Monday, September 10, 2012

Can You Dig It?

The deck work has officially commenced.  Our lumber and materials for the deck were delivered on Thursday.  We had 84 Lumber deliver everything.  Before they could unload the lumber (by dumping it off the back of the truck) they had to unload 37 bags of concrete (that’s 2960 lbs – close to 1 ½ tons!).  Fortunately they were nice enough to put it in the garage for us.

There were a few mistakes with some of the hardware (lag screws instead of hex bolts, etc.) so Samantha and I will have to take a little trip over there to get it fixed this week.  But we’re happy to have all the big stuff here.

Using batter boards, mason’s line, and some bright pink spray paint we were able to layout the deck on Sunday.  It took a couple times to get everything square and measured correctly for the outer beam.

We have two beams and three posts per beam in our plan.  The one beam will be 2 ½ feet from the house so the post holes in that row are in the same location as the old back porch.  We dug through the rubble and dirt that were under that porch and we hit concrete – a lot of concrete.   We expected to find footers under the cinder block but we never thought that there would be a slab of concrete.    

One of the neighborhood kids mentioned to Chris awhile ago that there used to be a big hole under the porch.  He thought they were mistaken but I guess the previous owners filled the big hole with concrete.  So in order to dig the holes for the posts we had to either break up a LOT of concrete or move the post about a foot and a half.  Guess which option we chose. 

Once we figured out our new locations for the inner beam, we started digging.  I had rented a power auger to make the hole digging easier.  It sounds good in theory but when we tried…complete failure.  The auger would not go in straight and then if it hit even the smallest rock it would just stop.  We struggled with it for about 1/3 of two different holes before we gave up and started hand digging. 

We finished up three holes (and dug out a lot of big rocks) for the outer beam.  To pass inspection they need to be 30” deep (ridiculous for this area of the country) and they need to be 18 inches in diameter.  These are very big holes!  Once we finish digging, we have to pass the footer inspection before we can start pouring concrete.

In non-deck related happenings, I harvested our basil since it was starting to go.  I cut 7 shopping bags full and we spent a lot of time cutting off the seed pods, washing, drying, and pulling off leaves.  I used the food processor to chop them all up and then froze them into cubes.  The picture below is just the remains (we didn’t remove all the Thai or lime basil). 

Our food basket this week included cantaloupe, corn, apples, green beans, mustard greens, tomatoes, eggplant, pepper and onion sausage, chicken thighs, bread, yogurt and milk. 

The first night I made a great sausage risotto – my first attempt at risotto and it turned out really well.  I think I’ll have to make it again.

We have noticed a lot of bugs and spiders around lately.  The biggest invasion was moths in the bird feeders (we forgot to empty them after the winter).  There were so many moths in the sunroom that Chris hung a fly trap – it worked quite well!

Chris is growing a few grapevines in the back yard.  He was looking at them and noticed that one whole section was missing the leaves.  At first he thought maybe deer but on closer inspection he found this worm.  It was similar to a tomato hornworm but it was larger, purple, and was missing the horn.

Samantha had a big first this week…she pooped on the potty!  I got a book from the library about early potty training and thought we’d give it a try.  I figure that if it doesn’t work then we’re no worse off than if we wait until she’s “ready” (which for some kids is over 3 or 4 years old!).  She did it again this morning so we’re off to a pretty good start.  We’re not pressuring her into it – just sitting her on the potty when the time is right and having fun (playing peek-a-boo, singing songs, etc.).  Of course only time will tell if this works!

She has been doing a little more crawling lately.  She still doesn’t just take off across the room but she does work to get to a toy or something that she wants.  I don’t think it will be very long before she is more adventurous though. 

She also sat up on her own this week.  She only did it twice but she gets very close most of the time by getting up and leaning on one hand. 

She also likes relaxing on her side – this was after her weekly pictures.

And of course the weekly pictures:

We hope that next week we will pass our footing inspection!


  1. Did you ever finish the master bath? Did I miss the big reveal?

  2. No, you didn't miss it...we tend to start other projects around here before the last one was finished. Ha! We are very close though - some shelves, a few tiles, and a threshold are all we have left.