For The Record by Chef JeM .....
Work I Did To Save A House Foundation.
Date: 8/8/2014 4:56:12 AM ( 7 y ago)
My 2012 Report -
Dated: 5 Jan 2013
On Sunday, October 14th I had J over to confer with me about how I may proceed with filling in the (clay) pit that I had dug out by hand over four years ago in order to find the end of a drain pipe that needed to be cleared (so that we wouldn't have standing water in the basement). I did succeed in that excavation project, as far as accessing the drain-pipe and then clearing it out, which resulted in the standing waters draining much more freely out of the basement! The next part was to fill that pit in a way that would also protect the foundation from ground water seeping in. That project was going to require assistance from J plus materials under his direction which would require funds for which we did not have a budget for at that time. So the project, unfortunately, was left incomplete.
On September 28th of 2012 we had a full moon that I noted having a theme of "completing unfinished business". It was also in the week of my birthday which I count as the beginning of my new year. Also my destiny card themes for my new year requires me to have greater focus.
As of this particular full moon I was gifted with the determination to finish the project that I had started with the pit (which is actually part of a larger foundation repair project that was outlined over four years ago). Within a couple of days I began calling J to have him come over and ascertain the pit and how we should proceed.
J came here on Sunday, October 14th and looked things over for two and a half hours. He suggested that the pit should be addressed after the front of the house is repaired. The reason why is because the drainage from the front of the house follows gravity from high to low and the ground level there is higher than at the pit. Therefor, the front drainage would need to be set in place first and then we could take care of the pit (which virtually boarders the pond).
We also did not know whether or not the front drainage might possibly have to go into the pit itself (and we wouldn't know that until we could discover what the whole pathway would be from the front of the house which required a major clearing and excavation process on my part over the course of most of the last two months). I agreed with Jason that we should start at the front of the house. I began the clearing, etc, as of a couple days later and after I had emailed the house manager on the 14th.
The project essentially includes repairing the foundation, setting a drain and hanging rain gutters across the front of the house. The house had already purchased the rain gutters about ten years ago. The drain that was proposed four years ago was a "French Drain". Since then another drain system was developed (called a "J Drain") that is more efficient, easier to install and less expensive. It was a "no-brainer" for me and so I agreed with J. I decided that I am the one who is living here who is ready, willing and able to do the work. It also should be noted that I have had a very long history of back issues, however with my new determination to finish the unfinished business here my back has been feeling better than ever! Isn't that something?!
For all these reasons and more I was more convinced than I have been (about most anything else here) that this work needed to be done and that I was the one to do it and that it needed to be started as soon as I did as the rain season was approaching! So I proceeded with a conviction and a trust that others would follow my lead. I readily took-on the leadership for the repairs (all of which had already been identified years earlier but which came to a standstill). I was determined to move ahead on this without any excuses as to why it should be delayed any longer! Also "leadership" here is something that was asked for in the preceding years. I answered "the call" and I did it the best way I knew at that time in October.
Now, the end of December, the project has proceeded at a "snail's pace" (since I am the one who is doing virtually all the work over the long haul of this project, over the last nine and a half weeks). I was feeling an urgency that the project be finished before the rains came. Then some funds came and J was able to get the drain and we set it across the front of the house. (It comes by the roll and there was enough footage on the roll to also lay down a couple more sections on the sides of the house.) Then some rain came and that became the first test. The good news is that we had less water coming into the basement just with that drain even before we did the foundation repairs! That was very encouraging for me and that allowed me to begin to relax some of my urgency about the time limits for completing this project. However, every time that it rains now that cuts out at least a day's work on the outside of the house.
Then on Wednesday the 12th I had M come over to prune the bougainvillaea as it was blocking access to where we need to hang the rain gutters. (I am sorry that the pruning appears to have been something of a shock for some. This is a vine that will readily grow back. I intend to feed it newly harvested compost just as soon as the drain is finally set there.) [April 27, 2015 I did add compost and began watering the vine which later began blossoming.] The pruning revealed a rotting rafter overhanging the picture window which adds another repair project to all of this. I consulted with J about how to repair that. It would take a
day or two to do the repairs because it would require something like a hair dryer set up under a "tent" at the rafter to dry it out. Then today, while I was working in front, it suddenly came to me that all the rotten wood could be cut off and even dug out (as the rot goes into the house) then sealed and finally a replacement rafter section could be mounted onto the house in a way that self-supports the new section. I need to confer with J about this and if he agrees then I believe it would save us (me) at least a day's work. Then there is the picture window itself that has a few feet of rotten wood and that will have to be dealt with as well.
How long will this process be going on for? I don't know. Weather is probably the number one major factor, not only to be able to work outside but also to have a number of days of continued good weather so that certain adhesives can dry and set well over the course of a couple days or longer.
Another factor involved in this particular picture is that I want to be sure everyone here understands. I need some hands-on help doing this work. Some of the work can be "hard" but not all of it. I am getting a utility cart tomorrow so that when anything heavy needs to be moved it can be put on the cart. Some of the work includes vacuuming the cracks, gaps,etc. When the weather looks all-sunny for a couple days then there is painting to be done. After that the rain gutters can be hung (probably by J and me).
Another help would be to have the area I am working on swept up after I finish the dirty work. (There are other things that I can't think of at the moment.) However, I don't really expect anyone here to do any of the work that I am doing outside. Another option (that I could be supported in this project) is by having others take over house cleaning chores so that I do not even have to think about house cleaning while I am working on this outside project. Besides, I am feeling burdened with all the overtime hours that I have accumulated to date and I really don't want to have to carry the extra accumulation into the new year. I'd very much like to see the house chores picked up by others here over the course of the next 30 days. I'd like to have the rest of the household work that out without me so that it truly re-leaves me of all of that.
K and I have started to re-work the main open compost pile that I had built over a year ago before the "medicine wheel" area in the back garden. I am so encouraged by working together with another housemate! It is a major attraction for why I returned here in '08. The more hands-on work that I can do with others here the better! It is my prime way for community-building (given what I have to work with here at this time).
I am looking forward to completing the outside repair project so that I can work in the garden which is one of my greatest joys. I can't tell you just how wonderful it is for me to spread the
compost that I have built over the years around the trees! Doing that makes a wonderful completion of a rather long cycle that is uniquely fulfilling for me! If the reason we are here is about "training people in sustainability and growing their own food" then growing compost needs to be included in that training and not just in theory but in hands-on practice! I'd also like to be relieved of my composting chores while I am focused on the repairs. This could be an opportunity for everyone to at least have some experience working the system that I have developed over the last few years here. Otherwise who will teach the "growing compost" part of the "training"?
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