Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane (and Its Aftermath) Report

For those who have been worried or just plain wondering, please accept my apologies for not posting sooner. My home lost power at noon on Sunday and it was just restored sometime today. That meant not doing a lot of things, including emailing and blogging.

I think we weathered the storm pretty well. The strongest wind gusts here were probably 56 mph, and I think less than 6 inches of rain fell. It could have been a lot worse.

On Sunday during the storm, I went outside to check on things. During some strong gusts of wind, I put my hands on the JayBee's walls; it was not moving at all in the wind. Very reassuring! It sure was collecting water in the tarps, though.

The cinder blocks worked great at securing all the building materials. Nothing moved; no tarps even tore.

I was surprised by the stretches during the storm when the wind was howling but it wasn't raining. During one, I went for a short walk. Yes, there was storm debris in the road--branches and leaves.

And the river was wild. These still images just don't do the moment justice. The howling roar of the wind and the blow-me-over gusts were so much more dramatic than these still shots captured. (I tried recording some video using my new iPhone, but clearly I need to practice more; nothing I shot is worth sharing.)

Late Sunday, I went out to check things again and discovered that a willow tree next to my driveway had broken off and fallen right across my driveway.

Monday morning, I went out at 4:00 a.m. to clear away the smaller branches. Once it was light at 6:00, I tried to use my chain saw. I just could not get it started.

I knew if I was going to get to work no later than 8:00, I couldn't wait around for help. So, I got out the hand saw. I started by cutting off the side branches.

Then I cut through the trunk.

Finally, I wrestled the trunk out of the driveway. (I'm sure the curse words helped!)

I didn't want to leave all this water in the JayBee, so I began pouring and bailing. I ended up filling my shoes with water (it was ankle deep in there!) and getting completely soaked.

Anyone want to go swimming?

While I was crawling around in the water and struggling with water laden tarps, Bear had his own agenda.

Even with the tree cutting and trailer bailing Monday morning, I made it to work on time!

I caught this picture this morning (Tuesday) as I was leaving for work. The river has been swollen over its banks at high tide, and a canoeist was out there enjoying it very early.

I haven't checked the upcoming weather, but hopefully I'll be able to work on the JayBee this weekend and post pictures of it uncovered and fully intact.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ceiling Joists (aka Hurricane Preparation)

I've known for days that hurricane Irene is headed this way. What to do to protect the JayBee and all the building materials in my yard? This is how the JayBee looked once I completely uncovered it this morning.

As I began working, Bear started in with his antics.

This look (below) is Bear working up to leaping onto the ladder. Yes, he did leap.

When I heard a scratching noise, I spun around to yell at Bear because I thought he was scratching my walls. This is what I saw:

What a nut case!

I decided that installing ceiling joists on the JayBee would provide more stability in high wind than the west wall, so that's what I did--install ceiling joists. I got off to a slow start but, once I figured out a method for doing it by myself, it actually proceeded smoothly.

Arlen came by to help me move a few things under cover. Dale came by and helped me get the entryway header installed. Once that was done, I finished fastening the south wall top plate.

Then, back to more ceiling joists.

I was really pleased with the results.

Isn't this great light coming through the east window?

When I finished with the ceiling joists after 4:00, I then had to secure everything for Irene. I put cinder blocks on the building materials that will stay in the yard. I lined the floor of the JayBee with multiple tarps, sloped slightly towards the open west end and open entryway. I removed the plastic from the windows; I figure it wouldn't stay put anyway. I'm hoping that allowing the wind to blow through the JayBee will help keep the wind from blowing it apart or flipping it over. This all took me so much time, it was after 9:00 before I was done. Yes, it was pitch black out by then; I finished up by the light of a lantern.

The rain preceding Irene is supposed to begin tonight. The wind could reach 65 mph tomorrow, and we could get up to 8 inches of rain. There will be power outages and flooding, no doubt. I'm so exhausted, I'm thinking of tomorrow as recovery day more than hurricane day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

South Wall 4

Yippee! The south wall is up! We didn't have any extra hands available during the raising, so this is all I captured for photos. This all went amazingly smoothly.

While Dale and Arlen held the wall, I attached the bottom plate to the sill.

I ran out of daylight pretty quickly after Dale and Arlen left. I managed to put up a brace on either end of this new wall section, but that's it. Still to do: some fastening on the top plate, installation of the entryway header, and the rest of the sheathing. As I was packing things away for the night, my demon cat jumped up in the windowsill and proceeded to claw the side! (If he even attempts this on any finished wall, I'll be posting photos of felon kitty. I told him this. See how concerned he is?)

Also see:
South Wall 1
South Wall 2
South Wall 3
South Wall 5

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Need a Roof!

Maine has unpredictable and variable weather, no doubt. We've had above-average rainfall this summer as well. Keeping the JayBee dry is feeling like a full-time job and sometimes losing battle. Last night, I checked on the JayBee after 8:00 p.m. The tarps looked like they'd hold up through the night of rain we were expecting.

When I looked this morning, this is what I saw!

We'd had a LOT of rain overnight, and very high winds. As horrified as I was, it wasn't as bad as it looks. Most of the water was on top of the tarps, so I was able to pour it off. Over an hour later, I had order restored and all water back out of the JayBee. Now there are rocks hanging off the grommets on the back side, so the tarp won't easily blow off again.

I definitely need to get a roof on this thing soon. If I could at least get the ridge board up, it would be easier to keep the JayBee covered with a tarp.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

South Wall 3

Progress has slowed quite a bit on the JayBee project. First, we are in one of our busy seasons at work, and we're short-handed--which adds up to long work days. (For those of you following along who think I'm retired or independently wealthy or have endless vacation time--wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm a working schlub who is trying to find time for this project along with everything else.) Second, my first day back to work after vacation, I came down with a whopper doozy cold. Nice.

Last weekend, I spent half a day working on the south wall--fastening the bottom plate and the window framing. I told myself I had to move slowly enough that I wouldn't start coughing. I had a great day, and I learned that slowing down is not necessarily a bad thing. I used more clamps and braces to hold things and, consequently, ended up re-doing things less. In the end, I think I got as much done as I would have moving "faster," and I had a lot more fun doing it.

The long board laying across the middle of the wall in the above photo is the yet-to-be-fastened top plate.

The beginning of this week was all about rain. I bailed and dried things up to four times a day!

Yesterday, I built the header for the entryway...

...and I figured out how to prop the wall far enough out over the edge of the trailer that I could fasten the top plate.

I spent this morning crawling around under the trailer, tweaking the leveling of it. I want it absolutely level before this large section of south wall gets raised.

The west end of the south wall was relatively easy to square up, so I glued and screwed plywood sheathing to it.

Guess who I found sleeping on the job! (Bear raised his head when he heard the camera shutter, then went right back to sleep.)

This other section of the south wall was very difficult to square up. In the end, I used a rope running underneath on the diagonal to pull it into square, then attached a 1 x 4 on the other diagonal (but out of the way of where the next sheet of plywood needed to go), and then attached sheathing.

This is as much sheathing as I can apply before the wall gets raised. When we raise the wall (and I sure hope we can lift it!), two headers need to be installed and the top plate scarfed together before the final bit of sheathing can be applied.

As I started to cover things and put things away for the day at 6:00, it started to rain. Good timing! All in all, a good day.

Also see:
South Wall 1
South Wall 2
South Wall 4
South Wall 5