Reflections finishing up 1996

Okay it is the spring of 1996.  We are still mending fences taken down from the flood.  Our hardware store did not have water come in overland from the flood, but it did perk (I hope that is the right word) up from the ground.  We had a dirt floor and the water table raised to about 5′ from the floor and took out our heating system.  We had a couple of hours to clear all our inventory out of the basement so we were able to save that.

I worked as the City Clerk of the little town and also as dispatcher, so I spent 16 hour days taking care of the town and Lynn taking care of the Hardware store, so our property and homes weren’t in immediate danger so they were ignored for about 4 months.

As summer came around and things were drying up, we could assess the damage.  We were in the middle of lambing as we had about 30 sheep and 2 prize rams.  We lost all the lambs as they went down stream.  The ewes and rams were okay for the time being.  The best ram ended up dying a few months later as he had ingested a lot of silt from the flood.

Fences repaired.  Now back to the dream house.  Well, yeah…. The dream house would have to wait.  Though the flood did one thing, we were able to tell what the 50 year flood mark would be as it left a water ring around the foundation.  We live in a rural area so we ended up with a lot of silt/top soil from the wheat fields.  FEMA assisted the town residences with clearing flood mud off of the land.  We had approximately 3 feet of silt in the back yard.  That was removed and placed in the area we had designated for the detached garage and Lynn’s shop.  That mud raised the elevations of those areas and was compacted for the garage and shop.  In the event of another flood (and it appears we have them every 30 yrs) we would be above the flood plane.  Hopefully.

Now Lynn ended up with his attention diverted to the garage and shop.  His theory being, we needed a garage so we would have a place to park our car instead of in the drive way.  (Note: it has yet to be parked there). So with the mud compacted and the footings, stem walls, and floors poured for the garage and shop was professionally done.  We framed the garage up as it was just a double garage with a simple roof.  Though we made it about 6 ft deeper than the plans, so we could park the lawn tractors in there.  We tended to tweek the plans to suit our needs.  Now he had that little twinkle in his eyes.  It must be a man thing.  I learned a lot about framing in 1996.

In the meantime, we selected a $12.98 set of plans for a two story garage which had the look of an old-fashioned barn.  Wonderful plans and very detailed.  Now Lynn was in heaven.  We didn’t get the chance to begin on that until the following year.  I will post some photos if I can find them of the outside.  We still have work to be done on that.  More about that later.

So that just about does it for 1996 and we can move on.

Annie the reluctant carpenter.


I was looking back at some old photos that I took when we first started the adventure.  Giving up what little social life we had to get up close and personal with Home Depot.

1995 we had a big hole dug in the middle pasture of our 7 acres.  We wanted to be at  least 200 feet from the highway.  We saw house plans in a plan book off the shelf in a grocery store and our dream started to get a little real.  Lynn was sure that he could build this dream house for me.  I was a little hesitant as the roof line on a 2 story house looked daunting along with all the bay windows.  Which meant angles, lots and lots of angles.  We had picked a Queen Ann Victorian house with a wrap-around porch.

We are talking about us doing most of the work but sub-contracting the foundation and roof, as Lynn doesn’t bounce anymore.  He insisted that he could do it, but that is where I drew the line.

In the summer of 1995 we watched the beginning of the dream come to life.  The footings and stem walls went up.  We had one large ‘cement pond’.  We had to get an elevation certificate as we were located in a flood plane.  This meant that we had to build it above the 100 year flood plane.  So we decided to dig a very large crawl space.  Appx. 4 feet and almost 5 feet when we put the floor joists in.  We built a solid concrete footing, electing to enter from the inside of the house.  We have a problem with critters finding a place to get under the house.  Not happening here.  The reason for the large crawl space is Lynn is claustrophobic.  He can almost stand his 6’2″ body up in there.  The only problem we did no anticipate was the vents being lower than the elevation certificate.  That would become an issue in 1996.

Now the building inspector stated that we had to put reinforcing re-bar every 16 inches for earthquake purposes.  Hmm we did it but reluctantly.  Added expense.  I guarantee the stem wall will remain standing even if the house is shakes off the foundation.

I have attached a few pictures of what we finished in 1995.  The 1996 came in like a lion.  On February 1996 we flooded.  More on that in the next post.  Stay tuned.  I continues to get better.