Friday, October 3, 2014

10/3/2014 More Outdoor Completions

10/3/2014  More outdoor completions
We've gotten a few more days of nice weather lately, so have been working hard to complete outdoor projects.  There won't be many more nice days with the cold bearing down on us, so we are motivated.  The retaining walls was a project we had originally intended on doing ourselves (we have prior experience), but decided with our time and weather constraints to have it done professionally.  The final product makes us glad we did.  Our landscaper managed to jump in and finish the two retaining wall projects before he had to leave for other jobs.  He has been working hard to make up for all the rain days he has been delayed with too.  Unfortunately he will not be able to come back and do our actual landscaping until next Spring.

Debra and I have managed to complete about 60% of the exposed basement stucco finish, and now that the walls, landscape fabric, and french drains have been installed, hope to finish the rest as soon as it stops raining again  (we've had 1 3/4 inches just since last night).  We also had our downstairs bedroom escape window well installed and back-filled simultaneously with the new retaining walls.  When the rain pushed us back inside, we worked at insulating our interior garage walls, and staged the attic insulation bundles where we can work on them our next rainy weekend.  Our next non rainy weekend we will finish the basement stucco and install the storm door on the exit from our master bedroom to the back deck. 

Digging out for the wall foundation.  We had placed plywood and straw bales here previously in a (somewhat futile) attempt at holding back the mud and dirt from the lower patio.
Foundation laid and first course of stone going in.

Newly completed wall with two french drains installed above to capture and drain away any water that flows down the hill and under the deck.  The one drain can still be seen near the end of the wall, but that will be extended out further away from the house and buried when final landscaping is done.
Here is the wall on the opposite side of the lower patio.  We didn't have the drain challenges we did on the other slope, but there is a french drain installed anyway to preclude any possibility of water encroaching beyond the wall and onto the concrete.  You can also see where we left off with our first coat of stucco where the wall joins.

This is the beginning of the stucco process.  First the pink styrofoam insulation is washed and scored (texture roughed up with a stiff brush).  Then a sticky fiber mesh screen is applied.

Next a very thin first layer of stucco is applied and allowed to dry.
Debra proved to be the more talented (and patient) applier of the first coat of material.
After the second coat is troweled on, we get our desired texture.  This product will allow rolling, troweling, brushing or "brooming", and limited spraying of the product to achieve the final finish you desire.  We chose the natural adobe look by doing our final coat with the trowel.

No more pink insulation!  Final landscape work will mound more dirt up against the foundation and hide any small bits of pink down near the soil line.

I also spent about a half a day on the ladder installing gutter screens.  Last year the gutters filled to overflowing with leaves and cause all manner of drainage issues.  Just a minor downside to living amongst the trees. 
We picked up an old industrial Massey Ferguson tractor to work here on "The Farm With A View".  I outfitted it with forks on the bucket and have been using it to haul our firewood.  It will also be equipped with a back blade and be our snow clearing device for the driveway this winter.

From forks to the saw-buck in one motion.  No lifting.
There will be two more rows like this when finished.