Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Father/Son Camping Trip, Pt 2

I don't know how many of you will remember Father/Son Camping Trip Pt 1 (link here), but last year I took Steven on an overnight camping trip.  Well, Matthew felt left out, so I promised him that next summer it would be his turn to go camping with Daddy.  Since the summer was coming to an end (it's definitely over now, with temps below 0 at night, but these were taken a few weeks ago) I decided it was time for Daddy and Matthew to get out into the woods.

All the wood was wet, but after enough coaxing, we managed to get a fire going, much to Matthew's delight.

Better still, a delicious hot dog to roast over the fire was the next order of business.  It was a busy agenda, though, because straight away after supper we moved on to the evening's entertainment - throwing rocks into the river.

We did this until I couldn't stand the mosquitoes any more (though as you can see above Matthew could have done it all night; he was having a great time) and moved into the tent.  The novelty was fun for ... about 20 minutes or so.  Then we read a book (we're working our way through the Little House series) and went to sleep.

A fun time was had by both, though as you can see below by the next morning I think Matthew was ready to head home.

Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to tune in next week when we hopefully will have some pictures of a completed foundation and maybe even the concrete floor poured at our pine nut factory site.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


So, you've probably been wondering why we disappeared off the face of the earth.  Well, it's not because we haven't been up to anything lately.  On the contrary, it's because I've been working all the time, and when I get home I just haven't had the energy to get online and write a blog post.

But finally the guilt has gotten to me, plus it's Saturday and even though they were working out at the site today, I stayed home to rest and spend some time with the family, so tonight I think I can muster the energy to regale you all with some pictures of how things are going.

How what is going?, I hear you ask.  Well.  As if you didn't know.  The construction of the pine nut factory, of course!

That's right.  We're finally to the point now where we're talking about construction as an actual fact, rather than a nebulous future activity.  Ground has been broken and hopefully by the end of October we'll actually be buying pine nuts from the fall harvest.

So, this is how it all started.  The land that our facility will be built on was empty steppe, but it was being used by a lot of people as sort of a dumping ground, so the first thing was to clear the trash and mounds of rubble.

The next step was to grade the land to make it roughly smooth, or at least near enough to build on.

Once we started to have construction equipment delivered, it was of course necessary to have a guard onsite, so we bought a metal garage in town as sort of a combination guard shack and storage place for cement, etc.

First we had to go to the site where the person was selling it and have it picked up with a crane ...

... and then get it to the construction site and have it delivered where we wanted it.

Around then is when we started the process of drilling a well as well as digging a channel to the well from the building.

Below is what the pipe looked like when it was installed from the well to the building.  You may be thinking that it looks like a ridiculous amount of layers, but remember, it gets down below -50° here.  

The geological survey says that the ground freezes to a depth of 11 feet on our site, so first you have to dig a channel that deep.  Then, the little white pipe is the actual water line, about 2 inches in diameter (running alongside it is a grey power line for the water pump).  The next layer is a grey foam insulator, and around that, running in a spiral the whole length of the pipe, is a black heating cable.  Around that goes a plastic sewer line, and then on top of that goes a special yellow styrofoam insulating layer that is a couple of inches thick.  In the end your 2 inch water line is about 9 inches in diameter, all to make sure that the line doesn't freeze in the winter.

So, once all the plumbing lines that have to go underneath the foundation are in, you can start digging trenches for the foundation, so that was our next step.  In the meantime, we built a fence around the property which you can see in the background, but mainly this photo shows the crane digging the foundation trench.

Next we put down a "cushion," which is a thin layer of concrete at the base of the foundation.  You basically pour a few inches of concrete so that when you pour the real foundation on top of it, the water doesn't drain away into the sand before the concrete hardens (which would obviously weaken it significantly).

You can also see the first vertical metal rebar reinforcements here; they will obviously be reinforced further with horizontal bars as well.

Gravel and sand delivered, concrete mixer in place - time to start pouring!

Well, almost.  You have to have the molds built first, obviously.  Otherwise there's nothing to keep your concrete where it's supposed to be.

In progress, pouring one wall at a time:

This wall is almost poured up to ground level.  Actually, the side walls which will actually support the main hangar frame will eventually be 65 centimeters higher than the ground level, but for now they're being poured to the ground level so we can then install the anchors that will hold the building in place.

Here we are working on the last corner.  You can see the little gas generator that we bought for construction; it runs the power tools and cement mixers that are onsite.

And, just in case you're interested in what this actually looks like in action:

And that's about it for today's post.  If you're looking for things to keep in your thoughts, we need to have the concrete all poured by the time the frost hits.  The weather is currently predicted to stay above freezing this week, but next weekend should be our first frost.  As a result, we need to have all our concrete poured by then, which will be challenging.  We also hope to begin purchasing nuts in the very near future, as soon as we can sort out details on where to store them while the building is completed.

Look for more posts in weeks to come with pictures of the actual building being erected on top of all this concrete!