Monday, February 27, 2012

A House - Update XIV - Building Truss Amongst the Brethren

The next big step in the house "adventure" was to try to start putting up the roof. The design was to have the roof free-span (without support posts) the entire width of the house, and use a gabled roof. I had originally wanted a hip roof, mostly because I liked its old-fashioned (at least to me) look; but with its complexities, and in further consideration of heating and cooling, decided to go with the gable design.

As I mentioned, I wanted to face the gables in a way that would best serve the temperature considerations inside the house during the Winter (for heating) and Summer (for cooling) months. I did some extensive research, and from my findings, decided to face the gabled ends (the vertical sides) to the east and west, and face the roof slopes north and south; and here's why -- it has to do with the position of walls or roof lines in relation to the direct light of the sun:
  • during the Winter, the sun is lower in the southern sky, and facing the slope toward it allows for more direct-angle sunshine to hit the roof, which is what you want when it's cold, so it will help thermally heat the house

  • and during the Summer, there are two considerations:

    • when the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, having the roof slope facing those directions will have direct sunlight on the roof for nearly all of the day, whereas having the gabled ends facing east-west only has direct sunlight on the walls at the beginning and end of the day

    • and during the majority of the day, when the sun is more directly overhead, sloping the roof north and south will have the sunlight hitting the roof at an angle rather than more directly, thus deflecting the light and subsequent heat

Actually, the decision on which way to face the gabled ends and slopes of the roof needed to be figured out when the foundation piers were being built, so the beams would run in the direction of the sloped sides of the roof, supporting the walls that would be holding the weight of the roof.

Finally, in order be able to free-span the width of the house, I decided on using trusses, because that's what they do. :)

For expediency sake, and to make sure they were designed, hopefully, properly, from an engineering stand-point, we ordered the trusses from a local truss company; and here they are being delivered:

House Roof Trusses on Delivery Truck


Here you can see the brethren work-crew eagerly waiting for the trusses to be dropped off:

House Roof Trusses on Delivery Truck Next to the Brethren Crew


Once the trusses were off-loaded, we started with one of the end trusses:

House Roof Trusses First End Truss in Place


Before being able to move the trusses into position by sliding them across the top of the walls, we figured it would probably be easier if we had one of the internal cross walls up in place so we could walk on it and help move over the truss from the internal middle of the house, not just from the ends; and so, we raised one of the internal walls that had been built but not raised:

House Internal Wall Raised to be Able to Move Trusses into Position


Here's a truss being moved down the length of the house into position (the two fellows in the middle are walking along that interior wall):

House Roof Truss Moved into Position


And then hoisted up:

House Roof Truss Lifted into Position


And then the process of securing them to each other using 2x4s would begin:

Standing Between Two House Roof Trusses


We needed to pull in the walls to get them to be the proper distance from each other; and for that, we used a come-along and a rope:

Walls Pulled in Using a Come-Along to Properly Install House Roof Trusses


Not only did the folks who walked along the internal wall have to balance on it, but they also had to negotiate that rope:

Moving House Truss into Position Under Cross Rope


Here's another truss being hoisted up:

Hoisting Roof Truss into Position


And then in final position:

House Roof Truss in Position


Even young Robert was out there helping hold and secure the trusses (we were quadruple careful to make sure he was always holding on to something solid and not playing around):

Stabilizing and Securing House Roof Trusses


And here's the final end truss in place:

Installing the Final End House Roof Truss


Lastly, to further help prevent the trusses from tipping over because of winds, the ends were secured to the porch roof fascia (please see the last picture on the next house blog post about the house main roof for further bracing that was added):

House Roof Trusses Bracing


And here's a video of some of the truss work throughout the day:




After a day's work, here are all of the trusses in place:

House Roof Trusses Finished - Slope View
House Roof Trusses Finished - End View
House Roof Trusses Finished - Inside View
House Roof Trusses Finished - Full View


We are thankful to the Lord for His mercies in the safety of the crew, and grateful to Him and the brethren for their help with this part of the house; and we thank Him for the provisions to continue the house building process.

-- David

Monday, February 20, 2012

David's Digest: The Future Becomes the Past

Our teacher, Mr. Bunker, is taking his first step into the world of fiction writing in his latest work, The Last Pilgrims. It's a new direction for him, given he has concentrated the focus of his ministry for the most part on sermons and non-fiction articles and books.

The Last Pilgrims is book one of a planned multi-volume saga that centers around a group of Christian agrarians that live life as most people did 500 years ago -- working the land and raising their own food -- largely because the world systems have collapsed completely. Twenty years after the catastrophic collapse, the world is quite different -- all of the modern, normal providers of life-necessities in the world (utilities, grocery stores, etc.) are gone; and in order to survive, people needed to return to the old way of living. Those that could did survive; most didn't.

The story is about how those people live, the economic system of trade and barter that rose up, the governmental systems of monarchy that rose in the world, the forces of evil that would stamp out those who don't submit to the evil ways and doctrines of the wicked governments and religious systems, and those whom the Lord raises up to protect His people.

It has all of the elements of a good story -- action, suspense, surprises, lessons, things to make you think, information, etc. It kept me interested; Mr. Bunker did an excellent job of painting the pictures with his words, even with minute details; the characters are interesting and developed pretty well; and, even though I'm not really a fan of fiction, I appreciate the creativity in being able to invent a well-thought-out story and then tell it well.

There are also many ideas of his Christian, agrarian, separatist views of the world woven throughout; and he's able to evidence how those are positive, beneficial, and even desirable things. However, he's also not remiss in declaring the continued evil of the world and antichrist against those who would serve God alone.

This book is different from other post-apocalyptic books in that Mr. Bunker comes at the situation based on different underlying premises:
  • that it's very possible, even probable, that the world will not get back to "normal" after a system collapse...ever
  • that history shows this to be true after the collapse of every empire
  • that in such a circumstance, all bets are off as to how you can expect people to act (eg. "normal" people will become as wicked or more than pirate biker gangs)
  • that the spiritual battle of antichrist and the world will continue against Christ and His followers until the end
  • that the followers of Christ will still face persecutions, as they have throughout time; and that as a Christian, there is no entitlement or guarantee of absolute safety
  • that the Lord God of all is still in charge of all circumstances and defends His people

Finally, Mr. Bunker examines two schools of thought regarding violence: pacifism and militia-ism, which is a major running theme throughout, with the characters facing life decisions as to how they will proceed with their actions in this regard, and the consequences of those choices.

The Last Pilgrims is a work of art that is interesting and educational, and may be a true-to-life situation this generation will face. In a way, this series looks like it will be a culmination of years of study by Mr. Bunker in theology, worldview, history, etc. It has been fun and interesting to see the right side of his brain being let out of the cage to roam freely (so to speak). :)

For more information about the book, please visit www.lastpilgrims.com; and if you plan to, please purchase his book at Amazon.com on February 24, 2012, when the future becomes the past!

-- David

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Meat Dryer - Update I

In a previous blog post, I showed a meat dryer I had put together. This was for the purpose of brining and drying meat as a method of food preservation that didn't require freezing or canning. We are always looking for ways to do this, as freezers and canners require dependence on the world systems for continuing supplies (fuel, electricity, parts, etc.).

The final picture of that blog post showed meat from one of our Longhorn bulls that had been butchered hanging and drying.

After a few weeks, at which time the meat looked about dry, I had collected the meat off of the dryer and put it in a plastic bucket and covered it, just as a place to contain it as I wasn't exactly sure what to do with it (we've never processed meat like this before, you know :) ). Well, since it was in plastic, which doesn't breathe, I was a little worried that moisture, which is a seedbed for bacteria, had got in the bucket perhaps; and so I put the pieces back on the dryer again for a couple more weeks (they probably didn't need to hang that long -- I sort of just left them out there). This actually seemed to dry them out further.


And then, all that was left, was to try out the goods! We soaked them in water for 24 hours, as after 12 hours the meat still wasn't very pliable. Even after 24 hours, they weren't much more softened; but I didn't want to leave them out in the open in water like that too much longer for fear of bacterial growth, although the water was probably somewhat salty, which perhaps would have prevented any problems:

Meat Dryer Dried Meat Soaking in Water


And then I cooked them on the grill:

Meat Dryer Dried Meat on Grill


And here they are all cooked:

Meat Dryer Dried Meat Cooked and Ready


And here is the meal that Sue prepared for it:

Meat Dryer Dried Meat Ready to be Eaten


Drum roll please....

Well, obviously by the fact that I'm writing this, we didn't die, which we thought was a plus on the whole experiment. :) (Did I mention we've never preserved meat like this before, and being so colonized in our thinking that things MUST be frozen to keep, it was hard not to worry.)

At any rate, it was a little dry and a little tough to chew, but just tasted like well-done steak. It wasn't salty, was certainly palatable, and except for the chewiness, was pretty good actually.

It did seem to stop up "the system" a little, but shortly things "moved" along as normal.

All in all, it wasn't too bad, for meat that had never been processed the way the world says to do it. Perhaps we'll try soaking it in a meat-tenderizing marinade the next time, Lord willing. Anyone have any recipes?

We are very grateful to the Lord for granting the knowledge of this food preservation method; His creation that graciously allows for the survival of man (eg. salt killing bacteria); His granting of a successful experiment in living according to His order of things; and for this step away from the world, we pray, as unto Him, for His glory.

-- David

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A House - Update XIII - Internal Walls

After the house porch roof was covered, it was time to start on some of the internal walls.

Here is header tied to the footer for stud marking of the first wall that goes all the way from west to east:

House Internal Walls Header and Footer


And here is the view of the bedroom from the library with the closet in front:

House Internal Walls View of Bedroom from Library


And here is the view of the library from the bedroom:

House Internal Walls View of Library from Bedroom


This is a short blog post because this process was "interrupted" by the materials arriving for the next major stage of the house project -- the roof! We hope to have a blog post on that up soon, if the Lord wills.

We thank the Lord again for the resources and progress on the house. It's neat to see some of the rooms actually begin to take shape!

-- David