Our Retro Bungalow

Our Retro Bungalow
The journal of the making of an old house into a lovely new home.

Monday, April 29, 2013

It has finally started!
But before I get to that,
here's a little look-see 
at what's gone down since I last posted.
I really am gonna try to post more
as the actual structural process goes along.
We'll just see how that goes.
I mentioned all the clearing we'd started a few posts back .
Here's an update.
And I really hope I don't repeat myself.
My apologies, if so.

We had pfitzers galore here!
This little house was surrounded by the beasts and we're certain
that they were very close to being here just as long.
The first photo doesn't do justice to the actual enormity of this stump
and its dense, gangling branches.
I am just under 5 feet 6 inches tall and I wish I could
show you that I could easily stand underneath this snarly mass.
But, alas, I am the only shutterbug around here.
Dean cut while I dragged and stacked.
The piles were gigantical!
In fact,
we figured we could have easily filled the Bungalow from top to bottom,
side to side and end to end with all the debris...
several times!
That's a heckuva lotta pfitzers.
So, we rented ourselves a chipper.

Dean began chipping on Friday evening.
He got a couple of hours worth done before he ran out of daylight.
Early the next morning, we hit it together.
We drug, loaded and chipped for TWELVE hours,
taking only one break to go buy more gasoline and grab some drive-thru burgers.

And there was the unloading of load after load after load of chips.
That was hard work!
With both of us working,
it took at least ten minutes per load to unload.
I gotta say though...
it sure smelled nice.
When the sunlight finally gave out and it just wasn't safe to keep going,
we could see that there was easily another half days worth of chipping left.
The chipper wasn't due back til Monday morning.
As tempting as it was to fire up the mechanical muncher the next day,
we couldn't bring ourselves to do that on the Sabbath.
There was talk of Dean taking half a day off on Monday, but it would cost us
another full day's rental.
Besides, his allotted days off are precious and already figured into
accommodating other major tasks in getting this project complete on time.
The next Saturday, we printed off our burn permit and

burned the rest.
It took us the better part of the day.
We'd spent a few evenings earlier in the week just loading it
 all into the truck,  hauling  it up to the burn pit and then unloading and stacking it.
We are SO GLAD that's done.
And I'm amazed at what we can accomplish together.

We took a few breaks at the burn pit.
You have to.
The heat from the fire (it was huge) will wear you out fast as you try to keep it fed.
We didn't have any arm hairs left when we were finally done.

We've actually done more clearing at the very back as well,
but I won't bore you with those details.
Besides, I don't think I took any photos.

Oh, and let me tell you a funny before I end this post...

If you know this film
(and we do cuz it's a favorite of ours)
then you know this scene.
as we finally got toward the end of clearing all those pfitzers on the North side,
we found...

this hole.
We don't know what it is, but it was full of debris.
Dean, acting as if it needed to be cleared of the debris, reached his arm down into it
and did his best impression of Gregory Peck in the scene pictured above.
And, oh my, the scream that came outta me!
And he laughed and laughed.
And then I laughed too.
And then I thanked the Lord that I am still continent.
Just sayin.
He came home from work a few days later telling me how he'd told the story of this prank to the guys and how they had laughed and laughed over lunch about it.
He was pretty proud of himself, I'd say.

And I can't forget to show you the "after" photo.

The bank of pfiters on this North side of the house was densely packed
into 150 feet in length and 30 feet in width.
We KILLED IT, man!
We've found ourselves, on a couple of occasions, just standing there
staring at the awesomeness of what we did.
We still have some big stumps to pull with the backhoe, but that's gonna have to wait a bit.
That's all for now.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

on that same Saturday that the remaining top of the Ailanthus tree was axed 
and all the fallout was cleaned up, Mr and me found ourselves 
all alone along t'wards evenin' time.

And so he asked me...

"What would you like to do tonight?"

Oh, the possibilities!

He then continued...
 Would you like to wash the car and the truck or see if we can move that chicken house?"
I know!
* He's just full of romance like that.
"Let's move that chicken house!", I replied without hesitating.
And so we did.
The 'chicken house' used to be a playhouse that, upon further investigation, I've decided was originally a...
chicken house!
And it was not only solidly planted on the ground up toward the back of our property, 
it was bermed into a bank on the East side and surrounded by overgrowth that was nearly impossible to navigate through. So, there was much cutting and clearing and 
digging all around the perimeter to be done.
And we did.
We then rigged up a lever system.
He'd get the lever (a long 2 x 6)  situated on a fulcrum 
(we used a few different objects for that), 
wedge it under the edge of a wall or corner and lift. 
Have I ever mentioned how strong this man is?
My job was to shove long planks underneath, 
all the way to the other side, which was more difficult than I'd anticipated. 
With the chicken house finally sitting up on these boards, 
we 'lassoed' it with a tow strap and carefully dragged it out with the truck. 
We had to reset the 'skids' several times as we, little by little, dragged it out of where it had been sitting for many, many years and down onto the grass.

And there ya go.
It hasn't been moved to it's final resting place just yet; we haven't had time.
Hopefully by next weekend we'll have it set where we want it and then we will 
I'm really looking forward to that.

* he really is a for real romantic

Sunday, April 7, 2013

We continue to plug along with the preliminary clearing of decades of over growth 
that surrounds The Bungalow.
It won't be much longer and we'll start digging in to the house itself.
I can't wait.
Last I posted, I reported that Taylor had come to start cutting the Ailanthus down.

Taylor was able to get two of the big branches off on the South side of the tree, but then had to go to work a shift at the hospital, so he packed up for the day. Well, if you know Mr Mossi then you know that he cannot let something go undone. It drives the man nuts. Besides, he loves a challenge and talked me into helping him. So, on Monday we tied the end of a rope onto one of the three remaining branches and then tied the other end to the hitch on the truck. I moved the truck parallel to the south fence and way behind the house til the rope was taut. While up in the tree, he cut the notch in the first of the three remaining branches with the chainsaw. 
Then all it took was a good yank with the truck 
that big ol' branch came crashing down right on top of the garage roof !
It gashed a hole about  eight inches in diameter. 
 I guess I haven't mentioned that there are power lines right next 
to this tree that are attached to the house?
 It actually ran through the tips of  the branches in some places.
That is why we were trying to pull those big branches with the truck - 
to keep them from falling into those lines attached to the house. 
The hole in the roof is not big deal since the whole garage is coming off. 
The important thing was that the power lines were not disturbed. 
I guess I also forgot to mention that we had the power company come out to 
take the lines down so when Taylor came to cut they wouldn't be an issue. 
The power company said there was NO WAY they were gonna take those lines down 
and put them BACK  because the connection was original to 1955 and they are in really bad shape. 
We were told we'd have to replace the weather-head before they'd reattach to the house. 
Well, that'll be part of the renovation and we didn't want to invest in it just yet.
Dean doesn't let much get in the way of what he wants to get done, 
so he figured he'd find a way to get that tree down; power lines or no power lines. 
You bet I was prayin' and prayin' hard.
The branch was much too heavy to move off the roof, so he just got up there to cut it up. 
He threw the cuttings down and I hauled 'em to the dumpsta.
Team work!
That's the only way we're gonna pull this whole, crazy undertaking off.
It got late, so we called it a day. 
We decided to wait til the weekend to tackle the rest of the beast.
The following Saturday Taylor wasn't able to come out to the house, so Joe and Tan came over to help. 
Using a refined version of the yank-it-with-the-truck method, 
they took the last two beastly sized branches down. 
This time the branches landed on the ground where they were supposed to 
and the power lines stayed untouched. 
These boys had a blast working together and were pretty derned proud of themselves.

Taylor heard that Team Mossi had taken most of the tree down on Saturday, 
so he came back a few days later to take the top off the trunk. 
This is all there is left of it. 
When we get a backhoe in here to start excavation for the garage, we'll pull the remaining stump.

Here's a "before" picture of the tree.