November 23rd: Thanksgiving. And are we thankful! For, yay, we are
done, buttoned up, and weather proof (to a high degree).
We have been working in the snow for more than a month, and we've
finally completed the Tyvek and roof. And as it turns
out, snow is a lot more pleasant to work in than mud.
The roof has been complete for a couple of weeks now.
We had a lucky weather break (the first time this year, I think)
where the temperature went above freezing for 48 hours. By sweeping
the snow off from scaffolding, we got a patch large
enough and dry enough to stand on. Then from there I could sweep a
larger patch clear, give it a couple hours to dry, repeat,
until we had the remaining tar paper all clear. Only slid once, and
had the dormer to catch on. (Whew!) The rest of the metal
panels went on the next day, and I started sleeping well at night.
The major down side of snow climate is the slowness. It
isn't fun (at least for us) camping in sub-freezing temperatures.
And driving is pretty dodgy in the dark in rural areas, those silly
deer just love to leap out in front of moving cars. So even if
we leave at dawn and time it to pull into the driveway as it turns
dark, that leaves a work day that lasts from 8:30 am to 3 pm.
And then there's putting on and taking off gloves as needed for the
trade-off between dexterity and frost bite, and the work
just doesn't get done very fast. So it was a slog to get 200 feet of
Tyvek up from scaffolds and ladders, but we fought our way
So we're wrapped up for winter, 99% weather-proof and
critter-proof. A howling blizzard might force a little snow in
through the vent slots under the eaves, and if we get stormy, windy
rain in the winter months (not so far-fetched now) we
might get some water on the high part of the gable ends. Unless mice
figure out how to use tiny ropes and pitons, I don't
think they're going to get up the Tyvek to get in at the vent slots.
So we're confident that we're good until spring. And spring
could be February, who knows?
To all the folks who helped turn a hole in the ground
into a weather-proof building: OMG, thank you! Through one of the
wettest summers on record, brutal heat, mosquitoes, ticks, rain,
cold, snow, sleet, wind advisories, mud and more mud, we've
had help every time. We are beyond lucky to have friends like this.
November 3rd: I'm cringing again, when the forecast calls for snow
now. Two thirds of the metal roof is on, but while we had
to wait for ten days (!) for a metal valley to come in, the
temperature plunged and the snow started falling. It hasn't warmed
up enough since the first (mid-October) snow to melt off, and we
keep getting more every few days. I may have to take
extreme measures to clear the tar paper of snow, so that last of the
roof can go up for winter (like it isn't already here!). In the
mean time, sheathing is complete, windows and doors are cut out, and
we plan to wrap it up in Tyvek and call it done until
spring, assuming the roof gets done.
October 10th: I don't cringe when the forecast calls for rain any
more. Half an inch of rain poured down on my newly complete
tar paper and frost guard, and I had only one minor leak, which I
think is now fixed. Metal roofing is ordered. There might even
still be leaves on the trees when it gets installed. And now that I
don't have to cover and uncover everything every few days
for the next round of rain, I'm making faster progress on the
The hodge podge of tarps, tar paper and lumber
wrap from the previous photo worked about as well as you'd expect:
a lot of the rain out, so only certain areas got really soaked,
instead of everything.
October 1st: All the roof sheathing is up, and all but seven sheets
are nailed down completely. The last seven sheets were
hauled up last night just before dark, in order to have a flat
surface over the whole roof to put a giant tarp over. Because,
you know, it has been two whole days without rain, so three days of
rain are coming in. We even got some frost guard
and tar paper on the south side, by flashlight. Laying down black
tar paper on a sloping roof in the dark at the end of a
14-hour day is not the best way to achieve straight, even lines of
tar paper. I can't recommend it.
So, it isn't pretty, but it is probably mostly
rain-proof, and starting to look a lot like a house. It feels very
different when you
can't see the stars or the sun directly overhead.
September 23rd: what a difference a week (and a group of friends)
makes! We've gone from incomplete bare bones to a house
shape with roof skeleton and a semblance of walls. The roof trusses
went up yesterday in about three hours under pretty brutal
hot conditions. The friends who volunteered for hard, hot, grubby
work like this are amazing people.
September 16th: sub-floor is (nearly) complete, enough to move on to
walls (because the leaves are starting to change color,
and I'm starting to sweat). Walls are sprouting up too. We still
seem to alternate between way-too-hot and drenching rain, but
at least it has mostly been dry the last two weeks.