With the help of our good friends, we were able to tackle two major, and majorly exciting, projects at the farm house. We brought enough food to feed an army, and tents and bedding and spent two great days playing camping carpenters.
The first big job was to install a beam and posts (to become columns) to support the second floor where the termites had devoured the wall. Our plan is to create a room divider instead of a wall between the living room and dining room, inspired by the arts and crafts style columns with cabinets at the bases.
The fun part of this job was using house jacks to level the ceiling and get everything braced. Hopefully my friend will be able to sleep now that we have everything shored up and her house collapse nightmares can subside.
Once the posts and beam were installed, some time was spent designing the stairs. Real design, with measuring tapes, computers, and everything. I barely kept up with the math, but had absolute confidence that whatever we came up with would be great. Or at least be better than the crooked stairs that were there. Or at least be better than nothing, which is what we have now. It's gonna be great, I'm sure.
Most of my design energy went into the smoking of three of our home butchered chickens along with foil packets of vegetables and mushrooms and skewers of stuffed peppers. There's never any danger of starvation when we set out to do a job.
The photo above shows the first challenge faced when the stair construction got under way. What started as a nice straight board ended as a very warped stringer once it was cut. Stupid wood.
No worries though, we just bolted this one to the wall and straightened it out as we bolted it on. The other two didn't warp in such an extreme way.
We attempted to get the upstairs floor even more level by using the house jack to hold the floor up and bracing the new stairs against one of the posts that attach to the big beam we installed. The guys raised the floor several inches, put the stringers in place, and then removed the brace. WHOMP!! The floor fell only an inch, but what an awesome thump. At first we were disappointed because it was so much work to get everything propped and reinforced, but then we realized that we still gained an inch, which will make a big difference.
And the stairs, even though they aren't finished, are looking really nice, especially the way they are going to tie into the columns of the room divider. I can't wait to finally get to walk on them.
While our friends wisely stayed in a rodent free tent, Brandon and I put up a bed in the midst of the construction zone. We woke in the night to loud rustling in the other room where we had the coffee pot. Brandon took a flash light to investigate and when he returned he reported that it was "just a mouse drinking mini moos". Sure enough, the mouse chewed holes in all our little coffee creamers and drank the cream. I'm taking this up with Carlos- what's the point of a house snake if we still have mice drinking our mini moos?