Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Structural Remediation: Day 2

Tuesday, the crew poured the new concrete footings, installed the remaining temporary stud support walls, and removed the old wood columns and beams.

The old beam pockets were enlarged to accomodate the new steel beams.  The bearing plates will soon be installed.

To prevent the south entry from sagging, the crew beefed-up the header above the front door.   The load from the soon-to-be-installed beam on the second floor will bear directly on this area.  The new beam is necessary to replace the stud wall between two small bedrooms.

The crew is scheduled to return on Monday, January 3rd, after the footings have had a chance to cure. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Structural Remediation Underway!

The contractor's crew arrived as scheduled Monday morning to begin the first phase of the structural improvements needed for the original 1920 portion of the house.  Scott took a vacation day, and enjoyed observing some of the work (and borrowing their dumpster to get rid of some barn trash).  (See previous post about barn cleaning...)
The lumber for the temporary support walls was the first of four deliveries today. Bonus:  we get to keep the 2x6s once this portion of the project is finished.
The dumpster was delivered next.  (Use your imagination to picture a dumpster.)  Then...the steel!  The basement will have 4 new beams and 4 new columns.  The beams are W8 x 13 and W8 x 18.  "8" indicates that the beams are eight inches deep.  The 13 and the 18 refer to the "pounds per foot of length".  Another small load of lumber was the fourth delivery of the day.

The contractors used a gas-powered concrete saw and an electric jackhammer (The Wacker) to cut two holes through the concrete floor for the new footings. The saw filled the house with exhaust fumes which sent Scott outdoors for a nature hike.

The first footing was at its early excavation stage by lunchtime.

By the end of the day, each footing hole was 18 inches deep and 3-ft. square.  They added rebar to each as specified by the engineer to strengthen the concrete.  (Concrete coming Tuesday morning!)

Mouse-level view of a new W8 x 18 beam.

At the end of Day One:  most of the temporary support walls are in place!

Stay tuned for a review of Tuesday's work!

New Neighbors?

Our winter just got a bit more dreary.

We think our neighbors to the south have finally sold their house . . . and gone along with them is their herd of longhorns.  The horses are also missing (which means no more random horseshoe-prints in the yard).

We only hope that the new owners use their 35 acres for some type of friendly livestock (not ostriches or pythons or something equally odd).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Sunny Winter's Day

Twas the day after Christmas . . . and all (oh, never mind.)

While I was busy napping, Scott spent the afternoon at noTTafarm.  In addition to working on tasks to get ready for the contractors due this week, he enjoyed the sunny (but cold!) scenery.  We had a dusting of huge, sparkly snowflakes this morning which gave a really nice glow to the surroundings.
Sure the yard in front of the corn crib was pretty and white . . . but you know why Scott took this photo?  Check out that little yellow fluffball in front of the trailer.
It's Bibbers, our Corn Crib Resident!  Scott always offers a fresh bowl of food when he visits.

Pretty afternoon sunshine.

The basement is ready for the contractor!  They are scheduled to begin work on Monday, December 27th, to correct the settled and sagging structure.  Two beams and four columns will be replaced with steel.  Of course, we are keeping the original timber...just in case we can find a use for the 100+-year old wood.

Stay tuned for "action shots" coming this week!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from noTTafarm!

We thought it would be fun to take a photo at noTTafarm to use as a Christmas card.  We tried a few poses in a few different places.  Here we are in the Forest.

Then we tried the south-facing porch.  Scott was a good sport and wore a Santa hat while I tried the reindeer antlers.

Then we moved on to the corn crib...but it just didn't
seem perfect enough.

The barn provided a good backdrop.

Ummm.  No.  I'm laughing and this looks silly.

Finally decided on this one! 
We have a vacation tradition of taking photos of ourselves from the back...it's just one of those things we do. 

I edited the photo using the online resource http://www.picnik.com/ for the final look.  I think it's pretty cool!
Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Husband The Poet

Scott has been so excited to see the water line progress this week!  The trenching crew has done a great job, and Scott has made daily visits to noTTafarm to gauge the progress.  When he visited over the lunch hour on Wednesday, the crew had not yet made it to the site.  Scott was a little disappointed - so he wrote and emailed the following to me:

went out to noTTafarm at lunch
to check on my hunch
that they'd be done with their work
or would they act like a jerk
but to my surprise
I couldn't believe my eyes
they hadn't even been there today
must have stayed home to play
at least I fed Bibbers and gave him some water
then set up the trail cam.....maybe it's an otter!

The crew was back at work Wednesday afternoon.  Stay tuned for updated photos and details!

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Surprise" Visitors!

All of my siblings convened in Omaha on December 4th to surprise my mom with a birthday party!  It was a lot of fun; the food and drinks were delicious and plentiful, and the birthday girl was truly surprised and happy. 
The birthday girl does not care to have her photo taken but I did it anyway.
The best part was having a few of them out to noTTafarm on Sunday morning!  While Nick visited briefly last summer, this was Brooke's first visit.  It was great having noTTafarm veterans Mom, Dad, Mark, LuAnn and Lauren all there for a few minutes on a cold, cold morning.

Scott updates Brooke, LuAnn and Nick on the design.
Brooke, LuAnn and Lauren obliged the pushy photographer's request.
We didn't put Dad to work this time . . . but we'll keep him busy this spring.

Caution: Low Clearance

My big brother is tall. 
Mark will need a little more headroom when the new addition is added.  Here he is in the doorway between the breakfast nook and the dining room.
My big brother is also silly.

At Last! Water Comes to noTTafarm!

After weeks of delay and scheduling difficulties, the trenching company finally got started December 6th.  The driveway is now lined with a 4-foot high ridge of dirt.  The HDPE pipe has been laid, and tomorrow work will continue to add a copper pipe connection into the house.

Scott visited noTTafarm during his lunch hour and was pleased with the progress!  Who would imagine that a 18"-wide x 5' deep trench would create such a big, long pile of dirt!? 

For several feet on either side of a major drainage culvert, the trencher found tons of concrete rubble and even pieces of steel.  The contractor will haul an estimated three truckloads of rubble away and replace it with dirt.  If you ever wanted any free concrete chunks, you'd better hurry!

The HDPE awaits its new home at the bottom of the trench.

We had our first hint of the impending work on Saturday when a Bobcat and backhoe made an appearance near the house.  Scott was so excited to see the heavy equipment coming up the driveway!
Is Scott secretly adding a backhoe and a Bobcat to his Christmas list?  Of course!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

So, What Else is New?

With winter sneaking up and the Thanksgiving holiday, our time at noTTafarm has been short but sweet. 
Here are a few details of recent progress:

1.)  Trenching the new water line begins tomorrow (Nov. 29)!  It should take about three days to run the line to the house.  I hope we can get a few "action" shots along the way!

2.)  Soon after the water line is installed, work will begin on the structural corrections needed in the original house.  We have found an awesome contractor who has every confidence that the job will be quick and relatively simple (for him and his crew...not for me to understand.) 

Scott conducted an on-site meeting with the structural engineer (Rick) and the contractor (Terry) so that the three of them can coordinate the structural changes.  The house will gain new steel beams and columns in the basement.  On the second floor, Terry's crew will eliminate a wall between two bedrooms and shore up the ceiling joists with a new laminated beam.  After a quick trip to the attic, Terry determined that the ceiling  joists are each one solid timber, running the complete length of the house.  Those were some tall trees that gave their life for the home's 1920 construction!

3.)  Yesterday (Nov. 27), Scott and Carl cut down an Ash tree in the front yard south of the house.  It was quite the show, what with all the chainsaw noise and ropes and such.  They got it down, and Marita and I kept busy dragging the little branches to the burn pile.  Unfortunately, the camera was left at home!  (You'll have to use your imagination.)
 The Ash trunk has been sliced into easy-to-burn chunks.

4.)  While in Kearney for the Thanksgiving holiday, Scott bought a trail camera at Cabela's.  He has it set up in the barn to see if we can discover who or what is digging big holes under the concrete slab.  Is it a badger?  Or perhaps a fox?  Or a run-of-the-mill racoon?  Stay tuned to find out!

Trail Maintenance

Remember a few weeks ago when we rented a woodchipper?  Scott and Carl spent half a day grinding up branches that were stacked in the brush pile.  On November 20, Scott hauled two trailer-loads of chips to the trail on the western slope of noTTafarm Forest.  He managed to cover about two-thirds of the circuitous trail, and it looks great!  I'm not sure when but I do know that given the utility of the mulch, we will be renting the chipper again!

I did help a little...but shoveling is hard work!  I managed to drag a few branches felled by the recent snow storm to the fire pit.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Surprise Snow Storm Sweeps noTTafarm!

Omaha wasn't supposed to get much snow...maybe some high-level stuff that seems like rain when it gets to the ground - or so we were told by the experts.  By Friday night, it looked like a winter wonderland, albeit a slushy wonderland.
 Today was rather cold and windy, a high in the 30s with spotty sunshine.  We started the day by taking some food and water to our friendly corn crib kitties.  The snow was about 5 inches deep.
 Here, Kitty, Kitty!

The real tragedy of the snow...a small oak tree in the yard area east of the house fell victim.  It's trunk was weakened by deer using it as a scratch post, and was finally done in by the snow and wind.  Sad!

Barn Door Rehab No.1

The barn at noTTafarm is one of our favorite things.  It has so much potential and could some day be a woodshop, a guest house, or a party venue.  One thing we know for sure is that it needs a little TLC.  Scott decided to tackle rebuilding the door on the west side first.  Luckily, the weather on Saturday, November 6th, turned sunny and warm in the afternoon, just right for a carpentry project.

Scott decided to widen the door by 20 inches.  First, he had to pry off some of the siding.  As you can see, the orginal door (on the left) is rather battered.

The first fun discovery of the day...a treasure trove of Asian beetles.  They were busy eating part of the barn until Scott accidentally used a little wasp spray.
Once the siding was down, Scott used the Sawz-All to eliminate the stud.

The end of daylight savings time is wrecking our days at noTTafarm!  It got pretty dark pretty early, so Scott worked by placing a 500W shop light on the roof of the Escape.  I enjoyed the evening by sitting in a lawn chair inside the barn, biting my nails as the Huskers fought off those pesky ISU Cyclones (in overtime).
Sunday morning, Scott was back at noTTafarm to try and finish the door project.  The new 20" wide side door is constructed in the same style and uses the original siding.
Scott shows off the new 20" door.  Looking pretty good, so far!
Another late day at noTTafarm . . .still not quite done.  Luckily, Scott was able to take a vacation day on Monday, November 8th.  He called in reinforcements (his dad) and spent the whole day enjoying the beautiful fall weather and continuing work on this project.  He had the camera with him all day but forgot to record any of his progress.
Fast forward one week to November 13...here's the finished product!  Scott and Carl ended up harvesting siding from the old outhouse and completely rebuilt the wider door (on the left.)  It looks great and is much more sturdy.  More doors and windows will be fixed as time allows!