no evidence of a roof leak
Tuesday, September 9 2014
This morning while Gretchen was walking the dogs in the forest, I drove out to Herzog's in Uptown Kingston to buy a single 80 pound bag of concrete mix. Tomorrow, Gretchen and I would be leaving for the Adirondacks for five days, and I wanted the base of the new support for the north end of the greenhouse basement's floor support girder ready to work with by the time we got back, something that would only be possible if I completed it before we left. It only took me about a half hour to mix up the concrete and ladle it into the form, which was already in place. Happily, the form held despite the 60-to-80 pound weight of the concrete it was holding. And it didn't leak much through the gaps in the form even as I banged and jiggled the concrete in an effort to bring air pockets to the surface. This pour of concrete was just to make a horizontal base for the concrete that will eventually reach up to the girder. For now, though, it stops about six inches short of that goal.
After that, I went on a small cleaning jihad just so the house wouldn't be too disgusting for the people who would be coming over to check on our cats.
This afternoon I strapped a small stepladder and a larger 25-foot extension ladder to the roof of the Subaru and drove to the small house we're buying as an investment property on South Wall Street. I met a realtor at the house, took down the ladders, and proceeded to do my own inspection of both the attic and the roof (the only parts of the house I still needed to look at). Everything looked to be in great shape. There was no evidence of there ever having been a roof leak in the attic (something that cannot be said of our own house), and, though it's the same (20 year) age as the roof of our house, it looked to be in better shape. The only mystery was the nature of the greyish fibre used to insulate between the ceiling joists, so I gathered a small amount to test later back in the laboratory. Gretchen showed up soon after I'd made my preliminary exam, and she joined me for a second look at the attic, this time with a flashlight. After that, mostly all we did was consider what possibilities exist for adding a second bathroom. The house already has a nearly ideal layout given its limited size, so it will be hard to find a place for another bathroom. But perhaps one could be made out of one of the bedroom's closets, and a new closet could be made by intruding into the other bedroom, which is considerably larger.
After Gretchen and the realtor left, as I was loading my ladders onto the roof of the Subaru, a plump white woman in late middle age drove up in her Toyota, parked in front of the tiny house just to the south (a house that looks like it was subdivided from the house we're buying; it actually shares a common driveway). She looked at me apprehensively, perhaps wondering if a guy with long unkempt hair (though, unusually, I was also wearing a hat), two Pit Bulls, and a beat up old Subaru was moving in next door. As she unlocked her door, I saw that her cat (a grey tabby) was rubbing excitedly against the door jam in anticipation of her human mother's arrival.
The new girder support base setting in its wooden mold beneath the north end of the floor girder. Note the temporary support pole.
The jackhammer stored above flood level against the west wall, viewed from down in the excavation. Notice the tiny white Buddha to the left of the jackhammer.
A huge caterpillar that has been hanging around near the greenhouse basement door for well over a week. When disturbed, it twitches violently. Concerned that I might step on it, I moved it some distance away. Using the web, I quickly determined that it was a sphynx moth caterpillar and then that it was likely a Pandorus Sphynx Moth. As described in Wikipedia, it was feasting on Virginia Creeper, which I just learned is in the Grape Family (Vitaceæ).
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