Be Safer On Your Decks, Des Moines

Coming off a very nice Memorial Day weekend here in Central Iowa, KCCI TV8 is reporting a deck collapse in West Des Moines over the holiday weekend. Following on the heels of my last post here right before Memorial Day where I highlighted many of the opportunities this “season” gives us to celebrate outdoors on our decks, patios and porches, this incident emphasizes the criticality of deck safety. Close to home. Fortunately, for this family, apparently only minor – but widespread – injuries were reported. That is the best news in this story.

NADRA Deck SafetyThe North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) designates May as Deck Safety Month and has an ongoing program dedicated to deck safety. I’ve maintained a separate page here on this blog site in that regard. Written 4 years ago, its still timely and holds true so I’ll just refer / link you to that deck safety page.

Archadeck puts a “BE SAFER” spin on these principles and guidelines, offering tips and suggestions to ensure your deck is safe at our national Deck Safety page which I’m also referring / linking you to here. Associated with our “BE SAFER” program is our offering of complimentary deck inspections and design consultations.

Framing Plans for Urbandale Deck-Porch Project

Deck safety – the structural soundness of your deck – is serious business. If its not taken that way, the results can be devastating. At Archadeck of Central Iowa, each of our projects go thru a thorough analysis by our franchise structural team resulting in detailed plans for loading and spanning the various structural components of a deck…footings, posts, beams, joists, fastener schedules and the connection to the house (when connected there). Our design loads generally exceed minimum code requirements (do you want a car that gets minimum gas mileage requirements…or a car that exceeds those requirements? ). Those plans are filed with our building permits and are the basis for building approval and the appropriate inspection schedules as construction progresses to completion of your project. We warrant our structural integrity for 5 years.

Completed Urbandale Deck-Porch Project

“Better Building by Design” is a tag line we use frequently. But, its more than a tag line, its our guiding principle and it takes many forms. Not the least of which is: a safer deck.

If you have concerns about the overall safety of your Des Moines area deck, or want to learn more about deck design and construction as it relates to deck safety and structural requirements, I would certainly encourage you to contact Archadeck of Central Iowa or any other reputable, experienced deck builder. If you prefer a more independent, yet still knowledgeable, resource for your assessment, I would encourage you to contact your local building department and their inspection teams.

Be safe out there!

Harold Cross, Archadeck of Central Iowa

Memorial Day: Celebrating Life, Outdoors in Central Iowa

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend. Already. And, yet, it seemed so long in coming. A tough winter here in Des Moines…Central Iowa…and many places across this great country. And a tough spring (or was it winter?) followed.

Maybe moreso than any other holiday, there are many events, celebrations, milestones and memories associated with Memorial Day and the weekend(s) around it.

  • Memorial Day

    Memorial Day

    First and foremost, the “true meaning” of Memorial Day: Originally known as Decoration Day, it was a day set aside to remember soldiers who died in the Civil War. Unfortunately, more wars followed and so have the lives of (too) many American service men and women. So, the day has evolved to remember all Americans who have sacrificed their lives in military service for the freedoms the rest of us enjoy. The “decoration” part comes from the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves with flags and flowers. That aspect of the tradition has further expanded to general maintenance and decoration – and memorials – of all family members’ graves sites, regardless of their military service. Cemeteries never look better than they do on Memorial Day.

  • Folks in the southern half of the country may not appreciate this as much as those of us in the Des Moines latitudes and above, but Memorial Day’s place on the calendar positions it at what has become the “unofficial” start of summer. Or, some might say, the “official” start of the outdoor living season…maybe the first weekend of full-blown outdoor parties or social gatherings on your deck or patio. Not to mention pool openings and pool parties. Technically, the summer solstice happens on June 21st (give or take a few hours), when the sun hits its peak. Technically, outdoor living season can be anytime…if you’re properly equipped with a 3-or-4-season room, a firepit or fireplace, a heated pool or hot tub…or skis and layers of Thinsulate.   But, why wait?
  • School’s Out For Summer! Going hand-in-hand with the start of summer, school years end around Memorial Day as well. And with that comes various graduation celebrations as our children and grandchildren pass from one education level to the next…ultimately into the “real world.” Many of these celebrations also occur outdoors on decks, porches and patios with outdoor kitchens as functional as the one next to your living room inside. But, with a better view of the big Iowa sky and landscape.
  • Two of auto racing’s biggest events dominate sports entertainment
    Indianapolis 500

    Indianapolis 500

    around Memorial Day weekend (Sunday). In Indianapolis, Indiana, its Indy Car’s crown jewel…maybe racing’s overall crown jewel…the Indianapolis 500. Later in the day, Charlotte, North Carolina (home of our largest Archadeck office), hosts NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600, its longest distance race. Good luck to Kurt Bush, who will try to become only the fourth driver in history to complete both races on the same day. Maybe you will catch many of his anticipated 2,400 left turns on the outdoor TV’s that are getting installed more frequently on the patios, porches and decks we’re designing and building here in the Des Moines area.

While all these activities may seem a bit disparate, a common theme here is all the opportunities that Memorial Day gives us to (finally – after a long winter) get outdoors…to live outdoors…to celebrate outdoors, eat and drink outdoors.

Archadeck of Central Iowa designs and builds spaces for these purposes year-round. Not just for uses around Memorial Day, but for year-round use (seasonally, depending on the space). This year, though, we had an exceptional number of projects that were started last fall and over the winter (a very tough winter for the building side of our business) that were specifically targeted for many of these activities associated with Memorial Day.

Clive  (Des Moines) Trex Transcends Deck

Clive (Des Moines) Trex Transcends Deck

A Clive family engaged us last fall for a new Trex Transcends deck with Westbury aluminum railing, to be completed in time for their Memorial Day weekend graduation party; started in early November, we completed it a couple of weeks ago. We actually had breathing room on this one.

Waukee (Des Moines) TimberTech Azek XLM Deck

A Waukee family considered several design options for the new TimberTech/Azek XLM deck space they wanted for their graduation party, ultimately settling on a curved deck with a hot tub and an outdoor kitchen. Stone columns were incorporated into the design to enhance the aesthetics of this space. This design effort was completed in December. But a surprise need for a variance with the City (resulting from a prior contractor’s oversight) delayed our construction start until mid-January; the cold and deep frost then slowed our efforts dramatically.   But, we had the project ready for their party held on May 3rd.

Trex Transcends over Elevations Steel Framing – Ankney (Des Moines)

We built a new Trex Transcends deck – structured with Trex’s Elevations steel framing system – for an Ankeny couple last fall. The deck leads to their in-ground pool and includes built-in seating and wide stairs book-ended by stone columns…which didn’t get fully installed before it got too cold last fall.   That stone went on this week – the same day they opened their pool. Their deck will make a big first splash this Memorial Day weekend.

TimberTech Earthwoods Open Porch – Des Moines

A Des Moines family (and a neighbor of mine) engaged us last December for a new open porch over a TimberTech Earthwoods Evolutions deck with Westbury aluminum railing. Their son serves in the military, stationed in Alaska, and was scheduled for a Memorial Day weekend leave to visit his family at home…and celebrate with them on their new porch and deck.  Stone column work was completed this week and the project was ready for this soldier’s return. I think I hear them celebrating now!

To be sure, Mother Nature’s harsh winter complicated our efforts to get these four Des Moines-area outdoor living projects completed in time for their various Memorial Day timeframe deadlines. But, we did complete them….by the skin of our teeth. Additionally, our delays in getting the Dream Backyard Makeover Contest-wining project in Huxley completed last fall was also a factor of the early, hard and long winter we had. That project was also completed earlier this month and the Bentrott’s have been enjoying the space the past couple of weekends.  But we’re waiting for the “grand reveal” of that project until the official “launch” party, currently targeted for mid-July (stay tuned).

On the flip side, two springs ago (2012) we were laying Belgard paver patios in March in 80-degrees in shorts and t-shirts.

Weather – particularly in spring – and its impact on our outdoor living space building capabilities, is a roll-of-the-dice anymore. All the more reason that if you want a new Central Iowa outdoor living space to enjoy early next year, you should be contacting us sooner than later. All the more reason to celebrate Memorial Day and all it has come to represent. All the more reason to…Go Outside and Play!

Happy Memorial Day!

Harold Cross, Archadeck of Central Iowa

 

Dream Backyard Makeover Project Moving at the Speed of Mother Nature

CrashThe premise of the 2004 movie “Crash” is:   When you are moving at the speed of life, we are bound to collide with each other.   It’s a great movie; one of my all-time favorites.

I had a “Crash” moment with Rick Bentrott and his daughter at the PetSmart in Ankeny yesterday afternoon.  You remember Rick:  Winner of our 2013 $70,000 Dream Backyard Makeover Contest.  You remember the contest:  The one you hoped to win…but didn’t.  DBYM LogoYou remember the project:  The TimberTech deck; the open porch over Belgard Hardscapes patio space, outdoor kitchen and firepit ; all in the Bentrott’s backyard north of Des Moines in Huxley.  And…ahem…the project we didn’t finish before our 9th coldest winter on record froze the ground hard and early back in November (a harbinger of the winter ahead)…literally as the outdoor kitchen was delivered.

Hiatt...at the Archadeck Showroom

Hiatt…at the Archadeck Showroom

The speeding lives of the Bentrott’s and the Cross’ collided at the checkout line at PetSmart.  Rick and his daughter buying fish to replace the hamsters.  My wife and I buying more dog food and a new leash for our new puppy, Hiatt.  Life.

I asked Rick if his ears were burning this week.  He said he hoped not because people talking about him usually meant something bad.  I assured him not, that it was good news; that I had conversations with our crew about the timing of restarting – and finishing – their outdoor living space project.  I appreciate Rick’s sense of humor…and patience; they’ve been necessary traits with their project.

Winter's Grip on Dream Backyard Makeover

Winter’s Grip on Dream Backyard Makeover

To be sure, we have unfinished business in the Bentrott’s backyard in Huxley.  But just as sure, when Mother Nature allows we will be back up there to complete the patio and outdoor kitchen components and put the finishing touches on the deck and open porch. We only need about a week to finish up; but we need a week above freezing and a prolonged thawing period ahead of that week.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature put us in a very early and deep freeze this year – the coldest winter in 35 years and frost at unprecedented depths (nearly to our 42” frost line).  While we did get a nice week last week (getting a couple of above-grade deck and porch projects going), Mother Nature is not letting go without a fight – a little overnight snow and a good portion of the coming week with highs only in the 30’s.  So, restarting our Dream Backyard Makeover project is still an elusive goal at this point.  But, it’s the goal at the top of our list.  In the meantime, more humor…more patience…more life.  At the speed of Mother Nature.

Harold Cross, Archadeck of Central Iowa

Green Beer and Spiced Rum Decking Still Cool in Des Moines Outdoor Spaces

Luck of the ISU Cyclones

Luck of the ISU Cyclones

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend!  With the green beer and all the Irish festivities falling on a Monday, it can only mean its going to be a party all weekend long.  Unfortunately, our weekend weather isn’t all that conducive to celebrating the luck of the Irish (and the Iowa State Cyclones – Big 12 Tournament Champs!) outdoors on your decks, patios and porches around Des Moines.   A cold nip in that wind today.  Rain and snow tomorrow.  No problem for those of you with fireplaces in your Central Iowa porches.  But even for the rest of you, with the winter we’re coming off of, I’m sure it will hardly stall the flow of green beer wherever you celebrate.   Have fun.  Be safe.  Then call us about that fireplace in your porch for next year!

Multi-Colored Trex Transcends Deck and Rail

Multi-Colored Trex Transcends Deck and Rail

St. Patrick’s Day also means that parties of all kinds will soon be moving outdoors (really, spring and summer are coming).  With that, folks will start considering improvements to their outdoor spaces in earnest.  Four years ago, I kicked that theme off here with a post about decking and railing color combinations and tied that to St. Patrick’s Day because of the green colors associated with all things Irish…shamrocks, leprechauns, four-leaf clovers and, of course, beer.  That post and a couple of follow-ups are linked below.  I really try not to recycle content here.  But in this case, you don’t seem to mind – its one of the most-read topics here…probably as much because of the reference to green beer as to Trex’s Spiced Rum decking color.  But, we like both, right?

For 2014, the updates are focused on the product consolidation and integration activities associated with Azek’s holding company purchase of TimberTech a couple of years ago.

Azek Silver Oak Decking

Azek Silver Oak Decking

As part of that effort, TimberTech’s PVC-based decking products have been re-branded as Azek XLM such that all PVC-based decking under the CPG umbrella is now branded as Azek.  With this, there are now 17 different styles/colors of Azek PVC-based decking boards now available.

TimberTech’s wood-plastic composite (Twin Finish (3 colors), ReliaBoard (2 colors)) and PVC capped-composite (Earthwood Eviolutions) products have remained as TimberTech-branded boards.  The Earthwood Evolutions product has been expanded to include a Legacy line of boards designed around a hand-scraped hardwood look; these new boards are stunning both in coloring and look.

TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions Legacy @ Archadeck Showroom

TimberTech Earthwood Evolutions Legacy @ Archadeck Showroom

We’ve had these new boards laid in our Urbandale showroom for just a couple of weeks now, but they are quickly gaining rave reviews.  Overall there are 12 different styles/colors of TimberTech’s Eathwood Evolutions line of PVC capped-composite decking.

If you’re trying to keep score at home…the Azek/TimberTech score for 2014 is:  34 different styles and colors of deck boards.  In addition, TimberTech offers 4 different rail styles in a 9-color spectrum, while Azek offers 3 styles across a similar color palette.

Now…are you ready for Trex Transcends and Belgard pavers and wall stones…and colored and stamped  concrete colors?

Belgard Wall Stone, Concrete Patio, Outdoor Kitchen,  Cedar Pergola

Belgard Wall Stone, Concrete Patio, Outdoor Kitchen, Cedar Pergola

The good news (from a simplicity perspective) is that new product and coloring offerings here are minimal – if any – compared to last year.  So, I will refer you back to last year’s posting, particularly for the Belgard and concrete information.  Last year, though, Trex started offering their Trex Pergola product in all the sold colors of Trex decking.  With that, low-maintenance pergolas no longer are confined to white or beige color options.  We’ve yet to do a colored Trex Pergola in the Des Moines area, but my counterpart at our Archadeck of Ft Wayne office did a very nice project that exemplifies the new aesthetics offered with the Trex Pergola product.

Trex Transcends Deck Railing West

Trex Transcends Deck Railing West

From other Trex perspectives, we really like – and therefore, focus on – Trex’s Transcends line of PVC capped-composite decking and railing products.  So much so that we became Central Iowa’s first TrexPro installer last year.  Trex has maintained their Transcends product and color offerings from 2013 into 2014 – 8 colors of deck boards, 7 colors of railing (and Spiced Rum is still my favorite name and color).  What excites us about Trex is their innovation around the decking and railing spectrum.  Their Elevations steel framing system is the future of deck framing and ultimate structural performance…if you consider the future now; we did two deck projects here in the Des Moines area last year using Trex’s Elevations steel framing system.

Trex Elevations Project - Des Moines

Trex Elevations Project – Des Moines

Additionally, Trex’s new offerings of spiral staircases, Trex furniture, Trex deck and landscape lighting and aluminum railing solidify their commitment to offering the best in outdoor living products.  We are proud to be associated with their products and innovations thru our TrexPro relationship and we’re excited to bring more of those into Des Moines and Central Iowa backyards.  We’ll feature more of our Des Moines-area Trex projects and our TrexPro relationship in future posts here.

Colors galore.  Options galore.  It really does take more than the luck of the Irish to put these together nicely in an outdoor living space design.  With preferred supplier relationships with TimberTech/Azek and Belgard and now our TrexPro relationship with Trex, Archadeck of Central Iowa is uniquely positioned to design and build your outdoor dream spaces.  All backed by the strongest warranty and guarantee programs through a proven 34-year franchise system.  When it makes sense for you to pursue your outdoor dreams, contact us for a complimentary design consultation.

Better Building by Design.   The Archadeck Difference.

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Get Inspired+Started+Outdoors – Des Moines Home+Garden Show

Super Bowl XLVIII

Super Bowl XLVIII – Champion – Seattle Seahawks

What do Peyton Manning and Punxsutawney Phil have in common?

On Super Bowl Sunday, they were both frightened by their shadows and retreated to their respective burrows to hunker down for another 6 weeks of winter.

OK…so that was a bit harsh on Mr. Manning. On the other hand, its been a harsh winter.  But not just here in Des Moines; winter has been a nationwide epidemic this year.  That is, if you consider 2” of snow an epidemic…Atlanta.  Geesh.  But, Atlanta, we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt…we northerners don’t expect you to be prepared.  While lack of preparation likely wasn’t Peyton Manning’s downfall, team execution was.

So, the Super Bowl is behind us.  Ground Hog Day is behind us.  But, we’re still in the middle of a harsh winter…and, thanks to Punxsutawney Phil, no end in sight.  What to do while we’re hunkering down?  Try this:

Get Inspired. Get Started. And..Get Outdoors!

Get Inspired. Get Started. And..Get Outdoors!

“Get inspired” and “get started” are tag lines for this year’s Des Moines Home+Garden Show being held this weekend at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines.  I added the “get outdoors” because…

Trex Transcends Porch - Deck - Des Moines - Urbandale - Archadeck AAActually, there is a better place, but lets don’t tell the Home+Garden folks that.  For instance, your Des Moines area backyard is a pretty good place to get inspired and started…when its warmer.  The Des Moines Home+Garden Show only runs 4 days.  But, we do outdoor living year round and our office/showroom in Urbandale facilitates our mission year round.  In fact, we’re currently renovating our office/showroom to facilitate that mission even better (stay tuned for details).  So, ultimately we’ll meet in your backyard and at our office/showroom.  But, this weekend, the best place really is the 2014 Des Moines Home+Garden Show.  We hope to see you there.

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Mother Nature Delivers Turkey for Dream Backyard Makeover Project

Happy Thanksgiving - Archadeck Central Iowa Decks Porches Patios Des MoinesHopefully, you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with your family and friends and your travels were safe if you were on the road over the Thanksgiving weekend.  Like much of the country, we had an early blast of winter here in Central Iowa.  Unlike much of the country, that weather was through here before Thanksgiving itself so our local travelling and holiday gatherings were only minimally impacted by Mother Nature.

However, the same can not be said of Mother Nature’s impact on our continued progress on the Dream Backyard Makeover Contest project.  While our first blast of winter came before Thanksgiving, it also came right on the heels of the delivery of the Bentrott’s custom-built outdoor kitchen.  As detailed in our last posting here, Belgard’s and Harmony’s build schedule for the outdoor kitchen put us in a race with an impending Iowa winter.  We were begging for leniency from Mother Nature, but last week – as the following video recounts – winter won that race.

We were so (snow) close to having the Bentrott’s Central Iowa backyard makeover complete before winter:

  • the TimberTech deck was complete, aside from stairs to the patio surface
  • the open porch structure was complete, pending utilities for the lighting and the outdoor kitchen
  • the firepit and seatwall area of the patio was laid, pending caps and lighting installation
Dream Backyard Makeover.  TimberTech Deck and Open Porch

Dream Backyard Makeover,
TimberTech Deck and Open Porch

With good weather conditions, our crew believes they could have the project wrapped up with about a week of effort.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get that week between Belgard’s delivery of the outdoor kitchen and Mother Nature’s delivery of winter.  Most of the work left involves hardscaping…putting the finishing touches on the outdoor kitchen and laying the remainder of the Belgard Urbana patio surface.  So, we’re going to need a thaw and a week of consistently warmer weather (above freezing at night, 50’s or better during the day would be nice) before we can undertake that remaining work.

We’ll be ready as soon as Mother Nature is.

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Keeping the Flame for Outdoor Living Makeovers in Central Iowa

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of activities associated with our $70,000 Dream Backyard Makeover project…to explain the interruption.

Slide03At the time of our last writing here (September 6th), we had just broken ground on Rick and Merea Bentrott’s grand prize-winning outdoor living space project up the road from Des Moines in Huxley, IA.  Over the course of the past month, I’ve posted a photo album on our Archadeck of Central Iowa Facebook page as a journal of our progress on the deck, porch and patio aspects of the project.  Additionally, I’ve taken videos of the project space as its progressed; you’ll find those on our Facebook page as well as on our Google Plus pages and on our ArchadeckCentralIowa YouTube channel.

For those of you following those project updates, you may have noticed it’s been a bit quiet and slow on the update front lately.  In fact, in this most recent video from a few days ago, I said “In case you’re wondering why its so quiet here…”

We had planned to be completed with the project by now so I’m not sure if these lags and delays are more frustrating for the Bentrott’s or for me.  Probably for the Bentrott’s.  At least I have the advantage of experience on my side.  If you want to call it an advantage.  Unfortunately, this project is not the only project experiencing what I have come to call “supply channel issues.”  There are a lot of moving parts on many of our projects – particularly those involving combinations of outdoor living components – decks, porches, patios, outdoor kitchens, pergolas and more – like the Bentrott’s project.

TimberTech and Belgard Product at Archadeck's Dream Backyard Makeover Project in Huxley, IA

TimberTech and Belgard Product at Archadeck’s Dream Backyard Makeover Project in Huxley, IA

Getting the right material and product to the right project at the right time has become a more prevalent challenge these days.  As I (and others) see it, this challenge is resulting from increased demand in the construction industry as a whole.  But its an industry that took one of the hardest hits in the Great Recession, downsized to survive and is now facing challenges in ramping up to meet today’s demand.  Strategies to expand infrastructure are clouded by lingering economic stability concerns and that is the primary factor in those challenges.  As a result, many companies revert to strategies to protect existing margins…which often means:  squeezing blood out of a turnip.  And when you can’t do that anymore, you have to wait for more turnips to grow…and then they cost more.  A recent Des Moines Register article about the construction industry and the impact a “healthier” economy is having on our business captures the current state of affairs in the construction industry.  The article says the industry welcomes the challenges presented by growth.  Speaking for myself , I certainly welcome the opportunities growth provides.   Speaking for myself and our clients, I think we’ll appreciate it more once the industry is ramped up to meet demand.  Not that I’m blaming “the industry” or any of our project sponsors (Belgard, TimberTech, Outdoor Living Brands/Archadeck).  I’m not.  In fact, I’m a part of it….we’re all in it together.  I have empathy for it.  I have and feel the same pains.

As this relates to the Bentrott’s project, we encountered some minor material availability delays.  Minor, but backordered screws can really slow down a deck-building project.  However, the biggest turnip we are waiting to grow is the custom-built outdoor kitchen being provided by Belgard Hardscapes thru their Harmony Outdoor Living / Elements division.  Built off-site in a Belgard/Harmony facility in Burlington, WI, that unit will come – in two pieces – on a truck and forklifted into its home under the Bentrott’s porch and on their patio.  That “forklifting” presents some installation coordination issues in that we can’t run that forklift with those heavy kitchen components on it over the patio itself.  Long story short, we can’t finish the patio portion of the project until the outdoor kitchen is installed.  When its here, it will look like this:

Bentrott's Outdoor Kitchen - Designed by Archadeck, Built by Belgard

Bentrott’s Outdoor Kitchen – Designed by Archadeck, Built by Belgard

But, the outdoor kitchen is now not expected to be delivered until…take a deep breath…November 12th.  That is 3 – 4 weeks later than planned per original projections back in late August when the Bentrotts and our project sponsors finalized the project scope and design and the outdoor kitchen was subsequently ordered.  As I’ve told the Bentrott’s, this extension now presents more questions than answers in regards to scheduling the completion of their project.  Mother Nature and her weather whims are now the wild card in this.

Dirt from Dream Backyard Makeover Site Excavation

Dirt from Dream Backyard Makeover Site Excavation

When the project started, I was touting the wonders and beauty of the Iowa dirt we were pulling out of the Bentrott’s backyard in preparation for the deck and porch footings and the excavation of the patio area.  Here in Central Iowa, we’re now entering the seasons where that dirt gets pretty cold (frost) and hard (freeze)….and occasionally covered with snow…sometimes a lot of it…sometimes for long periods of time.  While that’s good for protecting Iowa ‘s precious soil and refueling its nutrients for next year’s crops, it’s not so good for laying patios.  Decks and porches are more conducive to Winter builds; once the footings are in, those structures are built above ground….as long as temperatures are reasonable to work in (thank you, Carhartt!).

We Build Year-Round, Winter 2009 Project

We Build Year-Round, Winter 2009 Project

But, for the most part, the Bentrott’s deck and porch are completed.  Our problem is the full patio installation needs to wait for the outdoor kitchen…and now we’re racing against an impending Iowa Winter.   It’s a race we lose a step on every day now.  Maybe two steps today…there was snow in the air and on the ground a few miles north of Huxley today.  Frustrating.  Even more frustrating?  It last snowed here in Iowa in early May; meaning:  we went less than 6 months between snow flakes falling on either side of “summer.”  But, we love it here.  We really do.  Really.

I don’t know…maybe we just turn the heat up to high on the outdoor kitchen grill once it gets in, add some coals to the Big Green Egg fire and some extra logs on the firepit fire and try to create a bubble of warm air over the Bentrott’s backyard so we can get their project completed.  Then again, we don’t want to get that friendly with the Huxley Fire Department.

So, we’re on hold right now.  Begging for leniency from Mother Nature in the meantime.  Stay warm…and stay tuned…

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