Big doings at the homestead

We have a big project underway: siding the house.

For most people, "siding the house" means installing vinyl siding to hide the painted clapboards that they no longer wish to paint. Most people move in to or buy a home that is finished. We, however, are owner-builders. That means that our home is not finished - yet.

For us, siding the house means covering the waferboard and plywood sheathing that we put up as a temporary siding when the two sections of the house were built in 1980 and 1988. It also means installing shingles on the solarium that we started adding to the home three years ago.

Owner-builders like us have a perpetual dilemma. We either have time to work on our homes, or we have the money needed to buy materials. We never seem to have both at the same time. This year the balance tips more towards money than towards time. We have been offered a killer rate by some local men who are looking for something to do, and who seem to do good quality work. We have therefore hired a crew to work on the house with Robert.

I am already getting nervous about money. Setting my anxiety aside, it is clear that this was a good decision.

The project started earlier this year when a windstorm blew down a huge white pine at the end of our driveway. We were able to get a couple of logs from that tree to an Amish saw mill, and we had it cut into boards for siding. The sawmill shiplapped it for us as well - cutting a notch out of the side edges of the boards so that they can be overlapped when installed. When the pile of wood came back, it was huge, and inspiring. It inspired us to do some more logging, and we added a second pile of wood for siding in front of our home.

Here Lucky and Q, our two black cats, are taking a spring constitutional, inspecting both the hostas that are coming up, and the piles of siding boards.

After just a few days of work this past week, we have made more progress towards finishing the exterior of our home than in the last several years combined. The shingles are on the solarium. The exterior insulation is covered with wire mesh, ready for parging.

We are adding another layer of insulation on the exterior of the older side of our home. We'll try to add another layer to the newer wing as well, if our money holds out.

On top of the insulation goes a sheet of Tyvek, to keep out the wind and reduce infiltration. Then comes the siding - and it is going up. Straight, clean, fresh pine boards.

It's only May. What other wonders will this summer bring?


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