Of Heat Pump Prep……..The Gravy….It’s Homemade!!!

Does it seem as if time is flying by right now or what? I don’t know but another weekend has come and gone at record pace it seems to me. Maybe it’s the weather? It has been unseasonably warm this October here in the Northeast. The weatherman said the other day that we are on schedule to have the warmest October on record this year. The Fall colors are finally here as well. Much later than usual.

Not really sure why I’m mentioning this but welcome and I hope everything is going alright in your neck of the woods so to speak.

I’m hoping to get the stone guy going in a week or two as well as  the mini split  heat pump. Gotta get that straightened out early this week. I did get a good portion of the prep work done for them this weekend. I should be able to finish what’s needed next weekend if the weather holds up. We shall see.

A short story before we begin.

Mother-in-Law made dinner again for the record. Chicken parmigan. With the homemade gravy. Or sauce if you live in Northern Italy. It was really good. But I don’t think I’ve ever explained what happens to your innards after partaking of my Mother-in-Law’s gravy. Put it to you this way. Your not going to be able to sit at the dinner table all that long. You’re going to have to sit somewhere else. You are catching my drift are you not? But then something happened that the gravy did not intend….It did not have its intended effect. Which was  kind of weird. I mean this stuff works like a charm. I was actually, on a subliminal level, surprised at the lack of said usual effect. Which is a good thing.

Then we said goodbye and went to bed.

I awoke with a start! Something is wrong. I broke out in a sweat……and then I realized the gravy had a delayed reaction. I bet you she’s been experimenting with this stuff so it would hit me when I’m in my car on my way to work. It’s sick.

Needless to say I was late for work. Through no fault of my own I might add. But what boss is going to believe a story like that? “I had my Mother-in-Law’s chicken parmigan last night!”  Yeah, okay, right.

I need some sort of food taster or something. Probably could find something on the internet.

Let’s get going shall we?


….and so we shall.

So the main focus this weekend was to prep the wall where the mini split heat pump is going to be installed. This device is a wall mounted unit and has to get attached to the wall where the hallway is. Therefore I have to finish the wall in order to install it. Meaning sheetrock. I wanted to use 12 foot boards and stand them up vertically. This way there are only vertical seems in the sheetrock with no quote unquote “butt joints”. Butt joints are much harder to tape and hide than a tapered joint.

The first order of business was to finish framing the wall over the hallway. I had never studded it out. It was all ladder work so it was kind of slow.

Finishing the studs over the hallway.

Once this was done I used a 1/2″x4’x8′ piece of sheetrock directly over the center of the hallway. I held it in place with a ledger board square and tight to the ceiling and then scribed the ceiling on the board. The other thing I did was make sure that board was vertically plumb. This was because the adjacent boards on either side are going to go from floor to ceiling and if the first sheet is off it’s going to be really hard to cut out for the electrical switches.

I was by myself when I was installing this so I wasn’t so sure how the 12 foot boards would be installing them by myself. The curvature of the ceiling definitely does not make it easy. How did I do it?

The first thing I did was take the cutoff from the first sheet and screw it in next to the first sheet I installed as high as it would go to the ceiling and keeping a tight joint. Then I scribed the ceiling line onto the sheet. I also took a measurement from the ceiling down to the floor at this point.

Next I went to the 4×12 sheet marked that measurement on the new sheet and aligned the scribed cut sheet to this point. I cut this out. Then I went back inside and took measurements for the electrical boxes. I put them on the board and cut them out as well.

After that I carefully picked up the board off the table I had it on and walked it into the house. I lowered the bottom onto the floor and pushed the top into place.

For the record: The first one went in nice but I wasn’t careful enough with the second one and it snapped in half as I was standing it up. Very annoying. Luckily Ethan was helping out later on that day and picked up another sheet for me. He also gave me a hand installing it. A few pictures.

Ethan screwing off the board into the studs.
Cutting the circle out.

You cut the circle out in place. In other words you put the full sheet in and then cut it out with a sheetrock saw and a utility knife. So a circle is a little different. In order to cut it out I had to make a series of saw cuts in the sheetrock so they would break off nice when I cut them out with the sheetrock knife.

I know I think I’ve lost most of you with the details. Sorry. But sheet rocking the walls of a Hobbit house is not going to be easy.

First three sheets are in.

We also did the leveling base for the compressor for the mini split heat pump. I wanted it to sit on a gravel bed. I had Ethan dig up the dirt on the roof and then I built a little frame that we set level for the compressor. Then Ethan filled it in with gravel. Check it out.

Ethan digging out the compressor base.
Compressor base done.

I put two layers of filter fabric down so we don’t get any grass growing through there.

The last item I my agenda was to set up a 2×6 out front to indicate the final grade of the front lawn. I’m going to have the excavation guy come in and grade front and back and put gravel on the house side of the 2×6. Check it out.

2×6 set for final grade and gravel.

Running out of time.

Enjoy your week!


PS: Aragorn’s knife:

Aragorn’s hunting knife that he received as a gift from the Elves.

That’s Elvish for “Foe of Morgoth’s Realm”

One last shot:

7am concrete. Pouring the 25th floor on 1865 Broadway


4 thoughts on “Of Heat Pump Prep……..The Gravy….It’s Homemade!!!”

  1. Hi Jim, If you want to try bending sheetrock, expect a few failures till you get the timing right, there is a fine line between soft enough to bend, versus turning into total mush, but a little experimentation with scraps and you’ll get the hang of it. As always, best wishes, your project really is inspiring……………john

  2. Hi Jim, Hobbit house progress is looking good. I don’t know if you want to try to sheet rock inside curvature of round hallway, but it might be possible with 3/8 sheetrock, you have to mist both sides to soften it and work slowly, but it is possible to get it to bend. I don’t think it is possible with anything thicker. Might not work due to tight radius, but up to you. Misting process takes about one hour to soften all the way through. Once it dries it retains the shape and hardens back up enough to finish. As always, best wishes……john

    • Hi John! Yeah I was actually thinking 1/4 inch rock. I’ve heard of misting but never been involved with a situation where I needed to bend sheetrock. From what I’ve read it shouldn’t be a problem…might need a little more patience though. I’m really not sure how I’m going to finish the hallway yet either. I’m leaning more towards a combination of paneling and a sheetrock combo. I have a few ideas. I’m going to look at some pictures from the movie. That’s going to have to come out pretty good.

      Made a deal with a stone guy the other day and I’m hoping that he will start the beginning of November.

      Take it easy!


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