Saturday, July 26, 2008

There's a bird nest right above my shed

It's like parking your newly washed car under a power line...

Got almost all the shingles on yesterday:

I threw some aluminum flashing on the eave as a temporary finish; I've got some cedar left over that I think will be the permanent finish. Not sure what I'll do with the horizontal space under the eave - I've got a lot of tile left over, so maybe more of the same. Also need a door. I love those sliding barn doors - see if I can find some cheap hardware. Not sure what I'll use for the door yet.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cut, Sand, Paint - Repeat

111 times, that is:

I got all the Hardipanel tiles finished up for the shed yesterday. Painted them a handful of different colors, and they should be a lot of fun to look at.

The Hardipanel comes with a note that basically says "try not to machine cut this stuff - it'll kill you." Scoring is recommended method (it is VERY easy to score, even easier than drywall). The problem with scoring (and that's how I cut the pieces for the retaining wall, which I still need to blog) is that the edges aren't nearly as clean as machined cuts. They have that raggedy, fuzzy appearance to them, and sanding Hardipanel is apparently even worse for you than machining it. Suffice it to say that I used a circular saw with a cement blade to cut these 16x16 squares - it was pretty dusty. I stayed upwind, I wore a respirator, I held my breath. But it's hard to keep those cuts straight - the saw's fence isn't long enough, and though I made my own 2x4 fence the saw was still jumpy (I was cutting a few sheets at a time).

It took the paint REALLY well. I'm just using a flat exterior paint (Valspar, the Lowe's store brand), and two quick coats (only about 15 minutes apart) did the trick - rich and deep color. It rained and I wasn't able to hang time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Built a shed yesterday.

***UPDATE: OK, I got a long nap in today and I'm ready to blog. (I really was tired, and only a few hours of sleep last night on top of two days of pretty hard work...)

Wednesday afternoon Sarah's dad and I drove out to the house in his truck with a pit stop at Lowe's. $1200 later I had all the materials I needed to finish the retaining wall (which you can see in the foreground in the pic at the top - more on that soon) and to build a shed. Hardipanel, lumber, cement, polycarb, etc.:

I had in mind something along the lines of the ModernShed - simple, sloped roof, 8x12, enough room to store the cords and cords and cords of firewood we have waiting to be cut and stacked, and someplace to keep all the stuff that's inside the house cluttering up all the closets right now (generator, tools, leftover cedar/bamboo/construction matls, etc.). I figured I could frame that myself.

Here's the spot - about 125' from the house as you come up the driveway, in the space that the well guys leveled to get their equipment in:

So Tony helped me a bit with the retaining wall and took off around 5. I spend the rest of the daylight hours excavating/leveling the footprint and digging the holes for the footers and pouring cement. (That sentence does not do justice to the amount of work that took place in those 4.5 hrs.) By Wednesday morning I was ready to start framing:

But I also had to finish getting the Hardipanel up on the retaining wall, which took most of the morning. Add in a trip over to Moorefield to get some more pressure treated lumber (I didn't have as much on site as I thought I did) and it's 4 o'clock before I really get going.

By Thursday afternoon I was finished. Nothing fancy; 8' on the front, with a 4' wide opening (not sure yet whether it'll get a door); 7' on the back; the triangle at the top will be open and screened to keep the air moving. Simpson ties for the joists:

Polycarb for the roof (keep the light coming in):

We're going to cut Hardipanel into 16" squares and paint them some fun colors and get them up as siding (like the recycled metal squares that were on the home on the cover of Dwell a few months back). Probably get some sheathing up on the inside to give it a little more lateral stability. I have to say it's a little more imposing than I thought it was going to be (up on the columns and with the framed floor and the joists on top it's a good deal taller than the 8' I was imagining it would be). But I think it's going to be fun to look at once we get the siding on. And I can finally start working on the pile of tree trunks on the side of the driveway...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"A Delightful Surprise"

A surprise to some, I guess. The NYT has very nice things to say about MOMA's PreFab exhibit...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Barely Blogworthy

Two tidbits:
  • Deer chomping on the trees just in front of the house when I got there yesterday. My hummingbird feeder was empty, though I've yet to see a hummingbird. And Stephanie, who's cleaning our place between renters, scared off a bear when she got to the top of the driveway this morning.
  • On my way home today from WV (I started work on the retaining wall, prepping it for the Hardipanel - framed a box on top to raise the height of the wall and attached furring strips...), I was fiddling with the radio. No good stations out there - the local NPR plays classical all day long. But there IS American Family Radio. Man, those guys. So I listen to that for kicks sometimes. And today they told me that "it's not just embittered feminists" that are tearing down the institution of marriage. And coming on the heels of this, it really hits home every once in a while that there actually are red states and blue states...

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Our website is ready for public consumption - LostRiverModern. Hopefully we can begin circulating it pretty soon, so I'd love to hear thoughts from our loyal readers: how's it look, how's it feel, suggestions, etc.

HUGE thanks (and beer on its way) to Marc and Mine and Gabe.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I'd heard ambiguous references to Nigerian email scams back when I was a lawyer, but had never been solicited myself. The first one I ever saw was actually during a document review of some client files that dated back to the 80s; there was a hardcopy of a letter from the Nigerian Oil Ministry (on pretty convincing looking letterhead) asking for help getting some "funds released." By the time I read this story in the New Yorker a few years back, I still don't think I'd actually gotten any "requests." But over the last couple of years they've started to trickle in. Got one from a Sudanese refugee camp a couple of months ago, in fact.

But this is a new wrinkle to me. And with apologies to the good Dr. Fred Silva of Stoke City, UK if I'm jumping the gun, lostrivermodern seems to have gotten its first "solicitation" from a Nigerian-inspired fraudster. Started with this:

Hey There,

Good day to you. Kindly check if we can use 3 nights (August 18,19,and 20) at your place. However, this dates are flexible but it should be within the 10th to the 29th of August.

I want you to email me the availability an cost.We are 2, My Wife and I.We are coming for our honeymoon. we don't smoke and we don't drink neither do we have pets.

I await your swift response.And enjoy your day!

My Due Regards.

Obviously pretty suspicious. For fun, we googled him but couldn't come up with anyone local with the name drfredsilva (which was his email address; no salutation on the inquiry), though there is a pretty reputable Dr. Fred Silva who is apparently the head of the Canadian American Academy of Pathology. So no harm in responding, right? Trying to draw him out a bit, I sent:

Hi Fred. Rates are $200 on the weekend (Fri, Sat and Sun nts) and $125 during the week. I have availability right now on the 18-20, which would be $375 total.

How'd you come across our cabin?
And the good doctor responds:


Thanks for your prompt response.I have discussed this with my Wife about this and we have agreed to use your place,and as for the cost,we are alright with it.We are stay at No4 stoke city,United Kingdom +447024068105

ur our vacation expenses as a wedding gift and they have promised to send you a certified check as soon as you have penned these dates down for us.

Kindly email me your full name,physical address, home and cell phone number so that the payment can be mailed out to you soon.

Waiting to read from you.Have a great week ahead.


Dr Fred

More googling fails to find a Dr. Fred in Stoke City (home of Stoke City F.C., the Potters, founded in 1863). But I googled the phone number and found a couple of spam advertisements (sports apparel) associated with it. Pretty sure that it's a scam, but not totally willing to give up on Fred, I told him that we only accept paypal and I'd be happy to confirm his reservation once we receive payment. No word back. Poor guy isn't going to have anywhere to stay on his honeymoon...