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DayCreek Journal

August 26, 2001

Installing Window Frames

Although the Bobcat has been used to raise the windows on the first floor, floor jacks could be used to accomplish the same gravity defying act.

One of the recent questions asked on the forum was how I was able to secure the window frames by myself. Installing the first floor window frames have been quite painless (or is it pane-less?). The rusty, trusty Bobcat has been a big help as usual. Although the 4' x 6' window frames are somewhat liftable by hand, it is quite heavy and there's no way I could lift them up over two feet and attach them to the horizontal beam without some form of assistance.

I've included a few photographs here of a smaller window that I recently mounted for the 15th wall. This window is located in the kitchen area above the sink.

As I mentioned on the forum, I start by putting the window frame in the Bobcat's bucket. I then roughly position the Bobcat with the window frame in the wall-to-be-built.

Next, I attach a number of long 2 x 4's horizontally across the front and rear of the window frame. The 2 x 4's act as guides while I raise the bucket on the Bobcat. This keeps the window from tilting in or out of the wall. There's no chance for the frame to go anywhere but up. The ends of the 2 x 4's slide easily up the adjacent posts as the bucket is raised. Once I have reached the proper height for the frame, I climb out of the Bobcat and quickly screw down the 2 x 4's to the posts to firmly attach the window frame to the wall frame. (Just another advantage to having a post and beam frame.)

The second floor will be a bit trickier. I won't have the Bobcat to help me out. Instead, floor jacks will serve the same purpose as the Bobcat. I should be able to jack-up the frame while 2 x 4's serve their purpose as a guide and finally as a support for the frame.

Sign of the Times
It's hard to believe that we are now entering the last week of August. This summer has gone by rather quickly. The birds aren't nearly singing as much as they had been just a few weeks ago. Although most species still seem to be in the area, their mating calls have ceased. The barn swallows who successfully raised a brood in the house have long since gone, but occasionally they take a flyby through the open windows. The blackbirds, grackles and cowbirds are starting to gather in large quantities and it won't be long before their chatterings are missed.

First, there was Slurryman, now meet Slurrywoman! With powers beyond mortal man, Slurrywoman can make gallons of paper slurry in just minutes. Jo is a natural!

Besides the noticeable changes in bird behavior, the walnut trees are beginning to shed their leaves in earnest. It's no reason why walnut trees produce such a hard, dense wood. They are the last tree to leaf out in the spring and the first to shed their leaves in the fall. Usually by the end of September their branches are bare except for a few dangling walnuts that soon will follow to the ground.

Next to the cabin is a shag bark hickory tree. Shagbark hickory is one of the slowest growing trees in the forest. Shagbark hickory only attains a 16 inch diameter in 100 years. Based on this, the tree by the cabin has to be at least 100 years old. I often wonder what the forest, hills and creek must have looked like when this tree was a sapling. It has lost a few limbs during its life, but this year the tree has an abundant crop of nuts. They should be ripening in a few weeks and I'll have to keep an eye on them. With any luck I should be able to gather a few of the nuts before the wildlife in the area clean the tree of its fruit.

The Southeastern Minnesota forests are mainly comprised of hardwoods. Cedars also are natural to this area, but are few in numbers. They tend to grow best on the steep slopes of the bluffs in the area.

Now that we are approaching the quarter mark of completion of the cordwood walls, it has become apparent that our log stock pile will fall short by five or six face cords of wood. This has me on the search for a source for soft woods. I may have found a good source for some softwood and if it pans out, I'll be sure to write about it.

Richard Koester shows off his handy work. Thanks to Richard, wall number 14 was completed on Thursday.

Jo drove up with me last Sunday and gave me two good days of labor. Although Jo has been up on weekends this summer, it's usually with friends or my father. But this last weekend it was just the two of us. We got a lot accomplished and Jo helped with beveling wood logs, slurrying paper and building a cordwood wall. Jo left on Tuesday and missed out on the intense electrical storm that night. It was such a loud night, I think even Jo might have been awakened by the crashes of thunder.

On Wednesday, Richard Koester arrived to try his hand at cordwood building. Richard and his wife Lisa, started the All Cordwood List a few years back and have been great hosts of the discussion group. This was Richard's first time at building cordwood walls and quickly attained the status of M.M.S. (Master Mortar Stuffer) The weather was quite warm and humid for the few days he visited. Not the best weather for introducing someone to cordwood construction, but nonetheless he seemed undaunted by the weather. (If he got the cordwood bug or not, only time will tell.) I'm sure that whatever housebuilding Richard and Lisa decide upon, they will have a beautiful house. Richard did an excellent job of log placement and pointing.

Cordwood camouflage It amazes me sometimes how insects can blend into their environment. Here's a mottled sand grasshopper doing his best not to be seen.