Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cinder Blocks

Yesterday the guys left earlier than usual and it is apparent that they have pretty much finished with the cinder block foundation. Today they were here briefly to set a few more blocks and take away the cement mixer. They've cleaned up the area a bit and it's ready for the next phase.

This is where the covered walkway is going to be, with the entry way to the garage and the entry way to the stairway up to my studio.

In the process of digging up the yard, lots of big rocks were uncovered. I'm gathering some of them with the intention of putting them in a future rock garden. Granddaughter Zoe informed me that "rocks do not grow in gardens." I don't know, there seem to be an awful lot of them in those piles of dirt.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Fortress

There is definitely progress. It's beginning to look like a fortress. The engineers and architects had to do some re-planning in order to compensate for the water drainage problem. They are going to build the grade up higher around the back of the garage so that all the water will drain into a swale. In order to support the increased amount of soil, there has to be more cinder block. Looks like lots more cinder block. It's not all that clear to me, but then I'm sure they wouldn't understand how to do surface design on fabric.

Over the weekend it rained. Lots and lots. This space here, which still hasn't drained totally, had water covering the first course of cinder block, about 8 inches. Would have been more if we hadn't move the pipe attached to the downspout so that that water drained down the driveway instead of into this area. 

I'm beginning to think that this would be a whole lot less stressful if I could go away and come back to a finished project. But then I would still want to know what was happening, so staying around is better. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Slowly but Surely

Making progress. The walls are a little higher and more of the outline is in place.

Looking down from the second story at what will be the covered walkway.

Still a big step down from the back door.

On Thursday afternoon we noticed a big orange X painted in the grass. It didn't seem to line up with anything or even be on any plans. But on Friday morning we saw a big truck delivering this delightful addition to our construction zone. I had been wondering how the workers were answering the call of nature (and hoping it wasn't in the bushes), so I'm glad they now have a designated pot. But I wish it weren't smack dab in the front yard. It's the first thing anybody sees when they crest the hill and drive by our house.

Non-construction related news: My profile is now up on the Art In Embassies website. My piece is in the American Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I received a very nice thank you letter from the Ambassador, telling me how much they liked the piece. Always pleased to receive compliments.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Almost a foundation

On Tuesday, two flatbed trucks parked out front. They were loaded with cinder blocks, huge bags of sand, and cement mix. It took most of the day to unload it all and distribute around the foundation hole.

Nobody worked yesterday, but the guys arrived bright and early at 6:30am this morning. At least a dozen men moved the cinder blocks around the area and closer to their final destination. The main contractor and the architect were also in attendance to solve the drainage problem. All the rain that falls onto our patio creates a waterfall at the head of the driveway. It's been a nuisance, especially in winter when it freezes, because it runs right by the back door. They had to do some redesigning to divert the water around to the far side of the garage where it will disperse onto the grass (and hopefully not into the neighbor's yard next door). This is going to involve more stair steps going from the walkway to the patio than we had originally planned.

The high wall on the left is the back wall of the garage. Due to the elevation change, it will be about 3 feet below grade.

They covered the outside of the cinder blocks with cement, all nicely smoothed out. I didn't realize they had done this until it was too hard to put my initials in it. But I will have more chances, I'm sure.

This is my new kitten Buster. He is 4 1/2 months old and most of the time is a real dynamo. But he does know how to relax. This is his "What, me worry?" pose.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back from Vacation

We spent a fabulous week in the Canadian Rockies - Jasper and Lake Louise. Saw elk, big horn sheep, a coyote, black bears, pikas, ground squirrels, and fantastic scenery. We flew United Airlines and the only reason I mention that is that they screwed us royally on both ends of the trip. I will not choose United again unless there is no other way to get there.

While we were gone construction began on the new garage/studio. This is what we saw yesterday afternoon when we returned. The footers have been dug and concrete poured. Iit rained after that and it looks like the trenches are filled with mud. Not so, it's just a thin layer of mud on top of the concrete.

Guess we won't be using this door for a while.

The dogwood tree is a casualty of the construction. It was just too big to justify the expense of moving it.

The remains of the driveway that used to be by the back door.

The root system of a white pine tree that we had taken down 20 years ago. Persistent little buggers.

The larger hole on the left of this picture is where the corner of the garage and the entrance to the stairs up to the studio will be.

And this is the view from above. They haven't arrived yet to work, so I don't know what's going to happen today. My husband is mourning the damage done to the lawn. He was hoping the dirt would be contained in a nice area around the construction hole. Not likely.

Such a mess. And since it's rained several times since this began, we have mud rivulets running down the hill through the grass. There are sediment controls set up, but I don't know if that was done before or after the rain. I think I'm glad I wasn't here to witness the digging; it's sort of like the loss of an old familiar friend.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I was hoping to have pictures of the momentous ground breaking, but, alas, it poured rain all morning and the groundbreaking was delayed until next week. But there is bright spot today and I don't mean the sun, which is shining now. The local online newspaper published an article about me and my work. It's a nice little article with several pictures. The writer is sort of young so I guess he can be forgiven for the reference to my age. Here's the link

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


When the excavation for the studio starts, we are going to lose a lot of garden. An entire bed of hosta and ferns, a boxwood bush, a dogwood tree, and tons of pachysandra. The boxwood can go and it would be too expensive to try and move the dogwood, but the hosta and pachysandra can be saved. This past weekend we dug up all the hosta and moved them to a temporary location at the edge of the yard. This puts them in a prime area for munching by the deer, who have already snacked on other hosta in the yard. In order to prevent these from becoming deer lettuce we erected a fence made of spikes and fishing line. The deer don't see the fishing line and so don't like to go through it. At least that's the theory. Let's hope we still have hosta when this is all done.

This is what's left - a lot of roots and some stray plants. It's a good thing we got to this because the contractor called yesterday and said they want to start excavating this Friday. Yikes - a whole month ahead of schedule. We will be out of town all next week and so won't be able to see the day by day progress, and I can't even envision what it will look like when we get back. But starting a month early means they will finish a month early and by October I should have my new studio. I can't wait!