Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!!

Here at Loon Lake, we have taken back the lake! A week ago our neighborhood gang of friends got together early morning for the annual PPP....Pier Puttin' in Party! After a filling carry-in breakfast, many pulled on their waders and set to work putting in piers and boat lifts. Helping some of the single and widow gals, as well as elderly, this is a fun day of "many hands make light work." A total of seven piers and three boat lifts were done by noon. The morning was kicked off with a "toast" with coffee mugs to Mother Nature, "We are taking back our lake!" Here you see that we are ready for summer fun. By the time the PPP had concluded and everyone returned to their own home, our neighbor and Poppy got busy pulling our boats from his storage barn and launching each as quickly as possible. We have had a couple pontoon cruises around the lake and it feels awfully good again!

In other progress, this week the contractor finished up his share of the project. Yesterday they finished siding the north end and loaded all their tools and ladders up for the final time. They got the gutters run another morning and Poppy has been busy dragging the dirt to try to prepare for planting a new lawn where it has all been torn up. He has a bit more hand raking and final grading before planting seed, but he is quite close. We are really looking forward to getting some landscaping in, as we love plantings and adding interest with color and the height trees and shrubs can provide.
With the boxes of siding used and out of the garage, things are pushed to one side and you can see he quickly pulled his lawn tractor in to his new garage. The car won't fit yet because of a big pile of drywall waiting to be installed.

Last Sunday we tore out where the opening was boarded up at demolition and put a temporary door from the kitchen into the new utility room. We can now access the new section without going outside and around. Using the old back door which is insulated, we are very happy for this added ease. Poppy has been busy getting the utility room wired and ready for use. You can see here, today he got the lighting finalized and we now can hit a switch and have light! Great job Poppy!
He has the power all wired for the dryer (220) and the washer, as well as plugs. Tomorrow he plans on getting the dryer vent finalized, then we will be just one major step away from having access for my washer and dryer again. The major step is relocating the water heater, well pump and water softener to their permanent locations in the garage. The plumbing is all ready for that, just need the muscle to move it and know-how to hook it all up. We will go ahead and set up the washer and dryer before we even insulate, drywall, or get flooring down, as we can move around them to do that. Getting back to doing laundry at home is paramount in Grandmommy's plan!

Here are few shots of the final outcome of our addition as boaters see it from the lake. We are very pleased and also eager to finish up with siding the old part so it is all the same color and the exterior is done.
However, we are very patient and this will all come together in due time. We got GG (Grandmommy's Mom) back from Florida this week so she is near and was so pleased to see our project in person. Although changes might not seem as huge and apparent, I will continue to follow our progress here in blog land as Loon Lake Lodge continues to evolve. Keep stopping back for glimpses into our spring and summer fun and work. We hope all of you will come visit real soon. In fact, hopefully in another month or so we will have rooms for you to stay in!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Update on Progress

Well, the day after my last posting, we finally got the power moved to its permanent location. On the 8th they came out to trench and drill for the underground power lines. Here you see them drilling 100' under the road to supply the back garage with power. The lines that used to run overhead across the road from pole to pole were actually illegal from the power company's viewpoint. This was how it had been when we became the owners five years ago. Poppy also wanted more circuits for the back garage, so we needed to upgrade the power supply eventually anyway. It was quite interesting watching them bore under the road.

They used an instrument that could follow the head of the drill as it bore underground and through the yard. The direction of the lines were taken right to the corner of the garage where wires can now come up to enter the garage.

This long flexible pipe was then pulled back through the drilled opening to carry the lines under the road. Now the work to actually run the lines and attach to the current garage power will be done eventually by Poppy and friends.

While they were working with trenching and boring, Jeff and Tony were busy setting the new meter base on the back of the garage. Then they dismantled
the temporary power pole.

The next day the big guns with the power company came to cut the power, put up a whole new unit on the power pole and run the conduit down to the ground. I was amazed how easy they made it look.
I would definitely not want to be up in that bucket maneuvering myself under and over hot power lines to work with this. That day I was home with no power for 12 hours. It was turned off at 7:30 am and after the guys worked hard to move the breaker box to its new permanent location and run the lines from the meter box to the breaker box, it was 7:30 pm before power was restored. That was one LONG day and I would not make it as a pioneer with no electricity. It was boring and nonproductive.

That afternoon Jeff's brother arrived to do more grading of the yard. Here he was scraping off the gravel in preparation for the cement driveway pad. Unfortunately, the ground was still quite wet, so it may take one more visit for him to get the final grade perfected.

Now, fast forward a week to today. The driveway pad was poured, as well as a small stoop outside the service door on the back side of this garage. You can see in this photo, last weekend Poppy got the new coach lights hung outside the garage. So things are shaping up quite nicely.

I imagine tomorrow they will get the back side completely done also. This will finish up the siding and we will have a finished exterior. A very welcome sight after all the waiting over these past five months.

Today the sun was out for a beautiful spring day after several dreary, rainy, cool days. It was wonderful to get outside and enjoy the beauty of spring. Here are those daffodils I caught peeking out just a month ago today. You can also see the hostas that are up almost 6" and ready to unfold and look beautiful along the front walk. Saturday our neighborhood friends will hold their annual "PPP" which stands for Pier Putting in Party! This is a tradition when we gather for an early breakfast and then men don their waders and help put in piers for many elderly couples, single gals and also share in getting each others piers in as well. This is repeated in the fall, but the PPP stands for Pier Pulling out Party. Such fun and we feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful circle of friends. The best part about the PPP, that means boats will soon be launched. This means our enjoyment of watching the loons', buffleheads' and grebes' brief spring stopovers on our lake will be replaced with evening pontoon cruises as friends enjoy cocktail hour on the lake, circling around like the parade of water fowl that preceded them.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What Have We Been Up To?

We have been suffering through one more tiny bout of winter-like weather the past several days. Why does it seem so very, very cold? If we had a day like today in mid-January, we would think it was a real reprieve. It's easy to get used to the warmer temps and sunshine. Sunday night we had heavy snow showers with a slight accumulation when we woke up on Monday morning. The wind has been nasty, but at least it helped to dry everything up, as the snow was preceded by heavy rain for one full day.

But, we continue to see progress on Loon Lake Lodge. The garage door was installed last Friday and we love what we chose. Now the contractor is just waiting on the weather to cooperate so the site can be graded and the driveway apron poured eventually.

We are also in a waiting game with the power company, who has been out to hear what we need, but is taking their sweet old time getting back. They need to relocate the electrical service to the back side of the garage so we can move the breaker box from its temporary location to the garage. The power company must relocate the electric meter and service from the temporary pole. Then once that is done, they can side the north side of the addition. Today they worked a bit on the trim along the eves, but the wind was very difficult to battle on their high ladders.

In the mean time, Poppy has been very busy inside. The plumber and he finished up all that installation yesterday. Here you see the mana block where all the pex water lines are attached. This is in the wall cavity between our master walk-in closet and the garage wall. From the garage side you see the lines plumbed out for connecting the water heater and water softener, which will sit in the garage when they are finally moved to their new locations.

Poppy found working with the pex system a great experience in contrast to copper pipes and all the sweating and soldering of connections. This is definitely the way to go.

This view is looking between the studs at the BACK side of the wall which will be behind our master bath vanity. You can see the drain piles (PVC) and the pex water lines for each of the two sinks. Red represents hot water lines and blue the cold. The white is just generic and can be either. The lines running upward supply the upstairs bathroom. Each sink, toilet and tub/shower is stubbed out with a copper connection ready for installation of each fixture. But that will all happen AFTER the drywall goes up.

Lastly, Poppy has begun to plan for all the electrical work. He has started placing electrical boxes for recepticals and we have hung several can lights. Here you see the can lights in the two bedroom closets upstairs. There is so much work to be done, but when we look back at the photos from four months ago, they were just pouring foundations. So, we have come a long way and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Another Day's Accomplishment

Here is the finished front side of the house. Now we just have to remove that tiny window under the porch behind the grill and we can side the front porch to match. That will look a lot better. But, all in due time.
Tomorrow the garage door will be installed and the plumbing should be finished up. Things are coming along so great!
Today Grandmommy had a fun day of shopping in Shipshewana, where three of us gals had a ball looking in each and every store. A great lunch and a wonderful time of fellowship with friends, who can ask for a better day? Plus, the weather held out with no rain and warmer temps than expected.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More Wonderful Progress

Before expounding on all the great progress this week, I must show you how the back of the house looks with the siding complete. Isn't it looking great?? We love the color and have had several compliments, which makes us feel wonderful. Now I know Poppy is just itching to landscape, as we are firm believers in "curb appeal" and how much value there is in a well landscaped home. But, that will be down the road a bit I am sure.

After today we have the front side almost totally sided also. By tomorrow this should be complete if the weather holds out. Our forecast is for rain off and on the next several days. Guess that is to be expected in April.

As the contractor and his assistant have been busy siding, Poppy and the plumber have been busy inside. We are probably half way complete with the plumbing of the new addition. All three toilets are ready to be set and here in the upstairs bathroom, the tub is all plumbed to drain. Next will come the water lines and installing the faucets and shower head.

I am excited, as we have made room in this upstairs bathroom to install my small washer I had in the basement while this was just our lake place. This will be reserved for all the felting I do with my knitting habit. What a guy Poppy was to agree to make room for this extra. My great Whirlpool Duet front loader washer and dryer will go in my main floor utility room off the kitchen, which I CAN'T WAIT to have back in use!

Seeing all the drain pipes and vent pipes installed made Poppy very happy, as he admitted it would have taken him three or four times longer to accomplish all this. The professionals make it all look so easy!

Today the phone company came and relocated the phone lines. Next the electric company will be out to relocate the power from the temporary power pole to the back side of the garage with the meter. Then our breaker box will be moved to its permanent spot in the garage. This must be done before they can finish up with siding all the way up on the long north side of the house. Again, hopefully the weather will provide windows of opportunity for all of these tasks.