Thursday, November 29, 2007

drywall up... and it's good!

The drywall is finishing up and the mud is drying. Things are finally looking like a room. We spent 2 weeks on/off putting the drywall up, then had some great folks come in to finishing up and tape/mud. We'll be putting in the floor this coming weekend - very exciting!

Above is the tub corner, where the vent comes down and the plex piping goes up is lower than the lip of the new tub - it's a high lip! I suspect we may up a step next to the tub at some point, but we'll have to see. [What Jim means is that we may need to install a step to get into the tub in the future... -h2m]

The skylight, with the walls finally shaped and mudded, is just wonderful. For a long time, it was questionable if the angles would conform to make a nice alcove. I'm happy to report that it all worked out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Giant egg!!

I'm not 100% sure who laid this monster, but it's nearly twice the size of the eggs I collected yesterday!! It's either Foxy or Delilah--I'm tending to think Foxy. Not only is it the largest egg any of our hens have laid, it's the biggest [chicken] egg I've ever seen! I wonder if it has a double yolk?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thrrrrreeee! Thhhreeeeee eggs! Ah ah ah ahhh!

Much to my delight, in the time it took me to write the last post, Delilah, Foxy, and Francine all took turns and left a neat little pile of 3 eggs in the nest box for me! Delilah's was huge for a first, and it's clear that she had a bit of a painful struggle, as well... but all are well and happily feasting on some cottage cheese to celebrate. That means Betty is next, and I'm sticking to my prediction that we'll be getting 4 eggs a day before the end of the week.

Cooper, Cooper, Party Pooper!

Well, our little friend has returned several times, now. We've got a positive ID--it is a Cooper's Hawk. Not surprisingly, this is one of several breeds known as a Chicken Hawk... This biggest bummer about the visits is not being able to let the chickens roam freely. Now we must supervise their yard time, and learn to speak [or at least understand] "bird"... On 3 occasions I have observed distinct behavior and vocalization changes in all the other birds, and as such shuttled the girls into their pen... within minutes the hawk has appeared, but always too late. "Cooper", as we've been calling him/her, is also a juvenile, and apparently their first autumn on their own is when they are the hungriest. But there is NO way I'm letting him near my girls. We've got many ideas on hawk-proofing the yard so they can get out more, but with everything else going on right now, it' going to have to wait, unfortunately.

In related news, Foxy Brown started laying eggs a couple weeks ago, prompting me to take a day out of the bathroom remodeling to build an addition to the chicken coop. Now we have two nest boxes, and in fact, Delilah is sitting in it right now, quite possibly laying her first egg...

This is a photo of Foxy's first... it's pretty darn big for a first egg... definitely bigger than Francine's first.

So now I must go check the nestbox... if Delilah has laid an egg, there will be another post soon! :)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Chicken Visitor

Well, it was bound to happen. Counting our block and the one adjacent, we have 4 chicken coops and a total of close to 20 chickens. With all that squawking and strutting about, we were destined to catch the attention of some others.

Yesterday, our visitor swooped low over the yard, sending the girls into a wing-flapping and crowing tizzy. There was the one hiding and another three bumping into one another trying to decide which way to go. Meanwhile, Han went out back and snapped this picture of the tree above our yard:

Cooper's Hawk, the common North American 'Chicken Hawk'

Han shuffled the girls into the coop and shut door. After a short time, she lost sight of the hawk. Today the chickens are just going to have to stay in the run/coop until we think of a way to give them more room without open access to the sky. Bring a little nature into your home and you're bound to get more than you anticipated. However scary for the girls, it is exciting to see wildlife like this inside the city.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Remodel Pictures

If you read the last post, you know I owe you all some photos, so here's a few of the better ones. There's a difficulty in taking good photos with a small space but we wanted to walk through a bit of the experience visually:

So this is what we started with. Eh, it was awful.

We've both built little things in the past, and with Hanmi's expertise in industrial engineering (shes a powerhouse of skills) and my common-sense about tools ("Oh! thats sharp! do you have a bandage?") we were determined to try this ourselves. We figure if we messed up, it'd only be more money. Money is a silly thing to try and take a bath with (I think you end up dirtier), so it was obvious, we'd trade some money for a better bathroom.

So we made a long list of the things we'd have to to. They included:

  • Remove everything.
  • Remove everything the above was sitting on.
  • Remove the walls and ceiling
  • Remove the floor
  • Cut out all things electric, wires, plumbing, gas lines (isn't your house lit with gas lights?)
  • Kills bugs, mold, remove rot, repair all structural elements
  • Make a new electric load plan and map
  • Add breakers in basement, run wires to attic, drop to rooms
  • Add skylight (hired out)
  • Frame in alcove for open ceiling, including soffit for lights (hired out)
  • Install wiring, fan, lights, switches, outlets, test electric.
  • Run plumbing (hired out)
  • -you are here-
  • Install new subfloor, floor, heating elements, tile. Cover with plywood
  • Install toilet
  • Install insulation
  • Install all drywall. Finish drywall.
  • Install surround, tub.
  • Install mirror, vanity light, vanity
  • Paint walls
  • Install finish trim, paint.
  • Install plates, etc.

Anyway, this is the short list. Each step has lots of details, a few special tools and a clean up afterwards. We've filled the dumpster, taken extra loads to the dump ourselves, taken from and given to the rebuilding center, bought tons of tools and met quite a few good and handy friends.

It's been great, and we're about halfway on the list, but certainly through the slowest portion of it. Our biggest roadblock is our own time and perseverance. However - when you have to go down the street to the tavern to poo you realize that one cannot live like a barfly forever.

discoveries and plans

So, after work, we slip into the itchy dirtbag clothes and don helmets, eyewear, earplugs and headlamps. Then we proceed to stare at stuff and finally dig through our bag of stuff and nail it to the walls. Overall, it kinda works out. Occasionally we pull it back off and move it, or bang a thumb but there's been no tragedies yet.

Here's a few more shots:

My last bath in the rustic setting. Extra bubbles please!

Framing comes together

Framing the soffit above the sink area

Making a map of the wiring is key to shocking yourself efficiently
(just kidding mom)

Our tenants begrudgingly packed up for another place.
Then we sprayed them in the face

Ooo! Exciting! Purple socks, new joists, drain and supply plumbing!

Crazy fun facts:
- 100 years ago, when our house was built, trees were made of iron and things were built by incredibly strong people who had no plastic, rubber or (i'm guessing) levels.

- For a while people didn't "trust" electricity (don't give it money, kids). So, they lighted their houses here partially with gas lamps and partially with electric lamps. The wires were wrapped in cloth. (oh, and they smoked in the house under all this). Coincidentally, these were the days when folks believed in spontaneous human combustion.

- What you don't know doesn't scare you. If you don't look down in that slot where razorblades used to go, you won't find the monsters. Do not remove your toilet until after lunch. Concrete backer board does not originally come in blue-green.

- If you give up doing something because you're confused and tired, just go to bed. You will have more time this weekend to be confused and tired.

- If you install something, always begin your day by playing with it for an hour. It'll give you confidence to install something else. Then you can play with two things, unless you messed up and have to rip one out.

- Putting in earplugs and simultaneously turning up the radio, then trying to sing over the noise of the miter saw does *not* prevent hearing damage. Your neighbors may think there's someone being tortured in the house.

- When moving heavy things up and down stairs, always say "ready?" at least 5 times before doing anything. If something happens before the 5th call, state that you weren't ready and proceed to lift.

- If you have neighbors that don't fill their garbage cans to the brim, run around on trash night and deliver your own construction refuse into their cans like a mad construction-costumed kris kringle.

Our new tub. It's gigantic!

Stay tuned for more news from the front in the next few weeks. Cheers!