3.31.2011

The Fence: Finally Getting Started

So everything's all mapped out --> it's time to get started.

We rented an auger to dig the holes. We had 16 post holes we needed to dig and there was no way we were doing that by hand. We thought a 12" auger would do just the trick.

Enter 5'4" person trying to operate that thing. Holy lord. This is the hole Chris and I were able to dig

Another problem we encountered was that the 12" auger bit was having a hard time getting through the dirt and roots. So we went back to the rental place and rented an 8" bit as well. We figured we'd essentially drill a pilot hole with the 8" one, then come back with the 12" one.

The auger wasn't super powerful, but because I'm too damn short it was INCREDIBLY difficult for me to lift the auger in and out of the hole while it was digging. I couldn't get enough leverage and midway through the second hole we attempted to dig I thought my arms were going to fall off. And Wendy comes in at maybe 1/2" taller so even with THREE of us using it, we just had a really difficult time lifting it high enough.

Enter 5'10" dad coming home from work, "Oh hey dad, have a good day? Yeah? Well, can you come dig 14 1/2 holes with Chris? Thanks." :)

Unfortunately it was too dark to really work much. But we got a few holes dug that first day. The next morning we got up bright and early and dug dug dug away

My dad and Chris would manage the auger and I would come back around and use the shovel or hoe to move away all the dirt as they pulled the auger out from time to time. We marked on the shovel the proper depth for each hole so we didn't have to get the tape measure out each time

We encountered MANY roots (which really made digging and keeping the fence in the correct line incredibly difficult)

We were okay cutting away small roots, but we didn't want to upset any large roots and tried to move around them as best we could

Once all the holes were dug (it took about 15-40 minutes per hole, depending on how difficult the root system made it for us, and keep in mind there were 16 of them in total), it was time to start setting in the posts.

We had a pretty good system down: my dad would mix the concrete, either Chris or I would shovel in the mix, and the other would make sure things remained plumb and level. We got it down to a science by the end of the day


And we made sure to add bracing to keep things from falling out of plumb



The post level was really a godsend. Seriously. If you're building a fence, get one. Amazing. You're able to make sure everything is level and plumb without having to get out a conventional level and move it around to every side. Just rubberband it on and you're good to go

The last post was quite a conundrum. We had a very large root system to deal with so the hole got a bit ridiculous. As a result we needed a lot of concrete, so we added in some rebar to strengthen things up


There was finally visible progress!

We also primed the top, bottom and one side of the fence boards so that when they were assembled as part of the fence these faces that would be covered or sandwiched between other wood would still be primed, and thus not be as susceptible to rotting



And with that progress, it was finally time to build!

3.30.2011

Praise the Lord the Fence is FINALLY Done!

We have now worked on this damn fence at my dad's house on various weekends for, oh, the past 2 months. That's right. A project we HOPED would only take a long weekend has instead taken, well, a lot more time than that.

But we are FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY done! (Thank god) We were originally going to go out and finish it on Saturday, but I have work at the A's that afternoon, and the weather is questionable for Sunday, so with Chris having a day off today I was able to pull some switcheroos at work to head out there earlier this afternoon to get 'er done.

Because this project took so friggin' long (and was actually a pretty big undertaking considering how wood intensive this fence is), I'll be breaking up the planning, building and finishing up into a few posts.

Here goes the first one: The Plan

My parents have a very large, very underused, very strangely designed side yard

See that HUGE, beautiful oak tree? Wouldn't that be nice in your BACKyard? Instead of the mud pit of a side yard? I would think so. Especially considering there really is no reason not to include this part of the property into the back

So that was just the plan. Take the underused (and by underused I mean not used at all) side yard and incorporate it into the backyard. And really, that tree is just amazing. Another project in the pipeline (very far down the pipeline, we need some time away from this fence to heal our wounds) is to build some benches around the tree

First on the list was planning out the new fence. My dad and Wendy weren't quite sure yet about how exactly the fence would be laid out so we spent nearly the entire morning of the first day laying out where all the new posts were going to go and how the fence would run into the house. There was much debate about that.

The fence is tall and there is a lot of wood. They wanted to keep the new fence the same style as the old fence (it's what lines the rest of the property)

The original fence fell so far back that you really couldn't see it (ie, it wasn't a distraction from the house)

While my parents wanted to utilize all the space they could, I was afraid if you ran the fence into the house from so far out into the yard it would really crowd the beautiful architecture of the house and make things look too full and crowded. As stupid as it sounds (even typing it), I thought the house needed a bit of room to breathe away from the fence.

So we debated and debated and debated. And debated. And then debated some more.

With the new fence running much further out into the yard, they wanted to keep it straight the whole way and run it into the house next to the first window to the left of the front door

So it would look like this (bird's eye view)

From the beginning I was not a fan of this idea. I thought it crowded the house a lot. And because the house is much higher than the street, I thought the fence would appear a lot larger because you'd be looking up at it from the street. My idea was to make two right angles and run the fence into the house from a bit further back (another bird's eye view)

My dad was at work and so Chris and I moved on with planning out all the posts while we all waited for him to come back on his lunch hour. When he came back Wendy, my dad, Chris and I finally settled on a plan: to create those two right angles and run the fence into the house a bit further back. Yay! I was glad they picked my idea. Sure, it took away about 75 sq. ft. from potential yard space, but I thought it would really help prevent things from looking super crowded.

With that finally figured out, we could really go ahead and get everything planned (how many posts we needed, how much wood we needed, how much concrete we needed...we needed a lot of supplies).

Here we are mapping out the posts



We also worked on taking down the old fence


Then came the fun task of ripping out the old 6x6's (which is really way overkill. For a fence like this 4x4's really would have been more than adequate. They just made things more difficult and more expensive)

While Wendy was talking to a neighbor and not paying attention to what we were doing -- :) hehe -- we attached a ratchet from the post to Chris' truck and ripped out the posts. It was pretty awesome, except when we ripped the cable out of the ratchet. Whoops



Needless to say, that post didn't come out.

But once we'd lined the exterior of the fence line, marked where our new posts would go, we were ready to get started.

3.29.2011

2 Down, 2 to Go

Man these paintings are taking a long time.

A little over a month ago I finished the first of four paintings for the animal room

After I got that one done I sat on the other 3 for a couple weeks. I finally hopped to it again and got to work on the next one. Earlier this weekend things were looking like this

And this weekend I painted and painted and painted and painted and got a lot done. Last night while watching Rebel Without a Cause (my first James Dean movie. He's quite a fox) I finished it!

I love how it turned out! It's mesmerizing. And the two together are looking pretty cool

Now that I'm halfway there the finish line is in sight, which is nice because these take around 20 hours each, but the payoff is oh so sweet.

3.27.2011

Not Productive at All

Chris went down to LA this weekend to visit family. I am normally less productive while he's away :) but this time was quite exceptional. While I was "productive," I was in no way house productive.

Instead: I went out to dinner with friends, worked on my animal room paintings A LOT, did a bunch of research for my brother's company, gave my car a superdooper cleaning, made a costco run, did 4 loads of laundry, watched some movies, ran a bunch of miles, did my taxes and spent a large portion of Saturday screaming at the television at the top of my lungs

In this household we still have not forgiven Florida (nor will we ever) for beating UCLA TWICE in the last 5 years in March Madness. So I was literally yelling and jumping around the house - by myself - when Butler beat Florida.

I promise my to do list in my planner makes me look quite accomplished. Even if the house has nothing to show for it :)

3.25.2011

The Importance of The Notebook

No not the movie. I hate that movie. Don't even get me started on all the things that are wrong with it...

Anyway! The importance of the PICARDY Notebook

I write everything in here. I wrote down the mixes we tried for stains


Whenever I go look at tile, granite, laundry room storage or ANY samples I always write down what store I was at, which samples I liked and what price they were


I write out directions to obscure molding warehouses so I don't have to look them up again

We plan out rooms, fences, decks in it

And we write down materials we've used.

It really is invaluable. I write notes to myself all the time, so I have become super diligent about keeping this with me at all times

Sure most people have those fancy pants smart phones now, but I'm still a tangible person and so I want to see, feel, touch, and write on lined paper. I don't know what it is, but it's more effective for me.

So having this notebook on hand where I can refer back, prove Chris wrong about something :), or just jot down some idea about the potential materials/layout of the back patio that we won't get to for another year and a half is really nice (seriously I just thought of something a few days ago and wrote it down inside for fear of forgetting about it).

The notebook is used frequently and is much appreciated