Easing back to Normal

For as crazy busy things have been since we started this barnDeeminimum project, I believe the past 2 weeks have been the busiest. It has been so busy and my mind has been so full of things to do and concerns, that I have actually been forgetting peoples names, or even what I did the day before! So this entry will be more about the last week’s activity, as I cannot remember what I did the week before!

I do remember that on Friday the 18th, I had the satellite internet installed. That was a nice addition, although at the time, my office was still at the camper, so the better quality internet service only paid off when I was here during the day and doing my midday update.

Then last Sunday was a very challenging day for me. I spent 11 hours moving all of my big woodworking machinery from it’s shelter in the portable car port to the shop. The main reason was that the cast iron on the bigger machines was beginning to rust. Rust is probably the biggest nightmare for woodworkers with cast iron in their equipment. When I put the machines in the carport back in August, I did coat the cast iron with a heavy layer of wax. That protected the machines very well from any rust that would have formed due to condensation as the temp and humidity levels rise and fall during a 24 hour period. The first couple of weeks, I did check on them frequently and they were doing fine. So I got lazy in checking and when I checked about 2-3 weeks ago, I saw that rust had started to form on all the cast iron! Thankfully, it looked like all the rust was surface rust, but I knew I had to act quickly to keep the rust from penetrating deeper into the iron.

What had happened is that now that the nights were getting so cold, condensation was starting to form on the underside of the roof of the shelter. It is just the same material that plastic tarps are made of, so it would hold the moisture evaporating from the ground very well, but also get very cold at night and cause large water drops to form on it, which then fell onto the machinery.

The weather has been anything but favorable for doing outside activity. We were stuck in a pattern where it would rain for around 3 days. We would have one good day and then back to rain for another 3 days. That was the case two weeks ago, as we had rain for three days and then Sunday was forecasted to be beautiful, with temps in the 60’s and sunshine and then another 3-4 days of rain to follow. So Sunday, I got up early and got my regular work done. Then headed over to the build site to pick up Big Red. My plan was to use Big Red to shuttle the heavy machinery over to the shop and put them in the shop, one by one. It sounded simple enough, but lots of little issues kept fighting me the entire time. I did finish up moving the last piece in by around 7 in the evening and then headed back to the camper to collapse.

On Monday evening, I took a sander to all the rust and removed most of it, at least enough to keep it from spreading deeper. The shaper table was in the worst shape, so I decided to see what it would look like if I sanded through all of the grits to get the iron back to great shape. It only took about 30-40 minutes and I was quite happy with the results. As soon as I have the time, I will do the others, but at least they are in a shape where no more rust will form.

Just as the forecast had predicted, the day after the machinery relocation happened, the skies opened up and rain fell all day. In addition to the rains, we also had very strong winds from the east. That stirred up the lake pretty good, so Grace and I drove by the Jacobsville cliffs to catch some of the wave action. The high water levels have been causing a lot of erosion and I wonder how long that little cabin will be able to stay perched where it is. There is already one structure that has been abandonded and is very close to being taken by the lake and her waves. Although this latest storm did not take it.

The past few weeks have seen quite a bit of activity on the barnDeemimimum. Most of the siding is up. The entire back wall is done and so are the sides. All that is left to do is part of the dormer and the entire front wall. Inside, the boiler was installed as was the well pump. So we now have heat and water. I have been busy wiring electrical circuits and have most of my office done, as well as the upstairs bathroom. I also plumbed in the toilets, bathroom sinks and shower, so the place has become livable.

That is exactly what happened on Wednesday. We pulled most of our belongings from the camper and settled into the new digs. We have since made a few more trips back to the camper to get the rest of our belongings and Nora is there right now, giving it a good cleaning and we will officially be done with it!

I must say that although the barnDeeminimum is far from being finished, it feels so much better to be here than in the camper. So much more room and the two biggest things I was longing for: good internet for work and a good bed to sleep on, are here. We don’t even have a functioning kitchen and cannot drink the water, but I don’t care and neither do Nora and Grace. I will be setting up the kitchen in the next few days and the water situation is not going to change, but once the kitchen is set up, we will have a 5 gallon bucket of the water from the shallow well and bleach in it to rinse the dishes in. We will just go with hauled in drinking water. Our stay in this situation is quite limited. We will be moving into the house next door in 3-4 weeks, so there is no longer even a rush to finish this place. Just add a few more conveniences and creature comforts to get us by for the next 3-4 weeks.

If you will pardon the mess, I can take you on a little tour. Here is the main room on the first floor. It will be my woodworking shop when completed. It is 30 feet wide by 40 feet long and has 14 foot ceilings and in-slab electrical chases to run the power to the stationary tools that will be out away from the walls of the shop. I took that shot from the stairs leading up to the second floor. This next shot is of my office, it is 10 feet by 20 feet with 10 foot ceilings. It has a small bathroom with a toilet and it will also have a small vanity for washing my hands. Right now, my bed is in there too. Up on the second floor is a full bath, a bedroom and then the kitchen/living area. The entire size of the upstairs is 17 feet by 40 feet. Here is a shot of the bedroom and bathroom and here is a shot showing the living/kitchen area.

I actually plan to use some of the bays in the trusses upstairs as closets and/or storage areas. However, that process has now been pushed back a bit, as we will be moving into the house soon and we thought at one point that we would be spending at least the winter in here.

Despite all of the hustle and bustle associated with the building, Nora and Grace have been able to have a bit of “normal” life things going on. Grace has started ice skating for the winter and last Friday was homecoming. The figure skating club was invited to partake in the homecoming parade, so Gracie was able to walk the parade route and toss candy. Here is a shot taken by Nora of her trying to toss a few pieces directly into my mouth. Came up a bit short and I did not feel like diving for it!

Now that the list of things urgently needing to be done is smaller for me, some “normality” will also be put back into my life. I did not make my deadline for my seasonal outlook last week, but will get it out this week. I also plan to start the snowfall forecasts next month, November 4th. Other things like the AlCam, Woods Cam and weather station will also be coming on line in the next week or so. It will feel so good to be settling back into the old routine!

Good Night from the Keweenaw..