Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Back At It

Well, actually we never left it...this is just two days of progress wrapped into one report.

We finished the north side of the studio building today. I think "finished" is relative, we really still have to trim in the windows and the top of the outside wall against the soffit. We also had to remove two old ventilation hoods...although we filled them in and they're covered with typar, we still have to come up with some siding scraps to patch the holes.

But "finished" means we're done messing with the "big picture" there. The windows sure look nice...it's a relief having them in.

Only 2 more windows to go, and the front door...as far as framing in is concerned. The real issue we'd like to space off mentally and physically, is the removal, and then replacement, of all that dang siding! It's a pain to remove, so as not to cause too much damage...then when you do have damage, trying to let it go...next spring we'll have a lot of damage repair and then painting to do...getting too late to do it now.

Onward and upward...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Back to Art

Thought I'd change gears today and discuss a couple exhibits coming up...one which I'll be participating in and another which made the former possible.

Artwork by Barb McGee

First, a good artist and friend is having a one person exhibit in November (that's coming up soon isn't it!) at the Witter Gallery in Storm Lake, Iowa. Barb McGee is one of my favorite watercolorists and a darn good painter...I'm hoping to make it to her Artist Reception at the Witter Gallery on November 15 (6-7:00 p.m.). The Witter is at 609 Cayuga Street in Storm Lake for those out there that are unfamiliar with it. Barb has a gallery in Peterson, Iowa and since she has to take her work to the Witter, she's letting myself and a couple other area artists have a triple showing at her gallery. Thanks Barb! Hope we don't poke too many holes in your walls!!! Ha!

Actually the two other artists asked me if I'd be interested in exhibiting with them...Judy Hemphill, Photographer from Spencer, Iowa and Sue Biederman , Artist from Everly, Iowa.

Sue and Judy and I decided to name the exhibit "Total Triptych", and the opening night starts this Friday at 4:00 - 7:30 p.m. Come on down to McGee's Gallery in Peterson and check us out! We'll even feed ya!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

One Down, 3 to Go

We are so tired we don't know which way is up...we finished the busiest/hardest (?) side today, the 5 windows and the south side of the building.

We Typared the south side of the building before the wind bucked up on us...good thing as I don't think we were up to wrestling large sheets in the wind. It went reasonably well I think. Then we set the windows and caulked and screwed them in. The windows look very nice...it's an odd view standing near them as they are set below the top plate (for structural reasons), but seated nearby, it's a pleasant view at that. The top plate on the building is fairly low...it was a building for poultry and sheep, not people...it's that type of charm that makes this building interesting and fun to work with!

After all 5 windows were set, we began the very unenviable task of piecing the puzzle of the siding back together...this took virtually most of the day. But we managed as best we could. There wasn't enough to recover this wall because there were some sheep/poultry doors and a grain door there that we covered too. But we found enough "parts" in the back shed to cover it. The grain door will be reattached outside, but we have to make some new trim pieces for it. We also have to trim around the window yet too...we'll have to cut trim from the plank stock we recovered/salvaged from the roof.

The building won't be painted this year...it's too late in the season here temperature wise...we'll wait for spring. In the meantime the siding will look like...well...like it needs to be painted!

(A post correction here - we did get it painted! We'll likely have to paint again this spring or summer though.)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

On Our Own Again

Well we're on our own again. The contractor has left for greener pastures and Georgie and I are off and running once more.

Left to Right - Bob and Jesse our Contractors for the roof

We were very happy with the work of the contractors Jesse and Bob, of Jesse Grady Construction. These guys just jump in and do it...no fiddling around ! We were amazed with what they got through each day...wish we could hang onto them longer to get the stuff taken care of that we're now doing ourselves again! But back to reality here.

We tore into the window framing on the south side of the building yesterday and finished up today. We had to frame in 5 windows, but not install yet...

...we then had to finish planking the walls around the work. Tomorrow we'll apply the Typar (house wrap), then we'll install the windows. (We're only working on one side at a time so will be overlapping the Typar around the corners quite a bit to keep a good barrier.)

One look at the picture of a wall section above and you'll understand why we need a house wrap under our siding! This 80 year old building has nothing to stop the weather from penetrating the future walls of insulation...inviting disaster. We've got knot holes and cracks everywhere! The former tar paper had deteriorated badly over the years...house wrap will give an effective moisture and air barrier...yet let the walls breathe.

Our time is eroding on us so we have to hustle...catch you later!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Looking Good

The soffits were put on today and even the weather vane heron returned to it's former perch on top. We're very happy to have gotten to this stage so quickly and without rain!

The contractor just has a small bit of bracing to do inside and then we're on our own again until the electrician returns to wire the building.

Our next step is one that neither Georgie or I are looking forward to but we gotta grin and bear it. We have to frame in the spots for all 9 windows, and the front door...then we have to take off all the siding...then we have to wrap the building with Typar...then we have to install the windows...then we have to re-apply the siding...then we have to put up some trim boards to cover the areas under the soffits. That's when we call the electrician for the wiring work (and we'll have a slight breather I hope!).

Wish us luck and no rain!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Roof, Roof, Roof!

...No it ain't no dog barking!

Things sure seem to happen fast when they start rolling, and when you don't know what to expect. We left for a couple jobs this morning around 9 am and when we got back around 3pm this afternoon, the roof was on! The soffits aren't formed yet but the building is covered...once the soffits are completed, it'll be water tight - at least the roof and soffits will be. The roof color was a compromise between Georgie and I...I wanted a darker roof but she didn't like the idea of it heating up so much in the summer...so we settled on a tanish gray color (grayish brown?)...doesn't translate too well via the photo I don't think. (I just knew I couldn't hack "white"!)

I asked the contractor about the energy heel trusses and he said they call it that because they are wider than normal scissor trusses, allowing more space for insulation. The insulation will come later.

It's hard to tell here but we had a complete ridge vent put in, to help with temperature/moisture issues in the airspace above the future insulation...the soffits will also help with ventillation.

I'll try and shoot the roof tomorrow again, before the sun gets so low on the horizon... besides, it'll look more finished then as well.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Trusses Up!

Boy is this ever going quickly! The trusses are now all up and they are ready to receive the roofing now. Keep in mind when you see the photos, that this is a steel roof! No shingles here...keeping the economy and maintaining an agricultural base to the theme of the building...it was a livestock building for 80 years.

The trusses are scissor trusses, to maintain the original open ceiling effect, and to give the space a little more visual room.

These trusses have what they call an "energy heel"...I'm not completely sure what that is all about but you can see the heel placed on the top plate does keep the interior of the trusses further inside the building...maybe this helps insulate the roof better. (The trusses will have insulation blown into them later in the construction process.)

It's cool to begin to see the effect of the overhangs and to visualize the finished roof...we're getting close fast!

Monday, October 22, 2007

They're Here!

They're here! Ye Haw!

Georgie and I removed the tarp first thing this morning and a little later the contractor showed up and started tearing into the building.

Soon Georgie and I were out there removing nails from lumber and stacking into the back shed.

By 2:30 they had the entire top off and the trusses were being delivered.

Tomorrow they start putting the trusses in and should be ready to start installing the roof by Wednesday!


Friday, October 19, 2007

Knock on Wood!

Day 6 and the big blue loaf still exists! Knock on wood...

Despite 30+ mph winds we're still hanging in there pretty well. The wind's out of the NW so we have protection this time, and the damage is being minimized. We've had nearly 4.5" of rain here since we started the roof (deroofing) project. There is one more day of showers forecasted before the work starts via the contractor, so we're feeling pretty upbeat about it all now!

Monday we will pull the tarp off in the morning...in the afternoon the contractor will start removing what's left of the roof and hopefully by the end of the week we'll have a new roof covering the building! Then finish work to completely enclose the roof will start and we will begin seeing the studio/gallery begin to form.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Day 3

The monster blue loaf seems to be giving way...day 3 into the "unnerving". There's nothing we can do about it, and have to accept that we did what we could. I took no pictures, just saw the breach.

The west end peak is breaching and tearing in the constant wind...3-4 more straight days of rain and wind will be the undoing of it.

I'm going to try to stop thinking so much about it and lower my blood pressure as much as I can.

Looking forward to longer periods of sunshine!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blue Loaf...Lord Have Mercy

We have a huge blue loaf looming over us now. It's unnerving to us...it just keeps poofing up and threatening to leave the premises!

We finished de-boarding the roof yesterday. De-boarding is probably another spell check mystery. Regardless, that's what we did and then came the worst afternoon of octopus wrestling we have ever encountered.

We have another weekend of rain. Wish it would just be crisp, clear, dry and beautiful, as I remember Octobers of many years past! No, it's been wet and windy for the most part...at least 2-3 days each week...usually the weekend.

We had to tarp the building; it's open now - the whole thing, and we have to try and minimize damage as best we can.

Our tarp is 38'X59'. It is too much for just two people to handle! It is too much for four people to handle in a brisk wind!!!

The future studio sits near the top of an exposed hill in open country. The building faces east /southeast. The wind was out of the east/southeast yesterday, was rushing up the hillside as usual. It was a nightmare.

Poor Georgie struggled to hang onto the west end of the tarp on the west peak. I ran around like a crazed person trying to hang onto the windward side for dear life. Each time I'd try and let go of one section to grab another, it'd lift high and fold up over Georgie. I heard Georgie yelling for 3-4 hours, but I couldn't understand a word, it was not a pleasant afternoon.

Georgie's busy cooking in the kitchen today, she still loves me...it's a miracle!

It rained another 7/10th's of an inch last night, the tarp held and we did cleanup inside this morning. We tensely wait now. Neither of us want to revisit the monster. It's raising it's ugly head outside across the yard now. It's unnerving.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Deshingled...is that a word?

I wonder if deshingled is a real word...spell check doesn't like it...? Just a short time before sunset tonight we finished the "deshingling" of the future studio. We're both so weary with the whole thing that we'd just as soon "Delete" the last week and forget it ever happened.

Georgie's down to the last ones!

I'll try and get the inside cleaned out again and then remove about 75% of the roof boards before the next step begins.

I know we'll feel better after the contractor finally gets started (...now where are they!?) and they're the ones doing all the work! It will be nice having a roof back on it...for now we're going to have to nail a tarp in place before the next rain!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Artisans Road Trip!

The 2007 Artisans Road Trip (A.R.T.) is coming up this weekend, October 13-14. For you who do not know, this event is an open studio event in the NW Iowa region.

I will not be taking part in this year's A.R.T. event. We had to take a couple years off to make the Prairie Hill Farm Studio a reality. Unfortunately this precluded the ability to gear up and get a show going for A.R.T.

I am still active on the sidelines for A.R.T., as the event webmaster. You can learn all about the 2007 Artisans Road Trip at http://www.artisansroadtrip.com

The event, in it's 4th consecutive year, has a good track record going for fair fall weather; check it out and enjoy the weekend touring A.R.T.!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Studio Construction or Indoor Spa?

Well day 4 of the de-shingling project started with a pump and a shop vac. We were lucky though as we only had .7" of rain during the night and 1-2" was forecast. We can tell which way the floor "flows", thankfully it was the opposite of where the majority of equipment is stored.

We're making progress and feel like death warmed over...why did I want to salvage the lumber in the roof...someone remind me! Ugh!

Last night we had a 1/2 roof shingle burn pile...today there just stands 1" of ash and a whole lotta nails!

We're down to 2/3's of the job done now, I hope we can get the rest finished by the weekend, but have too many commitments for the week to know if it's doable. Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Studio/Gallery Work Begins (again)

I'll be working on the Studio Gallery for several months, and it will definitely be cutting into my painting and photography, but I'll still try and take advantage of any art opportunities I can.

We've been trying to get construction of the Studio/Gallery off the ground for several months now, first by removing the huge old tree hanging over it, then by getting electricity over to it. Now this week our contractor said they would finally be getting over to install a new truss system and roof.

Georgie is the hardest worker for this job!

Georgie and I want to salvage the lumber from the old roof...we'll use the 2X4's for the new ceiling work, we'll use the boards for the plank flooring in the studio. But we have to salvage it ourselves...the contractor will just bust through and remove it otherwise.

We have to get the work done now regardless of the weather...we covered much of the inside with plastic sheathing...the tools, etc...

This is me working! Me and my shadow...

Now we attack the shingles and expose the inside to the rain to come. It's forecasted to rain Sunday, so here we go.

We finished nearly a third of the shingle removal today, and feel like it! Ugh! I think we need to be put in traction!

Tomorrow we will be at the Swan Lake Nature Center, in Carroll, IA for my art exhibit which officially opens then. (Thank goodness for the day off tearing shingles up!!!)

The exhibit will be there until mid November.

Wish us luck and stop by if you get into the urge for destruction!