Thursday, October 11, 2018

The End of an Era - Selling the Sawmill a.k.a. How to Dismantle a Woodmizer LT10 Sawmill a.k.a. New Beginnings

If I recall correctly, last year I only cut two or three beams on the sawmill.  I didn't have any big projects in mind, but did have some large logs on the skidway.  One of the largest was a huge birch that had blown down previously, and Grandpa helped me to portion it off and bring it in.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but I knew it had some good board feet in it.  I cut it into two large eight by eight beams.  Kenny offered to help move one of the beams, and immediately pinched the tip of his finger badly and that really killed my interest in doing any more unneeded cutting for the season.

This past summer Donna and I made loose plans to build a new sauna.  With that in mind, I cut up a stack of true two by four beams in twelve and eight foot lengths.  Once they were on my drying rack, I realized that I didn't really have too many future projects in mind again.  This coincided with good friends of our family talking about their own desire to own a mill to help them construct a barn in the near future (they have quite a menagerie already - and are open to expanding it).

A handshake arrangement was made (after consulting Donna), and Thanksgiving weekend was arranged as the best opportunity to get it dismantled and moved to its new home.

Several times during this process, the phrase "highest, best use" came to mind - not just for the mill, but also for things like my time and attention.  It's a principle I can only attest to know about and occasionally strive for, not something I claim to have mastered.

First part of any job - forming an overall plan of action.

Picking the low-hanging fruit to boost our confidence.  Removing one bed section.

Down to just the very heavy mast - time to bring in the big guns (both mental AND physical!)

A little grunting and groaning to get started.  Note the powerhouse framed by the mast!

It felt easier to move laying flat.

I asked for this picture NOT to be taken.

This slope seemed to get steeper once we were carrying the mast.

Ahh, sweet relief!

The beams are required to lay the track on.

Everything all banded up, and the family finally rounded up and buckled in!

Kenny found a tree - maybe Christmas material?

Bonus Blue Jay who had been visiting us.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Revising the Crawlspace Vents

Since we first built the cabin, I have made it a biannual tradition to suit up, crawl under the floor and either open or close the vents in each corner.

I curse, struggle, swear (quietly) and then return to the land of humans spent and crusty.  Finally this year I decided to try to change that, even if only slightly.

Originally I hadn't thought much of it - I had the screens mounted flush with the outside of the cinder blocks, and would crawl up to each one under the cabin and push foam into the space behind them.  Or pull it out, depending on the season.

The original setup - screen flush with the outside of the blocks.
Finally last year I realized that if I had had the foresight to mount the screen flush with the INSIDE of the blocks, I could be pushing the foam in from the outside, where I only need to crawl under six feet of deck in the great outdoors, rather than six feet of dusty rock in the pitch black.

Assembling my tools.
Looks about right for going down below.
Once again I went under inside this year and caulked in new screens as flush as possible to the inside of the blocks.  This was frustrating enough but hopefully it's the last time I need to do it in this manner.

A few days later, I lay down a tarp in the corner of the cabin under the porch, and crawled up to the screen.  It took a bit of work with a hammer and elbow grease, but I managed to break the outer screens off the blocks and clean them up.  Then I measured some cedar board to line the entire cavity, and spray foamed around them to try to ensure a good seal.

Tearing out the old screen.
The new screen was too tight, I had to flex it into position.  Hopefully unintended consequences of this don't return to bite me.
Boxed in nicely, ready for the outside foam plugs.
In the next week or so, I'll stuff the openings full of additional foam to seal up the crawlspace for this freezing season.  Hopefully this process will be much less frustrating than having to go under the cabin itself.

If only I could figure out a way to drain the water lines without having to go under the cabin either.  If only...

Sunday, September 23, 2018

...And First Snowfall of the Season!

Yesterday we attended the NOHE to help us have a better background in the ins and outs of being a small landlord.  Afterwards we dropped by on one of our tenants to put up some blinds for them and have a bbq (as well as to enjoy their shower!)

They mentioned once or twice that there was supposedly a chance of snow overnight.  I saw the same thing on the local news broadcast just before pastry time as well, but it was really hard to imagine it.

At two a.m. this morning I woke up to a tingly bladder, and noted that the scene outside the patio doors was unusually bright - likely due to the nearly full moon (no, not mine - the real one - I do wear at least underpants at night!)

As you can imagine, without my glasses, I couldn't see accurately, but upon sober second look, things weren't the same...  shape...  outside.  I put on my spectacles to be treated to, well, a spectacle!  Everything was covered in a thick layer of snow.

I lay down, not sure if the proper reaction was excitement or dread - my body didn't really care, it feels both of those emotions the same way.  I decided that it wasn't anything I couldn't handle.  I still would like to have more wood put up for NEXT winter, but at least this winter should be covered for the most part.

An Aiki tradition - the annual marking of the first snow in Donna's windscreen.

I didn't realize how much we seem to have a used car lot here!
Now I have to go through my mental checklist of things to ensure I'm prepared for.  Bring in things that shouldn't be left out for the season...  Find the ladder and set it up to sweep off the solar panels.  Find the broom for the solar panels.  Dig out the oldest pile of humanure to make sure there is lots of room for this season's contributions.  Maybe take a trip or two down the bush trail and bring in some logs that have fallen across the trail.

At least the pond didn't freeze - today.  I think it was frozen yesterday though.
It's likely best for me to make this list elsewhere, as it is sure to grow throughout the day.

A close up.  Is that a patio chair there?!  Another thing to put away!
Where are my winter boots?
Sauna looks very wintery!