May, Part II

A couple of more "guest workers" came to help out on the weekend of May 14. Roger and Noreen Breeding were in Chama for a couple of weeks work on the railroad (Cumbres and Toltec),  visiting from Bozeman. They took the weekend off from railroad work to help us with the roof. (Not sure that's what they planned, but that's what the did).


This shot also shows the final step in the roof prep. You can see wood "blocking" around the roof perimeter. The blocking is two sheets of 3/4" plywood, screwed and glued together, then drilled to match the bolts welded to the i-beams. Needless to say, the blocking is very heavy.

Roger, taking his turn at the saw.

After Roger and Noreen leave, a final push completes the all the deck and blocking, in time for the roofers to come. For the facts and figures types, the roof required about 150 pieces of 14' lumber and 600 pieces of 12', every one of which had to be lifted to the roof. ~1000 separate pieces of wood had to be nailed down, using over 7000 nails. Thank god for pneumatic nailguns. The blocking consists of 15 full sheets of 3/4" plywood, sawn in 8" wide x 8' long strips, glued and screwed in pairs. 

Look closely at the ground inside the house and you will see that the radiant heat tubing has been laid in place.

When the roofers asked if they could camp overnight, it never occurred to me that with 150 acres to pick from, they would build a tarp-tent between the two buildings and build a fire. Fortunately, there is no sign afterward, other than a few bits of charcoal. More importantly, we have a roof, before any rain hit our labors.

Lucky made friends with everyone on the roofing crew, who were all happy to give her scraps of their meals (like steak burritos!).

It's probably only fair to note at this point that up until now it's been quite cold at the ranch, with overnight temps well below freezing. Every morning brings hard frost on the ground and cars. The one afternoon it rained left enough water on the roof that I found ice over 1/4" thick in the morning.

The roof is only one of many remaining tasks. A particularly nasty one is removing the top course of the insulation along the foundation. We have to dig down about 8" or so, then snap the insulation free from the plastic tabs that held it together in the forming system. Ken and Teresa started this job last week, then Elaine and I spent the better part of two days finishing it up.

We've started knocking down the extra earth collected for the walls, trying to make the site look like something other than a construction site. Even with the Gehl, there's a lot of dirt to move and smooth.

The last task for this trip is experimenting with cleaning up the line where the concrete meets the rammed earth. The plans call for a crisp line, but the concrete forms don't provide the required seal due to the irregularity of the rammed earth.

I made a jig to hold a circular saw, which is fitted with a diamond blade. Two old rollerblade wheels guide the jig along the top of the wall. A couple of knobs with bolts in slots allow me to adjust the height.

The resulting line is a big improvement, but will still require some patching of the rammed earth where the earth and concrete meet.