Thursday, August 30, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 29

Because the logs are round and will settle around six inches the kitchen cabinets couldn’t be nailed directly to them. The installers first put up boards which were attached to the logs with sliding bolts and then the cabinets were nailed to these boards. That way the logs could shrink without buckling the cabinets.

I had a list of 13 things I wanted in my kitchen like varying cabinet heights, a couple of glass doors, lattice doors under the sink, deep drawers, a coffee garage, a bead board back splash, a counter depth refrigerator with cabinet doors, uba tuba granite, and most importantly, an Elmira stove. We took our plans to three kitchen designers who drew up sketches and priced out standard, stock, and custom cabinets. Amazingly the lowest bid came from the custom cabinets by North Country Cabinets. Scroll down their page and you’ll see that our finished kitchen made it onto their website.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 28

We did a lot of research on flooring when we decided to go with in-floor radiant heating. Tile conducts the heat better than wood, but wood is aesthetically warmer. We tiled the bathrooms, laundry room and sunroom, but everywhere else is wood. (I’ll never have carpet again – this is so much cleaner and easier to care for.) We chose hickory as a nice contrast to all the pine walls and ceiling. Because of the in-floor heating, nailing the planks down would be catastrophic, hence we went with a floating floor. A special material was laid first and then the planks were fitted together. There are no squeaks, but in a few places there’s a little bounciness. We call that character.
Unfortunately we had a problem the following summer when the humidity caused the floor to buckle up about 8 inches high right about where you see the top guy in the picture. The flooring people returned and cut the edges back under the windows to refit the planks. This left more space for expansion and contraction and we haven’t had a problem since. The gaps they left are hidden by the overhang of the first course of logs. They had simply installed the floor too tightly the first time. Live and learn.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 27

Since it was a bit too cold to bathe on the front porch the plumber got right to work on attaching the feet to our clawfoot tub and moving it into the master bathroom. Why didn’t we get an old fashioned cast iron tub? Well, because a cast iron tub is far heavier than this fiberglass beauty and more expensive. I’m glad we got the largest size as this is deeper than any tub I’ve ever been in before. With all its advantages I do have one tiny complaint: it doesn’t hold the heat like I’d hoped. I duct taped some bubble wrap to the underside (no one can see it) and that helped.
As you can see from the picture we put up a Christmas wreath after Thanksgiving and hoped we’d be moved in before the holidays. It would be a pretty tight time crunch considering that the logs were delivered mid-June and most log home projects take one to two years. Acting as our own general contractors and expecting to get it done in 6 months was very ambitious. Did we make the goal? I’ll tell you later.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 26

By the time the snow started falling the windows were in and the heat was on. We went through a lot of propane that first winter as our heat escaped through a hundred little holes that would later disappear with the tightening of the logs and the eventual caulking. We learned that if a mouse dies in the tiny crevice between logs it only stinks for about three weeks. We trapped quite a few the first year, but now we’re buttoned up tight as any other house.

Okay, so occasionally we get a bat or two, but all we do is open a window or door and they fly right out.

Oh, and that flying squirrel that suddenly appeared on the sofa to watch Sunday night TV with us . . . well, that was pretty entertaining. Did you know that they’re about the size of a chipmunk, have really black eyes, can climb up your rock fireplace, and will get swatted to the floor if they try to glide through a ceiling fan that’s running? True. They’re also pretty easy to catch because flipping on every light in your house blinds them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are You a Fool?

Psalm 14 must be pretty important since it is repeated almost word for word in Psalm 53. Both start with “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Is that you? Or someone you know? Let’s look at just the first three verses. They are quoted in the New Testament in Romans 3: 10 – 12 where they are used to emphasize that we are all sinners; sin is universal.

The fool says in his heart “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

The Hebrew word that is here translated as “fool” denotes one who is morally deficient or morally perverse. These 3 short verses touch on his heart, his mind and his will: the fool’s deeds are corrupt; he doesn’t understand or even look for God. He has turned aside. Is that me? You? Someone we know?

The Psalm continues with several clues as to the differences between “evildoers” and the “righteous”. Evildoers never learn, do not call on the LORD, and are overwhelmed with dread or fear. They frustrate the plans of the poor (the humble/the needy/the afflicted) . . . BUT . . . God is their refuge. God is present in the company of the righteous.

How can I be righteous? I am made righteous through belief on the Lord Jesus Christ whose Hebrew name, Yeshua, is clearly revealed in the last verse of Psalm 14: Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

What? You didn’t see it? Well, you would have heard it if you understood Hebrew. The word for salvation in Hebrew sounds exactly like Yeshua. This last verse gives a prophecy of rescue, restoration, and rejoicing and affirms Yeshua as our salvation.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 25

Acting as our own general contractors was a piece of cake for us. After all, as teachers who handled 150 students a day each, coordinating 29 sub-contractors was easy and pleasantly satisfying. If a student was late to class, missed an assignment, needed a reminder or a phone call home we were on top of it. We used the same hovering attention in regards to the tradesmen whom we scheduled in overlapping succession. Many log homes require a year or a year and a half to complete after the logs are erected, but we did it in six months. My number one piece of advice to others who want to build is to be on site daily. If there are ten ways to do something and you’d be happy with nine of them, trust me, if you’re not there on the day the sub-contractor has to make a decision, he will pick the one way you didn’t want.

In this picture you see the tile guy grouting the 14 inch slate-like tiles in the sunroom. The choices are seemingly endless, but the hardest part is deciding on a grout color. With different choices of tile and grout for the sunroom, bathrooms, and laundry room, we watched closely to make sure there were no mix-ups.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 24

The stone masons cleaned up after themselves. Hurray. The fireplace measures 7 ½ feet across, comes out about 3 feet from the log wall plus another foot and a half for the raised hearth, and soars to about 25 feet.

You can see that we left about 8 inches of space between the top rocks and the ceiling to allow for the settling of the house. After a few years that space has disappeared.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 23

The construction crew built a frame around the fireplace insert and smoke stack to accommodate the heavy field stones that my husband and I had collected from our property. From our huge pile outside (about 13 tons of stones, we were told) the masons hand selected appropriately sized rocks, wheel barreled them into the house, and laid them out on the plywood boards that protected the gypcrete.

The master mason selected whichever rock he estimated to be the best choice and either fit it in or had the apprentice cut it down, split it in half, or scrape off a sharp edge. They worked hard for about 5 weeks. It was very time consuming and they couldn’t do more than about a foot and a half in height each day so the mortar could harden. They used 90 bags of mortar in all!

We found a gorgeous cedar mantel that they set in place. We also had them mortar in a hook high enough for a large Christmas wreath to hang from, but invisible the rest of the year. Pictures don’t do this fireplace justice. Sometimes the rocks look like fake cultured stone in photos, but trust me, these are real.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 22

How do you heat a log home efficiently and quietly? Answer: with in-floor heating. Sure, you can have ductwork and forced air heating . . . and blow dust around your house and never be as comfortable as you would be with in-floor, steady, radiant heat. We love it!

We knew we’d never afford to get the gas company to lay a line up our half-mile driveway, not to mention that there weren’t any lines on our road anyway. It was going to have to be propane. We experienced the warm feet joy standing on an exhibit at a log home expo. We did some research and made the best decision ever to go with radiant floor heating. My husband helped the professionals lay the tubing throughout the first floor. A second crew of guys covered the floor with gypcrete (Gypsum concrete) as you can see in the picture. We also put the system in the basement, but not the second floor. The second floor is comfortable and warm on its own because of the open concept of the house design. We expected to add electric heaters to the upstairs bedroom, but it hasn’t been necessary.

There are specific zones so we can keep different areas of the basement and the first floor at certain temperatures. Cooler in the bedroom, for example. We set the thermostats when we turn the heat on around the end of autumn and that’s it until spring. I used to get cold in my former home even with the temperature set at 72. Now I’m happy at 67 degrees because the radiant heat is constant and my feet are always warm. Another benefit is that because of the gypcrete the floors are sturdier, without squeaks, and there is a natural sound-proofing.

It takes a few hours, though, for the system to catch up if there’s a sudden cold front and a winter storm drops the outside air 20 or 30 degrees. That’s when we throw some logs in the fireplace. We bought a Fuego fireplace insert that you can see in the picture. That thing throws out the heat like you wouldn’t believe. Temps go up to 1400 degrees or higher in that firebox. More on the fireplace in the next two posts.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

5 Reasons Why Jesus Said He Was The Living Bread

In John 6 Jesus tells his followers 3 times that he is the “living bread sent from heaven” and, to their disgust and revulsion, tells them that they have to “eat” his flesh and “drink” his blood in order to live forever. How does this make sense?

Try this experiment. Put a loaf of bread on the table. Don’t eat it.

1) What good does that loaf do for you if it just sits there?
2) What good does it do your body if you just look at it or touch it or smell it?
3) How can it nourish you if all you do is read the ingredients list on the package?
4) What sustenance do you get from the bread if you do nothing more than talk about how good it is?
5) Does knowing the baker make a difference if you don’t eat the bread?

Your physical body can never be nourished by the bread if you don’t eat it, i.e., take it into your body. Your spirit needs to “take in” Jesus, the living bread. This was such a hard concept to get that after Jesus said this many of his followers fell away.

1) Knowing about him is not enough.
2) Talking about him is not enough.
3) Going to church is not enough.
4) Reading the Bible is not enough.
5) Knowing all about God is not enough.

Take him in.

Now, eat the bread you put on the table. Do you see the parallel?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 21

Finally it looked like a house. Anybody else would put in a yard, but the trampled and scraped area around the structure will be reclaimed by the lush green ferns and wildflowers.

In the first picture you can see the carport on the left. We already have the guest house with a three car garage, so I designed the one-car carport to do double duty as a covered dining porch or as an easy rainproof drop-off area for groceries (and wife)  As it has worked out we LOVE the carport and my car rarely joins the second car in the garage.

The back view in the second picture shows the slope – reason enough for a full walk-out basement of 2300 square feet. Plenty of storage! We finished off about 2/3 of it with a bedroom, living room, kitchenette, and bathroom. Another large room was claimed by my husband’s childhood train collection and still there’s a Christmas storage room, a utility room, and a catch-all area the size of my great room.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Special Instructions for 12 Disciples

Mark 6: 8 – 11 Jesus’ instructions to the disciples he sent out:

1) Take nothing except a staff, a walking stick. What does a staff symbolize? The staff is an ecclesiastical ornament which is conferred on bishops at their consecration and is the symbol of authority and jurisdiction. It represents the staff of the 'Good Shepherd' who watches over his flock. More practically, the staff was a convenient walking aid as the disciples hiked from village to village. It was also a weapon against wild animals.

2) Sandals, no extra coat. Why not? They would seem more like the common folk they were visiting. At this point we should see a sense of urgency – just go.

3) Stay put at the first hospitable place. Don’t seek out better accommodations.

4) If you’re unwelcome shake the dust off your feet when you leave. What does this signify? The Jews often did this when they were returning from a journey to a pagan land. Before they crossed back into Israel, they would shake the dust off their clothes and off their shoes. It represented a total disassociation from the pagans and the pollution of their land. In this case, Jesus told His men to do this as a sign against those who rejected.

What did they preach? Repent (verse 12). That word means “to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins”. It refers to “a change of mind that leads to a change of action.” We often use the phrase “to be converted”. To repent one should stop doing what is wrong and start doing what is right. Stop living a life of sin and start living a life of good works.

What did the disciples do? They drove out demons and they healed the sick (verse 13). These miracles gave validity and authority to their message of repentance.

Next post - back to building a log home.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Ultimate Ministry Team

Mark 6: 6b – 13
Look at the men Jesus chose for his ministry team: fishermen - Simon Peter, James, John, Philip; John the Baptist’s disciple, - Andrew; a despised tax collector for Rome - Matthew; a political revolutionary - Simon the Zealot; a traitor - Judas. We know from the clues in the gospels that their characteristics included quick-temperedness, doubt, lack of faith, lack of understanding, lashing out, misspeaking, getting into trouble, failures, and other problems.
In spite of their weaknesses, the Lord used these men to turn the world upside down for His glory. If He can use them, surely He can use us too!

He sent them out 2 by 2. Why? First of all it fulfilled the requirements of the Law for every testimony to be established by the words of at least two witnesses – Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; Numbers 35:30. It provided the men with companionship, encouragement and for someone to pray for them. This was the method used by John the Baptist when he sent out his followers (Luke 7:18-19). This has been the method followed by Christians since the days of Jesus. The early church employed this method, Acts 13:2-3 (Barnabas & Saul); 15:39-41 (Barnabas & Mark, Paul & Silas); 19:22 (Timothy & Erastus).

Jesus gave the disciples power (authority, jurisdiction, strength) over unclean spirits. This in itself was a miracle. And it wasn’t just power to cast out demons. We’re told in Matthew 10: 1: “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Imagine this power!

In the next post we’ll look at Jesus’ instructions to them.