Of Styrofoam, and Gravel…..It Seems Awful Cold in Here!

The world has changed….

I feel it in the water….

I feel it in the earth…

I smell it in the air…

Much that once was,  is lost. …for none now live who remember it….(Fellowship of the Ring music in the background.) You kind of have to be a Lord of the Rings person to get it. Apologies to all who aren’t with us on that one. But welcome and I’m glad as always to see you made it back for another addition of the Hobbit Hollow Construction Blog. I hope everything is well. The holiday season is upon us and all.

The holidays….A double edged sword if ever there was one. I could probably write a book on the holidays. It would probably be called something like: “A Hobbit Hollow Christmas…The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” We’re definitely gonna try to stick to construction though. That’s what it’s all about.

I was actually thinking I could probably use some of that super sod as a spacer between some of the conduits. It will make it easier to put on the couplers in the spring. The early Italians developed super sod. It was sort of like their duct tape of today. You could use it for just about anything back then. You know like shimming rocks for an acqueduct, fixing a heel on a sandal, etc.  But I digress. (Food of the gods????????)

Just to get back to where I was originally going. ( This super sod thing is really in my head now) The world has changed was the original thought here.

Have you ever walked into your house and realized that something has changed? You feel it in the air for sure. You say to yourself: It’s freezing in here. Then the editor says: “There’s no heat in here. I’m freezing.”  Which is then followed by an expletive from myself realizing that what I had planned for the day is now going to change. Great!

So you guessed it. The boiler isn’t working at the old homestead and I can’t figure out what’s wrong! No heat, no hot water. That’s a problem that has to be dealt with now. What I don’t get is why, when you call the plumber, he can’t sort of give you a rough idea of when he’s going to get to your house. I mean I call the guy up at 8 am and he says:” I have one stop ahead of you and then I’ll be over.”  I didn’t ask him  how long it would be. You know I kind of figured he’s got like an hour or so at one job and then he’d be over. He should be over by 10:30 the latest, right? Right???? This guy does know I’m building a Hobbit House on the weekends and it’s the holidays, doesn’t he? I’ve got errands to run as well.

Okay Jim get to the point will ya. Well he wasn’t here by 10:30 so I called. Just to find out if he’s gonna show up at like three o’clock.  If he’s going to be that late at least I can get my errands done. I leave a message. He never calls back. Oh well. I took care of the Christmas lights outside so it wasn’t a total loss. He showed up just as I was finishing putting together my rebar Christmas tree outside.(Like around noon.) Were you expecting a concrete guy’s tree to be normal? Check it out.


Rebar Christmas Tree
Rebar Christmas Tree

Anyway the plumber got the system back up and running in about an hour. I had scheduled the plumber to come out Monday to check out the boiler. I knew something was wrong. So he’s going to swap out a few things that need replacing. So it was a timely visit. I just couldn’t get over to the hobbit house when I wanted to.

I did send Ethan, Terence, and Peter over there though with instructions to start leveling off the gravel I had put in last Sunday. I forget which day I went over there but I put the insulation blankets down on the ground so the dirt wouldn’t freeze. I thought that that would be enough  but I was wrong. The gravel froze quite a bit. When I got there the three of them were hacking at the gravel with picks and shovels.

Levelng the gravel
Levelng the gravel

They did a good job. It was pretty rough though. All the hacking at the gravel I mean. There was no other way though….and of course we didn’t have enough gravel. That didn’t help my demeanor. I’m going to have to order more. I’m going to call the concrete plant and see if they’ll deliver stone like Frank had mentioned. Have to check out the cost though. At least Jude and Ethan are home now so I could schedule the delivery for during the week. We shall see.

So just to play it safe we covered up the whole slab with styrofoam insulation and the blankets. This way when we do get the balance of the gravel we will be able to spread it out and level the whole thing in one shot. Check it out.

Covered gravel with insulation blankets and styrofoam.
Covered gravel with insulation blankets and styrofoam.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention a few weeks ago I received the insulation for under the slab.

So when I got this delivery I wasn’t able to be there. They had a spider on the back of the truck to unload it. So I really didn’t have to be there. I was nervous though. It’s a costly item and you should be there to count it so there are no problems later. The driver called me on delivery day and said he was an hour away at like 8 AM. I told him where to put it and he said no problem. I never heard back from him though. So I call my mother-in-law and ask her if she wouldn’t mind driving by and seeing if the guy had dropped off  a load of white styrofoam  at the house. She says fine no problem. She’s watching a rerun of Judge Judy so she didn’t have a problem taking a quick ride before the next episode.  She calls me back and says there’s a bunch of big black boxes in the driveway. I’m not kidding. Black? I’m thinking that’s weird. I guess they shrink wrapped the white styro in black. Never heard of that before. Do you see the same picture as me?

Underslab styrofoam delivered.
Underslab styrofoam delivered.

What is the color of George Washington’s white horse, dear mother in law?

It’s white….for the record.

That’s all for now. Here are the boys at the end of their days work.

Ethan, Terence, Peter
Ethan, Terence, Peter

Just quick on a Christmas note. The boys are home and their mother asks them to bring the chair downstairs to make room for the tree. Look at where the geniuses from college re-located the chair.

Make room for the tree.
Make room for the tree.

Now to get into the family room you have to high hurdle the chair. It’s fun. Merry Christmas!

Enjoy the season!

Hobbit Hollow Jim

6 thoughts on “Of Styrofoam, and Gravel…..It Seems Awful Cold in Here!”

  1. Personally, I’m loving the rebar tree — takes little storage space, won’t blow over, hard to wear out. Still not sturdy enough to go in my front field where the cow would rub against it (it might push back! which would be fun!) and the goats would chew on the wires (because anything new must be chewed upon,) but great for anyone else’s front yard.

    Yay for children home to help with the chores! (Here the work is rolling round bales and stacking fire wood.) #s 3 and 4 are home from school and I’ve put them to work.

    • Hi Sally! It’s good to hear from you and I’m glad you like the rebar Christmas tree. I’ll have to make one for the Hobbit House for next Christmas. It really is low maintenance.

      It’s always nice to have some help around the house. The kids got quite a bit done this week for me over at the house. It really is nice when everyone returns home.(Them being here is really my Christmas present)

      Wishing you and your family a wonderful and merry Christmas this year!Take care and thanks for writing as always!


  2. Jim,

    Merry Christmas. I have to say I like your tree. It looks like just the kind of thing I would put up. I used to have one that was a 15′ PVC pipe pole with lights strung down to the ground, but now my oak trees take up too much of the yard and I don’t have room to put it up.

    It looks like your teenagers and my teenagers are in cahoots. That chair is just the kind of thing one of my boys would pull.

    Have you thought about putting the couplers on the ends of the conduit now? You don’t have to connect anything to them. But they will hold things apart so you can get to them in the spring.

    All the blessings of the holidays to you and your’s.


    • Frank! I’m glad you like the tree. It’s actually pretty hard to put together by yourself though. The kids don’t understand. They still wonder why we’re the only ones in town who don’t decorate a live outdoor tree.

      Like I said…what do you expect from a reinforced concrete guy?

      Anyway I was thinking the same thought as you with the conduits. Gotta get some couplers on there now before we pour the concrete. That was how I came up with the reference to the super sod spacers. It’s in my nature to break my mother-in-laws chops. She takes it well though.

      I also called up the concrete plant to try to get a number on gravel out of a concrete truck. They said they won’t do it. I had a feeling. Probably if I was a regular customer they might have. Oh, well.

      The college boys are home and they need cash. It will keep them out of trouble as well. At least for a while.

      Have a wonderful holiday as well…. You and your family Frank. Thanks for writing!


      PS: My boys didn’t even realize they did something wrong with the chair. Is it me? Where have I gone wrong? Merry Christmas!

  3. Hi Jim well here we go again, I didn”t say black boxes I acctually don’t remember what I said,but I know it was’t black,What kind of phone do you have, check it out.I have another idea I haven’t bought your christmas gift yet maybe I should look into a hearing aid. And as far as suppresata it is the gift from the gods,look at all the uses you found for it,well judge judy is on have to go. Keep up the good work, now that my handsome grandsons are there to help the old man it should go well.Hope the editor gives the old lady a break on grammer and all the rest of my writing,it is all done in love. Love mother-in-law

    • I’m gonna reply. Only because the Editor said I have to though.(I think she actually threatened me if I didn’t!!!) First of all. You said black. (I may have tinnitus but I heard that one loud and clear.) Maybe I’ll get you a gift card to the opticians in town.

      Secondly the Editor is going to have a field day with your comment. Maybe instead of watching Judge Judy you can tune into Bert and Ernie. You know and get some tips on capitals, spacing and the like. The Editor is definitely not going to give you a break.

      Anyway thanks for writing and I’m really looking forward to the dinner on Christmas Eve. I’ll pass on the super sod.

      Love ya,

      PS: …and make sure you put that fan rake I borrowed from the old man back in the right place. We gotta keep him in the dark about that kind of stuff as much as possible. Well…we could always blame Tony. See you soon!


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