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Oy, I might need a new fundraiser.

By now I thought I’d have nice, dramatic pictures for you of the back wall coming down. That was supposed to be first thing on today’s Great Foundation and Screen Porch Project agenda.

The wall’s still sitting there boringly in place.

Not that we ran into more disasters or anything. On the contrary. The Wandering Monk simply decided it would be a good idea to get the entire west wall up on a permanent new beam before he started teardown. He not only did that but also managed to do some serious, if only partial, house leveling. So it was a gratifying day. Only not a dramatic one.

Yep, boring. Kinda like this picture.

Naturally as he tore at the base of that wall, more rot came to light. Nothing that couldn’t be handled. But I was amazed to discover how much water had been wicking into the structure — far up into parts of the structure not resting on the ground. The bottom several inches of the wall studs were soggy and saturated. The sill plate under them had disintegrated. The studs themselves were mostly blessedly intact. Just WET.

We contemplated whether that wall should be ripped down and entirely rebuilt. (Oh no!) Although I absolutely want to do things right on this project, I v*ted against that, reasoning that we’re going to run into more surprises before we’re finished; if I’m going to blow the budget I’d rather blow it on some yet-unknown necessity rather than on a wall which, at most, needs drying out plus a few sisters.

Apparently water has been traveling up-up-up-up into the structure for years. Traveling through the boards that touched the ground into parts of the wall that never had any reason to get wet. Also, with so little clearance under that part of the building plus bad drainage, the soil there never dried out and every season of the year sent its evil, rotting emanations up into the underside of the house.

Still, this job was doable. And these drainage/ventilation/ground prep problems are being fixed as we go.

We also discovered, quite entertainingly, that one post in a key spot was sitting neither on a concrete pad nor a pier block. It was supported — if you can even use that word — by a section of tree trunk.

Another point to the good: the minion the Monk brought today was a grizzled former rancher, the kind of guy who knows how to do a little of everything. He was very helpful and a hard worker. Then, when I went out at the end of the day to ask the minion what I owed him (because the Monk said in this instance he didn’t want a minion markup and asked to be left out of the financial dealings), he didn’t want any pay. Just requested me to do some promotion for him, which I’ll gladly try.

Back to the bad again, he’s just a one-day minion, a friend of the Monk’s, and we’re still left with heavy lifting to do. Heavy lifting is not my strong suit. Oh well.

And the teardown? Maybe tomorrow. Sans minion. Back to Minion Claire.

Today, figuring I wasn’t much needed, I tried to do a little artwork. Between general distraction and discovering that I was needed (but of course needed only whenever I sat down to Attempt Art), I barely made a start.

But yeah. The way things are going, I might need another — maybe minor — fundraiser. I certainly thank the small but generous core of blog readers who’ve been quietly sending me funds, unasked, over the last few months. Your generosity gave me a cushion for this project and has already covered the icon-painting class. (Now less than a month away!)

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