Friday, June 6, 2014

Building our Dome!

We are building a dome over the mud room of our house. It will be a separate room above the mud room, accessible from outside. We are going to build a staircase up to it, in front of the house, eventually. It's about 12 feet in diameter, with a very low ceiling, about six and a half feet high.

Here's some pictures. We just started the plastering, and it seems like it's going to take quite some time to complete.

Here's the house before the Mudroom (about a month ago).

Luckily we had some friends in town, Reem, Dan, Genevieve, and Aminah to help! Getting these beams up was sort of insane!

And so... we first started with a rebar frame. This took forever, but not nearly as long as putting the tar paper and chicken wire around the frame! 

 Tar paper stage... and scaffolding. All of this additional wood will be removed when we finish plastering.

A view from the door, looking out of the dome room. 

 And this is the current state it's in, we have started the plastering. We're using cement plaster, as well as experimenting with Expanded Perlite. I'll let you know how that goes when we're through with it.

A new herd of donkies I aquired...

And here's our new greenhouse mosaic that is 80% done. Our friend Aminah started it, we are in the process of finishing it. We're going to mount a 3D snake head at the top, the crystal bottom is the snakes rattle.

Dain and I took a weaving class at the Espanola Fiber Arts Center this month! It was amazing! I should post what we made, maybe next post, I don't have any pictures! Here's Dain fixing up his pieces with our extremely well behaved cat. 

No time to proof read or spell check, so deal with it.

Later dudes.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fall outof Winter

There are a few reasons it took me so long to get to updating. The usual reason, which is that the work has been very slow around here. The short days and long nights make house work very difficult, but winter has finally dissolved. A windier, but much warmer spring is about to commence. Now we're working harder, getting more done.

The bigger and more unfortunate reason for my blog truancy is that of the death of my beloved cat, Moogalee (AKA WWII). I know that the last entry covered her miraculous recovery, and I didn't want to announce her sad and senseless demise. In October, when we were we were traveling, our cat sitter was as negligent, and irresponsible as he could have possibly been. He left her outside the first night (and I guess the only night) he was in charge. Either a coyote or owl got her. I couldn't have been more clear about how important her being inside at sundown was. I know she went while she was having fun, hunting some smaller mammal, which is the only consolation for this disaster. I will say this: If you are a larger mammal and you see a german guy named Frank in Manhattan, about 40 years old, boring and dumb looking, please get him.

You will forever be in my heart.

In December, after extreme mourning, we adopted a new cat. Life was nearly impossible without a cat around. The new one's name is 'Lil Weaz. 'Lil Weaz is great. She plays fetch and lets us walk her on a lease. We modified our traveling accommodations and bought a little “camper” to put on the back of the truck. I like to consider it the biggest and most expensive cat carrier I could have bought.

It was an extremely mild, extremely dry winter. We are still praying for snow and rain. The entire southwest is in the midst of one of the most severe droughts in recorded history. We've gotten almost no precipitation this winter. It's getting a little scary. All we can do is dance for rain.

We have been digging, digging, digging. Our “hole” is now about eight feet high. We have to get through these eight feet in order to get to ground level. It's rough. And now, it is also about four feet of rock, opposed to the past which was only about a foot of rock. Because of this, we bought a used jack hammer. It's great. The only problem is that it weighs sixty pounds, that and it doesn't move the dirt for us. So, most of our time now is spent hauling buckets of dirt out of a trench and dumping them either in tires or the back of the back of the house. We are getting very close to being able to start the lumber construction of this next room, which will be our living room.

We also spent the cold short days this winter finishing some of the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen. We are now about 90% done with this one wall of the kitchen! All that's left is the upper cupboard doors, which we are in no hurry to complete. We have halted interior finishing work until we have another room. We plan on finishing the next room before we move any of our stuff into it. What a peculiar concept... 

Here is a video because I didn't think the pictures truly captured it.

 And some pictures of the cabinets as well...

In february we went to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show. IT WAS AWESOME! People ask us if we miss trees here in the desert. We don't. We just love rocks now. I'm might be turing new age. Here's some of the stuff we got, and a cabinet Dain built to hold some of our haul. I did the plastering and tile work, for the most part, our friend gave us all the broken marble we used for tile.

The other project we are embarking upon is the construction of our mud room, and the entrance to our house. A real door! It'll be a pretty nice upgrade. We've only just poured the bond beam, but it might be completed by the end of summer. All we have so far is this funny little illustration of an idea of what it's going to be. It's going to include a room on top for reading, guests, and when the apocalypse happens either a jail cell or possibly a donjon for battle.

That said, I will continue to be a deadbeat blogger and I will no longer promise to update quickly. See you in six months or possibly a year from now, who knows.

Lot's of love from the desert.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gazillions of Pictures, Kitchen finishing work, Summertime Bliss, and possibly the longest blog entry ever had.

We are about to start our next wing! Well, it's not actually a wing, but we are about to start tire pounding for our next room. Our house is only half done, which I have to repeat over and over and over because no one listens to me. Or actually, it's more likely that everyone thinks we're a tad bit insane.


Half. Done.

One of the first blog entry that has our “blue print” in it's ever so professional colored pencil sketch, you can look at it here: penciled blue print. When completed, we will have a bedroom each, a giant kitchen, a living room with a lofted guest bedroom/TV hideout, a completed greenhouse, and, of course, a fully functional bathroom. Not to mention a giant attic storage and work space. When we have completed this, we will continue to pound tires, and build an art studio on the far end of our house. 

Don't fret, we do see the finish line, in a blurry and distant three year future. The art studio will happen when the house is completely finished. We are only about a third done with “finishing work.” Our three year house building anniversary was on the forth of july, and we're just about on schedule, whatever that is. 

To sum it up, we are currently:
-Half done with our house structure.
-One third done with the houses finishing work.
-One eighth crazy.
-One tenth tired.
-One hundred percent content, ninety percent of the time.

It's been a few months, as usual as far as raisehightheroofbeamcarpenters goes. I'll back up to May 2013.

May was a little bit more crazy than we're used to. We invited our closest friends over for a week long reunion party, May 25th til whenever. To our surprise and utter enjoyment, forty five people came. Some driving over a thousand miles to this week long celebration... It couldn't have been more exciting, more perfect, or more insanely magical. With a lot of perspiration and determination, as well as two dear friends Luja and Phoebe, we were able to build a gigantic stick and log gazebo. This provided shade for forty. 

It started with a pile of sticks.. 

 And the help of two friends..

And turned out perfectly, accommodating the best crowd ever to grace NM with it's presence.

 Abby killed Ossian.

DD, best of the best 2013.
Ream, my long lost sister. 

 So, we were left with a ten year supply of peanut butter.. ..... not to mention, we already had some.

And one totally pissed off cat who thought she had escaped all those *#&$^%'s from Chicago.

And as if that wasn't enough... you can find more party pictures here:
(If you need my username and password for it, just ask me). 

A week later, I lugubriously watched everyone drive off, back to their own promised lands. And for the next two days, while I did nothing but sleep, I was in a constant surreal fog of dreams where everyone was still here. Laughing. Loving. Living. During those forty eight hours of desperately needed sleep, I woke only to wonder how everyone else was able to drive their one thousand miles home. A bona fide world of a week. Thank you everyone for being amazing, and here, all at once. I love you guys. I'll see everyone again in three years for our second triannual desert reunion.

Flash forward back to reality. June started off pretty slow for us with a much longer recuperation than we had anticipated. But we are now back into the swing of things.

We've poured two of our three primary kitchen countertops. We'll start working on the third one this week, and eventually, in that distant foggy future, make an island, and other kitchen countertops on the opposite side of the room.

We built the countertop forms and poured them in place. After a long patience inducing month of letting the counters finish drying, we stained them with acid. The sink counter was finished with a polyurethane coating and the other less wet ones are getting sealed with beeswax. We got our acid etch from the company Direct Colors, which I would have to recommend, because they were so insanely informative and helpful on the phone.

Pouring the counter slab for the sink. 
 I stuck a mold of my teeth in it, and an african goddess, and Dain stuck that rock in up above.

Two days later, after it dried a bunch... And then we started the form/counters for the first counter. There will be more in the future.

 And then within days we poured the next countertop. Moogalee AKA WWII, loves cement.

Our general contractor, inspecting just about anything we do. She approves. This is the acid stain, which was sealed with beeswax.

More cupboards that don't have their doors yet... so not a priority. 
These sliding shelves we made rule. 
 The finished drainboard counter.

Break for New Mexican apple pies, and a little of Dain's beautiful sauerkraut.

We've also been doing a lot of our insanely strenuous digging, chopping, and dirt moving. We are just a few days away from pounding the tires for our next room, the living room. 

With the dirt we chop out, we are burying the back of our house, this will keep us warmer next winter, cooler this summer, not counting the sweat involved in order to move it.... 
Other projects and things..

 We almost finished this spice rack this morning! I can't wait for it to be up. It's over twice this size. You'll see eventually, one way or another.

 A bug box I'm building..

 A nightstand Dain completed in one day. It looks great, too.

 A cool rug Dain got at the Folk Art Market in Santa Fe. I can't figure out how to turn the image below, but you should read the care instructions...

 Nigh time summer photos, long exposures. The one below was 30 seconds.

 The finished pretty night stand..
 A new installation. And a pretty book case Dain made me for my cook books.

And about that darn cat...
I wont make you fret. I'll start with the good news. Moogalee, formerly and formally known across the country as World War Two, is fine. She is looking great and in a full and fast recovery. The past two weeks has been totally nuts. On the third of July she was bit by a (thankfully non-venomous) snake. We didn't know what it was though, and had to rush the Vet ER when her foot doubled in size in a matter of minutes. She was sent home with some antibiotics after blood tests and five hours of waiting. Things seemed fine for about five days after that. But then she began throwing up, and not eating. This continued for a day and the vet told me I should bring her in the following if it continued. It did continue. And continue, and continue.

She was admitted to the vet's and was looking really rough after a day of hospitalization. After 24 hours of no progress, they rushed her into surgery. They suggested that I say my final fairwell as a precaution, but luckily she literally walking over the keyboard of my computer right this second. They did not find a tumor or cancer, but they did find what the vet referred to as “the most swollen intestines I've ever seen.” They took a part of her poor intestines to send off for a biopsy, sewed her up and began steroids. She almost instantly began eating and drinking, and has started her recovery.

She was at the vet for what felt like the worst five days of our lives. I am pretty sure she was more miserable than I was, but you would never know by looking at me or talking to me. I was a wreck. The amount of love I have for this cat may rightfully be viewed as obscene. It's unfortunate that she wont live forever, but she is only thirteen and I am not yet ready to part with her.

She is almost completely back to her normal self, and has only been home for a day and a half. She does have something called Eosinophil, or something like that, which is treatable with the steroids, and possibly curable. I'm not sure what this is, because I haven't got to do the research since I found out, last night. The vet will see her on and off for the next few months. But we all know WWII, my Moogalee, and she is more than just a trooper.

Godspeed, furbrain. She shall prosper.

Viva la Mooch. Viva la summer. Viva la recess.

I need to learn some spanish.

Until next time, Amanda J Speer