, , ,

small excavator with bucket in front digging dirtToday moving to the end of this post-wildfire life reconstruction project was brought home. The excavator showed up and started filling in holes that he had dug before. He used is bucket to place wood scraps from our trash pile into the contractor’s utility trailer to take to the dump. Most all of the wood was used to build the house or set aside for firewood if it was untreated but we did have a few scraps. I never thought of using an excavator to take out the trash.

the bucket of an excavating equipment shown emptying dirtAs always, my mental check list of what is left and what needs to be fixed or altered or completed is in my head. It rummages around up there and takes up far more space than it should. Theoretically since it is a list full of holes and forgotten details it should not take a lot of room at all. Somehow the forgotten or confused details take huge amounts of space while the neat lists take hardly any at all. These days the only way I can keep things organized in my mind is to mentally walk through the rooms in the house.

The “back” section of the main floor has been done for a couple of weeks. It contains two bedrooms connected by jack and jill bath. In the larger of the two bedrooms resides a huge shop vac that is not ours and three boxes of plumbing supply scraps that seem too important to throw away without the plumber being the person to do it. The bathroom is complete except for a mirror and the accessories like the toilet paper holder and the towel rack. The bedroom that is on the other side of the Jack and Jill bath has a pile of my magpie wood in it. These are pieces of wood that I have scavenged with the intention of building mirror frames and shelves with. It also has the scraps of crown molding that I have been cutting into parts for trim in other places. I cut one 3 inch egg and dart molding into three different sections of about an inch each. One style adorns the counters on the wall in the kitchen and one is the trim underneath the counter top edge of the island. I am not sure yet what to do with the other 1 inch portion that is in the room but I will find something. In my mind I think of these rooms as having been fully excavated and backfilled.

The half bath, or powder room as it is called here, is done but I hate the toilet. It is too bad since it is a nice toilet and a nice room but the combination is just off. The toilet in the room was supposed to be in a different bathroom but there were toilet troubles and the trickle down effect was a toilet that is too large in scale for the very petite room. Someday I will consider changing it but not now. For now, the room is complete sans a mirror.

The utility room is missing doors for the dumb waiter but I have been waiting on those until we finish the kitchen. Everything else is done.

The kitchen is almost done which is a huge relief. I have worked very hard on it for a long time. I knew I was taking the lion’s share of the work in the kitchen and I am glad that I did it but I can say that I truly understand why cabinets and kitchens are so expensive. We have yet to install the new, smaller dishwasher that arrived tonight, drill the holes for the faucets for the sink and hook up the ice maker in the fridge that will come over from the warehouse soon.

The living room is done as is the dining room. Both sets of stairs, the ones that lead from the garage level to the main level and the ones that go from the main to the upper level need tinkering but can suffice for now. The library/office is done as is the master bedroom. The bathrooms have some little tasks like calking the sinks and hooking up one drain valve. The closets are awaiting their organizers. This portends to be a chore but I have gotten good at building things that come in flat boxes so I am hopeful that I can do this without too much agony.

The decks need the final connections of the wire railing to the sides of the house. The great mounds of 10 inch logs that adorned every drop of space for a 40 foot radius around the house have shrunk to just a few piles here and there. The scraps are being piled up to recycle as firewood.

Some big jobs remain. Almost all of the floors need to be finished but that is progressing. The siding needs to be stained and the metal skin on the roof needs to be a different color for our neighborhood. We need stairs to the front porch and off of the side porch. I have trees to plant. We want to drive into the garage. close up of deck post with excavator bucket filling in by the post

These latter things, stirs and trees and driving into the garage all depend on the excavator. He has been here off and on over the past couple of weeks digging specific holes for specific things. He dug a great big hole right beside our septic tank that yesterday was filled with the propane tank for our cooking and the fireplace/stove. Today he piled the dirt back into the hole. When the siding is finished he will backfill around the house and we can plant trees and the native wildflower and grass mix I have planned.

I love excavating equipment. When I was a child my grandfather owned a lime pit. He used to let me go with him down into the hole and drive the huge excavator that they used to dig out the lime. One of the things his full time driver did was to watch for fossils as he pulled out the hunks of lime that would become someone’s garden fertilizer. I was always impressed that he could both find and carefully remove even small fossils like a perfectly preserved whole clam shell with his great big machine. When our excavator comes he lets me watch. I would be nervous if someone stood watching me work like I do him. He is very kind and gentle hearted about it. I like to watch the equipment and him. He is so intent on what he is doing and his focus is total. His touch is amazing. Today he was working withing inches of the posts that hold up our deck and never once did it seem like he was going to bump into it.

His skill was there at the beginning of this house when the drive way was set and he cleared the land for the foundation. Today we are near the end and he is there putting the dirt back around our foundation. The alpha and omega for this house comes in bright yellow with big buckets of dirt. I find it fitting that the excavating equipment I love is here at the start and the finish of a home I love.