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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 12/16/2009

With our newly repaired truck returned to us yesterday evening, we quickly put it to work again today.  Good thing too since it turned out to be a very busy day.

The general plan is to take advantage of our recent spate of decent weather (after the planning problems of earlier in the week), get some more block up to the site, and finish out the stack of the first floor in anticipation of possible pouring on Friday.  It turns out that when the pour was done a couple of weeks ago the amount we needed was slightly more than what we actually had delivered, and so Builder Dale wanted to finish out the last couple of stacks of block that comprise the first floor before we get too high and run into wind and stability problems.  We're also starting to think about when we might bring in the LiteDeck for the slab between the first and second floors, and of course the first floor has to be at the right height to make that happen.

We also had to pick up some more block (we'd run out of straight forms and that's why nothing got done earlier in the week), so first thing this morning we ran up to the warehouse to pick up another order.  Once we got there we discovered that they were having an interesting morning of their own--overnight a cottonwood tree (which apparently had been standing dead for a while) fell over smack into the middle of their loading yard.  They were just getting ready to call somebody to come remove it when we pulled up, and of course we eagerly asked if we could take it instead.  They were delighted at the prospect of getting it off their hands for no cost, and we quickly made arrangements to come back later in the afternoon or the following morning to clear it out of their way.  It was very much a "win-win"--they'd get a big honking tree out of their way for free and we'd get some good cottonwood for the firewood pile.  (And it didn't hurt to build up a little positive karma with the warehouse either.)

Once that was out of the way we quickly loaded up a couple of palettes into the truck and got ready to leave, when Builder Dale showed up with his trailer to get the rest of the blocks.  We coordinated for a few moments and then left for Tanglewood.  Dale would follow along in about an hour after rendezvousing with the crew to take them up the canyon (they have only a limited number of four-wheel drive vehicles, and they are definitely what you want to have when navigating the canyon when there's ice and snow on the road).

Beginning our journey to the site we got about halfway when we ran into an obstacle.  Two trucks of crew working on the other house under construction in the canyon were stuck on the ice in a particularly tricky part of the road prone to ice buildup.  The spot is well shaded and there's an "S" turn right in the middle of this section, so it's natural to slow down a bit when taking it--and with ice on the road that will cause you to quickly get stuck.  This is exactly what had happened to both of these trucks and as it turned out neither was a four-wheel drive nor chained up, so they were stuck real good.  As it happened we weren't using our truck chains (Blackie's four-wheel drive was enough for the relatively light ice/snow pack) and so we helped them chain up and get unstuck. 

This took us about an hour in all, so Colleen and I were worried that Builder Dale and the crew were probably right behind us and expecting to get straight to work once they got to the site.  We quickly pulled up to Tanglewood, unloaded the palettes so the crew could get started once they arrived, and then headed back down the canyon to start bringing up the rest of the block.

About halfway down we met Builder Dale and crew.  Turned out that they'd been partially delayed and were only just getting to the site. They had offloaded the remaining palettes at the first gate (in anticipation of using the trailer for the LiteDeck on Friday), so we headed down to load up Blackie while they headed up to work on the stacking. It didn't take us long to load up the truck (with 4 blocks instead of 2 since we were in the canyon rather than running at high speeds along the highway), run them to the site, and then repeat.  While we were gone the crew had finished most of the remaining stacking work they needed to do, so we spent our remaining hour of sorta-sunlight  (it gets dark quick up there in the winter) cleaning up cardboard and trash and generally tidying up the site.  The crew took off shortly thereafter while Colleen and I updated our picture collection (below) and that was the end of a long but satisfying day.

Tomorrow we'll head up to the warehouse to get that wood and add it to our growing woodpile (that'll be at least one element of Tanglewood fully stocked on Day One!).  Friday we hope to run the LiteDeck to the site and pour those last few rises of the walls.

Dang this is all so much funWay different than my day job.

Steven in Colorado Springs


Looking across the house from above the apartment, roughly at the well's location. Note the heavy bracing; the crew are increasing the amount of bracing as the build gets higher.
Standing farther up the hill looking across towards the living room (the tall section in the distance with the big windows).
Closeup of the living room area and the interior scaffolding along there. The living room ceiling is fairly tall (two stories) so we've got about a foot to go above the windows here before we start bringing the roof in. They won't try to fill all of this on the first pour.
Looking at the garages from the hillside.
Closeup of the connection between the apartment garage and the main garage. This will end up around 6 feet across, more or less.
A far view of the master bedroom and bathroom area.
Another closeup of the living room area.
Back side of the master bedroom and transition area. Note the framing for the patio door on the left; that's eventually going to let out into a sunroom.
A look down into the master bedroom area from above the house. This wing is a huge mess right now; this is where the crew work out of. The blackened area is where they keep a small fire going during most of the colder days.
A closeup of Colleen doing some cleanup in the master bedroom section. She's so cool. And versatile!
A look down the "front" of the house towards the living room area.
The mountain more-or-less directly above the house. It's located on BLM land and I'm not sure what it's name is, but it looks like it would be challenging to climb.

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