Sunday, March 1, 2015

A House - Update XXXII - Attic Access

With the ceiling sealed in and still needing to get insulation in the attic, I also needed a way to provide an access portal into the attic. I figured having it above the closet of our bedroom was probably best, so that I could stand on top of it to be able to more easily get into the attic without having to have a taller ladder to reach the greater than 11 foot ceiling height.

After some planning and obtaining some supplies, I delved on in...

This is the panel I chose. Besides being above the closet, I wanted to use one of the half-panels so I could more easily remove and install the panel without assistance:

Ceiling Panel to Put Attic Access In

Here it is removed. Before removing it, I first had to remove another small panel so I could get into the attic and mark out lines where the trusses ran along the access panel, which would help me know exactly where I would need to cut:

Ceiling Panel Removed

Once the panel was down, I drew the cut lines that would make the access door. The plan was to have one side of the door be the original side of the panel and close onto a truss and cover half way, thus requiring only three cuts. The opposite side (shown top here) would lay half way on the other truss, allowing the panel to be re-attached to the truss and for the door to cover the other, exposed half of that truss when closed:

Cut Lines Drawn on Ceiling Panel

And here is the cut panel:

Attic Access Door Cut Out of Ceiling Panel

And then back into place in the ceiling:

Cut Ceiling Panel Back in Place

Here is the view from the attic, showing the cross pieces in place. The cross piece that was to hold the door hinges I put flush with the ceiling panel cut, and the other side, where the latches would be, I put exposing half of the cross piece, which would allow for that side of the closed door to cover that half of the cross piece:

Attic Access View from Attic

Then, it was on to making the door...

Here are the door frame pieces. They needed to be cut to length so the hinge side would be flush with that edge, and the other three sides would show about one inch of panel, which are what would cover the exposed halves of the trusses and cross pieces when closed, plus a little gap to keep the door frame from hitting a truss or cross piece when actually closing the door:

Attic Access Door Frame Pieces

These are the pieces made into the door frame:

Attic Access Door Frame

And then installed on the door:

Attic Access Door Frame on Door Panel

Here, the door hardware is installed -- two hinges and two bolt latches:

Attic Access Door Hardware Installed

And close-ups of each:

Attic Access Door Bolt Latches
Attic Access Door Hinges

This is the fancy way I held the door in place to attach the hinges to the ceiling and cross piece: :)

Attaching Attic Access Door Hinges to Ceiling

And here the door is closed and latched into place! One side of the bolt latch on the door didn't have a door frame into which to put screws, so the ends of the screws were sticking out and preventing the door from completely closing; so I drilled out little holes into the cross piece where the ends of the screws would fit into:

Attic Access Door Bolt Latches Latched

And here is the original ceiling panel showing the new attic access door installed:

Attic Access Door Installed

And with it open:

Open Attic Access Door

From the back side:

Open Attic Access Door Back Side

And front side:

Open Attic Access Door Front Side

I was amazed it actually worked. It was almost anti-climactic in that there was no "drama" with it, which there usually is in my building projects. :) But, it was nice to have it work out as well as it appears to have worked.

We're thankful as always to the Lord for granting the provisions and continued progress on the house, and I'm thankful to Him for the idea and plans for making this bit of the project seem to work successfully.

-- David

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Providence's Perpetuation Provisions: New Calf "Vinicio"

Apparently calf dropping time is upon us! Several weeks ago, Rosa strolled up to be fed with a new little calf by her side -- a little bull calf, that we're going to call Vinicio, which means "vine," because he's red, and wine is red and comes from the fruit of a vine. :)

Anyway, here is a picture of him, his daddy is on the left:

First 2015 Pure Longhorn Bull Calf Vinicio

And one with Rosa and I believe Manolito, Rosa's calf from last year (so Vinicio's big brother):

New Longhorn Calf Vinicio with His Mother and Brother

And here's a little video of him. I say he's a couple of months old in the video, but it's closer to one month:

We are grateful to the Lord for granting this first safe and healthy calf of the new year! And we are always thankful for His continued provisions, both spiritually and temporily.

-- David

Monday, February 9, 2015

A House - Update XXXI - External Wall Insulation

With the wood-burning stove in place, and the ceiling panels all up, the last major piece of the house-heating puzzle was the rest of the external wall insulation. We had already done the bedroom insulation some time back, but now it was time to complete the other rooms.

First, I went around and stuffed insulation in all of the door frame gaps using a shim:

Door Frame Insulation

And then I started working my way around the house, beginning with the great room living room:

Great Room Living Room Wall Insulation

Then behind the cook stove and into the kitchen. I also took the heat barrier we had been using for our barn stove and put it behind the house one:

Great Room Kitchen Wall Insulation & Heat Barrier Behind Wood-Burning Cook Stove

Through the rest of the kitchen:

More Great Room Kitchen Wall Insulation

And finally in the library:

Library Wall Insulation

And there it was! Ready for guests!

And here is a picture from outside showing the lamps and candles lit in the house for the first time we had the group over for a community meeting on a cold night!

First Cold Weather Community Meeting in Our House After House External Wall Insulation From Outside

And from inside with the camera flash before everyone got there:

First Cold Weather Community Meeting in Our House After House External Wall Insulation

Once again, we are most grateful to the Lord for supplying the resources for continuing the house, to those out there who have helped with them, and we are very thankful and excited to be able to finally host the group, and hopefully in a bit of comfort. Last year, we had to cancel some meetings because the community center stove pipe is rusted through, so we're glad we can now meet once again, to sing praises to God and learn about the Lord Christ, in unity together, we pray for His glory, even in colder weather!

May He grant us the heat of His charity in our hearts!

-- David

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Barn - Update III - First Animal Stall

One of the purposes of having a barn was to have animal stalls in it, for keeping animals or for when they would need to be out of the weather. We really wanted to be able to have this shelter for the goats available this winter, and with some of the loft in place, and us having a pretty cold few days of weather, and us having some sick and/or shivering goats, I quickly formulated what I hoped would be a fairly inexpensive plan, got some materials, and started in on putting up our first animal stall!

I was originally going to use three rows of 2x6s, but in judging the costs, it was less expensive to use four rows of 2x4s, so that's what I went with. I simply just screwed them into the loft posts. Here is the long-side wall:

Barn Animal Stall East Wall

And the short wall and gate. I just buried a landscape timber for the wall end:

Barn Animal Stall North Wall & Gate

Here it is with the gate closed:

Barn Animal Stall Gate Closed

And its hinges:

Barn Animal Stall Gate Hinges

And its latch:

Barn Animal Stall Gate Latch

And then open:

Barn Animal Stall Gate Open

I wanted to make sure their eating-hay was off the ground, so I took some left-over 2x6s from the braces we used to keep the porch posts from twisting, and some left-over plywood, made a couple of frames, with the back one a little higher, tied them together on the ends, et voila! Hay trough! I initially just set it up against the stall wall, but I wondered; and sure enough, soon after putting goats in the stall, they tipped it forward; so as a temporary solution, I stuck a cinder block underneath the front frame:

Barn Animal Stall Hay Trough

Here's a view from inside the stall, with all of the hay on the floor too:

Barn Animal Stall from Inside

With the gated-wall being not too steady, I added a corner brace that you can see in the lower part of the picture:

Barn Animal Stall Wall Corner Bracing

And that was it! I put it all together basically in a little longer than a morning.

And we immediately had some customers!

Winnie, the white one, had been having non-eating spells every so often, and was particularly sensitive to the cold; and so, we brought her in, along with Annie to keep her company, and because Annie sometimes is last in a shed because she's low goat in the "pecking" order. And of course, they had on their sweaters. If you look closely, in this and the final picture, you can see that we draped blankets over the lower rails to help prevent drafts from blowing on them while laying on the hay:

Cold Goats in Barn Animal Stall

Lucy had also been not eating much and shivering, so at one point we brought her in as well. She needed at least one blanket too, maybe more. So did Winnie at times:

Sick Goat in Barn Animal Stall Corner

And finally...Winnie being Winnie, and styling with the scarf, I must say! :)

Goat Climbed Up Barn Animal Stall Wall Looking Over

In the end, it seemed to really help them all through the cold and wet times. All the goats made it through their non-eating/sick times, thanks to the Lord; and they're all still with the rest of the herd.

As always, we're grateful to God for granting the provisions to provide this hideaway for the animals, the idea for its design, and that it seemed to all work pretty well!

-- David

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A House - Update XXX - External Siding - Update II

With the upper north siding of the house complete, in between other house projects, like the ceiling and wood-burning stove, I started working on the upper east side siding. Once again, I'm using cedar fence slats, which are relatively inexpensive, and ideally hearty, not requiring paint (although we're putting wood protector on), fastening them with tan 2 1/2 inch deck screws.

Sue helped me put up the tar paper:

House Upper East Siding Tar Paper

And here are some of the window frames in place:

Upper East Window Frames

Our cat, William, scales the ladder at will, and often joins me on the porch roof:

William Our Cat on the Porch Roof

Here's the siding about half way up:

Upper East Siding Half Way Done

And almost done:

Upper East Siding Mostly Done

And then complete!

Upper East Siding Complete

With the full view here, and the last of the caulking still fresh:

Full View of House Upper East Siding

We thank the Lord once again for providing the resources to keep working on the house! Upper south side is next, which if God wills, I hope to have done before spring rains.

-- David

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Goat-a Get a Move On

Back in November, breeding season had arrived, so it was time to put our various nanny goats with their appointed billies. Although we showed in a picture my brother helping me with the moving of the sheds back in the spring, this time, we thought we'd take you along for the entire ride with a video of the process of moving a couple of the sheds from one field to the other, getting one group a new hay bale, and then the actual moving of several of the goats and showing them all ready to go.

Moving the sheds is something of a task, and so the video's a little long, although I double-time it in several places, but it gives some insight into one of the important chores we have around here twice a year. Thankfully, it's only twice a year. :)

Just like in our "Goat Milk?" video, the background music came from fiddle champion Tony Ludiker's free mp3s page. The recordings have Terry Ludiker and Darin Meeks on guitar.

If anything, you might watch the last third or so, where the goat moving and interaction takes place...that's kinda fun, IMO. Be sure to look for the Rocky-cam! (Rocky's one of our bucks):

We pray the Lord grants the increase with the herd, according to His will!

-- David

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A House - Update XXIX - Inside Ceiling Complete

With the wood-burning cook stove now in place, it was time to get the rest of the ceiling done!

Here, a couple of the fellows came by to help:

Fellowship Men Helping Put Up Corner Ceiling Panel

And we finished the rest of the ceiling! This is between the great room and bedroom/bathroom:

Great Room/Bathroom Final Ceiling Panels in Place

And the north west corner:

Great Room Final Panels Installed

And the north east corner:

More Great Room Final Panels Installed

We're always very grateful to the Lord for granting continued provisions and progress on the house, to those who are helping fund that, and thanks to the guys for the help in finishing up the ceiling!

On to external wall insulation!.....

-- David