Friday, January 22, 2016

in less than two months Georgiana will be TWO


Breakfast and kids photos

The boys love the new wii and television
(only to be used for movies & wii)

 Kassiopeia & Tabitha Made sourdough English muffins from Malichi, the new sourdough starter.
 Then Kassiopeia then made all of us a delicious breakfast. Pancakes on the new griddle.

Georgiana couldn't wait. She started early.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Artifacts in the walls

We have found quite a bit of stuff in our walls and ceiling. Here are some inverted snaps of the glass plate negatives that we found.

Kinda cool...

We also found something of significant value. I don't want to disclose what it is because we are sending it to a dear friend and want it to be a surprise. 

I'll post about it later.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

No, that was not the final kitchen.

Albeit a vast improvement over our last "play-kitchen" this iteration of our kitchen is only temporary. We are hoping that it'll only be like this for several weeks. We are not quite halfway there. This second phase requires substantial plumbing gas and water. It also requires me to run new wiring for our convection oven. Then the usual stuff like new outlets and lighting, insulation, drywall, new window, painting, new cabinets, sink, countertops, range hood, subway tile the backsplash and stove wall, and flooring. ...whew

Yes, this is a big project.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

The big push toward halfway or the play kitchen gets moved.

Sheet rock and behind the walls electrical is done.

I trimmed out the new windows and door.

I put in the new subfloor and leveled it.

We painted it green.

I filled the transition gap between the house and the addition (probably added on in the 20's)

I left the gas from the old stove location sticking up and plumbed temporary water for our play kitchens new location.

We started laying the new awesome cork flooring. This is the first time I have ever laid click together floating flooring. Tabitha and I got pretty good at it.

It is so great.

We are putting Led in lighting, dimmer and three-way switches. These switches are designed to be wired one-way or three-way.

With so many devices that require USB charging we have installed several of these dual purpose outlets.

Really I know what I am doing.

This is the Play Kitchen initial move. 

This is Merrick, our new Wedgewood stove. He is still getting set up here. 

These are the lights that are intended to be over our kitchen table. They are zip tied up for now while the play kitchen is in the dining area. 

Here Kassiopeia and I are trying to put together the IKEA pantry. Ultimately Tabitha and I put it together. The recursive nesting paper instructions got to be a little much.

I got the first coffee/item cooked on Merrick. There is nothing like the precise flame that comes from a Wedgewood stove. 

The new cabinets sans handles.

This iteration of the play kitchen is a vast improvement. Soon the plastic curtain will fall and phase two can begin.

Kassiopea made pancakes on Merrick. They were the best ever.

Let phase two begin....

Sprouted greens and chickens.

We have some pretty awesome chickens. Their eggs are unbelievable. They are on complete confinement. We experimented with letting them free-range in our yard. The chickens ate our food that we wanted to eat. So we have them permanently in their coop. They have a deep bedding of woodchip--roughly 18" deep. To supplement their diet of organic pellets Tabitha scored a bi-weekly pick up of slightly out of date sprouted greens.

They get to eat about a bushel of these types of green daily. 

Our birds lay mostly green eggs. Some shades lean toward blue but mostly they are green shelled. We have twelve hens and get either 9 or 10 eggs per day. I have a timer set to wake them up at 4am. These shorter days would put a huge dent in our production otherwise. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cold weather

I miss heating with a wood stove. I miss the smell of a wood fire in the home. I miss cutting wood. In the forest, I miss that adrenaline rush of planning and felling a tree. I miss splitting wood, especially by hand. Each strike of the maul is like a mini battle of will. Can I convince my body to brutally and precisely repeatedly strike the log until it surrenders.  I miss stacking wood into long rows neatly ready for curing. I miss seeing the stacks of wood, so similar to a fully stocked larder, ready to heat our home.

It is cold here in Berkeley this morning. Not cold like it is in the rest of the United States. The sun will rise, it will bask into our front room and warm our poorly insulated home. By 9:30 am it will be very comfortable. Right now at 5:50 am I am cold. We don't have a real heating source. We could plug in some electric oil filled heaters.

Last time we did that it cost us a fortune on the next electricity bill--worst of all it wasn't really that much warmer.

We have an awesome woodstove

but I'd need to reline the chimney. I have done it before when we lived in Missouri. The main obstacle is there is no place to efficiently get wood. Plus the lining materials to do the job are about $700.

My Berkeley solution will be solar/radiant heat. I just acquired the final expensive part for our solar thermal system. I needed the pump, it had to be strong enough to lift my solar storage water to the peak of our roof. I couldn't afford to buy one since they are about $700. I was gifted two of them, one as back-up. They were from a commercial radiant heat removal. The plumber was going to throw them away.

Now I just need to finish the kitchen so I can install our solar heating system.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Kitchen remodel ensues...

I had to tear up the rotten flooring down to the joists.

I put in new sub-floor. The eventual final finish will be cork. 

This sub-floor was salvageable it just smells like La Brea tar pits. I scraped off the old tiles and tar to a level surface. 

I am starting to put sheet rock back on the ceiling. I insulated the exposed attic space and wired cans for the proposed lighting over the dining table and cutting board island. 

These three light cans will center on the table. See my crazy foam board and foam spray combination insulating?

This the wall behind the refrigerator, wall-oven, and pantry shelves

I'll plaster this back nice when I finish out the rest of the room. 

We got a Christmas tree the other day.

And, Georgi is a monkey girl.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Moving the main support column

We are getting our kitchen cabinets from IKEA. We priced around and looked at the competition. We decided on IKEA because they have wonderfully designed modern space saving and uber-convenience features. IKEA also has an awesome kitchen designer in browser app. It is sluggish but worth the trouble.

The problem I was having is we have a couple of columns (bumps) on both long walls that support a huge beam. It was making it impossible for me to position cabinets. Originally, I was going to hack into the affected cabinets and just have the column crowd into them. Not a pretty solution. As I got more and more involved I realised that this crowding wasn't going to work on fancy cabinets because things like glass shelves and complex lighted drawers can't abide this sort of thing.

Here is one of the columns, the one on the other side of the room. They were pretty much the same.

Here is the exact beam a few days ago.

the plastic is attached to it, just to the left of Kassi.

I wanted to move the support column into the wall cavity. The overhead beam didn't extend into the wall cavity so I had to get creative. I hammered in a 4by4 shoring to support the beam leaving room for me to work on the old column. I also used a bottle jack and another 4by4 to ever-so-slightly lift the beam. The house creaked in protest. My adrenaline was coursing through my body. I do stuff like this at work all the time but having a safety net of a corporation and insurance keeps my head cool. Here I cannot make any mistakes because I cannot afford them.

I had to remove the old column and floor blocking. The blocking was bad and the column was in my way. I opened up the wall bay and made room for my new beam. I still needed to attach the vertical column to the beam and decided on a steel angle bracket that I could hide within the sheetrock compound.

I went to the local steel yard and got a big piece on angle-iron. I buy steel from them for work all the time and I told them it was for me personally (almost free). I drilled the stump of angle-iron and notched my cut to length 4by4 post.

Here is what my bracket ended up looking like.

And here it the new column hidden in the wall cavity in all its glory.

Sorry, it is a bit blurry. On the left you can see my insulating efforts. I buy rigid foam insulation, cut it to fit then I foam the edges to make a hermetic seal. I cannot use fluffy fiberglass insulation because my old house doesn't have a vapor barrier and any absorbent insulation acts like a sponge and causes things to rot. Someday soon I'll insulate, hang a vapor barrier and re-side my house.

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