Out in the sunlight!

OK, so I’ve mentioned before that we wanted to get Casa Chica out of the shed she’s being built in. The shed was a totally perfect incubator – it protected her vulnerable bits from rain and snow, allowed Mike to work in all weather, and saved hours of time of tarping and un-tarping that would have been required had she been outside (not to mention saving the cost of the tarps). But she had outgrown it, literally – Mike would have had to put on the ridge cap while lying on his belly and risk putting the hammer claw through the roof. So out she needed to go. But we had missed the window in the fall of weather warm enough to put any protectant on the outside, and even though the plywood is exterior grade we weren’t sure how much we wanted to test its durability through spring rains/late snowstorms. One can’t usually count on early March being warm enough to paint or stain, which was a moot point anyway because we still haven’t decided on paint vs stain, let alone colors. But! We got extremely lucky this year with an early warm-up – 50s and 60s for days on end! When I saw that forecast I was motivated to figure out some way to protect Casa Chica’s exterior so we could get her outside with some peace of mind, but without having to make any seat-of-my-pants decisions on exterior finishes. Surely someone makes a stainable/paintable wood protectant, one that doesn’t require major respiratory protection to apply or, if spilled, create a Superfund site? Yes indeedy, enter Seal-Once! Stainable/paintable, water-based, low/no VOCs, no heavy metals or other toxins. Nanomaterials yes (we took to calling them nanobots), and while there’s very little known about the health effects of nanobots, given the non-toxicity of the rest of the ingredients I felt the risk of it causing any problems is low (I’m an industrial hygienist, so I know more than a smidge about health risk assessments). There’s a dearth of information about Seal-Once on the interwebs outside of manufacturer propaganda, but I found a couple of positive reviews so I took a leap of faith and ordered a 5-gallon bucket of this magic material, enough (and then some, as it turned out) for two coats.

It arrived in the 2 days promised by Amazon Prime, and the forecast was still looking good to get it on while temps were above 35F per the instructions. Mike, bless him, spent last Thursday sanding the entire exterior, which needed to be done sooner or later because the plywood we chose was a bit “fuzzy.” And on Friday I was able to help with the application of the Seal-Once for a little bit before I had to run off to work. It’s interesting stuff – looks a bit like I bought a 5-gallon bucket of expensive skim milk. We used paint pads to apply it and the watery-ness required some trial and error to get most of it on the house and less on the toes, but once mastered it was a pretty easy job. We applied one coat to one side of the house, then went right over it with the second coat before moving on to the next side. We both noted the very faint chemical smell, but nothing that even approached being even slightly unpleasant to work in. It dried pretty quickly – to the touch in a couple of hours – and maybe evened out the color of the wood a bit, and it looks for all the world like it will be paintable/stainable later. So far I’m pleased with the decision to put it on! No idea how well it works of course, but we’re fixin’ to test it. I’ll report observations later. Rain is forecasted for Monday.

We let Casa Chica dry in the shed completely overnight before moving her out on Saturday morning. We’re not really sure how much she weighs or how much of the weight is on the trailer tongue, but we figured we’d try the farm’s full-ton truck with the heavy-duty shocks and springs first and, if that was a no-go, get out the tractor. No need for the tractor. She lowered onto the truck’s hitch beautifully, and, after trimming a couple of branches on the tree some yayhoo had planted right in front of the shed about 25 years ago, out she came! Narry a wobble or otherwise scary moment! Perhaps my concerns about my cheap, narrow old RV trailer frame not being up to the task are unfounded. She didn’t move far – maybe 75 feet – and the new location is only temporary (her “permanent” resting place is down a hill and on ground that is still waterlogged, so that move will come later), but it was a blissfully uneventful event. Yet still exciting, because it feels like a big step in her construction. We spent an hour or so getting the RV jacks back in place and leveling her up.

It was a beautiful cloudless day and the interior looked so lovely with the sun coming through the windows. The scene will be even lovelier, and I’ll post photos of it, when I get the bird crap and construction dust off the windows.

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