I took advantage of the spell of nice weather we're having -- and the fact that it's Fall Break in the local schools, so there are no Scout meetings at the church this week -- and scooted over to Wilderstead Monday afternoon for a quick overnight orgy of block laying.
The Fall is getting under way in fine fashion. I found no paw-paws (doggone it), but there was a profusion of fungus growing right in the middle my drive. These three specimens were all close together. They look magnificent, but I don't know what they are. Can anyone tell me?Fungus in the roadMore fungusStill more fungus
I did get across the Pishon to check things out. No water is flowing in the creek or over the ground from the various springs. There's still a fairly deep pool above the log bridge. I get water from it to mix mortar and to clean my tools. Up till this weekend, I've also taken creek baths in it, but it looked a little murky today, and I cleaned up in the cabin before I headed home.Low Water
Both Monday and today were glorious Fall days. The temperature during the day was warm, the night chilly. I had to fire up the propane space heater this morning to knock the chill off the cabin while I ate breakfast.
Anyway, I got to the holler in time to mix a half-batch of mortar and do some more on the North end wall. This morning, I cleaned out the mud in the low spot down in the Southwest corner. While that was drying the best it could, I mixed a second half-batch of mortar and finished the North end wall run and turned the corner with a 12" block. The back wall of the undercroft, up against the hillside, will be twelves, while the other three walls will be made of eights.
After lunch, I mixed another half-batch of mortar and turned the low corner. When we poured the concrete, we couldn't get the chute down at this end, so we had to drag the concrete as best we could. The low spot is a full two inches below the level of the rest of the footer. Hence, the use of spacer blocks and lots of mortar-filled block cells to strengthen that corner.Turning the cornerLow corner
The wooden pegs in some of the cells indicate where I will eventually insert 10' rebar rods and fill those cells with concrete or cement all the way to the top. Those will also be the cells that the big ol' bolts that hold down the sill plate (2" x 8" lumber) go into. The walls will be 15 courses high -- 10'. Two feet will be below grade, and eight feet will be the height of the undercroft.
Once I get the first course laid, things should go faster. I won't need as much mortar, and I won't have to get up to check the position of every block quite as finickingly as when I'm putting these down. Also, I won't have to worry about keeping the footer clear; I can let the dirt drift back into the trench; indeed, as soon as I've got two or three courses laid, I can start backfilling the trench and getting the area around the downhill side cleaned up.
My goal is to get as much done as possible before the hard frost comes, after which more block-laying will have to wait until spring.