but we had good friends helping to offset all of that. We are really looking like a house now, as the kids said over and over.

Here's some pictures to prove it.

This is looking into the kitchen from the living room.

And looking through the stairwell into the living room and kitchen.