Spring has finally arrived and things are starting to pick upagain. Not that we ever stopped, but the days are longer and the clocks have changed, allowing us to work in the evenings again. Our framing was approved a few weeks ago meaning we can move on to the next step. It's been nice to not swing a hammer and to give my tennis elbow a bit of a rest. Maybe "hammer elbow" is a better descriptor in this case? Moving to the next step means we are finally ready for the meat and potatoes of the project: straw bales. The timber frame was a huge part, for sure, but the straw will be the next big adventure.

To prep for the straw, we've been sanding our tongue-and-groove ceiling to get rid of the feathers that were created when the wood was milled. This process involved a good deal of upper body stamina since we were lying on our backs on scaffolding, holding a orbital sander above our heads, and applying a decent amount of pressure to make sure everything got reasonably smooth. It didn't take quite as long as we expected, thankfully. Taking turns helped, but there were days when we just couldn't keep our arms up any longer.

Sanding 1

We also bleached the timber frame and are so pleased with the way it came out. Since the timbers sat out in the scorching sun all summer, they got really gray. Not really the kind of look we are going for. The sawyer suggested we use regular old household bleach to bring it back to a bright, freshly cut look. So, I bought about six gallons of bleach, loaded it up into run-of-the-mill garden sprayers, and sprayed the whole thing down. John did the spraying, donning a Tyvek suit, organic respirator, and safety goggles to protect himself. I stayed outside. Once it was dry, we sprayed it down with water to rinse any residue away. It looks brand new now!

Bleaching 2
In process. The difference is really amazing.
Bleaching 3

Public service announcement: Bleach is dangerous. We did this in a very well-ventilated area with appropriate safety gear. Do not do this in an enclosed space and please please take the necessary precautions to make sure you don't get hurt! Safety first, everyone! Despite how the house wrap may look, there was plenty of air moving through here and the smell didn't linger. The same is clearly not true for a finished house.

Bleaching 3

The roofer has been working to get the standing seam roofing installed. He has a good deal done and if the weather holds, it shouldn't be too long before the roof is on. We've been staining fascia/trim boards the past few days to get them ready for the roofer to install. There will be more fascia later; we're just working on what he needs to get the roof done. Oh, and we have stairs to the basement now, too!

Standing Seam

Staining 2

Staining 1

All that's left is temporarily sealing up the second floor and the rest of the first. Provided all goes well, we'll be setting the first bales in a week or two!

It's so good to be seeing bare ground again. The mud I could do without.


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