I wrote a little while ago about how it’s getting colder and about how our indoor fireplace is in need of repair, but I neglected to mention about the outdoor firepit. At the moment it’s just a steal ring in the ground, camping style – but I have big dreams of a nice pit surrounded by an awesome deck, with perhaps a nice wall to block the wind.
Archive for the ‘House’ Category
I like having trees on the west side of our property, because it helps shade the place in summer. Unfortunately, however, these trees are all pretty sick and should probably come down as soon as possible.
The only problem? The neighbors erected a vinyl fence right next to the trees, and knowing the way that tree trunks like to jump when you drop them, I don’t really have the gear or the experience to drop these trees without damaging something. That’s even assuming I can put them down between all the sheds, metal buildings, and our house. Hopefully we can arrange to have someone come out and drop them (who’s insured if they damage something) in the spring.
Not enough to pay for it, mind… but I’m secretly hoping this year at a yard sale someone has an old one wrapped in a box for a couple of bucks. I know enough about them to put one together myself, if given the parts – I’ve messed with alarm systems and done small business phone systems before on an amateur basis – but I don’t want to completely build one from scratch.
It’d be awesome to have an alarm that booped upstairs when the downstairs door opened, or that alerted us to all holy hell if the outside shed opens between say midnight and 6am.
Again though, not enough to pay retail for one.
The next week or so is supposed to be really nasty and cold, and our front porch was empty of wood yesterday so it was about time to unwrap the splitter and pile up some more wood. Have I mentioned lately how much I’m starting to hate the manly art of lumberjacking?
Leave your ephedrine diet pills in the bathroom cabinet, just go out and toss around logs of wood for half a day… it’ll burn plenty of calories on it’s own and you’ll be kinda/sorta warm in winter – awesome!
Trevor split for a while and I stacked it all up on the porch, until we both got sick of doing it and decided why do today what we can put off until tomorrow. After all, Colton will be home and he can help out.
We’ve got at least a week’s worth of wood stacked up, hopefully tomorrow is productive.
Today sucked ass… we got up so early it felt like I didn’t get any rest at all, then we dropped a tree and it flattened some stuff it wasn’t supposed to so we spent ages cleaning it all up, then finally Trevor’s truck caught a flat.
We finally bummed a spare (for some reason, he has an aversion to keeping one in the vehicles he owns), and got back out to drag home the load of wood we’d already stacked on the trailer. There’s still another load on the ground, but we didn’t get it today.
To top it all off, the crap we cut up today wasn’t as dry as I thought it was – it almost certainly won’t season in what little summer we have left, the only stuff that’ll really be of any use to us this winter is stuff that’s been dead a while.
Our pile’s pretty damn big now, but since we’ve only ever bought wood I really don’t know how much it’ll take to last us through the winter. I’d just like to be able to burn as much as we want without worrying… I just want to be “iHop warm”.
We’re not exactly swimming in Christmas party invitations, so our only chance of being as warm as we were that first winter in IHOP (that’s the gist of the story behind that phrase BTW) is if we can get a good hot fire going.
It’s gonna happen, even if I have to cut wood every day of the week for the next month.
Man, I’m wrecked.
We spent literally all day out in the woods – from about 9:30am until just now (6:30PM). I have no idea how much all the wood we got weighs, but if I had to guess I’d say we cut close to 7 tons, and our wood pile is looking absolutely gargantuan. Because we’ve only ever bought wood out here, I have no freakin’ clue how much we’ll need, so I’m still not quite comfortable with the amount.
Tomorrow we’re going to try and kick-ass as well… we dropped a ~90foot tree on friday, and cut it up today, and in a matter of about an hour we’d amassed two entire loads of wood. There’s two more trees out there I want to cut down tomorrow if I can, then I figure we can just spend the entire day cutting it up and loading it, maybe bring home another 4 or 5 tons.
We drank an assload of water, then I came home and had some noodles and a couple sandwiches for lunch. The rate I’m working on stuff these days, well let’s just say I don’t need any weight loss dietary supplements to shed a few pounds. Between cutting wood, karate, and the other pet projects I’ve got going on around the house, I’m barely sitting down at all.
Our old wood stove is looking a little worse for wear, so this morning we dragged it out onto the porch so I could take a look at it. A few of the firebricks cracked and fell out, which resulted in some parts of the metal warping – beyond that, some parts of the interior of the firebox just straight burned out from it being old.
We have some good quality steel that I’ll be able to weld in, and we’ll be picking up all new firebrick for it so it’ll basically be a brand new firebox inside the probably-antique exterior. Of course every wood-burning site on the internet recommends replacing such a dated device with a newer stove, but the fact is for the size of a stove we’d need to heat downstairs… we just plain don’t have the money for it. We would probably need something to the tune of $7-8,000 and we just don’t have that, compared to spending some time and a little money sprucing up the old clunker.
Of course cutting and pulling out bits of metal from inside an old, ashy firebox is ashy work… by the end of the morning my wife couldn’t tell if I just didn’t know how to remove blackheads or if I was just trying to impersonate Hitler. It’s nothing a quick shower couldn’t fix though.
I should get started on welding the new metal firebox in sometime soon, I’m just waiting on the firebrick to get accurate measurements.
We cut and brought home quite a bit of wood yesterday…if I had to guess I’d say probably almost 4 tons of it – no small feat considering we’re working with a tiny little furniture trailer built out of plywood, and the woods we’re cutting at is about 5mi away.
I’ve been waiting on permission to drop some of the dead stuff, which kinda sucks because we’re running out of time if we want it to season properly (it should be pretty dry, the stuff I’m looking to cut down for this winter is basically dead sticks standing straight up)… but we’re cleaning up the crap that’s on the ground first, cherry-picking all the stuff that’s not rotten yet. Some asshole had been through there, cut up a ton of wood and just left it on the ground for a couple of years, unfortunately we only just met up with the people who own the property, and none of it’s any good. There’s literally ricks and ricks of wood on the ground out there that’s all no good whatsoever.
Seeing a bunch of kids cruise by with a huge trailer full of dirt bikes, probably either going or coming back from atv riding gave Trevor an idea that we can hopefully try and work out soon. Instead of cutting up the wood way in the back and carrying it out by hand (the land owners don’t want us clear-cutting any trails through, and I don’t really blame them), we were thinking maybe we could put a cable around long stretches of log and drag it out, then cut it up closer to the trailer.
Alas, we’re still doing it by hand, so we’re trying to concentrate on cleaning up the areas closest to where we can get the trailer. None of the wood is split yet, and some of it probably doesn’t have to be (it’s about as thick as your arm)… hopefully Trevor’s going to organize getting a wood splitter soon because doing all this wood in a week or two with a maul and wedges doesn’t sound fun in the slightest.
Overall though, we had a really successful day yesterday – I’m feeling it today though.
Sometime soon we’re supposed to be taking Nick’s dinky little trailer out to the woods to pick up some more firewood… I think we have almost enough wood to last us through the winter once it’s split, but you can never have too much.
I was supposed to be helping a friend of Shaina’s scrap a trailer sometime soon, and I was going to ask him if I’d be able to hang onto the axles and maybe the hitch, with a goal being to build a decent-sized cargo trailer. It’d take me a while to get it all road-worthy and registered (lights and a floor would be a major expense), but it’d be better than the poor little thing we’re using now (which you can barely squeeze a ton of wood into before it starts squatting).
He can keep the copper kitchen sink, all the lines and the aluminum off the side of it… I just need some structural stuff to start a trailer project. I need to find out what the deal is with regards building a trailer in Indiana, but as I understand it there’s not much involved.
If I could build a nice trailer that we could get four or five tons of wood on, and then just tow it home with my suburban, that’d make things a lot easier.
We sat downstairs in the “great room” (seriously, that’s what it’s called on the deed – it’s about 12′ x 28′ with 10′ ceilings), admiring what little we’d done and talking about the plans we’d like to finally get moving on over the coming winter.
We have about 2/3rds of the ceiling done, and we have the materials to do the rest, but the issue is that I lack a ladder or scaffolding or some other mechanism by which I can safely complete the task.
We’re also wanting to get the walls done, but we lack raw materials for that (drywall sheets mostly)… I’m planning on buying a few sheets here, a few sheets there until it’s done. Then I brought up the subject of sconces.
We need to figure out where we want them, which is easier said than done. Every time we approach the subject of sconces, the topic of conversation always drifts to which particular type we want to put in… “something tiffany”, “gaudy”, blah blah blah. Hours have been wasted either standing in the lighting aisles of Home Depot and Lowes, or pouring over catalogs like Kichler lighting.
But the fact is none of that matters just yet – I just can’t put the drywall up without wiring the holes for them first. We can pick whatever kind we want, or just cover the wires up with wire nuts and electrical tape and wait 10 years to buy them – but I need to know where they need to go before any work can get done.
I think we’ve finally reached a consensus though.