A week later on Friday, October 8, 2010, a group of Amish men from the community over in Unity, Maine came over to lend us a hand in getting all our rafters up into place. Andrew was planning on using a chainsaw wench to hoist the rafters (these are rafters that he milled out himself with the chainsaw mill, by the way) up onto the ridge pole. However, these Amish men said forget that. We'll just pull them up by hand, so that's what they did. If you feel like all you're looking at is pulling, tugging, and more pulling, that's because it's all they did the whole entire day....pull, tug, and pull again. The kiddos thought this was great fun. They'd ruuuuun from one side, and when that rafter was up, they'd all ruuuuuun to the other side....ready to go again!

I had the fun task of having to feed all these hungry men...and kiddos myself on this day. No help from all my wonderful hostesses like I had for the Harvest Party....and in the tiny cramped camper no less. But it all worked out fine and by evening, all the rafters for our roof were silhouetted against another beautiful Fall sunset. Once again we were so incredibly grateful for all the help we received in bringing our log home project along. It was such a great feeling to get to this point!
 
This is a slideshow of Day 2, Sunday, October 3, 2010, of our Harvest Party & Roof Raising Weekend. We were camping out in the camper while some of the kiddos slept in tents.

Sunday was a bit overcast and cool but by the evening ,we saw our new roof line silhouetted against a beautiful Fall sunset! This was very exciting. We greatly appreciated the fantastic turn-out we had for our little event....not only the muscle-power but the wonderful support, teamwork, and encouragement. We also had a delicious spread with homemade, farm fresh soups, sandwiches, rolls, pickles, and preserves....and of course desserts! Andrew also managed to get one of our huge turkeys butchered and smoked in his rigged-up fridge smoker before the party. The meat came out unbelievably tasty.

Stay tuned for Day 3, the following Friday, when some Amish men lend us a hand in getting all those massive rafters up in a day!
 
In Ocober of 2010, we had our first Harvest Party and Roof Raising for the log home we were building ourselves on our 40 acres in Maine. The above is a slide show on Day 1, Saturday, October 2.

It took much longer than anticipated to hoist the ridge pole into place...but when it's a ridge pole of those proportions and using only pulleys and man-power, I guess that's to be expected. Actually gettinng a ridge pole up by hand in one day is doing pretty good. Stay tuned for Day 2.
 

This is where we've gotten on our log  home...these photos were taken the last part of November. The support poles are standing vertically in the center - awaiting the 52 ft. ridge pole.
 

We used a friend's backhoe to dig out along one side of the basement that's been cracked. We're considering putting a root cellar on this side to be done in conjunction with repairing the wall.

Once our 4 to 5 ft. of snow melts, we'll put the crushed rock on the bottom of the ditch. We've also got the portable sawmill going, so hopefully we can move forward with milling out the roof rafters by Spring.

The walls are essentially done...all except the cap logs which will even everything up before the roof goes on. The photo below is taken from the top of our friend's barn at Wheyside Farm while Andrew was repairing a section of roof for Frank. This looks south toward our little town of Plymouth with Hwy 7 or the old Moosehead Trail, across Plymouth Pond, and our land fronts almost the entire side of the southwestern part of the pond. Dixmont Mountain is the tall one on the left.

 

We..."we" used very loosely...as in Andrew...did make some more progress this week. The log home is now officially up to the second story floor level now. And there's about another 7 to 8 feet to go for the walls. Then comes the placement of the ridge poles and cap logs.

This is looking at the inside of the walls facing south...

This is the view from the second floor looking north...

On certain clear days we can even see Mt. Katahdin over in this direction...

The girls wanted to see too! This will be the last opportunity...until we get the floors in anyway.

And that wraps up this week's progress! We have another forecasted week of sunshine, so hopefully greater heights will be reached in the next few days as well!

 

Almost to the top...


And now it's in place...

We've continued to have good weather and have also moved forward with the log raising. These are some of the steps involved in getting these hefty logs up where we want them. As you can see in the above photo, they tie a rope to the log and drag it from the pile with the truck. Most of the pulling is done with this old pickup truck!

Here it comes off the pile...


Next, one side of the log is hoisted up into place...

Now the other side is lifted up--sliding up the board like a vertical ramp.


Almost to the top...

The board pops up a bit when the log reaches the top but it's now in place. Once again, all the pulling is done with the truck--and of course the series of pulleys in place on the lifting poles.

Now it's time to drill the holes and pound in the re-bar spikes.

Here they decided to try lifting both ends at once...

Up it goes...

Here are some close-ups of the logs...you can see the re-bar spikes in between in the gaps between the logs. Eventually, we'll put chinking in these gaps with a cement mixture and insulation.


A re-bar spike is also pounded into the ends of the logs once they're in place...

I put my little hand up there to try to give you somewhat of a perspective of the size of the logs. They're not huge logs but they're definitely nice sized logs...and would hurt if they fell on your toe. We're now at about 6 feet...only about 10 more feet to go!

 

Our summer has been on the rainy, drizzly side plus the daily distractions (like making a living) just manage to keep getting in the way, so we've been somewhat hindered in productive progress on our log home. However, the sun has been out in full force, we're caught up on most of our other obligations--and we have my parents from TX up here visiting who are ready and willing to help! So the past 2 or 3 days have been quite productive--finally!

So, what's the progress? On the first day, Andrew and my dad were mostly trying to get things organized and ready to go. They did manage to also get 3 logs up by that afternoon. The next day they had to put up a new lifting pole in one corner since the other one had broken off. This proved to be more time-consuming than they'd hoped, but it got done and by the end of the day they had another full course of logs up all the way around.



And this is where we ended up the first day.

The next couple of days I was also out there with my mom and the kiddos mowing and clearing out the brush from the front of our land near the drive. We have some lovely small birches and poplar trees coming up and I'd love to accentuate a grove-like appearance with a carpet of grass and perhaps later some wild roses growing along the steep slope up to the road. Sound nice? I also realized that there's a really wonderful massive, low climbing tree perfect for summer adventures--if I could only get to it and clean out all the scraggly limbs and two feet of grass.

We borrowed a huge weed-eating machine from some friends that quickly made short order of the tall grass--and by day 2 the front was beginning to look mighty respectable.

All in all, we've gotten up 10 logs and the last course has all the holes drilled and most of the re-bar spikes pounded in. We're rainy again today and needed to catch up on some watch work and errands, but are prepared to hit it again tomorrow. I'll be sure to keep you posted and put up more photos!

 

Andrew went over to our land day before yesterday to begin the official log peeling marathon required for our new 38 (soon to be more) logs for our log home roof rafters. He had gotten 7 done a week ago and managed to complete 24 the first day. He spent a luxurious evening eating jambalaya over a cook stove and then sleeping on the floor of the shed over there. He got up at 5 am. and managed to complete the log peeling marathon by 7 p.m.--just in time for our lasagna and watermelon picnic over at our friend's house--who happen to own 40 acres on the other side of our lake.

He uses this  bark spud to get underneath the bark. While the tree is freshly cut and the sap is still up in the bark, it all comes off pretty easily. The logs up on the top of the pile were beginning to get tougher from being in the sun, but the ones at the bottom had bark that still slipped off no problem...well, sort of no problem...OK, it was alot of work!


Once the sap begins to flow out of the bark, things get much tougher to get off. Also pine bark beetles begin to burrow into the wood underneath the bark and make holes in the log--not a good thing cosmetically speaking. They will eventually cause the bark to crumble off in time, but it's a matter of dealing with little holes in your logs or not. This isn't so much of an issue with the walls, but we didn't want to take any chances with our roof rafters. So now log peeling is complete--check! And Andrew has had the most aerobic upper-body workout he's had in quite awhile!

 

Thank you so much for dropping by! We're very excited about what we're learning and the people we're meeting who are also on a journey toward more self-sufficiency and a truly more independent, quality lifestyle!

As you can see, we're still very much under construction here, but we've got some interesting, intriguing information coming up very soon. So please put on the hard hat and keep popping in as we continue to construct what we hope to provide as plenty of encouragement, ideas, and inspiration for green pioneers pursuing the green frontier!

Also feel free to leave your e-mail address on our contact

In the meantime, you're welcome to catch up on our recent blogs on homesteading, life in Maine, Root Cellars, and the progress on our Log Home.

Also scroll on down and peruse the site links in the side bar below. Although we certainly don't subscribe to all the various sentiments and viewpoints expressed by the green community at large (as well as what gets interlaced into some of these web sites), we continue to glean good information where we can find it.

For more on our adventures into the homestead, homespun, home school, home life, check out Debbie's web site, The Romantic Mom.com page for updates and new information. We look forward to meeting you and learning about your adventures or interests in this exciting new frontier!