Sunday, 14 July 2013

Flood Recovery

As has the rest of the valley where I live, we have been busy with flood recovery for the last few weeks, first with our house and then with our neighbourhood.

Step 1 of our recovery process was getting the bad wallboard removed our house dried out, which I wrote about here. This past week, the MD finally brought a dumpster around to the hamlet to handle building waste, so KC loaded it while I was off doing other stuff.
Car full of crap. Load 1 
Load 2
Step 2 of the recovery process, interestingly enough, was the seeding of our back yard. Part of the reason we had some of our flood issues was that we had just finished re-sculpting the yard to improve drainage (as I described here), but were left with only bare earth when it started raining. So we seeded the entire back yard in a sheep fescue grass which (a) is native (more or less), (b) requires no mowing, (c) grows in most any type of soil or dirt, and (d) is excellent at soil stabilization.

On June 28, we hand raked the entire back yard (all 3,000 square feet of it), hand seeded it, and then hand raked it again.
2/3rds raked 
KC hard at work 
Re-raking after seeding
Since then, every day we have watered the dirt 3-4 times a day, keeping it moist. Our first green bits showed up last week, and as of today (16 days later), there's a lot of green dirt.
1" tall 
Looking promising 
Greener than the above seeding shot
Step 3 was to get our water well tested. We failed. We have e-coli and colliform bacteria in the water. Best bet is that it came from from sewage runoff from our neighbour who's septic system backed up during the heavy rain, flowed over their yard, down the alley and across our yard. So we shocked our well (dumping a LOT of chlorine in it, then circulating it through the system), and await the results of a new water quality test that we will do tomorrow.

I hate bottle water as a concept; an environmental nightmare. But there are times when it's useful. Now is one of those times. I am, however, hugely tired of it, having had nothing but bottled water to drink since June 21.

Step 4 was to get in a contractor to arrange the re-laying of the paving stones. We got one to show up, but he hasn't offered up a bid yet. So that portion of the yard is still a dirt pit.

Step 5 was to get an insurance adjustor in to assess the basement damage prior to starting the re-building process. He showed up, took a look, and told us we were not insured at all. This wasn't that bothersome to me. Had we been insured, the deductible was $1,000, and I was sure the re-build materials would be much less than that (to date we've spent ~$250 and need little more to finish, but more on this in a moment). We're still going to file a claim for uninsured loss to the Disaster Assistance Plan.

With that cleared up, Step 6 was to start the rebuilding. On July 9, we got all the drywall we needed, screws, a dimpler to drive in drywall screws, and set to work. KC was amazed at the drywall cutting process (score the paper with a knife, snap it off).
9 sheets on the roof 
The first of the boards 
4' sheets
So for the better part of 4 beautiful, sunny summer days days, we stayed in the basement and hung boards. Most had to be cut to weird shapes. Lots of small bits were needed.
Hall bits 
Vent holes
We discovered that some of our wall studs -- make that many of our wall studs -- are just not square. Or straight.
Two major gaps we will have to deal with when we mud
Working around the base of the stairs required creative effort.
Couldn't slide in one board here 
Or here. But couldn't cut this one in two either
But as of yesterday, the boards are all up. Next step in this process: Mudding, taping and sanding. Then comes baseboard & casing (which we haven't bought yet). Then comes painting (and we haven't purchased the paint yet, either). And a deadline. We have guests coming July 26th, and have to finish the basement -- or at least the bedroom down there -- by then. Wish us luck.

But we can't just stay focused on our house. So as Step 7, KC and I both volunteered this week at other duties. KC ran a dinner in her capacity as President of the Networking Environment for Women, did some grizzly camera work...
This picture is NOT tilted. The bridge is listing, the tree bent
...and tried to come fix trails with me (but was rained out).

Me? I met with folks about donating to the Friends of Kananaskis to help re-build trails, spent a day working on a trail, gave an interview to two local papers regarding our support of Parks during the reconstruction process.

My trail work was a toughie: pulling out a huge log jam on the Heart Creek Trail. We made the Calgary Herald. That's me, 2nd from the right, in the photo.
Photo by Craig Douce
In all, over 75 people worked on that trail last week, and an additional 100 or so worked this weekend, plus the awesome Parks crew -- probably 1,400 hrs put in to that one trail. Here's two really crappy iPhone photos of the mess that took 6 of us all day to remove.
About 10' high, forming a waterfall 
The restored bridge
Here's another Craig Douce/Herald photo of me hauling a log we pulled out.
I was sure someone was going to fall off that bridge
This is what it looked like when we were done.
Better. But still work to do.
It's been a busy few weeks. It will be a busy summer.

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