Temporary Electric Service

Day #52

November 4, 2018 – I worked on establishing the temporary electric service pole all day today. It was slow going but I was able to get the pole set in the ground and braces on. 

In accordance with the Penelec specifications the temporary electric service pole is supposed to be 18′ overall with 3′-6″  buried in the ground. The digging sucked. With the copious amount of rain we have had the minute I stuck the shovel in the ground the hole filled with water. I dug out three and a half feet of evil smelling muck!

Thankfully we still have a pile of limestone in the driveway. I was able to use the stone to backfill instead of the mud I dug out.

At the end of the day everything but the main breaker panel and one temporary outlet were installed. As soon as I can get those installed  I will call for the inspection of the temporary electric service pole and we will get the service transferred.

Temporary Electric Service - Post Hole
The post hole for the temporary electric pole. 3′-6″ deep and filled with water.
Temporary Electric Service - 18" Treated Pole
Bolting together the temporary electric pole. Penelec requires a 4″×6″×18′ pole.
Temporary Electric Service - Weather Head
Installation of the weather head.
Temporary Electric - Service Entrance Cable
Installation of the service entrance cable.
Temporary Electric - Weatherhead & SE Cable
Close up of the weatherhead with the service entrance cable. Penelec requires 3′ exposed for their connection.
Temporary Electric - Setting Pole
Getting ready to set the pole in the post hole.
Temporary Electric - Temporary Bracing
Temporary bracing to hold the pole upright.
Temporary Electric - Final Bracng
Temporary pole installed with final bracing and meter base.
Temporary Electric - Meter Base
Close up of the meter base.
Temporary Electric - Ground Rods
Penelec requires two 8′ ground rods spaced 6′ apart and connected with #8 bare copper wire.
Temporary Electric - Cottage
Temporary electric pole in relationship to the cottage.
Temporary Electric
Electric connection to the cottage. This will be relocate to the temporary pole.

Cottage Winterization Time Again

Cottage Winterization Time

Day #51

October 27, 2018 – Arrived at the cottage this morning at 9:30. It rained all the way from Harrisburg. The sole purpose of this weekend’s visit is for cottage winterization.

Our cottage winterization consists of turning off and draining the hot water heater, draining and blowing out the water lines and placing antifreeze in all the drain traps. This usually takes a couple of hours. It was miserable in the rain but its done.

While waiting for the hot water heater to drain I did some more demolition in the living room. The wood sheathing in the exterior wall to the right of the window is rotting. There is white mold growing in the wall over the window. This window and the rotting wood are going to be removed to make way for a new sliding glass patio door. The sooner the better.

Hopefully it will not rain next weekend. I hope to install a temporary electric pole so the electric can be disconnected from the cottage. This will allow us to take the roof off the old kitchen. Stay tuned.

Living Rom - Front Exterior Wall
While the hot water tank drained I did some more demo on the living room wall.
Living Rom - Front Exterior Wall
Rotting wood and white mold near the living room window.
Living Rom - Front Exterior Wall
Front wall demolition over to and above the living room door.

Solid Bridging Installation

Day #44

September 8, 2018 – I started the installation of 2 × 10 solid bridging between the porch floor joists today.

Solid bridging provides lateral support to twisted joists and it helps them maintain a vertical orientation. It also facilitates load sharing. Load sharing across wooden joists is important because of the large variation in material properties found between the joists.

It rained just about the whole time. It’s been raining for this entire project and it’s getting old! Once it got to heavy I quit for the day. We packed it in an headed to Shy Bear Brewing for dinner and adult beverages.

Hopefully it will stop raining tomorrow and we won’t have another rain delay!

Solid Bridging - Install
Installation of 2 × 10 solid bridging between the porch addition floor joists in the rain.
Solid Bridging - Rain!
Work stopped because of rain.
Solid Bridging - Porch Joists
Wood bridging completed in 8 joist spaces.
Solid Bridging - Porch Joists
Bridging completed in 8 joist spaces. Opposite view.
Shy Bear Brewing
Dinner and drinks at Shy Bear Brewing.

Sub-Grade Stone Is Complete

Day #39

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. 

Sub-Grade Stone Is Complete
Placing the last of the limestone under the porch addition.
Sub-Grade Stone Is Complete - Double Wheel Barrows
Double Wheel Barrows!
Sub-Grade Stone Is Complete
Sub-grade stone is complete and the porch framing is started.
Sub-Grade Stone Complete - Toad
Rain storm, even the toads ran for cover.
Sub-Grade Stone Complete - Floor Framing
View of the new kitchen floor framing from inside the existing kitchen.

Muddy Mess Again

Day #32

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.

Muddy Mess
Rain, rain go away, please come back another day!
Muddy Mess - Last Concrete Pier
The last concrete pier filled with ground water.
Existing Floor Beams
Solid Oak double 2 inch by 6 inch rough cut floor beams with 1 inch rough cut floor planking.
Short Bus Brewhouse
Field Trip Series Pineapple Mango by Short Bus Brewhouse, McClure, Pa. at Wingman Brew N Que.

Frog Pools

Day #28

July 22, 2018 – Last night it rained hard all night long. All the excavated holes were filled with water. It was a giant muddy mess. While the neighborhood frogs enjoyed their new Frog Pools we contemplated our next move. 

I ran out and purchased a sump pump and we basically dewatered all day. Between the sump pump, Fanny’s old green plastic cups and several buckets we managed to get the water levels down a bit. 

In the process we realized the ground water levels were running at about 18 to 20 inches below the surface level. In this situation the holes quickly filled back up even though the rain had subsided. 

One of the holes, between the drain pipe laterals, seemed to fill much more slowly than the others. After deliberating we made a decision to dewater this hole, place a Quik-Tube form, backfill  and pour. As it turned out it was the only pier we were able to pour.

We spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up and covering the excavations for the coming monsoon. 

I’m really hoping that the weather is better next weekend!

Muddy Mess
Rain all night created a muddy mess.
Frog Pools
Excavations filled with ground water.
Frog Pools
Neighborhood frogs enjoying their new Frog Pools.
Sump Pump
Inexpensive sump pump ready to drop in the hole.
Sump Pump In Place
Pump lowered into the excavation.
Sump Pump Discharge Piping
Discharge piping.
Sump Pump Discharge
Covered Excavations
Excavations covered for the week.

Quik-Tube Forms

Day #26

July 21, 2018 – To speed up the construction process I decided to use round Quik-Tube forms at the interior piers.  These are essentially cardboard tubes with a wax like coating. The tubes are placed in the excavated hole, backfilled and then filled with concrete. The trick with this type of form is to keep them as dry as possible during the installation and backfill. Once they encounter water they become soggy and begin to break down.

We placed, backfilled  and poured three Quik-Tube forms and one square plywood form with bagged concrete. This makes a total of seven (7) concrete piers and thirty-five (35) bags of concrete.

The piers that were poured yesterday were also stripped and backfilled. 

The weather is forecast to rain tomorrow. It’s going to be a mess!

Quik-Tube Form
Quik-Tube form is ready to be marked at the proper elevation and cut to length.
Quik-Tube Forms - Mixing Concrete
Hand mixing bagged concrete for a Quik-Tube pour.
Stripping Forms
Stripping plywood pier forms.
Backfilling Piers
Backfilling concrete piers.

Excavating Footings

Day #19

July 5, 2018 – Today was a good day. Wolfley Excavating was back on site to spread stone for an expanded parking area. They managed to get three loads of 2A limestone delivered and spread before the quarry closed for the day

Around 3:30 PM they dropped the bucket on the skid loader and hooked up a 24″ diameter auger. With the auger attached they began excavating the footings.  In a little over 2 hours they completed the remaining 16 footings. 

The drilling went much better than I had expected. There were not too many roots but there was more river rock underneath the living room door. This caused the auger to jump off the marked. We will have to hand dig to correct the location. 

The front yard now looks like a mine field.

Tomorrow we will begin the installation of reinforcing bars in preparation for the concrete pour.

Once again there was a threat of a pop up rain storm. As a precaution we covered all nineteen of the footings.  Thankx to Grammy and Fannie for buying 700 traps off of the clearance rack.

2A Limestone
First load of 2A limestone arrives on site.
Expanded Parking Area
Spread stone in the expanded parking area.
Skid Loader & 24" Auger
Skid loader with 24″ auger attachment digging 3ft deep footers.
Excavating Footer At Living Room Door
Footer excavation under the living room door.


Front Yard Mine Field
After the footers were dug the front yard looked like a mine field.

Hand Dug Footings

Day #18

July 4, 2018 – Today was the start of the footing excavation. We hand dug the first three footers 2′-6″ × 2′-6″ × 3′ deep. Two of them are in close proximity to the underground plumbing. One footing is close to an existing pier that is slightly tilted. We did not want to risk damage to the plumbing or the tilted pier from the digging auger. 

All of the old wood from the porch roof was relocated.  It was moved from the front of the cottage and put in a neat stack by the old shed. We took the rotted picnic table over to the fire pit. There it will await the return of the #arsonsquad.

We turned over the old wooden platform that the picnic table sits on.  After a brief inspection we decided it is in great shape. There is no rot at all, so we relocated it close to the fire pit. It will serve as a stage for future nonsense.

It rained for several hours jeopardizing tomorrows planned parking lot installation. Hopefully Wolfley’s Excavating & Septic Pumping will be on site tomorrow to get it started.

Luckily we had covered the footers prior to the storm. Hopefully the covers will keep them from filling with water so that they can be prepped for the concrete pour.


Hand Dug Footing #1
Hand dug footing between underground plumbing lines.
Hand Dug Footing #2
Hand dug footing near the existing tilted pier.
Covered Footing Excavation
Three hand dug footings covered before the rain storm.