The building season has finally restarted!
First milestone reached this year May 19th: The building pad is finally completed. We are now ready to start erecting walls.
Because it was has been so cold and rainy until now, I only reopened the camper this weekend..
That gave me a chance to confirm that everything had weathered this tough winter ok, no mice invasion, and my solar power system is up and operating.
Two unexpected little problems: 1 - the drain pipe that I had buried in fall, had actually been pushed up by the frost in the area where it was not really deeply buried, so I had to reset it and rebury about half of it; 2 – the kitchen sink drain pipe is completely cracked and of course we find out when we dump a bucket of water in the sink and create a little flood in the camper. There must have been some water left in the siphon over a winter at some point. At least that is easy to replace.
Most of all that weekend gave me a chance to reconnect with the project and get ready to restart a new season. So, in preparation for the May 18th weekend, I ordered 5 loads of dirt, planned with Marty some work over the weekend and reserved my faithful diesel double roller compactor at the rental.
Weekend May 17th – 19th:
There is a bylaw in Bancroft that prevents full load truck on the roads until May 15th to protect the roads during the thaw period. The dirt got delivered on the 16th, so we were able to take advantage of that long weekend to finish the pad.
Thanks to Marty’s magic touch with his bobcat, we did a first pass at levelling the dirt on Saturday, compacted it, took some measurements, did a second pass on Sunday, compacted again did some final measurements and a final touch on Monday. Just in time to return the compactor to the rental and celebrate the completion of this first milestone.
The weather was great so we also brought the kayaks and were able to do some good paddling on Lake L’Amable.
Which brings the next point: It is time to introduce Joanne. She joined the project, but I am talking here about a bigger project: my life! Yes, this happened over the winter and blossomed into something quite lovely and promising.
Of course we managed to include some fun and games into the whole work weekend.
Another nice thing, I found a quantity of morels mushrooms which were of course excellent and graced a few of our meals.
Another weekend participant: The black flies! They were out in force! Three or four more weekends of that and hopefully we will be ok.
1. Put my hands on a lot of tires close to Bancroft!
2. Start to actively look for volunteers for erecting the walls.
3. Equip the site with a well water pump, filtration system etc…
Weekend May 31st:
With the 3 objectives stated above, I take the Friday off so I can get to the plumbing store in
Bancroft to order the well pump and have some time to finalize the organisation of a tire pickup trip on Saturday.
Jumping to Saturday @ 2 pm: Here I am starting this blog update sitting at the terrace of the South Algonquin Eatery & Pub having a burger and beer in the warm late spring noon. Bancroft is surprisingly very quiet. In spite of the gorgeous weather, obviously, we are only a few weeks away from the beginning of tourist season (which starts with the school vacations). I am celebrating because my 3 objectives are already largely met. So this is a well-deserved beer.
Back in time to when I arrived on Thursday night: I was greeted on the road just outside my place by the same local deer family. At night, the road really belongs to them, they don’t even seem scared while I wait for them to move out of the way.
On Friday after an early morning paddle on Lake L’Amable, I first do some running around to the local U-Haul office and the auto-wrecker to make sure that all is in place to pick up tires tomorrow and at this point, I am only waiting to hear from the young guy who offered to work with me.
I finally make my way to Hawley’s (see their coordinates in my suppliers list) by early afternoon and after a relatively short discussion, I make the decision and sign a contract for them to install a submersible water pump in my well. It’s a lot of money, but it needs to be done and I understand that they are the right guys for the job, so I sign and pay in peace. They will install the pump within three weeks and I will install the rest from the well down to my power shed which, technically, is the easy part. The pump I buy is rather expensive because it is a pump that is more fitted to a solar power system in that it starts slowly and ramps up to full power without a huge electrical surge.
On Friday evening, after a nice dinner at my friends Sue & Jerry, we go to Ruby’s (a roadhouse on Hwy 28) where John Foreman (a true local legend of many talents and more importantly a real gentleman) is organizing his monthly open-mike. Not having touched my guitar in a month and a half, I am seriously rusty but it is a lot of fun and the music is really good. Furthermore, I meet a young performer who happens to be part of a group from the engineering department of a local college. They are doing a project of building a straw-bale house downtown Bancroft as a project. (Does this remind you of the 3 pigs story?). This could present many opportunities, from sharing engineering information and resources to finding volunteers for working on the building. Great connection.
Saturday morning, Cain and Patrick, two high school students from NHSS (North Hastings High School) come and help. I rent a 20ft truck and we drive to the auto-wrecker. We load 225 tires. Since most tires are full of murky water, we end up pretty soaked and very dirty, but we drive back to my place by 11am and download everything in record time. The guys have well earned their money and I bet that a couple of moms will be cursing me when they see their kid coming in the door! Anyway the shower feels really good. It went well, and that is just over 1/5 of my total tire count. See the picks of Cain and Patrick and the tires flying out of the truck.
Saturday afternoon, I tried to do some work on the building pad, but by 3:30 pm, I have had it with these black flies and I quit, load the kayak on the car and go for a paddle on Lake L’Amable.
On Sunday morning, I start working early on the rain water drainage in the morning hoping to beat the black flies, but no such luck. By 9 am, I stop and go buy some pipe fittings and some commercial bug repellant. When I get back to work, I am glad to see that the bug repellant actually works I can finish making a catch basin above construction pad in order to collect the rain water and evacuate it through the drain pipe to the north of the pad, down-hill.
I close the weekend with an inspection of my little power plant and find that it is very hot in the shed, so I cut a couple of windows to get some air circulation. By then it is mid-afternoon and I am totally exhausted.
All together it has been a great weekend where all my objectives have been met, so I feel very grateful for all that.
All these accomplishment do a lot to boost my morale and help me combat these feelings that come sometimes that this project is more than I can chew. These help me to stay focused on today and the next step and not look at the mountain ahead of me. I am not stupid, I know the mountain is there, but it really does not help to look at it too much and I only need to look at the next step. I can see that I will need to do that constantly through this project. Thinking about it, If can really practice this attitude throughout this project, I expect that I should be a better project manager after this one.
- The last two truck of soil delivery were dropped in the middle of the access path. So I will need to arrange with Marty to move them! Also they are really almost pure sand which does not compact at all, so it will not be very good to fill tires. I think I will keep this to do concrete and get more truck of actual dirt that can be compacted.
- I will need to better plan from now on where I want my materials to be delivered and stocked
- I need to cut one more tree in the driveway which is too close to the turn.
- Measure and stake the house wall positions accurately
- Start working on planning, procuring and installing the water pressure tank, filtration system, water distribution system and the electrical connection.
- Plan the first tire compacting session (get some resource)Arrange for more dirt delivery and to move these two piles out of the way.
Weekend June 7-8
Arriving at Detlor Rd on Saturday around 1 in the morning, good news:
1 - The water pump is installed and they have been able to dig low enough to put the head about 3 ft down. So, now it is up to me to do the rest.
2 - It looks like my drainage worked well. There is no trace of water damage on the building pad in spite of the rain last week.
Saturday morning, I cut the tree in the driveway corner as planned plus another dead Ash just behind the building pad. After a quick lunch I decide to take advantage of the weather and go for a paddle on Lake Baptiste and on the way stop at Canadian Tire since they apparently have a big sale. Indeed the sale is good; I find half price sledge hammers so I buy 3 of them! Perfect timing!
After a beautiful 2 hours paddle on lovely Lake Baptiste, I get back at home by 4 pm, I connect with Marty and we look at the work needed:
- Move the two piles of sand to a designated spot.
- Fill up the corner of the driveway around the spot where I cut the tree.
- Dig a trench down from the well to the pad. I will install the pipe permanently down to the building pad and then install a cheaper non-permanent pipe, going from the building pad up to the power-shed.
On Sunday, before it gets too hot, I go through all the tires and stack them up away from the road, by size. I re-measure the whole house and re-stake all the walls accurately. Last job in the afternoon: I put some of the tires in place where some of the walls will be erected (see pictures)
I will be away for the next two weekends (because of the Kayak retreat in Honey Harbour).
- Have Marty to do the work when he can during these 3 weeks.
- Order 2 trucks of compactable dirt.
- Try to gather as many volunteers as I can for the June 28/29 weekend to start the walls.
- Look at prices for the water pressure tank around Toronto and compare with Hawley's prices.
- Arrange to buy all equipment required for completing the water installation.