Happy Holidays in Redding CA

Sunday, New Years Day, 2:30 pm, 51 degrees, cloudy, wind from the North 3-5mph.

Catching up on 2 weeks worth of diary here.  Last Sunday was Christmas Day & today is New Years Day.  Good family time with Ben and Bethany as we celebrated a cold Christmas, but warm in the main house here in Redding.

Cindy and Bethany had decorated the main house beautifully and we all had breakfast together (Bethany’s French toast recipe) and then exchanged presents.  Cindy prepared an amazing Christmas dinner for the four of us & then we watched some Christmas movies (Elf & Miracle on 34th street)

I’m reading a book from Ben and Bethany called “1421” about how the Chinese were responsible for most of the discoveries made by the early explorers and how those explorers used maps that had been drawn by the Chinese.  Fascinating stuff and a great Christmas present.

Since the weather was really nice this week & we might need a little more storage for the remodeling process, it was the perfect time do some remodeling on the old horse barn.  Barns should be beautiful, but this one was really an eyesore with the old horse stalls facing the house & clutter just stacked in there.  Right before Christmas I noticed a Craigslist Ad for some redwood that a guy with a portable sawmill had for sale (at about .20 cents on the dollar for what redwood at the lumberyard would cost).  Perfect for the misc. outdoor projects and trim that need to be done around here.  Stacking this in the barn helped motivate me (along with the gorgeous weather & the nasty view of the barn from the RV) to get this project started.  Here is a photo of how the barn looked: 

Here is a photo of the planned design for the East facing side (facing the house & RV site).

While working on the plans I found another Craigslist tool to help build the doors, a morticing machine.  This machine helps simplify the construction of mortice and tenon joints which make for strong doors.  I’m using a pegged mortice and tenon joint which has its roots in timber framing and is very durable for exterior use.  The photo below shows the machine and a recently completed mortice.  To the right are 2 test joints with round pegs holding them together.  Also tested out a new to me glue “gorilla glue” which seems to work really well on the redwood, but takes some getting used to.   My preference is to buy “Free Tools” when I can find them used.  I’ll buy the tool, use it for what I need (saving time by having the right tool), and then sell it for close to what I paid for it… hence the “free tool”.   The right tool can make a tough job a pleasure.

Here are 2 of the 3 doors under construction, clamped and drying:

And finally with the new east wall constructed, and the doors and windows hung.  I’m really pleased with the way the arched doors turned out & they were a real pleasure to build with the redwood.  Next is completing the North end of the barn with it’s new door, hayloft doors and lift, then adding North facing windows on that end in case the house sells to an artist who needs Northern light.  A copula or clerestory to be built for the roof also which will add a lot of visual appeal (see drawing).  Having way too much fun!

Saturday was spent finishing up some barn details and then moving tools and supplies inside to begin the master bedroom and bathroom remodeling.  The weather is supposed to be cold and rainy this week and is better for interior remodeling. This is a real milestone to begin the main house remodeling.  The current plan will be to remodel the master suite in 3 months or less so Cindy and I can move in that space and put the RV up for sale.  It does not make a lot of financial sense to be using the RV just to live in when we have this nice large house.   If the RV is depreciating at 10 to 15% per year, that is costing us about $2,000 a month just to keep the RV.  We are excited about moving on to a new phase of life and hopefully selling the Redding house this year as planned (summertime?)  Once the RV and house are sold I will feel better about a boat purchase, and/or another home in this area or in Texas.  We can only see/plan about 3 months ahead at this time, so we will be flexible in our plans & make the best decisions we can, with the information we have at the time.  God is good and He is in control.  2017 is going to be a great year of new beginnings.  Even if we do not know what those will look like, we are trusting Him to be the author of even better things than we can imagine.

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