May 19 through June 11, 2006
Foundation Building
This is a compilation of updates from Alaska as we worked.

I have arrived with Brent Work (a friend from Lake City Community Church).
Day 1
Insert 1 Home Here

Getting Started

Our Feathered Visitor (ok I admit it is almost impossible to see the mallard in these pictures)

Finally Back to Two Wheels

Our Stack of Foam

Day 3
Conspicuously missing is day 2. I have been quite sick and after getting back from church I spent more than 24hrs trying to rest up and fight off a nasty stomach flu. Eventually I made it out of the studio building. The prospect of playing with new toys couldn't be held back by nausea.

Brent having some fun with the Mustang. He is a great encourager.

Day 4
This was my last slow day. Brent got the stairway built (square and solid).

Day 5
This was a day of purchases and assembly. Here we have the Liberty model of Mosquito Magnet's fine line of mosquito vacuums. It attracts them with CO2 and Octenol and then sucks them up. Hopefully this will keep us from becoming involuntary blood donors.

Day 6
Rob made it in last night. The action is picking up quickly, here Brent and Rob go through the plans at the begining of the day.

With plans made and more dirtwork under way, the next thing we need is rebar and lumber for forms.

Getting the batter boards up.

Getting the lines squared up and level (once we got to a 1/16 of an inch match for the 56ft 2 inch diagonals we called it good)

Odd that after at least 6 days of > 70 degree weather, when we get the clearing for the garage area, ice is down only a few inches. The area on the right is the new garage clearing. It will need to thaw before we can level it out to the rest of the grade.

Great News
At the end of the day, Kristan and I found out that our Lakewood home sale is final and that the proceeds are available! Praise our bountiful Provider!
Day 7
A lot got done. This is where we started today

This is how we finished up

The footer forms are nearly complete. Here is a detail shot of the pink foam isolating the concrete from the cold and the ice outside.

Just a taste of some of the scenery nearby.

Here is a better picture of the ducks in our pond, occasionally distracting us.

Day 8
A lot got done. The morning was a lot of rebar cutting, bending and tying after installing the rail to create the shelf for the slab to rest on.

Only one company in town was willing to make time for our last minute call on a Saturday before the three day weekend. Their availability saved us days.

Lots and lots of trowel work

Karl installing the rebar that will hold the walls to the footers.

A job well done!

I am still not sure if it was a death wish or just extra adrenaline but Brent and I went bush whacking through more than 3 miles of swamp to visit Zero Lake, all after 12 hours of un-interupted instense physical labor. Work hard, play harder!

Day 9
This was a relaxing Sunday. In the evening Brent and I went for a motorcycle ride out to Deshka Landing on the Susitna River.

Day 10
Back to work. After removing the forms from the inside of the footers, we are now filling the space between the footers to prepare for the slab on top. Lots of waste plumbing work.

Day 11
With a few finishing touches to the plumbing first thing in the morning we are on to grading the fill under the slab and compacting it.

The underslab insulation takes some extra work where the slab is extra thick to support the load bearing walls. Plenty of spray foam around the joints.

The foam is in across the basement slab and ready for us to tie in the rebar and start radiant work.

We got the very discouraging news that our supplier for the styrofoam/concrete wall forms doesn't know when he can deliver the forms that were paid for weeks ago. At this point our schedule is uncertain.
Day 12
Today turned to a rainy mess pretty early on. Really this was the first colder weather since we have arrived. We got a little bit of rebar tying done before the rain. Rob will be gone to see his daughter before she is deployed. Before he left we wanted to move the 8x16 cabin that Kristan and I will be using as temporary living space. First we needed to move a 56' x 10' ATCO building that will be used to host the summer work crews in order to clear a path for our cabin.

Then it came time to move our cabin. Our cabin has a sturdy skid frame so that the loader could drag it without lifting it onto a trailer.

We put up some tool racks and figured out how to hang the kayak from the ceiling in our semi-trailer. There is much more space opening up in the semi-trailer.

Day 13
This morning we situated the cabin, up on blocks, leveled out and positioned ideally.

In the afternoon we got back to the foundation and finished tying off the rebar and suspending the additional rebar in the thick portions under the load bearing walls.

Day 14
Much of the day was spent running errands in town. Brent wired power to the cabin and together we leveled out the surrounding area and planted grass seed. We will see if the weather cooperates to grow some grass to control the mud and dust.

Day 15
Another day of errands and cabin improvements. Today was garbage and laundry day. Much needed and much delayed(speaking of course of my own clothes, that is).

Day 16
We started the day by riding the motorcycles to church and then barbequing our lunch. In the afternoon we did a little more work on the cabin and then got started on placing the radiant heat tubes that will be part of the basement slab.

Day 17
Today we finished up the radiant heat hose installation. We are trained professionals, DO NOT try this at home kids!

Where the hoses gather to come out of the slab and go to the distribution manifold at the boiler in the garage, we applied pipe insulation to keep from creating a hot spot. After all the hose was in place the Mr Snuffulufugus was installed to protect the leader hose from UV exposure.

After work was done, we made another run to our closest hardware store on the motorcycles and followed that errand up with a quick visit to the Wasilla Municipal airport.

Day 18
Lots of progress today. The slab is in.

We started by filling the troughs under the load bearing walls. Then started the main section of the slab that we leveled out with a spin screed(not pictured as all three of us were very busy at that point).

The screed ran along some bars that had to be removed and the disturbance had to be filled and tamped before the lengthy float work where Rob perfected the finish. After initial setup, the regular watering began, in order to prevent cracking from rapid drying.

Day 19
We had a false start of hope that we might be able to start on the basement walls with another form source but eventually the day boiled down to another supply run and some organizational work around the sites. Here we are unloading the supplies, basement windows (nice to think that this house will be more than just a lot of concrete).

Here Brent is practicing the fine art of home making as he adds the finer details and finishing touches to one of the 56' x 10' ATCO buildings to make for the most exquisite accommodations for the July work crews. He just can't hold back his nesting instict.

Day 20
Today included a variety of differrent activities. With so much to do here the work never gets boring or monotonous. Brent woke up driven to complete his domestic responsibilities of clearing the bird washing basins out of the two ATCO buildings (these buildings were used as part of the Exxon Valdez oil spill clean up). With the process down to a science, it took less than 2 hrs to demolish each bird bath. Unfortunately during the demolition/cleanup process we discovered major water damage to the roof structure.

Not to be confused with the previously posed picture(Day 17), here Brent is actually tangled up in the radiant hose he installed with Rob for the studio well. After the well job was finished, Rob continued his work to create a drive-thru road(like a miniature RV park) in the woods where the ATCOs and guest RVs will be parked.

After another afternoon of shopping (this time for well supplies for our own home) we were invited to enjoy a meal and an evening at the Hornings. The Hornings are the only VFCM family currently stationed at the KAGV facility, between running the station single handedly and raising 4 kids, their hands are full. Tonight was their son Ryan's birthday. Gift opening was done properly with paper everywhere and the immediate chaos of all the new toys operating simultaneously. Ryan's sister and younger brother enjoyed window "washing" with their brother's new squirt guns.

Day 21
As this trip draws to a close it wouldn't be honest if I were to hide my disappointment. Between the poor performance of our form supplier and other interruptions, the slab is the only part of the home that will be completed in these three weeks. There has been a wildfire in Nenana that is threatening the transmitting facilities as well as staff homes. Rob is needed there to run heavy equipment to fight the blaze. Please pray for safety and protection for our mission family there. You might want to visit the website of a volunteer announcer in Nenana for updates on the status there. Somehow this is all part of God's plan, it is difficult to understand what that plan is and it is also somewhat frightening to see the money spent but not see much progress.

As this was another day without forms, work continued on the RV park loop and well projects. The well project got into full swing after some 5 hours of running from store to store to try to find a replacement for a part that was mis-measured by the folks at Lowes. Here I am wiring the generator to the submersible pump (a gift from surplus on my parents farm, it has been out of service for over 15yrs so the moment of truth was exciting) After a quick check in a garbage can filled with water it was time to lower the pump into the well.

As the pump started pumping down the water in the well casing things looked hopeful, there were a few particulates but it would be reasonable to expect that to clear up after some initial surge pumping. However once the casing was pumped dry we discovered that the well is basically dry. Here you can see the ~1 gal of clay silt water that can be pumped out(to dry) after a minutes rest. It looks like some more significant expenses will be required to get good water to this home.

Day 22
This will be the last update for this trip. We head back tommorow afternoon. With still no word from our foam form supplier, Brent and I just looked around us for things to do. There was no shortage. The work on the RV loop and the demolition work in the ATCO buildings created opportunities to clean up the area around the studio and haul the debris to the burn pile. During transit I decided to try my hand at demolishing some potholes, I'm still learning but things got better not worse.

Today the water out of the well was much cleaner, although the volume still remained very weak. With a few fitings and a valve cracked open to prevent excessive pressure I was able to hook up a garden hose run. We may still be able to have some grass (to control the mud and the dust) if the sprinklers work out.