Thursday, November 26, 2009

Final digging in the Bamboo Grove

It's still pretty wet out there, but seems to have dried up enough to work. I think that the French drain is actually working, and over the past week or more, the water has worked its way into the French drain, down the pipe to the retention pond and then out the drainage holes into the trench from digging and down the
yard to the corner.

But despite that, and the dirt being wet, I dug out the last part.

This gets me all the way from the drainage pond to the fence corner and then back to the retaining wall that should seal the bamboo grove off from the yard.

The next step will be to pour a concrete wall under the fence and put rock on the top to match the retaining wall. This will prevent the bamboo from escaping under the fence, and confine it completely to this one area of the back yard.

I've started collecting together the rocks to go on top of the cement wall. I need to get some "forms" to outline the wall. Previously, I just used some 2 foot by 8 foot pieces of masonite. It's light weight and smooth on one side, and flexible, so it's easy to work with. And I need concrete mix. I'll need to figure out how much.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Radiant Barrier

The back yard is still too wet to dig, so taking the opportunity to finish the attic today. The first step was to finish putting the radiant barrier over the finished part of the attic over the garage.

Next we used the last roll of the radiant barrier material to run down the area over the living room. The living room has a vaulted ceiling, so the framing of it is a bit more complex than for the rest of the attic.

When we put the radiant barrier over the living room, we had to remove the light that we had hanging there. So we installed a fixed fluorescent light fixture on the wall between the carpeted cat walk (on the right in the photo below) and the area over the living room.

And finally, we put a shelf in the area over the utility room (the hot water heater and the vent over the stove top) to put the telephone equipment (wiring, plugs, tools, outlets). That gets the box up off the floor and out of the way.

I think this finishes almost everything in the attic. I guess I need to go back over the Energy Audit and see if anything else comes up.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Radiant Barrier for the Attic

I'm off for the Thanksgiving holiday. It's much too wet outside to dig -- standing water in the trench I've been working on, so it was up in the attic to try to finish the area over the garage.

The Energy Audit had identified the area over the garage as having no insulation and no radiant barrier. I last worked on this September 20, and put down a layer of 6 inches of fiber glass insulation between the floor joists. This time I installed radiant barrier on the inside of the roof, and then put R-30 fiber glass rolls down on top of the previous insulation, running the new rolls perpendicular to the old insulation.

I put the radiant barrier up first and then filled in with the insulation. That should finish off the unfinished part of the attic, over the garage. I am left with the finished part over the garage, which needs a radiant barrier, and some other random places which also need radiant barrier. I needed to get more over the material. The radiant barrier comes in rolls of only 4 feet by 25 feet, so I needed another 4 rolls for these areas. These were about $184 at Home Depot.

I'll need a step ladder or something to install it over the finished floor part of the attic.

That should be tomorrow's work.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Into the final stretch

October and November 2009

It's been dry now a couple of weekends and I've been able to get out there and dig. I've turned the corner of the fence and started digging along the back stretch. The bedrock is somewhat less smooth here. Part of it is the utility trench. When the development was put in, all the utilities -- electrical, telephone, and cable -- were put underground. Apparently code says they should be 16 to 18 inches below ground level. Of course, as we've seen, bedrock is only 4 to 8 inches below ground level.

So they brought in a rock saw and cut a trench into the rock and put the cables in that. The chewed up rock was just dumped along side the trench and then dirt put over the whole bunch. I take off the dirt, then I'm putting the rock debris into compost and mulch plastic bags. In the short term I will use them like sandbags to hold the cement forms when I pour the cement wall, and then I'll haul them off.

I actually dug deep enough to find the cables near the corner. In the actual corner the rock formation is very different. It goes very deep in dirt. I wasn't able to find the underlying rock. But I did uncover the cables. They are in a big (probably 4 inch diameter) grey PVC pipe. Which is good, since it probably would not be good for me to break into a high voltage power line.

Having gone as deep as I figured I have any reason going, I continued on along the fence. Pretty standard digging, except for a strange notch in the bedrock. It's too rectangular to be natural, so I guess someone did this when the trench was put in.

All this digging has produces a big pile of dirt, but I think I'm just a couple (digging) days from finishing the excavation, so I should have enough room. Once I get the wall poured, I can put it all back (and more!).

I used some of the ground up limestone from when they cut the trench to cover over the electrical pipe, and fill in the corner to a level.

So, a bit more digging, then I can start framing for the concrete work. And I need to get rocks to put on top of the concrete, to make it a bit more "natural", so it will match the other exposed rock walls. I may be able to finish before Christmas. Depending on the weather, of course.