2010 "Broken back"



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This was a very trying and busy summer for all of us up here in Vermont. It seemed to start out well. I had been working in Iowa from March 2010, but was lucky enough to get called back home to New England in April until the end of July.

First on the list of to-do’s list were the hemlock floor rafters that needed to be cut into half rounds logs. We had received and peeled them the previous summer “09”. They were all 16+ feet long and about 13 to 16 inches in diameter at the small ends. The portable saw mill cut them lengthwise 6 inches thick end to end. Then the mill cut the biggest hemlocks into 3”X10” Bucks for our windows and doors and then the remaining pines and hemlock logs into dimensional lumber, 1x8, 1x3, 2x4, 2x8, etc...

Gable ends were next. We decided to go with 8 inch thick gable end wall for insulating prepuces. So we started with the side that had the trapezoid windows in it. We framed the wall with 2x8 inch rough-cut and then finished it with 1x8 boards and 1x3 battens. Then we repeated the process on the other gable.

After the gables were done we needed to get new tarps on the roof because they were leaking. We had not left enough slack in them and the sun had shrunk and tore them from the UV’s. This took several more days to complete with the wind gusting and the rain coming down the weather just didn’t want to cooperate, but we finely were able to get them on and secured.

The floor rafters were going up well, we had all 14 up and leveled in about 3 weeks and then started the 2x6 T&G on the second floor. All was going as planned and then it happened, my boy James was up on the finished part of the T&G helping with the gluing and wanted to do more, he was grabbing the T&G planks being handed up by his Mom from the cutting area on the ground and he stepped backwards right though an unfinished part of the floor. He fell 13 ½ feet to the ground and landed on his back on a short pile of stacked T&G on the ground, the impact broke his back at the (L2), I understand this is the second vertebrae up from the pelvis. It was a compression fracture and the stacked T&G somewhat spilled out behind him, slightly absorbing the impact. The fracture was confined to the front part of the vertebrae and the spinal cord was untouched, thank god. Let me tell you, I felt like quite a fool for even letting him up there. Live and learn.

This set the summer project back a few weeks. Since this accident James has made a full recovery.

His Doctor said that the age of 11 is the optimal time in a child’s life (if it is going to happen at all) to get an injury, they heal and recover the fastest at that age. She also said it looked like James had the growth potential to be over 6 ft tall, which is even taller than me. One last thing on this subject, THE RULE (put in place by James) was that no one should be walking backwards at anytime on the second floor. And we all agreed that this was a good rule. It was getting late, about 4:45 and we were going to stop in 15 minutes for dinner, and we were all getting tired and he wasn’t thinking straight. And that is what happened, he took the board and started walking backwards with it, in a different direction then he had been going and there was the hole.OK, after this horrifying incident we needed to get back on track. We finished the second floor T&G in about two more weeks. Now the preparation work on the crawl space under the house needed to be started. We were going to pour cement as a slab but the cost was too great for our budget so we decided to do crushed rock. (Like Shark "LHBA Member" did in Indiana). We leveled the ground, with a slight slope for drainage and placed boards around the perimeter so we could pour the footings for the rock walls under the logs. We put down 6 millimeter plastic, and brought in some ¾ inch crushed rock, about 6 inches deep. Next I mixed up some cement and chinked the inside of the lower logs so we could get the first floor started. 2x12 PT planks were lagged to the second course of the logs ¾ of the way around the inside of the house and then on the first log in one corner were the sunken living room floor was going to be. The hangers and floor joist were next. Then we nailed up ¼ inch hardware cloth (galvanized mesh) under the whole floor and made sure it was completely secured to all the side logs. So we would not have rodent problems under the floor. The mesh was in place of the Wood Furring Strips usually used to support the Dow Blue Board Insulation recommended. Next, we placed about 2 inches of fiberglass insulation on the hardware mesh between each floor joists and then poured in shredded Blue Board Foam Insulation we bought from a company that makes specialized application refrigeration units in Maine. They shread their scraps and sell them in 55 gallon bags for $5 each. It took about 70 bags to do the whole first floor, so about $350 in shredded Blue Board Foam Insulation, about $300 in wire mesh and about $75 in used reclaimed bagged pink fiberglass, also $5 a bag. For a total of $625 to insulate the whole first floor with an “R” value of about R-60, not bad. Last we cut a rough opening for the front door just before we closed in the rest of the first floor with T&G. I made a quick door out of left over T&G. made a frame from rough cut and then we started moving in stuff from our other storage areas. We are still working on the insulation between the logs to keep the snow off the T&G floors. That is all for now and hope all your projects are going well, good luck and good health