Here’s our new house at the end of the day. We have finished the last bit of mortared course in the back along the north wall in the morning. This afternoon we did the dry stacking of the next two courses of concrete block and some of the cores are now poured. That all went very smoothly. It is starting to feel like a space, a place to be. Tomorrow we’ll pour the rest of the cores in these first three masonry courses and then do the course of channel block that goes just below the windows. That bond beam will lock the wall together. Then we’ll be able to start on the upper walls that will define the windows – Tuesday perhaps, weather permitting?
After we got done this evening we insulated the walls to protect the fresh mortar from frost damage. It is supposed to be cloudy and warm, in the 40’s, but I didn’t want to take a chance of the fresh cement getting frosted. We were supposed to have received accelerant ad-mix with our concrete block shipment on Friday but that was one of the errors on that order. Hopefully it will come on Monday when we get the corrected cube of blocks.
There is a bit of a funny story to this photo. Kia, one of our dogs, was up on the hill overlooking the work site with her sister Kita when I climbed up to take this picture. As I setup to do it I heard her zip by me without even saying hello – very unusual for her. She turned back to look at me as I took the first photo. Then she ran down and stood up on her hind legs next to Holly over in the right of the photo. This is unusual in and of itself because she isn’t all that snugly with Holly.
Was she making sure she got into the photo? She, like her grandfather Coy, has always been interested in the camera. I used to think that dogs couldn’t see flat images like that, or didn’t process them or something. After all, that is what it said in the research. But maybe the experts aren’t. Both Kia and Coy have actively been aware of the camera and posed for photos. So have some of the other dogs. With the digital cameras they will come and look at the image on the back. Can they see it? Can they understand it?
Kia and Coy are also the only dogs I’ve ever known who watch movies and appear to follow what is going on. Kia growls at the bad guys and relaxes when things are going well in the flick. In the other dogs’ defense, Kia’s the only one allowed to watch a movie so perhaps they would also understand the films if they were exposed to them.
Still, it is quite curious that she saw me about to take a photo and ran down, through a convoluted maze of construction materials and posed for the photo in a position and way that she was clearly visible. How much does she understand about the strange things we do?
No, Hope’s not playing tic-tac-toe on the walls. This is my youngest assistant marking the cement block cores that have rebar in them with an X so we’ll be able to find those blocks and avoid them easily in the future. The O signifies a open core that is not getting poured so that should I wish to drill through it for utilities in the future it will be easy. Hammer drills don’t like rebar. Concrete blocks on the other hand are like butter to the masonry bit.
Each noon and evening we cleanup everything. When working with cement this is especially important or pretty soon you’ll end up with useless, thickly encrusted and rusted tools. Ben here is cleaning the mortar mixer by running it in a bucket of water. This gets most of the cement off of the bucket and the mixer although both still need a quick sponging down after to get them fully cleaned.
That is 12 cubic yards of ‘state approved septic sand’ behind Ben under the sheet of plastic. It was the best material I could find for doing the mortar. It is a clean, sharp sifted sand with no particles larger than 1/4″ that I have seen to date. It was not as dry as I would like. I have heard that there is a supply of true masonry sand in the area but every quarry and pit I called did not have it. This came from Chief Bogies pit in Ryegate, Vermont. At only $9.50 per ton it was actually cheaper than the prices I had heard for the unobtainable masonry sand even though it is a ‘state approved’ product. I’m pleased with it.
The secondary purpose of this pile of sand is to use for spreading on the driveway so whey deliveries for the pigs this winter can get up to the tank. We have studs on our van tires and the tractor has big spiked chains so I don’t bother with sand for ourselves but the truck that delivers the whey for the pigs every two days or so needs better traction. He has both an issue of much greater weight and typical smoother road tires. He should be able to make it up the driveway between the sand and the base of well packed inch and a half minus for the driveway.
I have looked into a 3-pt hitch spreader for the tractor but will probably forgo it for this year. They’re a tad dear at about $1,500. There may be cheaper ones but will they last? Right now I don’t have time to investigate. If you have any suggestions for a tractor (PTO/3ptHitch) sand spreader give a holler in comments!
For now Will & Ben have said they would rather just spread the sand by hand. We’ll see how that goes. It may be fine depending on the winter and how often we actually need sand on ice. Some years are ice free here. We tend to get a lot of snow and very little rain or ice in the winter. If necessary we’ll bring buckets of it in the house to dry by the fire. The pile is under cover and I hope that will keep it dry enough to dig into in the winter. Any thoughts are appreciated as this is our first year sanding.
One thing I will not do is use our existing cone spreader/seeder for the sand. I had thought of doing that but have now talked with three different people who did. They all broke the agitator shafts in their seeders. I would rather not do that. At worse I’ll order the spreader and it will take ten days to two weeks to get it.