Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chapter 5...Getting the Trusses for the House

Hi everyone. Welcome to chapter 5 the week of June 23, 2008.

Now is the time Mike and I enjoy the most. We get to start working without anyone else around. Our goal this week is to get the house enclosed.

Our Roof trusses were delivered. We got 20 trusses, 31 feet long, and they weigh 155 lbs. each. We met the delivery truck on the county road to make sure he could get in. He made it through our right-of-way with no problems.

We got them in the gate and past the barn and Mike and I went back up top to the homesite. We could hear the delivery truck driving up and stopping, then backing up and starting all over again. You guessed it. He couldn't make it up our hill. Mike had to go down with the tractor to see if he could help. I stayed up top working on seeding and covering hills with the curlex rolls. Meanwhile Mike is trying everything he can to get the truck up the hill. He even tries to drive it himself but nothing works. The truck just can't make it. After about 30 minutes Mike tells the driver to just unload the trusses on the side of our road. As the driver goes to unload the trusses the strap breaks and the trusses are like matchsticks in the middle of the road. On top of that the trusses are now behind the truck so the driver can't get out. Mike and the driver now have to move each of the trusses by hand onto the side of the road. Now they are right next to our metal roof that also couldn't get up our hill. This is the metal roof with string around it to proptect it from the cows.

We are getting quite a collection there. During this whole mess our well man shows up to finish the well. He installed the pump, the bladder tank, a frost free faucet, and the cement cover. At least that went well.

So, now instead of working on the house we have to figure out how to get the trusses to the top. Mike and I grab a chain and hop on the tractor. We chain 2 trusses at a time to the middle of the bucket and lift the bucket. Then we slowly drive the tractor to the top. So 10 trips later we finally have the trusses at the top next to the homesite. This took us most of the day.

This is Mike coming up the hill

Our lumber delivery also gets there and he makes it up our hill going "backwards". He went backwards because he didn't know if there was enough room at the top to turn around. I give the kid credit, at least he was thinking. He was very suprised to find plenty of room at the top. I wish he delivered the trusses.

Ah, finally it's just me and Mike. Yeah! We start working on the front wall of the house. We start out by sliding lumber down the back of the house to the inside.
It's much easier than carrying it down the hill and around the house. We get out the generator, ladder, tape measure, level, saw, pen, t square, screw gun, and screws. Yes, I said screws. We are screwing this entire house together. Mike wants to make it really strong and that it never comes apart.
We only have the front wall to build because both sides and the back are solid concrete. We start out with a 12 foot section in the middle. We build the walls on the floor and then we will stand them up. It's an easy section because there are no windows or doors. We get that done really fast. Next we start to work on one of the walls to the left of the center wall. Oh no, I forgot to bring the measurements for the rough opening of our patio door. Now I have to drive back to the motorhome and get them. Forty minutes later I get back and Mike, always impatient, is trying to put the first truss up by himself. He can be so stubborn but I love him anyway. I get out of the car and help him put the truss up. At least it was an easy one because it sits entirely on the outer wall. Now we get back to working on the other 2 walls. They are identical walls on both sides of the solid center wall. Each one will have a sliding glass door. One in the Kitchen and one in the Living Room. We get the walls laid out on the floor and we stand them up one section at a time and then screw everything together. This is Mike working on the front wall.

This is what we did today

We brace the front walls, put the cow rope back around the house and call it a day.


We started out by finishing the front wall. We had some more work to do on the headers(for the patio doors). Mike also had to finish the top plate so we could get the trusses up.

Mike then measures and marks the front and back top plate every 2 feet so we know where to put the trusses. This is how we were supposed to get the trusses up: We were both gong to slide 1 truss over the back wall of the house. I was going to hold the back of the truss even with the back of the house and Mike was going to go around front and walk up a ladder while carrying his end of the truss. This would've worked 10 or 20 years ago but not anymore. It was just too much for Mike to do. On to Plan B. Bring the tractor into the house and use the bucket to lift the truss as high as it can go and Mike can lift it the rest of the way. This worked fairly well but it was very stressful and a lot of up and down for Mike. We slid the truss down the wall together, then Mike would go around the hill and into the house, lift the truss onto the bucket, then lift the bucket as I slowly slid the truss foward. When the bucket couldn't go any higher Mike would climb up and lift the truss onto the front wall. Then we would stand the truss up together. At this point I was a nervous wreck because these trusses are very flimsy and I had to hold it steady until Mike could get back up top to screw it in for me. We finally got the system down but we only got 7 trusses up today. This is how our day went.

Sliding the truss down the back wall

Lifting it up with the bucket

Mike lifting the truss the rest of the way

This is what we did today

Lisa and Mike


  1. So ... let me ask you ... does it ever rain there??? Some right gorgeous weather from what I can see.

    And what the heck is up with the cows??? Darn things. Have any regrets about letting them graze on your property yet?? LOL

  2. We actually had a fantastic year the year we built. We got very lucky. This year looks like it will be a very wet year.

    We have been here almost 5 years now and the only real regret about the cows is our woods. Mike and I took a walk last Fall and realized that over the border fence there was a lot of new trees growing. We have no new trees because the cows either eat them or trample them. We lose a lot of trees each year due to nature and we would like to start replenishing our forest next spring.