Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A different look

So the last two weekends we have had social engagements that prevented us from working fully on the castle, it had to happen sooner of later, but Andy still managed to squeeze in every free minute he could there.

Here we are with Sir Edward. Andy filled his base with cement & he made a cement base on the stone pillar Edward was experimenting with along the drive. We were hoping to put the knight up onto the pillar this past weekend, but we had rain and it was too wet, so here we are posing with him near where he will eventually be placed. In the background is the new gravel parking lot that is cleared now.

This is just an angle of the castle I had never seen and thought was quite spectacular. Instead of taking the right turn in the driveway, I took a straight footpath and this is what I came upon.
This is the beginning of a pond that uncle Frank dug out. It is up along the driveway. We wanted to see how much water it collects on its own through the fall/winter/spring season.

I was walking down the spiral staircase and looked out one of the small windows and saw this angle of the front windows and thought it was cool!

Andy spent a lot of the last two weekends marking out where the new windows will be cut. Here he is looking at his drawings, measuring, and then marking the concrete.

Andy also got the 9th & 10th stairs poured
Just a few more shots of the parking area and new circular driveway in front of the castle.
Andy is thinking ahead and has such a nice, big flat area here in case people want to have weddings here and need to put up tents for receptions. He even planned the circular drive around so a limo can easily maneuver through

Big boulders everywhere, these ones are separating the driveway above from the parking area below.
Lots of planning continues in Andy's head and construction documents. He is now to the point where he is lining up sub-contractors to help with the bigger projects.
Stay tuned to see what this weekend brings

Thursday, August 12, 2010

another full weekend of work

So this past weekend we got an extra day of work in. Andy & the kids got to fly in a private plane early Friday morning with one of Andy's client's who was headed to Lake Placid. Tosh and I met them @ the airport and we were working by 11am. Uncle Frank was busy clearing the trees and boulders in what will eventually be the parking lot.

This is a sample of the gravel we may use for the driveway and parking area.

Here is Tosh looking over all the site work going on. He is sitting on the new well that was installed this past week and looking down towards the leech field. This, in the winter, will be where the Toboggan run starts and you can kind see how it will wind down and around the trees.

This is the old well pump they took out when they installed the new one.

It was a beautiful day and the sky and clouds were so cool, I decided to take some off angle pictures of the castle and here they are:

So, I think I told you in a previous blog, that after we carry those 80lbs. bags of cement up the 45 spiral stairs, we were mixing the concrete by hand with rakes and shovels. Well, Andy saw that we have a small cement mixer on the first floor and decided to see if it worked and it did. so we disassembled it and carried that up the 45 spiral stairs and now that is doing the mixing for us, here is Rex watching over it to get the perfect consistency

We get so busy running up and down the spiral stairs we often don't get to use the other staircase. When I decided to take the other way down I realized I hadn't really seen, or taken a picture, of this staircase since we opened it up. When you look at Andy's sketches, this is where the draw bridge type stairs are.

OK, you've seen the cistern before, but never this clean, cause Ruby & I cleaned up about 20-30 Big Buckets of debris from the walls and floor and carried them all outside. Remember this will eventually be the wine cellar wine.

Last week I told you how we started to mark the entire 20 acre property, well it was time to finish this weekend. Here Andy is debriefing us and showing us the shape of the property.

and the crew is ready. Ruby has the marking tape, Rex has the chainsaw, Andy has the plans, and I have the camera!

we found some of the property to be very dense. If you look hard enough you can see Andy looking directly @ us.

Here is Tosh and Rex waiting at one end of a marked area for Andy to find the other end, so we can mark everything in between.

We weren't lost, really, we had the plans and just needed to figure out if we go straight or turn to find the next survey pole.

Half way through our expedition we came up a big open area on top of some huge rocks, it was really cool and made for a nice resting spot.

Rex was marking and tagging away

and these are my artistic fern pictures, it is amazing all the different shades/colors of green you come across in the forest.

Ruby found other creative ways to use the marking tape. Cute Ruby!

I was talking to a friend who thought we were out in the middle of nowhere, so I though I should show you that we have a dirt road in from a main road. Notice the weeds are nicely trimmed along the way in, that was last weeks project!

The kids caught a ride on the trailer as we moved concrete blocks from old fire pit to new fire pit.

If you look close in this picture you can see Andy in the top floor window. He rigged up a system to lower Big Buckets of dirt down to us. These are the buckets we filled back in May when we were cleaning up the piles of sand that they were using to mix concrete. We needed to fill in the well hole and Andy was going to buy some sand and then remembered we had all those buckets right up on the fourth floor. Here is the well almost full. We had quite the system, Andy lowered them down, Rex was on 3rd floor pushing them our so they didn't get caught in the 2nd floor window, Ruby unclipped full buckets & re clipped empty buckets, and I carried full buckets over to well and dumped them in.

Later Saturday and Sunday, when Rex & Andy were pouring the second & third stair of the weekend, Ruby & I cleaned up 3-4 piles of big brush in this area.

and here is the 9th stair being completed. It is getting close, 6 more to go, Andy said it is hard to get tools in there to do what he needs to do.

and that was last weekend. We had a few visitors, expected and unexpected, but either way, it is always fun to have people stop by and see their reactions to the place. It's even more fun when they stay and help, so again, that is my open invitation to anyone who wants to help out.
We go up this weekend, just for a day, for the block party. We are going to finally meet our neighbors & have some fun in Tupper. Somehow I think Andy is going to find a way to squeeze in some work!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

We're moving now, inside & out

We got to Tupper early this week on Friday evening, so we went right to the castle and got three hours of work in. Here is the last stair Andy poured last week, looks like Edward came back and left his mark.

Ruby's new job when we get to the castle is to climb up to the fourth floor, scale the scaffolding to the roof, and unlock the tin that covers the opening to the roof. Here she is taking pride in her achievements on the roof.

Uncle Frank started the site work, here is his back hoe. It is a special one that also has a big claw on it that can move the big boulders we are encountering as we move around the site. He dug out for the new well and is working on the leach field.

The new well is under those three sticks sticking up in this picture. Andy has plans for the wedding gazebo to be in this site.

I took a walk around the property when we got there cause there was so much exciting change going on. We came across this pillar and weren't sure what it was at first, but our neighbor, Mr. Shaheen came by and told us it was Edward's first attempt as doing the stone masonary he wanted to cover the turret with. We will keep it as a mark for the exit from the parking area.

Andy calls this rock the giant's marble due to its size and roundness. Ruby and I heard "smarble" when he said that, so we call it that, which I think is appropriate cause it looks like it is smiling, not so much in this picture, but trust me, or don't and come and see it!

This is a picture looking back from where the parking area will be. Heavy equipment and a porta pottie, a true construction site!

We were @ the castle until 9pm and this was the first time I had seen it at night with the lights on, pretty amazing!

On Saturday, Andy decided we need to ensure the property lines we marked for all to see, so He, Ruby, & I took off through the woods to mark a trail. The surveyor sticks are there, but with the trees and ferns in full bloom, they are hard to see, so we found them and started marking trees with marking paint and flags.

As we marked, we also tried to cut down limbs and brush, so you can walk along the perimeter, you can kinda see the flags on the trees with the trail along side them.

This is a picture from along the perimeter, looking back at the castle. you can see better all the boulders Uncle Frank is unearthing. The property is very hilly and Andy & Uncle Frank have plans for a toboggan run on this hill in the winter months!

This is Ruby marking the trees. The process went like this. find the surveyor post, Sherie stands near it. Andy moves ahead and finds the next one and marks the trees with the marking paint, and then Ruby goes through and marks the trees with the tape. Tosh, mean while is running all over the place.

A cool tree we came across.
Ruby & I had to leave in the afternoon to attend a family wedding and we left Andy and my Dad, Roger, at the castle. As such, I have no pictures, but I hear they worked on laying a new stair, had a meeting with the building inspector, met a neighbor and got invited to a party, and had a meeting with Uncle Frank on more of the site work.

Day two of marking, Ruby decides to break out the crown with her tool belt

Here is a beautiful apple tree on the property as you drive down the driveway

Andy built this wall divider, and he, Roger, & I got it into place. to the left of the divider will be the utility room and to the right will be a lower level powder room. As contractors are coming in to work on well, water, electrical, we wanted to have the clear deliniation for them.

This is the formwork Andy has to put together everytime we pour a stair. This is what you see as you are walking up the current stairs to get to the fourth floor.

and here we are on the fourth floor with two more stairs poured, that is 6 done and 9 to go!
Busy weekend, lots of visitors, some new helpers, and stuff going on inside and out! It is really moving along. Thanks for all who came to offer their encouragement, support, and help. Hopefully we'll see you back soon and maybe some new faces this weekend!