Funeral, repointing & another nail – week three cabin update

At the age of 100-1/2, Marguerite died on September 21, 2017 and her funeral was September 27. May she rest in peace.  Marguerite was my son-in-law’s only surviving grandparent and he attended her funeral this week in western Iowa.  I continued work on the cabin’s property cleanup and began “repointing” the nearly 80-year-old stone foundation.

cabin repointing
Stone foundation before

You can learn how to do almost anything on YouTube.com, including “repointing.” According to Wikipedia, “Repointing is the process of renewing the pointing, which is the external part of mortar joints, in masonry construction.”  I watched a This Old House video and then drove to Home Depot to buy the necessary supplies.

cabin repointing
Repointing after photo, mortar still wet

Spackling and repointing are similar in my opinion.  You are filling in gaps or holes with a compound and smoothing that compound out so it blends in.  I think it turned out pretty well for my first time at repointing.  Doing the work myself saved a lot of money by not having to hire a stone mason to perform the tedious work and it was rewarding to know I could do make the stone foundation secure again.

Demolition exposes many nails and other potentially dangerous elements. Another nail made its presence known this week, this time to my son-in-law.  He was working alone on the second story demo when he stepped on a nail and it went through his boot and into the bottom of his foot.  After applying first aid, he went back to work for several more hours but he too wondered, like me last week, when was his last tetanus shot?

cabin repointing
Second story of addition demolished, 10/1/17

As Highway 34 is only open on a limited basis beginning October 2nd, we worked hard and fast to try to accomplish as much as we could this week.  We finished tearing down the second story section of the cabin addition, tarped a portion of the roof and boarded up part of the original cabin.  Work will slow now as the weather changes and the road closure restricts our access.

cabin repointing
Cabin, October 1, 2017

Much work remains but we are making progress and who could ask for a better working environment than in the Roosevelt National Forest in Glen Haven, Colorado.

Tetanus? – week two cabin update

 

tetanus
Cabin roof (before), Photo by slc

My critical demo question this week was “When did I get my last tetanus shot?” While helping my son-in-law remove the second story windows of the cabin, I slightly ripped my work pants just to the left of my knee. I walked too close to a three-inch nail protruding out of one of the window frames.  I felt some pain at the time but I didn’t think it had done any damage until later that evening.

After a much-needed shower and putting on comfortable clothes including shorts, I was eating dinner and watching the news when I noticed a deep bloody scratch to the left of my knee cap.  It hurt when I touched it and that’s when I wondered “When did I get my last tetanus shot?”

tetanus
After Demo Week 2, Photo by slc

Working under dangerous and unsanitary conditions on this cabin rehab has been interesting and a real test of my “guts to take on a fixer upper.”  We knew we would be working with mold in the drywall and insulation.  We knew there was low levels of asbestos in the floor tile. We knew we would be working around black widow spiders as we discovered two during our inspection.  We also knew we would be working with rusty nails and wet, sagging floorboards.  We didn’t know we would be working around large red ants and removing at least eight large garbage bags of animal excrement and pinecones discovered deposited in the walls and attic space.

 

tetanus
East side of cabin (before), Photo by slc
tetanus
After Week 2 Demo, Photo by slc

Despite these working conditions, we accomplished a lot this week, as you can see from the photos.

I finally remembered I was immunized with the Tdap vaccine when my granddaughter was born in 2012.  At that time I was employed as a high school teacher and my daughter wanted to protect her newborn daughter from pertussis (whooping-cough) so I was vaccinated.  Now, that same vaccine is protecting me from contracting tetanus from the rusty nails I encounter during this cabin demo/build.

When did you get your last tetanus shot?

Newest life journey – week one cabin update

Image result for quotes keys

newest life journey
Key to cabin, Photo by slc

Day #2  This key finally opened the locked well-worn cabin door and now I hold the key to my newest life journey!

Today, I pulled thistles, raked and picked up bags and bags of small tree limbs and dry tall grasses before my son-in-law arrived to help with grass trimming around the 3/4 acre property.  He also removed cabinet doors from inside the cabin.  We wanted to open up everything so we could set off a Raid Max Deep Reach Fogger before we left for the day.  Several unwanted creatures live in old, abandoned mountain cabins.  Mice and squirrels have left signs of their visits to my cabin but the most unwanted creatures right now are the black widow spiders; we found two today.

newest life journey
1945 Magazine, Photo by slc

We also found a treasure today: an August 1945 edition of the We The People of North Carolina magazine.  In it are some pretty interesting articles.  One titled “Teachers’ New Salary Schedule” describes “minimum state salary schedule adopted for payment of all teachers next year, both white and Negro.”  A teacher with a graduate degree and two years experience would receive an annual salary of $1,487 which “includ(es) the $120 war bonus.”

Other articles titled “An Overall Picture of War-Time America” and “Federal Spending Down” reflect America’s history back in 1945.  The magazine was in good condition and made for fascinating reading at the end of the day.

Day #3

newest life journey
Permit, Photo by slc

I didn’t get up to the cabin today but I did attend a gathering of Big Thompson Canyon residents to pick up a permit.  The Canyon will be closed October 2nd for winter CDOT construction projects which are necessary to repair damage sustained in the 2013 Big Thompson River flooding.  According to CDOT’s press release the permit will “allow canyon residents living within the closure boundaries access” during the “large-scale closure.”

My cabin happens to be on the other side of the road closure but I was able to get a permit so I at least have limited access through the Canyon.  I can also access the cabin at other times but by a much further route through Lyons and Estes Park.  This closure will cause us to halt most work on the cabin as contractors will charge more to deal with the closure/permit situation.

The Canyon road, Highway 34, will reopen Memorial Day weekend 2018.

Read moreNewest life journey – week one cabin update

Cabin Day #1 – My Side of the Mountain

cabin day 1
slc

You may remember I put a contract on a “fixer upper” cabin in early August.  These past few weeks I have read various library books about cabins.  Building, designing and living life in a cabin.  My favorite title was Cabin Porn, Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere by Steven Leckart, but one of the most interesting I read was Cabin Lessons, A Nail-by-Nail Tale by Spike Carlsen.

I have also contacted a credit union for a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) loan, the county building department about future building permits, a structural engineer for an Improvement Location Certificate (ILC), a stone mason to look at the condition of the stone fireplace and foundation, and an asbestos testing company which took 20 samples (one positive).  In between making these contacts, I read extensive government documents regarding fire mitigation, asbestos testing requirements and demolition guidelines.

On September 5th I closed on the HELOC loan and on September 8th I closed on the cabin property.  It was a childhood dream to live in a cabin in the mountains some day.  Ever since reading one of my favorite books My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.  That day has come.

Today, I drove about 40 minutes from my home in Loveland up to the property in Glen Haven to begin work on my “fixer upper.”  Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly what I dreamed of…

I was a little out of breath in the video from cutting and hauling tree limbs to the slash pile for almost four hours at 7400 feet above sea level.  I also didn’t have cell service to call anyone for help.  More cabin updates to come…

 

“Walk faster to help stay healthy”

walk faster
Click to Get Active 10 App

Older Adults Advised to Walk More Briskly

By Roberta Alexander, Healthline

September 6, 2017

Experts say exercise starts to decline as people surpass the age of 40, so they have some tips on how to make your daily walk more effective.

“An entire industry has grown up around walking, a skill most of us mastered by the time we celebrated our first birthday.

There are coaches, expensive shoes, and digital equipment to measure how hard your body is working, how much ground you have covered, and how far you have gone.

Meanwhile, some public health officials in England have weighed in on the subject of walking speed.

And brisk is in.

Middle-aged people are being urged to walk faster to help stay healthy.

This comes amid concerns that high levels of inactivity may be harming the health of older adults.

Exercise fades with age

Officials at Public Health England (PHE) say the amount of activity people engage in starts to tail off after the age of 40.

Just 10 minutes a day could have a major impact, they say, and reduce the risk of early death by 15 percent.

PHE officials estimate four out of every 10 people from 40 to 60 years of age do not manage a brisk 10-minute walk even once a month.

They want to reverse those statistics.

And, not surprisingly, it turns out there’s an app for that.”

Read more and get the free app today!

Precious heirlooms or just stuff?

precious heirlooms
etsy.com

Three sets of flatware (we called it silverware when I was growing up). Each was service for eight in a wooden box. My daughter inherited these beautiful sets from her paternal grandmother and great-grandmother, but she doesn’t know what to do with them.  One set is silver the other two are sterling silver; one of those is a like new set.  She asked me what she should do with all of these heirlooms.  Should she keep them in the trunk she also inherited to pass on to her children or sell them?

The following article from Tom Verde might provide some answers to those of us wanting to pass on family heirlooms to our children…

Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff, and Children Who Don’t Want It

August 18, 2017, The New York Times

“Mothers and daughters talk about all kinds of things. But there is one conversation Susan Beauregard, 49, of Hampton, Conn., is reluctant to have with her 89-year-old mother, Anita Shear: What to do — eventually — with Mrs. Shear’s beloved set of Lenox china?

Ms. Beauregard said she never uses her own fine china, which she received as a wedding gift long ago. ‘I feel obligated to take my mom’s Lenox, but it’s just going to sit in the cupboard next to my stuff,’ she said.

The only heirlooms she wants from her mother, who lives about an hour away, in the home where Ms. Beauregard was raised, are a few pictures and her mother’s wedding band and engagement ring, which she plans to pass along to her son.

So, in a quandary familiar to many adults who must soon dispose of the beloved stuff their parents would love them to inherit, Ms. Beauregard has to break it to her mother that she does not intend to keep the Hitchcock dining room set or the buffet full of matching Lenox dinnerware, saucers and gravy boats.”

Read more

“Adventure is out there”

I watched the wonderful Disney Pixar movie “UP” for the first time Saturday evening with my three grandchildren. They picked it out.  It is a touching love story about dreams and adventures.  Part way through my almost four-year-old grandson Dylan looked up at me and sweetly said, “I hope you never die Nannie.”  I hugged him and reassured him by saying, “I don’t plan to anytime soon.”

If you haven’t seen this animated movie, here is a preview of the love story that begins the adventure.  Losing a spouse is sad, but life and adventure goes on.  It is an inspirational movie.  (Note:  The book title in English reads: My Adventure Book.)

If you have seen the movie, please leave me a comment with your thoughts.

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