Monday, June 18, 2012

Building our Cottage

Week 3

We are getting up earlier and earlier. One morning I caught the tail-end of the sunrise and couldn't believe it. " I never knew that was east" I told my neighbor. She just snorted and remarked that I obviously like sleeping in!

This was the week for inspection! The
men raced to finish tarring the foundation before the appointed time. Too late! The inspector arrived early! I became the designated tour guide and did my best to entertain. The inspector looked pretty serious as he strolled around the foundation. When he marched off to his truck to write 'THE Report' I hastened to intervene. 'How about a picture for my blog,' I asked. He grunted and carried right on writing his report. Sigh!

We passed! Hurray!

While the men put 'plates' on the foundations, Elaine and I prepare plates for lunch!

The next day the little bobcat comes to backfill. This means putting all the dirt back where it came from. Only we don't have enough dirt. So our friends who are also building down the street give us some of their dirt. It kind of feels like we're back in our sandbox days! Men are just big boys!

We wave goodbye to the hummingbird outside our trailer,

and return home to family grads and birthdays.

Angela, our niece.

Matt, Jenni, and Michael

Dad and Liz celebrate their birthdays.

No family party is complete without my youngest brother, Rob, kibbutzing around.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Building A Cottage

- Week 2 -

The form building continued in preparation for the concrete. It was delicate work as the footings had all been carefully leveled and couldn't be jostled. Ha! After all the painstaking labor they got major jostling when the concrete arrived.

The concrete came out of the truck and into a hopper which shot it into a hose which became very heavy as it filled with wet concrete. This then was lugged over the form walls.

Fortunately Herb's son, Chris, had arrived to help out for a few days. The extra pair of hands helped hold the hose, scrape the trowels, build the scaffolding, vibrate the air pockets out of the concrete, place the anchor bolts, and add moral support.

It was a hot day so Elaine (Herb's wife) and I were busy bringing water to all the workers. How helpful this was is questionable as it distracted one of the men--who let go of the hose which suddenly spun out of the hands of the remaining worker and sprayed wet concrete everywhere!

A greater concern was the stability
of the walls. When a wall began to bulge the men raced to brace it for fear it would break.

Although the inspector declared our forms to be 5 cm too short Harry and Herb came up with a brilliant solution--add two 'plates' made of 2x4's on top of the finished concrete wall before laying down the floors.

The next day Harry and I worked alone stripping the forms.
In spite of the multitude of nails sticking out of every piece of wood that got stripped, we evaded injury and proudly surveyed our lovely concrete foundation.

The analogy of our spiritual foundation in Jesus Christ that also required the use of nails and wood did not escape my contemplation.
Thank you, Jesus, for dying on the cross for us.

We waved goodbye to the Manning Park bear as we headed back home.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

 The Building of a Cottage
- Week 1 - 

Camping in a trailer without plumbing suited me just fine.  We had great views that I never tired of, and the cooking and cleaning was minimal.  After all, I had 3 handy dishwashers!


After 10 years of this idyllic arrangement the city brought us sewer lines and we were given the opportunity to build a cottage with real plumbing.  The process began and after several months of applying for variances and permits we got the green light.

On May 22, 2012, Lane and his bobcat arrive.                               Herb, the framer, also arrives.

                                                           Now, the work begins!

                                 The trailer gets moved to the neighbor's orchard behind us.  

Our little storage shed gets rolled from the front of our property to the back overlooking the water's edge.  I am the flagger and communicator between the bobcat at the back of the shed and the two men bracing it at the front.  I am also video-taping at the same time and cause a great deal of confusion as the bobcat can't tell if I am waving him forward or simplyflailing my arms to keep my balance.  


Once the property is cleared the hole gets dug.  It must be 6' below the level of the road.  The little bobcat manages to pull itself out of the hole with not an inch to spare on the sides.  The hole fills the 'hole' property.

Long 2x6's outline the rough shape of our cottage.  In the foreground is the garage, then the loggia (an outdoor living room), and the house proper at the far end.   Meanwhile, I am forced to live without electricity or water as everything has been shut down.  Tim Horton's feeds us supper.

The next day Herb and Harry start building the footings.  It is painstaking work and at one point I wander too closely and get recruited to hold the transit stick.  Harry checks the levels against the stick which I can't seem to hold straight, and Herb adjusts the footings accordingly.   There is a great deal of shouting, "Marilyn, hold it straight!" and "Lower!" or "Higher!"  while I begin to worry that the house will be as crooked as the man who walked a crooked mile.    But later Harry hooks up my trailer with electricity and I am happy! 

When the footings are laid and perfectly leveled, the forms arrive. 

The men start setting up the double row of oily, stinky forms.  Everybody gets real dirty and we have to go to a campground to shower in the evening. 


Our neighbors think it is very 'cute' that we have a table and chairs set up in the hole.  "Are you checking if you have enough room for the furniture?"  they joke. 

As we began this project so dear to our hearts the Lord began to speak to me through 2 Samuel 7 where David wanted to build a temple for the living God.   God's well-known response was, "Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?....I will build a house for you!"  God promised that the house he would build for David/Israel would be a 'home of their own' as well as a place of of security and rest from their enemies.  I"m claiming this promise for our little cottage;  may it be a place of rest and security where all who enter find peace and safety.