Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pouring The Step and a Gift of Peppers

We stayed overnight at the farm house last Saturday, and for the first time I was able to get a good nights sleep there.  I think I have finally assembled enough of the comforts of home that I don't feel like I'm camping in a construction zone.  Having a hot shower available and not seeing Carlos the house snake in months probably has a lot to do with my comfort level too.  Now, if I could just get rid of all the spiders and dust! 

I was woken Sunday morning to the sound of Brandon banging on something.  When I came to investigate, I found that he was chipping the uneven edge from the cement slab that is the bathroom floor, and digging out some of the soil under the house in preparation of pouring cement in the step down to the bathroom.  Before breakfast even!

Once he framed around the step with some scraps of wood, and excavated enough of the soil, he poured in some gravel.  

Supposedly, having a few inches of gravel under the cement will allow moisture to drain through the gravel and protect the cement.  I think it's likely that the cement slab in the bathroom didn't have any gravel, and that's why it cracked in several places.  

We used the wheel barrow and the garden hose to mix together the quickrete, right there in the bathroom, and then poured it over the gravel.   

Nothing ever goes as smoothly as it should, and in this case we found out that we were just a few inches short of enough cement to finish the job.  We had to wait until one o'clock for the local hardware store to open, and Brandon's patience was sorely tested.  I predict that living at the farm is going to test our patience frequently, as we are used to living in close proximity to many twenty four hour conveniences.  He was at the hardware store as they unlocked the doors and had his second batch mixed up and poured quickly.   

He smoothed the top with a trowel, and I was surprised that he could get the finish that he achieved, considering the rough and rocky texture of the cement when he mixed it up.  Ultimately, the step will be tiled, so it the finish wasn't that important.  We understand now how much skill it takes to get a completely smooth surface on cement.  Once Brandon cleaned his tools, I was left with a very dirty bathroom floor to mop.  

The Step project was quite satisfying.  Of course, our decision to move the step into the kitchen and out of the bathroom door created a lot of work, and we still have some logistics to figure out about how to hand the door, so the verdict is still out on if it was the best idea.  

After a long day of step building, and insulation hanging, our neighborly neighbor stopped by to chat and deliver a giant bag of bell peppers from his garden.  I've never been able to grow bell peppers that were this big!  

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