Monday, April 23, 2007

She Sells Seashells By The Cheese Store.

Being the little entrepreneur that she is, Leah decided to set up a small roadside stand to sell some shells she found in the river. When I found out that she was paying some neighborhood kids a quarter per half hour to harvest the shells for her, I of course intervened and made her stop, telling her flat out that she was wasting her money, and would never see any kind of profit from such a foolhardy venture. Not being deterred she went on with her (now working for free) employees to set up across from the ever flowing traffic at the cheese store. Within fifteen minutes she had made back the money she had spent on set up, and was literally rolling in profit. People would come by and browse the shells (which she had divided into small, medium, large and extra large, each priced accordingly,) and give her five bucks for the pleasure of doing so. She enlisted her brother Quinn to call across the road to potential customers, which he did with so much enthusiasm that I had to once again curtail their endeavours, lest to my thinking people would be driven away by the caterwauling. They then developed such techniques as flag waving, bubble blowing and stand-up-in-the-wagon-riding-tricks, with which to draw in their clientele.

In the end, after having depleted only a small part of her stock, she and her friends from across the river spent part of their profits at the cheese store. Pop and chips and ice cream and god knows what else. Quinn retired early with a stomach ache. (Too much sugar and sun) Leah will likely spend the rest of the week (at school) dreaming up new ways to turn a profit.

Barn Reno Update

It's been a while since the last post, so this may take a minute... First off, we had a new moon a little while back.
As it works it's way to full it's a great time for new beginnings. Therefore a good time to put the sign in.
Quinn and Leah help in hanging the signs. And share in the glory.
Now into the barn itself. I've insulated the walls of the main floor, and Les and I decided to use some chipboard that we had lying around for the upper portions. (Thanks Zoboomafoo!) We were going to plaster it, but didn't want to have to deal with the ongoing cracking that would result. The chipboard has a very similar look and shouldn't need any repairs. At the right side of the photo below you can see newspaper on the wall in that little triangle area. Each space where the chipboard went had to have a template made as the beams and boards around the space are all wonky and un-straight. This was a time consuming process to say the least, but the results are pretty satisfying.Here's Les doing (one of the things) she does best.As she finished off the painting, I started on the reclaimed tongue and groove for the bottom half of the walls. It goes on much quicker than the chipboard, and here is the result.

As you can see above the window, there is still some templating/chipboard to go up, but things are really progressing now, and we are really stoked about what it will look like when it's all done. Of course, the barn is going to weigh about 5x what it did before we started, but I need something to keep me up at nights don't I?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More Birds

The kids and I got to watch a swan enjoying the river today. It was a beautiful site. Even the dog enjoyed it, and decided to say hello by barking at it. We also saw a muskrat swimming around, but no picture of that one. Later as I washed out my coffee cup a great blue heron flew in across the river right outside the kitchen window. I took several binocular photos of it.At one point it looked like it lost it's balance and was going to fall into the water, but it quickly recovered and came up with a huge fish. It may be tricky to see in this photo, but that was a surprisingly big fish. It flopped around hanging from the heron's mouth.Here's another view of the late breakfast. Apparently the fish wasn't too big though, it was swallowed down without much of a problem.
Needless to say it's been difficult to get any work done today...

Sunday, April 8, 2007

"Mel Gibson!"

Is what Mo says when she has asked for something that then suddenly appears. Only in my case it would be, "Great Blue Heron!"


Shot this Pileated Woodpecker through the binoculars, so it's a little blurry. He was there with his bride, both hammering away at the big stump out back. They are both big birds, but he is huge.Also shot through the binoculars, these Mallards were coasting around our coastline.

These Geese came up on land for a little walk about. We have tons of ducks out there now. Didn't shoot them, but there were two Buffleheads chasing each other around trying to impress a female a few days ago. They were out there for hours, racing up and down, back and forth in the water. Also had a few Great Blue Heron sightings, we watched one down a ways a bit, rustling up grub at the side of the river. I'd love to get a good shot of him.

You Light Up My Life

Well the wiring is in. Working at the speed of light (sorry) Gramps wired up the whole barn with track lighting and receptacles in less than two days. And it works! Maybe tough to see here, we only put in a few heads and just have the cheap bulbs in, but it's starting to look real purty.
Here's Tim trying to make heads or tails of the new track heads.
Can't really tell from this photo either, but the wind was howling through both days, blowing snow through all the cracks in the walls. Monday I'll bang up some more tin in the bad spots, and then goes the house wrap and styrofoam. Things are moving swimmingly now, thanks Gramps!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Hey, Hey It's Bathtime

Well the structural work is all done. The barn is standing tall, now we just have to make it proud.
That beam that went under the barn has been shored up and trimmed.

The main beam inside has been replaced, and is firmly attached with a new bracket and the old knee brace. New footings have been made as well, using the old rocks and motaring them in place.
Looking in through the main doors shows the floor with no more droopy spots.There are however a few floor boards to be replaced. Some were rotten, some had been removed probably long ago. One floor joist actually had 2 feet cut out of it, so that was firmed up.Even Grampa Squirrel is impressed!

We also gave the slightly leaning drive shed a shove, and it's now slightly less slightly leaning.

The crew has done their work and are gone now. The barn is no longer suffering from badly wonky and bouncy floors. Now the floors are only slightly wonky and bouncy. The rest is up to me, aside from electrical which will be done by my Pop and me, then on to insulating and finishing.

Today was actually bath day, and after finally getting my hands on a gas pressure washer (long story) and suiting up I went to it. Les's dad was there to help me get things going, which was a great help. I sprayed down the entire interior of the barn, from top to bottom. In the end I was soaked through my rain suit, unable to either stand up straight or stop the shaking in my right arm, that is until the elbow pain set in, and with about 3 lbs of 100yr old crud in my hair. My hood wouldn't stay up in the 90km winds blowing through the open windows. Seemed like as soon as I had a groove on the wind picked up like crazy. I think a good wind will be good though, to help the barn dry out. The old grey and black crap colored wood is now a beautiful wood color, and the barn is about 60lbs lighter without all those chewed up nut shells. I don't have any pictures of this ordeal, as it was exhausting, and I wasn't about to pull the camera out. Next sunny day I'll take some nice pictures of the interior.
The past couple of days have been a bit of a whirlwind. I pulled a few Chevy Chases, smashing out my contractor's truck door window with the mini-excavator, (I did help to replace it, and Quinn got t make a couple of new friends in the deal) blowing all the barn fuses, getting my truck completely stuck in the mud in my own front yard, then pushing it out with the mini-x and getting splattered in mud. It's been good though, got a lot of good things done. I can't help wondering though what the next week will bring. Hopefully I'll come out of it with all my digits properly attached, (not like last year...) and a good looking barn/gallery to boot.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Barn Progression

Well I took several nice photos of the work in pregress. Pictures of new beams, holes where old ones were, nicely cemented new footings, piles of muddy rocks, trenches dug all over the yard, the kids sitting on the mini-excavator. For some reason all those pictures are in the ether, disappeared off the memory stick in the camera. The only one I have is this one.

The guys are placing a 30' beam under the barn, that will catch all the floor joists. Tomorrow it will be set in position and footings will be made under it. That will be tough going for sure. Mucky and sloppy under there.

Things are going well though, and we are on schedule. Tomorrow will also be locking the new ceiling joists in place. One of the old joists that came out did so in peices. It was basically powder, which is why it had so many scabs holding it together.

Soon our little squirrel friend will have a nice (new) secure home. That is until I evict him.

I did get a chance to take the kids on a bit of a ride on the mini-ex this eve. We did doughnuts on the driveway as the tracks really rip up the grass. (I'll smooth out the gravel later...) This morning we tried to ride it, but I had trouble getting it going. Quinn pointed to the engine cover release at the back and said "I know what's wrong. You didn't put any money in it."

More tomorrow...