Thursday, April 30, 2009

Experimental Home Building ..

As I walked the dog this morning, I remembered to take a picture of the wall outside the kitchen, which E! had lime washed yesterday.

I sense you are all stunned, and lust for a place like ours, with such artful wall coverings. What the heck are you talking about, you say, I don't see no nothing (I am a huge fan of the triple negation). Well, if you opened your eyes, you'd see a slight tint. Granted, it may not have turned out the way it was expected, but it's all experimental.

Off to another project, the little bathroom. After E! finished painting the baseboard, I installed it today (and messed up the paint job). If things go well, I'll start plastering tomorrow, now that is exciting.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Paint, Paint, Paint ...

E! was busy painting, painting bathroom baseboard trim, bathroom door trim, and window sashes. She also lime washed the stucco outside the kitchen wall (unfortunately I forgot to take a picture, I'll do that tomorrow).

All I did was take this picture, after installing the door jamb and door (which still needs to be painted).

I know, none of this is exciting, but soon there will be mind boggling news (not sure what it will be, but if none transpires, I'll make some up).


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot ...

It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit today, and felt like a sweltering midsummer day, but wait, we're only a month into Spring?! Nevertheless, the show went on at Gunk Haus. E! primed and painted the door jamb I made yesterday (due to the heat she actually managed to put on primer and two coats of paint in one day).

I cut and routered the baseboard for the bathroom, cleaned up the basement (at least partially), mowed the lawn, and prepped a wall in the kitchen for plastering (I figured I should try plastering technique first on a wall where it doesn't matter how well or not it looks).


Monday, April 27, 2009

Playing With Toys ...

At long last I unpacked a new toy, which had been sitting around for a while: A router and router table.

We had bought it a while back to route the door and window trim, as well as the baseboards. We are going for a very classic look, a single bead on the side of the board:

Today, I manufactured the door jamb for one of the bathrooms:


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back To Normal ...

After an exciting and exhausting day yesterday, it was back to business as usual. I finally finished installing the floor in the little hallway to the bathrooms.

E! started touching up the beer hall ceiling, and went back to refurbishing window sashes. As I said, back to normal ...


Friday, April 24, 2009

Beam Me Up ...

I got up early this morning, earlier than usual, but not early enough, neither to have my morning coffee, nor to walk the dog. The second I walk downstairs, two trucks pull up out front. Those guys get up early, really early, 4:30am one of them told me.

But there I was to open the door for them, that's when the excitement began (don't worry, eventually I did got my morning coffee, and the dog did get walked, too):

It was 6:45am they walked through the door, and an hour later the massive steel beam spanning the length of the building was lowered to the ground, in one piece, and Gunk Haus didn't make a sound (confirming the theory everybody had, that the steel beam didn't do diddley squat).

... and out the door, er window, it went ...

Now that was easy, and we already thought at that rate those guys would be done come 10 o'clock. Here comes the new beam ...

... but wait there is still a broken wood beam in the way. Not a problem, cut in half it slips right out (ok, it took a little bit more cutting, and wiggling, and cutting, and lifting, and bending, but then it really slipped right out).

Just as easy as the old beam came down, the new beam was lifted into place (I gotta get me one of those fork-lifty-thingies).

Remember the basement work I had done? Here is why I poured all the concrete, so that the column (it actually came in two pieces, bolted together) could rest on it.

Jack it up, and the other side gets a column, and after wiggling, and tweaking, and pushing, and shoving, and hammering, but no cursing (very surprising, because I would have spilled my whole vocabulary of profanity), the whole assembly came together. A side effect of all this was (but not unintended) that the second floor was raised back into place (it had been sagging a bit due to the broken wood beam).

Beauty and the beam.

Although neither E! nor I had done anything today, we both felt exhausted, but at the same time had a sense of accomplishment. It's a great feeling. You may laugh, but having this (sub-)project out of the way took a huge load off my mind, so much in fact that I instantly agreed on having the guys take measurements for another (smaller) project, which had been one of E!'s pet peeves (and a nightmare to me).


Thursday, April 23, 2009

No Show ...

It was supposed to be an exciting day, but you sense already that something didn't go as planned, like for instance the contractor not showing up (that is sort of the precondition for them to do the work).

After calling them three times I received a voice mail, that they will be by tomorrow morning. Of course that was after we decided to bag this day, and do what we had wanted to do today in the first place: Go shopping!!!

Clearly we are not in need of therapy, as we didn't spend much money (of course there is a possibility that we subconsciously knew we needed therapy, and that it would cost us our first born, and therefore didn't spend much money to save our pennies for therapy).

As a consequence not much happened at Gunk Haus, besides a little cleanup, some flooring (one row), and the attempt at germinating seeds, which was thwarted by our decision to take off for therapy, pardon, shopping.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day Minus One ...

Today was all about preparing for tomorrow's big event, the removal of the existing I-beam, and the replacement of the broken wood beam.

E! was busy clearing the bar. So far it was our tools, materials, and whatever-other-junk-I-can't-let-go-off storage.

Meanwhile, I was busy in the basement, building a supporting wall for a beam I had to cut to make space for the steel column, which is going hold up the steel beam in the bar (did you follow this? no? oh well, so let's just say, I built a wall, big deal!).

Tomorrow is the big day. Gosh, this is exciting I could pee in my pants.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Excitement Is Building Up ...

You remember I told you about the structural work we need to have done in the bar. We had solicited bids, we received three, and chose one (the cheapest).

Well, this morning I got up early, because the contractor wanted to come by and take measurements. They were late, but they made it before breakfast. They measured, they left, they came back, the measured again: How about Thursday? Yeah, baby, that's what I'm talking about!!!

As good as this sounds it also means, that I need to get a lot of prep work done, before they get here. The first task, which kept me busy for the rest of the day, was to pour a concrete footing for a column, which will support the new I-beam, which will support the second floor.

E!, meanwhile, started clearing the bar area, which until now was our tool and material storage.

Despite all the work that's still ahead for tomorrow, Thursday will be an exciting day. Wait for it ...


Monday, April 20, 2009

Contractor Lovefest ...

The contractors handed each other the door knob today.

After our initial shock to the news of having to get a new septic system, and having to demolish the cottage, we have settled in on the fact that there is no way around it, and we're going to do it.

Therefore, we called all the septic contractors in the world (at least the ones listed in the yellow pages, and the ones referred to us), and surprise, surprise, most of them showed up. That is astonishing, considering that when we were trying to get someone to do air conditioning work for us, only one of the five we had called showed up, and they didn't bother to send us a bid (I think I already ranted about the bad economy, and that the next person to tell me about will get an earful from me).

This time around, though, we will have the good fortune to choose between several bids, which is unlike when we had the roof work done, when we only received one bid (don't get me wrong, we did like the contractor, and he did great work).

Aside from septic contractors, we also had a well drilling company come by today, to inspect an old well in our basement. For unknown reasons it had been replaced with the well currently serving the building, but the inspection revealed two reasons why we would not want to reestablish the old well as our water supply: It does not provide enough water, and it is not tight anymore, i.e. there is a potential of contamination.

In other words, we have to get a new well. Now, before the guys showed up to inspect the well, their boss was here this morning, and we talked to him about our dilemma, one of which is that the water we have today is just fantastic, it's soft, doesn't have much minerals in it, and (most importantly) it allows us to treat the water with UV instead of chlorine. So we told the boss, that if we had to get a new well, we'd really like to hit the same water vein as we have today. His response was, and I kid you not, to get his dowsing rods (W├╝nschelrute) from his car, and follow the vein. You have to see it to believe it! According to his dowsing rods we could potentially hit the same water vein, that provides us with the yummy water we have today. I'll believe it, when I taste it.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Country Living ...

It's nice to live in the country, have some land, and grow a garden. Ok, our garden might be a little bit on the larger side. E! had been working hard the last three days, tilling the field ...

... and shoveling wood chips for the paths.

Today was the big day to start putting things in the ground.

I helped E! by digging a trench (you know I'm good at that) for the asparagus, but my project of the day was to get started on the wood flooring in the short hallway to the bathrooms. Getting the first rows down is always the toughest, but now that I have them established, it's going a lot easier and faster. I should be able to finish this tomorrow, though you never know, who shows up, and needs their hands held.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Das Fass Ist Leer ...

Today we told our tenant that he would have to start looking for another place to live. It is heartbreaking, we love our tenant, and we know he made plans, which tell you he would stay for a while. If we had the money, I would buy the place for sale two doors down, and rent it to him at the same price, but last time we won the lottery, it was a meager $3.

Granted, we had always planned to tear down the cottage, someday when we actually have the money to afford it. I guess the restaurant gods needed an instant sacrifice.

The highlight of the day, to E! for sure, was when we picked up a used bourbon barrel, which E! is going to make her beer vinegar in. Thank you so much, Ed, I told you, you're going to be my wife's new best friend.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shoot The Messenger ...

You know the feeling, the bearer of bad news is right in front of you, he just told you all the things you don't want to hear, that your life will take a turn for the worse, the pressure in you rises rapidly, and you need let off steam. So you load your gun, right in front of him to let him know he's going to get it, you look into his frightened eyes, you smile, and pull the trigger: pop, pop, pop, the marshmallows come flying ...

We don't shoot messengers, especially when they are as entertaining and good to work with as Lou, our trusty civil engineer.

Because we are changing the type of service for Gunk Haus to full service restaurant from single service / tavern, the health department is having a major issue with our septic system, in that it is too small. That's when we hired Lou to engineer a bigger septic system. The parcel which Gunk Haus is located in is about three quarters of an acre, so we would have space to expand the septic system.

Unfortunately, smack in the middle of the parcel is our cottage, which we renovated first thing after buying Gunk Haus, and now rent out.

To make it short, the cottage is in the way and has to go, else we couldn't build a septic system large enough to get permitted seating capacity that would make the business viable.

Aside from loss of income, little as it may be, this will take more time and money.

Don't worry, we will make it, not sure when, but we'll make it ... :-)


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Farmer E! ...

We had always wanted to turn the grassy patch behind the parking lot into a kitchen garden. I say we in a very casual way, because E! is the brains behind this operation, and those ideas are all hers.

Anyhow, the idea of the kitchen garden is partly for marketing, but also to partially supply the restaurant with herbs, which are quite expensive, and various vegetables and berries, if they grow.

Today we borrowed a tiller to turn the grass on the grassy patch behind parking lot into dirt. Again, I use we very casually, as E! did all the tilling:

By the end of the day, she had tilled half the field over twice. we decided to only do half the grassy patch, which will be plenty of work.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Day In Pictures ...

I was pouring a slab for the propane tank today. You start out with a form:

You watch the cement turn round, and round, and round, and round ...

Stare-off with the cement mixer ... it blinked first ... ;-)

Haul the cement to the form ...

You realize, that the form prevents you from simply dumping the cement into the form, where's the shovel?!

Five bags of cement mix, cement mixer stare-offs, hauls to the form, shoveling into the form, spreading and troweling later:

Finish up plumbing in the ADA bathroom, and cover the wall with sheetrock:

Install a drain pipe from the gutter downspout:

E!'s day consisted of cleaning kitchen equipment:

Mowing the lawn, whacking the weeds:

Making yummy meatballs, and cuddling up to me at the end of the day ... :-)


Monday, April 13, 2009

Nitty Gritty Stuff ...

After a relaxing Easter Sunday with lots of yummy food, and good company (thank you Leslie and John for hosting), we were all pumped up today to do a lot of little stuff.

Yes, we exhausted ourselves with unexciting little tasks, like reassembling the kitchen range, cleaning the fryer, and preparing to pour a concrete slab for the propane tank (more tomorrow).



Saturday, April 11, 2009

Patchwork ...

As the stucco has cured enough, we started sampling colors. We want to apply a pigmented lime wash, but doing a lime wash isn't as easy as buying paint at your local home improvement center. Depending on the ratio of water to lime, the result ranges from translucent to pastel. But we love this kind of experimenting.

Unfortunately the picture doesn't show the test results very well, but I know you love pictures, so here you have it:

Else I was drywalling the short hallway to the bathrooms.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Iron Brewer ...

Before I bore you with any of today's actions, I want to take you back to last night. The Hudson Valley Home Brewers Club had its monthly meeting yesterday. Two months ago, our president announced an iron brewer contest, which required every beer entered to include juniper berries in its recipe.

Again, I don't want to bore you with what beer I brewed, and how, and why, and whatever. Who cares, I won the whole shebang, by a landslide!!! This caused me to break into an embarrassing victory dance, which I am not proud of, especially because it isn't very sportsman-like.

Anyhow, I finished the second coat of the eastern wall today:

My honey, meanwhile, dug deep into the greasy entrails of our deep fryer (another piece of used equipment we had bought):

And then, after several deliveries, I called it quits today, and told the tree pruning teams to stop dumping anymore wood chips, because we should have enough. We'll use them in the garden to lay out walking paths, and also to cover the area just behind the wood chips and dumpster in below picture, which we have slated to become personal and employee parking.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Around The Corner ...

More stuccoing today, this time on the east wall. I got half the wall done, so you know what's going to happen tomorrow, do you?

One of Ray's guys showed up today to finish some work on the hood.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Accidental Success ...

It was windy and cold today, not the best weather to do stuccoing, but we need to move forward. I applied the second coat on the north wall (no, Amy, this still isn't the final coat). This coat wasn't as easy to apply as the first one, and the surface turned what E! calls lumpy. Fortunately, this is the look that E! was hoping for. Great! I prefer luck over skill any day.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Obsessed ...

Before we get to the theme of the day, here the workplace of someone who actually worked today:

In case you ever wondered why it takes us so long to get Gunk Haus open, well, hello, it's a *bleeping* lot of work, and it's just the two of us, and we do it all ourselves!!!

Of course that's only half the story. Both E! and I have the tendency to get very interested in things, almost to the point of obsession.

My latest obsession, and I am already infecting E! as well, is plastering (that is interior plastering, as opposed to exterior plastering, which is called stuccoing; now don't get all snobby and say that you knew that already, because you have not spent any time reading about it: everybody calls it differently, and there are a gazillion different opinions of what plastering is).

In addition, both E! and I are very much into hand-crafting, do-it-yourselfing (eventually, I could totally see us raise the pork, that will end up as schnitzel on your plate - although, schnitzel is better made from veal, I am just giving you an example, gosh, why are you guys so difficult, work with me).

Anyhow, so since a few days I have been playing (off and on) with plaster, trying different mixtures (from scratch), and ingredients (we just read about adding linseed oil, how exciting, I will be sure to try that tomorrow), trying to find ingredients mentioned by someone (I don't even know, but sounded credible), and of course wasting a lot of time.

Here are a few of my samples (not that there is anything to be seen, but you guys like pictures, so look at it and love it, or I'll post no more pictures at all).

So why the sudden interest (obsession) in plastering? Well, we are closing in on the day, where we need to cover the walls somehow. We always wanted to plaster them, but paying professionals is darn expensive (if you think it isn't and you have a lot of money burning holes in your pockets, drop me a note). But I love my wife, and I know she'd really love the plaster, as opposed to simply painting the walls. And that's when I go the extra mile.

Meanwhile I found, plastering isn't actually that difficult, and it recently occurred to me that plastering will actually take less time and money than painting.

Alright, I already see a few of you dozing off, so enough for today.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sooooo Cute ...

A picture tells more than a thousand words:

Look at that happy smile. Yes, folks, we moved the range into the kitchen, and E! started cleaning it (one problem with buying used kitchen equipment is that it usually isn't in the cleanest condition).

I told you that I had fiddled with inside plasters this week, and for kicks and giggles I played with lime washes for the outside today. For one thing I wanted to see how well it covers, but also play with coloring. It worked pretty well, and we're going to use a tinted lime wash to finish the wall outside the kitchen and dish station.

Because of the sunny weather I felt like digging again, so I dug another trench, this one is for a drain pipe to divert the water from the gutter to past the mailbox out onto the street.