Wood and Stone

A site to track our progress as we build our FirstDay Cottage Canadian house kit. Come on in, get a cup of coffee, set a spell and follow along on our journey or join in if you like. Check back for the weekly update (usually by Wednesday when things are going right) to see what we are currently up to!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A near fatal miss

Today we had a close call. We were talking about everything to be done and how it feels like things are moving toward us like an unstoppable train, as well as how we really wanted to be able to build without creating a debt for ourselves when we were done. This led to us discussing whether we should proceed with building this year, or whether we should wait a year (or more) and save up more money.

Well, it was a heck of a Sunday, I tell you. We talked and talked and it was very close to the whole process of deciding to build a FirstDay. We went through and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of waiting and everything seemed to point to wait until we got to the money question. Waiting for a year would reduce the amount we need to borrow by 1/3, but that is in today's dollars. After we figured out the interest on the loan principle we would take today and compared it to the expected cost increases of building materials, we figure we would actually come out ahead by taking a bigger loan now than by taking a not as small as calculated loan next year. On top of that, it seems of late that the economy is like a man walking on spring ice. The surface, which has been solid for so long, may be rotten and melting underneath and could give way any moment if you step in the wrong place. A drastic change to our economy could easily put the FD out of our reach indefinitely.

In the end, we decided we are better off if we continue on with the current schedule. We are calling to confirm the foundation and excavation contractors tomorrow, and get this ball on the roll. Now we just need to find a plumber to do the Drain/Waste/Vent system and the propane piping and an electrician to hook up the mains to the breaker box and meter socket.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Well done, thanks!

We got the bill from the well driller on Friday, indicating that the well is done. They say that it is 460 feet deep and is running 5 gallons per minute. For the price, the driller we used could not be beat! I have a few questions for them (whether they have had the water tested and the results, if they file a well drilling report and if we can get a copy, and also an idea of the standing column of water in the well) that need to be answered this week.

So with one more piece of the puzzle in place, we are moving right along. Before we know it we will be fabricating posts and beams and decking the house. Our objective for this coming week is to choose excavator and foundation contractor and schedule them.

In a little more personal news, I decided to get in a less 'round' shape before starting this project in earnest. I started following Matt Furey's Combat Conditioning and took off 4.5 lbs in the first week and a half. We shall see how it works, although any exercise can't be wrong.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Colder than a well-digger's ass

The well-driller called the first of March to say that they were finally on the property! They had drilled to 360 feet so far and had 4 gallons per minute. Since our contract guarantees 5 gallons per minute, there is still some work to do. The next day was predicted to be a big ice and snow storm and they didn't make it back.

Saturday we stopped on our way to visit some friends in MA to take a look. Despite no predictions of snow, it started snowing to beat the band on our way there. The road we live on was a bit slick and we couldn't get the car up the hill to the property. Half way up we lost forward momentum and started to slide down backwards. Fortunately, the dirt road spans two paved roads and the other end is more level with our property. We made our way around and had no trouble getting in from that direction, which confirmed both a fear (that we might not be able to get up the hill) and a hope (that the approach to the level end would be accessible) I had held about the property when we bought it.

The road to the level end of our road is paved, but leans toward the Twisted Firey Death Route category in snow. That is much better than the Non-Traversable category that the steep end of our road does, we just had to take it easy and concentrate. Once we reached the property, it was beautiful. The snow was falling, muffling the.... silence. We don't hear much unnatural noise when it is clear, and it was even more silent this day. The pictures can't do justice to the beauty of it, but right near the top of my list of things to enjoy when the house is done is a snowy day, from inside and out.

We went and checked out the truck and what they are doing with the well. They expect to finish out between 400 and 450 feet when they get up there.

Front of truck is parallel with the treeWell in progress
By the time we got in, looked around and left (15 - 20 minutes), the tracks of us sliding down the hill and driving were eradicated in fresh snow. It is so nice to see progress being made again. We have been waiting for a while to get the water situation squared away. The next big thing will probably be the excavation for the foundation. We will have all our quotes by the end of the week, and can start making those plans.