Saturday, September 23, 2006

Progress on several fronts

Many things have been happening out at the dome, but I never can seem to get pictures of them, because Mike goes out there to work & nearly always forgets to take pictures. I did my best to remedy this situation today...
Tank boyThe propane tank was installed last week. They really are rather unlovely things, but necessary to country living, where there's no gas main under the sidewalk. It's located at the end of the driveway, far enough back that we can't slide into it due to ice or inattention, but close enough that the fill truck can access it reasonably easily. The HVAC guy also came out last week & tested the heater, too.
Shed a skinWhile working with the heater, Mike found that some kind of animal (mice, rats, who knows what) had been nesting in the insulation. An empty structure is a haven for all kinds of pests, but we need to make sure the place is reasonably creature-free before we put up drywall, so we've put out traps (both sticky & snap-traps) and some rodent bait. So far we haven't caught anything but some crickets and spiders in the sticky traps, but we also found a rather impressive snakeskin where a serpent apparently took advantage of the quiet sheltered spot of our basement. Mike doesn't like snakes, but I don't mind 'em when they eat rats & things... he was originally in favor of treating any snake found on the property with extreme prejudice, but I am trying my best to talk him out of that. Out of the fifty-plus snakes native to Missouri, only a handful of them are poisonous. We have negotiated a compromise where brown patterned snakes may be dealt with, but others are left alone. In this part of the world, "brown patterned snake" means a copperhead, a timber rattler, or one of a few non-poisonous imposters. "Others" means the black rat snake, the bull snake, various green-colored grass/garter snakes, and a host of beneficial, rodent-eating serpents. I can live with them.
Mixing it upWe just couldn't seem to get a bid on the concrete work -- no contractor was willing to take on such an oddball job -- so Mike finally bit the bullet & started on it himself. Lo & behold, it wasn't as difficult as he had feared, just plain old hard work. The second-floor west-facing window dormer is serving as his training ground. He starts by mixing up the quick-crete in small batches...
Scratch coat around the window...and then putting the first coat, which is called the scratch coat, around the window dormer. We actually both took a turn doing this, but Mike is much better at it than I am, I am quick to confess. Nonetheless, we'll probably both be doing our share of it on the weekends until it gets done.
Who's at my window?I came inside to fetch the stepstool, while Mike kept working on the concrete. Look at our view! This is looking more-or-less north, over our second lot.
Every castle needs a throneSo, yes, there is stuff happening out at the dome. One last improvement of note -- the plumbers came out to finish their last little bit of work, and installed one very important household fixture in the basement. Hurray. The female members of the crew (aka Ali & myself) are very happy.