Dog Wood Forest

— News and links related to our new home construction project

Latest News & Highlights

Note that this is not a comprehensive list of project milestones, and it will probably be filled in over time to better reflect the overall progress history of the project.

2018.08.xx Kitchen island cabinet installed. Tile install continues. Driveway, patio concrete work continues. Interior & exterior light fixtures install continues. Driveway retaining wall.
2018.07.xx Wood floor install complete. Beam wrap bonus room. Tile prep begins, install begins. Light fixture install continues. Carpet installed. More cabinets installed. Soffits installed (tongue-and-groove using boards milled from our trees). Post and beam wrap details done. Garage interior fixtures installed. Concrete forms for driveway, patio areas start.
2018.06.xx Shed garage door installed. Most of shelving installed now. Millwork continues. Finish applied to stair treads. "Mini-split" ductless system installed. Wood floor install begins. Appliance deliveries. Front porch post detail done. Glu-lam beam cleanup begins. Cabinet install begins. Interior door install begins.
2018.05.xx Cabinets delivered. Interior doors delivered. Septic installed. Millwork installation begins. Front porch post wrap framed. Tongue-and-grooved lumber returned to site. Shelving install begins. Garage doors installed.
2018.04.xx Millwork finish applied. Interior paint first coat. Shed gable siding.
2018.03.xx Bonus roof posts reframed. Decorative beams installed main house. Solar panels installed. South decking installed. Base coat interior paint.
2018.02.xx Drywall installed throughout most of house. Missing roof section framed.
2018.01.xx Propane tanks delivered. Insulation and sprinkler system installation begins. Roof install begins (again). Porch posts masonry done.
2017.12.xx Whole-house fan installed. Well pump upgraded. Correct color roof material delivered.
2017.11.xx Roof material delivered — wrong color! Low-voltage installation begins.
2017.10.xx Front porch framed. Permanent power hooked up. Masonry work begins. Deck footings poured.
2017.09.xx Additional tree clearing. Lumber shed built. Exterior painted.
2017.08.xx Work to fix incorrectly installed beams (front porch) and braces (tower) begins. Incorrectly installed and broken drainage repaired.
2017.06.xx HVAC installation continues (furnaces, prep for ductless)
2017.05.xx HVAC installation begins (ducts). Milled beams delivered. Siding installation begins.
2017.05.02 Flue for wood stove is installed
2017.04.06 Hired new builder, Lawrence Construction (Jim Lawrence)
2017.04.04 Picked up millwork and stair tread lumber from Meyer Wells
2017.01.03 Rainier Custom Homes has been dismissed from the project. There is of course a lot more behind this brief note, but I don’t have time to write up the details now. Suffice to say, their performance was unsatisfactory, in a number of different ways.
2016.11.04 Updated time-lapse videos
2016.10.04 This page goes live!

Video Links

Please see below for links to playlists of specific groups of videos, and the occasional single video.

Technical Note:

If you’ve watched the time-lapse videos, you’ve noticed that they have some places where the video stops and a message about missing photos is shown instead.

There have been some teething pains with the time-lapse cameras. One of the cameras has been very unreliable, with it simply stopping taking photos after some number of days in operation. We also did not know for sure how long the non-rechargeable lithium batteries would last in service. The two other cameras that use those batteries also stopped working unexpectedly, in the first week of October. At first, it looked like the batteries had simply run down, but checking their voltage it turns out that of the twenty cells (twelve in one camera, eight in the other), five of the cells had actually failed. While the other cells still were showing anywhere between 1.3v and 1.5v (that itself an oddity, as they should have all discharged much more closely to the same amounts), those five showed no voltage at all.

The battery state-of-charge indication on the cameras showed that they were discharging very slowly and should have lasted much longer. The failure of the individual cells was sudden and unexpected. So we went weeks before checking the cameras again and discovering that the batteries had died. Ironically, the camera that was using NiMH rechargeable cells (which probably did simply run down) lasted the longest. The state-of-charge still showed useful service, but on review of the photos it was apparent that it had stopped taking photos as well, though more recently.

To add insult to injury, I got confused by the various different user interfaces on all the cameras, and on one of the cameras, I left it in "Setup" mode. For better or worse, this was the camera that was so unreliable in the first place, so we probably wouldn’t have gotten the full complement of photos from it anyway. But it would’ve been nice to have had some.

Other than the camera that was simply unreliable, another camera has relatively poor image quality and is very difficult to use for the time-lapse photography, because instead of photos it saves video files, and the "info strip" doesn’t include any indication as to whether the photo was triggered by motion or time-lapse, making it labor intensive to try to edit out the motion-triggered shots. Because of the difficulty with those two cameras, we’ve bought two more and are using them in place of the bad ones. In addition, they have the NiMH rechargeables in them; the hope is that these will be more reliable, and because they are rechargeable, they can be swapped out with each memory card change, instead of trying to let them run close to end-of-charge.

With some luck, the time-lapse videos going forward will be complete and there won’t be a need for any other "technical difficulties" screens. :)

Photo Albums

The construction project, along with life in general, has kept us very busy. Too busy for me to do proper photo album pages. So instead I’ve simply uploaded all the photos I’ve been taking to my OneDrive storage. Links are provided below (don’t miss the wildlife folder link at the bottom!):

In addition to the usual construction photos, the wildlife cameras placed around the property capture from time to time some fun photos. You can click here to see a folder of the best of those. Deer are very prevalent, so only a relatively few number of those photos are included. But other animals, like bobcat, coyote, cougar, and bear are much less common, and I’ve included pretty much every even halfway decent shot of those we got.

I’m particularly fond of the sequence on July 3, 2018, which shows one worker showing up, then a sparse parade of animals throughout the morning (most of which being youngsters), all before our builder finally shows up at half-past noon. He missed all the excitement!

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