Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dirt Work Complete

By the time we got home from work on Monday, the digging was done.  The Bobcats, dump truck, and road cones were gone and the driveway was swept clean.  All that was left was a big ol' hole in the ground!  Scott and I surveyed the progress . . . 
Scott stands where the hostas once grew.  
The concrete steps on the north side are also gone.  
The great room's basement is ready for concrete.  It's nearly 9 feet deep!  The stump in the foreground is what is left of the locust tree cut down on Lumberjack Day. 
 Construction Site Indicator No. 1:  a big dumpster parked by the barn!
Construction Site Indicator No. 2:  a porta-potty!
It was delivered while we were outside working.
One last look at the fire pit.
We dismantled it, stacking the blocks until its new location is selected.
 Scott scooped up the giant pile of the ashes and loaded them in the Ranger for dumping.

The Ranger is just the right size to fit in the big dumpster.  It took Scott three loads to eliminate the ash pile (but I think he was just looking for an excuse to use his little truck.)

Later this week, we hope that the power company will arrive to take down the transformer so the electrical service can be moved.  The foundation contractor should also be able to start his work.  Scott has a meeting on Thursday to go over the window and door order with the Pella rep.  So - progress is being made!

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure - and 
Keep Cool This Week!

Monday, June 25, 2012

And So It Begins . . .

Scott and I enjoyed a whirlwind trip to Atlanta, June 21-24 but before we left Thursday afternoon, we were able to watch the digging begin!
By the time we were ready to hit the road, the grass (as well as the bed of vinca and the spirea bushes) had been removed.

Two Bobcats worked the site in tandem.  It was amazing for me to watch these machines strike a balance between rugged work and delicate maneuvering.  This photo shows them dancing around the existing electric pole.  Looks like we need to relocate the fire ring, too!
Also on Thursday, the air conditioning unit was moved to its new temporary home.  Thankfully, it still works and we should be able to stay cool for the rest of the summer!
We arrived home from Atlanta at about 10:30 Sunday night so it was a little hard to see what had been accomplished in our absence.  Monday morning, the crew arrived early so Scott had a chance to check out the progress with Jarrick.  This is on the north side of the house where the garage will be; the contraption at the left is the temporary drain pipe for the rain gutters.
Meanwhile, on the west side of the house, the basement is being dug!  Some of the dirt from that giant pile (it's about 12 feet tall!) will be used as back fill.  As of Monday morning, Jarrick needed to dig out seven more inches to get the basement to the correct depth. 

Stay Tuned for More Progress!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday's Wows!

After a few days of heat, humidity, and gusting winds, a thunderstorm finally came through at dinnertime on Wednesday.  The summer solstice gave Scott some extra time between rain bursts to catch a photo of a giant rainbow over noTTafarm's east pasture!
Rather than a pot o' gold, this rainbow led to a different surprise . . . 
Actual construction equipment parked in the yard and ready to go!  
Our contractor staked out the garage and great room areas today so that they can start removing the topsoil yet this week.  Because it was later in the day, the photo below doesn't quite show how cool the little stakes and neon yellow twine look - or do I just think they're cool because of what they mean?
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's Really Going to Happen . . . Soon!

After nearly two years of ownership, more than six months of planning, and countless nerve-wrecking moments, the new construction of the addition is about to begin!  
  • Yesterday (June 18), we finalized our construction financing.  
  • Today, our construction manager (Darin) and Scott figured out where and when to move the air conditioning unit (it will be done on Friday) so we can continue to use it through the summer. 
  • Tomorrow, the power company is coming out to figure out where and when to move the light/power pole. 
  • Darin told Scott today that they may even start removing top soil from the construction area on Friday!  
After all the dreaming and talking, it's so great to finally see some action!
Stay Tuned for Details!

Camp Family Picnic

When you have a family full of folks that work at some of Omaha's busiest restaurants, it's hard to get everyone together.  Marita took the bull by the horns, taking more than a month to schedule and plan a gathering that all the Camps could attend.  It was the best kind of party - a cook-out where Marita does all the planning and cooking, and I just had to supply the perfect setting (noTTafarm, of course!)
It wouldn't be a party without Miss Sophie in attendance!  
Marita shared her bubble wand with her, and they had a lot of fun.

 Chasing bubbles in 30mph wind gusts was quite a feat!

Crazy Dogs Alert!
We had four large dogs at the party!  Here, Pete's dog Abby seems to get the better of Alex's pup, Que while Wiley wisely stays in the background. 
Having Fun in the Sun
Before the grill got fired up, there was plenty of time to relax, catch up, and play some ball.
 Que and Alex played soccer - of course!
New Friends!
Pat brought along his girlfriend, Kathleen, for her first all-Camp party.  Pat must really like her since he was willing to share the hammock!  Kathleen brought along her pup, Ellie. 
Scott and His Mum
Thanks, Marita, for organizing a great party!
Aunt Katie and Her Favorite Niece
I had to beg Sophie to look at the camera as the sun was annoying her...but she was a good sport.  Katie and Alex will soon be moving to Portland for graduate school.  We sure are going to miss having them so close!
Drive Time
Scott was nice enough to let the boys take turns taking the Ranger for a spin.  They had a great time seeing the sites as they whizzed by at top speed.  Andrew is leaving for Iceland in August for a semester abroad.  That will be quite an adventure!

Despite the 90 degree heat and the windy conditions, the Camp family had a great time, shared some yummy food, and relaxed a bit.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Recap of Lumberjack Days: Sunday Edition

Even though the number of participating Lumberjacks was smaller on Day Two, the enthusiasm continued!  We decided to take it relatively easy on Sunday after everyone worked so hard in Saturday's heat.  The only goal of the day was to round up the tree trunks and pile them together so they would be ready for the sawmill.
First Things First!
Coffee in the shade of the walnut tree. 
LuAnn, Brooke, Allie, Chelsie, Jolene, Monica

The boys used Scott's trailer (pulled by the Ranger) to haul the pine logs to the designated spot east of the house.  They joined two big logs of Osage orange that were cut on New Years Eve.
This group of smarties used every trick they could to wrangle the logs on to the trailer.
Mark, Ray, Chris, Nick, Scott, Tyler
 Sometimes it took some good old-fashioned lifting.
 Lining the bed of the trailer with long pieces of sub-floor helped scoot the second log into place.
Going for a Ride
Gramma LuAnn and Great Uncle Scott took Allie in the Ranger.  She enjoyed watching her daddy through the back window!
Family Portrait
Brooke, Nick & Allie
Locust Lugging
The trunk pieces from the locust tree were too big for the Ranger and Trailer combo.  Dad chained the logs to his truck and dragged them to the pile.  Good thing this portion of the yard will soon be dug up during construction! 
Littlest Lumberjill
The best part about Lumberjack Days is spending time with friends and family!  We have had a lot of fun this past year getting to know Allie Nicole, and can't wait to have her visit noTTafarm again soon.

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!
Construction of the New Addition Soon Begins (at last!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Recap of 2nd Annual Lumberjack Days!

Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, will be a weekend that Scott and I won't soon forget!  We had the chance to show-off noTTafarm's charms to more than 40 people, many of whom worked incredibly hard in 90-degree heat.  It was hard to capture all the activity with my camera, and I'm pretty sure I missed taking photos of some of our guests but the pictures below will give you a great idea of the fun activities!
 The scene was set with the pennant banner hanging on the barn.
The first Lumberjacks to arrive on Saturday were Sara and Kevin.  
You may know them as "The New People" that purchased our Grant Street house.  We're thrilled to now call them "friends!"

Niece Chelsie and her boyfriend Chris came from Kearney with Ray and Jolene.
All the girls pitched in to get Saturday's lunch ready.  I couldn't have asked for a better bunch of helpers!
Sara, Monica, Marita, Jolene, and LuAnn
The first trees to come down were two large but dead pine trees, victims of the pesky pine beetle disease.
Chris, Kevin, Mark, Carl
 Dad notched the second pine on the south edge of our property.
Four generations of Ward women!
Jolene, Brooke, LuAnn, and Allie

The crew made short work of parceling the pine.  
The limbs went into a pile to be burned when the wind is a bit more calm!  The majority of the trunk will be milled into planks.
The Norgards Stopped By!
How wonderful to have a visit from former noTTafarm residents Doris, Janis, and Julie!  Here they are chatting with Jolene and Marita.  They took a tour of the house and gave their approval of the work done, so far.  We can't wait to show them the finished product sometime later this year!
After lunch, the boys started plotting how to take down the locust tree.
Tyler, Chris, Ray, Tim, and Mark
Dad starts by notching the locust.  
A "come-along" was previously tied to the upper part of the tree.  Tim hooked the other end to his truck (Shirley) and provided the tension. This lovely tree was sacrificed to make way for the new great room.

Almost through the trunk.
That's Scott's boss, Ken, in the center of the photo (in the white shirt).  He was a great help!
There it goes!
Note how Ken is skedaddling out of the way!  The tree fell slightly more to the northwest than anticipated.
LuAnn had a great view of the falling tree.

Scott and his trusty Farm Boss helped make short work of the locust limbs.
K-State vs. KU
Being a loyal reader of the blog, Kevin couldn't help but notice my family is full of enthusiastic Kansas State University fans.  He chose his Kansas University Jayhawk hat purposefully to give Mark and the rest of the Wildcats a bit of trouble.
At last year's Lumberjack Days, Brooke kept us wondering when her baby would arrive. This year, we were excited to spend time with our nearly one-year-old great niece Allie Nicole!
Woodchopping Injury Number 8,710  for Ray
Of course, my daddy has to play too rough and require a band-aid or two.
Ray's chainsaw got stuck.  Scott and Tim figured out how to pull the tree with the Escape to loosen the grip. 

After some hard work in the afternoon sun, a cool cup of lemonade hit the spot!  Note my cute "Timber" banner and awesome new Pottery Barn beverage dispenser (it's all about the presentation, after all.)
Stacking Firewood
Mark, Chris, Kevin G., Tyler

Cutest Couple Award Winners!
LuAnn and Mark seem to keep getting younger even now that they're grandparents.
Mom Porch
I set up the south-facing porch to be a nice place for two elegant ladies to spend a summer afternoon.  Probably should have left the squirt guns out of their gift basket!
Marita to the Rescue!
Jolene's victim caught up to her but partner-in-crime Marita was close by to negotiate a release.
Sneak Attack
Marita used the Ranger as a shield to pelt her youngest son with water.
Show Off
Ray split a few logs for good measure.
Scott and Megan
Megan works with me and Scott is a paramedic (luckily, he wasn't there for a professional visit.)  It was great to welcome new friends to noTTafarm!
Posing Brothers
Tyler and Nick were born to work hard . . . and we're happy to take advantage of their work ethic!
Action Shot
Christine and her boyfriend Kevin G. were great helpers!  Must have been their spankin' new gloves that gave them the energy. 

Bubble Time
Beautiful Brenna joined the party late in the afternoon, along with her mommy (Amy B.) and little baby brother, Tripp.  Marita gave her a lesson on how to blow bubbles despite the 15 mph wind.

After a delicious dinner of brats and salads, it was time to organize the desserts.
Chelsie, Amy B., Tripp, Monica
Karli and Aaron
Niece Karli and her boyfriend Aaron joined the party after a busy day.  Karli took her ACT test Saturday morning!

Home Made Ice Cream!
Ray and Jolene were sweet enough to tote their 52-year-old (it was a wedding gift!) White Mountain freezer to Lumberjack Days.  Everyone had to take a turn at cranking, including 3-year-old Brenna.  She got assists from Chris's hands and Tyler's feet.

Brenna and Chelsie
Two of my favorite blue-eyed blondes became pretty close buddies!
Hugs All Around
Chelsie, Brenna, Tripp, and Monica.  Thanks, Amy and Monte, for having such beautiful babies!

Silly Ward Family
Clark (who has grown about a foot taller since last year's Lumberjack Days), Aaron, Karli, Teresa and Tim
"We're All Good Brothers, Each One the Other's Friend"
Two of Scott's UNL Acacia fraternity brothers made it to noTTafarm in time for dinner.  Chris and his wife Lori own an acreage nearby and John and his wife Stephanie were visiting from Atlanta. 
And so ended our Saturday! 
Stay Tuned for a Review of Sunday's Activities!