Cows in the Kitchen
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November, 2016

Ceiling fan for $75~~going once, gone!

By November 17, 2016 Blessings along the way!, The Gatherings
The lovely ceiling fan.

Ceiling fan for a bedroom, hanging lights for hallways, fa la la lala la  la  la   la.

So I have been perusing Craigslist, and recently I have purchased a BEE-U-TIFUL ceiling fan.  It is the one pictured (albeit very tacky! as my husband found a spot for it in our over-stuffed garage) at the top of this post.  The Craigslist seller~~an older fellow who lived with his wife in a sweet retirement community~~ had won it as a prize, and did not want/need it.  He said he found a price for it online somewhere for $175.  I cannot find it online anywhere for under $400, and one of the prices listed for it was $660.

REALLY?  Who pays that kind of money for a ceiling fan/light?  Really?  Not me apparently!

And it is BRAND SPANKING NEW!  YAY for us!   I thought it was beautiful, and I thought the price was right, so I went and got it.  Woohoo!

This is one of the reasons that we are taught to take our time building our log cabin~~ so that we can find deals along the way, and make our build even more economical.  AND, my husband has requested ceiling fans in the bedrooms, so there you have it.

I also talked a fellow down a bit on a hanging light fixture,  and went to pick it up just last night. . .

Hanging light fixture~~now don't you think that will look nice in a log cabin? I do!

Hanging light fixture~~now don’t you think that will look nice in a log cabin? I do!

and then he offered . . .

The throw in light fixture. . .he thought maybe we could use it (YES we can!) and that way, he doesn't have to post it on Craigslist. FREE! Love that price!

The throw-in light fixture. . .he thought maybe we could use it (YES we can!) and that way, he doesn’t have to post it on Craigslist. FREE! Love that price!

I have also recently gotten a Kohler drop-in vanity, and the gentleman also offered me (at an amazing deal) an entire shower set with the handles, faucet, shower head, etc.  BRAND SPANKING NEW!  LOVE it!  I also found a great deal on a Kohler toilet NIB!

Just “Thank you LORD!” for your blessings.  It is nice to be posting ~~it makes me realize how God has been faithful to continue blessing us with good deals.    Just SWEET!   He is good~~even though we are still waiting on our house logs.

 

 

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EPDM membrane. . .

By November 13, 2016 General, The beginnings!
Our two rolls of EPDM membrane for our basement walls all rolled up. . .and HEAVY!

Sounds exciting, huh?

Do I have you intrigued?

I have you so curious, you can’t hardly stand it, right?

EPDM~~~it’s whats on our basement walls for good!  And it’s B-O-R-I-N-G!  Really, but building isn’t all fun, eh?

This membrane is like a rubber barrier between our basement floors and the dirt against those basement walls which will also be holding water in it.  I don’t want that water penetrating our basement walls.

Everyone in our area seems to have sump pumps.   EVERYONE!  I didn’t/don’t want a sump pump.  I want a basement built without water coming into it.

I know, so you are thinking, nobody wants a basement with water coming into it.

So we plan. . . and plan. . .

The plan is to have the drain pipe low enough to draw the water away from the house when it rains, protect the house with this EPDM membrane with a good amount of pea gravel around it to protect the drain pipe, and then put another drain pipe up at the highest grade of our yard around the house to drain the water away from highest areas first.

I think it sounds good~~

We are trying. . . .

A common thing to do around here is to just spray a sort of ‘tar’ on the basement walls that are below grade (below the top of the dirt).  You can see it on a lot of new construction sites.  They spray this black tar stuff on the outside of the basement walls to keep the water from seeping through the cement.  Then they back fill the dirt in against the walls.  But, what I have heard from more than several potential builders is that the black tar stuff is water soluble and ultimately will dissolve over time, and therefore be useless.  And also, it was also mentioned by one builder that they will dilute it even more so that they don’t have to paint (~a.k.a. very time consuming) it on~they dilute it so they can spray it on, which apparently makes it even less water resistant.  WHY WASTE OUR TIME AND MONEY THIS?

We decided not to use the ‘black tar stuff’.  Now I am doing everything I can to make our basement waterproof.

Let me show you some pictures of this feat. . .

Our two rolls of EPDM membrane for our basement walls all rolled up. . .and HEAVY!

Our two rolls of EPDM membrane for our basement walls all rolled up. . .and HEAVY!

We got two rolls of the EPDM, and rolled it out 7′ at a time.  Then we had to lay it out square to be glued to the basement walls so that they went on evenly.  NOT an easy feat, but not impossible.  This whole idea was suggested by a fellow I met months ago whose business was roofing, and he knew this would be a great way to prevent water from entering our walls/footers/basement!  We decided to go with it.  And we put it on. . .

One section up. . . Jerry working with us to train us how to adhere it. We started on the North wall.

One section up. . . Jerry working with us to train us how to adhere it. We started on the North wall.

Situating the EPDM~~

Situating the EPDM~~

**Notice the rebar sticking out of the wall~this rebar will be the connection for the support walls for the stone-walled dining room that we are adding on after we build up the log portion of the main house.   In the meantime, it became the thing to bang your head into EVERYTIME you tried to walk past it.  NOT FUN!

Pulling it taunt before we add the glue.

Pulling it taunt before we add the glue.

The broom was there to clean off the footer~~so much pea gravel to get out of the way.

Close up of the first panel with the second one overlapping.

Close up of the first panel with the second one overlapping.

Measuring and cutting the next section to be put on the walls.

Measuring and cutting the next section to be put on the walls.

The dirt in the background was from the trench dug out and dirt replaced over our water line.  WOOHOO!

Diester did most of the taping to seal the seams between each section.

Diester did most of the taping to seal the seams between each section.

I trimmed the bottom of each section, and put the pea gravel over it to hold the membrane in place over the footer.

I trimmed the bottom of each section, and put the pea gravel over it to hold the membrane in place over the footer.

Trimming the excess off of the bottom~~that was the easy part of this process.

Trimming the excess off of the bottom~~that was the easy part of this process.

working-on-property-misc-025

Isaac taking a moment with Dad.

Second of 3 walls done!

Second of 3 walls done!

Working in that tight corner back there.

Working in that tight corner back there.  It was NOT fun!

Working it around the electrical conduit was a challenge, and obviously, if you look at the section behind me, you can see the wrinkles. It was really difficult to put it on tightly behind that pipe along the wall. It still works~~

Working it around the electrical conduit was a challenge, and obviously, if you look at the section behind me, you can see the wrinkles. It was really difficult to put it on tightly behind that pipe along the wall. It still works~~

You can see thedarker part of the wall where the glue has been applied.

You can see the darker part of the wall where the glue has been applied.  The glue also on the membrane will stick to the glue on the wall.

I asked G'pa to have one of the boys bring me a water, and I looked up a moment later to see him carrying it out to me. Oh no- The ground is terrible out there, and I don't want him to fall.

I asked G’pa to have one of the boys bring me a water, and I looked up a moment later to see him carrying it out to me. Oh no- The ground is terrible out there, and I don’t want him to fall.

He still mows his lawn at age 91.  I shouldn’t worry, but I do for good reason.  I have seen him ‘go down’ before ~~the boys call him “Ninja Grandpa!”  They were so impressed when he fell~that (if this is possible, and I believe it is) when he fell, he fell so well.   He does~~We are so blessed by his presence!

Just “Thank you LORD!” because you are good, and we got our EDPM up, AND we are not divorced.   hehe   Sometimes, we struggle working together.  But God is working on us!  We have a whole house to work on getting this “working together” thing down.   We will be stronger in the end because of it.

 

 

 

 

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Our doors and walls are SHRINKING!

By November 13, 2016 Our log home journey!
Working hard on the framing, and placing loads of rebar for support.

To make the frames for the walls, we used 4×8 sheets of plywood on top of our footers.  That sounds great and fine.  Most walls are 8′ high, right, so that works.

Then we decided to notch out the walls at the top to accommodate the beams~~~we can avoid a bunch of joist hangers, use really strong beams made from ash wood, and hang them on the notches at the top of the basement walls.  It will knock our basement wall height down to 7’4″.

Looking at the north wall with the notches for the floor joists. Nice looking wall, huh?

Looking at the north wall with the notches for the floor joists. Nice looking wall, huh?

Our walls are shrinking. . .

Brian knocking out the blocks that forms the notches for our joists to sit in.

Brian knocking out the blocks that forms the notches for our joists to sit in~doorway on left.

THAT SEEMS SHORT!

So I spoke with my husband about it, and after discussing it, decided we could live with that.  It is our basement, after all, that we really only built for storage, man caving ;-), and storm shelter.   Not too bad if he can handle it.   So that works, right?

Side note:  Then I stopped by our neighbors’ house across the way, as I always do before we leave down there, to say “Goodbye.” and update them on the status of our build; (AND. . . .I also stop in at their encouragement to use their ‘facilities’ whenever I want).   They are precious.  They pray for us, and I pray for them and their family.  (will tell you more about them another time).  So I stopped by the neighbors’ the day we were in the process of pondering the basement wall height, and I noticed their living room ceiling is only 7′ tall.  Had NEVER noticed it before.  Didn’t even cross my mind as I visited during every trip to our property.  So yes, we can handle 7’4″ wall height.  (God is good like that~~He obviously opened my eyes to neighbors’ ceilings being lower at just the right time.)

But it wouldn’t be my preference.  However, I am sure there will be many things that will be not done right with our build.  And honestly, I am expecting it, but hoping it is nothing detrimental.  You know, something that totally becomes unworkable.  A shorter basement ceiling height. . . we can deal with that.

Then. . . .then. . . .

we had a fellow come by that was giving me a quote on the plumbing for our house.   He wasn’t the first one, and the two previous plumbers had informed me that the ‘sewer sleeve’ (the spot in the footer that has the pipe in it to accommodate the sewer drain for the house) wasn’t placed low enough to allow for enough pitch from the house out.  UGHH~~and YIKES!  I want our waste to exit our house without any hitches, and so. . .  what to do? what to do?

*******Picture my hand up waving here~~

YES, it was my fault!

YES, it was my fault!

That was my fault!  PERIOD.  I admit total blame here.  When the footer was being poured, I noticed that sleeve pipe for the house waste was down low under the rebar at the base of our footer.  Not an issue really, EXCEPT>>>>> it was going out directly at the level of the drain tile placed around the base of our footer for purposes of draining the rain water away from our house.  That meant (in my brain anyway) that the drain tile would have to ride over the protruding sewer pipe that will ultimately come out of the house through the footer to the septic system.   In other words, the drain tile would not be able to do it’s job of draining if the water had to travel uphill over our sewer line, right?  I definitely did not want that.

Sooooo, what was I to do?

Best visual I could find, however, ours did not extend out from the footer on either side. It fit perfectly inside the footer.

Best visual I could find, however, ours did not extend out from the footer on either side. It fit perfectly inside the footer.

There was a ton going on. . . The concrete man was there, it was LOUD . . .  cement was flowing into our footer frame, and so, at the last minute, I totally grabbed that pipe, twisted it to get it out from under the rebar, lifted it out of our footer framing, repositioned it on top of the rebar, and then pressed down on it so that it would lower the rebar.   It now was positioned higher in the footer, high enough that it would allow the waste to flow out without hindering the drain tile flow of water from our house.   Voila’!  And kind of proud of myself that I saw to take care of that!

OH, that is too high?  NOT good!  . . . .

MY BAD!  . . . . . . .

However there was some saving grace!  Jay had already considered there may be a need for another sleeve, and put an extra one in in addition to the one for the daylight drain.  So we actually had 3 drain sleeves placed.  One for the waste (that I messed up), one for our daylight drain, and then, an extra one.

Hey, that extra was an option.   ding, ding, ding

The only problem with the extra sleeve was that is was leaving the house via the footer on the south side and our sewer system is going to be on the east side of our house, so now that option would mean that the waste would have to ultimately make more of an angle to flow to the septic system.  UGHH!

And with my slick (no pun intended) sewer sleeve maneuver, we now we have another issue!  The sewer sleeve is too high in the footer to allow for proper drainage with the height that we were going to make the basement floor.  It was only going to be 1 1/2″ above the footer.  WHAT?!?  At this point, the fellow quoting me on plumbing, and another fellow there to determine our septic system/leach line placement were wondering why we were only pouring 1 1/2″ above the footer.

That was something that had crossed my mind, but what did I know?  I haven’t poured a basement slab, and didn’t know the norms.  I had wondered if a 1 1/2″ top on our footer was deep enough.  It seemed to me that with expansion and contraction of the concrete floor, the 1 1/2″ edge sitting on the footer would be more likely to crack???  Okay, so let’s consider that. . . .

A 4″ slab height on the footer would be much more solid it seemed, and when I started to investigate a bit more, a 4″ depth sitting on the footer is the norm.  Soooooo. . . I need to talk with Jay and alter our plans.

He assures me that he has seen many floors poured with a 1 1/2″ lip on the footer. . . But here is the catch. . . the sewer sleeve is not low enough to accommodate the rough in plumbing I want.  We need the 4″ depth to allow for enough pitch for the plumbing pipes under the cement.

So the concluding decision was to do the 4″ depth of concrete all the way around. . . .

Okay, so maybe there is hope for my sewer sleeve placement and all is not lost~~

But NOW! ! ! . . . NOW that 4″ depth causes a few other situations to consider. . . it raises our floor up 4″ more vs. only 1 1/2″.   OH MY!  Our walls are shrinking even more, making the walls now 7′ even.   EEEEEK!

And NOW, that causes yet another issue with our door that we framed out.   Neither I nor Jay took into consideration the floor height reducing the door space.  When we do a 4″ slab, that means our door goes from 6’8″ high (technically was shorter with the 1 1/2″ floor height) to 6’4″ (so 6’6 1/2″ down to 6’4″ technically).  Back to my husband>>>>>”Can we live with a doorway that is only 6’4″ high?”  oh, that sounds awful to me. . .

 

Framing up the door here~~quite the dilemma we are in now with this.

Framing up the door here~~quite the dilemma we are in now with this.

UGHHHHH!  Obviously, that was not given good thought to.  So, the walls were poured, the forms taken off, and now our doorway is short!

Don’t do that when you go to build!  Just saying!

So, I have gotten many suggestions, ideas, thoughts, options, etc. as far as how to handle this.  One option is to saw off of the top portion to open area to make space for the normal size door.  Sounds good, but then my rebar (strength/support for the door) would be compromised, and I am not sure I want that.  (Note the story ~~~)

So here is the story:  Once my husband and I were at a graduation party for a daughter of a friend of ours.  We were all having a nice time, and about 6 of us were sitting, talking, and eating at the table outside on the ‘ce-ment’ porch.  My oldest daughter (at the time about 9 yo) came out to ask me something, and no sooner did she make it to the back of my chair to whisper something in my ear, than the porch (about 4+ feet off the ground) collapsed.  She may have been the straw the broke the camel’s back, even though she was a skinny thing.   This incident occurred after 9-11, and we only fell ‘in’ 4ish feet, but that milli-second of falling was TERRIFYING! ! ! ! !   I can only imagine in the slightest way how horrifying it must’ve been for those unfortunate people falling stories in the Twin Towers that fateful day.  Ohhhhh!  It makes my skin crawl thinking of the fear that must’ve been running through their bodies as they were falling through floors of those buildings.   And so, when we fell with this porch collapse, it was pretty awful.  Then emergency vehicles and rescue persons were called and on their way.  You could hear them in the distance.  There were only minor injuries.  I think I got scraped up on my ankles?  Maybe one person had to go to the hospital?  It really turned out well considering how badly it could have turned out.  It was none-the-less quite the scare.  Hence, the reason I don’t want to cut in to the rebar to compromise it in any way above the doorway.

Back to my dilemma~~It sounds great to trim up the top of the framed doorway to accommodate a door that is 6’8″ high like most doorways.  HOWEVER, the thought of our wall being compromised in doing so sounds like a chance I am not sure I want to take.

Then Jay recommended we taper the floor at the doorway to allow for a more normal size door.  I was all excited about. . . . then thought, DUH!  We are back to square one with the minuscule lip on the footer at the door, and this, on the side of the house exposed to the elements.  More possibilities of cracking.  I do not like this!

I have a neighbor down the road who helped building the bridges along I-71, and he built his own house.  He offered up a suggestion, and

So, I start googling, asking local builders, talking with others, etc.  Everyone tells me . . . EVERYONE. . . there one guarantee with concrete:  IT WILL CRACK!

NOOOOOOO!  I do not want to hear that.  la la la la la

What?  Sad face here.

YEP!

YEP!

Seriously. . . EVERYONE I spoke with told me the same thing.  I was holding onto hope that someone, anyone would tell me that the concrete will not crack.  But alas, I kept waiting in vain, and continued to hear that in fact, concrete will CRACK.

I keep thinking big, gaping cracks and leaky basements.  I DON’T WANT BIG, GAPING CRACKS, and a LEAKY BASEMENT FLOOR.  I know other people with basements that don’t crack and leak.  Why can’t I have a basement without cracks and leaks?  *whining* yes, whining. . .

After asking enough people and finding out that just because it cracks, it doesn’t mean they are big cracks, or gaping cracks, or that the basement even leaks.  What it means is that there will be points that may crack, but with good support underneath, it will at least prevent the cracks from being huge and gaping.  OHHHHHHH! ! ! !  Now I get it. . .

Ahhhh!  That’s better!

I am slow, but I can get it.  It’s a learning experience for sure.

So, long story short. . . Lower ceiling height with floor beams and higher concrete slab pour, shorter door space, and manageable pitch with the rough in plumbing.  Quite the challenges, but it is getting done.

Just “Thank you LORD!”  for all of the challenges.  I know I need you to face these challenges.  We couldn’t do this without you.

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Cement. . . . it cracks!

By November 3, 2016 General, Our log home journey!, The beginnings!
Really~~just joking!  ;-)

I have to say that in this process of building, I have encountered a few things that have totally thrown me.

One of them being that cement~~~Well, it cracks. . . Everyone I was talking with told me that.  EVERYONE!

Insert a (kind of) snide “WHAT?”  Of all of the homes in the world, and you ~everyone I was talking to~~are telling me that cement has never been perfected to NOT CRACK? ? ?

Surely, I am talking to the wrong people.

Surely. . .

So, after  1) our builder, who has built several basements already AND 2) the neighbor that stops by to help and encourage us who also has built interstate cement bridges, AND 3) Grandpa, who has been around the block with some building, AND 4)the fellow who had his own construction business (which I will hopefully update you on soon), AND finally 5) a local home builder who is part of a huge family of home builders  well known in our area all told me the same thing.

“. . . all cement cracks.”

Some even said that there are 2 things for sure with cement ~ 1. “It gets hard.” and 2. “It cracks.”

I honestly could not believe this.  Call me skeptical, but I don’t see cracks in everyone’s basement.

Can someone please stand up here that knows how to prevent concrete from cracking?

So the last fellow I had spoken with ~#5 above~the family member of local builders, I had called to consult with about the depth of the basement floor, and to ALSO ask about how to prevent it from cracking (because I was so confident that he would be able to advise me on preventing cement cracks), also called me back with the information he had found out.  Turns out, he is not in the concrete part of building, but consulted with one of his brothers.   He called me back to inform me about the basement depth question, and also told me that in all of the trials that his family has conducted to try to change up the consistency, height, moisture content, etc., they have not been able to determine a way to prevent cracking either.

ARE YOU SERIOUS?

I need to calm down.  No one will tell me that concrete will not crack.  I have to say. . . even though I don’t like it, it did start to make me feel better that WHEN our basement floor cracks, it will be the norm.

What I have to hope for is that the cracks are not gaping and the floor lowering in areas of the cracks.

Really?  So yeah!  Cement. . . it cracks!

Just “Thank you LORD!” for the confirmation that we will not be the only ones with cracks in our basement floor.  So, lets go for it!

But LORD, if you do think it necessary for us to have cracks in our floor, can it please look pretty, like this?

design-in-cracked-cement

Really ~~ Just joking! 😉

 

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