Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, we got our CO!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, we got our CO!!!!!!

On Thursday November 17th the inspector came by and signed off on our final building approval. We weren't here, we were in Franklin.

We finished these little platforms when it was dark so I didn't have photos of them. We needed them for the inspection but we made them so we could remove them after getting the CO. They are actually a little dangerous and awkward. We all have tripped over them since we put them in. They will make nice bases for our firewood.

Craig and a helper came by from Willow Creek to take a look at the chimney. It was a rainy day and Craig couldn't get any farther than where he is in this photo to measure the chimney height. They returned sometime in the week and added another pipe and bracing.

On Wednesday, November 16th, Jessie came by to do the final HOT check of the lights and outlets. It was so exciting to see everything light up. Everything checked out A-OK.

Jane doing her best "Vanna" - she was pretty thrilled about the lights as well.

Jim holds his enthusiasm in... can you tell!

Jane and I hung a towel bar, robe hook and a toilet roll holder in my healing room bath.

Jim started staining the divider wall between his office space and the living area. It is looking good.

We spent a few days at the cabin at Tom and Kathy's while Jane was visiting. Luna fell in love with Jane and we thought she might end up in Jane's suitcase. 
On Saturday, the day before Jane headed home, we went into Asheville to see the Ginger Bread House competition at the Grove Park Inn. It was amazing. If you have never seen it and happen to be in the area it is worth a stop. 
On Sunday, the day Jane headed home, we put her to work one more time. She helped me mop most of the main floor.

It was quite a task. You can tell from the photo above how dirty the floor was when you compare it to the floor in the door way in the left of the photo. It was a three bucket job. Constantly rinsing the mop with fresh water to get rid of all the dirt that has been tracked in. Makes you wonder how much of that stays when tile or carpet is added. Makes you go Hummmmmmm!

Jim was busy scraping the floors in each room before Jane and I arrived with the mop and buckets. Some areas of the floor had lots of over spray from ceiling insulation and mud from drywall.

We finally gave her a break. Times up! Back to work. 
Actually, Jim, Jane and I all flaked out on the sofa at the end of the afternoon and Jane and I fell asleep. The passive solar windows are working.

Monday, November 21st Jim called me from the house to let me know the power had been turned on. Exciting! 
I missed out on the big day because I had to stay in Franklin to do a pre-record session for my internet radio program I've been preparing for.

It is so great to have Electricity. All the bulbs we are using are either LED or Florescent. Both use a lot less electricity and you can get a larger selection of color temperatures now, compared to when they first came out. The LED are the most efficient and long lasting but they do cost a lot more. You can bulbs that you can dim in both LED and Florescent and electricity savings will pay for the bulbs.

Jim also started painting the living area walls but just hasn't finished yet. Everything will get done eventually.

Yet to come...
Sundance may be here on Monday to begin the final installation steps for our solar hot water so we can heat the house and take hot showers.
The shower doors should be arriving soon. We ordered one for our shower and one for the basement bathroom. The healing room bath needs a rod and curtain - need to go shopping for that. 
Our refrigerator, range and dishwasher are due next Thursday so I won't be cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving. We will be at Tom and Kathy's this year.

Today is 11/22/11
We are spending our first night in our house tonight. We don't actually have a bed yet, but we do have that huge sofa and some excellent space heaters. It was just too tempting to resist since we finally have lights and flushing toilets - I'm a bit over the port-o-john.
(Thanks Al for the use of the heater.)

We are feeling tons of gratitude for all we have so it is very fitting that this is the week we begin to officially move in to our new home. 

A big thanks to Jane for spending her vacation with us and helping us out with all our projects. There aren't many people in the world that would do that. We love you Jane!

We can't wait to share our new home with our friends and family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Close but NO C.O.

We waited several hours for the inspectors to show. Al hung around from about 10 am until the inspector finally arrived after 2 pm. Jim and Jane were working on the stone stairway on the side of the house. And Kathy, our sister-in-law came by just before noon and stayed several hours. She broke down the remaining cardboard boxes in the basement which we will take to the recycle place. And she helped Jane finish up the rock stairway. Jim had to shift his focus from the stairway to the entryways to the house because of the inspection. As it turns out a new code is in effect that says if a door opens out then the landing can't be more than 1 1/2 inch from the bottom of the door. Codes do change frequently and it is a bit hard to keep up with every single change. Also, the inspector didn't think our chimney is tall enough. He didn't measure it he only looked at it from the ground. We still have to have Willow Creek come and check to make sure they did things correctly. That might not happen tomorrow because the weather forecast is calling for 90% chance of rain. It isn't a good idea to be on a metal roof when it is raining. We might not get that issue solved until Thursday.

Before Jim and Jane started working on this today, Jim already had 5 steps in from previous work days. 
The scrap pvc tubes on the left come in handy when you need to move really big rocks. You just pry up one end of the rock, roll one of the tubes under and then roll the rock across the tube. Just like the Egyptians use to do. 

After Kathy got done with the boxes she and Jane finished the stairs. 

They did a great job and their work received Jim's seal of approval! 
We have 15 steps now that lead from the driveway to the basement. It just so happens that its the same number of walls around the house - I think that is pretty cool. 

After the inspector left Jim started working on making platforms in front of all our doors. He started with the basement door. Jane helped out and I jumped in as well. Al headed out to get lumber and returned just after the first platform was completed. 

This is the platform for the basement door. It had to be 3 feet wide and the width of the door. 

I don't have photos of the work we did with the other 3 doors because it was already sunset when we started and we worked like crazy to get it done. Al, Jim, Jane, and I got everything done except for one small strip and attaching them to the house. Hopefully that can be accomplished before the rain arrives.

Thanks to everyone who sent us well wishes for the inspection. These small things are really minor in the whole scheme of things.

A big hug and special thanks to Kathy for her help today.
And thanks to Al as well for hanging out with us in the dark to get these projects completed.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Eleventh Hour...
We are so close to getting in the house that Jim says he can almost taste the pumpkin pie cooking in the kitchen.
Al called for our final inspection today and the inspector is due to arrive tomorrow. We also need a final Well inspection so hopefully that inspector will be here before the inspector comes to do the final.
Jim spoke with Al today and he is confident that we have accomplished everything he put on our list. We had to install Rock Wool for fire proofing insulation in the mechanical room in the basement - also known as the Control Center! Edrianna sprayed fire block around some pipes in the basement. I adjusted a gutter drain and finished up the pocket door to the bathroom in the basement. As a side note: our real estate agent, Georgia Gant, mentioned to us that when it comes to selling a home, if the basement doesn't have direct access to the main floor, even if it is finished off, you can't claim the square footage in your total living space. Since we plan on living here until we are dead - that won't be a problem for us.

It is so wonderful to have Jane back. Not many people would spend their vacation time shoveling mulch, raking dirt, vacuuming, picking up garbage, moving rocks, painting, etc...that was only the first day. 
She must love us very very much!

There is a small discrepancy between how many loads of mulch it took  to create a path from the driveway to the front porch, to cover the area in front of the utility room porch, and to complete the path coming from Turtle Rock (camper site). Jane says it took 30 loads and Jim say it was more than 60. That was what his sore back said.

The day started out really cold, but after all those loads of mulch we warmed up fast - you can tell because the porch rail looks like a laundry line.

Jane is taking a break after we finished off our rock bridge. It was an area that got pretty soggy when it rained - not any more.

I'm not putting in my guess as to how many loads of mulch were moved because I was just standing around until one arrived and then I flattened it with a rake. But, I did haul a few - here's proof that I did at least one.

Oh look, at least 2! 
Another side note...Jim must have said a dozen times "Thank God for the pitch fork." Just so you know what that means, we switched from using a shovel to a pitch fort to move the mulch. It makes all the difference.

It was quite a climb back up to the house after we loaded up. Like I've said before, when you are on our property you are either walking up hill or down. There aren't many flat places.

Remember Luna? She is the cat Tom rescued and we are sharing the cabin with her. Since we are staying in our camper so much now the days between our visits have increased. When we do see her she takes full advantage of our time. I think I might miss her!

Please wish us luck for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


More Details
Today was a very busy day. Jim got started early by moving dirt to fill in near the utility room stairway. He also moved the barbed wire so Ted could around the house easily.

 The plumbers arrived first. Craig installed our kitchen sink while Mark caulked the toilets.

Ted arrived next. Jim and Ted walked around the house and Jim explained what we needed. Ted began moving rocks and dirt, and Donny helped out where he could. We watched and took photos from inside. It was pretty cold today.

Just outside my Healing Room window, Ted added dirt where it had settled next to the house, flipped over a rock, giving us a cool place to sit outside, moved some dirt around the rocks so I can plant my herb garden and graded the entrance area.

Just outside the basement door Ted added some large boulders to keep the dirt and gravel from sliding down the hill.

At the front entry deck he placed some big rocks at the edge of the steps because, once again, the ground slopes and we needed to raise the grade level up to the steps. 

There were a lot of large rocks around the property that would have stayed right where they were if Ted hadn't moved them. We were really glad to have them around because we used them all. 
This photo is the corner of the entry deck. You can see in the left corner of the photo all the concrete blocks supporting the steps. Ted had to add a lot of rocks and dirt to reach the bottom step.

Two inspectors stopped in to check out the electrical and heating/ventilation. 
We passed the electrical - yea!
One of the inspectors was climbing around in our attic crawl space for a while. When he came out he asked me where our air handler was for our air conditioner. I told him - We don't have an air conditioner. Oops! 
I guess he just assumed we had one. 
We didn't install an air conditioning unit but we did add wiring for a wall mounted unit in case we decide we need one in the future. The wall mounted are really nice. I had one in my Healing Room in Florida. It was quiet and also could switch to heat mode. 

Steve from Deltec also came by today with Chuck from Classic Roof. They are working on new design ideas for putting metal on a round roof. They liked our copper top. 
We have been having a lot of fun showing people our house. We are pretty thrilled with how nice it is coming out.

The last event of the day was the delivery of our washer and dryer from Lowe's. 

Jim is working on an informational blog post about all our appliances. We picked all Energy Star when we could. You can't get an Energy Star dryer or range because they have heating elements. Recently, North Carolina offered a "tax free" weekend for all Energy Star appliances - WE WENT SHOPPING! Unfortunately, even though you can get an Energy Star dish washer, NC considers a dish washer a luxury item and there for it doesn't qualify. DARN!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Details, Details...

Several things happened today as we make our way to the finish line.

Jessie and Dane came back to do the last of the electrical. The camper site power box is now hooked up but we won't actually have power until after the final inspection.

Our kitchen counters arrived and were installed by Michael and Jose.
This one is made from recycled paper. It looks black in the photo but it is actually a very deep red. 
 This one is quartz. It is man made not cut from the ground like granite. But, it doesn't need to be sealed like granite and it doesn't hold bacteria. 

Igor from Mountain Air was here today as well to install all the vent covers and the thermostat for the ERV .

Ted arrived at about 5 pm with his back hoe and dump truck. He got another load of dirt from our neighbor to finish off grading. He will be back in the morning - it is a little hard to move dirt and rocks around in the dark.

Jim painted the laundry room because the washer and dryer arrive tomorrow. He also helped Dane put in a concrete pad for the power box at the camper site and he helped him install the smoke detectors for smoke and carbon monoxide (the county code changed).

Mark, our plumber will be back tomorrow to install the kitchen sink. After the final inspection and the water is turned on he will be back again to caulk the toilets and sinks and install the line for the dishwasher. 

We had a nice surprise today, our real estate agent, Georgia Gant from Keller Williams popped in for a visit. She was showing property to a client and thought he might like where we are. They also took a ride up to the top of the mountain to check out a piece of property there.

On the 27th my Mom - Penny and my step dad Bob came for a visit. It was wonderful to have them see the house. Bob took this photo of me and Mom.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Let the Sun Shine In!

Over the last several weeks Sundance Power Systems ( www.sundancepower.com ) has been installing our solar hot water & home heat system. It has been very exciting watching the process - sort of like watching a science project take form.
This is the north side of our driveway - it gets the most sun during the day and that makes it ideal for solar panels. Harry, from Sundance came out the do a more exact layout, following the placement Adam originally selected. After Harry was done, Grey and his crew did the installation.

Sundance brought lots of interesting looking things for the installation process.

This is the gas boiler. It will be the back up heating source if the sun doesn't shine.
These 2 120 gal tanks hold the heated water and excess hot water. 
During the summer, excess hot water will be "dumped" into the tubes in the basement floor but without creating an overheated basement.
This is the VersaCor Radiant Floor Distribution Panel. It distributes heated water through out our floors - giving us an evenly heated spaces on cold days.

More stuff that Sundance brought to the house for the installation. It was interesting finding out where all the stuff was used.

Grey, Jason and Larry work on digging holes for the post for the solar panel frame and the supply lines to the house.

Grey worked the auger but because of the slopes in the property they finish up by hand digging.

Grey and Larry connected the circulation lines through the foundation, right under the utility room door deck and into the mechanical room in the basement. 
One of these lines carries a water/glycol solution to the solar panels, it is heated and then returns in the other line. After it returns, it enters one of the two tanks in the mechanical room and passes through a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger transfers heat into the water in the tank (water pumped from our well). This becomes our hot water for the house (showers, laundry, my soaking tub, etc ). Somehow the water for the Radiant Floor Heating is heated as well but we aren't exactly sure how that happens. As soon as it is explained to us we will let you know.  
By the way, our well water passed inspection but we decided to add a sediment filter.

This is where the tubes will attach to the solar panels. These tubes travel about 30" below the surface of the ground. Copper tubing carries the fluid in a "closed" system from the house to the solar panels and back again. The copper tubes are insulated and then covered with 4" flexible tubing.

The VersaCor Panel is the control center for circulating the radiant floor heat. It will look very different once all the tubes are connected. Grey said we would receive a manual on how it works.

I'd explain to you what Grey is doing but I can't remember. I'm positive I asked and I'm sure he gave me a very clear and detailed explanation, he always did, no matter how many questions I asked.

The solar panel structure starts to take shape.

The two tanks are connected.

The solar panels start to go up. They sit at about a 45 -50 degree angle. The best time to catch the sun is between 10am and 2pm. (when you aren't supposed to be out side sun bathing). 

All 5 panels are installed. 
Not much is left to finish the installation.