October 28 , 1999
to be Back
First I would like to thank all of you who sent messages wishing and praying for Jo's speedy recovery. I guess they have helped. Jo is doing fine and this week I was able to head up north for a few days to make sure everything was fine and finish boarding up the house for the winter.
The weather was warm this week with sunny skies and temperatures in the 60's. I was able to accomplish quite a bit over the two days. I was able to raise 32 sheets of 4' x 8' panels and secure them to the sides of the upper level of the house. The panels were placed low enough as to not interfere with the soffit work that still needs to be done. I spoke with the roofing company on Wednesday and it looks like they might be out next week to install the roof, soffit, fascia and gutters. This is by far the most expensive piece of the house (so far) and it was my personal decision to do it this way. We surely could have gotten away with a much less expensive roof by using shingles and doing it myself. This will increase the cost of our house by $6 per square foot, but will provide us with a roof that should last 50 years, provide fire protection, allow us to harvest rain water and it should look beautiful. These are things you may want to consider if you are building your own house.
of the roof...
I must tell you of the "incident" that occurred on the day I returned before Jo's operation. I learned a BIG lesson. I had already put away all of the tools and ladders when I noticed that a piece of the water and ice shield had folded over on the roof. (It was a very windy day with gusts to 40 mph.) So I got the ladder back out along with my tools and went up on the roof to repair the damage. I had just started to nail down the water and ice shield when a gust of wind came up and blew the ladder off of the roof. Here I was stranded on the roof with no one around for miles and no phone. Between myself and the ground was 20 feet! My options were to jump, nail my tool belt to the roof and hang over the edge, or break in to the cupola and attempt to scale down the trusses. After pondering the choices, I decided that my best option was the cupola at the top of the roof. I pulled the louvers out of one side of the cupola and pushed the screening in. I then squeezed through the opening and hung between the trusses until I could rest a foot on one of the braces between the trusses. I slowly found my way down the trusses and jumped down to the second floor. Whew! I was lucky that the cupola was there!
I learned a valuable lesson that no matter how small or quick you think you can do a task, never skimp on making sure you have an escape plan! Every time before the "incident" I made sure the ladder was strapped to the house so it couldn't fall and I always carried a portable phone with me. I figured this was going to be a quick five minute job and I would just hurry up and get it done. Needless to say, I kissed the ground when I finally got there without hurting myself. (I didn't tell Jo about it until a week after her surgery. She had enough on her mind without having to worry about her goofy husband.) So don't do what I did. Learn from my mistake!
to visit Ed
Last evening I made a trip to Ed McAllen's house. Ed's house is a round cordwood house north of La Crosse, WI. It is a beautiful 1,600 sq. ft. house and he built it for only $12 per square foot! I first learned of Ed's house from a newspaper article that was written about three years ago. Ed's house was the first cordwood house that we had ever seen and Jo and I quickly became interested in building a cordwood house after seeing Ed's place. (You will be able to see pictures of his house in my new section called "Meet the Masons" which will be available very shortly along with the new web site.)
This morning, before heading back I made a trip to Osseo, WI to visit a elk ranch. The fellow who owns the ranch also has a fencing business and he has a good inventory of cedar posts. I've been looking for a good source for cedar posts that I plan to cut up and use around the base of the house. It may not be necessary, but I would like to use a more rot resistant wood near the foundation. Chances are I will buy a load or two of them and store them over the winter.
This week's Beanie Baby is one of Santa's reindeer that were vacationing at the ranch. I'm sure it won't be long before they take to the skies.