Sunday, 24 April 2011

The Coffee is ON!!!

Building the walls

Building the walls was fun. You start to see your progress right away. It seems that the prep work for building takes the longest. If you take the time to prep everything properly things just falls into place....or so they SHOULD...

As you see in the pictures, we had our fill of wet and cold days. Although, we didn't get as much snow as they forcasted. When we woke up on Friday, there was a few cm. We were able to be back at it in the afternoon with sunshine.
We started the walls on Thursday morning and were finished them on Saturday late evening. Saturday was a beautiful day with almost double digits!

The Nail Puller

So, here is an example of not always taking people's advice....

When we were packing our tools and deciding which ones we should be taking, I said to Ted, "we should take the nail puller." He said that we wouldn't need it. I insisted on bringing it. This isn't just any nail was my dads and I remember it being used a lot when I was "Young Katie" (as they say here in Newfoundland). So, it ended up in our luggage and sat in the "store" (Newfie word for shed) until 3 days ago. We were so proud of ourselves to get the first wall raised and were sitting back admiring it when we realized a few "minor" mistakes (I say minor because it would have been a lot harder to get the nails out without my dad's fancy tool). We have used it each day. The lesson learned is that WE ALL makes mistakes. But its nothing that a nail puller won't fix...remember that!!

Hurry Up and Take the Picture!!!

Ted is trying desperately to balance the wall as I take the picture. We started with the hardest heaviest wall and worked our way to the easiest, lightest ones. The first wall we raised was so tricky that we couldn't afford to be snapping pictures.

What a feeling of satisfaction when the wall was secure over the anchor bolts and nailed in place.
We were thankful that we didn't have very windy days. I can just see it, getting the wall in place and then experiencing a great gust of wind!!

Would you like a coffee? Maybe a muffin?

SOOOOOOO, here is our floor plan!

The red dots are windows, the arrows are doors, the "k" means kitchen and the "b" means bathroom. There will be an L-shaped "low bar" with a few seats in front of the left three windows. The rest of the floor space is reserved for our Newfoundland merchandise. The door to the bathroom is accessed from outside. There will be a wrap around bridge (which means deck in English) on the entrance side and front.

The space will be cozy but we think it will be quaint and have a rustic feel. At least that is what we're striving for. Technically, you are only allowed to have a max. of 10 seats if you only have one washroom. So...we'll have a few seats inside, maybe a couch and a few seats on the deck.

Well, I better go, Ted made me breakfast. He has finally mastered soft-boiled eggs after I mentioned it was essential he keep time (which is something that Ted doesn't normally do..). Today, it is windy, cold, snowy and rainy out there. We will try and brave the cold to get a bit more work done.


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Getting Ready to Pour

For once, the weather was in our favour. We had planned last week to pour on Monday because we had a two day window where there the temperatures would be above freezing. The only variable was the rain. It was supposed to be quite wet. We called the concrete finisher guys because they had a power trowel to finish our floor. Since its going to be a business we need to make sure that we can clean the floors. They were quite apprehensive about getting the concrete on Monday. They said we should wait until Tuesday. All weekend we were watching the weather network and gradually Monday starting looking sunnier and sunnier. It rained all Sunday night but by the time we got up at 6 on Monday to lay the vapour barrier and mesh the clouds started to break. We had 2 great days for the concrete to set. Good thing we went with our instincts. It rained in the afternoon on Tuesday so it wouldn't have been ideal. We can now take a deep breath. Concrete is not cheap and if it were to freeze we could be in quite a pickle.

"H"Ardy and his son Danny Doing their thing

When talking to the Ready Mix Office in Lewisporte they calculated for us how much concrete we would need. We also calculated and received the same total. She added 0.25 metres more to be safe. On Monday, we called to confirm and decided that we would order another 0.5 metres of concrete JUST to be safe. We had some sonotubes for our deck all ready to be poured as well. We thought we'd have plenty of concrete left over. Well, good thing we ordered a lot more than we thought we would need. We had JUST enough concrete to pour the pad plus enough to fill a couple of our sonotubes. That was a little too close for comfort. You wouldn't want to be left with half a pour. WHEW!!

The Power Trowel

This is the machine that makes a nice smooth finish. We plan on staining the concrete when we're all done so it doesn't have that concrete look. We're having trouble finding a store around here that sells it. Home Depot does but we'd be in the car for a while to find one.

We had to find SOMETHING to do while we waited!!:)

Since we had to wait a day for the concrete to harden properly we went on a great hike. Recently we had discovered excellent trails and more rugged terrain in Durrell (the Town next to Twillingate).

One of us had great discoveries, which was quite crappy for us (no pun intended). As I have mentioned, Crosbie likes to go on great explorations and chase the birds on our hikes while Iris sticks close by. Sometimes we won't see Crosbie for a while but he eventually finds us. Soooo, on one of his excursions he runs by and his whole coat is full of poop. We did not let our imaginations run as to what type of poo this might be. All we knew was that is smelled and that WE would have to do something about it. Thanks to the terrain, we found a low spot with swamp water. After throwing him in so his back was covered and rubbing him down with moss he wasn't too impressed with us.

He got over it though......hopefully.

Its all UP from here!

Today (Wednesday) we stripped the forms off the concrete and got all our sill plates bolted down and the studs laid out. This is the time-consuming part. Making sure everything is square etc.

Tomorrow evening we are supposed to get 20 cm of snow. Yikes!!! Hopefully that weather angel we had for pouring concrete is sticking around till tomorrow. I'm sure you'll get the scoop in the next update....if we're not still shovelling snow drifts :)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Bring the Concrete On!!!

Leveling our gravel pad

Now we can get a better idea of what our building is going to look like. We have the gravel all leveled and our plumbing is in. We just have to bury our electrical conduit and water lines. Once we lay the plastic vapour barrier and wire mesh we will be ready for the concrete.

Tentatively, the concrete is coming on Monday. It is supposed to rain but be warm. We'll see how the day looks. We can change our order on Monday morning to Tuesday.

We asked Derrick (the guy excavating) if there was someone that finishes concrete (power trowel etc.). He told us that the guys name was Ardy Roberts and that we'd find his name in the phone book. So, off we go and try and find his name but no Ardy. A while later it hit me that they don't pronounce their "h" here on the island so I suggested we try looking up Hardy Roberts. Sure enough, there is was. Just an example of the hurdles we have here with regards to the language barrier. We had quite a laugh about this one.

The Inspector

Our neighbour, Nelson, decided to wander over and check out our progress. We told him he should be wearing his white hat. He says not to take advice from anyone. "Everyone puts in their two bits". We'll have to filter through the advice. Derrick gave us quite a bit of advice but he knows what he's doing so we feel its "safe advice".

Thursday, 14 April 2011


A new life has begun!

To start off the ground breaking day we had to transplant one of the trees that my dad had planted. Actually, it was an offspring of one of the trees he planted. The plow had clipped the original but there was a little spruce tree growing right beside it. We decided it would like a nice view so we planted it here.

Lot of loud noise in the quiet town of Crow Head

So, the building project has begun. We hired Derrick Warren to bring his excavator in and level things out for us. We had heard from a lot of locals that he was our man (and we also think he is pretty cute). There is no building inspection here in Newfoundland so when you hire someone you want to make sure that they are dependable. He has been great! Newfoundland is a bit in the stone ages when it comes to equality but Derrick acknowledges both Ted and I. For me, it makes working beside him comfortable. Other potentials we had in here to look at the project were somewhat chauvinistic...not good in our minds. Anyway, he is both personable and good at what he does so it was a win win situation for us. Once he started excavating, we decided we needed to get a "buster" in to take out some of the rock. There has been a bit of discrepency with regards to setbacks here. Johnny, our mayor, says that as long as its behind the line of the house its fine. BUT, the road is "highways" jurisdiction and so others say 30 feet from the centre of the road (all this is hilarious and frustrating for Ted and I as we both worked in surveying and setbacks were not even close to a "grey area"). So, all that said, we decided to try and get the 30 foot setback. We had been trying to get a hold of the department of highways supervisor but to no avail (he still hasn't returned our phone calls). We couldn't wait any longer so we are just going with it.

Another reason why we had to remove a bit of rock was because we're not sure whether we'll get our parking lot in on the other side of the road. Again, its the department of highways that says you need to have 80m site-line. We don't want to put money into something that won't work. We thought it would be better to spend a bit more money on our own property and make enough room for a few cars.

The Great Wall of Crow Head

The stone that we took out of the cliff we used to make a retaining wall (dry laid stone wall) in front of the house. The slope used to erode down to the pavement. We decided that if Derrick cut out the bank a bit and we put a wall in that we would have a place for cars on the shoulder. Derrick brought us the rock and we laid the wall. Our backs were sure feeling it that evening. But look at the finished product!!

I guess the secret is out. I think we are the amusement in Crow Head. The steady traffic and the rubber necking were just a few signs of this. We got mostly smiles and waves though.

Today, Derrick was back and levelled out our building envelope. We then dug our plumbing in and are getting ready to form up our footings and lay our water lines and electrical conduit.

We're happy to say that we have made a big dint (literally). Hopefully next week we will have a warm window so we can pour our concrete. More pics to come of our footings ready for the pour.

Cheers to a successful start (and a beautiful day too)!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

I must apologize that its been so long since
I've updated my blog. Lots has been happening and I just haven't had the time. We have also been out of town for 4 days....

Last Monday we had a town meeting. It was a good meeting with the mayor and one counsel member that showed up. The two were excited and full of questions for us. We are going to be having another meeting one evening this week and hopefully there will be more of a turnout (don't hold your breath though).

On Wednesday we left at four in the morning for St. John's. At 3:30am, we tried to start the car and the battery was flat. Good thing we have a standard car and were pointed down a big hill. I'm not sure who would have been up at that hour to give us a boost. The trip was supposed to be a couple days long. We were meeting with our fair trade organic coffee roaster and a few other Newfoundland artisan contacts that we had. After the first day we knew we would need more time. Each time we stopped we were enlightened with more information. The Newfoundlanders are so warm and friendly and inviting. There are two great places for artisans to get exposure. The Crafts Council of Newfoundland and "Crafts of Character". Through these two organizations we were able to get lots of contacts and meet with most of the ones we thought we would like to work with.

Good thing we had brought our warm blankets so we could sleep in the car. We collapsed the seats and the four of us were nice and cozy. It dropped a couple degrees below zero a couple of the nights but it didn't bother us too much. We camped up at Cape Spear. The most easterly point of North America. It was about 15 minutes out of town. Here we could let the dogs run in the morning and see the sunrise.

St. John's is a great city. The arts community is incredible and the city itself has so much character. One minute you can be walking through the streets and the next minute hiking on the rugged coastline. This was great for us having the dogs. They had some pretty awesome hikes, which was great cause they were living in the car for 4 days.

For us, meeting the people that we are going to work with is important. We learned a lot about the different artisans and their talents. Along with every person comes a story. Most of the people were open about talking about their art and how it came to be. It was good that we took the time now to get everything set up since a lot of the artists are feeling the pressure of the coming season.

On our way home we took a side trip to Upper Island Cove to stop into "The Grumpy Goat Gallery". There, Cara and Pam work together to make the most spectacular art. Here is their blog address that shows some of their work. They use Cara's art and Pam's woodworking skills to put together the most amazing 3-D art. Check it out!

Arriving back home last night, we were encouraged. The snow had melted quite a bit, which is essential for us to go ahead with building. This coming week we can get someone in to level out the building envelope and dig our footings then we can form them. We will have everything ready so that the following week (when it is supposed to be a bit warmer) we can pour our slab and start the framing process.

More updates to come. Lots of hugs from the east..