Rafters and Flashing

The rafters are on the second floor now, ready to form the barn's roof. At the bottom edge of the building you'll see tar paper and insulation. Brad has a neat detail where he folds flashing up over the insulation at the top, and it runs deep at the bottom. This allows the soil to be level with the doors but not come up on the siding. The siding will snug down on the flashing top, which has a double fold to prevent any moisture entry.

It's neat! This was a flashing detail he put on our Saratoga house and it worked very well, allowing for a seamless flow from outside to inside.

What you can't see in the picture is the upstairs floor which is completed, glued, nailed and ready for insulation and water proofing. It seems like we've been looking at the same pictures of this building for some time now. Actually, many little details have been completed, they just don't change the looks much. Windows and doors are ordered. Most of the wiring is completed. Bathroom fixtures selected. Roofing priced, with much comparison shopping, and about to be ordered. The construction details are complex and endless.

Brad's been wanting a welder for weeks and weeks now to do the welding required to put up the steel posts. In fact, no welder has been holding us up a bit. I've been searching Craig's List daily but finding nothing suitable. Then, quite out of the blue, a friend delivered one to him. A free welder! It had been left in a Langley home. The new owner didn't need it, and passed it on. It was then passed on again to Brad. Our $1,000 to $1,500 purchase became two Useless Bay Coffee gift certificates. One's gotta love this town.


On the way to the Tandem Rally...

Snoqualmie Pass
Brad and I (and everyone else headed that way) hit some traffic on the ride to Yakima for the tandem rally. We pulled off at the pass for a snack while we watched the traffic crawl by on the freeway below. As you can see, we rode right out under the chairlift to catch our killer view. It was a sweet start to a great weekend adventure.


Whidbey Talent

Keith and Scott of Red Barn Millworks will be milling recycled lumber for our barn's siding, while Casey and Travis work as carpenters.


Biking Jay and "Electrician" Ed

Jay visits on his bicycle. With a start as a hippie builder of the 70's who still works with found objects, Jay loved our site with all the recycled wood, old carriage doors, and metal windows. It took him back to the days on Whidbey when all the young imports from California were building their own homes. He remembers it as a high energy, creative time on Whidbey.

Ed focuses on putting up lights in the work shop area.



Today the City of Langley's building inspector, Bob Snyder, inspected the barn. Here Bob and Brad debate the brackets to support the posts. They both love structural puzzles. We are lucky to have Bob for Langley's inspector as he's a pleasure to work with and exceedingly knowledgeable.

This & That

One last view of the barn before the roof goes on. Plus, Brad has figured out a new bike rack arrangement. This week has been studying this, planning that, ordering something else, all in preparation for a couple of big changes. Soon! These big changes will be the barn roof and the main house/guest house retaining walls.

Just think of the new photo opportunities!


Grace visits Grace

Steve, with new puppy, Grace visits the job site on Grace Lane. Grace and Annie ran and jumped and twisted and turned through all the construction piles, with Annie, now 9, giving Grace quite the run. Brad and Steve pondered the task of getting the huge beams up to the top of the barn so the roof can begin.


Our Neighborhood Circle

As I stood on our barn's joists today I looked south at Dianne's home. Turning clockwise, I then saw Kumi & Sheila's home. Continuing to turn, I saw Jim & Rebecca's home, followed by Shirley's home, and then Judy's to the west. Next, looking more to the north we see Laurie & Fred's roof, and then Eric & Rose's home. Once I'm looking east I look down on Decker Avenue to Jason's home. That's the full circle of our neighbors. It's interesting that access to these homes is from Grace Lane, Cork Lane, Edgecliff and Decker, yet we all share a common neighborhood.
Brad and Joe Greene left Bellingham early this morning to climb Mt. Baker. Ed and I began the day with a 32 mile bike ride and by the time we finished our ride it had started to rain lightly. I went to the site and did a little painting. By the time Ed arrived, it was raining with great vigor. Before we were able to accomplish much, it was pouring cats & dogs and we ran for home. I'm hoping Brad and Joe aren't in a whiteout blizzard on the mountain.


Kumi & Sheila

Jim & Rebecca



Fred & Laurie

Eric & Rose



Many Tasks...

Wiring by Chris, Ed & Fran this past weekend

Brad's great cable detail for the carriage doors

Huge sawhorse to hold barn beams while preparing them for use

One of Chris' fine electrical diagrams

Tom & AT visit

Today there was a flurry of activity on site. Brad, Travis and Austin worked at more wood cleaning; pouring footings for the iron supports for the barn roof; and securing the ends of the carriage doors. I ran around -- Sebo's, Hanson's, Copy This Mail That; Senior Thrift; Frontier Building -- pricing one thing, picking up something else, and doing one little task after another. Later, once on site, I worked a little, with lots of Brad's assistance, on installing can lights in the barn's bedroom. Clearly, this was another day with too few hours or is it a way too long list?


Brad takes a day "off"

Airin here...
Brad came up to Bellingham to spend the day working on his motorcycle with his Dad. I took a quick picture when I was home for lunch. It's now dark and they're still out there wrenching away.


Tricks with Photography

Ed # II

Eric came over to the building site with his high tech digital single lens reflex camera. Eric is a programmer you know. He has a remote flash that triggers when the camera flash fires. Quite foxy. So he stuck his remote flash up in the joists between the first and second stories and attempted to take pictures of Brad working on top. Time of Day: near dusk. Clearly a challenging time to take pictures. Here are the three best.

Note: You can click on the images in the blog to see them in larger format. I just found that trick out yesterday. Nice to have Fran around to show me all the nifty things computers can do. :-)

This one is my favorite. Blow this one up by clicking on it and you can see that Brad's eyes are closed. Good carpenter!

Thanks Eric.

Mother's Day!

A long day of site work -- electrical and recycled lumber preparation mostly -- leaving us all tired and satisfied. Both Ed and I know we aren't high level workers because our skills are not strong. Nevertheless, we love the process and are thoroughly enjoying our close involvement in the project. We're also pleased to have such a full and hands on understanding of how our new home is going together.
Mother's Day was celebrated with a break at noon for a huge breakfast with my two favorite guys --Ed & Brad -- plus Chris and Scotty, whose mothers are far away. Lucky me to have two extra "sons" for the day.

Dean Enell gloves up for loading his truck with a few pieces of recycled lumber for his new Goss Lake home.


Electrical begins

Today Chris started wiring the barn's bedroom and bath, and was my teacher along the way. I'm hoping to learn enough about the electrical layout and wiring mechanics to be a participant in this part of the building project. My ignorance on the subject of how we wire our homes is stunning. However, that means increasing my knowledge won't take much. Chris is a good teacher! He created little drawings of switches and outlets on the walls to help explain the basics to me and for reference as I struggle along with simple tasks. Some day a future owner will open the walls for remodeling and find these fine works of art.

Scotty and Brad work on a footing for a structural post for the barn's roof. Another major job site task today was cleaning up the recycled lumber. Brad also made several hugely strong sawhorses to handle the weight of the beams he needs to work on.


Bicycle Visitors

Inspection of the site by bicycle visitors Richard & Christine.


Yet More Gleaning!

A truck full of 18' recycled 2x8's being
unloaded by Austin, Travis & Brad.

The pile of lumber grows...

And grows...

This full truck of recycled lumber arrived from Tacoma at 9:00 this morning. With non-stop work it was unloaded by noon. Each 18' piece is very heavy. Also there were beams made up of six boards nailed together. They were really heavy!
As often happens, when we receive or pick up used materials, it is overwhelming. The beauty of the purchase is in the saving of good materials for reuse. The part that's hard is all the work needed before it is in a condition to use. Nails need to be pulled. Rough, broken, or split sections must be cut away. It needs to be graded -- junk, so-so, or top notch. Plus, it's usually very, very dusty or dirty and needs to be steel brushed or washed. So even though the price is right (in this case, $3/board for the junk, and $8/board for top notch), it doesn't represent the total price. Nevertheless, the value is well worth the work because this lumber is outstanding. Few knots and tight grain that one rarely sees in a lumberyard these days, and certainly not for the price we paid, even with our labor costs. Today though, as we look at the mountain of lumber in the driveway, both Brad and I groan and turn to other tasks. It's just too much for now. Tomorrow we'll deal with it.

Dressing up the carriage doors

These doors need to be painted!

Let's see, what color?

Red it is...

Connecting the Side Walls

The wall between the walls happened yesterday.


Carriage Doors

Austin, Travis and Brad have just muscled the carriage doors onto the tracks. The doors will close off the shop to protect our tools.

Brad sliding, adjusting & oiling the doors. Tonight our tools will be a bit more secure.

What a strange look we have right now with the roof-less-barn looking like some weird bird about to take off.

The Barn

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.
Charles Dickens

Perhaps Dickens grasped the reason this project is so special to us. It is our creation, and we're constructing it as a family. Now, two walls on the upper floor of the carport are up. For the City of Langley and permitting purposes, this building is called the sleeping wing. For us it's been called the carport all along, because it is just that, and more. But, really what I call it most of the time is the barn. So that is what it will be from here on out for me -- the barn.
Somehow, this "barn" building is developing a personality that's got a life of its own. The neighbors exclaim over it's strange appearance, as well they should. It is very unusual at this stage of construction. Once the roof goes on it will make a great deal more sense, but for now, we'll have to agree with all the comments we're receiving -- weird, strange, what? -- and trust that our vision is right on!


Big Beam #1

Airin here...
As the sun was setting on Friday, Brad and Scott were raising this monster recycled beam for the front of the carport. I was so absorbed in watching this amazing process, I forgot to bust my camera out and take pictures until after it was up. Fortunately I came to my senses and snapped a few pics while they were fine-tuning it.

Chris showed up shortly after and helped Brad check the bolts.

A New Dimension

The site has a new poster boy :-). This is Ed signing in after several invitations from the head site mistress.

We have a new dimension on our first building. The second story has started and my mind has turned over once again. As Fran says, people don't necessarily read blueprints all that well. It's taller than I had imagined even though I knew the dimensions.

Brad, Chris and Scotty have just raised the North side of the new second story. Notice that it's not as wide as the first story. In fact it's a weird story. A three foot storage space on Brad's side and another three foot space on Scotty's side, that's all there is. We are leading into this year's version of the outdoor sleeping area where Scotty and Erin are sitting. Our friends raise their eyebrows when we tell them our square footage (815 sq. ft.) and follow that with the assertion, "Don't worry, it sleeps twelve."

Frances has been doing most of the camera work, so you don't see her in very many of the pictures. She's really always there. The next shot is a proof of presence shot. That's her.... The hole in the wall, according to Brad, is a cat door. Fran says its to run wood through when we need to cut something on the chop saw that's inside the tool shed. The photo of Fran is decidedly not official, however, because she doesn't have her hard hat on.

We have a relatively well organized construction site which, nonetheless, looks somewhat like a mess. Back in one corner of the property we have our tent trailer set up with its new awning simulating a back porch. I was kidding with the neighbor about trailer trash moving into the neighborhood. The project is becoming a neighborhood center. Fred Gisler pops over from time to time because he is fascinated with what Brad is doing. Our neighbors to the north, Rose, Eric, Ben the wonder kid, and baby Timothy stop over from time to time. Eric took a bunch of photos using a remote flash unit he hung from the joists. Dianne, our neighbor to the south, is on site one or more times per day to get advice from Brad on projects of her own. Her son has been doing some work for Brad. And Judy, the recipient of the trailer trash comment, peers over whenever she is home, usually offering up a cheery hello. One of our reasons for liking this site is its community feel and community is happening. Other members of the Cork and Grace Lane cul de sac have stopped by to routinely check us out. One in particular, whose name is John Carlson, errrrr, Jim Sundstrom, errrrr, I can't believe I have mis-introduced him to other folks at least five times, has become my memory nemisis. Fortunately, he doesn't seem to mind too much.