06 November 2009

Moving Right Along

The house construction is moving along so quickly that I can't even get current photos posted before they're obsolete!

I posted on Facebook on Oct. 30th that Dixie mentioned that she couldn't believe how calm I was about the house project. I realized it was because Wausau Homes/Dick Hieb Homes have the process down. No worries. Everything on schedule. The contractors show up on time, right after the last ones have finished their work, and they're all polite and conscientious (they are even friendly to the goats!) We had a single, small concern with one tradesperson - but that was someone we'd insisted on using, who was not part of the usual Wausau crew. We just can't say enough good things about Wausau Homes/Dick Hieb Homes of Black River Falls. If you ever build, check them out if you want a hassle-free house project.

My father was a home builder when I was young, and I remember that there were always problems with the coordination of tradespeople, theft from construction sites, and arguments between contractors (when and if they bothered to show up). I was prepared to have to micro-manage this whole process, and really was not looking forward to it. I have never been so relieved to have my expectations proven wrong. I'm sure that having this house progress on-time and on-budget has saved my marriage and my sanity.

Chef Jeff and I love that this type of "panelized" construction (not modular) is better for the environment, as is the geothermal heating/cooling we chose. We like knowing that the structure didn't get wet or moldy since it was up and roofed in about three days. My good friend Denise sent me this link to share about construction of panelized (different from modular) homes - hope you find it interesting.

To get you up-to-speed, this was the status of the new house on October 2nd:

This was October 27th; the house was up, and they were trenching for the well and the electicity:

And this was yesterday. The interior drywall is almost finished! The UPS man, who is here almost every week, said, "Hey! When did you guys start building a house?!" He was shocked to see it appear suddenly, as if by magic.

The current house is the white building on the right (sinking precariously, day by day, into the hill!)

The 2009 chicken harvest has been deemed a success by Chef Jeff. We experienced only minor losses to a great horned owl and Otter. That would be our dog, Otter - not an otter otter. Let's just say that, for a hunting dog, she does not have a very soft mouth - and apparently has hunted her own vittles in her past life on the run. I learned not to walk her, even on-leash, near the pastured poultry.

If our chickens look oddly bright and yellow to you, that is because that is what natural, pasture-raised, healthy chickens look like. The anemic, chalky chickens one sees in the grocery store are not only devoid of color, they taste as bland as puffed rice crackers. If you haven't experienced the flavor of organic, humanely-raised, free-range chicken, well... you have no idea what chicken is "supposed" to taste like.

Wish I could get Chef Jeff to let me raise a heritage breed hog, because the same is true of pork (and beef, of course). What passes for meat at the supermarket isn't worth purchasing - I'd rather eat tofu. However, seeing as we have an overabundance of guinea fowl at present (25 at last count) and Chef Jeff finds himself unable to take them off to be made into roasters, perhaps a cute pig is not such a good idea.

Most important to us, of course, is that we know that our meat animals lived happy, peaceful lives and didn't suffer - either here, or at our great butcher's shop. Many thanks, Enos Hoover! And thanks to Julie and Vince at Coon Creek Family Farm for recommending him! (Julie's goatmilk soap makes a wonderful holiday gift - she even has bars with a skein of yarn on them!)

The pumpkin crop did not fare as well as the poultry; I grew three, two of which are in this photo. I wouldn't let Chef Jeff make them into pie so he was forced to buy others from the farmer's market. I was pleased to see that though my crop was not abundant, at least my pumpkins were larger than the ones he bought.

Blogless Denise keeps asking about my mitten class at Yellow Dog Knitting yesterday. It was wonderful! Cindi taught me many things I didn't know. I'm so glad I went and got to pick her knitting brain for tips.

As usual, there were plenty of goodies to nibble on during class. It wasn't knit nite (nor was it yet 5 p.m.) so I was good and didn't ask for wine. :D

Michelle and Dianne (the friendly, fearless leader of the CraftLit tour of London, Bath & Wales in 2010!) are taking a class with Cindi for a specific Drops cardigan. It is great to have access to a local yarn shop where one can request a class for any topic! They have some free patterns on their website if you are interested...

My mittens are working up very fast in superwash Garn Studio Karisma. I love the simple pattern that Cindi wrote, and I think these are going to be very comfy and toasty. You can see here that I've made my thumb gusset. Cindi is a great teacher because she knew how to handle my Eastern European uncrossed crazy knitting style and didn't bat an eye when I needed help with the mount of an increase. She told me how to do it my way, and didn't tell me I had to learn to knit like a normal person. How great is that kind of personal attention?

My other WIPs are a Baktus in Garn Studio Fabel sock yarns, and a Multnomah (the Fall-colored yarn, the name of which I can't recall at the moment). I love small projects, especially for gifts!

This is a behind-the-scenes shot of my stylist correcting the layout of the subjects to be photographed. Emma's such a great assistant.

And here she is with the baby sister she picked out herself from the Humane Association - Miss Molly. Molly always looks small until one sees her next to Dobie Emma! My girls - love 'em to bits!

The winners in the contest for the funny Yellow Dog Knitting totes will now be announced! Drumroll, please! They are:


Linda M


Congratulations! Would you three please email your mailing addresses to me so I can send you your totes? Thanks to everyone who left a comment on that post, and to Dixie for donating the bags for the drawing.

I love to read what you have to say, so I hope you'll always comment, even when there isn't a contest going on. Have a lovely weekend!


Shell said...

Can't believe how fast the house is coming along! It looks awesome! Congrats :D

Lael said...

Kipper, our lab mix, killed a few chickens before he figured out that it wasn't a good thing. We think he was really trying to play with them, but, being quite a bit bigger than a chicken, he either munched down too hard or they died from fright! After reprimanding him a couple of times, he stopped "playing" with them. Now, our ONE chicken follows Kipper and me around the yard, helping out with chores and waiting for her treats of corn and assorted feeds.

By the way, we don't really like free range chicken - too "gamey" or something. I feel a bit guilty, but I like the store bought stuff. Of course, that does mean that I can keep my chickens - I do love their eggs - those ARE better than store bought!

Laura said...

That's so great about your house getting built quickly, environmentally soundly, and stress-free!
Good to hear.

Dawn Dutton said...

Sounds like your a busy gal! Can't wait to see your house. Sounds great! Just amazing how fast things can get done if people are doing THEIR jobs correctly....
Thanks for keeping us all posted.. I look forward to our next visit.

Linda M said...

Hi Stasia,
Congratulations on the progress on the house and on the successful chicken harvest. It is so good to sense the joy in your voice as I read along. I'm glad you are posting again and look forward to progress reports on the house and more funny dog pictures

Valerie said...

yeah...I'm with the UPS man: When did you start building a house? How did I miss that in previous posts?

Looks wonderful!

Enjay said...

Your house looks lovely, and it's going so fast! I'm glad that it's not a source of stress for you all, although I am envious of the basement. All that storage! *sigh*
Emma and Molly look adorable, Molly looks like she's going to be a big girl! :)

Denise said...

I envy your chicken harvest! Someday I will raise my own chickens - maybe turkeys, too, who knows? For now, I must settle for pasture-raised-by-others. ;)

Ran across a bar of Julie's goatsmilk soap w/ skein of yarn imprint while reorganizing sewing room. Makes great sachet! Thinking of retiring this one and ordering new ones. Thx for link!

The best teachers are willing and able to accommodate your personal knitting style. Glad you had such a teacher in Cindi and that your class was so much fun.

jessie said...

Well, it certainly doesn't pay to skip blog reading. As soon as I saw that you are putting up a house I had to go back and find out what was happening with the old one.

Congratulations! Can't wait to see the next progress.

In one of your posts (I skimmed, was it this one?) you talked of getting a pig but not having the heart. Do it! If it makes you feel any better, we are looking at our third or fourth Thanksgiving with a flock of pet heritage breed turkeys, and we will no doubt pay $3.29 a pound for "free range" fresh local turkey.

The pigs are cute, we love them, but we do eat them.

There is hope for you, too. :-)

Julie said...

The house looks beautiful! Did you send your chickens away to be butchered? Reason I ask is that my DH cannot stand the thought of any of the animals we raise to be used for meat... NOT that he is a vegetarian!

BClark said...

Just finally got back to checking in on blogs. Was reading through some of your back posts and see that you are going to burn the old house. I am wondering what type of cupbords you have in your old kitchen and what type of wood trim. I ask as we live in a 1920's era 4square and I am looking for the old glass front cupboards for the kitchen. Also while our home sat vacant it was stripped of much of it's old wood trim. Above the windows and doors was egg and dart carving. The pillars between the front room and dining room were removed, heck they even took the kitchen sink!! If you had any of that we would love to be able to remove it before the house was burned.

On another note, thank you for the hint of growing the potatoes in hay. The people I mentioned it to laughed at me, but I had the last laugh. We havested about 20 pounds of nice red potatoes. They taste so good, nice and creamy. It is such a wonder to me how well the fresh from the garden produce tastes. We are already planning a much larger garden for the Spring. Thank you for all the great information you share. Best of luck to you.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Wow! Your building team is kicking it up there! Love your house design and geo-thermal rocks. Good for you :-).

BClark said...

Hi thank you for the link I will share it. That was the one I spotted on your blog, how did your potatos come out?? I know you had a fairly large area.

I had not heard of the type of building you are doing, looks great.

Thank you again, Barbara

BClark said...

Hi, I checked my spam and did not see your e mail. I have also gone through messages and am not seeing it either. I tend to delete anything that does not look familiar trying to avoid all that nasty stuff people like to send ya.