30 July 2014

Forms Nearly Formed . . .

Our bunker is almost done being set out. The forms are almost completely up and bolted or whatever they do, the inspector has been by, and the hope is that tomorrow there will be a line of cement trucks chugging and brrRRRrrring down Crow Valley Road, to dump 50 yards of cement into our 10-foot-tall forms. My family had a 3-yard dump truck for some time when I was a kid. Almost 17 of those loads!

I'm at the Orcas Library in Eastsound right now, taking advantage of the free WiFi before an appointment in town here, and I see that I've got about 10 minutes before I have to be in my car, so I'll try to throw some pictures up here tout-suite:

NOTE: Pics not coming quickly. Will have to try another time. But at least there is written proof that things are moving along!

23 July 2014

Driveway Roughed In!

It's a day of rain on Orcas as well as the rest of the Puget Sound Region today, but it doesn't sound like we've had major landslides there, and according to Burke, it's a warm rain, so they're paddling around, doing their work.

Ian and I will be up again late Friday night to have a meeting Saturday morning with Burke and Sage together, and then Ian will fly back Sunday evening and Spackle and I will stay another week (I hope the rains go away!).

This morning's pictures from Burke:

You can see from the dimness of this picture that it's not a bright, sunshiny day on Orcas today. 

I've been told that the garage *will* have an open space, through which to drive the car. 

Friend L requested a "perspective" picture, with Spackle in the octagon or something. This is the best I have for perspective *in* the building at this point--Spackle near the octagon. 

Gratuitous shot of Spackle in the speckled sunlight of the Copse

Here's some perspective of the land: I am in our Woodlot, a small stand of alders that I am "parking out": sawing down trees to leave no less than 4 feet between the remaining ones, and clearing blackberry vines and canes, wild rose, and various less-pokey vegetation. This stand of trees is not, quite, as far away from the house as one can get and still be on our property. But it's far! You can see, in the dim distance at the top of the grass a tiny patch of white that is the sun glinting off the plastic-covered hills of dirt. 

Here I've zoomed in (amazing camera), and you can see the plastic-covered hills, but also you can see, on the left, a hint of the northern edge of the Olympic Mountains, which we will see from our bedroom. (!)

Before picture (well, before I started on the 10th of July) of the type of tangle I'm untwisting. 

An after shot, with piles of vegetation. 

More afters, more piles. 

The Great Spirit inhabits my little woods. 

16 July 2014

Four Days of Bliss

Spackle and I spent several days last week on Orcas Island, just the two of us (plus the 4000+ full-time residents, plus the billion tourists, of course). It was the perfect summer weather, and I had the perfect vacation-time experience, except it was all on my own land, and in my own community. 

On Saturday, the day we came home, I was up in the Copse at the north end clearing brambles and long vines of man root (an easy, satisfying job compared to the blackberry cane, which is a sensitive, satisfying job), and feeling supremely happy to be alive in the world, when I realized that I was, in about a year, going to be living ON VACATION. That's where I am going to be living. I wanted to stay, from then until the house is finished.

(it is going to be so awesome)

Here are the latest pics that I have, although I heard yesterday that perhaps the driveway was excavated Monday, so that'll be interesting when we're next there!

Looking northwest from the southeast corner. Starting the foundation forms!

Interesting metal bits

This structure will not blow down. Or be shaken down in an earthquake. Or washed away in a Tsumani. 

Spackle enjoying, for the first time on Orcas, an evening peanut butter Kong. He was wondering what took us so long to realize that this tradition was not a Seattle tradition, but a Spackle tradition. Wherever he is, so there should be an evening peanut butter Kong. Or a lot of really annoying whining (you can see why Spackle was baffled that it took us so long to catch on. One would almost think we enjoyed the whining. We did not. We were just slow-witted.)

Looking from the northeast corner. The tops of the tall boards are the height of the cement foundation walls. Yes, we are building a bunker. 

Bits and Pieces. 

Looking from the west down the hill. The octagon will be the entirely-buried wine cellar (!)

Surveyor on the Site

Surveyor is pretty pleased by the speed and level of workmanship. 

Spackle in a spaghetti of cords and hose

I don't know how foundation building works. I mention this because what appears to be trending toward solidity, that nascent wall up in the middle of the photo, the right side of the house--that's where the opening to the garage will be. Up a few feet from the current ground level, but still an open space, not a cement wall, not even a trompe l'oeil of a garage door (probably especially not the last). 

There will also be a door where there's a space in the frame above--but almost twice as wide as the space the crew has left for entering and leaving the house. Or maybe they are planning for a door there. This building-a-house-from-scratch process is a mystery to me!

Not a high quality photo, but this was taken Saturday night as the ferry approached Anacortes. I was sitting in the driver's seat of Nublu, playing KenKen on my phone (*not*, it turns out $3.99 wisely spent) when I glanced up and saw that moon. My inner voice scolded me. Put that phone down and drink in your surroundings!

I was definitely drunk from my surroundings by the end of our short trip!

05 July 2014

Footings Inspected/Poured!

Here are the latest pictures taken by Burke Thomas. Bristling with rebar!  REALLY be careful now, to not stumble off one of those excavated cliffsides! Impalement would be all too easy, and all too grisly.

Looking from southeast to northwest. Octagon for the wine cellar in the middle left of the picture. 

Looking directly west from the southeast corner. 

Everything getting staged to build the foundation walls! (looking north from the southeast corner)

Looks like a building site! (looking northeast from the southeast corner)

I plan to be up much of next week, which I think will mean that I'll get to see some foundation forms going up, which will be super exciting! 

02 July 2014

Big Hole!

As you know from reading about our recent boating experience, we were on Orcas this last weekend. We heard some mumbles of disappointment from the community about the giant hole in the ground and the huge piles of dirt, but that's to be expected. We have also heard unambiguous support, and not solely from the craftsmen whom our build (and those of other newcomers) allows to earn enough to stay in the islands. And it's true; from the water, it is clear that our home is going to change the appearance of the hamlet . . . but we are, not completely naively, confident that it will enhance, rather than otherwise, that appearance.

Not until it's done, though.

Ah well, we have a giant hole! We might as well enjoy it! (which we did!)

Careful, old blind Spackle! (seriously, he bee-lined right for the upper corner)

Footing forms for cellar/tower

The excavator did a supremely talented job of carving out varying levels of the house. The shelves seen here are under our porches, and will help support the piers holding up the porch. Better to put those on ground that's been compacted for decades, instead of on backfill. 

Looks so modest from this angle, which is looking west up the hill. The daylight basement opens out toward us, and the 1 car garage will be pretty much where that wheelbarrow is. 

More footing frames, including a super-wide platform to hold up, someday, a retaining wall which will, someday beyond that, have a frame holding a retired Crystal Mountain lift chair as a swing (!). 

Evidence that this field has not always been grass--several large, slowly decaying roots from firs or cedars. Also, you may notice that we have a bare skin of topsoil. Makes it really easy to excavate, and all the topsoil removed from the hold has been reserved, so someday our garden plot may have 12 inches of soil instead of just six. 


And, unrelated to Big Digs, Spackle needs to have his nails trimmed. 

From what I hear, they're pouring footings today!