Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend 11.27.10

We spent Thanksgiving Day @ the house, cooking, watching the parade, and preparing for a fabulous feast with our family. Here's Dad cutting the turkey & the rest of the family getting ready to dig.
3 hours later we were packed and on the road again headed to the castle for the weekend.
Friday morning turned out to be alot nicer than predicted. Forecast said low 30's & freezing rain, we got mid 30's & sunshine, so we were good to go. Andy & the kids continued on the fort while I continued to clear the land. Andy decided the metal radio towers he had up last time for the fort were not Medievil enough, so he took those down and decided to use more of the big cedars we had. No roof in first picture, raising roof in second picture.
Here Andy & Rex build the walls. these will have cedars around them too, but we have to bring home the logs and split them and then bring them back and put them on.

My Friend Patti stopped by after work and helped us with some possiblr xmas card shots. Here's a few of the kids that we are not using. It was near the end of the day, hence the sun setting in the background and we were getting cold, so it was a quick photo shoot!

Here is some of the area I have been working on clearing. First picture is Friday and second picture is Saturday! I waited until the snow and wind died down cause it was a white out Saturday morning and you wouldn't have been able to see anything.
Trees were snow covered and here is the upper pond with a pretty thick layer of ice on it snow covered too.
We dragged over the big pile of cedars that were near the castle, cut before we bought the property, over to the fort and Andy & the kids started using them to secure the fort

Saturday Night we went back to castle to do some light checks with some exterior lights Andy might use. It was a dark and cold evening.........

Sunday we helped Andy do some measuring, he was up there doing a bunch of measurements for a few hours before we got there. Here He and Rex are on the scaffolding while Ruby records the numbers on the plans.

After we cleaned up, we called it a short day and decided to take the long way home through Old Forge and do some shopping.
Here's to a Happy Holiday season! I guess I probably should have lit the little tree to make it a bit more dramatic, but again, it was cold and I was doing everything fast to get out of there!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Veterns Day Weekend 11.13.10

So we arrived to an Upper pond that stayed full and actually froze over. Might be some skating this winter. The kids informed me that it was frozen pretty good because they had walked acrossed it without falling in. I, being the good mother I am told them how dangerous that was as it was about 3-5 feet deep. they laughed and informed me it was 13-15 feet deep. Guess I should pay better attention to what the kids are doing and all those numbers Andy is always throwing around. I bet if they did fall in they wouldn't do it again, OK, they probably would, kids will be kids.

Rex was feeling alittle out of place last time we were @ the castle because he didn't feel he had the appropriate "Tupper Wear". He said he felt "like an ice cream cone in a coffee shop" when he walked into the store with his down winter coat on & all the other men had their Carharts on, so wanting to help him fit in, we got him some Carharts and now he is a Mini Me of his father!

So, back to building an Adirondack Castle. Andy decided the first day of this trip we were going to work on a fort/tree house for the kids. He, Rex, & Ruby did alot of prep work back home to save time once we were on site. Andy's thought is that the kids have been great troopers trudging up to the castle every free weekend and working their butts off, so he wanted to do something just for them and also thought it was something they could retreat to when they wanted to play a little. So they picked a spot across from the castle on a hill overlooking what will be the moat. We first had to cut a small trail from the driveway into the spot to get the lumber and prefabbed pieces in.

This is the floor base before we got the concrete pillars set and poured, but it helps you understand the location better, you can faintly see the castle roof in the background if you look close in the upper left of the picture.

Here is the work crew putting all the boards into place. You can't see it here, but they put formwork in at each corner and we mixed and poured concrete into those.

This is Rex with one of the four radio towers we found on the property. Not sure what Edward was going to do with them, but Andy is trying to re use everything we find, so these helped drive the design of the fort.

here are three of the towers in place. Rex is going to use the fourth one for an airsoft barricade somewhere on the property.

Here Rex is using the fun firework tool to smooth off the edges of the metal towers.

So, that is as far as we got on the fort. The plan is to build wooden walls with some of the piles of larger wood on the property and make a small walk around about 6 feet up on the towers. Of course there will be small holes in the walls for firing airsoft guns and bow and arrows!

While Andy & the kids worked on the fort, I continued to clear brush and clean up the area around the moat. The picture above was what I saw as I was dragging the tree limbs to the fire and it was so pretty, I stopped to take a picture.

here I am in the brush and with my favorite tool, the Cloppers! So, I think they are really called loppers, but I call them cloppers cause they are like big clippers. I realized after I did a bunch of work that you can't really tell how much I did cause I wasn't taking before pictures, so from now on, I am going to do before and after pictures so you can see the difference in the property when I get crazed cleaning it.

Happy 9 months Tosh! He loves it up here 7 he totally crashes when the day is done after all his running around.
Look at this cute Adirondack kids.

Ruby did alittle wandering and exploring with the camera, I won't show you the 200 pictures she took, some of them were pretty good, but I will spare you for now. This is a picture of a tree she claimed. she climbed about 15 feet up it, she named it, binoculars, and she made a plaque for it, so be sure to look for it if you come and visit. I'll give you a hint, it is near the fort!

The kids found the new crane to be a nice place to sit and swing in between the loads going up to the fourth floor. They haven't tried to ride all the way to the fourth floor, but I am keeping my eyes open for that one!

We mixed lots more morter and concrete! We used the concrete mixer for one bag, but then we broke it, so back to mixing by hand. It is a good upper body work out. We continued to fill in the windows on the third and fourth floors that we started last visit.

Hereis Andy doing some measuring after he just filled the concrete blocks on the left with concrete.

and here you can see the two windows from the outside that we created from what use to be floor to ceiling openings. The third floor window has all that support formwork to hold the flat formwork we laid to create an overhang where a castle detail will be made, you'll see!

Onward to cutting windows! Andy got 5 windows cut this trip, yeah, I think he finally got the knack of the concrete saw. Of course, everythime he cut a window, Rex & I had to set up and breakdown the scaffolding for him. Here is Rex checking the scaffolding before Andy gets up there to cut the window. If you look close in the picture you can see the cuts in the concrete where the window will be.
That's the end of the work pictures. The other things we did that we didn't take pictures for:
1. Andy marked out the lower pond and reviewed it with Uncle Frank who will dig it next spring
2. Rex & I followed Andy's markings for the lower pond and cut a trail around the whole thing.
3. Paul, our friend and surveyor, came up with some of his family and did some surveying. He hadn't been there since before we bought the property and he said we'd done alot, love to hear that!
I think that's it, Andy said we did good and got everything done on his list.
The 50 degree weather and sunshine defintiely helped, getting dark @ 5pm did not.
So now we rest from castle work until next weekend!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


It was a wet and cold weekend to say the least. Rain alternating with snow and temps in the high 30's, welcome to Fall in the Adirondacks! Good thing about snow and rain, a full upper pond. Here is Rex taking a look at it. That was cool!

and here is a look out of the big window in the great room. Not as pretty as that last one with the sunshine and pretty leaves.

I got the task of putting together the new shop vac. and here it is. Once together I got busy getting rid of all the water in the entry way, its nice to not have to step in an inch of water everytime you come in and out!

Meanwhile, Andy and Rex were working on the crane. We bought a small crane that is suppose to be mounted in the back of a pick up truck & we mounted it up on the fourth floor near the window so we could start using that to get bigger loads up instead of having to carry them all up those 60 spiral stairs. Here is Rex at top with crane control and Andy is down at the entrance hooking up the pallet he made to place materials on.

Here is Andy loading some concrete blocks.

So, the crane is a good idea and should have taken a few hours to get in place and working, but we ran into a few issues with regards to the motor not be stabilized at the top and the safety switch kicking on and not letting the crane move. Once Andy figured that out, we were golden, but it took a while and even then, we had to be very careful hoisting things and keeping that motor stable. Andy has a plan and brought the motor home with us and is having a friend fix it so we won't run into those problems again. This ate up a good chunk of our morning and it gets frustrating when you know you only have a limited amount of time there to work and things like this happen, but we all took it in stride and made the best of it.

Along with making the crane pallet, Andy also cut some concrete blocks that he could use to set some window boxes in place on the third and fourth floors. Yes, he even made the window boxes. See:

Once we got all the heavy supplies we needed up on the upper floors, we got to work laying some block, mixing mortar, and putting those window boxes in place. The opening on the turret where we were walking out on is now closed off and the beginning of a window. There is also the
same size window going in right above this one on the fourth floor, so we had to lay the same blocks, mortar, and place another window box there.

Mixing mortar and concrete was a good job as it gets you moving and keeps you warm.
Here is one of the windows in place. You can see we had to put up some tarps to try and keep the rain and snow off the area while we worked.

and that was it, besides cleaning up and getting everything back in order.
Thanks to Patti & Jack for visiting and helping out on Sunday. We even had a trick or treater on Sunday, the porta pottie guy! Thank goodness I had those oreos to give him cause I wouldn't want to see what his trick was!
Happy Halloween and Happy Fall