Can someone tell me
where September went? Sometimes the month drags on, sometimes it goes by
fast. I swear this month seems like it started around a week ago. I guess
that is what happens when I am kept so busy with things. Although it still
almost boggles my mind that in less than 36 hours, it will be October
It has once again been a busy week with construction.
Nora went out of town last Sunday morning for a few days to attend a
training seminar (on Mackinaw Island, poor girl) and Grace and I decided we
would surprise her by getting the floor in the Guest room as well as Graces
room and hopefully the upstairs bathroom as well.
We decided to go with laminate pretty much throughout the
addition, as well as the kitchen in the cabin, with the exceptions of the
bathrooms that for now will be the stick down vinyl square tiles until we
get the urge to upgrade to ceramic or something higher end like that. So I
figured that I should be able to get most of that flooring down in the
almost three days Nora was gone. So on Sunday, after running some errands
and writing the journal last week, I got to putting in the
flooring in the guest bedroom. We did go with a higher end product and
it showed in not only the quality of the finished product, but in the east
of installation. It took be about 2 hours to do that room, which included
about 30 minutes of just figuring out the best way to start things and the
ins and outs of how that particular flooring went together.
On Monday, Grace stayed home with me for a few hours in
the morning while the sitter attended to some personal things. So we got
busy laying the flooring in her bedroom. She
took the measurements and I did the cutting and installing. I don't know
where she learned fractions, but she barked out a measurement of 28 and
11/32nds and sure enough, she was spot on! ;) Actually, it is cute how she
wants to help so much. Wish she was around 10 years older so that she could
work with me side by side. Of course, if she were 10 years older, I think
she would have more important things to do than help dad with the addition.
Anyway, we did manage to get the
flooring in her bedroom done and even got the bed put together and set up
and Grace surprised Nora by pretending to be Sleeping Beauty in hr new bed
when Nora got home. Nora was very surprised by both the Sleeping Beauty skit
as well as the fact that we got the flooring done in Graces bedroom, the
guest bedroom and also the bathroom. I also got some of the items in the
upstairs bathroom set up, but still
have a few things to do. By the way, that was Big Barbie in the bed, not
On Wednesday, I got the flooring in Graces
walk-in closet done as well as the flooring in the
upstairs hallway. So that meant that all of the flooring on the second
floor was done. So with all the flooring done on the second floor, I hauled
the saw back down and on Thursday got busy hanging the tongue and groove
that still needed to be done in the cabin where it was taken down for the
remodel. For many weeks, we all had been staring at either hollow walls or
walls filled with insulation and it sure was nice to get them all
covered back up again. That photo really illustrates how much patina the
unfinished pine takes on. Much of it happens in the first year or two, so in
a year or two, the old and new will look very similar and then just continue
to slowly take on more and more of a honey tone.
On Friday I headed to Marquette to pick up some special
order items, as well as some things that we still needed to finish things
out. It was a beautiful day for a drive, although I really wished that I was
not having to burn a whole day of working to make the trip. In any case, the
pups and I enjoyed the beautiful autumn day and took in some of the colors
along the way. That was in the Michigamme area and the colors were most
vivid from around Alberta to Champion. The colors around here are finally
starting to really get going and if they keep up at their current pace of
change, then I think next weekend we will be near peak, with the following
weekend just past peak, but both being pretty good for the show. I don't
have any pics to share of the local colors, as they really are not that far
along yet, but will be sure to capture things in the next 1-2 weeks. Plus, I
have moved the woods cam back into the woods, so you can follow the color
show in our woods there.
With the upstairs being closer to be all done, Grace has
gotten a little more brave in her walking around up there. We had allowed
her to play in her bedroom, but said she could not go beyond her door, so
that she would be safe from falling off the ledge by the hallway. Then when
I was putting in the floors, I said she could be out there with me, but
would have to keep a hand on the wall at all times. So she then took that to
mean that she could be out on the hallway anytime she wanted, as long as she
kept a hand on the wall. Probably an OK thing, but given Graces tendency for
being a little too fearless, we have told her not to go out into the hallway
without one of us there. That idea has gone OK, but not perfect. So
yesterday, I went to the local lumber yard and picked up the materials for
the stairs and railing and yesterday afternoon I built the
staircase and today I got all the lumber milled for the railings and part
of the railings up.
I was really hoping to be able to get all of the work on
the stairs and railings done yesterday and today, but have been a little
slow in getting around. While picking out the treads for the staircase
(solid oak by the way), I had three pieces in my hands and was also holding
my plans in one of my hands. Next thing I know the treads are slipping out
of my hands and rather than try and grab for them and end up with a nasty
sliver, I just let them fall. Problem was, the fell on my left foot and
smashed mainly my big toe, but also fell on parts of the next three toes. I
saw stars when it happened, but was able to get around the rest of the day.
I woke up yesterday not feeling too bad, until Hucky stepped right on the
big toe. Second round of seeing stars and it has been hurting pretty bad
ever since. I am about to share a picture of the foot with you, but I
stress, it is not the prettiest thing. I think a picture of my uninjured
foot would be nasty enough, but this
one probably takes it over the top. I don't think it is broke as I can
bend it, I think it just got smushed really good. In any case, the work I
have been doing on the stairs and railing has required me to do quite a bit
of walking around, including going back and forth from the shop and I think
I might have overdone it a bit as it is really smarting right now. I plan to
take the rest of the evening off, even though I would love to get the
spindles up to make the railings safe for Gracie.
So that is where I am at right now as far as work getting
done goes. I still have all the flooring on the first floor to do, which
will probably be a 3 day job. I plan to enlist the help of Nora and perhaps
even one of her friends that would like to learn the ins and outs of
installing laminate floors. That will really speed things up to have some
help. Then we have to stain and put a finish coat on the interior doors and
trim and I need to finish up the wiring of the outlets and switches.
I do think I know what will be the final thing to happen
with the addition. That is our master bathroom. Early this week, I ordered
up the tub and I was told it would take about 3 weeks to build and one to
ship. It will be worth the wait. It's a biggie. In fact, I may need to wear
a life preserver while in it. It is 72" long by 42"wide by 2 feet
deep! It also has jets, the pump for the jets also heats the water and it
has a "mood light". It was advertised as plenty big enough for
two. Boom chick-wa-wa! I have always wanted a tub that was big enough for me
to completely soak in and we are getting it. I cannot wait to fill it up and
soak in it!
The main problem is, the way I figure things, none of the
other items in the master bathroom can be installed until that tub is put in
place, so we will be without a master bath until it goes in, but then the
rest will go pretty quickly. But hopefully in 4 weeks everything else will
be done and that will be the final item.
I also got the second
delivery of wood this week, so I now have 11 cord of firewood all ready
to be cut up. It looks like the two regulars that have come up the past
several years from NW WI to help cut and stack the wood are not going to be
able to make it for this coming weekend, so it will be the 4 local boys and
I getting as much of it done as we can. We might then try and get the rest
of it done the following weekend, or the guys from WI said they could come
up and cut while we are at the Milwaukee snowmobile show the third weekend
of October if that was ok with us. It was OK with Nora, so it is OK with me!
In any case, the wood will get cut and even if it did not, the worst case
scenario would be that I would have to cut it as I need it during the
So I guess that about covers it for this one. Talk to you
all next month!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly
Well, no predictions
as to if this will be a long one or short one. I do have a fair amount of
things to share, but that does not always mean I will ramble on and make it
a long entry. So without further adieu...
When I left off last week, I was preparing to tackle
staining all that still needed to be stained. I am not totally sure of the
square feet of siding that needed to be done, but safe to say it was
probably around 65% of all of the siding of the addition and existing home
combined. A rather daunting job, but with the sprayer I figured around 4
hours to get it all done.
Before I could even fire up the sprayer, I still had some
work to do on Monday. I made a template to cut out pieces of plastic to put
over all the windows. I used painters tape to attach the plastic to the
window frames and then just to make sure everything was really sealed up
tight, I used housewrap tape to make a really tight seal between the plastic
and the painters tape. I also set up scaffolding on Monday and some
other staging to get to the areas off the ground. On Tuesday morning, I
set out all the pieces
for the dormers so that they could get stained before being put up and
was all ready for the main event Tuesday afternoon.
So after finishing up with my regular work duties, I
headed out to fire up the sprayer and get going. I had half joked with Nora
about how much it would stink to do all this prep work, have the perfect day
for staining (sunshine, low humidity and temps in the upper 60's) and
then not have the sprayer work. It is a pretty simple machine and as long as
it is cleaned up properly, there is not much that can go wrong. Or so I
thought... I plugged in the sprayer, put the intake hose into the 5 gallon
bucket of stain and turned it on to prime it. It fired up, but did not seem
to be sucking up any of the stain. I fiddled around with it as a bit of
frustration and panic started to set in. After a bit more fiddling, I was
able to determine that it was, in fact, not sucking up
any of the stain. So I broke out the manual and went to the troubleshooting
guide. They talked about how to take the machine apart and check for
problems and that is what I set about doing. All while the sun beat down on
me and the sand trickled through the hourglass. After about 30 minutes I had
the machine pretty well apart and determined that the check ball in the
intake was stuck. I got it unstuck, put the machine back together and after
the 45 minute delay, the sprayer was sucking up the stain and I was headed
to the house with the sprayer nozzle in hand.
The spraying went pretty good, but not perfect. The tip
seemed to clog quite a bit, which for the most part was pretty easy to
rectify, but it did stall the process of spraying the siding down. When the
sprayer is working good, it is awesome. When it is acting up, it is very
frustrating. In any case, I was able to keep plugging and chugging along and
by around 4 in the afternoon (2 hours and 15 minutes into the process), just
about all of the work was done. However, as I was nearing completion, I ran
out of stain. I had 10 gallons to start with and had a feeling that it would
not be enough. So I cleaned up the sprayer and then shot down to the store
in Houghton to get more stain and by around 6 pm was back at spraying down
the rest of the cabin.
Luckily, the area I had left to do was on the west side
of the cabin and thus was sitting in the late evening sun and was able to
dry before temps dropped for the night. I was pretty well exhausted, but
took down some of the staging and did some cleaning up, then went in to take
a shower and crawled into bed.
On Wednesday, it was very nice to finish up taking the
morning walk with the pups and come down the driveway and see a home that
was pretty much done
on the outside. The front
of house shot also was one that looked like the addition was no longer
an addition, but part of the initial house. Well, maybe when the dormers are
As exhausted as I was at the end of the day on Tuesday, I
think I was even more so on Wednesday. My brain was rolling with all that
still needed to be done and my body was saying: sorry! I did manage to get
the pieces for the dormers picked up and also spent the afternoon getting
the pieces for the outside window trim done, but that was about it. I think
I even spent some time in bed on Wednesday as my body and mind were just not
capable of functioning to the level to allow anything else.
Thursday was a little better and I was able to get the
window trim painted in the morning and then spent the afternoon putting it
up. That may not sound like much, but there were 48 pieces to have to do and
to make things even more fun, temps were around 80 degrees with a dewpoint
of 70. I can report that the addition and cabin are now very well insulated
as when I had to go inside Thursday afternoon, it felt like I had the air
conditioners cranking and they actually were not even installed any more. So
with all the trim done, I decided to install the outside outlets and wall
lights on either side of the front doors and so the front entry to the
addition is pretty
On Friday, I hooked up the main power supply from the
service disconnect box by the meter to the addition, so we now have power at
the addition, although not all of the circuits are fully wired, so all the
breakers are still off, as is the main breaker in the panel in the addition.
However, with the electrical hook up done, so was pretty much all of my
outside work. There is a bit of touch-up painting/staining to do. Things
like painting over the nail heads of the trim and hitting a few spots that
were either sprayed too thin or missed all together by the stain, but that
will not be much more than an hour or two to do and it looks like we have
some warmer weather coming the second half of this week, so I will get that
done. It also looks like the guys that are going to do the siding on the
dormers are going to be coming over by the end of the week, so if they do,
then by the end of the week, ALL of the outside work will be done!
On Friday, I also started in on some of the remaining
work to be done on the inside. I was able to put up the remaining
tongue and groove in the addition and also framed out the closet in the
foyer and got the tongue and groove up on it as well as by the front doors.
With the temps falling into the autumnal range, jackets are becoming
standard fare, so yesterday I went and got a rod, shelves and hangers for
the closet, got them installed and made the
foyer closet functional. All it needs now is some nice by-pass
It's amazing how just little things like making the foyer
closet and finishing out the tongue and groove in the addition changes the
look of things in there. It really is starting to look more and more like a
home in there, rather than a construction zone. I suppose that the majority
of the projects left to do will have the same effect. Things like the
flooring, trim work, interior doors and and stairway.
This past week after the staining was done, I made a list
of things that still needed to be done. I tried to make it as comprehensive
as possible and ended up with 17 things on it. So far I have been able to
cross off 2 items and there are 2 others that only require an hour or less
of work to be crossed off. About half of the remaining 13 items are either
multi hour jobs like hooking up bathroom fixtures or multi-day jobs like the
fireplace and flooring. None the less, it is looking like in about 3 weeks,
I should be done with the majority of the work and we will probably be
utilizing the addition fully. There will still likely be some small things
to be done, but we are getting closer and closer and the excitement to be
finally done is about the only thing getting me through the totals
exhaustion at this point!
After finishing up the foyer closet yesterday, we used it
to grab some coats and take a family walk. It felt REALLY good to head out
into our woods with Nora, Grace and the pups. The woods were still a little
damp from the rains of Thursday night and Friday and there was a definite
autumn chill in the air, with temps in the 50's, but Gracie was pumped to be
heading out to see Old Granddad and the pups chased each other around the
woods the whole time we were out there. We did make it out to see Old
Granddad and he is still doing very well. It's funny how we have really
grown to love this tree. It started out as a bit of a whimsy, but has become
a bit of a tradition to take a walk into the woods to go see Old Granddad. I
am not sure how long it will live. Perhaps longer than all of us, perhaps
not. I can say that as strange as it may seem, I think there will be some
tears shed if on one of our visits, we see it has succumbed to the elements.
As mentioned, other than the heat and humidity of
Thursday, the weather has been quite autumnal up here, including the first
frost of the season on Monday. We did not have frost officially in our yard,
but on our morning walk, we only had to get to the end of our driveway to
encounter some frost, so I put it down as the "official first
frost" of the season in the firsts
The weather is becoming quite autumnal, but the woods are
still looking more like summer. I will say that in the past few days, some
of the trees have started to pop and we are maybe 5-10% changed. Here is a
shot taken down our road yesterday morning, complete with some lake
effect clouds. Here is a
shot of our woods taken earlier today. Still very green! I am hoping
that the slow start to the change leads to a very vibrant color show with
all of the trees going at one time. Well, see.
So with all the work that has been getting done and all
the work that still needs to be done on the addition, some more work was
piled onto my lap this week. The low rumble of Al's logging truck was heard
on Monday and he pulled
into place to unload it. In about 30 minutes the first load of firewood
was sitting in our yard- all ready to be cut and stacked! There are plans
underway to have the annual wood cutting/stacking event the first weekend of
October. I sure hope it is able to happen as it really is great to get
things all done in one quick shot. If not, I guess I can always cut as I
need it all winter long! By the way, anyone that is interested in coming up
for the annual wood cutting event, you are more than welcome! I have
actually always wanted to turn it into a wood cutting/ATV riding
So that is just about it for this one. I do have one
quick announcement and then a few pics. The announcement is that I was
contacted by the folks that run the JohnDee.com ThinkSnow Store and they
will no longer be able to produce items after December 1st. So if you want
to get some ThinkSnow stuff, you will need to do it before this December
1st. I do plan to carry on selling the stickers and will probably have then
available through the Keweenaw Kamo online store.
Now to the pictures. Yesterday as I was finishing up my lunch,
Gracie picked up my phone and started playing with it. I did not pay too
much attention, but it turns out she was taking pictures, lots of pictures!
I did not count how many she took and most of them were probably done just
to hear the electronic shutter click the phone makes when it takes the
picture, but I got a chuckle out of some of them and thought I would share a
few. One of the first was of the
pop can on the table. Andy Warhol would be proud. The next is of her bowl
of soup. Looking even more like a Warhol. Here is the edge
of the placemat. Pretty edgy stuff. A
self portrait and last, but not least, what
a 4 year old does with a self portrait.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
This will probably be another
fairly short one. Once again, as I sit down to write, I find myself rather
wiped out. This Sunday it is not from a whirlwind trip out of town, but
rather from going full speed ahead not just today, or the past 2 days, but
for the past 7. As I mentioned in the previous entry, my goal for the week
was to get the outside all wrapped up. For the first time all season, that
goal was not realized. Not because of too much work to do, or slacking, but
the weather. Yep, both Monday and Tuesday and even part of Wednesday were
rain outs. I was expecting Monday to be a wash out, but not Tuesday and part
of Wednesday. So I lost 2 1/2 days of working and that was too much to come
Not that I spent the 2 1/2 days laying around and not
working. I switched gears and just got going on inside work instead. With a
stack of tongue and groove laying in the foyer and some walls needing to be
covered, I got busy bringing the two together. By the end of the day on
Monday, I had the west
side of the front wall and the west side of the foyer all covered. On
Tuesday, I jumped over to the east wall and got all
the tongue and groove up on the walls on either side of the fireplace.
The fireplace will be done in stone, so that wall is all done with the T/G.
That leaves the west
side of the front wall still needing to be done as well as two small
areas on either side of the front door and all the interior wall siding will
be done. The plywood on the wall in that last shot will be the back wall of
a closet, so I decided not to put any T/G there.
Then on Wednesday morning, I had to run to town and take
care of some business and then went over to get the load of wood for the
exterior siding in the afternoon. So by Wednesday evening, all
the wood needed to do the siding was on site in the back of the truck
and just needed to be put in it's place.
For just about all of this build, things have been
running in high gear. Not so fast that mistakes are made, or at least made
and not fixed. And not so fast that quality has been sacrificed. Just long
days, with pretty much no breaks and little in the way of days off. So to
say there has always been a sense of urgency since we got started would be a
true statement. However, that sense of urgency was ramped up this week, as
there was still a meaningful amount of outside work that needed to be done
and we are getting to the time of the year when the weather can start to impede
on outdoor activity. In fact, with part of the outside work that needs to be
done being staining, I not only need a dry day, but one that is not too cold
and preferably has some sunshine to help the stain dry. So I have been
watching the models closely and trying to plan my schedule to work well with
a day that will provide good weather for staining.
Yesterday was one such day that would have worked nicely
to do the staining and had I not lost the 2 1/2 days earlier in the week,
the plan was to do it yesterday. My next decent day looked to be this coming
Tuesday, so the race was on Friday and this weekend to get all that needed
to be done to be ready to stain done. So I have been a busy guy with his
back against the wall the past few days, but am happy to report that all of
the siding work is done. There are still things that need to be done to be
ready to stain. I want to seal off the windows so that I can spray right up
to them and I also need to erect scaffolding to be able to get at the higher
spots that still need to be stained, basically the gable of the foyer and
the second floor of the existing home. I have also decided to sub out the
siding work on the dormers and want to have all of that material pre-stained
before it goes up, so I need to get that all laid out to be sprayed on
Tuesday as well. I figure it will probably take around 4 hours to do all the
staining, it goes very quickly with the sprayer.
Once done, I will not have to worry about the weather any
more. I will still need to put up the window trim on the outside and a few
battens that go up after the trim is in place, but that can all be done in
about an hour or two and as the weather permits.
There were a few moments yesterday and today when I did
not think I would get all that I needed to. While most of the work was able
to be done on the ground, there were spots that needed a ladder and there
were some spots that required both a ladder and quite
a few cuts to get all the pieces to fit right. Yesterday I was able to
get all the 1x6 boards
up and today I was able to get all the battens and corner pieces up. So
all that wood that was in the back of the truck is now down to some
So as long as my forecast holds up and there are no
surprises in sealing off the windows and setting up the scaffolding, I will
be a pretty happy camper come the end of the day on Tuesday and the view
from the woods cam should be pretty cool too. I actually plan to keep it in
the spot it is now until all the outside work is done and then get it back
into the woods to catch the color show and first flakes.
Inside work still left to do is all the floors, all the
interior doors, installing all the bathroom fixtures, doing the finish
electrical, stairs and railings, trim, fireplace masonry work and build the
rest of drawers and doors for the kitchen cabinets. My goal is to be pretty
much done with everything by the time the Milwaukee snowmobile show rolls
around and that is 5 weeks from this weekend. So, I still have quite a bit
to do and no resting will be done, but I think it is a doable scenario. I
think it is going to be very strange once everything is done. Not only will
we be sleeping and hanging out in entirely new rooms, but I am not sure how
I am going to adjust to not having to go full speed ahead all day, every
day. It would seem like I should just be able to finally sit back and relax
and perhaps that will happen, but I have been so conditioned to go hard all
day and worry about so much that it may actually take some effort to be able
to relax! I think I am up to taking on that task as well!
So other than going full speed ahead with the building, I
did very little else this week. As mentioned, I want to get the woods cam
back into the woods to catch the color show and the way things stand right
now, there is very, very little color in the woods. Normally by now we are
at around 20-25% changed and I would say we are less than 5% right now. I
think all the rain we got this summer really is helping the trees to stay
green right up to the last minute and hopefully that provides us with an
even more spectacular color show than we normally have. I promise that even
though I will still be pretty busy with the building, I will be sure to get
out and take some shots of the colors.
The family is still hanging in there through the building
process. I do really feel sorry for Grace. I think she is starting to grow
antsy for me to be done so I can play with her like before. I do try and
spend at least a bit of time with her each day, but I have to admit that I
am spending almost all of my time working. I have been thinking of some fun
things to do with the family once the build is over and am looking very
forward to spending lots of quality time with Nora, Gracie and the pups.
Grace is pretty good at entertaining herself though.
Yesterday she broke out the garden hose and had fun spraying down all sorts
of things and even got it to shoot straight into the sky. She then got into
the drops as they fell back to the ground and while it was pretty chilly out
and her getting all wet meant she would need to change her clothes when
done, both Nora and I got a kick out of watching her
play in the self-made rain shower and let her have her fun. Nora even
broke out an umbrella
to add another element of fun to things.
So I guess this was not as short as I thought it might
be, but again rather one dimensional. It won't be long before this journal
goes back to all the wonders going on in the Keweenaw, not just how many
nails I nailed in this week (which was somewhere around 2000- by the way!).
Good night from the Keweenaw..
This is going to be a
short one, as I am a bit pooped out from my whirlwind weekend to the great
state of Minnesota and back. All went well. My thanks to Kris and his wife
Tracy for their wonderful hospitality in putting me and others up for a few
nights as well as feeding us all. It sure makes the trip down possible!
As I am sure most of you reading already know, it was a
hot one. Not sure if it was the hottest Haydays on record, but I checked the
conditions at a weather station not far away and the temp peaked out at 94
and the dewpoint was in the low 70's. Some hot and humid stuff. Add to that
we had pretty much full sunshine and that really amped up the discomfort
level. The only saving grace was the breeze that was blowing and if
you were fortunate to find some shade. I know I drank 7 bottles of water
during the 9 hours I was there.
It was great to meet up with all that I did and sorry if
I was not there when some of you stopped by at midday. Needed to grab
something to eat and then I headed over with some buddies to check out
Arctic Cat reveal their two sled models carrying the new 600 DI engine.
Although it was not the type of day most folks associate
with snowmobiling, it was fun to be back in the atmosphere of snowmobiles,
their riders and everything that goes along with it. It really is one heck
of an event. I even saw a few of the races. Yep, they have races there too.
I did not take any pictures while at Haydays. It's not
that I did not want to, it is just that the event is so enormous, it is hard
to try and convey what it is all about in a few snap shots. Words cannot do
much justice as to what the event is all about. I guess all I can say is
that one really needs to head there themselves to see what it is all about.
A true snowmobilers Mecca.
So now onto the weekly addition update... It was a
shortened work week and because of that, I did not set my goals at the
beginning of the week too high, but still had some goals. By Wednesday
midday, the two main goals had been achieved. One was to get the soffit
vents done on the back side of the house. The other was to get all the
tongue and groove soffits by the front entry done. So on Wednesday
afternoon, we jumped onto the next item on the list and that was to get the
chase for the fireplace built. By Wednesday afternoon we had quite a bit
done and I did some more on Thursday and got all
that could be done on the chase done. The rest needs to be left open so
that the unit can be installed. Once it is installed, then a stone veneer
will be put up around it all the way to the ceiling by yours truly.
Friday was a travel day and then I was away for the
weekend, so no work was done since Thursday. The plan of attack for this
week is to get the outside all buttoned up. I have the siding to put up on
the front of the house, as well as all of the trim work and then the
staining. The weather can take a turn for the worse at this time of the year
and make it difficult to get a lot of work done outside on a consistent
basis. So I think it is best to not play games with the weather and just
finish things up outside. The weather looks to be a bit iffy tomorrow, but
then should be very good for the rest of the week. So as long as there are
no major hiccups, the outside should be all buttoned up by the next time I
The weather this week was beautiful for outside work.
Things did get hot on Friday, but I as on my way to the real heat in MN and
not working. My work weather for Mon, Tue and Wed was beautiful. Highs in
the 60's and 70's and low humidity. Even the early morning walks with the
pups were taken in some nice cool temps. I even wore my work gloves on
Thursday morning, with temps around 40 degrees. Although I am not quite
ready for the true autumn weather of the UP to arrive until I button up the
outside of the addition, it was nice to be taking those walks in that
Going back almost a week. On Memorial Day, the family
headed up the peninsula to check out the new playground in Copper Harbor.
Through the hard work of many, a
wonderful and brand new playground was built up there. That was the
upper part of the playground and here is the
lower part. Gracie
took a fond liking to the upper part and all the climbing that was
afforded there. After playing there for around an hour, we grabbed some food
to go and headed to a nice quiet spot to have a little picnic dinner before
Today, as I made the trip north and then east home, we passed
through different topography and different zones of ecology. Once we hit the
rolling hills of the UP and their covering of thick woodlands. I felt the
familiar sense of being near home. Although I was only gone for around 46
hours, it was still a wonderful feeling to be driving down our street and
making the turn into our driveway to see the still unfinished home, with my
precious family waiting for me inside in excitement. Right now, I am wearing
a t-shirt that says: "Life is Good". To which I say: "Yes it
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Happy Labor Day eve
and welcome to September and autumn everyone! As if on cue, the weather went
from the very summer-like conditions we have had for the past 9 days to
quite autumnal today. It was 9 days of heat and humidity up here, with highs
most days solidly into the 80's and even touching 90 a few days. Humidity
was up there too, with dewpoints in the upper 60's on all days and even into
the low 70's some days. I forget which day it was, but the combined heat and
humidity created a heat index of 101. Nasty. Today has been cloudy, rainy
and temps have been falling all day and we are currently in the upper 50's.
Even though I spent almost all week inside working and
the heat and humidity did not impact me, I am glad to see it go. It is nice
to have the windows open again at night for sleeping and not have to listen
to the hum of the air conditioner. Heck we probably will even have to close
the windows at night the next few nights as temps are suppose to drop into
We also have picked up quite a bit of needed rain in the
past few days. After a very wet June and July, things turned pretty dry for
August and we went around 5 weeks without any significant rainfall. There
were some decent rains that skipped past us just to the south, but we saw
only light totals. Thursday night was the first round of heavy rain,
accompanied by lots of lighting/thunder and then last night and today we had
a pretty good round of thunderstorms and now it is just some light, left
I can say that the heat this week did help the peaches on
our tree ripen up. A few are ready for picking and the rest will be soon.
The tomatoes and cucumbers also ripened up nicely this week. I would imagine
that the hot days and warm nights also helped to warm the waters up,
although I was not able to partake in any lake or beach activity this week
and this will probably go down as the first summer since moving up here that
I have not taken a dip in Lake Superior. That's OK, Gracie has taken plenty
of them for me!
The work on the addition progressed nicely again this
week and I not only fulfilled my objectives, but did so by around Thursday.
When I last left off, I had mentioned how I had done some work on Sunday,
but wanted to save that for this entry, so I may as well start with it. Last
Sunday, I pretty much spent the entire day working on the
cabinet for the double ovens. I had to wait to do much on it until I had
it in place and put the ovens in temporarily to figure out the dimensions
and layout for the face frames as well as the cookie sheet storage above the
ovens. It was also a real struggle to get in as I wanted it to fit as tight
to the ceiling as possible, so it had to be slid over up right and in a few
spots, even scratched the ceiling lightly as the ceiling must have been a
touch lower in spots than it was where the case was going. We did manage to
wrestle it into place and then lift the ovens in place, which were VERY
heavy by the way! There is still some work to do on it, as is the case with
many of the other cabinets in the kitchen, but things are at least
Speaking of the other cabinets in the kitchen, they
are all in and so are the appliances like the cooktop, so the entire
kitchen is now functional. On Monday, one of the tasks at hand was to get
the kitchen sink mounted into it's cabinet, so we could get it all plumbed
out on Tuesday. That went off pretty good as did hooking up the dishwasher
at the same time on Tuesday. Here is a shot of the
island and sink. Fancy countertops eh? Yea, Nora and I decided that we
would just go for broke with them. May as well do it up right! Actually we
are going to be getting black quartz put in. Hopefully they will come out to
template them this week and then it takes around 4-5 weeks before they come
out to do the install.
As you can see, there are still quite a few drawers that
need to be made, along with their fronts and all of the doors still need to
be made, but I had to jump off the cabinet building this May to jump into
the addition building. I figure it will probably be around 20 hours of work
to get them all made and then another 3-4 hours total time to put the finish
on them. All good things to do once the addition is done and the weather is
nasty outside. The one piece that is nearly done, with the exception of the
drawer pulls, is the "bar" cabinet. All
the drawers are done and finished as are the shelves below. The final
top on that case will also extend out further on the back side of the
cabinet, to allow it to function as both a cabinet top and breakfast bar.
There will also be a series of pendant lights that go over the bar and a pot
rack type light that goes over the island and under cabinet lighting that
goes under the cabinets on either side of the cooktop. The hood above the
cooktop has good lighting too. Besides being quite small, the old kitchen
could have used better lighting- especially over the range, so that is one
thing I hope is addressed with the remodel.
So, with the kitchen fully functional and the temps
outside getting cold enough that we can heat things up in it, the
girls took the opportunity this afternoon to cook daddy some cookies!
Nora fired up both ovens and was able to cook the entire batch of cookies in
one round. I can't wait for Christmas cookie time!
The other main project at hand this week was to put the
tongue and groove up on the ceiling of the great room in the addition. It
was the last of the major jobs requiring scaffolding and I honestly was not
looking too forward to it. If you were watching the woods cam this week, you
likely caught some of the action, as it was pointed at us working. I have to
say that things went quite smoothly and better than I had expected. The time
it took was a bit less too. By Thursday afternoon, we had all but a small
section done, as we ran out of T/G. I went and picked up some more and
finished the rest by myself Thursday evening. So I am greatly relieved that the
ceiling of the great room is all done (except for some trim work) and I
even hung the ceiling fan and lighting in there today. Although I think we
are going to go with a shorter down rod for the ceiling fan.
So with the main objectives for the week done by
Thursday, we jumped into this weeks work on Friday, which was to get the
electrical supply line for the addition put in place. I am not going to do
the wiring for that. Way too many things that could go wrong! Plus, at the
same time we have the service hooked up, we are going to have a stand-by
generator hooked up. So double trouble for this electrician wanna-be.
Hopefully they will be able to get over to hook up the electrical soon, as
we are ready to be able to turn on some lights in there! Anyway, Friday
morning Sam dug the 100 foot trench from the spot where the electrical
enters the addition to where the service from the road comes in. A 100 foot
trench 18" deep sounds like a pretty daunting task for one guy to do
and quite frankly, I though I would finish up the work I had to do inside
and then help Sam with the rest of the trench digging, but most of the
digging was done in the sand that was put down to put the foundations of the
addition and cabin on and it only took him around 2 hours to get it all dug.
Before we moved onto the next step, we had the
inspector come out and look things over and he said it looked good and
we could proceed. So we dropped
some conduit into the trench, ran the electrical lines through it and it
is all set to be hooked up.
So, the week ahead will not provide quite as much work
time as is usual. I have two board meetings to go to on Tuesday and then
will be heading to the great state of Minnesota to take in Haydays next
weekend. So the objectives for this week are a bit less ambitious, but still
there. A week from now I hope to have the soffit vents on the back side of
the house all done as well as the actual soffits by the main entry done.
There is about a 6 foot overhang on three sides of the front entry, plus 4
recessed lights that need to be cut around, so there is quite a bit of work
involved there. Any other left over time in the next 7 days will probably be
spent getting the framing for the fireplace done. I was hoping to do that
this weekend, but had some questions about things and have to wait for the
place that we bought the fireplace from and who will be installing it, to
call back and answer my questions before I start framing. It will be a gas
fireplace with a dry-stack stone veneer surrounding it and I am looking very
forward to hanging out by it on a cold and snowy day.
So there is still quite a bit to do. The partial list of
things left to do includes: the fireplace, the soffit by the front entry.
The siding/trim on the first floor of the front of the addition, the tongue
and groove on the walls of the addition as well as window/door trim work in
all of the addition as well as the new door and windows of the cabin, all
the flooring, setting up the bathrooms and final electrical. However, none
of those jobs should be more than 2-3 days total time to get done and none
of them should be too daunting. So the light at the end of the tunnel is
getting brighter and brighter. It is my hope to be done with all but a few
odds and ends type things before we head down to S. WI for the Milwaukee
snowmobile show in mid-October. Seems pretty doable.
I have a few more pictures to share with you.
Non-addition types. When Nora's brother and family were up, they all went to
the beach several times and Nora took the good camera on one of the
occasions and took some really nice shots. There were many of Grace playing
in the sand and surf, but for some reason, this
one was my favorite. Later in the evening, the sun was getting lower in
the sky and Nora snapped a shot of Grace
watching the sun sink towards the big lake. I have always been awestruck
by beautiful sunsets. I think it harbors back to family trips to the west
coast of FL for spring and winter breaks. I sure wish that it either set
sooner in the summer up here, or that I could stay up to watch it set during
the summer. Most of the sunsets in the winter are hidden behind the clouds.
Perhaps I can take advantage of the next few weeks of still pretty good
viewing conditions and an early enough time for me to be able to see it. For
tonight, I will just take in this
beauty Nora captured. I think that one deserves a
full sized version.
So I guess that just about covers it for this one. As
mentioned. I will be heading to Haydays next weekend and like the past few
years, I will be spending most of my time hanging out at the Togwotee booth.
I will only be there on Saturday, as Sunday is a travel day for me. It is
always so great to meet the visitors of the site, so if you are at Haydays,
don't be shy, stop by and say hi! Hope to see lots of you there.
The other announcement is that the Keweenaw Trails work
session will be Friday and Saturday, October 25th and 26th. Things will be a
little different this year. The Pines and Lac La Belle will be taking the
year off from hosting workers and the Trailside
Lodge in Calumet and D's Base Camp
in Toivola will be stepping up to host volunteers. I also hope to get one or
two more lodging options in the Mohawk-Calumet area to donate a few rooms.
Because the lodging will be further south, so will the work. We will be
working on the trails in the Calumet, Lake Linden, Gay and Mohawk area this
year. I also hope to supply the dinner (smoked brisket/pulled pork) on
So I guess that covers it for this one!
Good night from the Keweenaw..