Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Arrival Of Dire Need

There is a long moment of sublime beauty after the storm has passed, the sky has cleared and the sun shines brightly on a new creation. Then it begins to melt and messes it up.

For a short while the melt may have its own beauty. Melting ice glitters in the pure sunlight high in the tree tops. This picture only gives a faint idea of the sparkling canopy overhead.

I was prepared to stay put. This winter magic can come with the cost of immobilization. Or so I thought I was prepared.

Silly me. I did not give one iota of thought to how much primer it would take to paint the newly textured drywall. I bought one gallon thinking I was buying a lot.

One gallon of primer covered one and a half walls. To do two coats of the entire interior will take at least ten gallons. I have no tongue and groove lumber for the ceiling. I have no primer for the drywall.

The blue pot is empty.

I was forced to break out the new big scoop snow shovel and start clearing the driveway or face a couple of days or more, weather depending, on doing nothing.

Shoveling ice topped crusty snow is not near as quick and as painless as moving the light as air powder snows from before. I got about half way down the drive, almost to the crest of the hill. Tomorrow I can shovel more.

Ice Moon

Saturday, January 30, 2010

That's It ?

By the time I went to bed last night a veritable blizzard was raging outside. The wind was howling and the snow was coming down like a collapsing wall. I expected to see mega drifts out there in the morning. Instead it looked like there had been no more accumulation during the night at all. So much for a foot of snow.

Then I stepped out into the snow. Crunch. This fresh fluffy looking layer of new snow was as hard as a rock. Well this is a new experience. There must have been a switch to freezing rain during the night. Hmm, what are these clear frozen droplets falling from the sky?

The wintry mix fell lightly all day. There were even several snow showers. It never did quite make up its mind what it wanted to be and stick with it.

There was a lot less snow than expected, but I don't think I even want to try shoveling this rock hard bonding agent. The brand new big scoop snow shovel can just sit this one out unless some dire need arises.

All the tongue and groove lumber from the first load is now on the ceiling of the main room of the cozy cabin. It got off to a bad start this morning with a 12 foot length that was not straight and I was unable to convince it otherwise. Once I gave up on it things started working more smoothly.

Lumber by nature is not a precise material. There is always some rogue board lurking in the pile to torment you. Measuring isn't as precise as it is cracked up to be either. That is why trim was invented.

Trim can wait or another day though. I want to coordinate all the baseboards, molding and trim as much as possible. I'll think about trim later.

Next comes the cold. Who knows when I will be able to get another load of V joint tongue and groove lumber down to the cabin. If I am lucky there will be a clear driveway and clear day before the next round of snow arrives later in the week.

In the meantime the drywall will get two coats of primer. Uniform finished looking walls are bound to make me happy.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Big Snow Has Arrived

I lost track of time. It seemed to have begun snowing much earlier than predicted. Within twenty minutes of the snow starting, the ground was covered in white. It was already frozen so no melting could happen before the stickage began.

I was absorbed in the intricacies of the more difficult beginning of the tongue and groove ceiling. It really wasn't that hard and I am now above the rafters and the floor level of the mini loft.

I am above the rafters and the floor level of the mini loft on both sides. I even ran two more courses of boards on this side than what is in this picture.

The snow was really piling up. It was beginning to get dark and I was getting tired and decided to call it quits for the day. Boy was I surprised it was 5:30 when I got back to the resident gardeners house.

It started out snowing hard and has continued to snow hard.

By the time I got back there was easily two inches of snow on the ground.

As I have dinner and click publish we are close to four inches of snow and it is still coming down. It's gonna be a big one.


The warmer air, relatively clear skies and full moon preceding the expected big snow disturbed the winter routine and caused some sleep interruptions. A certain cat named Crawford who would normally scurry inside after a set period of exposure to the cold, determined theses were optimal varmint hunting conditions and refused to come in when called. I stayed up too late the previous night waiting for him to call it a night.

Last night Crawford was not given that option and we were all safely tucked in bed by nine. I was oddly wore out.

The diagnosis is still calling for a big one, up to a foot of snow, the heavy wet kind that caused such devastation last month, last year. To my horror I discovered there was not enough coffee to get me through a period of entrapment. Luckily there was still plenty of time to go to town and even make a trip to the dump to get rid of the rest of the drywall remnants.

With the remainder of the day the tongue and groove ceiling was begun. Using a temporary board above the rafters for placing the lower short boards worked out great. I should have left an inch of space between the floor boards of the mini loft and the ceiling beams, but didn't. Now I have to cut the tongue and groove ceiling boards to get around that obstacle. Once above that it will be smooth sailing.

Today the lower portions of a ceiling will take form while waiting for the next big snow to arrive.

And while I still have power. Knock on wood.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Forest Moon

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Before The Winter Storm

It is certainly no surprise. There is another winter storm a coming. It is still January after all. Could be one with a bunch more snow. I take the predicted amount of snow in these diagnosis with a grain of salt. You just can't ever really tell what these mountains are going to do with moist cold air. Could be nothin or it could be another major dump. I just make sure I am prepared with enough baked goods and other assorted foods.

The emerging daffodil bulbs will have another day of pseudo warmth and sunshine in preparation for the Bulbapaloozathon. The winter storm is scheduled to begin Friday afternoon and they are likely to be buried under a white blanket again.

The first of the Hyacinthoides hispanica have begun to appear. They are late bloomers waiting until about May when they form a carpet of pink, white and blue.

The Snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis are greening up and the blooms are swelling. There might even be an open bloom tomorrow on the last day of potential sun before the winter storm. Bulbarella took a big shovels worth out of this main clump last fall. I was concerned it might have shrunk considerably, but you can't even tell she pinched a bunch to spread around. Some even spread down to the cozy cabin.

The snowdrops do spread on their own. Not fast enough it seems for a certain someone and mostly they were headed down hill to the driveway. A little assistance was needed to spread them uphill. I'll have to keep my eyes open and see if I can find where she put them.

I prepared myself with a few more things than baked goods. A load of V joint tongue and groove for the ceiling in the main room was bought. It is enough to get me started. If I had known it was this light I would have gotten a bigger load. I just did not think I could carry the whole ceiling in my truck in one load and was not certain I would even be able to get down my driveway.

A bucket of primer for the newly textured walls is another project that will keep me busy while the snow flies.

The ceiling basically starts at the top of the drywall with two widths of short pieces between the rafters. Those pieces need to be just right to insure the tongue and groove fit snug at the first length of board above the rafters. I'm wondering if I should start with a temporary board above the rafters to get the right placement for the lower boards. There is up and down wiggle room between the wall and ceiling because that joint will be trimmed. Some figuring will be in order.

Once I get above the rafters and the floors of the two lofts it will be easier. The ceiling will be made from 12, 8, and 4 foot lengths with staggered butt joints. The butt joints first have to have a V cut into the ends with a special kind saw. The whole thing is a giant puzzle that has to be cut and fit one board at a time, so no Bev I will not be staining it first. I have a piece of plywood up in the rafters storing stuff out of the way now. That plywood walkway makes access up there quite easy.

We are ready for the coming winter storm. Got plenty baked goods for me and food for the kitties. The cozy cabin is staying toasty warm with the little electric heaters. I have wood and paint for interior construction. Let it snow. Go ahead. I can trudge to the cozy cabin. Everything I need is in there.

Now let's hope the power doesn't go out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Thin Veil II

A Thin Veil

Dawn's Early Light

With a fresh layer of snow.

Monday, January 25, 2010

After The Deluge

And before the snow starts to pile up.

When the rain finally arrived yesterday afternoon, boy oh boy did it ever pour. It rained hard for eight hours and then managed to spit out a few more downpours into the early morning. It was raining so hard I did not go down and check on the texturing progress of the drywall.

A call this morning let me know they had not finished during the deluge and her helper would be back today to finish it off and could I let him in. The rain finally stopped. The wind continued to blow. The sun was making an attempt to peak through and I wandered down to the cozy cabin to have a look.

I really need to get this slope stabilized this year. The few sprigs of vinca I have planted that have not slid down the hill are alive and doing fine. A mass planting is needed that will give good coverage before next winter. The slope is amazingly stable considering last year's monsoon and the freeze thaw of winter, but bit by bit it has been eroding away. I will get a couple of nice big rocks from this recent slough off though.

I don't worry about the cut of that slope too much. The vinca covered cut along the resident gardeners drive is just as steep in places. There certainly is no shortage of naturally occurring slopes like that in these hills either. It is just a matter of getting it covered and with a root system that will hold it in place.

The rain had stopped. The sun was out. The drywall work was still in progress. I couldn't let this snow free hole in the weather go to waste. The other crushed junipers were cleaned up. Then I took the manual hedge clippers and started cutting down two acres worth of the dried up stalks of the more woody perennials that just won't lie down on their own. Started is the operative word here. The daffodils will be here soon. I want more of a clean slate for the spring show.

Underneath all those brown leaves and dead stalks is the vinca covered slope. It might get a gentle raking closer to spring, but it looks a whole lot better already without all them brown sticks poking up.

The drywall texture was finished. I must say I was a bit surprised because I was expecting a more uniform color. I did not realize the texture goes directly onto the drywall paper where it did not need mudding to hide the seams and screws

A coat of primer after it has cured will give it a more uniform finished look. The actual wall colors are yet to be determined.

The texture looks good though and can actually be seen better against the off white of the paper than the same white as the mudd work.

All systems are go. Some detail cleanup and a coat of primer and I can forget about the drywall.

When the wall colors are chosen I will just be painting the walls period.

The clouds began to return mid afternoon and the temperature began to fall. The wind just keeps blowing. A powdered sugar snow has begun to fall.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Before The Deluge

Rain, rain, rain, rain and the current diagnosis says a big rain is coming, a flash flood kind of rain.

The ridge top garden is now snow free and I pick up sticks dropped from above from all the snow and wind and rain so far this winter as I wander through to see what's coming up.

The damage from the Big Dump back in December is accessible now. Compared to what I have seen out there were we spared. There are lots of fallen limbs, some broken branches on a few rhododendrons and a couple of crushed junipers. It does not qualify as devastation.

This juniper with all the broken limbs removed could just be said to be having a bad hair day. I am really interested in leaving it be just to see how much it will grow and recover over the summer. How much will it sprout along the interior stems and will it form a new green top in a single season or is it toast?

A strong south wind has begun. I can hear it colliding with Hebo mountain. For now the mountain protects us from the gathering fury. When it comes the Snowdrops won't mind. Barely two inches tall and putting out flower buds, a strong wind will not break them.

The drywall texturing is scheduled for tomorrow when the big rain is supposed to arrive. They will be perfectly snug inside the now warm and cozy cabin and may not even hear the pounding rain and wind over the loud air compressor for spraying mudd on the walls. One more item of construction will soon be checked off the list.

The next project will be the tongue and groove wood ceiling in the main room. I actually drove down the driveway to the cabin today so hopefully I will be able to get that load of lumber down there on a day when the weathers decide to cooperate. I have been told too that at the very least I should put a coat of primer on the drywall after it has had the proper time to cure. I can now move forward no matter what is happening outside.

Good thing because after the deluge, more snow and cold is on the schedule. It's back to winter once more.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More Mudd

Rain, rain, rain. It has been raining quite a bit and contrary to what one might think it is actually helping make my driveway less of a muddy slip and slide adventure. I think it has pretty much thawed to the point of good drainage. It must have froze deep. It has taken a good long while to thaw. There is still plenty snow out there on the high peaks and even piles of snow remain in parking lots down in town.

Perhaps it will all be gone by the time it gets cold and the snow returns next week. This long drawn out melting really is not the more attractive side of winter.

The mud outside is not of much interest. The mudd inside is looking mighty fine.

One more day of mudding prep work and then the texture is scheduled for Monday.

Drywall mudd like most construction glues, caulks, paints and salves has a preferred operating temperature. Part of this job has involved heating the interior of the cozy cabin. It has been most delightful to see the inside temperature rise to a steady 64 degrees with a small 1500 watt electric heater with a thermostat to cycle the heater on and off. Fear of leaving an untended heater prevented me from trying for a higher temperature.

With the addition of a second small electric heater, the inside temperature has been raised to 70 steady degrees. I like that one small heater is not trying to carry the whole load.

The melt worthy outside temperatures were a big assist I am sure, but it has been nice to see the cozy cabin's insulation doing a good job.

I simply do not have the fortitude of the people who settled these mountains. I am spoiled and need an insulated house. I am all for as much self sufficiency as possible and being prepared for an emergency, but I could not live or die like "the wild man of Cataloochee." Rest in peace Arley. It is obvious you were loved.