Tuesday, May 31, 2022

A little slice of RV living

 This story is not about this critter, though we saw a few of these during construction. But I wouldn't have taken any pictures of the one that this post is about!

I was forced out of the RV one week by a bigger kind of critter. 

Evidence was first seen on the beds. All the beds. Traps were set and everything cleaned up. 

But then one night the critter was in the bed with me, squeaking

Can you blame me for moving out??

The boys set up temporary quarters in the house, putting some of that handy rigid insulation up in a small room to make temporary "walls." Beds were made up on the subfloor (think Heidi and Little House stories) and we camped out until the mouse was caught. We banished thoughts of spiders (or worse) in comparison with rodents crawling over us at night.

Only one mouse was found, but the damage he did RV-wide was enough to give us the impression that a whole gang of mice had taken over the place. We discovered that the mouse was using the gas stove for an entry. We blocked every hole we could find, including the entire stove-top. We emptied the drawers and set traps. All items staying in the RV were put in plastic containers. When I moved back to the RV, I put little box "tunnels" with mousetraps at the head and foot of my bed. But sleep was lost for a while with every little noise...

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Glue, Nail, Caulk, Paint, Repeat

The clouds seem so close up here! We are around 3,300 feet elevation. 

Some visitors in the "back yard."  

The scaffolding was coming down and so was the work surface, meaning that one side of the house was nearing completion!
Battens were marching across the siding nicely. 

I don't remember what was going on but it looks like a scene in one of those "how many people does it take to..." jokes. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


I know everyone must be tired of seeing this side of the house. It is easy to photograph this side and besides that it is so pretty to look at. But the pretty stuff takes a lot of detail work! 

You can see my son on the right, reaching up to install, paint or caulk some little piece of wood underneath the roof. There were many little things to be installed and obscure places to reach to paint or waterproof. And there were three sides to go after this! My husband says that  housebuilding is just a bunch of little things that you do one by one. 
Along the way there is maintenance too. The porch & side roof was just plywood at this point, and the metal roofing was a long way off. So it had to be painted with a sun-reflecting paint just to make it last a bit longer while work on the rest of the house went on (that's what my husband is doing at left). Keeping one section from falling apart while you do the other is what happens when you take on a DIY project this big! 

The exciting thing happening in this picture is the battens going on the siding. It isn't a true "board and batten" but the effect is great!

At this point I think we were reconciled to the color... really any color you put on will work as long as you have big, beautiful trim and loads of detail. 

And if anyone was bored of watching all the little details on the side of the house, they could always go sit and watch the weather theater. 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Temporary Kitchen

Gradually more and more of the kitchen moved from the inadequate RV to the house structure. For one thing the heat was too intense in the RV to cook any meal, and for another the counterspace in the RV was too tiny to prep family meals. Up at the house, we were running crockpots on heavy-duty extension cords and had set up a pantry of sorts. It was nice to work in the coolness of the house, but we still had a lot of leg-work as at this time I was washing ALL the dishes down at the RV. We made quite a parade after dinner, carrying all the pots, pans, bowls, dishes, cups, down the path. 

 Sometimes the meal was carried down to the RV, but sometimes we just ate on the porch, as the work table in the dining room had been moved away for other uses. 
"And why," you may ask, "didn't you just get take-out?" 
I still ask that question of myself... 

Speaking of the porch, I found this photo of how the boys managed to cut and fit the insulation around the porch rafters. It was somewhat like a puzzle but they made up their own system of which piece went where!

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

All in a couple of days work


Before the big smoky fire years shut us in, August was typically a month of progress for our house-building.

Note the shingles in the peak, top right. My husband and I both loved the look of shingled houses and thought a touch of it under the roofline was just right. 
While that was going on outside, WALLS were appearing inside!

Inside the house, any wall that was going to be laden with shelving and storage was covered in plywood before it was sheetrocked. This is the "mud room" wall that will someday have a beautiful cubby system on it. That is, if it doesn't get repurposed before then. 
The plywood on the laundry room wall made the living room (er, garage/shop room) look like a real room. 

Views changed. 

This was my beloved "library corner" with floor to ceiling shelving and a cute table in front of the windows, but we discovered some mistakes (sigh). First of all, going from 2-gang to 3-gang windows messed up the amount of space we could use for bookshelves. Secondly, note the round "boxes" for lights... they were 4" too close to the wall. We actually did not discover that until light fixtures were put in. The wall could have been scooted back 4" into the master bedroom, but if we had a discussion about that (can't remember) for some reason nothing happened. Note also that this is a wall with strong south-eastern light (not good for book spines). All this and yet there is still hope for a bookshelf of sorts there someday. I'm thinking maybe a map on the wall and short shelves underneath. Hard to face the facts sometimes isn't it?

Master walk-in-closet wall. Someday I will have to share our design for this space. 

Things look a little darker don't they?

Shingles almost done!

Maybe a storm on the horizon. Towards sunset in summertime we are in the shadow of the mountain to the northwest of us, but the valley is full of slanting evening light. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

A Quick Aside: A (non construction) "Kitchen" Renovation

 I recently found in my construction photos some pics of this little kitchen set (I can't remember if I blogged it already or not). Some of you like thrift store stories so here is one for you! It will be a nice break from construction posts!

I was in the Willamette Valley (probably escaping smoke) for a visit one summer during the house-build, and while I was there my mother found this well-loved Pottery Barn kitchen set at Goodwill. She asked me if I thought she ought to get it... what a question! With all her discounts and coupons it was too much of a deal to pass up, it was solid wood and PINK! We would never be able to afford a Pottery Barn Kids set new (actually, we will probably never be able to buy any Pottery Barn furniture for that matter). This was our chance! We went by the family motto: buy it now to save money and ask where you're going to put it later. 

The sponge-bob style stickers would not come off no matter how hard we scrubbed, and it was missing some curtains and knobs. So, armed with Dollar Store decals and some fancy drawer pulls, we renovated this set and it turned out so CUTE!

It probably needed some touch-up paint but actually the Pottery Barn paint job was so smooth, we might have messed it up with brush strokes. It fits in with "shabby chic" to have a few rubbed-out spots. 

The missing knobs were replaced with fancy drawer pulls, probably from Hobby Lobby. 

Sponge-Bob stickers were overcome with roses. 

 This wee kitchen coordinates with my mom's house and currently lives in her dining room. It gets a lot of use from even the boy grandchildren. 

Back at home, there was a huge, expensiveseemingly un-ending un-finished project called  housebuilding looming over my family's head all the time. A little quickie project like this, affordable and with smashing results, is what I needed to feel like goals really were attainable.

Hope you enjoyed that little aside! Back to construction next post!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Three Stories Up

Sometimes you have to be brave and go out and take a picture of what you really don't want to see.

But he hasn't fallen off yet. The foam insulation was all up on wall #2! That meant siding would follow soon after. 

Temporary footholds on the roof. Note the window trim was already going up!

We used a PVC trim for the fancy stuff (deep trim). The siding and trim on this one side of the house were up in about 2 weeks or so. That is with a DIY-er with a crew of teens working nights and weekends (all I did was provide clean laundry, meals, and watermelon breaks). 

But it was July, the thunder-stormy season, and it doesn't really feel good to be up on a metal ladder or scaffolding when lightning starts flashing in the distance. 

Sometimes we just quit work and sat out to watch the light show. Maybe it would bring rain our way. 
(did I mention before that most of the time rain gets "stuck" on that butte across the way?)

Friday, May 6, 2022


 You are in for a treat with this post. Not only is it extra long but the photos were snapped by my son who has better photography skills and equipment than I do! 

Nancy had asked us several times to visit her camp at Wildcat, but we were always too busy working on the house. Years went by, actually, before we decided to make time to go to Wildcat. The campground isn't too far away from us, and she was always camped out there for a long time,  so we really should have gone every time she asked. It's not like we saved a lot of time and made a lot of progress by staying away, was it?

I am not sure that Wildcat is more special than other places we have seen in Oregon; Oregon is just plain special everywhere you look! But this one spot was special to Nancy. We were only going there because of her, and it was fun to take a break, etc. Well, Wildcat turned out to be one really neat place! 

It was perfect for small children, but interesting enough for the big kids. The little creek was just deep enough to wade in to cool off, and there were water snakes (harmless) and minnows to watch. 

The children built a rock dam and played in the creek, stopping for sustenance at Nancy's RV (ice cream and hot dogs). They also enjoyed the old-fashioned fresh-water pump in the camp. 

Nancy was thrilled to have the baby (as usual).

(It didn't really matter who the baby was, actually.)

She was determined to show him the wonders of God's creation. 

Her enthusiasm was always contagious, and it was a perfect combination with an insatiably curious baby. 

She have to did spend some time pulling rocks out of his mouth. 

Finally someone had the idea to go and get her a chair. 

We all went on part of the hiking trail. Nancy walked all 9 or so miles of it regularly. She hoisted baby on her back to take on some of the trail with us. 

Who needs to spend a hot afternoon building a house when all this pleasant green was just a few hills away?

After our third or fourth time to visit Nancy at Wildcat that year (making up for lost time) we determined that we would go back whenever when she was camping out there.