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high desert. small house.

Days 66-68: Fence posts, Caulking and Ridge Vent

We had a short evening due to needing to chop up dog dinner and rise early on Saturday.  So instead of digging into one of the pending house tasks, we decided to hike up the hill to the south corner and fix the set of t-posts we had installed there for the corner.  We installed three of the corners in March.  Two of them were incredibly difficult – one required massive rock manipulation and the other ended up situated in the center of a cactus fortification.

The south corner (the one that was easiest to install) is the closest to the hiking trails of the Boston Hill Open Space and some hoodlum(s) recently came along and kicked the poles over (their bases were still implanted in the ground but the vertical posts were leaning in unstable positions and the diagonal braces were detached).

We fixed the verticals and reattached one of the diagonals.  The connection piece for the other diagonal was missing so that pole was going to have to wait.  We also ran string from this corner to our far west corner so we could have a line to follow for the next t-posts.  So exciting!  [The featured image at the top is the south corner after reattaching everything.]

We woke around 3:45am and Brian hit the road for Las Cruces around 4:30am.  His mission – Fit oil change, exchange the inaccurate Irwin level at Lowes, drop a donation at Goodwill and return a few items at Harbor Freight.

After that, we made a stop at the hardware store after work to see what they had in stock for drip cap materials and tile (between $0.99 – $1.30).  Not being ready to pull the trigger with either selection, we went on our merry way.  As usual, every Saturday we try to figure out where to eat for our carb meals….and we typically end up at the Buckhorn at least once.  So we trekked up to Pinos Altos, had a wonderful meal and then drove to the house to work.


Trim measurements – If we go with a drip cap, it’ll need to reach beyond both the trim (7/8″ off smart side) and the window (5/8″ off trim) – a total of 1.5″.  Alternatively, we could do an overhang that is much larger that eliminates solar gain during the summer.  This photo is recording the distance between the trim and the caulk line so we can factor in drip cap/overhang placement.

We hauled 10 fence posts, the circular saw, the t-post hammer and a bag of related goodies to the top of our hill.  We had picked up the missing piece to the corner so we repaired that first.  Then, with much sweating and swearing, we planted 5 t-posts.  In order to do this, we had to first use the circular saw on the branches of a big cedar to clear a straight line for our string.  It was nearly pitch black when we headed back down the hill.  Not super safe!  We vowed to end before sunset the next time.

View down our newly installed t-posts.

View down our newly installed t-posts.  Some are slightly askew due to rock interference.

Ledge and rocks are abundant at the property. One thing that is great about the ledge is that it creates natural steps up the hill in some spots.

Ledge and rocks are abundant at the property. One thing that is great about the ledge is that it creates natural steps up the hill in some spots.

Nice lazy wake-up followed by pounding in 5 more t-posts up on the hill.  Then, feeling energetic and daring, we caulked the seam between the endcaps and the roof on the north side.

Brian caulking the seam between the siding and the roof.

Brian caulking the seam between the siding and the roofing.  Brian commented that the new caulk gun turns you into a caulk artist.  I believe he was talking about how much more precise and controlled the ‘dripless’ action allowed him to be. 

A big scary rain body appeared out of nowhere and started heading straight at us.  Having just finished the north side, we decided to button up the house and take cover.  Surprisingly, the massive cloud (and rain) that had been moving toward us [from the north] was suddenly pushed westward.  Shortly after, another serious storm cloud was seen on the radar coming down from the north.  So a storm was coming from the north, directly north of a storm that was being pushed west.  Odd weather gods around here…

The storms a-comin....or is it?

The storm’s a-comin….or is it?

After running Sunday errands, we returned to the property and created a ridge vent baffle out of an old sign we had hanging around at the shack.  Brian took the large, 30″x36″ sign 20 feet up the ladder to cut-out and stack-up the rectangular pieces to fit the ridge opening.

Ridge vent baffle created from our retired sign.

Makeshift ridge vent baffle created from our retired sign.  Allows airflow but discourages bug & rain infiltration.

Pending tasks – More fence posts, caulk the south side, create another ridge vent baffle for the south side, and design either a window overhang or a drip cap for the windows.  At this point, it looks like the sand-man (not the one who puts goop in your eyes) will probably come finish the subfloor late in the week due to the generator rental needing to be brought to Silver from Alamogordo.

For a full summary of our experience with Arched Cabins, please read Arched Cabin Summary.

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