Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Red Ceiling

Its is a very tricky aspect of this sort of project, choosing what to leave as it has been found, what to update, and where it is necessary to in fact peel back a layer.  With the acoustic ceiling tile in the entry way and hall, we finally decided to make the move we'd been wanting to make for ages, and take a crow bar to it.  We had heard from Eurithe that behind the tiles was the original red ceiling that had been claimed from a CN boxcar back in the 60s.  Sure enough, there it was, still the vibrant CN red it always was.  For the historically inclined out there, we suspect that this is CN Red #11, the colour CN painted their box cars up until 1968. 

From Purdy's Naked with Summer in your Mouth:

Riding the mountain ridges
where the avalanche waits in winter
to spill its full moon torrents
onto the trembling ski trails - 

But summer
perched atop the boxcars
hugging myself in morning cold
then drinking the sun's white whiskey
and beginning to realize
there is no past and no future
you're born at this precise moment
in the high mountains
the roots have climbed your summit


Trickle Tank

This might not seem as exciting to everyone else, but it is for us!  A trickle tank is a temporary cistern that will mediate between our very slow well and our pressure tank in the house.  A pump runs from the well as it refills into the trickle tank from which another pump then feeds the plumbing in the house.  Running water!  If the poets taking up residency at the A-Frame are dehydrated, it won't have been our fault.  More likely the wild grape wine. 

Foundation repair . . .

It was not until this September that we realized that the entire north foundation of the living room was basically reduced to dust.  If this photo makes you nervous, believe us, it made us nervous as well!  Fortunately we were able to tap the same mason who had built our new chimney to come back and do some much needed reconstruction, and all will be well.  We just have to keep that darn water and ice away from the foundation!

New Barn Board!

We looked all over to find new old barn board to replace the pieces that had rotted away over the years.  Despite several visits to lumber yards, and old barns for that matter, we couldn't find anything suitable.  We considered it essential that the 'kerf' marks on the boards be from a circular saw, not a band saw, which meant the boards had to be of a certain vintage. 
Turned out, Matti found some inside of the walls of his house in Picton!  He happily donated these to the cause, and as you can see the result is very compelling.  The first two shots are from before the battens were installed; the third is the (almost) finished product.  The second shot highlights why it was so important to find boards with circular kerfs. 

New Windows!

 Catching up here a bit with the ongoing upgrades to the A-Frame.  Here you can see pictures of a) the old windows, b) the complete degradation of their framing, c) the reframing necessary before installation of new windows, and d) new windows!  We are very very pleased with our new 'Elite' aluminum clad wood windows.  They are very beautiful and didn't break the bank.  Matti, our ever-patient contractor swears by them and has essentially used nothing else for years. 
As you can see, once the windows came out we realized that the framing of the wall was quite disintegrated from water seeping in around them.  All of the barn board had to come off of that wall and the framing reconstructed - quite the endeavour! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A new place of fire

Our new chimney, to code, not falling down, and with a beautiful and subtle exhaust cap!  Many many thanks are due to Lawrence McKeon for this great work!  And thank you to Lindi Pierce and Matti Kopamees for the photos. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Place of Fire

"... But you'll have to admit the ritual significance
of not being above working with your hands?
You don't admit it?  Okay, I guess you're right.
But you must agree it's the hard way
to gather ingredients for a poem?
- lugging tons of CaCO2, stone plus fossils?
Symbolic as hell too: you can't beat limestone,
which Auden said was very important stuff;
W. Yeats and R. Jeffers kept building towers as well,
so they could write great poems about it.
I'm just the latest heir of the hearth-warming
tradition, eh? ... "
                 - Al Purdy, from "Place of Fire", 1976

We have been so blessed throughout the history of this project to have had such a great deal of support, both nationally and locally. Hundreds of individuals and organizations have donated money. In-kind contributions include thousands of manpower hours from local community members (property maintenance, fundraising activities, community outreach and education), national support (organizational support, fundraising, web design, support publications) as well as significant support from Trenton High School faculty and students. We have even been offered new appliances for the house!

One of the greatest surprises so far has come from a local stone mason, Lawrence McKeon, of LaMontagne Enterprises.  Upon seeing the A-Frame, Lawrence immediately knew how he could be of service, so he came to us in April of this year offering to re-point the mortar of the old rubblestone chimney that Al & Eurithe had had built back in the 70's.  The old chimney had certainly seen better days, and had been patched several times.  Lawrence offered to re-point the mortar for free; all we would have to pay for was the materials!

Unfortunately, upon closer inspection and more thorough reflection Lawrence knew that a simple re-point was just not going to cut it if the chimney was going to remain standing for years to come.  Furthermore, the chimney was too short.  By code (and we're simplifying here) a chimney has to protrude 2'-0" above the nearest roof ridge, and we were about level with it.  Also, as the chimney had over the years been patched with an inappropriate portland-cement based mortar, water had penetrated the masonry and had not been able to escape, freezing and thawing and causing a deep crack running the length of the chimney!

The decision was to replace the chimney with as faithful a copy as possible, with Lawrence donating a full $1000 dollars of labour to the cause, much more than he had originally intended.  Above, you can see photos of the chimney in progress. The mortar is slightly darker than you would normally see, as we are using a blend of type-s mortar with lime.  We will post more photos as the work nears completion.