More drywall, such fun.

So, we began the joyous task of putting up the plasterboard in the garage. It’s… both not as bad and as bad as I thought. The actual getting of it up onto the ceiling isn’t too terrible – largely because it’s 8′ up, not 13′ up, and it’s flat not sloped.

Both of these things make it easier. It’s also a smaller space. Howeeeever. The trickier bit is that the garage is full of ‘stuff’. Rebecca has deigned to move; she’s fired up successfully four times now, and so on Monday when we started on the project she pootled out of the garage, I turned her around so that this time the exhaust will be pointing out of the garage when we start, and sat her outside for the day.

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Plan is to do that today.

Then I’ll start on some of the fiddly bits.

We went for a less good finish, but more rapid coverage, with our board tessellation. Ideally you shouldn’t have boards going in different directions, but we do, because that works better for speed. But we did also glue them and screw them so we haven’t abandoned all our quality principles.

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So today is mainly going to be cutting little bitty end-bits and some long, narrow runs. Popping those up and hopefully we should be mostly done. Then we can start on the joyous fun of insulating the walls and putting the drywall up there.

In other news, we’re slightly concerned that the combo of heavy rain and high winds may have given our chickens a tiny bit of frostbite on their combs. Well, two of them. Mymble seems unaffected, which would make sense, she’s the one that sits furthest from the breeze being head of the pack.

We’ve tweaked the coop airflow to a more winterised setting – blocking off several of the vents. I’ll stick my head in there tomorrow morning – immediately when I let the chickens out – to see whether we need to increase the venting a little. I really don’t want them to be insufficently ventilated, but also don’t want them to get frostbite :(

It’s funny because it’s not actually been that cold – we’ve only had a few days of frost this winter, so far. Which is quite worrying for pests in the garden, and for the trees who probably haven’t gone properly dormant.

What we have had, instead, is a ton of rain. Days and days of solid rain. Which led to the discovery that the replaced sump pump is, as I feared, not triggering at a low enough point. It doesn’t actually have any kind of adjustment mechanism – oddly – so we had the fun task of digging under the pump to drop it a bit (it turned out that actually the pump probably used to sit a couple of inches lower because down below the silt and crap there was a small concrete paving slab.

Having done that I also used a bit of cut-off pex pipe to make the pump trigger about 1cm earlier. I’m hoping that combined, those tweaks will keep it drier under there. It doesn’t look like it was actually getting up high enough to hit the wooden piers that support the house, thankfully.

Come the summer when I’m not trying to dig out silty soil from a puddle while lying in a puddle I may try and find the enthusiasm to tackle this again and maybe get it another 2 or 3 cm lower. And at the same time clear out some of the crud. But to do that I’ll have to extend the pipe that I put in… it’s already at the limit of its flex. Ah well.

A short diversion

We knew it would happen eventually. We worked around it a bit with a cunning plan – I warmed up the oil and the wood in the house, then oiled some small bits of wood out in the garage, then brought them back into the house to dry, but positioned them directly under the whole house fan in the laundry.

Doing that allowed me to put up the lights in the main room that sit over the hallway – which has improved the lighting situation in the dining area and the kitchen pretty markedly. It also meant that I could put down the trim strip that goes between the bathroom and the hall (I’ve not actually installed that yet, I had to cut the screws short so that they won’t go into the pipework in the floor).

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I finally managed to locate the enthusiasm to start working on the trim again yesterday. It’s tough because we want the house to be done, but I think we’re both pretty much in need of a break from doing the house. It’s close though, it’s within spitting distance of being done. And we are making progress, but it’s much slower.

In a way I think that’s probably much healthier. But it is dragging it out too; which is kind of frustrating. It’s that balance between not making the process utterly hateful because you’re forcing yourself to do it whatever you feel, but also not just letting it drag on interminably. Not least because we have other things we want to do with our lives! But. All that said, we’re taking a short diversion for another part of the project.

We’re going to borrow a friend’s trailer today and clear some of the rubbish from the garden. We’ve been studiously ignoring the pile of old naily wood – the offcuts from our salvage pile – for months. Hidden under a tarp in the corner of the garden they’ve avoided too much scrutiny because they’re out of the way. Well, today they’re going to go away. So, too, will the old metal sink, the broken UPS and the broken sump pump from under the house. All of those can go find a new home at the hazardous waste place, or the tip.

And then we’re going to go and get an enormous pile of drywall and insulation. The time has come to insulate and drywall the garage. In theory (in theory) Rebecca should be mobile. Since putting the new flange on the diff and reattaching the prop shaft I’ve managed to get the battery somewhat charged. And so in theory (she said optimistically) she should be able to move with some fresh petrol. I did tighten all the fuel line joints because when I did my quick test that the electrics are working and “how much petrol do you have in you” turn on she decided to spray everything with stale petrol – sort of a resentful “you left me in the dark for years and now you want me to move!” event. But I think I’ve got them all tightened up. The carb also leaked, but that seems to have stopped having absorbed some of that stale fuel into the dry seals.

So hopefully – we can move her outside and inside at will (well, sort of. The 12v battery is very sickly, but hopefully with a jump starter, that should work). So that will mean that we have a dry, heatable space in which we can oil some bits of wood.

In other news, Christmas was very nice – peaceful. We did get to see Kathryn’s mom and her partner which was lovely. Isolating was definitely worth it – and actually, it was quite refreshing not to have to think about COVID for a bit.

It’s the first time, I think in 5 years, that we’ve had our own tree. Of course, we didn’t realise until after we were isolating that the bulk of our Christmas decorations are still in the storage unit. It’s not like we have a ton of them anyway, but there was some angst from me because we didn’t have a robin for the top of the tree. I’ve always had a robin for the top of the tree – it’s a family tradition – so Kathryn managed to crochet one double-quick, because she’s lovely and wonderful :)

We also made some paper chains for the tree, and then borrowed some lights because our little section of stars, and the later found little section of copper LED lights was a little scant on the glowyness.

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Since I’ve not been working on the house all the time, I’ve been partaking of my hobbies some more – and am slowly gathering the bits and pieces to build a Mycroft AI to replace our google home. This has meant doing some 3D printing – which has been entertaining. I’ve also been editing some stuffs for TE, and generally footling around in the way that I (used to) do. That has been quite pleasant.

Obviously, watching a bunch of neofascists attempt to subvert the process of a democratic election and stage a coup has been ‘somewhat of an uncomfortable week’. And knowing that my passport is very nearly expired is… concerning. When I mentioned it at work there it all seemed a bit uncomfortable, but a couple of people expressed concern.¬†Which is something.

But, at the end of the day we can only be where we are.

Oh, btw. I had my first shot of COVID vaccine. It was uneventful.