Then as it was, then again it will be.

Getting to the more obscure Led Zep quotes. This week we have been continuing to chip away at garage construction. Lots has happened, even though it seems slow (to us too). We had to source a few logs, pour piers, and build the carport beams. A friend came over to help with the big lift – thanks, PS! Triple 17′ 2x10s are a bit much for the two of us. Now that all the wall framing was done, we could get going on roof parts, starting with the ridge beam. A 40′ piece was super-fun to manage, but we did it. Today we installed the first few rafters, and can start getting some progress done on the roof now that we’ve got a couple done.


While we were doing log stuff, I found another local source of skinny cedar posts, and we put together a few railing sections for the porch. We wanted to get it done before one of us inevitably fell off! A couple sections to go – ran out of logs, but the farmer who was supplying them is cutting more soon.

railing1 railing2

It’s been disgustingly hot and humid, so we’re happy to have moved forward at all, but still feel a bit behind. We’re looking forward to slow but steady progress for August.

Black Dog

Tri-color dog. Yes, we’ve added to our pack – meet Bisbee (formerly Bella) who is a foster pup staying with us for a while, or maybe permanently, depending how well the next couple-few weeks go. She’s a very sweet, adorable little beagle about a year old who is getting along pretty well with Frankie so far, even though she is completely irritating to him when she leaps repeatedly in his face and falls all over him.

We have now turned to working on the garage – albeit slightly slowed by Puppy Weekend – but now have all but two small wing walls raised. (No pictures from today – it was really wet out – like living inside a cloud). We have to say, it is kind of awesome to work on a flat job site with brand new materials! Things go so quickly this way.



The upcoming week is for finishing walls and getting the roof structure together. There’s a heck of a pile of lumber and materials out there, which is getting irritating since there have also been a bunch of unexpected rainstorms, and it’s really humid. Not the greatest weather, but it’s supposed to get better soon.

Trampled Under Foot

We can use the front door again! The decking is on, and the porch is solid, sturdy, and sylish. As usual, almost all of the hardest and most important work is invisible. First, there was getting rid of all the yuck.

Then, building fresh – starting at the foundation.

Before we could put on the decking, we needed new cedar posts for the porch. Originally, we planned to re-use the old ones, after cutting off some rot and creating capitals at the top to make up the length. Alas, only about two had enough good wood to use. And, we had a hard time finding logs nearby – most of the cedar dealers are in other parts of the state. K’s persistence paid off when he talked through two guys to get to another guy who had a pile of cedars in a pasture he was clearing – and the price was perfect. So, we got to go last Saturday morning, pick logs (get our feet incredibly wet), cut them, peel them, and put them in the same day. Then we ready for the decking.

And now…decking! We can’t afford the fancy exotic woods (plus they’re totally not local), preferred not to do cedar, and I can’t deal with pressure treated…so we crossed our fingers that Craigslist would have some composite decking. We found a guy with plenty of decking that had been removed from his newish deck (that fell over! someone didn’t do their prep work properly), and at about 1/3  the price of new. Sure, it has some screw holes, but we managed to generally arrange boards so they were cut off or reused, and I’ve got some color-matched caulk to fill the remaining few. The porch floor is 99.7% done! And there’s furniture to relax and enjoy the view. Yes, new stairs and railings still to come, but at least we have our porch back.


Four Sticks

Yes, there is a Zeppelin song for everything. This week: the last of the big beams went in. And we mean big! About 300 pounds, that front main beam. It took a couple extra guys (super huge thanks E & L!), a couple six packs in payment, and some brownies, but it’s all in now. The rim joist is done. Here with joists too.


Then we moved on to the rest of the joists – easy as Custard Pie. This new construction business is super-simple. But the old way is, of course, best. K put the blocking in today, and we are in great shape now.


Up next: some prep, then some posts, then some decking…wow, that’ll be Celebration Day.

Whole lotta junk

We were away for 9 days – in awesome New Mexico! One of our absolute favorite places, besides here.

And now we’re back, and full steam ahead on the Porch Project. It is always a bit scary doing demo, because you realize that you have basically been walking on the structural equivalent of cardboard, resting on rotted-out beams. So all that stuff is gone. A few highlights:

So now we’ve been starting to rebuild! Yahoo! Progress to date includes a lot of bruises, sore backs, cuts and scrapes, and two very tired people (since every little thing means a trip up stairs, through boulders, etc.):


’twas in the darkest depths of mortar…

Figured we’d go with the Zeppelin theme this summer. Lots of work going on, both in the day job and here on the cabin. A few highlights:

We also built a nice block foundation wall under the porch for the work that’s about to take place. So much concrete and mortar! A heavy week.

Stairway to heaven?

Summer’s here and we have two big projects this year: build a garage, and re-build the porch. The garage is underway, and the porch is now too. Today we chopped off the awful stairs and moved them aside so we can take apart the rest of the structure. Everyone else is banned from the stairs- they’ll be a little dicey for a while (though perfectly stable). The house looks so much better with the ill-conceived stairs peeled off. image



OK, where were we?

Wow, it has been really nuts at work (sorry no posts for a while), but we are starting to see signs of spring, and are almost into our summer break!

Summer break, for us, is of course all about construction. But first — DEstruction! K pulled the logs off the front of the lower section of the porch extension. Great news: the structure is in really good shape, and was built in a way that means this will largely be cosmetic. OK, a little structural, but not to the extent we thought.

Phoebe wins

Last year, a corner of the eaves went unpainted because a pair of Eastern Phoebes was nesting there. They cleared out in the fall, but it was tool cold to paint by then. Still unpainted, we really hope to keep the top of our beam clear of the nest (it got gross) this year, finish our painting, AND provide a nice place for the phoebes, who could be in decline in the northeast US.

So, today we used some scrap cedar to build a nest platform for the little couple. We haven’t seen them yet, but if they can wait until after warm weather next weekend, we might finally finish up that paint before they start building their nest. It was satisfying to build a dwelling in just under a half hour…big change from the amount of work that has gone into our humble abode.

More info about phoebes is here, and we built an open nest platform (rather than box, with a roof) because they will be under the roof of our house).