Monday, November 30, 2020


 The night that these first ceiling boards/second floor boards went up, I was so excited. I think that ranks as one of the most memorable moments for me in this build.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Second Story

You can't see it, but there is a 5-foot deep, 5-foot wide gap between the back yard and the house, dubbed "the Cut." Lumber was staged in the back, and slid/tossed  up to the second floor...
...where it was set and nailed in place. Exciting times!

Thursday, November 26, 2020


Kitchen beam again, this time with the beams/floor joists set on top. It made nice picture frames for the sky.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Entrance Ramp

For a long time, the only way into the house was an OSB ramp. Some got to
 be experts at speeding up this thing, but it was a balance challenge for me!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Night Work

Setting beams.
Dinner on folding tables.
In the cold.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Tea and a Chat


Construction photo of the day: The kettle made its way to the job site!
You might want a cup of tea right now because I'm going to chat at you for a while. Might be a bit of a ramble!
A thought struck me last night: what was life like before radio?
Not a profound thought, I know, but I was thinking of it in terms of how the in-home radio must have brought about a "new normal" in American family life.
Radios began to appear in every home about a hundred years ago. By the late 1920's and early 1930's the "golden age" of radio was in full swing. Many long to go back to those pre-TV days, when they see pictures of the family sitting in one room, quietly together listening to Lassie or the Lone Ranger. Eyes to tasks or each other, not glued to a screen. Mother knitting, children quietly playing in front of the radio. Happy memories for many I know.
Leffler, Warren K., photographer From Library of Congress
But without the family gathering around the radio, would perhaps the family have been gathered around the hearth or the table, listening to Father reading from the newspaper and commenting about the news, discussing it with Mother or helping the children understand it?
Would the family have been gathered to hear Mother read aloud from a book for entertainment?
Would the family have  listened to the older siblings read the Bible aloud for evening devotions? 
Would they have talked about their day, helped the children understand a concept for school, debated issues, solved problems?

Is that what life was like before radio? 
Maybe it was really boring. Maybe that is why people were excited to sit around and quit talking to each other, and listen to whoever was talking over the radio.

Telelphone herald listeners
Publicity photograph of a family listening to a program from the Newark, New Jersey Telephone Herald March 30, 1912 Telephony magazine , via Wikimedia Commons

Harris & Ewing, photographer  via Library of Congress

Crystal radio advertisement-colorized
F1jmm, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Crystal Radio Advertisement, 1922
(This photo looks like just about every family in the pandemic working online, school online, and socializing online, only put a device in front of them!)

Farm family listening to their radio
By George W. Ackerman, probably Ingham County, Michigan, August 15, 1930

National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Extension Service
This scene would be the norm for the next 80 or so years, radio replaced by the Television later. Then color TV, cable TV,  computers for email, websites and internet, social media and (since all land-lines are becoming extinct) our interactive multi-media mobile phones. 
Of course, Movies were already around by the time Radio showed up. You could choose to pay to go to a movie. Most of them were no good (not much has changed), but at least they weren't piped into your home. A parent would have probably not wanted to pay to have their entire family go to a movie every night. Or maybe they would have liked to, and a radio was an investment for cheap entertainment. And quick news. However they justified it, you have probably thought the same thoughts in buying your internet devices. :)

Records and players were around too. But you'd have to listen to the same ones over and over. Radio was variety, it was fresh content. 
Radios soon found value in the kitchen, when homemaker's shows and recipes became a good marketing tool for companies like flour mills (Betty Crocker was on the radio in 1924). And I suppose soap operas had some sort of value for distracting the housewife from the tedious task of ironing, plunging her into the imaginary world of things she shouldn't have been thinking about, and encouraging gossip. I suppose without it, she could have been out talking to the neighbor over the fence about another neighbor. Maybe no difference.

I'm sure also that their value as babysitters soon became apparent. Keep the calm and quiet extended when junior comes home from school, by plopping him in front of a radio until dinner time and finding some story for him to listen to. Many parents undoubtedly put limits on radio time for their children, using it as leverage to make sure chores were done.
Dad comes home from work and listens to the news. No need to squint at tiny newsprint anymore. And of course all the news coming over the radio-- the voice through the air-- had to be right. Those were the days of authority in truth and trustworthiness. No "fake news" until the internet, eh? I suppose that the cry that newspapers were dying started back then, as well as paper books (I haven't researched it).

I guess I'm saying that all the things we complain about today, with internet and devices and the struggle we all have as families to provide "real life" moments (outdoor play, conversations) is nothing new. We've been practicing a device-oriented behaviour for about a century!

No condemnation here. I'm not saying that there were no good things on the radio. There were many people who put good and educational and useful things on it. My own grandfather gave sermons over the radio for decades. Today, we contend that the internet is not evil, but many Christians have put many good things on it and it can be a tool for good. So I'm not saying the radio was bad. But I am contemplating how it impacted us as a nation of families.

I told you it would be a ramble! What do you think? Have you ever thought of the radio as the "internet/social media" of a century ago?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Top Plates

I went through my blog feeds yesterday morning, and after reading The Prudent Homemaker's post where she mentioned checking the bank daily, I went and checked my accounts. I don't check the bank every day, but it's not like I never go there. Well, I had four fraudulent charges on one of the accounts-- the one I use almost exclusively for groceries-- in the past week! Over the course of the week, charges from Amazon were accruing, ranging from a dollar and change up to $25. I'm glad I checked! 

So no photo to blog yesterday, because my blogging time was spent calling the bank (three times), waiting on hold, disputing charges, suspending the card for the account, ordering a new one, checking and re-checking Amazon accounts, etc. I will be glad if I can get nearly $75 dollars back, but truth to be told, I felt annoyed that my morning plans were turned upside-down!

On to today's photos: 

Setting the top plates.
Getting ready for more beams!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

All Wrapped Up Against The Rain


I wasn't there the night that the central columns were raised, but it was a "dark and stormy night" and quite a slippery job. It's hard to see here, but the big beam was wrapped up with housewrap to protect it from the weather, just like the columns. Not an easy job, that.

Friday, November 13, 2020

The Last Bit


Out of ladder rungs.
The last bit has to be done with blocks. 

Seemed like such a small way to go, but hefting that weight up there was no fun!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Inch by Inch


How do you lift a beam when the crew of men isn't around, and the only help is family?

One ladder rung at a time.

Again the scaffolding comes in handy for the last heavy lifting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Notching the Beam

Watching the notching. This is the Kitchen beam. It is a 6 x 12 x almost-fifteen.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Prepping for the Beam

 Our friends who helped us raise the outer walls left some scaffolding for us. Every DIY house-build should have scaffolding-- it came in handy untold times! The boys learned how to assemble/disassemble it quickly.

The floors got a makeover; because of the rain, we felt some protection was needed. Not sure if primer was the solution for that but it was cheap and a nice change from the color "subfloor."

More about that big beam in the foreground tomorrow...

Friday, November 6, 2020

Rooms and Rain


Friends drove 9 hours from Idaho to come and help us put up interior walls! In the rain. While the men and boys worked on the walls, the women and girls went for a drizzly hike. Our guests turned into our hosts as we enjoyed a meal in their warm and dry RV afterwards.

Thursday, November 5, 2020



Yes, housewrap deserves a post all its own. So many hours putting it up, and having the wind tear it off, and putting it up again. So many hours of listening to little corners of it flapping in the wind during on-site meals. So much trouble trying to put it up in spots that were too tall to reach, even with a ladder. 

We tested and found that housewrap can last a long time. Thankfully.

A bonus: the scraps can make a waterproof notepad!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Box with a View


We designed the house ourselves, and although we are big fans of variety and interest in houses, we made it a big box on purpose. Partly to save money, partly because we are not experienced in construction, but partly to see what we could do with a box. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

At End of Day

The men lifting the east wall.
Securing the corners.
In one day we had the remaining walls framed, sheathed and upright. We are forever grateful for the help!

Monday, November 2, 2020

Young Fellars

Two walls up, two to go!
The young folks were given tasks on the west side.