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Owner-Builder Journal Entries

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/21/2017 8:46:47 AM

So the landscaper hadn't shown up for a few days.  Got in contact with him and it turns out he had emergency surgery.  Will be out of commission for 6 weeks.  Nothing on this build has gone smoothly.  Obviously, the fellow couldn't help this, but it shows just how quickly things can turn.  I'm going to have to hire someone else to clear the area for the propane tank and dig the hole for the hot tub.  I'll give the excavator a call this morning.

Meanwhile the rock guy is back this week working on the window sills.  They are coming out pretty nicely. He might be done by Friday if the weather holds.  Sandra is moving along on painting.  We've had an issue with the sprayer in that it is not putting out a uniform pattern.  There are two heavier streaks along each side.  We've thinned, gone to a larger nozzle, cleaned and recleaned everything, but we can't get it fixed.  So it's been a combination of spray the first coat, roll over it while wet, and roll the second coat.  

The trim for the garage door has been stained and sealed and I hope to begin work on getting that up soon, as well as the fascia - which due to Sandra deciding to paint, hasn't gotten up.  I can't say she shouldn't paint though as it really has a great mental effect, seeing something that makes such a big change really makes you understand things are getting a bit closer to the end.

The insulation of the attic spaces will be done by a sub.  I have always, always done my own insulation, but this will save three days of time.  One day to haul a large trailer to Santa Fe to pick up the material, one horrendously long day to blow 50 bags, and a third day to retun the equipment.  For an extra $1200 it's done and we can keep doing other things.  In prep for the insulation, I'll be finishing off the last of the ductwork in those areas.  Still waiting on a water heater I ordered weeks ago online, so I can run the intake and exhaust vent for that through the attic, but I did set the air ventilator yesterday and as soon as I pick up some more ducting, will finish that work up there.

Posted to MesaBarnHouse by Amanda in Mesa, AZ on 9/20/2017 9:41:05 PM

Concrete company was a few days late. They got the ABC spread on Saturday. Monday-Wednesday they finished prepping for concrete. We also got termite pretreatment today. Inspection is tomorrow and hopefully we will pour on Friday. In the next few days we will make call the framer to finalize plans and order a dumpster. Coming along slowly but surely!

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/15/2017 9:13:53 AM

Finished running the decking but need to set the last couple of railing posts that sit against the house.  Should have that all done today.  If Sandra can climb onto the Skytrak this weekend, she can lift me in the basket and we can run the fascia, which came in this week.  

When we went to get the Fascia at HD, we picked up another 25 gal of primer (that makes 100 gal) as well as another 30 gallons of color.  Sandra had run oit of primer and the painting came to a halt.  

Storeroom floor was epoxied yesterday, we bought heavy-duty shelving and can begin setting that and doing more organization.  We also bought three base cabinets and a 10' countertop for the garage workshop.  I've already set shelving there and loaded it with the stuff from the trailer.  It is sooooo nice to be able to find things!  

The ceiling on the third floor curved porch still needs to go up, and I think I'll get someone to do that.  It'll take two people to get the T&G together, and it'll be on scaffolding.  Something that should be fairly inexpensive to get someone to do, and take that off my plate, while I take care of other stuff getting the house buttoned up.  

Landscaper is working on the patio, but it takes time to transport the stone, and then get it set.  He tore a hydraulic hose off the excavator yesterday. Looks pretty serious as to where it came off.  That may slow things.  But as long as he gets it finished before the snow flies, we'll be fine.  Speaking of which, the resort people came by yesterday, bleeding the snowmaking lines ??!  Yes winter is coming!


The patio is slowly progressing. The rocks are massive!
I love the door step!

Posted to MesaBarnHouse by Amanda in Mesa, AZ on 9/13/2017 12:59:56 PM

Plumbing was finished and we had the inspection approval on 9/7. We spent the weekend burying the plumbing trenches. Concrete contractors are a few days behind and are now supposed to start today. They still think they will be complete this week and ready for inspection Monday 9/18. We have picked a pest control company to treat for termites and I need to make an appointment for them to come out on 9/18.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 9/10/2017 3:35:35 AM

The roofer finally finished everything this Friday.  The rest of the soffits, fascia and gutters.  So good to see it all done, no wood showing, all covered in bronze-colored steel to match the roof.  A totally finished, maintenance-free system.  One less subcontractor on the project.  There is only the landscaper, who has just started his work, and the stone guys finishing the work they started long ago.  Haven't heard from them for weeks, and haven't bothered calling them. 

I've been trying to finish off running the decking.  Close to doing so but got nothing done on them last week. Will try to wrap that up Monday and Tuesday. Then I need to begin the railings soon. 

 Winter is not far away.  Getting close to freezing some nights now, and the aspens are beginning to change color.  Which reminds me, I need to think about getting the attic spaces insulated and get the furnaces set, propane installed.  Argh! So many things!

Sold the cargo trailer we bought for storage on the Mutton Busting project in Nashville, and had to empty it into the garage.  So I'm trying to get that organized with some shelving.  (Something always gets in the way of the work at hand!).

Got the large storeroom painted and will prep the floor for epoxy.  Sandra's been out of commisssion the past 4 weeks from surgery, but late this week she began priming the walls on the second amd third floors.  She was going stir crazy at home and been itching to get on to the painting.  So a few hours each day helps her attitude greatly!

There is never a dearth of things to do! Oh so I wish!


Look closely and hou can see the new fascia on the roof. Totally blends with the roof and beams
Terraced hill and steps on the back side of the house leading up to the thord floor level
The entire back, located at the third level, will be a patio made of these massive flat stones

Posted to MesaBarnHouse by Amanda in Mesa, AZ on 8/30/2017 6:15:46 PM

We closed on the loan! Woohooo! But since the bank had us on stop work, nothing happened at the property... booooo. Plumber is still scheduled for 9/1-2, then we will have the inspection on 9/5. The plumber told us that the concrete people will bury his trenches, but the concrete guy said they don't because they don't want to be liable. So, we decided we will be out there on the weekend of 9/9 filling trenches! Concrete guys are supposed to be back out on 9/11, ready for inspection on 9/18, and pour on 9/19. Framers are all lined up and already ordered material. They will be out 9/25. Crossing my fingers everything goes to plan.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/25/2017 11:49:03 AM

Leach lines were put in this week, and the area backfilled.  The only thing left is to set the pump and alarm.  Those will be done today. Finally!  We upped the size of the system by 30% to help ensure we have sufficient capacity during rental season.  Better to err on the side of caution.  Meanwhile, I've run some decking, but have spent the past couple days epoxying the garage floor.  Having to do it in sections, two coats needed so it'll take a week total.  But it is coming out nicely, with the exception of dirty dog tracks on one area.  Paint and cement - dogs seem to love both! 


All the equipment the septic installer has up there for the job. It includes a hammer as they ran into rock at one end
Leach field going in. There are five 60' lines
Garage floor getting epoxied. It'll be so much easier to clean than cement, and impervious to oils and chemicals
Aside from the single dog print, the others are bear. These was in the leach field area at the back of the house

Posted to MesaBarnHouse by Amanda in Mesa, AZ on 8/23/2017 11:08:51 AM

The bank told us we had to stop all work at the property until we close the loan. GRRRRRR. We are supposed to sign the closing documents tomorrow and then we can turn everything back on. Plumbing came out and dug the trenches, but that is all they did before the stop work. The plumber can't come back out until 9/1, so looks like we will be on hold for another week. We met with the framer this week, and they should be able to start when we need them to. Right now we are guessing that will be 9/18.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/19/2017 12:23:45 PM

Although we had a great week of weather, the septic is not finished. I admit that digging oit and redoing the pump tank was not easy, but it still seems like everything is in slow motion.  The septic tank is set, the pump tank has sewer line run into it again and it has been backfilled and compacted. The leach lines need to be dug and installed, and the forecast for next week is rain.  We'll see what happens.

Meanwhile, I have been working on the garage getting it prepared to epoxy the floor. The walls are primed and the ceiling primed and painted.  I used an airless sprayer, but between the 12' ceilongs and simply the size, ot took several days.  Caulking the control joints with urethane caulk and etching the floor.  The caulk has to cure for a week before coating so hopefully next weekend I can begin the epoxy.  As the caulk cures, I'll head back to decking and a couple other things.  No shortage of jobs to do for sure.


Poly septic tsnk.
Tank set waiting for pea gravel and backfill
Area above the pump tank, graded and compacted
Equipment brought up for the job. Quite a load!

Posted to MesaBarnHouse by Amanda in Mesa, AZ on 8/16/2017 11:58:08 AM

Stem walls have been inspected, poured, and they started taking the wood frame down. Plumbing has not started, but we are planning on it to start and be complete this week. The appraisal came back and it was where we needed it to be. The insurance company was a nightmare trying to get the correct documentation for the bank, but I think we are good now and should be closing our loan within the next week. Things feel like they are going slow, but I guess that is ok because we don't have the loan finalized, but hopefully in the next few weeks the loan will be done and we can really start moving.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/14/2017 9:56:48 AM

A change in the weather is beginning to occur here. While many places in the country are still sweltering fall is beginning to creep in.  While we didn't see it, friends said there was snow Friday in the higher elevations.  The sun takes longer to show up and evening comes earlier.  

Forecast shows the the rain should abate somewhat this week, which is definitely needed.  Friday we got another two inches, drenching the work that finally started on the septic.  The rain all week pushed the start to to Friday and that became a short day.  As half the roof is draining into the area that was excavated it has gotten really soggy. Hopefully it has dried out enough they can continue today.

Drywall guys should finish today. They have to sand half the garage and touch up some sanding at various spots around the house.  This weekend I got primer on the half of the garage they had finished.  I also hauled the two large cans of spray foam up the the two attic spaces and crawing through the trusses, being careful not to fall through the ceiling, got most of the areas where the drywall meets a wall, inside and outside walls, sealed.  Also sealed all of the can lights, bath fans and ceiling fan boxes.  It was shocking as to how much light from below I could see around those fixtures.  Dollars of heat wasting away if not sealed up.

Garage floor paint will arrive this week.  With the weather forecast looking pretty good and a bit warmer, I'll try to get some of that knocked out.  While that cures, I'll get back to the decking, which slowly is beginning to get done.  

Posted to MesaBarnHouse by Amanda in Mesa, AZ on 8/8/2017 10:34:01 AM

More like 3 years + 1 week lol, but since I am only referring to the building of the house we will call it week 1. Attached are the house elevations and floor plan. These aren’t the final copies, we actually had a few changes, but they are the only ones I have on this computer. We didn’t like the cut of the roof in the back, so that changed and we added on a walkway across the back connecting all the patios. The inspector came out and approved the footers and we had them poured on Friday. Next step is the stem walls and they are hoping to have them approved/poured by the end of this week. We also have plumbing starting this week. We have 2 electricians we are talking to, we need to officially pick one. Then, they will need to stub in for the island (I think that is the only thing they need to do before foundation is finished). We are still waiting to hear back from the bank about the appraisal. If all goes well with that, then we should be good to go with the loan.


Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/7/2017 12:34:00 PM

Sandra and I worked on attaching the aspen around the underside on the curved roof, perimeter only at this point.  The Skytrak forklift has been a godsend on this entire project for nearly everything and everyone, us, the framer, the roofer, the stucco guys.  With its 54' reach, and ability to tilt, it has been able to get into a lot of places I wouldn't have thought it could.  Saturday, Sandra operated while I was in the basket 40' up, nailing T&G to the underside.  A bit scary, especially as we had to tilt it somewhat as we extended further out.  Not particularly a good thing to do, but all went well and it's ready for the roofer to finish his job - whenever he comes back, which may now be a couple of weeks.

In order to finish the entire underside, we need to erect scaffolding on the porch, so we got back to decking on Sunday.  Hopefully I can get that ready by the weekend and finish off the underside.  


Where no man has gone before - well not quite. But the outside edge is what we needed the skytrack to be able to work on attaching the soffit.
View from 40'. The left side of the soffit will get covered with the fascia the will wrap around.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/5/2017 2:46:33 AM

The hangers have finished the living spaces and moved into the garage today.  They will finish that in another day and a half.  Tapers ran the third floor today, finished some mud and sanding on the second floor. I assume they'll start the garage after the weekend.  So by the end of next week, they should be finished!  When that's done, I've got to think about painting the garage floor and storeroom.  It may seem simply ridiculous, but it's not that long a job, and it has to be done in warm weather.  We're starting to park cars in there, a couple of which drip a bit of oil.  Would rather protect the floor now, than wait until next year.

Gotten back to running decking this week.  Been thinking that in order to get and occupancy permit, all of the safety things need to be done.  Railings to be specific.  Both on the decks and the stairs.  Inside stuff-baths, floors cabinets can be done in when the weather turns colder.  Decks and railings are better done while it's warm.  And we have the deck material. So among answering questions for the hangers and roofers, we went back to the decks.

But tomorrow, we get pulled off on another job.  In order for the roofer to get the soffit and fascia on the curved section, we need to get the T&G attached to the underside. So we'll attempt that tomorrow around the perimeter using the Skytrak in a not so simple setup.  We'll see. As soon as he finishes the curved section, he's done!

The framer's workers came back today to get the remaining knee braces underneath the exterior timber trusses on the east side.  The two have been in the garage since last fall.  Took less than half a day and really finish off that end of the house. So the framer has finished his obligations.  Slowly getting through the subs.


Great room finally with drywall and tape
Second floor kitchen and great room
Main kitchen which os on the third floor. The ceiling here will be T&G aspen. Hasn't been taped yet in this photo

Posted to TheHoskensProject by Brian in Dome-ville, FL on 8/3/2017 11:09:05 AM

We recently installed ring brand security cameras near the dome. I had fun with this unsuspecting deer 


Posted to MesaBarnHouse by Amanda in Mesa, AZ on 8/2/2017 2:37:02 PM

Well, not sure how we got here, but sometime 3 years ago my husband had a brilliant idea to sell our home and build a custom home on a decent size property with my parents. Here is what has happened in the last 3 years… July 2014 – We sold our house and moved into with my parents June 2015 – We bought our 4.4 acre property (with my parents) August 2015 – My husband and I (and our 2 small children) moved into a rental .5 a mile from the property October 2015 – My parents listed their house for sale March 2016 - My parents sold their house April 2016 – We started working with an architect to make our plans Summer 2016 – Worked with a civil engineer to plan our property (we have a decent size wash that runs through the middle of our property) August 2016 – Initial plans are complete and the plans go to structural engineering November 2016 – We submit our plans to the county to get a building permit. March 2017 – After going back and forth with the county several times we get our building permit! Also, our well is dug! Sometime along the way we borrow a tractor to clear the land and we get a lot of dirt delivered (for free! From a company doing work a few miles away). May 2017 – My husband and I buy a shed for mother’s/father’s day (what an exciting gift!) to hold the well equipment. We have the pad compacted. June 2017 – We had some financial hold ups trying to decide if we would put the loan in our name or my parents, but we finally work it out and we apply for the loan July 2017 – We get “credit approved” and are working with the bank to finalize our owner builder loan. We hire the foundation contractor and they started marking off the house and digging footers. Of course right after we broke down we got a ton of rain! So now here we are in August 2017. People have been asking me for the last 1.5 years when we think we will be done and my answer is always a year lol…. Hopefully now I can realistically say a year and it be true! The inspector is supposed to come out today to look at the footers and then if all goes well they will pour them tomorrow. Goals for this month 1. Finish the foundation 2. Hire the framer 3. Finalize the loan Picture is from when they were compacting the pad, I need to get an updated one.


Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 8/2/2017 8:02:03 AM

Been a bit since my last post as friends came to visit and we've taken time out with them.  But things have been moving along.  The hangers finally made it up and have done the 2nd and 4th floors and should finish the third floor today or tomorrow.  Tapers have been doing their thing as well.  Depending on whether they work the weekend, the drywall on all four floors should be finished by the end of next week.  That would be fantastic! The house looks totally different as the drywall goes in.  Unlike the Mutton Busting project in Nashville though, it doesn't seem as earthshaking.  Perhaps because of the size, and that thay take a couple of days for each area, the change is a bit more gradual. Obviously it is a huge change, though and it is wonderful to see the spaces better defined.

The roofers finished completely permanently drying in the place late last week.  They are currently working on soffit and fascia, which seems to be moving along well and faster.  They need to finish the backside today as the septic begins to go in tomorrow and we won't be able to bring the Skytrak back there again for fear of crushing the septic lines.

I haven't been able to find anyone to do the t&g on the porch, the perimeter of which need to be done for the soffit on that end of the house, so Sandra and I will attempt to run those edges using the Skytrak this weekend.  Going to be tricky as there isn't really much area in which to place the beast, but we'll try.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/22/2017

The hangers were supposed to start on Tuesday, but the owner stopped by and said they had just started another job and it would be three days out.  Yesterday I called and he said they would be here on Monday, a week late from what we had originally agreed upon.  I'd normally be pretty upset, but actually it gave us some breathing room to finish taking care of items that needed o be done.  It looked like we were going to be just one step ahead of the hangers, but this delay allowed us to finish (and find more things to finish) in a more relaxed manner.

The fellow that will spray foam the ceiling of the garage came by Thursday to look things over.  He'll do half on Monday and half on Tuesday.  We've got to cover things up from overspray and that will take some effort, moving stuff from one half to the other and covering the floor as well.
The roofers have nearly the entire roof finished and dry, just one section left.  The curve is done and it looks great as well as the soffit and fascia on the gable above it.  So, things are progressing.   I've got to quickly find someone to place the T&G aspen on the underside of the curved porch roof, so the roofers can run fascia there.  I'd do it, but it is way high off the ground and would rather not. Roofers have several days left to get to that point, but if I can't get it done, it may postpone the final date.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/18/2017 12:17:39 PM

Yesterday morning the sheetrock arrived on a bobtail and trailer, with five guys to unload it.  One operated the crane, while the others pulled it off onto a cart and placed it against walls in the house.  The hangers started another house and will be delayed until Thursday, but that's ok, we've got plenty to do in preparation with adding the rock wool in the ceiling for soundproofing and fiberglass in the walls for sound dampening.

The roofer showed back up as well, and actually waited through an afternoon rainstorm to then continue working until late.  I'm very glad for that as we need to get it totally in the dry. He is expecting to start the curved roof this afternoon, and finish by Thursday before they leave. Finally!

And the mechanical guys finished roughing in the ducts and vents for the furnaces.  We are slowly but surely getting set for drywall and by Thursday will be ready for them to start.


Soundproofing the second floor ceiling
Sound damping the walls between bedrooms and common areas as well as bathrooms and common areas using fiberglass insulation
Sheetrock unloading with crane

Posted to TheHoskensProject by Brian in Dome-ville, FL on 7/16/2017

 Got the damaged ceiling drywall replaced, and after having some preliminary reading testing done we found out that the Dome is very tightly constructed.   However, if we open all the windows and air out the place the radon is completely gone.  We have an electronic meter to keep track of the one day, seven day, and long-term average radon concentration.  


Close up

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/15/2017 12:48:06 PM

Got the final two inspections that were necessary before the drywall goes in - framing and mechanical.  Drywall comes Monday and they need to haul 64 sheets from the third to the fourth floor before they begin.  Meanwhile, the mechanical guys need to finish cutting in a return air grill the goes through a wall on the fourth floor.  So we'll play a little dance between them and the drywall crew. 

As the roof isn't fully dry as we wait on the roofer, we'll stagger where the drywall gets put up, probably moving from one floor to another and back again.  The job is large enough that we should be able to keep the crew occupied the whole time and hopefully the roofer can get everything in the dry by the end of the week.  Trouble is there is rain in the forecast for every day next week.  But normally we can get through about 3 o'clock before it moves in.

I'm still working on things that need to be finished as well, creating a new punch list and working through it.  Sandra's been insulating interior walls for abatement.  We ordered  three pallets of rock wool insulation for soundproofing the ceiling of the second floor, but after two weeks, HD still hadn't shipped it.  So I cancelled the order and we'll head to Albuquerque Sunday to pick it up. That's another thing that has to be installed before sheetrock. But again it'll be a dance with the rockers.

I can't wait to see the drywall go on.  It totally changes the look of everything and it now finally begins to look like a home inside.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/13/2017 8:40:41 AM

I'm getting peeved at the roofers as this thing drags out.  They worked three days the first week, didn't work the second week as they were supposed to finish the job in Artesia after the holiday, but didn't. Left yesterday afternoon for Artesia after 2 1/2 days here. And while they are here, the first sprinkles of rain and they quit for the day.  Like yesterday, ten drops of rain, they quit and it didn't start raining for real until evening.  Arggggh! The one one thing that did happen this week was the long panels got curved yesterday. Finally!  So if they can get them up early next week, the excavator can begin work on fixing the issue with the pump tank and put in the septic.  Sheetrock is to begin next week, and we are going to have to work around the roofers lack of finishing, putting in rock where he has finished (4th floor) and areas of other floors directly below.  It'll take a while for the rock so hopefully the roofer can catch up.

Meanwhile, the heating ducts are still going in.  The guys are doing a good job, especially as it is all a tight fit in the floor trusses, especially considering the framer had reversed many of them.  Same issue I had with plumbing, except the ducts are a whole lot larger.  Fortunately, slope is not an issue like it is with plumbing.

I'm having to get involved in the duct work to some extent, cutting the couple of trusses where they needed to be, and making the stands for the furnaces.  Been running the bath vent lines where they will soon be covered by drywall, which has required reopening holes that I tried to create last year in the concrete wall when they poured, but got crushed from the weight of the concrete.  Nothing is easy on this job.

Got hold of the fellow who will sprayfoam the garage ceiling.  I told him a couple weeks ago I'd be ready, but he never ordered the material.  Glad I got hold of him again yesterday.  I hope that doesn't slow us down.  And I ordered three pallets of rock wool soundproofing from Home Depot two weeks ago.  It still hasn't shipped.  I need that in order to drywall the second floor.  All of these issues with subs and suppliers not holding to their timeline is driving me absolutely crazy.  I know I could not be a GC for a living.


curving the roof panels using a forming machine
Finished panels ready for installation and I'm ready to get them off the freaking ground!

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/10/2017 12:54:01 PM

Sandra and I both thought that she would be able to tackle the decking job, but alas, it wasn't to be.  Takes two p[eople and a lot of patience.  First trying to lay it all out when the deck wasn't built as square as it should have been by the framer.  Second, it uses plastic clips that get screwed down and interlock with two boards.  That takes time in itself.  But we got one side mostly done yesterday.  I've got to get back to the things that need to be done before sheet rock, but we're happy with the way the deck is turning out!


Pretty dirty from paw prints and footprints, but should wash off just fine

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/9/2017 1:26:59 PM

Drywall is scheduled to be delivered a week from tomorrow with the hangers coming the following day.  The schedule is geting tight on things that need to be done before that happens - the HVAC fellow needs to run the ducts and set the plenums and run makeup/exhaust lines for the furnaces, I have to put in the bath exhaust runs, I have to finish the kitchen makeup air lines, and run the makeup/exhaust line for the second floor water heater.  Inspections have to occur as well, both mechanical as well as structural and insulation.  It reminds me of all those home shows where there is a deadline and the designers are racing at the end to get the house finished before the homeowners move back in.  Well, we are far from completion, but the timing and stress is similar.

HVAC guys were out yesterday to review the scope, and look at how they wanted to finish running the ducts, position of the furnaces and see what materials they needed and what I already had on hand.  They'll be back today to start - GOOD!  After I get Sandra started on a project, I'll work on finishing the kitchen air makeup ducts.  I set the third floor outside vent for that duct yesterday, now that the stucco is done, gluing it in place with polyurethane caulk, which works great as a rubbery glue.  That way there are no nail holes that may leak and let water into the structure.  It'll be set well enough today to attach duct to it and finish the job.  Finish attaching the low voltage electrical lines to the damper and transformer and that job will be done.

The project that Sandra is starting is the decking.  That arrived on Thursday and what an ordeal that was!  All along, we had planned on using composite decking instead of real wood.  We are trying to reduce maintenance on this house to a minimum, and real wood requires far too much, especially in this climate with the very high UV we receive.  That thought was verified this week as we visited a house with total wood decks as well as timber siding.  Although beautiful, the owners said it required a lot of work to keep it looking that way.  After a ton of research, getting prices and looking at samples - did you know how many manufacturers of non-wood decking there are? A lot! And all of the composite guys have from three to five grades.  And of course the more you pay the nicer the material is.  So it becomes a tradeoff on realism vs what you want to spend.  And with 2000 ft of deck space, with materials that range from around $4.50 sq. ft. to over $11, the difference in price is huge. 

So a week ago I ordered the decking.  The company had set it up for a flat bed so I could unload it with the Skytrak.  Since we are in the boonies, truck shipments often get delivered to a second carrier to get to us.  Well the second carrier didn't have a flatbed, didn't want to lose the job, so they had the material shoved into a standard trailer, destroying the pallets underneath in the process.  The local guys called me to come over to Taos to look at it and see if I wanted to reject the entire load.  Overall, except for perhaps possible damage to material on the bottom of each pallet, the bulk of the decking looked like it was intact, and we decided to have them restack n a smaller truck and deliver it. That happened on Friday, and I unloaded the 8000 lbs of decking by hand.  What fun!  In a testament to the durability of the material, only about a half dozen boards showed any damage, and while the company said they could immediately send out replacements, I told them to wait.  I may be able to cut the damage out as we run it.  I really don't want to go through the hassle of receiving 16' boards again, even if it is only 6 or so. So Sandra will start running it today and we'll slowly get a deck in place.  I'm so tirted o walking on the the temporary decking - 4x8 sheets of OSB that is warping, covered in thinset and stucco debris and deteriorating, that it will be wonderful to have a finished surface.


one of the pallets of decking in a trailer instead of a flatbed. It's a miracle that it wasn't detroyed
All the decking finally off the truck and stacked.

Posted to gypsyhillfarm by Michelle in East Petersburg , PA on 7/6/2017 3:00:59 PM

It's taken months to get to this point. The designer has my excel spreadsheet made floor plan and is working on a preliminary design for us to look at and place things like windows and doors. 

Let's back up though. Originally we thought we would be renovating an existing structure but every GC we talked to said it would be a better idea to tear down and start new. We are now also not sharing this house with anyone in the future it will be our forever home and that changes things a little.

So we've decided to stick with the original size of 30x60 but adding on a garage in the back and a 4' x 25' bump out in the front to make space for the living/kitchen/dining "great room" as I will call it. We're now option for a basement under the center of the house (the great room) and doing slabs on the wings of the house where the bedrooms/bathrooms will be. This will allow us to put our utility generators in the basement and run the ductwork (if we go with ductwork) from there.

We definitely want solar at this point but as for the rest of the HVAC system, we haven't made any final decisions and want to explore all options.

I'm about to start a budget spreadsheet because once the design is complete, I can finally start to get some bids and also start the permitting process. One minor sticking point that is unconfirmed at this point is that the permit office needs a license number/insurance proof of the GC, so I'm curious how that will play out. I've been reading in the book about the insurance options to use and will dig deeper into that as we get into the permitting.

Anyway, that's the update for now.. trying to be patient with our designer. It's been months since my last update and the anticipation is killing me, I want to get to work!

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 7/5/2017 9:22:29 AM

While the roofer was at the house last week, they were able to move enough of the panels on the ground so that the stucco guys could set scaffolding for the color coat on the back of the house.  Last Friday, they came and ran that.  All looked good, until we noticed there was a very visible variation in color at one point, like when they changed buckets of material.  We let it sit a day in case it was a difference in drying times, but it was still there.  Sent a picture to the owner, and yesterday morning, they showed back up.  Had to reset all of the scaffolding but went to work redoing the entire wall with new material.  It worked this time.  They said it has happened on only one other house in all the years they have been doing it, but was a variation in the color when the dealer mixed it.

Speaking of the roofer, they got part of the roof on, but were missing a large portion of the required panels, transition pieces were made wrong and have to be redone, he didn't contact the fellow in Denver soon enough for him to come down and curve the one group of panels and we have to wait for that for two more weeks, and he may have missized the soffit.  Not what I would consider to be a well organized fellow.  With the holiday this week and having to return to Artesia to finish the previous job, after needing additional materials there,. He is supposed to show back up next week to continue.  Hopefully with enough stuff to get all the peaked sections covered as I've scheduled the drywall guy to start on the 18th.

I've been working on a punch list of things that need to be finished beore the drywall starts, and with my son-in-law's help this weekend, framed out a couple of walls in the garage to close off the stairwell as is required.  It will also create a space we can use as a home gym.  This also needed to get finished before the drywall came.

I've got to contact the mechanical contractor as he needs to get started.  He was supposed to be back by late last week to finalize everything, but didn't show.  I'll give him a call this morning.  Without that in, we can't get a structural inspection, can't get the garage ceiling sprayfoamed, can't put the soundproofing insulation in the second level ceiling, all of which needs to be one before drywall.

So I'm at a point where a lot of things are in queue and if they don't go on schedule, everything gets set back.  I understand more and more what a GC does for his money.


Back of the house where there was a variation on color coat when they switched pails of color.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/27/2017 1:52:00 AM

So the roofer and his crew made it up to the site today, getting in around noon from Albuquerque.  They unloaded tools, soffit and the additional roof panels and then the skies opened up.  Crazy.  We have had nothing but great weather until he shows up.  They'll start in the morning and should be able to get a fair amount done, before any thunderstorms start up in the mid afternoon, which is what the forecast says.  Looks like the overall job is going to take a few weeks.

In the meantime, the plumbing inspector returned today and passed me!! So, I've got another trade finished.  I'm currently running the lines for the lower level dryer, kitchen vent and fresh air intake including a powered damper on the intake.  I still need to look at running the vents for the water heater and baths.  Then it's up to the main level to run the kitchen vent and it's air intake. Fellow who is going to install the furances and finish those ducts should start next week.  I contacted the sheetrock guy and gave him a heads up that we can begin looking at a schedule now that things are moving closer.  But - there are a lot of things to get done before we can actually start it.  I've got to get moving!!!

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/21/2017 9:58:08 PM

Well he was supposed to start this week, but has been hung up in Artesia in triple digit heat for another week. I can only assume that the heat is slowing them down.  But we are next and he is looking forward to getting up here where the temps are expected to be in the 60's and 70's.  The stucco guys are still waiting for the roofing panels to get moved so the can run the colr coat on the back of the house with scaffolding.  Gotta wait for the roofer to get them moved. 

In the meantime, I've been putting up outdoor lighting across the front as well as some security lights, all of which have been sitting in the garage after buying them on sale.

Also started running ducts for heating system.  Contacted a mechanical contractor as I can't pull a permit for that.  Nice guy, been around for ever and has reviewed my plans I had put together.  We've had some disagreements about the heating loads and how air flow works, though.  He thinks I should be putting in furnaces that'll put out 5 times what I have calculated I need.  And he has an issue with the size of ductwork I sized.  Thinks some needs to be smaller diameter to increase velocity.  These ideas are very common among HVAC contractors.  Used to working with typical, non-efficient, leaky homes that goble energy.  And the old idea of pushing air through as fast as you can is old, when ducts leaked much of went through them.  Now, with careful sealing, if you push air in one end, it'll make it to the other end if you balance the lines.  If it didn't, systems with variable speed blowers wouldn't work.  One thing you need to do however, is to insulate the supply lines.  With air possibly moving at low velocities, the heat can be lost through the ductwork as metal makes a great heat exchanger.  Even though we have some technical disagreements, I'll hire him to provide the rest of the system, according to how I wish it to basically be.  While I am certainly open to others ideas, HVAC contractors are generally far behind what can be done in today's world of highly efficient construction, (when it is actually used).  He wants me to sign a statement that it is my design, to relieve him of any future liability.  I have no issue with that.  I've got plenty of things to keep working on besides the ducts and the furnaces.  The help on the HVAC will be most welcome even though it's not free.


House with stucco finished on the front and stone done
Trying to get a shot of the stairwell all the way up

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/13/2017

The electrical inspector came out yesterday, and together we went through the entire house, room by room. It was the most complete inspection I've had on any of my projects. In the end, he wanted an additional receptacle in the garage, and for me to move one smoke detector to the curved ceiling in the main living room.  With those comments he passed my rough in.  Yea! After months of work, something to show for it.

I'll call today for the plumbing inspection.  I have to finish installing three shower sets into the walls and make the final water connection, but it takes several days to the inspectors to arrive after calling in, so I should be finished well in advance.  The sewer lines all check out and he can begin witnessing those.  It'll take him two trips as the different elevations will be tested separately so as not to put undo hydrostatic pressure on the lower sections.

Stucco guys are coming along with the finish coat.  Wind is causing them some trouble.  And they informed me yesterday that they needed the metal roofing moved from where it has been sitting on the backside, so they can set up scaffolding.  Apparently they can't do the final on the back from the forklift or it'll look very bad.  But I won't move the metal as it is subject to kinking without a whole crew of people picking up the 43' pieces.  So they'll have to wait until the roofer comes back and installs it all.  But the rest of the house can be finished.

I'm starting to think about the duct work and will actually begin installing sometime later this week.  There's a lot to do there, including all the stuff for water heaters, kitchen vents, furnace venting, dryer vents etc, in addition to the regular ducts.  Sandra and I are both tired of looking at stud walls in which nothing seems to be happening when actually a lot is.  Waiting to see everything in sheetrock, but that'll be a way out yet.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/6/2017 10:53:16 PM

Tested the next two levels this morning. Found one more leak, and again it was an unglued joint.  And again, it will be easy to fix, thank goodness.  Just needed to let it dry out, before gluing.  Went through the entire house, double-checking nail plates and stapling for the electrical.  Now that we again have access to the 4th floor, I called this afternoon for the full rough-in inspection. 

Will get back to the water lines tomorrow.  Quite a bit of things to do to there.  While all the lines are in place, they need to be fastened down and capped. The pressure reducing valves need to be set in place as well.  Once all of the that is done, I can go ahead and get water pressured up and test them.  As it is PEX tubing, and I'm using an expansion type of connectors, leaks are generally very rare, so testing should be simple.  Hopefully wrap this part up by the end of the weekend if not sooner.  Then call for plumbing inspection. Can there be a light at the end of the tunnel?!

The stone guys worked on the pillars and got them finished.  Stucco guys are waiting for better weather.  Its been raining again, these days at the house instead of just around us.  Weird Spring.


Stone guys working on the pillars

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/5/2017

The framers finished the last part of the stairs today.  We still have railings to install once we figure how we want to do them, but they are fully functional to the 4th floor.  Over the weekend I  worked on finishing running PEX water lines.  They are all in for each fixture, but I still need to fasten them and create the stub outs.  And I need to set the PRVs at the second and third level to drop the pressure.  I spent the day Friday installing the last of the outdoor freeze-proof spigots.  These were tricky as they were in the living section walls and not the garage. I had to get the length correct so that I could bury the water line within the foam, using soldered copper fittings.  Tight, but all 5 went well without any leaks.

Speaking of leaks, after a day of prepping shower and bath drain stubouts throughout the house, and finishing the vent connections in the attics, I finally did a test of one floor's drains.  All went well with the exception of one side of one fitting where I had forgotten to glue the joint. So after emptying the water into a 32 gallon trash can, I repaired it and will go on to test the other two floors. And oh by the way, the volume of 90 feet of 4" line is way over 32 gallons.  Ask me how I know.  At least the garage floor is much cleaner now.


Just a slope side shot of the house from an angle I hadn't taken from before. Stone and brown coat are on. Waiting for the color coat.
A shot of the stairs. No real good way to shoot and capture the true essence of the height and massiveness.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 6/1/2017 10:42:49 PM

It's been a strange year weather-wise.  Heavy, late snows, and the moisture continues in a manner that is typical of mid summer, rather than mid Spring.  Afternoon showers and thunderstorms after bright sunny mornings.  And the trend continues into the next couple weeks.  So far though, the project has been spared from anything significant.  While I can look around and see massive downpours happening all around, we've been lucky.  And with the stucco and stone going on, that's important!  I don't need to see the cement wash down over the stones and ruin the stone job! 

 The stone guys ( I guess shouldn't call them stoners ;-). ) finished their first contract on Tuesday.  I've got the pillars to do next and they may start those today.  Stucco guys will wrap up the brown coat today.  Should be a fairly short day for them.  Framer nearly finished the stairs, but we are waiting on another couple 8 x 8's to come in this afternoon for him to finish.  He pulled his tool trailer out, so it may be next week when he comes back.  But, we now have access again all the way to the 4th floor!

The elevator is in and working.  Those guys were quick in getting it set up.  And there would have been no way I could have done it.  Some very specialized stuff going on there.  It operates so smoothly, you can't even tell it's moving when youy are in the cab.

I'm trying to keep working on the plumbing and as there will be less crews working that always seem to need my help, I may be able to make some progress on that front.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/29/2017

Things continue to move forward with the brown coat finished on about half the house - and more importantly above the roof lines so it can cure over the next couple weeks and then get the color coat.  Once that's on, the roofers can come in.  I've already contacted them and let them know that June 16 we are go.  

The stone on the house proper should be finished tomorrow with only the pillars and window sills to do.  Waiting on more corner sections and the sill material to arrive for that.

The framer should finish the stairs by Wednesday.  It's so slow going.  But they are a work of art.  We are really happy with them.

The elevator installers arrived in town late this afternoon.  Stopped by to look over the site and will start in the morning.  I hope all goes well!  

I've been continuing towards completion on the plumbing.  All the vent lines from the second floor have been brought into the third floor attic and connect to the third floor vents.  The fourth floor vents will be run together once I again have access up there when the stairs are finished this week.  I am hoping to begin water testing the sewer lines later this week.  With any luck - they'll hold.  Fingers crossed!  Still need to finish running the water lines but that should go pretty smoothly.

Will get the electrical inspector out next week for the rough in since he'll be able to access the fourth floor.  Thinking it should go ok since he was out earlier for the stair section and didn't call out anything.  

So - things are moving along and in the right direction.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/24/2017 12:30:24 PM

Thank goodness for a late summer sunsets as the stucco fellows finished with the first coat for the stucco last night about 8:30.  They had to be dog tired.  They should be back today to begin the second, or "brown" coat.  I've asked that they apply the brown to the areas above the roof by Friday to allow as much time for curing as possible before the color coat and we want that area to be finished first so the roofers can begin.

More stone is being delivered this morning and the stone guys will be back to work on the outside of the staircase.  Other than trim around the windows, they should be pretty much finished with that today.

Framer slowly is getting the stairs done with the second section done today.  After that, one more to go.

I'm back to plumbing, cutting in the island vents the inspector wanted.  Going slow as much of my time has also been attending to the other people working.


Backside of the house with the stucco and stone. Stucco is dark as it is fresh cement. Will be much lighter today as it cures and dries.
West end with stucco and starting of the back side

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/18/2017 8:36:56 AM

After weeks of alternating terrible and great weather, and broken promises on the stucco contractor, they finally returned Wednesday to begin applying the scratch coat.  Really changes the look - for the better!  After a year of seeing raw ICF blocks and roughed in windows, I can see better what the end result will be, and it's good.  The stone guys are moving along very fast having finished the back of the house with only the cap to put in. I ordered another 600 sq. ft. of stone to be able to finish off the outside of the stairwell.  Luckily they had it in stock in Peublo, CO, so the local yard will be able to get it to us by Wednesday. So all of the flatwork coild be done by the end of next week or shortly after.  Still have the pillars to do, but waiting to see how many corners I'll have left when we get to that point. Will most likey need to order more.

The framers have finally figured out how the stairs could be built and started them on Tuesday.  Slow going, will get harder as they get higher up as the 8x8 posts are monsters to get in and set up.  Ground level was one thing, but the next three?  Massive with the steps made of 4x12's.  The pictures attached here don't convey the size of the components.

The local propane company came out and ran all of the interior gas lines the past couple days.  A lot of connections - two stoves, two furnaces, two water heaters, three fireplaces, two radiant space heaters and one grill.  They'll come back later and set the tank and run the line to house.

Oh! I had the plumbing inspector out last Friday to review what I had done so far on running the lines.  Other than adding a couple of cleanouts, everything was fine.  I've slacked off on the plumbing the past several days with all the other activity needing my attention in varoius ways, but now that the gas guys are out of the house. I'll try to get back and work on it again so I can begin water testing soon.

Well - its 6:30 am when I am writing this.  I just opened the blinds and see that we have a major snow storm happening. I guess that cancels all outside activities for today :-(


setting up the first floor 8x8 posts
Posts set and braced
First landings
Cutting the stringers
Attaching the steps with 9" timber screws
After two days work, we're here. Slow going, but should speed up now that the basic understanding is set.
Back of the house gettin stoned.
Front of the house getting stucco scratch coat
Why it's called a scratch coat. Surface is very rough to create better adhesion for the next coat.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/12/2017 9:21:38 AM

Another week of terrible weather. Over two inches of rain fell, most of it on Tuesday, which has efectively kept the stucco guys from starting as they haven't been able to finish a prior job.  It's felt like we're in the Olympic Penninsula of Washington.  Dripping wet and cold.  The stone fellows worked Monday and Tuesday, under the cover of the roof overhangs. Man did they get things done! Three times as fast as the jokers I had last fall.  They should be back today to continue on the backwall.  

Framer came out Monday to start work on the stairs, but we've run into a major issue. The draftsman design the center of the stairs to be walls - something we had missed entirely. This was to make the stair co struction easier and hide all of the supporting structure.  We missed this entirely and had been planning on wide open timber framing for it to allow light through the entire staiwell. We and the framer are scratching our heads on how to build them.  He has contacted a stair company in Albuquerque to review and possible come up with a design.  It may be a steel framework.  But we need to figure it out quickly as we are still not able to access the 4th floor with stairs.  That means no inspections, no finishing the plumbing and venting, water lines and the like.  I've got plenty of other things that I can do in the meantime, but a serious setback.

Meanwhile, Sandra has started setting railing posts decks to use up a stack of 4x4's we had cut last year by the timber truss company.  We'll get as many of those set as we cal, leaving out several strategic ones that will allow sheetrock to be easily brought through later. Once the stucco is on, we can order decking and she can begin running that.  Keep moving along the best we can as we get curve balls thown at us.

The landscaper finished what he has for us at the moment.  Much to do after the septic field is done which is after stucco, roofing, backfill has opened up the area we will use.

Final pics below on what he accomplished.


Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 5/4/2017 11:39:41 PM

Got back Tuesday from a week off.  Turned out to be a good week to take.  While we were gone, almost 3 feet of snow fell!  While Sandra and I are working indoors, just the same, I wouldn't have wanted to be here, mucking around in the mess.  Over that.  

So the landscaper didn't work as much, the stucco guys couldn't, couldn't get sand and cement up for it.  But the landscaper did get a bunch done on the few days he did work.  
The weeks coming up will be busy with workers.  While the landscaper will be gone for now, the stucco will begin Monday.  The framer will be back and start on the stairs and I found a guy that does stone! And for a great price. He can start next week as well.  Then in two weeks the local propane company will come to run gas lines thoughout the house and set the tank. I've got to meet with the local broadband utility and find out what equipment is necessary to bring the fiber line into the house.  They suggested we do it ourselves since the line has already been run to the house.  Said it would be far quicker and significantly cheaper to do it ourselves. So I need to meet with the guy tomorrow if possible on my schedule.
Got word the elevator will be shipping soon, so an install is on the radar.

Meanwhile I'm back on plumbing now that we are back in town and just about finished with running vent lines though the second level.  From there I need to take both lines up through the third floor and into the attic.  That'll be a bit of a trick, but - things are proceeding.


Landscaper took out the dirt fill and is replacing it with stone. Don't have a pic of the finished product but this is paet way there
Terraced embankment along driveway from what was simply a slope of dirt and rock. Looks are deceiving in this photo. The wall is a total of about 20' high.

Posted to Our-log-home by Hugh in Thomaston, GA on 5/3/2017 7:37:32 AM

4 trees are now 1x6 's for the fence


First stack of lumber. 5his is for fence rails
A sawmill in action

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 4/22/2017

After months of seemingly nothing happening, as is normal when wiring, plumbing, mechanical are being installed in the structure, we have visible changes taking place.  The stairwell was drywalled and Sandra has three floors worth primed by climbing up the scaffolding.  But the idea of using the airless sprayer didn't play out for a reason I won't go into.  She finally stopped at the fourth floor as the scaffolding was too shaky at that height and although she was wearing a harness she just didn't feel comfortable.  I don't blame her at all.  We'll figure a way to finish it from the stairs.

The stucco crew, 2-3 guys depending on whether one particular guy wants to show up, are nearly finished with the lath installation.  The owner will try for an inspection this coming week and if it passes, he'll get a crew started on the scratch coat.

And the landscaper has been doing some great work building retaining walls and cleaning fallen trees and stumps and in general, getting the property looking good.  There is a lot for him to do later in summer after the stucco allows for the roofing to get off the ground which allows for the septic to be installed, but great changes now for sure.

I finally finished tying in all the drain lines into the main line, but have run into a problem at the very end.  Getting ready to tie into the section the went through the concrete wall, I noticed that the extension on the outside of the wall to the pump tank had broken loose, presumably from settling of the tank.  So it has to be excavated to repair. That can't happen until the stucco scaffold is down, and that won't be for another month most likely.  So - I can't finish it.  I've moved on to getting the venting taken care of.  That is not nearly as time consuming as the drain lines as the connections are not as specific and the slope doesn't have to be as exact, and the lines are smaller diameter.  So hopefully I'll be done in short order.  Once it is done, I'll call for a partial rough in inspection to make sure all my layout is correct while I wait to tie in to the pump tank line.  
Village came out this week and installed a new pressure reducing valve (PRV) at the meter.  It's great! Have 120 psi at the entry into the house instead of 180 before.  With such a height to the building, I need high pressure, but 180 was too high for the main line.  I'll set additional PRVs at the second and third levels to bring the pressure down to about 60-70 psi for each level, and ensuring plenty of water for all.


Foam boards, house wrap and lath being installed with the help of the Skytrak.
One of the retaining walls
Landscaper pulled out the small wall the excavator had made last fall and rebuklt it with this - a much larger replacement
And yet another wall under construction

Posted to 697-Marlin by TC in Austin/McDade, TX on 4/20/2017 1:49:31 PM

Been a long while, and life has pulled me away for the journal. but I will update with pictures soon.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 4/19/2017 8:41:24 AM

Drywall guys finished the stairwell last evening with a third coat and sanding.  Yes things can dry quite rapidly here in the Southwest. So Sandra can go ahead and prime the walls.  We'll use the airless sprayer to speed things along.  Meanwhile the stucco netting is proceeding, with the fellows finished with the ICF portion and onto the framed section, adding first a 2" layer of R value 10 foam board.  With R19 fiberglass in the wall, this'll end with a total wall value of about R26.  I know this doesn't quite look correct but the math has to take into account the low R value of the studs for their part of the wall construction.  But R26 is a while lot better than the real R14 of the standardly framed 2x6 wall with fiberglass only.

I'm back on plumbing trying to finish off the drain lines before proceeding to the vents. I'm in better spirits about it having taken the hiatus of a couple weeks - and having more vertical space to set things in.

Landscaper started a project Monday, using some of the large stone we have from the excavation to build walls along one side in the front. His main work will come later this summer after the septic has been installed.


Retaining wall that the landscaper is creating to eliminate the sloughing of the hill cut.
Installing the foam over the framed section. Had to use the Skytrak as the roofing is in the way of where the scaffolding would be.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 4/15/2017 12:36:03 PM

The new hammer drill was delivered yesterday and I can now finish setting the outdoor electrical boxes by drilling into the concrete and screwing in Tapcons to hold the boxes. Taking today off to do some hiking but will get to the chore tomorrow. After that, the electric is done. Finally!  And once the stairs are built I can get the inspector to come back. 

As long as we have the walls open and Sandra needed something to do, we ran Ethernet and coax yesterday. I swore I wasn't as so much can be done wirelessly today, but what the heck. The cable is dirt cheap and I'm not sure what WIFI coverage I will get with the house as large as it is. I do need to order cable for the cameras we'll install. Cameras for security as well as for wildlife. 

Stucco guys made good progress the three days they were here this week. A lot of scaffolding and a lot more to go up though. They will begin work on the fourth floor next week. I can't wait for that OSB to finally be covered with foam and lath!!


Rear shot. Lath and water barrier on. Snow mound still present. It might b gone next week as the weather has warmed considerably
Some of the scaffolding around the side an front.
Starting the chase for the cables from the main panels in the garage to the subpanels on the 2nd and third floors
Chase finished. Not really very pretty, but it get the job done. Inspector should have no issue

Posted to Our-log-home by Hugh in Thomaston, GA on 4/14/2017 7:12:55 AM

Still workIngles on the first acre. Driveway culvert is in



Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 4/11/2017 10:57:56 PM

I know I said that the electric was going to be done a week or so ago, for the umpteenth time. And it truly is very close, but I keep finding things that I hadn't thought of that need to get done.  But the elevator power is in, a line has been run for the septic pump, and I have been going through and finding wires that haven't been fully stapled down. The lines for the hot tubs are run through the walls and the GFCI disconnects for them have been set.  When the inspector was here last week, he confirmed that the outside lights and receptacles (boxes) had to be set for the rough in.  This is different than other places I've built before.  So --- that has slowly been taking place.  Again, with ICFs, it is a real pain to get them installed.  Cutting out foam, figuring a way to attach them, a pain and takes time when there are a total of 20 or more.  

And then! I get pulled off for other things that need to get in for the stucco guys or the drywall guys.  A lot of new holes need to be cut on the main level for the range hood, make up air for the hood, the fresh air vent system, the baths, like now, because the stucco guys are ready to work in the area.  Spent much of the day getting a couple of outside hose bibs in and connected so the drywall tapers and the stucco guys have water.  All of these things need to get done, but they keep getting in the way of me working on the electric and plumbing! 

Oh well, as long as we keep making progress.

Sandra has been staining the last few days.  We have a bunch of post material for the decks and the inside of the garage doors needed to be done as well.  A job to keep her off the ladders for a few days.

The stairwell was taped today.  A massive amount of scaffolding went into it to make it to the top.  They are taking the rest of the week off due to the Easter holiday and will be back on Monday.  Sandra is chomping at the bit to get it painted, but will have to wait.

Stucco guys showed up today and began lathing.  It'll take a couple weeks for that to get done, but it's great to start seeing a change to the outside.


Mighty tall scaffolding!
Lath going on for the stucco
Inside of the garage doors stained!

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 4/5/2017

So, the drywall guys show up Monday morning, owner and two hangers.  Because we're only doing the stairwell and elevator shaft, they ordered drywall locally.  I brush off the 4" of fresh snow off the Skytrak's seat, climb in and unload the delivery truck one bundle at a time, lifting them to each of three floors for them to unload what is required.  All the while, it continued to snow.  By the time it finished snowing Tuesday night we had 16" of wet snow on the ground.  This is April!  What the heck!

But someone was smiling upon us.  As I hadn't gotten an electrical inspection yet, I really should not have had the stairwell done.  I gave that inspector a call and explained my situation.  He happened to be in a neighboring town and agreed to stop by.  OMG I couldn't believe it!  He turns out to be a pretty reasonable fellow.  Definitely not like those back in Nashville on the Mutton Busting project.  Was happy to answer my questions.  Approved the stairwell wiring which was a godsend.  

The hangers got everything hung by the end of today.  What a difference! And a foretelling of things to come when the whole house will get done.  It is amazing however, that when you are the GC on the job and subs are in, you don't seem to get anything on your own agenda done.  And this was no exception.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get back to those things.

Stucco guy came by today Obviously can't start with the snow, but said they should start on Monday.  Will love to see that transformation take place.


elevator shaft. Both this and the stairwell look enormously tall with the temporary floors removed
Lifting up the drywall. The Skytrak has been a wonderful aquisition and we'll continue to use it until done. After that, we'll sell it
A shot of the stairwell
The snow may be a pain this late in the season, but it really is beautiful
Looks like Christmas

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 3/31/2017

Yes it was conceivable that I could finish the drain lines this week.  But, things got in the way as they often do.   I made a decision on a drywall guy, and he is to start on Monday, doing the elevator shaft and the stairwell.  The rest of the house will be drywalled in a couple months.  But starting on the other now meant I needed to finally figure out the lighting for the stairwell.  It also pushed me to finish the lagging odds and ends on the electric.  Most are easily taken care of.  But the stairwell was a killer! And took me a full two days.  Part of the time was spent scratching my head on how to set up four separate lights clusters, each controlled from several floors.  Next cutting through the ICF foam and ties, drilling through the concrete etc. and then stuffing gobs of wires into 4-gang boxes and getting them attached to the wall.  Two full days!  Horrible!  And YES I needed one last roll of 14-2 wire to finish it.  Will finish up the last of the wiring over the weekend along with a few things for the elevator shaft, and the drywall guy can start.

While I've been working on this, Sandra has been going gangbusters on a couple other things since she had finished setting foam pieces.  She's gone though and put in nail protection plates over all the places where drain and vent pipes were too close to the edge of studs and could be hit with a screw when drywall goes in.  Finished with that until I finish the plumbing, she went on and nailed all of the truss brackets (hurricane clips) into place.  She'll run caulking next on the fourth floor in all of the stud bays and between the plates and sill.  A time consuming project, but important to reduce the amount of air infiltration.  Where I had started on caulking before, it was amazing how much leakage could be felt before caulking and how little afterwards. 

So - progress is being made, and next week I'll get back to the plumbing.  I should be able to call for an electrical rough-in inspection as well - FINALLY!


stud bays and space between the plates caulked, either with polyurethane caulk (dark) or foam (orange). Makes a huge difference on air infiltration

Posted to gypsyhillfarm by Michelle in East Petersburg , PA on 3/26/2017 10:15:07 AM

Here we are, weeks later and we still don't have a quote. I am the driver so this is my bus i'm on and I get to decide where to go. The reason we don't have much so far is that I only have one meeting per week at this point. 

I had a GC come out a few weeks ago and he suggested we take down one of the walls (it's partially below grade, made of cinder block and I have no idea if it's been sealed or what condition it's in) and though my FIL pushed back on that a bit, next time I'm there I will be ripping off some of the old paneling to see what's behind it. 

To be honest, I'd like to tear that wall down, despite the increased cost, because then we can expand that side about 6 feet forward to make a little more space for the bedrooms and bathroom on that side of the house. Only being a 30x60 house, we are already working with less space, so adding an extra 6'x11' or whatever the width of that front would be is worth it to me.

Another issue that i'm thinking about lately is how the left side of the house is below grade. I don't like that and I don't want it to be like that. So I talked to my Dad about what normally happens and he said they excavate it out to make the ground level and then do a squall to send the water elsewhere. We do have the space on that side of the house to level it out at least 10 feet around that side, if not more. It's currently an issue with water runoff from the barn roofs, but hopefully we can rain barrel it or use the squall to direct it elsewhere. After this last snow storm and therefore, heavy ground moisture, the backyard is just mushy. Not in a super muddy sense, but you can feel that it's very spongy underneath.

The main thing that my husband and I need to hammer out is expectations with my in laws. This will be the home they most likely retire to in 10-15 years, so I understand that they have expectations and they have ideas about what they would want. However, the number one thing that is even allowing me to consider moving onto a property with them is that I get to renovate this 2-unit apartment into the home that I want. It's complicated and communication is key. 

So I do have some more meetings but I need to discuss some things with them first, I guess. They seem to think we can just keep all the exterior walls and work within them, and at first, I thought that would be a valid option, but now.. I'm wanting to expand a bit on the one side, like I said, plus excavate out so it's level. 

The first week of April, I will be meeting with my friend Mark, a former GC and current Engineer. He will visit the property and I will be able to ask him 800 questions about what can be done and all my concerns. I really look forward to that meeting. 

I will update again after that meeting takes place and I'll have more insight! Slowly it goes.

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 3/25/2017

Well spring arrived on the calendar nearly a week ago.  We seemed to have been having spring the previous month with temps in the 50's and lately the upper 60's.  The only snow left was the drift on the north side of the house where the roof shedded onto the stack of metal roofing laid out on the ground.  Already talking to the roofer about schedule to finish the roof.  Was dry enough to drive the truck up and around back there to unload on the third level and then - we get nearly a foot of snow Thursday night with quite a bit more in the forecast for the next week! What happened?! And we had gotten used to working in shirt sleeves again! Blah! So much for getting started early on the stucco.

Speaking of which, the fourth quote came back Friday and we have a decision to make.  Prices ranged by nearly 40% so it's a clear example of the benefit of getting multiple quotes. One company bid within 10% of the lowest bid, but they were from Santa Fe and I'd have to arrange housing at an additional cost of $4000.  That beings them up to 20% more.  The upside to them is I think they'd do a bang up job, they would put eight people on it and get it done in 6 weeks.  I've got to talk to the lowest priced guy and see what his people situation is.  I've gotten good reviews on him from a contractor he does work for locally.

Now the sheetrock quotes were even more surprising.  Same group of companies.  There was a 100% difference in price.  Two were within 5%, one was within 50%, and the last was twice what the two lower bids were.  It was soooo far out of what my previous experience was at the Mutton Busting and Barrel Race projects, that I have to scratch my head. And they were the company that was 20% more on the stucco, so why 100% on the drywall? Sometimes I think that because of the size of the house, people think that money is no object, but of course that's not true.  If it was, why are Sandra and I busting our butts, working 60 hour weeks on the project?

So I've got some questions to ask and some decisions to make as the stucco guys can begin setting lath even if it's too cold to begin the cement.  And I can get the drywall guy to do the stairwell and elevator shaft long before the rest of the house which is how it was presented to all four companies.

Other updates - the final garage door is finally working!!  Six months after we received them.  The door guy came out on Thursday and set the new set of springs for it.  As you recall, we had issues with the springs that the door manufacturer sent.  And then when he went to assemble the last door on his last trip, we found out that we were missing the coupling for the shaft.  So it's been a long road.  I still need to set the opener, but after two of them, I've gotten pretty proficient at that.  BTW, regarding openers - because they are high lift door tracks ( go all the way to the 12' ceiling) a direct coupled opener is required.  But I suggest anyone to consider using a direct drive even on a regular track door that has torsion springs. They are more expensive at $300, but so easy to install, don't have belts or chains, no separate track, and quiet, quiet, quiet.

Beginning to see the light on the drain piping.  Started the last two baths.  They connect to the main drain at the very end.  Then slowly work my way backwards to connect the other levels into main line and maintain the correct fall.  It is conceivable I could finish the drain lines this week!  Then tie the vents together which will take time but be so much easier.

Sandra will finish running the scrap foam in the next day or two.  She's in the garage level now, and surprisingly we are just about out of scrap.  The huge piles we had, have been whittled down.  Don't plan to get anymore foam to finish the garage.  All the other sections are well below grade, and don't need any further R value. It is a garage after all.

Posted to skiddinginbroadside by Janae in Livermore, AL on 3/24/2017 1:43:50 PM

My husband and I purchased 6 acres in Northern CO. In the past few years, we've drilled for the well and installed electrical on the raw land. We also built a little shed for tool storage (and a fire pit, for BBQ and beer enjoyment). 

We've spent the last year and a half in Antarctica, working and saving to hopefully make enough cash to build the house to occupancy. We're back in CO and will be submitting plans to the county in the next week or so; we have a few things to finalize with our engineer first. 

We're pretty organized and we've been working and planning this for the last couple years. Naturally, we've encountered some financials hits and we're praying that what we have left will be enough to get the house to a point we can live in it. The rest can be finished once as we bring in money again. 

Photos and more details at our blog

Any thoughts, tips and advice is always welcome! Thank you!

Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM on 3/20/2017

Plumbing is slowly coming along with all but two of the baths having the drain lines in. But still have to connect even those to the main line. In the meantime, Sandra has been cutting up leftover ICF forms and installing them high on the wall between the ends of the floor joists of the 2nd level where the interior foam was missing due to the nature of the build. Why waste the material and it adds another R10 to the space.  

And I'm getting quotes back from the contractors for stucco and sheetrock.  Definitely more for both of them than we had budgeted.  Waiting for one more from a company in Albuquerque. Supposed to have that Thursday.  I want to make a decision on at least the stucco on Friday so the winning contractor can begin running foam and lath in preparation.  I'm really hoping the guys in Albuquerque can come in significantly less than what I have received so far.


Probably hard to see, but Sandra's been installing blocks of foam between the floor joists to cover the interior of the concrete there. Unfortunately, we can't cover the concrete beam below that as it is flush with and part of the interior wall surface

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