Sunday, November 21, 2010

The State of Things

We left Torrey to return to Logan at 11:15 on Saturday, November 13. Stegner, Arion and Charlie (our llama family) peered out the windows of the trailer not happy about spending the next six and half hours in such close proximity to each other. The paraphernalia of Torrey life was crammed into every available crevice and gap of the truck.

Dave at the saw
Tyse on porch decking
As we pulled away, Dave and Tyse were finishing the last of the decking on the porch roof. There was nothing more Scott and I could do for the moment and Logan obligations called from the north.

Reviewing the progress of this second building season, we have...

* put a wood-burning stove in the yurt
* planted and fenced 20 trees - 10 cottonwoods, 1 Fat Albert blue spruce, 5 blue spruce seedlings, 2 apple trees, 1 plum tree, 1 cherry tree
* installed the PEX for the entire floor
* poured the concrete floor in the bedroom, office, kitchen and master bathroom
* laid the first five inches of the earthen floor (the last one inch to be installed later)
* insulated the foundation with Pink Panther rigid foam
* mortared slate to the entire exterior of the foundation
* built a sill plate for the straw bale walls
* buried the 21,000 pound water storage tank for the solar water heating system
* graded the building site to eliminate piles of dirt and fill in holes
* finished and raised all of the timber frame (HOORAY!!!)
* assembled the core of the Tempcast masonry heater
* purchased and stacked 500 bales of straw in the garage and to the north of the garage
* cut, sanded and sealed all of the porch posts, rafters and beams
* erected the porch
* framed the interior walls
* selected and purchased almost all of the lights for the interior and exterior of the house (This had to be done in order for the electrician to wire the house.)

Solar Mechanical "Room"
Trent Hunt has placed all of the electrical wires above the ceiling. Phillip Winters has completed as much of the solar heating and water system as is possible without a finished roof. Tyler Torgerson and crews have completed the decking for the entire ceiling and porch plus added the waterproof felt layer and the metal drip edge.

While we work here in Logan, Tyler and crew will continue working. Eventually the phone will ring, and we’ll head back to Torrey to blow the insulation into the roof.

For now, Scott and I have called a hiatus. We know the first, middle, last and nick names of every piece of wood in our entire house. Our sweat, tears and not just a little blood linger everywhere. There is still so much to be done. Maybe we can complete our 2010 "to-do list" before the 2011 season begins.
November 2010

November 2009

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

So Much For Plans

6:45 AM; Wednesday morning; November 10; Torrey, Utah; Mary and Scott’s yurt...19 degrees F inside, 21 degrees F outside. It’s hard to drag yourself out of bed when your breath is visible in the air and the water in the teapot is frozen.

We force ourselves out of toasty sleeping bags and stoke the wood stove just enough to boil tea water and thaw our fingers so we can eat breakfast. The decking for the porch, waiting in tall stacks around the house, must go up. Last night the weather service predicted a 50% chance of snow – this morning the revised forecast is 70% chance of snow.

The roofing crew of two, Dave and Tyce, show up at 9:00. Scott and I have the chop saw ready for action. The pale sun disappears behind darkening clouds descending quickly from the west. By 10:00 the snow begins to filter toward us from thickening skies, and, by 10:30, the 70% chance of snow becomes a 100% chance of snow. Work ends for the day.

So much for plans...

It begins to snow...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Chance of Snow

Six wonderful days of hiking! It’s hard to believe that we would actually be seeking shade in November, but it was warm and so fabulously beautiful. Harris Wash, the creek wending its way to the Escalante River, golden cottonwoods, deep silence, enigmatic petroglyphs and quicksand. Quicksand as deep as Scott’s waist! After two days of hiking, we agreed it was too dangerous to continue and retreated to a different trail, this one along the Escalante River starting from the bridge at Calf Creek on Highway 12.

Again, luxuriously warm (for November), a meandering river and camping at Sand Creek Wash. We spent the last day out exploring Sand Creek. Brilliant cottonwood leaves reminiscent of stained glass windows, river birch juxtaposed against monumental sandstone walls patterned with desert varnish and deposition layers petrified with time, mountain lion footprints in the sand. This hike was a glorious reminder of why we love this region.

Now it’s back to work on the roof and the weather forecast is for snow across the state. Monday there was a 70% chance of snow in Torrey. All day long we sanded and sealed 2” X 8” tongue and groove. Dave and Tyse began putting the porch decking in place while Phillip and Dale worked on the solar heating system. We worked mostly in sunshine but always in wind and only briefly in snow, in late afternoon. So what, exactly, does 70% mean? Does it mean 70% of the hours will have snow? Does it mean 70% of the land area will experience snowfall? For us it meant we had the entire day to work until rain with occasional snow began at 4:00. So much for 70%.

This morning the temperature inside the yurt was 25 degrees. Outside the yurt it was 24 degrees, but we worked the entire day in sun (and, of course, wind) while the decking on the north porch was completed.

Who knows about tomorrow. The forecast  says 50% chance of snow with a high of 34 degrees. Luckily Scott and I have thermal coveralls to fend off the weather. We are determined to get this roof done. Twenty-four hours from now, we’ll know what 50% chance of snow meant.