Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let it Snow!!!

Here is a shot of the home place from the South. We have at least a foot of snow and it has been coming down steadily for the last two or three hours. We had one last delivery to make on the 18th of last week and not knowing what to expect we postponed and it came around to bite us. The farm is located about 11 miles SW of Chehalis and about 10 miles from I5. Boistfort Road has been a certified disaster since Thursday. My wife and I did jet up to Olympia Friday, and made the Tacoma drop on Saturday afternoon. Right now we have one more delivery to get up to Seattle. Scheduled for tomorrow, we are in a holding pattern to try to keep everyone safe. Once on I5 the going is not too bad but between the Farm and there is a real challenge. We deliver in 16 foot box trucks that drive like a sheet of plywood in the wind so we have been very hesitant to commit to the trip North.

On the bright side. The apples that mysteriously clung to the trees for so long have created a natural bird feeder for every overwintering song bird in the area. A neighbor asked me the other day why the apples had stayed on the trees so long. Now I know.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Here's an x-ray of my mashed left thumb. On day two of the floor replacement after removing all the old flooring we began replacing floor joists. While holding a new joist in place with my left hand I took a mighty swing with a three pound hammer and missed the mark, hitting myself square on the thumb. It is the consensus of the medical establishment that "wow, you really did a good job on that".

Terry has been a real trooper and has led the effort to replace the rotten joists and make sure that everything will line up as the barn is lowered back onto its new foundation. Seen here he is clamping a new joist onto the existing joist. We sistered these together where we were able and replaced those joists that where badly rotted.

Darren too, our farm manager's husband, has been instrumental in making sure the old girl is ship shape. This photo is a view from the ground, up through the floor of the elevated barn where we had removed rotten flooring.

Despite pouring rain, temperatures in the teens, and 6 inches of snow, these guys stuck it out and all the joists are replaced as of this afternoon. They will be back for one more day to button up the details, then CDI will be back on Monday to lower the barn back down. A big thumbs up to you both.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Forming and Pouring the Walls

On Tuesday morning Mike and Jason from MDK showed up and tied in more rebar and set the forms for the perimeter walls of the foundation

Wedensaday they poured the walls without mishap or fanfare.

By the end of the day everything was in place.

This morning the guys pulled in the drive and removed the form boards and started bolting down the mud sill. The beams are being drilled right now and by the end of the day the structure will be ready to drop back in place. We will let the walls set up while the well meaning and under skilled crew at Boistfort Valley Farm replace rotten floor joists and repair any damage to the floor structure. We should be setting the barn on its foundation somewhere around the fifteenth. Then we will start in on the roof.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pouring Concrete for the Footings

The crew from MDK pulled in the drive early this morning and went over the trenches for teh footing, making sure everything was up to snuff. I don't know how many of you have had the oppurtunity (?) to participate in a concrete pour, but they always generate a bit of excitement for me. For me it's like the menu on the day of a party that you have been planning for a long time. I start out by second guessing everything. Then I order more concrete. By the time the truck arrives I have convinced myself that there will not be enough. Sometime midway through the process I realize that I have definitely ordered way too much material, and when its all said and done the leftover usually fits in a wheelbarrow. Today was no exeption.

I met early with Jason, the lead man from MDK, and we decided that we would add 4 yards to the original order to compensate for the thicker footings I insisted on. Half way through the process Jason told me we could finish the remaining footings when we poured the wall because "this thing is eating concrete". When the last footing was poured the remaining concrete from the truck formed three piles each about the size of a sleeping lap dog.

Here we were able to pour concrete directly from the truck into the trenches for the eave end walls.

Not the case under the barn, where limited clearance required the use of a pumper truck. Here, Mike Steiger directs the flow of concrete from the three inch hose which is being fed from the truck about 30 feet away.

In this photo we see one of MDK's men kneeling in prayer; thankful that everything has gone so well.

And there you have it. The footings have been poured and the rebar and anchor bolts set to accommodate the forthcoming stem walls. The crew will be back tomorrow to set the forms for the walls, and on Wednesday they will pour and finish those. These guys are real pros.