Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Surviving Sandy

I guess we were spared the worst--at least compared to many states south of us. It didn't seem that way during the night last night. It was hard to sleep with the storm howling around, and the cats sleeping on top of me and twitching at every noise. (Bear slept on my face so much, my sinuses are all plugged up this morning.) I gave up checking on the JayBee because seeing the tarps straining against their ropes just made me too nervous. I woke up again at 3:00am; at that point, the predominate feature of the storm here shifted from wind to torrential rain. It sounded like I was in the middle of a river, there was so much water rushing everywhere.

This morning, things look fine. Listening to the news, I'd guess the winds did not top 50-60 mph here. The power is still on. It appears that not one drop of rain got inside the JayBee, and the tarps all look intact. Phew! Dodged that one. My sympathies to those who took the brunt of this storm.

The cats are well, and much calmer today.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Storm Prep 2

When I left for work this morning, this is how the JayBee looked.

When I got home from work, the wind was in the low 20s mph and the top tarp on the JayBee looked and sounded like a sail. Made sense, since the wind of the storm was coming out of the east northeast, but not good.

I used the last bit of daylight to secure the east end of the JayBee with many more ropes. I highly recommend learning and using real knots. I've been using bowlines and tautline hitches--the two knots used on these ropes--for more than 35 years. I can tie them very quickly without hesitation, and feel assured that I'll be able to untie them when I want, even if they get pulled very tight when wet.

The wind is HOWLING out there now. I still have power, but wind is whistling through every crack in this house. The cats are freaked and clinging. I checked on the JayBee; so far, so good. Not much rain yet; I'm sure that will come. We'll see what the morning brings.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Storm (Sandy) Preparation 1

The first thing I did to prepare for Hurricane Sandy was to put another huge tarp over the top of the JayBee. The whole time I was wrestling with the thing, I kept wondering if it would do any good. If the winds are strong enough, would any tarp do any good? During Hurricane Irene last year, tarps did keep the floor of the JayBee dry, even if I did end up having to bail many gallons of water out of the JayBee after the storm.

Then, I turned my attention to the yard. I had sun shades and large tools to move...

...and piles of lumber to weigh down with cinder blocks.

As I labored away, I admired the rising moon.

I took this next photo before I was completely done because I was running out of light. I took the ropes left laying in the driveway and used them to tie down the tarps on the JayBee extra well; it was so dark by then, I had to do it by flashlight. I moved cinder blocks all over the yard to hold down tarps on all the wood piles.

That's the best I can do. We'll see what happens these next few days.

East End Roof 1

Heading into this weekend, I knew I had to batten everything down before high winds from hurricane/storm Sandy arrive in a few days. Bad timing (is there ever a good time to have a big storm blow through?), since I know, if I pack everything away, that probably means I'm done puttering on the JayBee for the winter. I was determined to do one more thing on the JayBee before putting everything away. Since I had drawn the roof framing for the east end bumpout this last week, I thought I'd get that framing done.

First, I gathered a bunch of shorter pieces of 2 x 6s.

Such a beautiful day! It was weird to work outside all day in fine weather, with no hint of a storm brewing, while hearing about the approaching monster storm over the radio.

There were so many ladybugs, they kept landing on my work, in my hair--everywhere.

Cutting tiny rafters...

and cutting complicated compound angles took me all afternoon on Saturday.

Sunday was not nearly as nice. It was all cloudy and cool. Even so, I uncovered the east end of the JayBee.

It took hours to get these rafters installed.

I tried to do the corner rafters as well. I cut and re-cut and re-calculated... Finally, I just had to give up and cover everything up in preparation for Sandy.

Also see:
East End Roof 2
East End Roof 3
East End Roof 4


I was asked recently if George is okay--since I regularly post photos of Bear but rarely of George. (During the warm summer months, George's black fur heats up so quickly in sunlight that he hides away most of the time.) As luck would have it, both cats have been especially eager to go for walks these last few days...

George is quite fine. All spring and early summer I was a little worried about him. He didn't seem his usual self. He seemed to have totally conceded alpha-cat status to Bear and was letting Bear push him around. I wondered if he was feeling old and tired; he turned 13 in August. These last several weeks, though, he's been acting like his old self...

including not putting up with any of Bear's schenanigans.

This weekend, George must have been channeling Bear. He snoozed wherever he could bake in the sun...

...and he made a pest of himself--getting in the way as I was working on cutting small roof rafters.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Entryway 7

A beautiful autumn day here! I spent the entire day on the entryway. Sometimes it's hard to believe how long things take me. Before I could install the cedar boards, I had to install narrow pieces of sheathing in back of the step and below the step. I decided the step was wide enough to need slightly more than two boards, so I found an extra cedar board and ripped a narrow strip to put in the back. After putting preservative on all three boards, I installed them.

Bear was the first to try out the new step.

I found a thin board I could set on the step to protect it from dirt and dings.

Finally, I installed sheathing around the top of the entryway. Working overhead in a tiny space is not an easy thing!

While many trees have completely shed their leaves, the leaves on the large oaks are just now beginning to change color.

Also see:
Entryway 1
Entryway 2
Entryway 3
Entryway 4
Entryway 5
Entryway 6
Entryway 8

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Entryway 6

Over the course of several weeks, I've been working on the JayBee's entryway. The small holes I had drilled in the entryway floor for drainage proved to be too small, so I removed the screening and hardware cloth from the underside, and drilled much bigger holes. I added 7 or 8 coats of plasti-dip paint--both spray-on and paint-on--to completely protect the entryway floor from water.

After I cut the sheathing for the entryway, I coated the bottom edges of those boards with plasti-dip.

Here is the sheathing installed.

There is still some sheathing yet to install at the top of the entryway, but I was running out of daylight, so I cut the cedar boards for the entryway floor. I haven't installed them yet; I want to apply preservative first.

Also see:
Entryway 1
Entryway 2
Entryway 3
Entryway 4
Entryway 5
Entryway 7
Entryway 8

Autumn Bits and Pieces

I took today off of work to try to get a bunch done. It turned out to be my first work-in-the-yard day in quite some time that it did not rain at all, and I did end up getting a lot done.

During recent rainy days, I had put together a new house number sign for the end of the driveway. (The old one was falling apart; for some reason, woodpeckers had taken an interest in it.) I screwed the new sign onto the tree today. It looks normal during the daytime...

and is highly reflective at night. Since I've had to call an ambulance before, I want to be sure I'm easily found.

I renewed the JayBee's registration today. Only five months overdue! Since the JayBee has never been out on the road, it's not like it was illegal. But I do have to devise a better reminder system for myself, in order to keep up with it.

I stopped in to see the Code Enforcement Officer because I thought the JayBee's building permit had expired as well, but I found out that the expiration date on it doesn't apply since the work is underway. I actually have another year before it expires. Good thing, given the way I'm taking my time with this project.

Next, I worked on the door latch and dead bolt on my old house--the house I have to limp through yet another winter. The latch and the dead bolt haven't worked for a couple months now. Since the door hinges look fine, I thought the problem was possibly due to the extra humidity from the recent rain. I've been keeping the door closed with a chain and padlock, but this has gone on long enough that I decided I needed to fix the problem. I lowered the holes for the door latch and dead bolt by 1/4 inch, and now the door works perfectly!

Next, I moved on to the JayBee. Just as I started, the furnace-cleaning-guy arrived to clean my furnace. As long as the guy was there, I could only dub around with things on the JayBee because it became a major challenge to keep the two cats out of the guy's van (since he left the doors open the entire time) and out of the basement (since the entrance is through an outdoor bulkhead). At one point, on one of his many trips between the furnace and his van, the guy nodded his head toward the JayBee and asked, "What project have you got going there?" I explained that I am building a house on a trailer to live in so I can tear down the existing house. He exclaimed a few times and then summed it up by saying, "Not many people would take on a project like that!" I laughed and said, "With good reason." Once the guy left, I managed to get a bit done on the JayBee. See my next post--Entryway 6

At one point, after I brushed a "leaf" off the ladder, I realized it wasn't a leaf at all. It was a praying mantis. I used to love watching these when I was very young! I haven't seen one in many years, so this was a bit thrilling. She stayed so completely still, I thought she might be dead--but it was just a good act. She was very much alive.

Here is Bear acting all sedate and well-behaved--after the dramatic show of ill behavior earlier.

Bathroom Storage 2

Here's the bathroom cabinet all finished and in use. It won't sit on the floor of the JayBee; it will be hung on the wall. I decided to use it now not only to have a place to store it until the JayBee is ready for it, but also because it has been helping me downsize my bathroom crap. I've been trying to fit everything that isn't a tall bottle into this cabinet. I've been chucking everything else. Can you say prescriptions dating back to 1995? Yup, it's that bad.

In case anyone is wondering how I come up with these ideas, some of them I cook up completely from scratch (see the office corkboard wall); others, like this bathroom cabinet, start with a bit of inspiration to which I apply a bit of creative modification. The inspiration for this cabinet came from Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects by Spike Carlsen. I found baskets that would fit in the space I knew I had in the corner of the JayBee's bathroom. I modified Carlsen's design to fit my baskets, to have solid shelves, and to have straight up-and-down sides rather than decorative molding around the top (to make it easier to install flush into the corner of the bathroom). Sometimes I draw accurate plans to scale; this time, I just did a quick sketch before starting to build. (The construction process is detailed in Bathroom Storage 1.)

Also see: