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Family is the best!!!

June 2020

This is the Banks clan, Pearletta's family, on the first Saturday of the build.  She is so lucky to have family to help build her house! 

Saturday, July 11 -- by Scott Mills


Another good week of building, although the heat made (for most of us) short days.  The 7:30 a.m. start seems to have worked well this week, so we'll continue this schedule.

As you can see, our house looks more and more like a house.  The picture is at the end of the day on Saturday, July 11.  This week we accomplished:

1.  Finishing the roof deck, gable siding, and fly rafter.  I had to throw in 'fly rafter' as my word for the week (or one of many).  This is the board at the end of the roof extensions/overhang.

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2.  Dave Sisson has been focused on the front and back porches, as both will have gable roofs, and we need these up to get a roof on.  The back porch is shown with the roof ready for deck board.  Pearletta's son, Nick, led/did the work on the roof as tying to the primary roof requires more skill than... well, I have at the time of this writing.  Pearletta's family and friends (several shown in the photo) worked with Nick on roofing as well as putting in porch joist on the front porch.

3.  We had two new volunteers this week, John and Cindy Rombach.  John, Cindy, and Tim Davis did the house wrap!  We are ready for windows and doors after we do a bit more wood work inside.

Thanks to Ken Gindling, Bill Bardes, and John Werner for their weekly support and to Pearletta's family and friends for their continued support!!  We are moving along.

This coming week:

1.  Work on the front porch and perhaps tackling the gable roof!  Add deck board to porch roofs.

2.  Finish interior wood work.

3.  Install windows.

That's it!   I am tired just thinking about it.


P.S.  We did show off the progress Friday evening for our "Sponsor a Stud" Fundraiser, which was amazingly successful thanks to our new Board Member, Marianne Metzelaar.  All the decorated studs were completed by individuals, businesses, and local organizations eager to help our cause.

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Week 4 -- July 13-18


Another good week at the Banks house.  Several items to point out on the pics. 


(1) Porch roofs were completed front and back.  Bill Bardes spend quite a few hours on the roof while we cheered him on.  Thanks, Bill.

     Having completed the build out, Unger Construction 'dried in' the building in preparation for shingles.  Coming soon.

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     You will also notice in the photo a vent stack in the middle of the roof.  Indeed, our plumber, Gene Voils has drilled a few holes.

     Jim Drum was on site several times, and he went to work filling in where needed.  John Werner brought his backhoe to uncover the drain line from the sewer well so that we can extend it to the new house.  As we found with the early excavation, we needed his machine to break through the piles of rock/concrete to dig a short trench.  I thought we might do this work by hand, but after several hours with John's excavator, I am glad we opted for machinery.

(2)  We had no guest-workers this week until Friday when Team Toyota was to send a few volunteers.  Danielle Nickerson from the HR Department has been coordinating Toyota's volunteer activities for us, and we are very fortunate they are so willing to help.  The purchasing and supply chain departments split their

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services between this past Friday and next Friday because too many signed on.  Well, the few I hoped for multiplied to 9 very eager volunteers.  We divided and conquered, finish-ing the decking of the back porch (shown above), cutting and nailing blocking boards on inside walls, and installing windows.

     Fortunately, Tim Davis (maybe his second or third time with us) was on hand and was quickly promoted to day leader!  The crew became very efficient in window installa-tion, and we accomplished much before the sun sent us home.

(3)  The Banks family team had a short day on Saturday because of the heat.  They fine-tuned the roof additions in prep for shingles, put sheating on the porch gables, and installed two exterior doors.  Thanks to Gary Manning

from Carter Lumber for looking for the best exterior doors (almost new...) at the best price, and delivering them to our site!  Great doors, great price!! Thanks, Gary.

This coming week... July 20-25...

1.  Shingles -- Note the bundles on the ground in the picture above right.

2.  Soffit, facia and siding.

Not sure what else... It's all moving too fast.

All the best,


WEEK 5 -- July 20-25 -- Another Productive Week...


A.  Exterior:

      1.  The roof is shingled, thanks to Unger Construction.  I did not take a pic, but

          trust me, it looks good!

      2.  Putting up soffit continues, slowed in part by need to search the state for

           supplies and running around.  (Bill Walters would say I am picking up where jim

           drum left off!)  Actually, my least favorite chore.

I start towards the end of the week with our 3rd toyota team, and 2nd from supply and purchasing.  Nine very eager team members again. 


We had two soffit teams going and using air staplers.  Almost finished with soffit! 


Running the radial arm saw is "Teen the

saw queen," cutting soffit, siding, or your sandwich.

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3.  Siding -- We have started siding! 

    Hurray!!  team siding wanted to

    complete the entire side (Judy in

    particular), but i needed to make

    another run in order to go higher. 


    The team stands in front of the side

    they did, and it looks great.

    Thanks, TEAM TOYOTA!!!

Thanks also to the Banks family for helping out on saturdays...

I  don't have pics from Saturday, but Pearletta's sons and family were out again doing some construction, some soffit, and quite a bit of siding, so we are progressing. 


And... yard cleanup.  My friend, jake lambert donated his time and pole saw to trim some limbs.  mike (Pearletta's brother) weed wacked, and the rest of the family cleaned up, so trying to work at keeping the lot tidy.  RJ's wife, alyssa, is very helpful in keeping the grounds clean.

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B.  Interior -- Electrical and plumbing continue on the inside, so making great progress there.

The Week Ahead: 

Siding, porch soffit, deck work...


Week 6 -- July 27th to July 31st

Yes, another good week at the Banks house.  We can see the end of the exterior work (I think), although the finish line seems to move as we do a bit.

Monday, we welcomed Ken Gindling and Jim Peters back after a couple of weeks absense.  We continued the siding work.  On Tuesday, Mark Zimmerer also rejoined us after a couple of weeks of vaca, and he, Bill Bardes, and I finished siding the gable ends of the house.  Thursday was rainy, but it was John Werner day, which seems to mean 'in the trenches'.  He and Dave Sisson worked on the front deck, including boring more holes and finding more rock that required John's brute strength to dislodge.  He left soaked, muddy, and tired.  You are looking at the front of the house, and do note the grand staircase.  Dave built the steps for the front and back.

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Toyota was on hand again on Friday... this time from the HR department + Rob Mulry from supply.  It is Rob who is responsible for connecting us with Team Toyota... and I will also thank Rob's wife, Beth, who passed the word to us (something like that).  Point is, thanks to Rob and Beth for wanting to help and connecting us to a treasure trove of wonderful volunteers.  We had two teams

doing siding on the front and back, and the work was made difficult due to cuts around windows and the porch.  It was a first for everyone, but Mike became the king of the rotating saw cut, and he, Rusty, and Tracy tackled the front.  Rob, Mike, and our Larry Pejeau (another Welcome Back!!) expertly handled the back.  As you can see, siding is mostly finished!!

Saturday was a washout unfortunately, but we are moving forward.  Thanks again to Team Toyota, and welcome back to Ken, Jim, Mark, and Larry -- We are back to full strength.


WEEK 7 -- August 3-8

Greetings All,

     We are progressing nicely.  The images to the right are not mirror images, but rather the front and back  of the house.  Several things to note.  First, Friday and Saturday we moved dirt, or rather our excavator, Casey Greene, moved dirt.  We are ready to landscape!

     This finale was preceded by finishing the siding, soffit, and fascia!  Mark and Ken did the final surgical cuts on the siding.  Bill Bardes and I finished fascia and soffits, and Dave Sisson grabbed whoever he could to help with the decks.  Outside construction is nearly complete... I hope.

     We also passed rough-in inspection, so we are ready to proceed with the inside:  insulation and drywall.  With some good fortune, these may be finished by this time next week.

Until Then... Scott

P.S.  In my haste, I forgot about Thursday, which is John Werner day.  John has had some tough, dirty jobs this build, in part because he is so agreeable, and in part because he owns an auger and is built like a bull.  You get the idea.  Dave had him digging more holes for the decks, and together they decked the back deck.  It was another long day... (maybe I was trying to forget Thursday).

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August 8th  -- Front of the house

August 8th --

Back of the house

WEEK 8 -- August 10-15

I had to turn away some great help this week as we are at the mercy of hired tradesmen working inside.  So no Toyota this week.  No complaints.  Electric, plumbing, HVAC, and foam insulation were accomplished.  The drywall is taking some time... so we wait... impatiently.  Enjoying a break in the action!

Only one shot this week.  It shows a couple of additions.  First, late last week, our earth mover came and shaped and installed a second drain line for gutters on the far side of the house.  Tim Davis re-plumbed the lines to receive downspouts, and gutters went up this week.  Nice to have them up!  The two recent downpours undid some of the landscaping from last week, but we are back on track.

We also got some 'crick gravel' from Casey to make a bed for the shed.  Dave leveled the area and, with his tractor/ fork was able to drag the shed into position as shown on the left of the photo.  It sits in the back just off the alley adjacent to the parking area.  John brought his brain and brawn to the show.


Thanks to our regulars... Mark, Jim, Ken, Bill, Tim, and John for doing what needed to be done.  The decks are finished except for guard rails.  Several, mostly Pearletta, have planted some grass seed and now a few plants.  We will continue to chip away on the grounds as we prepare to paint.  Everyone is welcome for that!


WEEK 9 -- August 17-22

I start with a pic from 8.23.  Looks about like last week, with a bit more grass peeking through.  We do have a little outside work to do, porch rails and porch gables.  You may have been wondering about the gables!  Well, it's a nice story.  Raymond Pitcher wants to help dress this house up.  He lives in Helmsburg and some of you know he led the team that built Mother's Cupboard back in... 2015 or so.  So, Raymond is putting up Cedar Shake shingles on both front and back.  Eagerly awaiting that touch.

Drywallers just finished Saturday... so, finally, we can get inside.  Lots of painting to do, so don't be bashful... and don't miss an opportunity to help with this build.  Time is running out!  Wear a hat, and if you have a favorite 3" or 4" brush, please bring.  Habitat has not invested much in paint brushes.

We did work this week, or I should say Toyota worked this week.  Monday was 'Manager Day'.  All the top brass!  I was a bit concerned for two reasons.  First, I was expecting 9.  I thought we might have to play softball or something.  Second, being managers, I was not sure they would be eager to work or take direction.  Well, 10 eager volunteers were on site before 7:30!

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I wish I had had more planned, but here is what we did.  Note the white picture frame in the pic to the left.  We built 12.  This was Dave's build idea.  We split into 4 units.  We had a cutter on the miter saw; (Bill brought his own along with most everything else we might need).  We had a jamb table where jamb extensions were built as a box for each window.  We had a trim table, where frame boards were nailed to the jamb box, and we had a nail hole fill and paint table.  Dave had pre-ripped and cut jamb boards, so once everyone was on board with the process (just after the first break -- kidding), the group sailed through the construction.  Some of the crew also tackled landscaping behind the shed, seeding and spreading straw.  And we had fun!

I wold like to thank Mark and Ken for coming out to help organize.

On Tuesday, we had Team Marketing.  Another wonderful group of 7, including the boss (Steve) who had been on site on Monday.  Once again, I wish I had had more to do, but I just could not force myself to turn away another Toyota group.  These two groups could have painted the whole inside had we been to that point.

Team Marketing did two things.  First, they took the primed window frames from Monday and made necessary corrections (kidding again).  They first reinforced the jamb boards, then did a bit of sanding, and finally they added a coat of finish paint.  Second, Dave was able to disk the 50% of the yard that had not been seeded and was packed down.  These youngsters made short work of raking out the yard, seeding, and strawing.  They then built a cover for the gutter drain line at the street.  I had to plead with them to go home.  Steve is proud of his crew, and we are grateful to Team Marketing and the "Managers" for helping us move this home forward. 

Many Thanks!!

Until next week...



TOYOTA - Team Marketing

Week 10 -- Aug. 24-29

We had a productive week... as we moved inside on Monday.

     On Monday, Mark, Ken, Jim, and I tackled painting the ceiling.  That went quickly somehow, so we elected to start priming the walls.  It was a long day, but we primed the entire inside!  I went home and went to bed.

     On Tuesday, Ken agreed to return to put a second coat on the ceiling.  I think he came back to make sure I put on the second coat.

On Wednesday, I did a bit of painting while waiting for the attic insulators.  We now have the attic knee-deep in insulation.

On Thursday and Friday, we had Toyota again!

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TOYOTA   8-27-20   Team Data Analysis

On Thursday, team data analysis came, the data crunchers who monitor in real time each fork-lift in use around the world.  Fortunately, they were not just computer experts.  The challenge was that we had 10 data crunchers!  We went through 11 gallons of paint doing the interior walls... rolling and cutting in... 11 gallons after the walls were already primed.  I was shocked, but the army did it, and it looks great.  Great job!

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TOYOTA     Part of Team HR

On Friday, we had team HR... five eager volunteers.  I show only two of our helpers because I was a bit late with the pic and several had to depart before I realized it; (John had to get to work).  Anyway, thanks to all team HR members.  Our primary goal was to mount the window trim.  You might recall that we pre-built these 10 days prior.  I can't say it was smooth sailing, and we had to modify our methods along the way, but, as you can see, window trims look nice.  And note the finished wall as well (light grey).

To recap, interior painting was completed (except for interior doors and baseboards) this week.  Well done and thanks to everyone who contributed.

Also on Thursday, which is John's day, he and Dave continued work on the decks.  We are using wire mesh in place of spindles, so that is what they worked on.  Dave is organizing this, and that work will continue into next week.

I am  not finished!  Walls were completed just in time for cabinets, which arrived Friday afternoon.  Pearletta and family took over Friday evening and Saturday.  They set cabinets and laid flooring.  And I must say it looks great... as of Sunday morning.  We'll catch up with pics next week.

We are moving rapidly at this point.  Appliances are due to arrive, and I think electric, HVAC, and plumbing will be on hand to finish this task.  I failed to mention, but Duke connected us to the house, so the house is hot.  It was indeed a busy week!


Week 11 -- Aug 31-Sep 5

Another busy week... I'll try to remember most.

     Monday, Ken, Dave, and I tackled the walkway to the house from the parking area.  We finished by leveling, raking, seeding, and strawing after Duke did their trench work.  The back is more settled, but still gets considerable foot traffic, so more to come.

     Tuesday.  Bill and Dave finished the decks, trimming out the wire mesh safety guards (instead of wood balusters).  You'll have to check it out!  Gary Manning brought baseboard and door trim... miles of it.

     Wednesday.  Bill worked again.  Thanks, Bill, (although I don't recall what he did).  I know he worked.  He's the best!  I painted trim... the entire day... while waiting for appliances to arrive.  Appliances arrived Friday (unannounced, but who's complaining).  Dave Carlisle arrived to install HVAC, and by evening we had AC.  Gary Manning was back bringing interior doors.  Thanks to Gary from Carter Lumber.  He provided exterior doors, interior doors, closet doors, door trims and baseboards... all for a much-reduced cost.  I think that captures Wednesday.

     Thursday.  Our last two Toyota groups were Thursday and Friday.  I requested Toyota limit the crews to a more manageable four (4) these last two days.  Bill worked again (thanks, Bill), and John was on hand also, so we had a crew!  We did multiple jobs, installing closet jambs and hardware (Bill), hanging doors (John), installing baseboard (Dave), filling holes and painting trim.  Toyota fit into this mob scene.  (note that my name is not listed.  I don't recall what I did, but I witnessed it all).  Several pics from this crew.  Many, thanks, Toyota!

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