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The year is off to a slow start. Deb had her right hip replaced on Jan 2, so that has really limited our time on Serenity Hill. The hip replacement was a necessity though, as she was no longer able to get around well enough to help. The last couple months before the surgery she was using a cane to get around. Fortunately, the surgery went well. Her recovery is going amazingly well from my perspective, excruciatingly slow from her perspective.
I did manage to get 1 good weekend of work. After working 12 hours on a Friday and getting off work at 6 AM, I spent most of a Saturday at Serenity Hill. I cleaned up some storm debris and cleaned up the footing trench. I managed to get 1 foundation footing poured. Initially I planned to go buy 12 more bags of concrete mix and put in another footing, but by 3 PM and I ran out of juice. Might have something to do with having been up for about 24 hours.
Deb Returns to Serenity Hill!
The following Sunday Deb went out to Serenity Hill for the first time since mid-December. Hard to believe it had been that long. We stopped by a neighbor’s and spent some time talking with them and checking their progress. I parked by the road because their drive is way too rough for our car. They didn’t put down any base, just gravel, and it has rutted up very badly. I really think a part of the problem is that the month after the electric utility ran their power they had a $200 water bill. Perhaps all that water caused that really big soft spot in their drive. Based on their experience, I’ll run my water in after the electric utility runs my power. They managed to cut the water main in the area 4 times while burying their cable.
Our neighbors live about 20 minutes away and both work days, so they come out to their property several days a week when they get off work at 3, and they are out every weekend when the weather permits. Needless to say, they are a lot further along on building their garage/efficiency apartment than we are! As she told Deb though, lots of people will be negative when you are doing something yourself that is outside their experience. Don’t let it bother you, stick to your dream and do it your way. That’s what the other 3 couples building in the area are doing.
Another month off to a slow start. Due to work and weather, not much going on. The creeks and rivers are all up, ponds are overflowing, and more rain is forecast for the month. Weather has been fluctuating between False Spring and Polar Vortex, all in the same week! It has been rough on the upper respiratory system. The remainder of the month promises to be wet and dreary. Looks like all I’ll be getting done is cleanup. Too muddy to work in the trenches and too cold to do concrete work.
What a wet start to the year! At least I no know for sure that the property has good drainage, and my driveway culvert can handle deluges of near Biblical proportions. No signs of flooding, no standing water. These are good things. The drainage ditch I dug for the footing trench has paid off nicely. No more pumping out 18″ of water!
I rolled 5 days of vacation over from 2018 and had to use them before the end of March or lose them. I’m not losing vacation days! The week of 18-22 extended forecast showed promise, with the only possibility of rain being on Wednesday. I was able to finish out the footings on the South side and the NE corner before my car died on me Tuesday. Spent a cold, rainy Wednesday waiting for a part. Lost most of Thursday dropping Deb off at work, then repairing my car. Went out and confirmed measurements and position for the NW corner and started digging.
Due to the fact that we decided to make the house 44′ long instead of 40′, the footing trench on the North side is of no use, other than to catch water. It will be worth it in the end, because that additional 4′ by 32′ provides us with a larger Master bedroom and a second bathroom. We decided that a second bathroom was a necessity when we were both suffering from a stomach bug the same weekend. Now I have to dig holes for 4 of the footings on the North side. Fortunately, the rainy weather has the soil soft enough that it is fairly easy digging except for the last foot. At that level there is a lot of gravel and the soil is packed quite hard. Fortunately, it is not expansive so I won’t have issues with water content causing the house to sag or buck.
The Sable saga
For more months than I care to admit, the Sable has been throwing up an error code about misfire on cylinders 1 and 2. It needed an ignition coil module, which is oh so conveniently located under the intake manifold. Since my truck isn’t back on the road yet, the Sable has been pressed into duty hauling tools, building materials, and 720 lb loads of bagged concrete mix. Well, on Tuesday Sable barely got me from Menards to Serenity Hill. On the way home, it went from bad to worse. Poor Sable seemed to be running on 2 or 3 cylinders instead of 6 and backfiring horribly. I limped it to the Dollar General and my Dad gave me a ride home.
So Thursday after dropping Deb off at work, I took my tools and ignition coil module and attempted to rescue Sable. Unbelievably, I actually had exactly the tools I needed for the job! After just under 2 hours, Sable was running better than it has in a long time. It didn’t die at 224,470 miles! Maybe I can make 300,000 with it. Unfortunately, the backfiring did create an exhaust leak that I now have to repair. Now, to get my old truck back on the road.