Saturday, September 28, 2013

Concrete Form Day 2

Late start on the concrete form today, because it rained again.  Quite a bit, actually, in the early afternoon.  Eventually, we ran over to Home Depot to get some more wood for the remaining sides of the form.  As soon as we got back home we started working on the back side of the form.  One of the boards that looked pretty straight in the store was actually giving us quite a bit of trouble -- too much bowing and twisting.  We worked until it was dark, and then K brought a work light outside so we could keep going.

The lights behind the trees are a train going by  

It was actually kind of fun once I got a sweatshirt on to keep warm.  We had the radio on, lots of good tunes, and I was dancing around whenever I needed to warm up.  K was determined to get that side done tonight, and we did it!  Eventually got things all straight and square.  Should make the other two sides easier to complete.

So... one side of the form per week, so far.  Plus leveling some of the dirt and adding the gravel and rock after that...   Means we'll be ready to pour the concrete in, like, November?  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

First Baby Step of the Garage

First chance we get to start on the garage, and it rains on us.

K took this week off work, mainly to figure out the garage situation/start on the project, and partly to just get a break from her extremely busy job.  I took today off work, because my bosses were out of town, my work was a little slow, and I figured I could help K for the day.

It was kind of a gloomy day, and then when we got started in the afternoon, it rained.  Off and on for a while, and then eventually it was just sprinkling.  We each put on one of K's work rain jackets and kept going.  We got started on making the form for the concrete slab, and got one side completed.  It's a lot more work than you might think -- each corner needs to be square, each board that you use probably has some bend to it so you have to make it level and straighten any bowing.  LOTS of tweaking.

Finished the one side in the dark.  Then looked at and thought, Wow, that's it?  There's so much left to do!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Garage - Change of Plans

Well, our initial plan for a large 3-stall garage has been changed.  Last week, K brought her amazing plan and documents to the Minneapolis permit office to get them approved and to purchase the permit.

Since our lot is quite large, we figured that we could also go big with the garage.  And actually, we can.... But since it's larger than standard size, it require some special considerations.

1)  The permit would cost $200-300 more than a standard permit.
2)  A variance would be requested, meaning that an inspector would come out to our property within 2 weeks to make sure our plans were done properly.  Construction could only start after we got approval.
3)  The roof pitch would need to be the same as our house.  So our garage would be as tall as our house, and have a very high ceiling.  Yes, it would be cool to make a 2nd floor and have a studio or maybe even a guest room above the garage, but in reality, we'd just be heating a bunch of unused space for a very long time, until we could someday get to that project.
4)  The roof needs to face the same way as the roof of the house.  So, the shingles would be facing the street, same as the house.  We couldn't put the gabled side on the front, which would be better if we wanted to put up a basketball hoop someday.
5)  The siding has to match the house.  Right away.  We'd either need to side our garage in pale-yellow aluminum siding (not going to happen), or re-side our house at the same time as our garage.  Yes, that would be amazing!  But I can't imagine that we'll be able to afford all of that at once.

Plan B for building the garages, according to the permit office, is to build a standard 2-stall garage and then build another 1-stall garage next to it.  ....Really??  I mean, we get that a large 3-stall garage is a more complicated structure, as far as building goes.  It was certainly going to cost a lot of money and require more specialized supplies.  But, we can build our 2-stall, and then build a 1-stall a couple feet away from it, if we want to. 

And for a standard 2-stall, there were no special restrictions.  Once the plans are approved, a permit is handed to you and you can begin building immediately.  Your roof can be whatever pitch and face whatever way you prefer.  Your siding can be whatever you like.  If we wanted our garage to be bright pink, we could do it. 

So, 2-stall it is.  K had to come home, completely re-draw all of her plans to show the 2-stall garage, and go back to the permit office the next day.  Permit in hand, we could start building.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fall Garden Harvest & Potato Salad

It's been a mild fall so far, so my garden has been able to continue to grow.  Which is great, because it was planted so late!
Happy garden!

The tomato plant is huge, but the blossoms got started so late that I still just have green tomatoes and some remaining blossoms.  But they're all so pretty!

Green tomatoes and blossoms

And the green beans are probably not going to grow this year.  The vines are huge and healthy, but they've just started to blossom.  I'm not sure they will have enough time to grow actual beans before the frost and cold nights arrive.
Tiny green bean blossoms

And we have a huge pile of catnip!  Which is great, because I only planted those seeds once we had finished the garden bed.  They took a little while to germinate, but now they're doing great.  I've brought a few branches in for the kitties and they go nuts over this stuff!


I cut most of the dill today to use for potato salad.  And I took out the radishes that looked grown enough.  I definitely planted some of the radish seeds much too close together, because those are just growing straight up and tangled together, and not forming any round little radishes.

Bowl of goodies from the garden

All those radishes and dill were used up in the potato salad, which turned out really good!  It was a little spicy -- those radishes are pink and adorable, but they really have a bite.

Pink, spicy radishes

Red and yellow potatoes with pink radishes
Vegan potato salad with cider vinegar, dijon mustard, carrots, red onions, and CUPS of fresh dill!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fixer-Upper Blues

Saturday cleaning, like many weekends.  And today I'm just...  over it.

Over trying to clean a fridge and walls with 10 years of caked-on yuckiness.  Seriously, the front of the fridge has a layer of something resembling rubber cement.  Very weird and won't come off!

Every room that we clean still looks dirty.  Because the floor is stained... because the walls aren't painted one solid color.  Because the ceilings are unfinished in various ways.

I'm over looking around the living room, and seeing it's in the same state as it was last December.  Only slightly more cluttered.

I need some more movement on this place.  This static mid-renovation state that we're in is not my favorite.  Even when we start and finish a little project, that still feels good.  But next up is a big project, and when it's done it will help us accomplish every other project.

Our summer was taken over by trees.  First the elm in May and then the other elm in August.  Those are finally complete.  The garage project has been pushed out and postponed, but now it's next in line.

Just wanted to vent.  I'm excited about everything this house will be, but sometimes my patience runs short.