August 19, 2018 – Today we placed the remaining limestone under the new addition. All of the sub-grade stone is complete and the landscape fabric covered! By volume we have moved almost 9 tons of stone. Not to shabby for a weekend.
Started the porch framing but we quit when it started to rain. Even the toads were seeking cover.
In two weeks I will have the balance of the porch addition framing lumber delivered in one shot. Much easier to have it delivered rather than try and haul it in ourselves.
August 18, 2018 – After a quick trip for lumber, some sawing and hammering, and voila, kitchen floor framing complete! The addition is now starting to take shape.
So far I am am very happy with the concrete work. Although the pictures are deceiving and the framing is not conventional the floor is perfectly level. It should also meet the existing floor elevation once we finish it off.
We also managed to get some more of the limestone spread in the area under the porch addition. 3/4 of the way done! Once we have the sub-grade stone complete I will begin the porch floor framing.
August 17, 2018 – This morning Wolfley Excavating delivered 16.8 tons of 2RC limestone. This is for the final sub-grade preparation under the floor framing.
Last week we leveled out the mud piles and placed the landscape fabric. On top of this we will spread a 2 inch layer of this limestone. This keeps us out of the mud and provides for a more finished look under the porch.
We used some 2 inch screeds cut from old 2 × 4’s to help keep us at a 2 inch stone depth. It worked pretty well. Finally, with the stone in place we lightly compacted it with a hand tamper for a more solid layer.
August 12, 2018 – To dress up the area under the kitchen and porch addition we placed landscape fabric. On top of this will go 2″ of limestone. This will serve to keep us out of the mud while framing. It will also keep the weeds from growing under the porch in the future.
With the landscape fabric in placed I continued floor framing with a ledger board under the living room door. The new ledger boards are secured by drilling completely through the existing oak beams. They are bolted from the underside of the cottage with hot dipped galvanized bolts. It’s a little freaky crawling under the cottage. The dreaded Polyphemus moth caterpillar, spiders, hellgrammites, black snakes, copper heads…….I did smell cucumbers!
Late afternoon we got everything all cleaned up and ready for next weekends stone delivery. Plus we did a sneak peek review of the new siding and roof colors. There will be more on that selection later. Stay tuned….
August 11, 2018 – Today we set out to do some frost wall demo. I rented a concrete saw from BestLine Equipment in Mechanicsburg. When we got it to the cottage I realized that it was to big for what we needed to cut. I was not able to get the saw close enough to the top of the wall to make a cut. Because the was too low to the ground I couldn’t cut along the face either.
Plan B was the old 3 lb. hammer and chisel. Fortunately the wall along the front of living room was constructed with large river rocks. Concrete does not stick to river rocks so I was able to easily hammer and chisel 6″ off the top of that section of wall.
I hoped to remove a section of frost wall along the side of the living room for the new kitchen sink drain piping. This wall was all concrete. The saw was to big to cut it and it was to hard to hammer and chisel. Looks like we will re-route the drain line.
After the frost wall demo I continued on the floor framing while Robrandi leveled out and backfilled the low areas. It was still all mud. She used the lawn tractor to smooth it all out. At the end of the day we were ready for landscape fabric and stone.
August 5, 2018 – The kitchen floor framing continued today. The heat index was 102 degrees but it was so humid that the puddles were not even drying up. I was taking it very slowly.
The existing Cot-Taj-Mahal is built on rough cut 2″ × 6″ solid oak beams. I didn’t want to place a lot of additional load on the structure so we poured a line of footers and piers as close to the existing wall as we could. As a result, along the kitchen, I have to transition from a 6″ beam to an 8″ ledger and then to a new 10′” beam. As expected, nothing is square. Gotta love 65 year old structures!
Before I can go any further with the ledger board installation I need to demo part of the frost wall under the living room door. I’m hoping I can cut it with a concrete saw.
August 4, 2018 – This morning we made a run out to the Lewistown Lowe’s for treated lumber to start the floor framing. Yesterday I did a quick takeoff for the lumber I needed to start the floor framing along the kitchen addition. I was anxious to get started with the ledger boards while I had help. Unfortunately when we got back we discovered that the power was out. Son of a bitch!
I called in the power outage to Pennelec. After a short time they returned the call with a status update. It was anticipated that the power would come back on by 1:30 PM. My help could only stay until ,noon so that pretty much shot a hole in my plans!
With the power out I decided to strip the last pier manually with an old time screwdriver and a ratchet. I had to bail the hole out several times but I got it stripped and backfilled.
At 1:05 PM the power came back on. Ahead of schedule, imagine that. The rest of the afternoon I managed to get a small portion of the floor framing completed along the kitchen addition.
August 3, 2018 – Got to the Cot-Taj-Mahal around mid-day. The backyard was flooded, the side yard was flooded and the front yard was flooded. Once again, the rain from the previous week left a muddy mess.
The last concrete pier was filled to the brim with ground water. There were three of four frogs sunbathing along the edge. When I approached they all dove in for a swim.
After exposing some more of the existing floor beams along the kitchen, I decided to just chill out and enjoy the day without slopping around in the muddy mess.
Later in the evening, I had dinner and a few drinks at Wingman Brew N Que. That seems to be our new Friday night haunt. I tried a new beer, Field Trip Series Pineapple Mango by Short Bus Brew House from McClure, Pa. It was pretty good.
On the way back to the cottage I made a stop at Angelo’s Italian Restaurant. Chris who works there makes wonderful Whoopie Pies in all sorts of flavors. He gave me a a few of his new Blueberry-Banana to take with me and that was it for the day.
July 29, 2018 – It is my great pleasure to report that all of the concrete work is done! The family really pulled together this weekend and killed it!
Today we dewatered and poured the last three concrete piers. All of the piers were striped and all of the footings except for one in the back corner are backfilled. Next weekend, after the last footing is backfilled, we will officially start the floor framing.
Once again, I want to thank my hard working construction crew. Without their help we would not have been able to get the concrete work done this weekend. So, in no particular order (but different than the last time), Hank, Henry, Ryan, Angelie, Megan, Troy, Jessie, Phil, Lance you guys are the best crew ever! Thank you all for your hard work this weekend.
July 28, 2018 – Today I turned 60 years young at the Cot-Taj-Mahal in the Land Before Time….. Yea!
When Robrandi asked me what I wanted for my 60th birthday celebration I told her that I just wanted to spend time surrounded by my family. You guys are my joy!
And, thanks to you, we got a whole bunch of work done on pouring piers for the Cot-Taj-Mahal renovation project. It was much more than what I had hoped for.
After working hard all day long we all got cleaned up and headed off to Shy Bear Brewery on the outskirts of Lewistown. We had some good drinks, a wonderful dinner and some awesome homemade Vegan Cheesecake for dessert.
Thanks to Shy Bear for letting us bring in the cheesecake and keeping it in their cooler until it was served.
I also want to thank my beautiful wife and loving family for the great birthday celebration! I am grateful for the presents but even more grateful to have all of you guys in my life.