Category Archives: SOWER Projects 2014

SOWER projects worked in 2014

Mixed Media

It’s been quite a week here in the RVThereYet world! My last post talked about the diversity that comes with being a SOWER, and this past week just proved the point.
This was the knee pads and work glove day.
After finishing the demolition for the first section of  walkway (there are 8 sections total), Gary needed my help to get the framing and footings in.
That board along the building. Long and Heavy. He needed me! (Actually he needed someone a bit stronger than me, but he made do). I’m a pretty good bubble watcher (as in the level bubble) and I’m fast learning how important that bubble in the middle is! Before too long we (he) had the corner post in and was working down the other side.
And then we really got into it!

So thankful for knee pads and work gloves.
By lunch time we/he had the frame up and the joist hangers started and ready for the joists!
And by the end of the day –
the deck was on its way!
Since Gary didn’t need me on Tuesday, I moved to the kitchen where I donned an apron and tackled several dozen over-ripe bananas left over from the previous weekend’s group lack of banana eating.
Piles of over-ripe banana + giant mixing equipment = 10 loaves of banana bread, 1 sheet cake, and about 75 mini-muffins (not all of which made it to the freezer. Just sayin.)
Wednesday found me in a motel room, finishing up some priming so it would be ready for a finish coat.
I got ‘er done and then was able to hop over to the main lobby where an impromptu upholstery shop had been set up.
Mary and her son Donnie have an upholstery shop in NC and for many years have come to Montrose with their tools and reupholstered whatever it was that needed to be done. From sofas to chairs to pillows – they just kept going and going!
Now I’ve done a fair bit of sewing in my day, but I’ve never tackled any type of upholstery. So I totally enjoyed watching those masters at work earlier in the week. And on this day I finally was able to give it a try. Mary set me up on her commercial machine and had me make a pillow or two.
While I have made pillows before, it’s never been on a machine like this!
I’m sure with practice I would have found a moderate speed, but as far as I could tell it went from 0 to 60 with the tap of the toe. I’m happy to report that no fingers were sewn in the making of these pillows.
Thursday was a wrap up loose ends day as we were planning on heading to the Cabin for the weekend and then would be away the following week taking care of routine doctor visits and enjoying some family and friend visits. Although the official railing has yet to be installed, Gary had finished that first section of walkway so the rooms could be used. Turned out pretty sweet, didn’t it?
By mid afternoon on Thursday we had officially started our 4th of July celebration –
Happy 4th of July everyone! We're hanging out at the cabin, so I'm pretty sure ours will be just fine! #myhappyplace
Friday was pretty much an All-Cabin day. And even though it was cool and cloudy, it still was a treasure! We got some chores done and took naps and read our books and cooked with cast iron.
Cabin cooking at its finest. Ancient Griswold cast iron pan, piles of peppers and onions, natural casing kielbasa, and Colatina rolls (possibly the best rolls on the planet) all served up on paper plates. Oh, did I mention it's even cool enough that we ha
Classic Cabin all the way. And for us, a great way to celebrate the 4th of July!
Why, that’s today! We’re headed over to a family reunion at the Dwinell Homestead today. We’ll be seeing lots of folks that we don’t know, but it should be a fun day. While this reunion happens every year, we probably haven’t been there in over 10 years. Who are you again?
Guess I better get this post published while my internet is being cooperative – and then I better start getting ready to go! Hope your holiday weekend is going well – and if you don’t hear from me for a bit, it’s just because I’m busy hugging family!

A bit of diversity….

One of the things that I love about SOWERS is that often our jobs change every day. I’ve been doing a bit of painting here and there, but mostly I’ve tried to be available to be Gary’s Helper. Since the motel sidewalk project has been moving kind of slowly, Gary has been working hard to fill his days – and mine too! He’s had to trouble shoot an A/C issue or two –
I wasn’t much help on the first one (all those gauges and things), but on the second one I was the chief tool getter and ladder holder. Both tasks fully within my skill set. 🙂
But one day this week, he really put me to work. See these pine trees?
Our job was to trim the second and third pine trees in this row (you can’t even tell the third one is there) to look like the first one (trimmed by Gary the week before!). Needless to say, Gary was the ladder-man in this job.
Or maybe I should say he was the tree-climbing man –
Or maybe the tree-hugging man…..
Me? Well I was the haul the branches away girl (and once again the ladder holder). I was also the one holding my breath knowing I would not have been very effective in catching the tree-climbing one!
Not a bad morning’s work for a couple of folks who get a Senior Citizen Discount most everywhere they go!
I’m happy to report that a local tree service came later in the week and chipped up the branches (and for way less than it would have cost us to rent a chipper and do the work ourselves – how sweet is that!) and hauled away all the chips (is that what the product of a chipper is called?). Which is a good thing, because by Friday afternoon the material for the new walkway had arrived and needed a place to live.
Gary and the maintenance guys continued to break away the concrete along the first section
and by Saturday afternoon they had it leveled pretty well.
Motel walkway
Tomorrow (Monday) I’ll be his helper again as he begins the actual construction of the new deck/walkway.
Should I be concerned that we picked up a new pair of knee-pads at Lowes today?
Hmmm…… We’ll see what the new day will bring!

The Work Week

Did you have a good week? It’s been a little-bit-of-this, little-bit-of-that kind of week for us here in Montrose. Our main “assignment” this summer is to be rehabbing the walk-ways along the motel units here at the conference center.
Now this isn’t the newest facility in the world, but the rooms have been updated and they are a great addition to the accommodations that are available. But the walk-ways – Ugh. Failed concrete has been covered over with macadam (really?) and now that has failed. It really gives the motel a “poor relation” feel, which is sad since they really are nice rooms. After looking at many options, it was decided to rework those walkways using decking – you know, the man-made, minimal maintenance kind of decking. And that looked like a job for Gary!
But as so often is the case, before he can get to the fun part (engineering and building the decking/stairs), there is the getting-it-ready process. And it’s turning out to be quite the progress, indeed! First you have to remove the macadam, which popped up pretty easily, but revealed the badly failed concrete beneath. The original plan was to do the decking right over the concrete, but it was such a mess that it really needs to be removed. And that had Gary using (for the first time ever) this beast –
The Jack Hammer.
And after an entire day using that bone-jarring piece of equipment-
he realized that this first time of using the jack hammer, would also be (Lord willing) his last! (Thank goodness for that jumbo bottle of ibuprofen.)
After clean-up (with the help of a backhoe and trailer) it looked better, but all that loose stuff still needs to be removed.
He also realized there were a couple of other issues that needed to be addressed – like this water valve/pipe that is located right at the corner.
Yeah, this would be a good time to solve this problem too!

So that was Gary’s week – getting just one section (out of 8) a little bit closer to actually building the new landing.
And my week – well, let’s just say it was bright and cheery!

We’re pretty happy to see the weekend, especially since as soon as I get this posted I’ll be getting ready to go celebrate a great-nieces high school graduation. And any day that I get to see family, is a good day!

Hope you have a good one too!

I’m trying – honest!

I’ve been back home for a week now and the whole “catching up” thing is proving to be quite elusive. I’ve finally weeded through my email in-box and I THINK I’m just about caught up on my SOWER administrative items. Ok, not all the way, but I’m close. Reallllly close. Sometimes when I have one of those weeks where it just seems to go from mundane to mundane it’s fun to look back through my phone photos to see just what’s been photo-worthy in the last week. Here goes –
Our Montrose home
We’ve been in this parking spot more than any other spot in the (almost) 10 years we’ve been on the road. Crazy!
(And I love that the washer and dryer are in the little building right next door. 🙂 )
Wish Come True
ATV Gary
Gary’s been talking about purchasing a used ATV for use at the cabin for about 4 years. (Right about the time my brother left his at the cabin while we were there, and Gary realized what a help it was for all his projects. Oh, and it was pretty fun too!). Any-who – while I was away at Girls Week, it finally happened. The right price, the right year, the right “options” – his wish come true. We’ve enjoyed it here at Montrose (note the Bibles all strapped down for the ride to church), but it will soon be on its way to the cabin and that big ol’ Garage-Mahal!
Montrose Trees-5
We didn’t actually have anything to do with this, but it was fun to watch these giant evergreens being taken down from in front of the main building at the upper campus.
Montrose Trees-9
And I especially appreciate it when the camp director and his son are right in the thick of things!
Montrose Trees-11
Road Shots
Even though our only “road trip” are really just a “Lowes trip”, I still can’t seem to stop taking pictures of the road ahead.
Especially when we take a detour that gets quite scenic (and dirt). Sorry about that car wash, honey.
Although Gary & I did work on getting this room painted (hello, yellow!), it was a pretty quiet work week for me. (Quite thankfully, I might add, since I was so far behind on my computer chores.) Gary found plenty to do with getting the A/C ready for the season and I showed up occasionally to help him with a bit of thermostat programing, but mostly I hung around the RV and worked on that elusive “catching up”.
I’m happy to report that now that I am ALMOST caught up, we’re taking off again tomorrow! This weekend is our annual Cabin Association Meeting (up at The Cabin, of course), and as a “senior sibling” member of the board, it’s my duty to attend. Such hardship – a visit with dear friends along the way, a day with ALL my siblings (plus a couple of spouses and nieces) and a little chit-chat about cabin business. Oh, and we have to deliver that ATV too!
I’m happy to take one for the team this time!


Miracle Mountain

Well, we came in the rain and we left in the rain
but in between we had a great couple of weeks!
Miracle Mountain Ranch is a western-themed camp and retreat center that is also home to an 11 month discipleship program for high-school graduates. And it was really those hard-working kids that made this project so special.
But first, the SOWER stuff!
Because we had made arrangements to scoot out of the project a week early, Gary worked extra long days and extra days in general to make sure that even though we were only going to be there for two weeks, Miracle Mountain would get (essentially) three weeks of work. And work hard he did! The first week was consumed with chipping up tile. It was a mystery (that thankfully has been solved), but the tile in the newly finished men’s bathroom was popping up. It all had to come up and get cleaned up, and the floor had to be made ready (again) for the tile installation.
It was a long, noisy, and dusty week, but by the end of it the room was ready to be re-tiled. However, since they hadn’t figured out what had caused the problem, they didn’t want to start the re-tiling. Gary was OK to say good-bye to that job and move on to something else! While he did a couple of small jobs around the campus, he also took care of some painting at the new barn –
Oh, yeah baby – a man lift! Now that certainly perked up his day! He painted all of that gray surface, and thankfully he had a spray painter for that part. Because it was a pretty big barn –
and doing it this way could have been pretty tedious!
I did a little work in the office, and spent one delightful morning in the kitchen, but most of my time was spent working on getting the gardens tidied up after a very hard winter.
So I'm supposed to trim off anything that isn't green, right? #gardeningisnotmystrongsuit
“So I’m supposed to trim off anything that isn’t green, right? That isn’t going leave much.” I’m not usually a huge fan of playing in the dirt (don’t judge me, I’m just trying to be honest here!) but this I thoroughly enjoyed. We not only had some beautiful days for gardening, but I got to work with one of the apprentices, Ellyn, and she was such a delight!
You see, the students that come to the discipleship program here at Miracle Mountain don’t just come for Bible classes and spiritual growth opportunities. They come here to WORK.  They all have jobs at the ranch during the year, but as camping season approaches each student gets assigned an area of specialization. Some will be counselors, many will work with the horses, some are in housekeeping, lawncare, building maintenance, and one will be in landscaping. That’s Ellyn!
It was such fun to work along side this sweet young lady! She’s enthusiastic, energetic, smart, funny, tenderhearted and she laughed at my jokes. What’s not to love!
Plus she’s pretty handy with that Cub Cadet too!
While we met many of the students and enjoyed our time with all of them, it was really special for me to get to know Ellyn. Although we were generations apart in age, we still were kindred spirits at heart.  It was hard to say good-bye, but I know we’ll be staying in touch (thanks in a large part to Facebook!).

So even though our time at Miracle Mountain Ranch was short, it was a grace filled couple of weeks. I do have some additional pictures (stop rolling your eyes!) and I tried to caption them so they might make some sense :). If you’d like to see them – click HERE!
Boots at MMRM