is Back!

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Well, after a four-month hiatus from blogging I decided a couple days ago to resume my Brickhouse319 blog. On Christmas Day I replaced the header photo with the front Dutch face where you can see a small tree in each window, I made the blog public again and started writing this blog post.

What a coincidence it happens to be four months to the day of my last post. When I stopped blogging, I made the blog private and had not accessed it until today.¬†I really did go cold turkey with blogging and I just fell off the wagon and started it all up again ūüôā (Blogging can be addictive!)

Needless to say, the last four months flew by.

In a nutshell, I stopped blogging for several reasons. But, recently, I began to miss my blog especially after we got a couple of big projects finished; I kept thinking of my loyal followers and the comments that they would have written (as well as suggestions).

So I’ll pick up where I left off last summer and fill all of you in on the completed projects and the project we’re working on now. I hope most of you are still around!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Susan & John

When We Discovered Brick House 319: Youtube Video of Jungle-Like Backyard

This morning, I looked over assorted video clips that I took when we first discovered Brick House 319 in June 2014.

I haven’t looked at any of the videos in months.¬†So when¬†I¬†clicked¬†on the¬†initial video I filmed the first day,¬†it was a reminder of the endless work it took¬†for John to clear the backyard and¬†haul out the outside hoard.

The video clip is a 360 degree view of the yard and back of the house.

John peered over my shoulder and said, “Oh my God, look at that!” “I forgot it looked like that.” He said,¬†“You should post the video.”

Please excuse the fact that this is NOT a professional video. It’s not edited, and yes, I’m bitten by a mosquito at the end; at the time¬†the backyard was infested with mosquitoes. I thought I had turned the phone off. It was still on and filming so please just ignore the amateur filming. I don’t know how to do video editing and I’m not sure that I have the time to learn how to do it right now.¬†I have way too much on my plate, but one day, maybe I’ll have someone show me how to do it.

At the time I filmed this video, I had NO intention of posting it for the public to see; it was filmed over nine months before I started my blog on Brick House 319.

Here’s the link to the 45-second video

The Concrete Pour for the Footing is Finished


Yesterday morning, the township building inspector inspected the footing and passed us. John immediately called Main Line Concrete for the concrete pour. (The cost of the pour with 3 yards of concrete was $535.00).

The truck arrived at 2pm and John told Matt, the driver, to back in as close as he could avoiding the Japanese maple tree. The concrete truck was a smaller size but still too large to reach the footing at the back of the house.


“Get a Load Out of This!”


The truck couldn’t make it underneath the maple tree; there was a large handle attached to the left side of the truck¬†which prevented it from reaching the footing (it would have hit the tree).


Matt got the scoop ready for the first wheel barrow. He sprayed it with his hose and within a few minutes the first batch of concrete slid down the scoop and into the wheel barrow.


John and his friend, Jon, started on the north footing first so they could fill the trench toward the truck. This was the very first wheel barrow load of cement. Doing this work was LABOR INTENSIVE. Additionally, it was 95 degrees with extreme humidity. They were sweating buckets, literally. It was also the hottest part of the day.



They continued dumping concrete in the footing. Each wheel barrow required two men, so  the job required at least three men, but ideally four. They had to roll the wheel barrow down a plywood ramp that John placed across the trench.


After a few loads of concrete, John used a shovel to eliminate any bubbles. He agitated the concrete by pushing the shovel up and down forcing the bubbles out of voids.


The concrete was dumped inside the wood forms. John made sure the concrete was filled to the top of the forms and then spread evenly as he moved down the trench.


Moving along…it takes time to fill the form up with concrete.


Everyone really had to hustle because we were allowed a certain amount of time with the concrete truck. The truck was on site for a total of one hour and 15 minutes. Any longer and it would have cost us more money.


Soon after starting, Jack, a helper showed up to help with dumping the concrete in the trench.


This is the ramp where they rolled the wheel barrows over. It took a second man holding the front end of the wheel barrow to get it over the edge of the ramp preventing the concrete from slopping over the edge.


After agitating the concrete, John used a trowel to smooth out the cement.


At first, John agitated with a shovel, but when Jack arrived, he said a metal rake is much better to use for getting the bubbles out. (Bubbles will create cracks in a foundation).


The metal rake made a huge difference. Thanks for the tip, Jack!


As Jack and¬†Jon dumped the¬†cement, John told them where to guide the wheel barrow so that the cement accurately fell¬†within the forms. Otherwise, cement would fall outside of the form–using extra cement is extra money needlessly spent.


Moving down to the corner for leg two…


About to round the corner…


It was blazing hot with intolerable humidity. But timing is everything and we had to get this done before a forecast of rain. It hurt to watch men in their 50s do this kind of work in extreme heat.


Using the trowel again…


I was standing at the open back door telling Jack and Jon where to dump the wheel barrows. About the only thing I could have done is agitate the concrete but if I had done that I would not have gotten all of the photos.


I like Jack’s shirt, after the whole renovation is complete, maybe we’ll be singing for food.


We had to fill a smaller footing as well…


We all joked and said it looked like quick sand…


It’s like cake batter… when John worked for a builder, they had done several footings.


Almost finished…


Time to leave our stamp…




We can’t forget Jon and Jack’s initials…


Without their help with the footing job, we’d be going nowhere fast…


Can’t forget the paw print…what fun!