Summer 2010

Finished Guest Bathroom

The Guest Bathroom was finally finished the first week in July. There are two windows in the bathroom. This one that you can see was designed so that a person could lie back in the tub and look up at the trees,  stars, or falling snow. Because of the slanted ceiling there is a cut out for tall people to stand and pee. There is  a Toto toilet, the Drake model, I highly recommend them.  To find out more go to: https://www.toiletsthatwork.com/

Rheem on demand LP Gas water heater.

With the new bathroom comes hot water.  I just installed a Rheem Tankless 84 on demand water heater. For more about these types of hot water heaters go to energysavers.gov here .

With the cold, underground well water temperatures typical in the Northeast, I hope to get about 4 gallons per minute at 120 degrees of continuous hot water. Depending on the temperature of the water in your storage tank, you can get up to 8GPM. The reason I chose the Rheem is that it has the lowest .26GPM minimum flow rate and a low activation rate of  .40GPMs. That refers to the amount of running water it takes to activate the burner and the minimum flow rate required to keep the burner running. This is an issue with these types of hot water heaters.  For example, dishwashers have a low water use rate and may not activate this type of burner. The main reason I installed an on demand tankless heater is, not only for the energy conservation factor, but because I can still have hot water during our frequent power outages from storms. My 5K generator is not powerful enough to run a 220Amp electric hot water heater. This LP Gas Rheem model has an electronic ignition and no standing pilot light.

Siding the garage.

My full attention now is on siding the garage I built last year. This is white pine from a local saw mill that has been stained with Olympic Solid color stain. I like the idea of a stain because, even though it is not supposed to last as long as paint, it won’t peel off. In my lifetime I plan on just letting it fade into dark whatever and never reapply anything. Like an old barn. The gable ends will have horizontal siding which I shiplapped, as will the top third of the side walls. Below this horizontal siding will be traditional barn board-and-batten. Furring strips will not be used on the vertical siding as the upper treatment will overlap the bottom for rain run off.

Opening up a magnificent part of the property

Snagging an old beech tree with my backhoe.

Also this summer, I decided that, after over 10 years here, it was time to build a road down to the river. My property is long and narrow, the bottom 1/3 drops off dramatically as it goes down. The river is not very accessible for the casual encounter. It requires you to pick your way carefully downhill and get a good workout coming back up. I want to end that by blazing this road. My plan is to make it accessible to 4-wheel drive vehicles and the old dirt bike I just bought, as well as the casual hiker. This road will open up a magnificent part of the property, where there are towering 100-year-old Black Cherry, Hard Maple, Birch, Ash, Beech and Hemlock. The adjoining properties have been logged several times and the difference in feeling is unmistakable (I don’t want to log my property but I may have to if the recession continues to lay waste to my career. If so, the road could also be used to get the logs out).

This is a fairly easy part to the road.

Digging the road is a slow process and dangerous. The acid in my stomach starts to rise and my heart starts to pound as I head down there–I know my Case 580C backhoe is not the right machine to do this job, but it’s what I have. A big excavator in tandem with a small bulldozer would be more like it. I have tried building this road over the years, but gave up because of the challenge and need to stay focused on my house.

I started on the road in early June, taking my backhoe further down the mountain than I ever had before –but I couldn’t get back up. It was one of those times when I had to get down off my machine, walk around and take a look at my situation, and remind myself not to do anything stupid (It would be very expensive if I made things worse somehow, and had to get towed back up the mountain). So, I walked away and left the rig down there. I would walk back down to it every so often and work a couple hours, building the road further down, driving back and forth over the new road, packing the dirt. The first week in July I came to the most challenging spot of all–I wanted to grade a steep, 140 degree turn that will traverse back and down across the land. Facing that challenge, I decided it was a good place to take time off from road-building. My new cast iron tub had just arrived and I needed to hoist it up into my second floor bathroom–using my backhoe which, so far, was still essentially, “stuck.”

I knew I could put my winter chains on and drive up– no-problem– but that wouldn’t solve the big issue, which was making that part of the road equipment-worthy in the future. I wanted to be able to get back and forth without tire chains all the time. To do that, I had to solve what I didn’t when I first went down.  This part of the road was a steep, straight section that was part of an old logging road from many years ago. I hadn’t graded it on the way down, and it was covered with grass, large round rocks hiding here and there, and the road pitched precariously sideways in spots.  So I took on the job grading it backwards up the hill.   Basically, I put the throttle up all the way, became a screaming demon, and pulled myself up a few feet at a time with the hoe or digger bucket then raise the machine up with the side  stabilizers,  smooth out the road with my hoe and continue on this way till I could back up without spinning the tires.  I don’t like doing that to my old circa 1980 Case Backhoe, because I have lots more plans for that thing. Needless to say, it was a huge relief to get out of there. (To be continued–successfully I hope!)

Raising the Claw Foot Tub.

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