Saturday, May 17, 2008

Motionless morning

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A dark and quiet, almost motionless morning here on the mountain. The birds are quiet but the tom turkeys off in the field are calling in their hens and strutting with full displays of plumage and colorful mating season head colors. Karl,the wonder dog and I had a quick walk this morning because there's much to do today and little time. He was obviously bothered by an abbreviated walk when there were so many good smells from last night's animal traffic.

Gail and Alex leave for Jericho just after 7 and the potting crew will be here by 9 so I have to get clicking. Michelle will lead the crew today and I'll try to clean up some of the loose ends around here. Time is very short and Memorial Day is fast approaching. We still have one shade house to be disassembled and three to be rebuilt at the new location. Not difficult work but not something that goes quickly. Holes to auger into hard clay soil and lots of ratchet work with bolts and arm braces.

The new construction is really advancing with the encouragement Gail and I need. It seems as if not a day goes by but what there is something I have to run to the store for and just keeping ahead of Lenny and Kim is not easy. They are no-nonsense workers and when they quit their regular granite worker jobs for the day and turn into carpenters, it's best not to get in their way.

Last Sunday the rafters were all up and by Tuesday we began installing the roofing. Plywood should come with some built in levitation process because after the first sheet, each new 4 X 8 foot sheet gets heavier and heavier to lift and push upward to someone standing at the wrong angle pulling upward at a disadvantage. That's construction.

Even though we designed this building to sit on 6 X 6 pressure treated timbers, it is being built so it won't go anyplace. The roof will hold big snow loads and the walls will stand straight. I placed the windows so building occupants can get light and air and not have to deal with customers looking in to see what's going on. The interior ceiling will be high to allow for good air flow and it will all be insulated.

Probably one of the more difficult parts so far has been installing GRACE on the roof. This is the name for a rolled asphalt product originally designed for roof valleys where Vermont winters might cause ice build up and penetration of water under the flashing and shingles. In older days tar paper which was really asphalt impregnated felt paper was used but it dehydrated over time and leaked. This new product is exceptional. The nature of it's components allows every nail hole to immediately close in and the entire roof is waterproof. That's the good news.

GRACE is the name of a giant conglomerate that in the old days controlled all the vermiculite mines in America. Vermiculite was used for years as pour-in insulation which you dumped by the bag on top of the rafters above your ceiling. It was light weight and just sat there preventing heat loss. Trouble was that vermiculite was mined in the same location as asbestos and that's the story that needs no explanation. This new roof coating is the company's money maker and it's probably doing a good job helping pay off the law suits from the asbestos problems. We can't hold the absence of medical research against a company as for long years no one knew what asbestos could do to humans. But that's the past, not the current installation problem.

GRACE comes on 200 square foot rolls and sells for about $90 a roll. The product comes on a peel off waxed paper just like those strange tasting fruit roll ups you buy in the store. You unroll about 6" of the product and stick it over the side of the roof with the plan of keeping the roll parallel to the bottom of the drip edge and then moving upward, one roll width at a time. But rolling the product across the rood if not easy. One person has to roll what starts out as a very heaving, awkward roll while the other person pulls the paper covering from underneath the roll. You have to keep everything centered and once the stuff sticks, sorry folks, it's there forever. The product must be kept cool before you start and a hot day is not the type day to learn to install it because it gets even stickier in heat. Installation sites should be absent of children and women who claim not to have ever heard profanity. The flow of expletives, although not included in the warning on the box, is colorful.

As of this morning, the GRACE is on, the face sure boards have been primed, painted two coats, and have been installed along with the drip edge. Everything is ready for the shingles and roof vent. I have half the ship lap siding (above) stained with Cabot's cedar stain and we've already installed it on the end where the electrical and data/telephone entrance will be. Tuesday night we framed in the peaks and the window framing materials are all cut. Progress is good.

We are down to about 3000 plants which need to be potted. Today I hope to see us get about a third of those out of the way. We'll miss Gail's speed at the potting bench but I'm positive we'll do well if the rain holds off. Gail has hired an additional person for the summer and that should help us along. If anyone has seen our friends Harold and Leila from Cross View Daylilies in Morrisville, kindly remind them how to get to our house. They are good planters and often leave their own business to come help us.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where two turkeys are looking curious in front of the office window. I noticed a large moose had walked through a neighbor's newly seeded lawn last night. Footprints are nature's message that creatures like to know what we do.

If you have some time on your hands today, report to the Marshfield Inn and volunteer to work with the Friends of the Winooski River as they complete some riparian plantings along the Onion River in an attempt to solidify the river banks and stem erosion problems. This is a very worthwhile project and I hear that Tracy will be in the kitchen helping with treats of encouragement.

Have a nice day outside!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm

No comments: