A Hobbit Hollow Medium?….There Are Two Kinds of People in the World…..

Welcome again Free Folk of Middle Earth to another edition of the Hobbit Hollow Construction Blog. Pleased to see ya. I hope this past week treated you well. Not so sure those people up in Buffalo, New York can say that. For those of you not aware of what happened in Buffalo they got almost 7 feet of snow over the past week. Pretty unbelievable. Some of the pictures were incredible.

Let’s get the snow to stay up in Alaska where it belongs.

We had a bit of a cold snap here in New York this week. Brrrrr. Not looking forward to winter. I’m really hoping the snow will hold off at least to mid January. I’m thinking I’ll need about three more weekends to get ready for a slab pour.(Stone, insulation, rebar) But the holidays are upon us and one never knows where our paths may take us on any given day. We’ll see how things transpire over the course of the next few weeks.

Just gonna go a little bit off topic for a moment. Bear with me.

Okay, so I’m really not much of a TV guy. I mean I get home from work, have dinner, and then usually I’ll watch the nightly news. After that I’ll watch a political show if there is something going on. Then I’ll just flick. For those of you who don’t know what flicking is,  it’s just going from channel to channel looking, hoping, to find something interesting to watch. I mean after a long day of work and the commute and all, I really don’t feel like doing much of anything. So flicking is sort of my lot in life once I finish dinner during the week.

Could you get to the point Jim….Please.

Okay, so my point is there really isn’t a whole lot to watch on t.v.  that I feel is worth watching. (Hence the flicking.) So I wind up watching bits and pieces of these reality shows. It’s absolutely incredible that some of these shows even exist or that an adult would actually pitch some of these shows to producers who might make them into a real show. I mean “Naked and Afraid”? How could you even want your name connected to a show of that caliber.

The point please Jim.

So every once in a while my wife and I watch “Long Island Medium.” Which is about this woman named Theresa who can connect with people who have passed into the spirit world. I think it’s interesting. It can be very emotional. So one night at dinner when everybody’s home I bring up the show, you know for conversation purposes, and boy, oh boy did I get grief. My three sons ripped me the veritable new one. “WHAT?!!! I can’t believe you watch that show!  It’s so fake!”  Okay, if you don’t want to believe it, fine.  You don’t have to get into reenacting Theresa though. Jude went off on this woman. “Someone here had a motha.  Did you have a motha?” “You had a motha? Right?” “She loved you?” “She used to hug you?  Your motha hugged you? Am I right?” I mean the comments went on in that vein for quite some time. (In a Long Island accent as well.) I was hoping to get into a deep conversation about the afterlife….all I got was ridicule….I guess I’ll just keep it to myself and say a prayer.

Thanks for hanging in there with that one.

Terence is starting to wonder if there will be any pictures this week. He’s probably already skipped ahead.

There is quite a bit to talk about so let’s get started.

Called the building department and set up a rough plumbing inspection for Monday. (Gotta start putting a little pressure on myself  with some deadlines.) So what he wants is the rough plumbing capped and filled with water. He also wants all the drainage pipes fully supported with the top of the piping exposed. This way he can check if everything is at the right pitch. Pitch is the key people. Pitch is the key. As long as everything is set up this way I don’t even have to be there for the inspection. It’s going to be warm Monday so I won’t have to worry about the pipes freezing.(Timing is in our favor.)

I called my friendly neighborhood trucker and told him I need 75 tons of 3/8th stone. This will be easy to work with and I need a lot to level off the underside of the slab with, as well.  I think I might need more though. After we finished Saturday it doesn’t look like enough. When I go back Sunday to fill the plumbing lines I’ll do a little survey of the existing dirt profile and get a better idea of what we need to finish with. It would really stink if we rented a skid steer and then have to bring in another 10 tons of stone and have to wheelbarrow it in…(We’ve got bigger and better things to do. Or is it bigger fish to fry?

Anyway I needed a pancake breakfast before starting so…..

We don’t need that much detail Jim. (This apple pancake I had was awesome though…..Just for the record.)

 So, let’s just go over the order of events. First pick up Terence’s friend Peter and head over to the house. I was hoping to have Terence and three of his buddies helping today but nobody else was available. 75 tons of stone to move is quite a bit for just two young lads. Second: cap the pipe and check for leaks. If there are no leaks to be found then we could start back filling the pipe.
So let’s get a picture in here for Terence’s sake.
Plug for main waste line.
Plug for main waste line.

 It’s pretty simple: put in the gasket part and then screw in the plug. The plug is tapered so as you screw it in it pushes out on the pipe so water won’t leak out.

Next we filled the water lines up with water. Enter our handy dandy stream on the other side of the wall. All we did was set a bucket up under the waterfall and let it fill up the pail. Once it was filled we just brought it inside and poured the water right into the 3 inch vent line. Check out the stream.

Water testing the plumbing drainage lines.
Water testing the plumbing drainage lines.

 Nothing like a little old help from your backyard stream, eh?

I think most plumbing contractors usually use air to check out the plumbing lines. Plug the ends of all the lines and then use a compressor to fill the lines with air. I brought along this big funnel to help us with getting the water into the pipes.

So everything checked out okay. Which was great. The only problem was I had made a mistake with the second toilet location. Not really sure what happend here but the old adage “Haste makes waste” is worth repeating. Haste makes waste. It wasn’t really a big error though, and it’s PVC. Just take out the old sawzall cut out the place in question and glue up everything where it’s supposed to be. I just had to move the toilet over 16 inches. So it was just a matter of cutting out 16 inches of horizontal line and recoupling everything together. 15 minutes work. I also had to fix the height of the first shower stall drain.  I had forgotten that the slab drain has to be quite a bit lower on the type of shower stall I’m going to put in. I dropped it down 9 inches just to be on the safe side. That was real easy. Just cut out 9 inches of vertical line and couple it back together. Literally 5 minutes of work.

So once these corrections were done I wanted to recheck the waste lines and refill them and keep them filled until we finished all of the pipe back filling. After we refilled the waste lines I put a pencil mark at the waterline so we could see if it was going down during the course of back filling. It didn’t go down so I guess we did a decent job on the glue and primer front. Check out the water level in the pipe.

Water check on the plumbing waste lines.

 So back filling everything is hard work. I had the 3 truckloads of stone dumped just outside the building line. The key to getting the stone in is building a good ramp. If the ramp is too steep you won’t be able to push a wheelbarrow of stone up it. So during the week I stopped by one night after work and made a new ramp into the house. I used three 16 foot 4×4 stringers and 24 inch plywood on the outside and three 14 foot 3×4’s on the inside with 24 inch ply. I connected them together with some friendly neighborhood banding wire so they wouldn’t move while we were working on them. Check it out.

Banding wire connecting the ramps together.
Banding wire connecting the ramps together.

The next thing I had the boys do was clear out any and all debris that was in our way. Including any leaves. You really don’t want a pile of leaves under the slab because that could eventually leave a void under the slab when it all deteriorates. That could lead to a settlement crack in the slab. We don’t need any of that. Here’s a picture of the boys clearing everything out.

Terence and Peter clearing out the slab of leaves, debris, and odd ball stones.
Terence and Peter clearing out the slab of leaves, debris, and odd ball stones.

 The other item I had to take care of  was the thermal bridging issue at the footing and wall. Remember it’s critical that the insulation layer is continuous around the entire structure. Not keeping this layer intact will lead to cold spots and potentially drafts. So I had to cover the top of the footing and the vertical wall area with styrofoam insulation before we started the back filling process. Here”s a picture of the first area I did.

Insulating the top of footing and to the underside of the 2x4 shown.
Insulating the top of footing and to the underside of the 2×4 shown.

 Like I said, I was really hoping for 4 players this weekend because it really is a lot of hard work. Load up your wheelbarrow, push it up the ramp,walk it carefully to where I want it,dump it, go back for another one. Repeat like 40 times. If you’re not careful it’s pretty easy to lose control of the wheelbarrow and flip it over. Kind of annoying and aggravating all at once.

So the boys got going and they did really well with it. We took a couple of breaks along the way and then had lunch. It was cold out but this kind of work puts a good sweat on you. So we had lunch inside the truck so we didn’t get a chill.

We finish lunch and were about to start up again and visitors arrive. I’m saying to myself “Darn it I’ve got an inspection Monday and I’ve only got these boys for another two hours!”  It’s Bob and Steve. I guess Bob wants to talk about his dopey trip to Pittsfield. As you recall, I drove him there! (Thanks to that mother in law of mine.)

So we exchange pleasantries and I tell them what we’re doing. Steve is like “Hey we can help you out!” “Bob and I will work one wheelbarrow and Terence and Peter can work the other one.” Hmmmm. That’s a long hmmm, too. I’m in a bit of a pickle with time and I really could use the extra help. So I explained how to do it and all and that it might be a good idea to take turns every once in a while. Then Steve blurts out this one liner from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” ….”there are two kinds of people in the world Bob. Those with loaded guns…and those who dig. You dig.” And he hands Bob the shovel. I’m thinking this is already heading for “the Ugly’ if you catch my drift.

So we’re working away and I can tell Steve is struggling. I mean he’s one of those wirery type of guys who are stronger than they look. Either the ramp was a little too steep for him or Bob was purposely overloading his wheelbarrow. I think Bob didn’t take the comment “You dig” very well. Anyway the wheelbarrow goes over and Bob like freaks out. I mean he really goes off! Check these two out:







Visitors helping?
Visitors helping?

I thought Bob was going to crack Steve with the shovel. This guy definitely has to calm down. It’s just gravel. I shoot Terence and Peter a “Don’t start laughing glance!” because these two weirdos are ready to have at it. I calmed them down though and we all went home friends…..and we were able to finish what we needed to get done. Check out the finished product.

Pipe supported by the stone. Note the plug in the toilet drain.
Pipe supported by the stone. Note the plug in the toilet drain.

So we had a really good day overall. We’re all set for our plumbing inspection and I have a good idea on how we’ll proceed with the skid steer.

We’re really looking forward to this week. Georgia, Ethan, and Jude are all coming home in just a few days. We can’t wait!

On another note I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! There really are so many things to be thankful for….enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by!


4 thoughts on “A Hobbit Hollow Medium?….There Are Two Kinds of People in the World…..”

  1. There are two kinds of people in the world — Those that divide people into two groups, and those that don’t. 🙂

    One thought — If you happen to come up a little short on gravel and need an additional delivery, consider having it delivered in a cement mixer. (I have seen it done this way.) The mixer can deliver it down his chute directly into the slab area.

    Enjoy your upcoming holidays, and best of luck beating the weather.

    • Frank! Thanks for writing. So sorry for the delay in responding. It’s been a busy week and although it my not seem like it writing anything takes me a long time.

      But it’s really good hearing from you. I don’t know if you’re a fan of the spaghetti western but “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” has some of the best one liners in it. There are two kinds of people in the world being one of them. I just had to get that into the blog somehow.

      Your thought is a good one. We do that with the concrete trucks every once in a while at work in odd ball situations. Concrete companies aren’t fond of it though. They make money selling concrete not gravel. I’ve got my extra gravel coming this week and then we should have plenty.

      So much for beating the weather. We had 4 inches of snow here on Wednesday. Hopefully it won’t be here very long.

      Thanks again for writing and sending me your ideas. They are always appreciated!

      Take care!

  2. I’m waiting for the Long Island Medium episode where she ‘contacts’ someone’s motha and it goes badly: “Your motha says you are still a no good bum” and the son starts yelling “Get off my back mom”

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Mike
      Oh yeah did my boys rip me a new one when I told them I watched that show every once in a while.

      I did see one episode where Theresa said the father said “stop the shenanigans” to his daughter. They didn’t really define shenanigans though.

      I think your concept episode is sound Mike. It would be a little more interesting if things didn’t go so well from the other side. Or like you said they were a little more honest from beyond the grave.

      My original reality show was actually like a Siskel and Ebert movie review thing. But I wanted to replace Siskel and Ebert with these three Italian mobster wanabees I work with. Just thinking about these guys reviewing movies makes me laugh.

      Anyhow I’m glad your keeping up with the blog. Looks like we might have quite a bit of snow here Wednesday.

      Have a drink on me Mike and enjoy the sun!Enjoy your Thanksgiving!



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