Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Christmas Post

Well, a lot has happened in life in the interim between posts. We have had a lot of bad weather...pouring rain, temps in the single digits, ice and iced mud...makes me all the more anxious to get this house under roof so work can continue in the weather, both good and bad!

J went up to the garage yesterday to return the Christmas ornaments and to find life preservers for the girls. I know it seems seems soon to pack up the Christmas things, but we really don't have the room to spare for a Christmas tree in our 600 sq. feet...can't get out the back door (luckily we don't need to do it often). So, we are not too sad to see them go. Even the girls helped to pack things up, and talked about our BIG Christmas tree next year! The life preservers were for our "vacation" to Pittsburgh and swimming in the Hotel pool.

J took this picture, which he speculates is of the footers for weight bearing walls. From left to right: girls rooms, stairs, "exercise room".

The driveway has a new layer of gravel on it. I was hesitant to drive up there last week because I nearly slid down the hill in the mud the week before, so now I can make more regular visits. We have a wedding to travel to in Goshen, IN for New Years, and then the Holiday craziness should be over for good.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow on Poplar Ridge

We had our first good snow fall of the season last night, about 3 inches or so. The whole family drove up the hill to see the sights and search through the garage for the Christmas decorations. It is lovely up there, and oh-so-quiet. (We are having problems sleeping in our little apartment due to being located one block north of the train tracks and right on the main street through our small town.) We were able to find most of the decorations, although one of the cardboard boxes had been infiltrated by mice back at the other house.

Here are some lovely icicles on the garage...

and the first floor walls covered with snow.

Apparently our builder came down with the same awful GI bug that plagued our family for the past 2 weeks. Another one of us fell victim to it every 3-4 days! (This follows the week they needed at the last house, Thanksgiving week, and the first week of deer hunting.) Maybe by next week some more progress will be made!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jam Packed...

I'm finally back from my extended moving break. The move ended up being possibly the worst EVER...rivaled the one where the moving van wrecked. It rained, sleeted or snowed EVERY day, and we kept finding random STUFF in the backs of closets that had to be taken SOMEWHERE. It ended up taking every bit of a week to get out of the house! Now we are squeezed into our 600 square feet here in town, and quite comfy, actually. I realized that I have way TOO much food, so we've been eating a lot of beans and things with tomato sauce in order to get everything to fit in the cupboards.

These are the moving men. They were AWESOME...thanks so much!

Today is the first I've been up to the building site since taking the last load to the garage around the 19th. I haven't missed anything.

The garage is finished except for windows, but they are boarded up, so we are able to store our MOUNTAINS of stuff there. (Hope nothing important freezes!)

They finally got the power lines up our can barely see them if you look closely at this picture.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Good News & Bad News

The Good News:
-The garage floor is poured

-3 Allegheny power utility trucks up on the hill today with cables...lots of workers, there's a chance we might get the electricity connected finally!

The Bad News:

-Still no doors or windows on the garage and the concrete still looks a bit wet...hmmmm....we wanted to start storing things there YESTERDAY!

-Muddy, muddy, muddy up on the nice for slogging through while unloading moving vans!!!

I will not be assured of internet access for awhile, which coincides with the week off the builders will need to complete their last project.

Signing off for now...

Friday, November 7, 2008

74* in November!

It's another lovely day! I could get used to this awesome weather in November...I'm hoping it will allow the crew to get the house under roof more quickly!

The garage is now under roof, and they are hoping the pour the concrete for the floor on Monday or Tuesday. We need it to be usable by Wednesday or Thursday for storage, I hope it will be!

You can now see the roof rising up above the 1st floor of the house as you come up the drive. The door you can see will attach to the house via a small breezeway/coat room.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Garage is Growing!

After voting today, we made a trip up to the building site. The trusses are up on the garage. We are hoping it is finished by the end of the week, because we plan to start filling it up next week!

The parts of the first floor of the house that will be below grade have been wrapped with some sort of waterproof adhesive to help protect it.

Here is a shot of some of the forms used for the poured concrete wall. You can see the spacers from this angle, and also the braces (for lack of a better word) that the siding and drywall can be attached to.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

These Walls Ain't Goin Nowhere!

Pardon the vernacular, but we were pretty impressed by the poured concrete walls for the 1st floor of the house. They are SOLID! The foam forms will remain on to provide 2 1/2" of insulation inside and out. The siding and drywall can be attached right to the foam. I will try to get a picture at some point, of the anchors they will secure to.

We took a tape measure along to prove to ourselves today that the house and garage are indeed as big as we had planned (I know, I know, we really do trust our contractor, it just doesn't LOOK big enough!). Guess what? Everything is fine!

The extra block has been moved out of the garage in order to pour the floor soon. We will be needing to use it in about 2 weeks to store our stuff that won't fit in an apartment, so hopefully it will be ready!

We have a temporary power pole and transformer now, if only the Power Company would bring lines up the hill. The construction crew is having to use a generator, since it is now 5 months and counting since Allegheny Power has been paid for the job!

I'm adding this picture just because it's cute. L has been fascinated by all the "diggers", and took the opportunity to play on our neighbor's tractor that is at the building site right now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Here Comes the Sun!

It is a gorgeous day out today, cool and clear with the bluest of blue skies. We did venture out to the building site in between sleet showers on Monday but without a camera. People were working diligently and I almost (almost) wished I could tell them to go home and get warm. I do want to be able to move in this house by Spring, so I refrained!

The first floor forms are pretty much done. I believe they are planning to pour concrete yet this week. We walked around inside, and it still looks small. I hope it grows on me...literally!

The block is finished in the garage. It actually does look big enough now. We plan to start filling it with things that are not essentials for the winter so that our move to town for the winter can be as small as possible. (Try explaining to a 5 year old and a 2 year old what is and is not essential for 6 months!)

It is super muddy out here after all of the precipitation lately. At least we remembered to bring mud boots this time! The trusses have arrived for the garage. Hopefully we should see the roof going on very soon.

This is a view from the garage to the house. There will be a small breezeway between this door and the door to the mudroom/laundry room/T craft room.

That's all for this week!

Monday, October 27, 2008

After the rain...

The well driller called on Sunday afternoon to report that he had finished the well and at nearly 200 feet, he was getting a return of approximately 2.25 gallons/minute of water. There is still a bit of work to be done to make it ready to use: put in a pump, connect pipes to the house, etc, but we've made excellent progress! We also need to send a sample for testing so that we know it is safe to drink, but I am already looking forward to have clear, cold, nice tasting well water again! The only down side is that we will have to put the girls on daily Fluoride tabs...that's definitely a small price to pay!

We had quite a lot of rain here Friday night and Saturday. So much that it sent my Dad home early without a deer for the 3rd Fall in a row. I think he is planning to come back for rifle season in Dec. In the meantime, the concrete forms that had already been placed on the footing got flooded, and some of them washed out. I guess the crew will have to do some repair today before they can move on.

Friday, October 24, 2008

After One Month...

This afternoon, our hilltop was buzzing with activity. The masons have made good progress on laying block for the garage today. There has been no more progress on the well, so they are having to truck in water for the mortar.

Meanwhile the forms for our poured concrete house have arrived and started going in. Good old Allegheny Power still hasn't put the final poles up in order to connect electricity up the hill, so they are using a generator.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

No one was at the building site today when we snuck up the hill, sleeping child in the van. The footer for the house is nearly complete. This picture reminds me of the story of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Mike and Mary Anne dig the basement for the new town hall, and she remains inside to be the furnace since she can't get out. The "digger" (kid term) looks to be in the right position for our storage/furnace room!

The footers look small compared to the image in my head of the house. I'm guessing that is just because it is one dimensional at the moment.

They have also begun drilling the well. There is evidence of mud around, but I don't know if that means they hit water or if they used water in the drilling process. No one was there to ask!

Meanwhile, it is hunting season! I think we have managed to scare the deer away from the top of the hill this year. My Dad is coming tonight to try his luck across the road, down by the stream.

Keep checking back for the latest and greatest...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beginning the Garage

The girls and I visited the building site today after a week's absence. The well driller has been there, but done nothing that I could see except park his rig.

The split-face block has arrived for the garage, all 1100 of them...

...and the footers poured.

The builder was digging today, for the footers at the front of the house, judging from the markings on the ground.

It's moving right along!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Holes N Poles

My husband questioned last night why I had a picture of a Maple tree at the beginning of this Blog. I was actually trying to have an Autumn picture. I have now updated it with a picture of a Fall Poplar on Poplar Ridge for all you literalists out there!

We stopped by again this afternoon because the excavation is now finished. The resulting hole in the hillside is very impressive! appears like I was off on my depth estimate by several feet...looks like it's closer to 10 feet or so at the deepest end.

The power company also managed to get another 2 power poles up yesterday for a grand total of 4. The Fall colors are really looking lovely out here!

And now, unfortunately, everything stops for the weekend! But we will be there to lay our dear little Zach to rest where he can watch the squirrels and deer. We miss you, Bud!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Here We Go...

Whoopie! They are excavating at our property! They started yesterday by leveling the area for the garage.

Now they are excavating for our house and yard.

Here's a close up of the shale that is prevalent here. Apparently that is what is making it a gold mine for Natural Gas!

We passed 2 Allegheny Power trucks headed that way when we were going home. Hopefully they were going out to work some more on getting electricity up the hill!

The girls are excited too! L sang on the way home "Us getting a new house! Us getting a new house!"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Week One - No Progress

I drove over to Poplar Ridge today with the girls. Nothing is happening over well, no excavation, no new power poles. On a positive note, it looks as though things are happening faster than expected for drilling for Natural Gas with Patriot, so we may be getting our "free gas" along with the new house instead of later! Also, we have a signed contract of sale for our current house, so things ARE happening, just not at Poplar Ridge!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Water Witching

This morning, my husband met a gentleman at the property who will be drilling a well for us. This person is quite a reputable driller in our area, and he chose a location for us this morning by dowsing, first using some wires, and then (after scouring the woods) with a cherry wood branch. Having lived in Appalachia for the past 10 years, we know that the area is steeped in folklore. Although he did not choose a location WE would have picked, we will wait and see what happens when he drills!

On the flip side of the technology coin, I got a call from Japan this morning. A gentleman there saw my other website to sell the house, and wants to have his brother come check it out!! I continue to be amazed by the internet!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Step One...the setting

it doesn't look like much at this point...2005

3 years ago, while tooling around on the Internet, my husband came across a listing on for 48 acres for sale in Waynesburg, PA. My parents, who are planning to retire in 2010 and relocate from Reading, PA to Greene Co., urged us to jump at the chance, and gave us significant help in purchasing the property. They are extremely excited to build there, close to us. My Dad is going to build his dream house, a hexagonal log cabin, with his own hands.

We planned to build on the property too, at some point. This was a vague, cloudy sort of dream until last year when we asked my brother to design us a house. My brother, F, is a gifted artistic person, and conveniently, an Architect. On the downside, he lives in Austin, TX...a bit more than driving distance from our homestead! F took our sketches and ramblings, and turned them into a masterpiece. Unfortunately, the masterpiece would cost about twice what we could afford to pay, so he (very patiently) re-drew and re-worked until we ended up with the final plans that look something like this.

proposed house

In the meantime, we have done quite a bit to develop the property. We had about 3 acres cleared on the top of the hill, put in a LONG drive, developed a spring for water, put in a septic system and electricity. We have also had the opportunity to use it as the great hunting grounds for the past 2 years.

the road going in...Nov. 2006

aerial view from summer 2007 with rough boundary can see the area we cleared!

the first electric pole...9/14/08!!

Today, we signed for our construction loan, and met with our builder at the property. After a strange conversation involving which trees were staying and why, I heard the words that nearly stopped my heart: "I think we can start excavating next week!" It's hard to believe that this in-the-clouds project is really going to happen!!

this is our building site...on top of the hill!

We are trying to sell our current house ourselves. After working to create an information website for that, I feel like a pro, and wanted to document this undertaking in a blog. On top of that, I decided to homeschool my daughter for Kindergarten this year (we are doing Agora Cyber Charter School), so the upheaval in my life at the moment seems overwhelming at times. But it's's all good.

Thus begins the House on Poplar Ridge.