Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Closed Cell Spray Foam

This week we hired a crew to spray in closed cell spray foam. It was an expensive option, but it was a lifetime choice. It doesn't settle, compress, take on water or mold (according to research). Also, it fills in all air gaps. Today was the first day after insulation, and the upstairs was noticeably cooler. I think we will be happy we chose it.
In poplar news, the Op-367s either look like this
 or this.
The larger ones are doing great. The smaller ones are starting to succumb to the grasshopper plague. Also, because of the house building we didn't plant them all at the same time ... or the right time. Another thing that I started doing about mid-summer (should have been earlier) is spray deer repellent on them regularly. It seems to be helping.

One last tidbit. We found another little friend.
This marks the 4th species of snake we've found on our property. This is called a smooth green snake (a highly original name). It was wicked fast. Pretty cool.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Amongst other things, we have been spending a lot of time tuckpointing the joints between stones. We started out doing this by hand, which proved to be a painfully slow process. Then we tried a grout bag, which we never got the hang of. While doing an internet search, my Mom found this little gem - the quikpoint mortar gun. We were hesitant to buy it because of the expense of a tool we weren't sure would work for us. After I called the company I was convinced we should buy it. They were very courteous and seemed to sincerely want their product to work for us.

This tool has greatly increased our speed. I would highly recommend purchasing one if you have a lot of pointing to do and not a lot of skill. Here is our process.

Stones in the wall.
Errant concrete chipped out of the joints with a rock hammer.
Joints filled with mortar gun. We have been using quikrete's mason mix mixed with Gibco's MRF. You can find information about Gibco's plasticizer on the quikpoint website.
Tool the joints with hi-tech pointing tools (bent butter knives).
Voila! The unskilled mason's solution to pointing a stone wall.
 We also (finally) finished putting in windows. The last window we installed was the arched one on our south peak. In order to make the arched buck, my dad cut arches out of treated plywood and sandwiched them together. To our surprise, it actually went in quite well.