Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bits and Pieces

When I find myself hemming and hawing over the next big housebuilding step, I tell myself that my indecision can't allow me to get paralyzed into inaction. I figure that, as long as I keep moving forward with something, it's all good. Eventually, I work out the details of whatever has me stewing, and I move forward with that too.

These last few days, I have been tackling all kinds of little jobs. Before I can add a bead of caulk between the window trim and the windows, I needed to shove some backer rod in the larger cracks. In some cases, like in the photo below, the trim is snug enough up against the window that no backer rod is needed.

The next photo shows the largest crack I had to fill. It's about a quarter inch wide; the dark gray styrofoam stuff is the backer rod. I did all the windows and door. I haven't added the caulk yet; I'm waiting for it to get a little warmer first.

I also started staining the ceiling joists in the JayBee, beginning with the east end. Before the stain...

After two joists done.

After all the east end ceiling joists were stained.

While I was outside working yesterday, I heard loud clip-clop sounds coming from the road. I ran to the top of the hill and caught this horse and rider trotting by.

I removed all the plastic and hay from around the foundation of the old house. In the process, I disturbed four snakes. Yikes, I do not like snakes! Thankfully, it is still so cold outside, they were pretty sluggish. Here's the head end of one of the snakes.

 ...and the tail end.

Sweet George.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Corner Trim 4

In order to install the corner trim on the northwest corner of the JayBee, I had to get the housewrap up there first. I opened up the west end...

...added the radiant barrier...

...and the housewrap. Then I wrapped the flashing around the corner.

Templates for the trim.

Trim boards cut and assembled.

Stained and installed!

Woo hoo! Another project done.

Also see:
Corner Trim 1
Corner Trim 2
Corner Trim 3

Yesterday's heavy rain pretty much wiped out the remaining snow. At the start of the day, there were just a few patches of snow and ice in the yard.

By the end of the day, the snow was all gone!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring Monsoon!

The wind howled and whistled last night, and the rain came down in torrents. Surprisingly, I slept well. It really helps that the JayBee is no longer covered in tarps; back in those days, I would have been up many times during the night to check the tarps. This morning, a thunderstorm passed through. It seemed odd to hear those thunderclaps this early in the season.

When it rains, all the water that runs down the clay hillside ends up underneath the JayBee. Nice! I do not relish trying to create some kind of drainage system for this over the next few months.

When the water gets deep enough at the top of the driveway, my driveway becomes a river.

I heard about the flood warnings. There is enough water coming out of the sky that it makes sense.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Corner Trim 3

Last night's rain cleared off, so I worked on the corner trim on the northeast corner of the JayBee today.

First, the flashing. You probably can't tell from the photo below, but the ladder is mired in mud. Good, mucky clay! At least the snow is almost completely gone from the north side of the JayBee.

I noticed today that the housewrap on the east and north sides of the JayBee looks almost new--not nearly as worn and faded as on the south side. Guess it's that sun doing its thing.

The templates. Some of you may be wondering why I make new templates for each corner. Can't I just use the first set I made? Those corner rafters were so hard to install, I felt lucky to get each one up there. No two of them sit exactly the same way. (Hey, one person's hack job is another person's piece of art! :-)

Trim cut and joined.

Stained and screws ready.


One more corner to go.

Also see:
Corner Trim 1
Corner Trim 2
Corner Trim 4

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Corner Trim 2

It occurred to me today that I didn't explain in my last post why I am installing corner trim on the JayBee. After all, there are really good reasons to forgo the corner trim and simply interweave the cedar shingles at the corners of the house: 1) It would be less expensive. Trim boards, especially long ones, are expensive. 2) Even though interweaving shingles takes some time, it would probably take less time than it takes to make the complicated cuts at the tops of the corner trim boards. 3) I think the house would be more aesthetically pleasing with interwoven shingles at the corners. So, why the corner trim then? If I was building this house on a non-moving foundation, I would not have corner trim. The JayBee is on a trailer, though; it is mobile and may go down the road at some point. If something ever struck a corner of the house, I figure a corner trim board could be replaced. Fixing smashed interwoven shingles would be a lot more difficult. I also think the shingles would be less likely to catch the wind at high speeds with the corner trim in place.

Originally, I thought I would install corner trim on every corner around the outside of the house. I have since changed my mind. I will use corner trim on only the four outermost corners of the house. All the other corners--around the east and west end bumpouts, and around the entryway--will have interwoven shingles.

I trimmed the southeast corner of the JayBee today. First, the templates...

then the cut and assembled trim boards.

Stained and ready for installation.


After I was done installing the corner trim, I double-checked the trim length with the story pole--and had a small heart attack because the trim was about a half inch too short. My mind was already racing through possible solutions when I realized that I had held the story pole upside down! (This after, anticipating I would do this very thing, I had purposely made large marks on the pole to identify which end is up!) I turned it around, and the trim was right on the mark.

Also see:
Corner Trim 1
Corner Trim 3
Corner Trim 4

As usual, Bear demanded pets and scratches when I took a break.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Corner Trim 1

Another sign of spring: More geese returning north!

On my quest to start installing cedar siding shingles soon, I need to install the trim boards on the corners of the JayBee. Before I can install the corner trim, I need to install flashing. The flashing was easy enough to install on the southeast corner. The southwest corner, however, was another story. You may remember that the west end of the house is basically unfinished; it is lagging woefully behind the rest of the house. Consequently, there was no radiant barrier or housewrap applied to that end of the house. I took care of that problem a few days ago.

Notice how the housewrap that was installed before winter (that is wrapping around from the south side of the house) looks old and worn compared to the new stuff? Time to get all of this covered, don't you think?

Once the radiant barrier and housewrap were on, I was able to add the flashing.

Now for the trim. You may remember that quite some time ago I was (unsuccessfully) messing around with making templates for the tops of the corner trim boards. Here are my two completed templates for the southwest corner. The tape and paper are my attempt to add back wood where I have cut or chiseled too much away.

The templates may not look like much, but they sure helped me cut the long trim boards to fit without ruining them. Here are the back sides of the trim boards...

and the front sides. Very complicated!

Here are the two boards combined and stained...

and with trim screws added.

Ta da! All installed. I'm quite pleased with the result.

You may notice that the trim board on the west end of the JayBee is shorter at the bottom than the trim board on the south side. The south board shows how far down I plan to install the cedar shingles. I cut the west board shorter to make sure the brake light on the trailer won't be obscured.

Also see:
Corner Trim 2
Corner Trim 3
Corner Trim 4

As for other spring activites...

I noticed that my old ladder is now free of its snow/ice bank, so it is useable again.

I am starting to leave some things outside overnight again, which makes setup and cleanup go quicker.

Work crews have been using their specially-adapted trucks to run up and down the railroad tracks--presumably doing maintenance, even though no train has run on these tracks for years.

At one point, I thought I saw a really large duck out in the river. It was just an oddly shaped piece of ice!

During one of my breaks, George acted like he wanted to come say hi, but he kept moving closer only a little bit at a time before he would stop and sit.

Turns out he was trying not to catch the attention of his nemesis, Bear.

Didn't work. Bear charged. Here they are after a tussle.