Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer Has Left The Mountain

Miss Fay lingered long enough to give us 6.5 inches of much needed rain. The weather headlines have two more storms queued up in the Atlantic. It is not unusual for hurricane remnants to head this way. Hopefully this dry spell is over.

This past week has had some major events that mark a turning point.

Where did the time go? Can it be the end of summer so soon? This notion of a season ending, a definitive, perceivable click of the wheel is still new to me. I have turned back into a blond with the summer sun and the idea of cool, cold and covering back up to morph into a pale mousy brown is not appealing. The glorious colors of fall will wow and lull me into acceptance.

The view from my window where my desk will be will allow me to watch the spinning wheel move incrementally by. I should be able to detect any commotion at the roadside vegetable garden from this view too.

The first of the fall asters are in full swing. I think this is Eurybia divaricata, the White Wood Aster. As is the case in these woods, the look a likes abound. It could be Symphyotrichum pilosum, the Frost Aster.

Ageratina altissima, White Snakeroot is beginning to cover the ridge top garden in waves, a hint of snows to come. The unidentified blue aster will soon follow in equal abundant measure.

The Northern Sea Oats grass, Chasmanthium latifolium planted last fall has done well. It was ignored all spring and summer. Other things were going on.

A sure sign of the end of summer and the main traffic driver to this blog, the one and only Ambrosia artemisiifolia. Folks just love my Ragweed. If your bored, Google "What does Ragweed look like?" See what comes up.

This was on the tip of my tongue, but has slipped away. It will return later.

The Angelica gigas is really putting on a show this year. Many of the biennials wax and wane and move about the meadow, never content to just sit still. Last year there were only a couple of them. With this many in bloom will there be even more next year?

After a good hard rinse the long forgotten dry stacked stone wall was looking particularly fetching today. I think it was saying "I'll be seeing you soon."

Getting actually hot is only contemplated and toyed with up here on the mountain. When the mountains grab the clouds from passing storms, the preferred, more normal cool conditions prevail, a reminder that summer is but a fleeting moment in time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Raining

Inside my house.

Granted the roof wasn't quite finished. The ridge caps were not put on the ends so the straps the crane used to lift the roof could attach to the main ridge beam. I temporarily covered three of the openings. Two have held.

It is a lot dryer inside now with the roof I have than it was before.

Miss Fay has finally arrived with some desperately needed rain for WNC. It has been raining steadily for almost 24 hours and we have gotten about five inches so far. The methodical pace of the rain is allowing much of it to soak into the soil.

Everything always looks so easy. Joining the roof and walls together shouldn't take much time at all. It is the numerous details that always win out in the end, doubling any notion of a finished by date or time that floats through my head. I did the best I could to fill in the gaps with final construction and temporary covers.

The plywood sheathing for the connecting wall between the two roof sections has all been cut and fitted in to place. Some pieces were nailed on. Some were just put in place to help keep out the rain. The outline and placement of the two windows in the wall can be seen with their black plastic covers.

I think I see a face in there. What is that expression?

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Difficult Wall

Butch Warning- Construction Talk Ahead
Chuck steady your eyes.

In the scramble to fill in the gaps in the cabin before the rain, I have not spent any quality time with the vegetable garden in the last few days. When we quit work for the day and had finished putting away the tools, I immediately walked back through the meadow.

Were my seeds sprouting? Was more corn ready? How are the potatoes? Has the Big Wilt spread to my new cucumbers?

To the right of the Angelica and Ageratina and the first blush of yellow on the Goldenrod, you can just make out the path through the meadow. In this section the wildflowers are a good foot over my head. I wanted to check out the vegetables, but I had to stop and admire this first.

Lurking below the short rise at the back of the roadside vegetable garden is the cabin with the difficult wall.

This connecting wall between the two roof sections interacts with elements in both rooms. And I want it to have windows.

In both rooms, part of its edge forms a plane for the surface that will eventually cover the 2 x 12 rafters filled with insulation. At the ends, a nailer is needed to attach what ever I finally decide to have for the finished ceiling. I was thinking a metal roof on the inside, but then someone pointed out that can cause condensation and it would rain inside the house. Not good. I'll think about it later.

Instead of a railing, the loft will have a half, 36 inch high, drywalled wall. This meant the connecting wall could just descend to the loft floor to the point were the 36 inch height of this half wall begins to separate from the 45 degree pitch of the ceiling.

The pitch of the roof means that the top of each stud has to be cut on an angle. This inverted V shape necessitated a lot of angle cuts. Is you head spinning yet?

The frame work is finally done. Now the plywood sheathing can be attached. All needing to be cut on angles. Spin, spin.

Oh yes, the windows. A single window in the peak won't work. The cross ties in the loft that give the roof rafters more stability are in the top at the eight foot of head room level. You can see those horizontal boards through the studs. These will form the ceiling with what ever material I eventually settle on to cover them and the insulation. A window up there would be a window into no where.

Now how do you fit a square or rectangular window of maximum size into an angled space? You don't. There will be one special ordered angled window on each side to fit in between the sixteen inch space between the studs. They need to be at least four inches above the finished surface of the front roof.

So two windows, one on each side, will be going in the second space from the wall's outside edge. That is the space to the right of the lone piece of plywood that got cut and nailed on today. Now I just need to order two windows shaped like that.

You can see why I needed to spend some quality time with the vegetables.

Fall gardening is proving to be more of a challenge. The high insect numbers in summer are mowing down the seedlings of carrots, kohlrabi, turnips and lettuce as fast as they come up. Let's see I need a small green house for spring veggies and row covers for fall gardens. There is still plenty to eat. Sweet corn and green beans for lunch again tomorrow.

I pick those right before they go in the pot and yes I pissed off the raccoons.

Before I headed back I had to stop and enjoy the Ironweed.

I just love this weed.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Will the connecting wall between the living room and loft roofs be done before Miss Fay brings us some very much needed rain?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Filling In The Gaps

It takes a while to even have gaps when starting your life over from scratch. I have two flower beds and a vegetable garden that are"full". The garden is the gap.

The unique approach of building the roof on the ground required that some gaps were left in the cabin. The easy to reach ones are being closed in first.

I managed to fill in two pieces on the difficult side of the cabin. There will be some rented scaffolding in the near future.

The front door is being secured, level and plumb. Thirty two sixteen foot long 2x6 tongue and groove boards were placed on top of my truck and driven up the mountain. These have already been cut to size for the floor of the loft and a small storage loft above the front door.

About half of the metal straps that tie the roof and walls together were tacked on until I ran out of that particular kind of nail.

The edge of the tropical storm, Miss Fay that has been drowning my relations in Florida is getting closer. The drought has actually been timed perfectly for the raising of the roof, but we have had enough of not enough rain. I hope Miss Fay comes our way. Things are beginning to look scary dry. If I haven't quite filled in all the gaps, tough. We need some rain.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Inside Waynesville

Last Monday at 8 am my truck had an appointment with the auto mechanic at Ford. The clutch had been acting a bit intransigent. I thought it best to have it looked at. It is a given that I would be waiting for a while, so I planned to wander off and take a walking tour of Waynesville North Carolina.

Downtown Guardian

White House

Brick House

Makeover House

Dreaming at the Drive Through Teller

Last Car In Line

Scene In The Rearview Mirror

Standing Wall

Steeple In An Electric Fog

Between Buildings

Reflecting On A Chandelier

Eclectic Suns

The Vacant Lot

Empty Lot

Another White House

Red Shutters With Spirit

Rolling Out Of Town

Running Creek Through It

Eight and a half hours later and $444 dollars poorer, with a new slave cylinder in the clutch system, it was time to go home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It Fits! It Fits!!

At eight am sharp, the crane arrived. While he set up the rig, I removed the extra tar paper and ice shield underlayments that had been wrapped over the peaks as a temporary rain proofing. Not that we have had any rain lately.

The spacer bar and straps get laid out for lift off.

Looking as light as air, the living room roof lifted off of the ground and floated away.

My future ceiling.

In its final resting place.

The loft section is much lighter. It floated up and then decided to take a single spin and have a look around,

Before settling in to its higher vantage point.

It Fits! It Fits!!

The few deviations from a perfect match were all less than one half of an inch. A lot of these looked to be more from less than straight boards than bad measurements.

Most of the minor deviations were eliminated using clamps to pull the roof and wall plates into closer alignment before screwing the two permanently together.

It Fits! It Fits!!

A sanctuary in the forest gathers more form.