The Little Engine That Could

Two months without a blog post? Unacceptable, I know. Good thing there are much more pressing issues in all of our lives much more difficult to accept.

Since I left off, I have done very little to the casita and a very lot in my personal life. The holidays came and went in an empty flurry of activity. I went to see Phish in New York City for two nights for New Years, my first time with them since ’99 and my first NYE shows since 2006-07, a fabulous reunion all around with old and new friends. Even without the use of any kinds of intoxicants besides the bliss of my own body-mind-music connection, I experienced a rather harsh come-down from the experience and it was clear I wouldn’t be doing any house work before leaving for another month-long meditation.

The meditation was a jewel as ever, and felt as though only a day or two had passed between the time I went into silence on January 9 til the time I came out on February 7. We got the surprising news that the course would be ending a day early due to the encroaching blizzard, which I narrowly escaped with a friend of mine from the course as we drove north to Central Vermont for a few days of family, ridiculously good food, hot tubbing, and a snowshoe up to a -20-degree 4,000-ft peak.

I digress.

Before all of that and after my last blog post, I got some small but crucial things done around Bella. For starters, the ridgecap went on (albeit clumsily and very imperfectly), anti-climatically rendering my house totally waterproof. Well, almost; it turned out the wheel wells weren’t properly treated, and so we performed some semi-invasive surgery to inquire further…

What we found was not pretty:


Water damage, anyone? As it turned out, our plywood cutting had been a bit too precise, sitting right on the wheel well, soaking up water, en route to full rot. As per usual, my dad just happened to have a power tool laying around perfect for cutting back the plywood. We passed some time just thinking and looking at the wheel well and wishing that the manufacturers had just assembled them with a slight downward slope so that sitting water wasn’t an issue in the first place. And then, we devised an acceptable plan:

I re-bought some of the generic galvanized steel drip edge I had used on the fascia and returned excess of. I also bought some more butyl caulk, my least-favorite to use since it was wicked cold and therefore extremely hard, but it really was the best for the job. I cut back the plywood so it had about 3/4″-1″ between it and the wheel well, laid a thick bead of caulk all the way along its edge, applied butyl flashing tape over that, and installed the galvanized drip edge with more butyl caulk over that. Then I sealed up the Tyvek and taped the edges. No more leaky wheel wells or wet plywood, yay!


You may remember my trepidation in ripping down treated 2x6s for the furring strips for the exterior rainwall… Refreshingly, it turned out to be much easier to rip 8′-long pieces like that than some of the shorter pieces I had ripped previously. Once my dad showed me how to get it all properly set up and I did it a few times, I settled into a meditative rhythm that zipped by in no time. This was good reinforcement for making myself do scary things a little more frequently… Which I have! 😉

I also got window drip edge, cut it all to size, and painted it the color of the windows. (I decided on a Benjamin Moore colour called Gulf Stream!) I flashed the doorway, figured out measurements for the door jamb (which I’m salvaging from my parents’ kitchen remodel), sanded it down, almost finished sanding down the door, and purchased antique-reproduction doorknob guts online to go with my blue glass doorknob only to realize that the door really doesn’t have enough space on it to accommodate a deadbolt lock. Now I’m considering just buying a skeleton key lockset. The downside to those is that they’re quite susceptible to tinkering, so I’m also on the lookout for a more modern lockset with similar sizing… but they seem to get quite expensive. I’ve also considered just going ultra ghetto and using a padlock. 🙂 To be continued…


Today I had the strange experience of picking up where I left off two months ago, in a totally different headspace: I finished listening to the last little bit of the book Wild, and painting the last few boards of siding. Another afternoon of putting up furring strips and figuring out how to screen the whole thing in will have me in a position to finally screw these suckers on there. Add in a warm couple days somewhere to sand/prime/paint the window exteriors and I will be nearing closer to the end of the exterior, something I’m thrilled about. I definitely feel ready for interior work. Okay, let’s be honest, I’m definitely ready for the whole house to be completed. I’m guesstimating another 6 months at least. Quite a many things in my life right now are unknown and in transition and I’m craving the stability of at least my own living space. I’m envisioning setting up the casita somewhere I can cohabitate with people, preferably friends, in an aesthetic setting either in the country or city. Also to be continued…


I’m sure I’m missing quite a few details, but time keeps on slipping into the future so this will have to suffice until I get back up to power tool speed (one moves rather slowly after meditating for a month) and start producing more progress on which to report. The casita is going to be in a healthy competition for my time with a number of other exciting pursuits this year. I think I can, I think I can…


3 thoughts on “The Little Engine That Could

  1. It’s looking good! I’m jealous that you knew to put your fascia boards on before putting the roof on. Something else I did “backwards” was not putting corner trim on before applying the siding, which I’m sure you’re already aware of how to do. So many little things to think about!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Hey Casey! Thanks for the positive vibrations. Where are you at with your little house now? Yeah, I’m putting the corner trim up before siding… Still not sure how it all works, but fumbling to figure it out as I go. 😉

    • My wife and I are both working to make the last bit of money we need to finish the house out. I could do a little bit at a time, but I’d rather just put the last three or four thousand bucks into materials and head out to the house for some 10-hour days, and get the thing done in one last swing.

      Don’t worry, you’re definitely not the only one figuring it out while you go!

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