Setting the forms for the footing

Well nobody came Monday, but about 11 Tuesday morning the concrete crew from Sound Concrete Solutions showed up.  Footings1I asked the man setting the forms whether he had done such a polygonal building before and he said no, but he was excited to do it.  That’s a good sign.

The owner came by about 2 and told us that they would be pouring the concrete on Thursday.  He left and his crew worked the rest of the day to set the forms for the concrete footings.

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We went to town about 3 and when we returned after 7,Footings6 they were gone, and they were not quite finished. I suspect they will be back on Wednesday to finish and hopefully, they will still be pouring on Thursday.

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So bright and early Wednesday morning, they were back, footings11with a larger crew which included a woman.  They had lots to do today to finish framing all the footings and adding rebar.

I had a pleasant chat with the owner of the company again.footings12

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When I got back after a day trip to Port Townsend. they were finished and had left.  Most of the forms seem level but it is higher on the west side to adjust for that large rock we found when excavation began.footings13 Brian tried to explain to me how it can end up level when there is this step up.  footings14
I just don’t get it….but I guess the level of the footing is not the same as the level of the stem wall which is not the same as the level of the concrete pad.


Brian told me that we will have our first inspection tomorrow morning and they should be doing the first concrete pour tomorrow afternoon.

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.Today we also had our third visit from a septic system installer …so we will soon have three estimates, probably all around $20,000.

Brian did some tree trimming in the area where the drain field will go in.

footings15contemplationAfter he was showing me the footings, he looked very contemplative sitting on this box of j-bolts that will go into the concrete and fasten the house to the foundation. They were shipped out by Topsider and arrived just in time today.  All of us are questioning why things like this have to be shipped from North Carolina when they can be secured locally.

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Unusual weather…or is it usual for the Olympic Peninsula

The weather has been interesting. Yesterday, it was sunny and warm….almost feeling like summer.  It was the first night I went to bed without putting on the heater.  This morning it was drizzling and cool and rained off and on all day.

This morning I got an email from our old friend Doug Milholland, formerly of Blue Heron Construction. He wrote to confirm that he would be helping Randy on the house. This is good news as we have been waiting for 20 years for Doug to build us a house….and he always wanted to build a Topsider octagon house. He also wrote to introduce us to a friend of his who is looking for rural property to live, to have our business, and to build her dreams.  He thought we might be interested in talking with each other.

She wrote and shared her website for Propolis Brewing, award winning seasonal herbal ale. The site was beautiful, her product is very interesting, and I was quite amazed by it and looked forward to meeting her.  She came out a little after 11.  ForestCreekWe took her on a tour of the property.  I was glad to have an opportunity to go traipsing through the forest….something I had not yet done on this trip.

We also went by the Beaver Springs property.  Robert wasn’t home, so she couldn’t see the lodge.  She acknowledged the problem with that property that is so obvious…the road noise is quite bad, but also acknowledged its possibilities for her business including a tasting room and event center being on the main road for anyone driving to Port Townsend via the Hood Canal bridge.  Hers would be a great business to be the key one on the property…but I don’t know if the disadvantages will out weigh the advantages.  She will discuss it with her partner.  She also said she has been looking at lots of property in the area and feels it is overpriced.  It is hard to know for someone from California, but then again, she shared that is part of the problem.  Many people from California have often come to Washington to live full or part-time, but in the past year, the numbers have soared and they (we) are buying up property and paying cash and pricing locals out of the area. (We bought this land over 25 years ago.)

mapJCKCAfter she left, we walked back to the farm and later that afternoon decided to drive to Silverdale to do some shopping, and to eat out for a change.  I was thinking how different it is to drive that 25 miles on that tree-lined road than to drive almost the same distance as going to San Jose from my home in San Mateo on the 101 Freeway.  I didn’t think of taking a picture until just before we turned on to Beaver Valley Road.
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Excavation is quite a process

PickinguprockThis process took place over three days. The excavation begins by moving some of the larger rocks.  We were trying to save a rock garden which was behind the original house.  Some were saved and some will need to be rearranged.

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The trench needs to be dug which outlines the shapes getting reading to do the footing.

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The contractor and crew discusses with the excavator and his assistant.

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afterdiscoveringmassiverockWhile trenching we discover a massive rock and it was discussed whether it can stay in the ground under the footing or if it needs to be dug out.  Though it would be magnificent to see it, it sure would be easier to leave it in the ground.

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The shape of the house begins to appear.

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medrock.There certainly are a lot of amazing rocks.  The whole Puget Sound area was formed by retreating glaciers. and our land is what is known as glacial moraine, scoured by glaciers receding from this valley.  This one, though quite large, is not as big as many of them.

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The next day the concrete man came to lay out the forms.  I went to Port Townsend and missed most of his process.  (I went to town primarily to talk to folks about installing solar PV on our property. A local company is Power Trip Energy…isn’t that a cool name. I also met with my friend, Ann Raab, the designer from Greenpod Development.  I heard about some of her current work with tiny homes.)

When I got back, I heard he got frustrated and gave up.  There are just so many points/angles on the house.  He called in a surveyor to get it done accurately,

surveyorsetsupWe were told we would have to wait two days for the surveyor, but we were surprised when we got back mid-morning to find that he was there and getting ready to setup.  He shared how he was called in by the concrete man the afternoon before and when he sent him the plans, he understood why he was needed.  shootinglinesHe said that this was a new trend and that by having a surveyor do the work, it saves over a days work when setting up the forms for the concrete footings.  checkingworkThe surveyor and his assistant were busy “shooting” the points while we were off eating brunch. (We had left about 9 for a Zumba class without eating.)  They pretty much had it done when we came out of our trailer.
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He pointed out to me all the little orange flags imbedded in the floor of the trench at every angle of the octagons.  He said that they would come back after the pour, hopefully while the concrete is still wet and set all the points again.
lastwalkthru.The surveyor did one more walk around and then he left.

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The solar folks yesterday told me that now there are good reliable electric boilers to use with hydronic radiant heated floors so I also spent some time talking to that heating contractor and expect an estimate by Wednesday.

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BrianlooksitoverAfter they left, Brian took one last look at the foundation plan and the trenches.  We had grown quite fond of that massive rock uncovered in the trench and knew that when the forms were set, it would be no more.

Dandelions for breakfast

DandelionI just made breakfast: pancakes with dandelion flowers I picked last night, topped with blackberries picked and “canned” on the land last summer….and a little honey from our mini ecovillage back in California.  It was a good Earth Day breakfast, but then I try to live like every day is Earth Day. I am very fortunate to be living in two such beautiful places.
The contractor is here now first delineating how the house is situation and them marking out the lines for the excavation.  He had the concrete guy do it last week, the day before we arrived, but he did it wrong, placing it on the site backwards.  We “erased” the inaccurate lines yesterday with a week whacker. There will be lots more pictures of the process to follow.layout1

The excavation was suppose to start today, but the layout took longer than expected and he will be here at 8:30 tomorrow morning.

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More preparation …

I just wanted to mention that we are still look for partners for the project we started talking about last fall on the property known as Beaver Valley Lodge.

BeforeMovingOn Friday, we moved the last of the “dead” vehicles from the area around the house site to the part of the property where we have a utility “barn” and other non-running vehicles….all of which have served us valuably in the past.

A little history: this green truck was what Brian was driving when I first met him 30 years ago.  It was converted to propane and he had even made a trip around the country with it with his first wife.  It is a 1967 Dodge.

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Climbingonthe backhoeA problem they were having with it today, though I did not realize it until we were almost to its resting place is that the left rear wheel was not rolling, so it was being dragged along and dug a small trench as we moved it.

Movingpastthetrailer

vehiclestoragewithflatbedThe massive flatbed on the right was used to move up to Dragonbelly in 1989.  It carried the backhoe and lots of other gear as well as pulling a large utility trailer with the rest of our possessions. You can only see the cab in this picture….I will have to get a better shot so one can see its enormity.

You will notice us approaching a green school bus.  Our first year on the farm, we went to an auction at the Marysville School District and we bought that bus….and lots of other stuff.  I am not sure exactly what we thought we were going to do with it….a hippy tour bus perhaps.  It did become a home for a few folks a decade or so ago.

intoplaceThat bright yellow-orange vehicle is my 1970 VW Camper.  It took me on many of a journey back in the 80s long before I met Brian including many trips up and down the coast between LA and SF.  A trip that stands out in my mind is driving to the Humanistic Psychology Conference in Montana with many pairs of wrap around pants that I sewed to sell to pay for the trip.  Those were the days!  When we moved to the farm, I got a new engine and top for it.  Unfortunately, within a month or so, we hit a deer and that was the end of it. I am not totally sure why we still have it other than because of sentimental reasons….and having so much acreage.

The green Dodge  has a generator stored on it.  There is still a small trailer that has a welder on it that will also need to be moved.

First day back on the farm

After a leisurely morning which included wiping down part of the ceiling with vinegar and continuing to cleanup, followed by  a creative breakfast….cooking with only one burner and limited food stock is different for someone who really likes to cook.IMG_5546 I opened the trailer door to sunshine, cherry blossoms, tulips and daffodils.
We made a quick trip into town and I got a few more things at the co-op.  I had brought a suitcase full of food up and had left a lot here on our last trip last fall.

 

Late in the afternoon, Brian and I walked the property and enjoyed seeing all the tulips.  I had bought a large bag of them last fall, and the caretakers had planted them.  They were a day or so past their peak, but still quite lovely.

 

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You will see the trailer in the background of this last photo, my tiny home on the farm….until we get our house built.  IMG_5555I am still hoping for it to be finished before the fall equinox….maybe overly optimistic.

Traveling back to Dragonbelly

On Wednesday, after filing an extension on my taxes, we headed back up to Dragonbelly Farm.  Our plane didn’t arrive until about 6 and after taking the light rail into Seattle, we made a mad dash to catch the 7:20 ferry.  We arrived in the terminal at 7:18, but fortunately, the boat was five minutes late.  It was a beautiful time of day to make the trip.

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The ferry pulled out giving us a beautiful view of Mt. Ranier behind us.

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As the trip progressed the sun got lower and lower in the sky, so that when we arrived in Bainbridge 35 minutes later, it was almost dark.

 

 


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Our caretaker met us in Bainbridge and we drove to the farm, arriving around 9.  It was definitely chillier than San Mateo, and I was glad to hear that he had turned on the heater in the trailer before he left.

Unfortunately we were not expecting to be greeted when we opened the door with a strong smell of mildew.  We spent close to two hours cleaning up with vinegar.  We also were not happy to find mouse droppings and nibbled upon bags.  There is more to do.