Thursday, November 30, 2006

Crappy work

"Crappy" as in sewer lines, that is. As you can see from the first photo, sewer lines are now installed at the future Wimberley house. The concrete foundation will be poured in eight days!

I'm sure that John Crapper would be thrilled to know he is a legend. Check out John at this site:

The perimeter grade beams are 5' deep on the downhill side of the slab due to the sloping site. This photo shows how the interior formwork is simply stacked sandbags. That way there are no wood forms to be removed on the interior side, enabling the beams and the slab to be poured at one time. Plywood will be added to the wood formwork on the exterior side before concrete arrives.

I was amused to see that the sandbags are actually excess US Government bags, which say "Sorghum... US aid from the American people." I think it would be just swell if the American people were helping me with the house construction cost. Instead, I'll be GIVING money to government entities for the priviledge of building the house, through sales, payroll, and property taxes. Oh well, maybe my contibutions will help fill some future sorghum bags with actual sorghum one day...


This probably puts me into some sort of "Loser Pyrotechnic Geek" category, but I still think it is cool. Out of the hundreds of cedar trees I've felled in Wimberley, most of the bigger ones have are hollow in the middle, near the ground. Instead of ruining my chainsaw chains in the process of cutting them flush with the ground, I use a more diabolical approach. Like blowing up fire ant mounds with firecrackers, it just feels right.

The top photo shows one such stump shortly after I started burning it at about 9:00 PM. Those flames coming out through the top are from the hollow core, which serves like a chimney to whisk flames onto a frenzy. All I have to do is poke around in the ground at the tree's base to expose an air passage into the hollow, start a small fire there, and get out the marshmallows.

The second photo shows the stump, or at least the remains of it, at 5:00 AM the next morning. That remaining bit burned away within a few hours. So, while my place in the hill country may not have a lot of big-city thrills, who needs that? Amusement like this can't be found at the opera!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Domus Oriens

Foundation framing has started on "The House of the Rising Sun". You can see how the house is turned clockwise so that on hot summer days the large expanse of glass faces NE (rising sun) rather than the evil NW (afternoon sun).

The word exciting can't quite convey the thrill of seeing this place I've planned for years come to life. First thing I did while visiting this weekend was stand up on top of the framing, where the big living room windows will be, and gaze out at the view. A view that I hope will get a lot of use by me, my sweetheart, and visiting family & friends. If God and luck permit, I'll be sitting at those windows long after I'm still capable of actually building anything. Pointing out this photo in a yellowed old album to anyone who will listen and saying "I remember when..."