The beginning and end of summer are always so busy for me because in the beginning of summer I can finally implement all of the plans made during winter, and the end of summer is a rush to get everything finished before the next winter. During the winter I goof off (haha, not really!*).
We just finished pouring a parking pad, 18′ x 24′, and even with three guys helping it was a lot of work, building forms, 9 tons of sand to spread and tamp, digging down the dirt from inside the forms, huge concrete truck, I forget how many cubic yards of concrete, spreading, screeding, using the bull float, wielding a littler float, smoothing, finishing.
We’ve been working on hand mixing and pouring a smaller patio (6.5′ x 24′) just outside of our back porch. We have one section to go on that and we’ll pour it tomorrow, on Labor Day. When we finish it, my husband will build a masonry wall around it, install our cast iron chiminea, and my goal is to get a nice grill & smoker for the patio next spring. The patio won’t be roofed but we will use large patio umbrellas.
In the spring, we roofed our back porch (~250 sq.ft.), which already had 3′ tall masonry walls around it, and our next project on it is to install windows to enclose it. We have tile to beautify the concrete floor and a nice wood stove for heat. If we can get the windows installed before winter, I can tile during the warm days of winter.
When completed, I want to be able to use a corner of our new room as a place where in the summer I can keep a crockpot of broth going, my rice beer brewing, and various and sundry other kitchen type activities that take time and space. Maybe I’ll even install cabinets and counter tops in this corner (husband permitting).
Another thing we would like to do is build a big damn metal building (30′ x 40′? Bigger?) next to our house for a shop/garage. We have been talking to a friend who builds metal buildings and he can build one for much less than a lot of big companies, so that will enable us to customize it with the remainder of our budget. We have a cool old engine hoist we want to be able to use, plus a lot of tools and machines to set up a regular shop area.
We found an old drain from a razed house very near where the rear of the building will be, so we can plumb it, and we completely wired our house ourselves, so we will probably wire that as well, I imagine. Wiring might come with the building, though. We would like to get the building up by winter so that we can finish out the inside during winter. We have a second wood stove for the shop and will probably install propane.
Then we need a tall privacy fence, but we have a lot of foliage and trees in the way of that, so it will take a lot of work. Luckily my husband has found a friend to help with a lot of this stuff, the friend’s wife is expecting, so he can really use some extra cash. I’m good with helping, but our friend actually knows how to do things. I’ll be running and fetching a lot.
We looked for another house for years, but have given up on finding one, so we are building a compound and digging in where we are. We like our neighborhood, but our house is just too small. I think the shop, back porch and patio will make our house so much more livable.
*I always think I’m not doing anything when there isn’t a huge project going on. Once we were eating with my family and they were all telling what they had been doing lately, and I was telling them how I wasn’t doing anything and felt so lazy. My husband started listing all of the things I had been doing: rice beer, bone broth, yogurt, and all my other kitchen experiments. Those are just fun, though!