Monday, September 2, 2013


I have so many scenic shots that I haven't used, I decided to just toss a bunch in a post for entertainment.  I started taking some pictures one morning of momma moose and her baby, but then another moose with her baby came in and made things interesting.  

We have had a lot of rain in recent weeks which has made for some gorgeous shots.  Today.


On the way to town this week - the pictures don't begin to do justice to the light on the mountains around the rainbows!

A few weeks ago.

Rodney has taken a ton of photos at Kuparuk.  Here are a few.  

Hope you enjoyed the scenic interlude!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Main floor

So this will be a quick post!  The main floor is up, or rather was up as of two weeks ago.  Starting again today to put in the ceiling of the main floor, floor of the top floor.  Then on to the roof!  We worked in the rain a number of days over this last build portion and it is rainy again this morning.  Here is one front passing through.

El Kabong was our best friend in putting in joists!  Easier than saying "the big yellow and black handled hammer".

Redneck block escalator.

It's a LONG way up there!

Pouring the main floor.  Lots of good help!

Done with the main floor!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


In between building spurts, there is work to be done - Rodney to the slope and me at Victory.  There's a lot of catching up on paperwork to do in between!  The Victory parking lot:

They fill the water truck  and spray down the roads when it gets really dry.  It helps keep down the dust.   

There are only two more weeks of camp left this summer.  I feel like I've missed most of it this year.  Every so often though, I'll catch a glimpse that makes my heart happy.  Like this:

But on to the building project!  The basement will be what they call a daylight basement.  Three sides will be back-filled when we are done but the south facing side will look out onto the driveway.  The door and two windows face south.  The small room off to the west will be cold storage/root cellar.  There is no heat in the floor there and there will be insulation above that room to help keep it cool, but not freezing.  There will be an exterior door between the basement and the cold storage room.  On the main floor (above the cold storage) that room will be the arctic entry - an entry with doors going to the outside and into the house that helps keep out cold air.  You enter through one door and then after that door has closed you can enter into the main building. 

We're using Amvic insulated concrete forms to build the basement and main floor.  In addition to being very energy efficient, Amvic is mold resistant (great for my allergies), fire resistant (did you read the last post?), insect resistant, generally doesn't require a lot of upkeep and they are made with 60% recycled material.  A good choice all around.   The other benefit for us is that Rodney and I can put up the structure ourselves. You just lay the block and tie to the rebar that was set in the foundation.  Ok, so maybe there's a little more to it than that, but not much.  Concrete is later poured in all those spaces between the foam though, so you'd better make sure you've left room for windows, doors and other perforations BEFORE you pour your concrete!  That meant a lot of trips to town to finalize those decisions before we got too far laying block!

That reminds me, I need to post some pictures of everyone's favorite - Long Lake.  There have been a LOT of rocks sliding down that hill!  A lot of BIG rocks!

It seems like every time I go through, there is less road and more rocks.  There are plenty on the other side as well:

But Lion's Head always takes my breath away whenever I get up that direction:

And the clouds overhead one morning were amazing too.

But there was a lot of work to be done, so not much time for gawking.  The next delivery of Amvic was waiting to be moved.

So there was a lot of cutting of Amvic:

And a lot of cutting of rebar.

Measure twice, cut once.  And write measurements on whatever is handy.

And some overheating by me from trying to work in the heat.  So I laid on the cool concrete and noticed the pretty clouds overhead.

But after overheating again the next day, I figured out that the rebar cutting could be done in the shade and was relatively stationary work, so I took that over to help cut down on the overheating and allow Rodney to focus more on laying block.  But after hours of cutting rebar with a grinder, my arms were getting rather sore.  We decided to see if we could borrow Dan's saw to do that job.  I was immediately in love.

It may not be pretty, but it cuts through that rebar like...  well, not like butter, but it does go a LOT faster than the grinder!  Ooooo, baby, yes, I am in love! 

The job went much faster that day.  It's amazing what one good tool can do. 

And no overheating for me.  :)   If those walls seem a little blindingly white, they are.  Literally!  There were times you'd have to close your eyes to rest them from the whiteness.  

And finally done laying Amvic for the basement!

But still plenty of work to be done - foam glue along the inside and outside bottom edge to help secure the Amvic to the slab and prevent blow-outs, bracing the windows and doors, bracing the corners inside and out, and around the top edge outside, inside under the bolts for the ceiling/floor, and perforations for utilities...  Thankfully Chuck showed up early the day of the pour to help finish some of those details.  

The next day was the pour.  One LARGE pump truck and 4 or so concrete trucks pumped 31 yards of concrete into those walls.  That's a lot of concrete!  The concrete trucks backed up to the pumper and dumped their loads into the back of the pumper which then pumped it up and through the hose to wherever it was needed.  They pumped it to about 2-3' high the first time around and by that time it had set up enough at the beginning to go back over and pump it to the next level.  They went all around the house about three times.  I think.  Not sure I actually counted.  It was pretty busy.

Fortunately we had Sergei here to help that day too, so it was Chuck and Caleb running the hose, Sergei and Rodney pushing the scaffold (and at times one pair in each room) and the guy running the boom.  I tried to stay out of the way ;) and run and get anything they needed.  Oh yeah, and take pictures for all of you!

It was a bit worrisome when the water started seeping under and through the walls.  It was VERY nice to have Chuck there to run the pour since he has done this before.  He didn't seem too worried which put me at ease!  

When the pour was all done, the guys went around checking to be sure the walls were all straight and made minor adjustments to the supports.

And that was it for the pour!  Then it was just a matter of waiting.  The next day we came back to check out our handiwork and then remembered that we still had some work to do.  We'll have to lay the next layer of block on top of this, so anywhere that there was concrete that interfered with the next block, it had to be removed.  Not too bad at this corner, but there was plenty of work in a couple of spots, especially where they had to go over the edge of the wall to get to the other wall.  It wasn't too big a job, just a little slow and tedious, but it's all done now and ready for the next layer!  Now we just need to catch up on other work and rest up for the next go around.  Thankfully both of our jobs are relatively sedentary so we can physically rest.  We'll see you back in about another month with the next level!

Morning commute

Morning commute