MAY 31st - two weeks after we were able to, and about a month after I thought we'd be getting started, we finally broke ground.
Such a pretty sight!!
Nick cleared the building site and started leveling it, but he also finished putting in the driveway. Last year we had a friend with a bulldozer/shovel combo come in and dig out the end of a new driveway. (The existing one is way too steep, curved, and not very well placed for the new house, so we cut a new path through the woods).
So, we've had rough driveway there and have been using it since last summer, but it was a bear, and there's no way the cement trucks, etc would be able to get in without a real driveway. Our foundation guy assured us they would just sink right into the dirt. (It's probably part of why the well driller couldn't get in when he stopped by on May 20th - ASIDE FROM THE FIVE INCHES OF SNOW).
But Nick plowed us an actual NICE driveway!
And if you look real close, you'll see that he scooped up one of the huge piles of bark and shoved it along to where he was putting all the plowed up sod, etc. YAY!!!
What I don't actually have to show is a photo of the finished driveway, all nicely graveled and everything.
I think the site prep stuff was about a week's worth of work on the weekends and evenings for him, but he eventually had sand hauled in, and got the site all ready for the foundation guy.
The foundation guy - who's been hounding us since MARCH about when were we going to get this project started because he was all ready to go and had been building special forms, blah blah blah - was now very very busy, and getting him to come out and work on our project has been a little hit and miss. He was supposed to be out one day, but one of his laborers called in sick and the other didn't show up, and then he's been having trouble getting a new guy - and then there's been a lot of rain, etc. BUT - he did finally get out there and get started on the forms so that the plumber and electrician could get in there and do their part.
In the meantime, Scott and I had the satisfying job of moving the fire number to the new driveway!!
Which calls for a celebratory drink
(The Bacardi boxes in the back are not party supplies, they are actually full of bottle logs we'd brought from home to add to the stash at the property)
In the past week, things have FINALLY really gotten moving. Last Wednesday (6/26), the plumber's guy came out and got started on the drains and other stuff that will be embedded in the slab. Part of what makes this so wonderful and exciting is that for the last few weeks, we've been trying to get a hold of the plumber to confirm that he was aware that the project was rolling and find out if he was going to be available at the right time, and he just WAS NOT calling us back. For a little while, we even wondered if we still HAD a plumber - but many people, including Nick, assured us that's just how this guy is, and he always shows up when he's supposed to. Or sends a minion, as in our case, which is just fine, because said minion was great,
LOOK!! PLUMBING! ACTION! PROGRESS!!
Just this past Friday while we were out there, he was there finishing up. And the electrician came out and did the things he needed to do. And the INSPECTOR came out and checked over everything - and passed us.
On Saturday, the plumbing minion came back and finished up and back filled all his trenches. This is so exciting to have something so very tangible. I can look at that and say, YES, there's my bathroom and there's my laundry room, and down there is the kitchen sink.
It's starting to actually look like something!!
Next, the foundation guy needs to come back and finish the forms, do whatever else it is that he does and then lay down the foam. When the foam is in place, Scott and I will lay out the tubing for the in-floor heat. Then some inspections, and THEN...cement gets poured!!
I really thought the slab would be such a quick and easy aspect of the project, but it's not - it's a massively complicated process and involves a LOT of coordination (and waiting)(and people). But it's moving and I'm trying to be zen and just enjoy the process. Once the slab is poured and the cement cures, things are much more in our control, and even the rain will be less of an issue because we just have to get the timber frame up and start getting the roof on - once that happens, rain really ceases to be an issue for most of the work unless it's really blowing or something.
So, very soon we are likely to be more or less living out there. And we're doing some things to make that easier. We rented a porta-potty for the summer - not only for our own comfort, but if we're going to have a lot of people working out there, or even just visiting out there, we really need a decent bathroom option.
You can't really see it in the picture, but it actually has a little crescent moon on the door!
We also have added a nice catio so we can bring the cats out with us, and stop asking our daughter to take care of them all the time. It was originally a catrium - a kennel just sitting out in the grass, which we thought they would love, and which we envisioned moving around so they could watch the build, etc. But they HATED it. They hid as much as they could and when we brought them out and put them in there the second day, they just cried and cried. We knew we had to come up with a different solution. Happily, it was very well proportioned for the bunk house, and the way it's put together, we just had to remove a couple side panels and stick it over the window and viola!! CATIO.
They are MUCH happier with this arrangement. We are eventually going to teach them how to go outside and come back in when called, so they can have more space.
The next couple of weeks could be a little bit hairy, what with still being at the mercy of tradespeople, and all that. But I still feel like we are on the verge of things really getting going. And in the meantime I have my swings and my wine.
We are so far behind - we were SURE we'd have the slab done early June sometime, and here it is on the eve of July, and it's maybe only halfway there. A MONTH behind - we could have done SO MUCH CORDWOOD in a month. *sigh* It'll be fine. Things happen the way they are meant to, and it will all be fine.
OH!! You know....in all this, I never mentioned that at the end of May we sold one of our buildings downtown. And not the one we live in, either - the one with the crazycakes tenant that was making us nuts. NOT OUR PROBLEM ANYMORE. Plus we ended up with enough cash from the sale to pay off our credit cards and still have a big chunk to put in the bank toward the build. And that's after paying down the loan enough to release that building from it - so now we owe very little on the building we still have. But the real blessing here is to just have all that stress and hassle taken off our shoulders.