It's about time I caught everyone up on how our house is coming along. My dad and Matt came the day after Thanksgiving to get the block started(always the hardest parting - starting a project - especially when you don't know what you're doing yet).
They got the back wall started and it sure was a big help. Since then, it's been a battle with the weather to get the rest done. Colder temps are preventing us from mixing mortar. It won't set up right if it's too cold. So, we've been working from about 1:00pm to 5:00pm each DRY day we have because it's the only part of the day where it's over 40 degrees. Combine that with rain every other day and progress is slow. My job became the mortar mixer. We have 2 tons of sand(i think) to mix with the mortar mix. The recipe I followed is: 3 half buckets of sand, 1 half bucket of mortar, mix dry ingredients well, add water until correct consistency. The sand sits on the ground covered in a tarp. But the tarp is not waterproof, so the sand is pretty wet on the bottom layer. Half a bucket of sand might not seem like much, but when it's wet that stuff is HEAVY! It was all I could do to lift it to chest height into the concrete mixer. And I couldn't even begin to lift the 75 lb. bag of mortar.
Here's where we are now. We had to take some time off to do some reinforcement to the back wall, and ever since Christmas it's been highs of 35 degrees. That's not warm enough to resume the block laying. Special shout out to cousin Brent for helping us lay a whole bunch of rows on his days off!! Thank you! Too bad I don't have a picture of him working(in a t-shirt no less). We only have 2 more rows to go. All we need is a couple of warmish days and we'd be done. The next step is filling and tamping dirt in the foundation and then pouring the concrete slab floor for our garage on top.