October 30, 2006

Not An Easy Job

The cement was poured... the walls have hardened, and I was thinking the job would be 'downhill' from here. I was wrong.
The father and son crew have spent the past three days taking down, cleaning, and stacking the foundation forms. Each form section was pryed off the wall, then all four sides were cleaned of any concrete lumps, bumps, and ridges remaining! It looked like very tedious, repetitive work!

The third member of the crew was not to be seen; he had taken off several days to go hunting and simply had not returned to work!
I helped for several hours... I was definitely unskilled labor. But I did feel sorry for those two working in the cold wind!

When all the forms were loaded, and the contractors gone for the day, the house site looked a bit more like a house could be moved in!

The next step is to add steel beams across the width of the foundation. The house will rest upon these beams.

October 24, 2006

There are foundation walls!

We have foundation walls, even if they are not cured (still 'green', as the contractor says)!
Here are a few photos to explain the process.
Since our foundation walls are elevated (because of the floodplain regulations), the forms are above ground level... and the cement trucks needed a 'tela-belt' system to get the cement from the cement truck's chute up to the top of the forms.
Here, the cement truck, on the left, drops the cement on a conveyor belt that takes it up to another conveyor belt, which can be extended and moved around the house as needed.
The cement falls down a canvas chute, which had to be held in place, and guided along the wall.
It seemed to me that the guy holding the chute had a HARD job!

The last section of the conveyor system can be raised and lowered, and moved along the wall. It is controlled by a guy on the ground with a control box hanging on his chest... He moved some levers and pushed some buttons! Neat! I heard the contractors talking about how some conveyor operators are better than others and they made the comment that maybe video games were good practise for skill at working this control box!

This guy walked along the top of the walls... pushing in a vibrating rod every few feet.
I guess this 'shakes' out any air pockets that might be left... as well as keeping the larger pebbles in the concrete away from the sides of the walls.

My sister in law sent a wonderful lunch!
She was worried about how many people I would have to cook for... and since my mom and brother came down to watch the work, my sister in law sent this wonderful basket of goodies:
Delicious homemade buns with all sorts of goodies inside, several kinds of tasty bars, and two jars of lemonade! Isn't she wonderful????

To top off the excitement of the day: the house salesguy called to verify where we wanted vinyl or carpet... and said the house was 'online' and they were laying the flooring!!!!!
SO: when will the house arrive?
Will it arrive before we have the walls ready... and the fill dirt moved in?

Or will it all work out just right?

October 22, 2006

Snow, sun, then rain!

Monday, the contractor's crew began setting up the forms for the foundation.
Tuesday morning we woke up to snow! It IS THAT TIME OF YEAR!

Wednesday and Thursday, the sun came out and we had several beautiful days! Work continued.
Rain was predicted for Friday and the forms were covered 'just in case'. YES, it did rain! Just look at all the water setting around! And this photo was taken midday!
The men had work to do.. so they moved the lumber and saw inside the tool trailer.

Cement was scheduled for Saturday... but is now postponed until Tuesday! Don't tell all the farmers and ranchers in Montana, who are very happy to see this moisture:
I hope it doesn't rain this weekend... so that our road and the house site is dry and firm enough for the heavy cement trucks to drive on!

October 13, 2006

Men In Trees

Okay, I borrowed that title from a new TV show,
but I DID have 'Men In Trees' yesterday!

The power company came and changed several poles and added a line up to our house footings.
Even though it wasn't part of his job, one very helpful guy used his bucket truck and cut off the top of the big tree in the yard! This tree was so big and tall that it would have been hard for John to cut it down with only his tractor. Plus it was so much easier to drop all those limbs while the power lines were in the process of being changed!
Today begins the work of cleaning up the mess!

But see the foundation is still 'just footings' under the blankets! Boo, hoo!
I think I will need to learn to knit socks like Laurie, so that I have something to help keep my sanity!

October 10, 2006

The Footings Are Done!

The footings are poured! and we are waiting a few days for them to cure.... THEN, the foundation walls will go up!

One strange thing: some days, when I look at the house site, it seems small, and I wonder how we are ever going to get all our 'stuff' in it! On other days, it seems huge, and I wonder how I will ever fill it!
Hee, Hee!
Today it seemed big... but you have to remember there won't be a basement or attic.
In actual square foot area, the new house will be about 200 square feet larger than our older house with it's basement, attic, and attached porches.

The weather here is cold, especially at nights, so the concrete footings are covered by special blankets, to hold in the concrete's heat, the earth's heat... and to keep any rain showers from doing damage.
In a few days, there will be more activity!

October 8, 2006

It rained!

It rained!
I know the rangeland, cropland, and EVERYTHING in drought-stricken Montana needed the rain, BUT I can't help feeling a bit sad that it interrupted work on my new house foundation!
Friday evening, the contractor scheduled the concrete trucks to arrive at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.... then we received just under an inch of rain during the night!
So, early Saturday morning, work was postponed for a few days, depending upon how fast the roads dry and firm up.
The concrete trucks come approximately 60 miles... most of it on highway, but the last 15 miles will be on a gravel county road... and it doesn't have much gravel!
So it is 'wait and see'!
Here is a photo of the footing forms, waiting for concrete!
(Notice how the trees in the background have changed from green to fall colors, and are now loosing their leaves! Yikes!)

October 5, 2006

Just The Footing Boards...

These are just the form boards for the footings.....
But it sure is a 'sight for sore eyes'!

This photo was taken from the opposite direction from the previous photos... our old house is in the upper right hand corner. Greenhouse and garden shed are the two black 'spots' in the upper center of the photo. There are two stacks of round hay bales behind the camper.
I took a pan of sticky buns out to the workers.... was it my imagination, or did they take an early lunch break???

October 4, 2006

In Earnest Now!

Work has begun in earnest now!
The crew came middle of the afternoon... but things began to appear quickly.
The gravel came .... maybe by Friday, the 'mud trucks' will be here!

October 3, 2006

The Contractor's Boots....

We should have left the contractor to his work... but it was lots of fun to get him talking! There seems to be so many things he has done!
Our cats were investigating the interior of his trailer, and he happened to mention that his wife has adopted one of the Katrina dogs... and then we found out their household also is home to two ferrets, another dog and numerous cats.
Slowly, the list of animals he and his wife have owned grew: potbellied pigs, registered dogs, canaries, a parrot, horses, goats, and more.
So what made him go to his pickup and bring out the boot?
And what is so special about the boot?

He mentioned that they had at one time raised ostriches... and the boots were made from full-quill ostrich hide from one of his birds.
Hummm, wonder what else we will discover about our contractor?
Hopefully, the fact that he works fast and well!!!
I don't think we have to worry: he earned praise from my brother!
(above, left to right: son Grant, husband John and the contractor Dale Jones)

Work Has Begun!

Work has begun, for serious, I hope!
It is Tuesday, and this is the SECOND day in a row the contractor has been at work on our house foundation!
So far, it is only one guy, but he is figuring out the elevations of the footings, the final grade of the top of the foundation, etc.
Tomorrow, he is expecting three loads of gravel... and then his crew will come to 'shovel around' the gravel!

Hopefully, more photos to come!
Yippee! YES, I will be sitting in my lawn chair, sipping a latte, and watching the action!
Yesterday, the county road crew hauled in gravel, widened, and regraded the approach into our road from the main county road... so the way is clear for the house trucks!

Yes, I think things are moving a bit faster now!

October 1, 2006

My Great Grandfather Bought A MailOrder House

During this process of buying a 'prebuilt' manufactured house, I suddenly realized that my great grandfather also bought a 'kit' house!
In 1918, he purchased a house from the Sears Modern Homes catalog.
Many wonderful childhood memories are centered around that same house. My grandmother stayed in that home until a large prairie fire in 1991 destroyed all buildings in the area.
I decided it would be fun to learn a bit more about the Sears houses.
If you are interested also, check out these two sites:
Two things that I found most interesting were the 'innovative' improvements in house design and the cost of the home and labor!

"After selecting a house design from the Sears Modern Homes catalog, customers were asked to send in $1. By return mail, they received a bill of materials list and full blueprints. When the buyer placed the actual order for the home-building materials, the $1 was credited toward their purchase.
A few weeks after the order was placed, two boxcars containing 30,000 pieces of house would arrive at the nearest train depot. A 75-page, leather-bound instruction
book told homeowners how to assemble those 30,000 pieces. The book offered this
somber (and probably wise) warning: "Do not take anyone's advice as to how this
building should be assembled."
The kit included 750 pounds of nails, 22 gallons of paint and varnish and 20,000 shingles for the roof and siding. Sears estimated in 1908 that a carpenter would charge $450.00 to assemble Modern Home #111, The Chelsea.
According to the company's calculations, a painter would want $34.50 to paint the two-story foursquare. The plasterer's bill would be around $200, they figured, which included nailing up 840 square yards of wooden lath and applying three coats of plaster. Masonry and plaster was not included in the kit, but the Bill of Materials list advised that 1,100 cement blocks would be needed for the basement walls and foundation."
----- from The Old House Web story on the Sears Modern Homes

My grandmother's house is similar to the Carlin model... the floorplan is not exactly the same, so I am still searching for the exact model. But look at that price: $1,172!!!!