Friday, April 18, 2014

Getting My Gravity-Fed Water System to Flow After Freeze-up

The advent of some wonderfully sunny and warm weather got me once again excited about the prospect of having our water lines back in action.

I strapped on the snowshoes, and began digging down to the exposed water line at the sauna.  I had painted it a dark green last summer (to protect the pipe from UV, as well as to help disguise it in the underbrush).  With the amount of sun we were getting, I felt that exposing the pipe would help it to heat up to a far more beneficial degree than the snow was insulating it.

For the next few days after exposing it to a few hours of sunlight, I also turned on the heating cable down in the well and between the sauna and the cabin.  This appeared to not be helping with whatever blockage existed, as turning on the well pump still didn't result in any water appearing in the sauna.

After Nana and Papa had returned home, Grandpa showed up to help me out with getting the water flowing again.  We opened up the well cover and were immediately struck by the amount of water sitting on top of the ice down there, as well as the obvious melting of the ice around my pipe.  Clearly the short heat line I had put down the well had been doing its job.  In fact, I would say that it exceeded my expectations!

Turning the pump on and off showed that the surface of the well water wasn't fluctuating much, indicating that perhaps the blockage was still close to the pump itself.

Assuming that the heat cable had kept liquid water in the first few feet of pipe, we got Donna to provide us with a number of containers of hot water which we poured on the pipe on both sides of the well casing (again, the place where the coldest temperatures and the least slope coincided).

I don't know if you can imagine my surprise when Donna turned on the pump again, and in a few moments reported that water was flowing into the sauna!  I have to confess to a fair amount of jealousy.  After a week or two of sitting in the sauna waiting for water to flow, I was put out that I wasn't the first one to get to report the good news.

Water in the sauna was so exciting!  I was more than happy to schlep buckets from there to the cabin.  I returned to the cabin feeling satisfied with a days labour, but decided to push my luck, turning on the heat cable between the cabin and the sauna, and turning on the tap at the sink.  (Yes, I was also smart enough to remove the plug from the sink drain).

After about ten minutes sitting at the iPad, I realized I heard trickling water behind me!  There was a small stream of water flowing!  I called Kenny over to take a photo, and immediately texted Donna (who was warming the sauna) and instant messaged everyone who was online at that moment.

A quick post (that most of you have already seen) was warranted, it was such an exciting moment!

The water has continued to flow unimpeded here in the cabin, although very soon I will shut it off temporarily to install the bathroom faucet properly.  Heady and exciting times!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Processing Slabs for Firewood

Just like last winter, I burned through my entire supply of firewood while there was still snow on the ground, and was forced to scrounge.

Luckily Papa was here and raring to go - in the morning after his trip to the Tardis, it appeared that he dug out a bunch of slabs from down by the sawmill.  Working together, we managed to pull out a few more slabs and then I set up the sawhorses and prepared the chainsaw.

Papa continued pulling out all the slabs he could move, and when he couldn't budge any more, I fired up the saw and he began loading bins with the cut lengths.

I did put one or two ratchet straps around the bundles on the sawhorses to keep things from flying everywhere, but had to adjust the spacing until stove length was easily attainable. (I have to recut a few boards that Donna and I simply cannot fit into our stoves.)

It sure was nice to see the pile of slabs in our woodshed though.  I was pretty sure that there was enough there to see us through until the snow was gone and I could retrieve more windfalls from the 100 acre wood.  Of course, things are a bit cooler now, and I see fifteen below predicted for this coming week, so maybe I'll have to repeat the process by myself if winter hangs on much longer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bedrooms in the Loft

Donna, Kenny and Nana went to town together, leaving Papa and myself behind to try to accomplish as much as possible in the short time they were away.

After fellowshipping briefly and planning our respective tasks, methods and order of construction, we got down to business.

These upper walls were within an inch of exactly eight foot lengths.  This is something I was very pleased to discover, as in the other portions of the bedroom I was disappointed with how large of gaps had opened up in the v-joint over the course of the past winter.  With no joints, hopefully at least on the horizontal I wouldn't see too many gaps.

Papa used my cordless circular saw to cut lengths, and then passed them to me on the loft.  I reached through the stud wall to fire my nailer back into the boards.  This was easier than I feared, but still a challenge at times.

When I reached the top of the wall, I switched to the inside of the room and panelled it too.  We installed some Roxul (mineral wool) insulation into this wall to help reduce sound.  I plan on installing insulation into every wall, as well as the floor/ceiling of the loft mainly for this reason, although in the pantry, the insulation will hopefully allow us to keep the pantry at a cooler temperature than much of the rest of the cabin.  In fact, I would be quite happy to only heat the main open area of the cabin, and allow the other rooms to be significantly cooler, heated only by leaving their door open when required.

At the top of the wall, Papa ripped a board to size and we nailed it in place.  Papa was more surprised than I was that the difference in height was nearly an inch from one end to the other.

To finish the outside of the loft wall, I headed up into our attic space and reached down through the collar ties to get a decent angle for nailing.  This was also a challenge, but it worked out fine in the end.

We were encouraged to finish the final boards by the arrival of Kenny and the ladies, and it has made a huge difference in the look and feel of the bedrooms and cabin in general.  The cabin doesn't feel smaller for the newly enclosed loft, and in fact, it seems that things are brighter on both sides of the wall.