Randy to the rescue

We emailed Randy, our contractor about our concerns with it being ready for the heating company on Monday.  He called this morning and said he would come on out himself and finish the one side so that heating coils could be laid down on Monday as planned.Randy arrives

He had earlier told us that he usually did this part of the work himself anyway but gave the concrete folks the job.  We were going to go into town about 11:30, but waited until Randy arrived and verified he did not need our help. It really felt like he was our knight coming to the rescue. No that is not a white horse in the background, but rather some of the plastic.




.After a day in town, we came home to find that Randy had finished that one side and most of the foyer….and the pieces did not look like a jigsaw puzzle.


I counted the stack of materials and there seems to be 825 sq ft of material left.  Hopefully some of the small pieces can be used to finish the first level on the other octagon so that the full pieces can be used after the vapor barrier for that side, as he did on the first side.  It will be close as each octagon is 800 sq ft….and there is also the laundry room.


Rather like a jigsaw puzzle

So they did show up about 8 am on Saturday morning.  We spent most of the morning in the trailer and were surprised when we went out that it was not Rob, but two of his crew that we had met before. Actually Brian went out first and came back with concerns as they were putting the two layers down without the vapor barrier in between.  FullSizeRender_4They had not brought it with them and said often they put the two layers of two inch foam down and then put the vapor barrier on top.  We did not see how that would work and we called Randy and he called Rob.  He told him that though he did not usually do it that way, it certainly would not work with the need to put the radiant heating tubes on top.  FullSizeRenderOne, it would not give them a good surface to work on and two, they needed to snap lines to show where the rooms would be and they could not do that on the sheets of plastic.  Personally, I don’t see how it ever works.

FullSizeRender_1We went out to talk to them about it and while we were expressing what we felt needed to be done, Rob called them and I assume told them how it needed to be done as one of them took off to get the plastic while the other one stayed working.  FullSizeRender_2He was continuing to cut the pieces of insulation and we suggested that perhaps he should be doing the first layer on the other side instead.  He said that they were only suppose to get the one side done, and he was going to keep cutting the top layer for the side they were planning to finish and he would cut them and then pick them up to do the plastic.

Mind you, this is while trying to piece 4×8 sheets of foam into a 31 foot diameter octagon.  We thought we had seen a diagram to most efficiently do this, but they said they did not have one and we could not find what we thought we had seen.  FullSizeRender_3I did not see how they were going to be able to put those small pieces back down if they did not have a system to pick them up; it seemed like a jigsaw puzzle to me, but they seemed to think they could do it.  They said that they would stay until the job was done.

They continued working on it while we went off to do some weed whacking and hand weeding behind the house.  Around 4:00, they packed up and left.  They told Brian that they forgot they had a wedding to go to.

vaporbarrierWe went back to the house, thinking we might help and put some pieces down, but we were shocked at what we saw. They had gone ahead and put the first layer down on the second side of the house, had picked up the second layer on the first side and put down the vapor barrier, and had put back down the large pieces of the second layer.   jigsawpuzzleMeanwhile there was a whole pile of various sizes and shapes of smaller pieces that needed to be replaced.  We tried to figure it out, but it was impossible.  I don’t know whether because they had cut it, they had an idea where to put those jigsaw puzzle pieces down, but somehow I doubt it.

So two concerns, will they come first thing Monday morning and get that one side done before the heating contractor comes and if they can’t figure out how to put the small pieces back down, will there be enough material to redo it?  If they do get the pieces down before the heating contractor arrives, they will then need to finish the second side on Monday, laying the vapor barrier and then cutting the pieces to fit.  If all that happens, the heating contractor can finish laying the tubing on Tuesday and the concrete can be poured on Wednesday and we can fly back to San Mateo on Thursday as planned.

Not as expected

At about 8 am the gravel shooter came with the last load. Then I got to spend a day away.  I got picked up by Gary and Lani Smith who just moved into their 4000+ sq ft. Topsider house in Port Angeles …. probably two years later than they expected.  They were going shopping in Silverdale and I asked if I could go along.  I think of Silverdale as the city that became a shopping mall.  It has about every chain store that you can think of.  It is about 35 miles away from our farm, which makes it about 80 miles away for them.  There are many, but not all, of the main stores closer to them in Sequim which is about 25 miles from me, but only 15 for them.  It was fun spending the day with them and eating lunch out for a change.

I had expected that the concrete guys who were also subcontracted to lay the insulation would be arriving some time Thursday afternoon.  When I got back Randy and one of his crew were just finishing leveling the gravel, but the folks did not come with the insulation. (I wish I got a picture…its called screeding, a leveling process that I have seen done before with concrete, and will be done with our concrete pad.)

So we expected them to show up first thing Friday morning.  They didn’t.  Their getting that part done was crucial for the timing for the radiant heating guys and then the concrete pour.  They didn’t show up until about noon….and without the insulation panels.  I spoke to Rob, the subcontractor and he said something about having to shop around for the best price so the shipment was delayed.  What it seemed to me is that he did not start looking for it when he got the job a month or so ago….but I did not say that to him.

My contractor, Randy, sounded a bit perturbed and after talking with him, told us that they were going to come and work on Saturday.  The plan is that they get the far octagon finished on Saturday so that the heating folks can lay that line on Monday and then they finish the insulation on Monday and the heating folks finish on Tuesday and the concrete still gets poured on Wednesday.

Meanwhile we continued with cleanup on the property, and I did some weeding and planting the flowers I got last Saturday.

Oh, and there was the exciting news that Topsider is shipping the house on June 4 and Randy expects it five days later.  Of course we were going to go home on June 4 and not be back for the rest of the month, but now we are reevaluating our schedule as it looks like the primary house build will be in June.

Shooting rocks

Wednesday was a busy day.  Our morning started with a visit from a couple ….and their delightful daughter, who had written to express interest in the Beaver Springs Lodge retreat center concept.  We gave them a tour of Dragon Belly and then went over to Beaver Springs.  We felt they would be a very good fit for the project and are eagerly waiting to hear from them about it.  I know I am setting myself up for potential disappointment.
FullSizeRenderJust before we left for the Beaver Springs, the Ian and Matt from Peninsula Heat came to put in the main line that will be connecting the two manifolds for the radiant heat floor…which need to be under the concrete slab and under the gravel. FullSizeRender_1They were just finishing up as we got back.





Shortly afterwards the gravel truck arrived.  They had put six! loads of gravel into the foundation form the day before we arrived.  image1Now they needed to put in more gravel to cover the lines that had been laid by the electrician and the heating company.

Gravel needs to come up to eight inches from the top of the form.  They were hoping to get it all done with three loads, but they are just a little short and they will need another load in the morning.FullSizeRender_1

In case you are wondering……

IMG_6103It has been several days since I wrote anything.  The construction crew had a four day weekend….though we did meet with Randy and Ken as I wrote in my last post. I am not sure when that happened to the Memorial Day weekend, but it seems to be pretty common. After they left, I did take more pictures of various flowers on the land….I still need to get more posted.

Not my usual construction post, but more about how we spent our Memorial Day weekend.

FullSizeRenderSaturday was a pretty full day of leisure for us.  We drove down through Quilcene along the Hood Canal about 25 miles to Brinnon for the Shrimpfest.  It was a drizzly morning so I think the crowd was less than anticipated for this small town fundraising festival, but it was delightful with a quite talented local band and some interesting local artists….some of which we may just buy from after the house is built.  FullSizeRender_1We did buy one package of the rare Hood Canal spotted shrimp.  If I recall correctly, the season is only four days long.

After about two hours, we left to explore more of the Hood Canal area.  We have not done more than just drive through in the last 15 years. FullSizeRender_2 First we stopped at one of the many beautiful beaches and wandered and looked at rocks and oyster shells.

Then we headed inland just before the Dosewallips State Park following the Dosewallips River toward the Olympic National Forest.  There were signs that said the road ended 8 miles ahead.  FullSizeRender_3I decided to drive all the way and found that there had been a washout in the previous year though it looked like they were in the process of making some repairs.  Folks were definitely going through that rough rocky spot in the road, but it didn’t feel like a wise thing to do to me without a 4 wheel drive….or at least a high clearance truck. FullSizeRender_4We took a pretty leisurely drive stopping frequently and it was almost 5:00 before we got back out to 101.

I surprised Brian by continuing to drive south …but just a mile or so to the Whitney Gardens and Nursery.  I had been meaning to go here for years, but since it was rhody season, it seemed a good time to stop.  We spent almost an hour wandering the nursery and fantasizing plants to buy in the future.  We did buy one small columbine to add to my collection.  It has different colored blooms all on the same plant.

On Sunday, we headed off to Seattle to attend the Folklife Festival.We had got to the ferry dock a little too late to find time to park, so we decided to drive across.  It sure made it easier Seattle side, but I was shocked at how expensive the ferries had become.  It was $15 for a senior and car.  I think the regular fare was over $20. Folklife was quite an amazing event with at least 1,000 times the amount of people than we had seen at the festival the day before.  The day started well with the blues of Michael Hawkeye Herman, and included Eric Tingstad who I was surprised was playing blues on a classical guitar, and Ginny Reilly singing the songs of Bessie Smith.  We also enjoyed two great dance performances.  We couldn’t even get into the theater for the first set of dancers, but the next two were great. The Northwest Tap Connection is a community project training young dancers (It looks like their website was highjacked, but this is their Facebook page.)

The next act was Savoy Swing Club Performance Troupe.  We were really into swing and lindy hop about 15 years ago and wish we were still doing it, but it takes way more energy than I have.

Highlights and pictures to follow….but I wanted to get something up.

We didn’t leave the festival until after 9:00 and had decide to drive around through Tacoma rather than taking the ferry back.  Google Maps said it would take about the same amount of time, and added 60 miles of driving, but I thought it would be cheaper paying for gas than the $20 to take the ferry.

I was trying to find us a good place to eat dinner, but most places were closed or closing.  We finally settled on heading for one in Tacoma which was suppose to be open until 10.  When we got there, it was closed and we looked around and saw the Half Pint Pizza Pub.  It was very crowded and with a crowd about a third of my age, but the overworked bar tender was very sweet and after almost an hour’s wait, we had a great pizza and then a long drive home…getting in about 1am.

I had to get up very early for a 6:30 am Skype call with Global Ecovillage Network folks from around the planet talking about our strategy for the Climate Change Conference in Paris.  It was 2:30pm in London.  If I know I will be a delegate, I will probably attend the GEN Conference at Findhorn in July.

The day was spent on the farm.  Brian got lots of weed whacking done, including clearing “the island”.  I did a little bit of weeding. For dinner, we had those Hood Canal shrimp.  It is interesting cooking here as I have a very limited kitchen and very limited supplies.

Planning the radiant heating

FullSizeRender_1Today we met with Ken of Peninsula Heating along with our contractor, Randy Welle, to discuss his heating plan, decide where to put the manifolds and how and when to get the part done that needed to be done before they add the next layer of gravel.FullSizeRender

He will have folks over next Tuesday morning to lay that conduit. (It is unfortunate that we lose work days because of Memorial Day weekend.)



While they were working, the county building inspector came and checked off the plumbing that was done earlier this week.


.It is planned that the electric inspection will be happening next Tuesday afternoon, and then the gravel will come on Wednesday afternoon the gravel trucks will return and then they begin laying the insulation, and hopefully they will be pouring the slab by the following Wednesday, June 3.

And we’re back

Again the journey is always interesting….and this time about 7 hours door to door.  We thought we were going to take a 7am flight, but when I checked the passenger load at 4am, it seemed prudent to try to make the 6am flight….and using a vacation pass to get us higher priority.  We usually try to use those for long expensive flights…like to Europe or Asia as it eliminates service charges as well as  putting you higher on the standby list.  So by the skin of our teeth we made that very full flight followed by the Sounder light rail, walking to the ferry dock, taking a bus to Poulsbo, and then the Port Townsend bus to Port Ludlow, and Michael came to get us for the last three miles.

I had spoken to Ken, the heating contractor as we were walking to the Seattle ferry and he said that our contractor had asked him to come tomorrow instead of today, but that he would like to talk to the electrician if he was on site when we got to the farm.

FullSizeRenderAs we arrived the electrician was leaving, but I stopped him to talk to Ken. I only heard one side of the conversation, but it sounded like he may need them to put in more or larger conduit ….but the electrical inspection is Tuesday, so it is going to be difficult to have that happen by then.  FullSizeRender_2It may need to be delayed.  We had heard the plumbing had been stubbed in on Tuesday. After those three phases are completed, I guess the slab gets poured.  I am sure hoping that will happen while we are here. We walked around the house foundation, noting where there were water, sewer and electric lines….as well as a beautiful blooming rhododendron.FullSizeRender_1