Monday, May 2, 2011

Knox Hill Project: Weekly Update

Once a tangle of weeds, honeysuckle and trees this sunny garden blooms
While all the rains have hindered some spring activities, they have causes our garden to erupt in a glorious blaze of color. Everything planted came back from last year and we should have blooming all through summer. The grass is filling in once barren patches that couldn't grow due to the honeysuckle and eunoymous  and trees everywhere that blocked the sun.

Coal piled 4 feet high and it all must come out!
We began one of the more backbreaking tasks this week at the front of the house in the basement was close to ton of coal, left in the basement whenever the old boiler system  (long gone) was when the house was converted from coal to gas. One whole corner of the front room, was piled with coal almost 4 feet high! In order to make this room usable, (believe it or not this room will eventually be a home theater space), and that means it will eventually need to be finished. Before any of that can be contemplated down the road this coal must come out. That of course meant putting on high efficiency respirators. With the song "working in a coal mine" dancing in my head we spent the better part of a day shoveling this into buckets and carrying it out., So far we have about 1/5 of it out. One of our neighbors is taking some of it and if anyone actually needs some coal let be know because we have PLENTY. Perhaps you need some to give to that naughty child this Christmas?

Of course you never know what you will come across and one of the board used to hold back the coal was a hand was cut from an old tree as the bark was sill on the other side! I wonder if it was a tree cut down long ago on the site? An interesting find and it illustrates the resourcefulness of people. While we had the outside hatch open we decided it was time to fix it ( this door eventually comes out) so we built a new  reinforced cover and installed new locks. Inside we added metal bracing and added new long keyed deadbolts in addition to the interior bar mechanisms in place. Will be glad when this phase is complete and the doorway can be removed  and filled with a solid block wall and the old stairwell backfilled.

Installation went well though it took some time to drill the sill and walls for the concrete anchors that hold 4 inch screws that installed this unit.
You may recall that last week I rebuilt a  basement  window given to us  by a neighbor and this week we installed it.  It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be to get the old one out. Hooking up the house alarm system wiring to it, took a while. Really redundant since there is motion anyway but just an extra precaution. nice to have this restored and back in place and we have a new level of safety too. The longest part of the install was drilling into the stone and the limestone sill to insert the anchors for the 4 inch screws. We used a silicone sealer caulk designed for basements in the inside and filled any gaps with expanding foam and motared this in place as well. Before install a special sill sealer barrier wa put in so the wood should be well protected from moisture.

So work continues on coal removal and dozens of more things. Later this week I will be talking about our floor selections for the house and how some adaptive reuse and creativity will save us some monies.

1 comment:

Karen Anne said...

The colors around that window are super.