Summer Servants Build a Basement

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aswcwislnAM&feature=youtu.be\n\nWhat do you get when you put a poet a nurse and a philosopher in a room together.  Left to their own devices you may get a logical health care plan in rhyming couplets.  Put a nail gun in their hands…you get a basement.\n\nThe walls of the Caretaker Residence basement have been framed and the window wells are well under construction.  So far our videos have included the grandiosity of large machinery destroying basketball courts and digging holes and bringing in walls and roofs.  Now watch the successes of a few extremely cheerful basement workers and what they have accomplished after two and a half weeks out of the sun.  We\’ve talked in the videos about the sustainable products being used in the Caretaker Residence, and have no fear, there will be a lot more of that later.  Here is our other promise: cutting costs to our generous donors by doing some of the work ourselves.  Instructed by Project Manager Mark Solak and Caretakers Eric Fitts and Moira Reilly our Summer Servants Emma Baird, Jessica Gardner and Taylor Fulkerson have become the ultimate team of basement construction.\n\nBethlehem Farm, transforming lives.\n\n 

Three Stories and a Basement…All living under One Roof

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jroPVTEE-Lk&feature=youtu.be\n\nIt\’s a tale as old as time.  Three stories and a basement living together under one roof.  What happens when the second story finds out that the first story has been using her floor as a ceiling?  They may be at different elevations but can they come together as one structure to bring together a community?   Led by a brilliant cast and crew (including Cinematography by acclaimed U. of Loyola-Chicago Cross Country runner Eric Fitts) watch the beautiful story unfold of what happens to SIPS when you shelter them from the rain by adding a roof.  Listen to the Filmmakers Commentary as they address all the trials and triumphs of this massive cinematic achievement.\n\n(To make it crystal clear: WE ADDED A ROOF TO THE CARETAKER RESIDENCE!!!!!!)

SIP-ity Doo Da

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0DOQklicrM&feature=youtu.be\r\nAs a child I enjoyed puzzles.  One day I was given a 3D Puzzle of a Castle.  My first reaction was \”Awesome! A 3D Puzzle! This is going to be so much fun!\”  I was as wrong about that as Napoleon was about invading Russia in the winter time.  After a few weeks I put all the pieces back into the box and shelved it in disgust.  I was content with flat, 2D pictures.\r\n\r\nBethlehem Farm has had a flat, 2D picture hanging on their wall of the Caretaker Residence for a long time.  In the past two weeks, that 2D picture has been emerging in a our yard as an ever-growing 3D structure.  (Luckily the workers are much more patient at putting together this project than my child self.)\r\n\r\nThe Caretaker Residence now has a basement (courtesy of Superior Walls), and the frame of the first floor.  As this is being written the ceiling of the first floor is being installed to prepare for the frame of the 2nd floor.\r\n\r\nOur sincere gratitude goes to our generous donors for helping us expand our Mission in this way.  The fruits of your generosity are now extremely apparent.  However, we are still a long way from paying off this house and ask for continued support so that Bethlehem Farm may be a place where communities are built and strengthened for years to come.

We dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock.

Hello everybody, it\’s Mariana here, subbing in for Matt while he\’s visiting Nazareth Farm. I don\’t have as large of a funny bone as Matt does, so I\’ll just give you the facts (ma\’am):\r\n\r\n1. On Wednesday evening, the Superior Wall installation crew arrived to prepare the site.\r\n2. Installation began bright and early at 7 AM on Thursday morning. The bulldozer had to push and pull the trailerful of foundation sections up our driveway.\r\n3. The Superior Wall team worked like a well-oiled machine, despite morning temperatures in the teens. A gigantic crane swung each section of Superior Wall into place for the ground crew to secure. It only took about 5 hours to put up the entire foundation!\r\n\r\nFeel free to comment with your Farm-y puns involving foundations and cornerstones.\r\n\r\n

The Blog

With the help of our generous supporters, we will be breaking ground in September!\n\nSo far, the progress on the new Caretaker Residence includes project plans from Chip Williamson at Chameleon Architecture. A little bit more about Chip:\n

Chip Williamson is founder and principal architect of Chameleon Architecture, a mission based enterprise aimed “to serve those clients who serve others.”  His practice redefines architecture as a tool for change. Each project undertaken seeks to create buildings and spaces that better serve the planet, communities, families and individuals, especially those with special needs. Focusing on community housing, sustainable building practices, accessibility issues and education, Mr. Williamson is currently working on an 18 unit accessible historic apartment building in the Over-the-Rhein neighborhood of Cincinnati and a new women’s dorm for the African Bible College in Liberia, in addition to his work on the Bethlehem Farm Caretaker Residence. He is a registered architect in six Midwest states, NCARB certified and a LEED Accredited Professional.

\nWe have also hired a Project Manager named Mark Solak. A little bit more about Mark:\n

Mark is owner and president of Solak Builders Inc. Mark began framing and building homes at age 14 when working summers for his uncle in Hilton Head, SC. After a stint in Architecture School in Buffalo, NY, Mark made the choice to move back to Hilton Head, SC, to work as a builder. By the time he was 24, Mark had started his own framing company in the area. Wanting to gain a broader knowledge of building, Mark started working as a project manager for small residential building firms, progressing to larger projects and eventually brought his family to Greenbrier County, WV, to work for a company building multi-million dollar homes in The Greenbrier Sporting Club. In 2010, Mark decided it was time to start his own company again – Solak Builders Inc.

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Mark and his wife Cindy have been married for almost 23 years. They have six children and are raising them all in the Catholic faith. While only 3 of the children are biologically theirs, Mark and Cindy volunteered to accept full custody of their nephews and niece in 2001. They have been in Greenbrier County since 2004 and have enjoyed the opportunity to raise their family in a small town. Even though Mark has built many beautiful homes, he says, “I feel my faith, marriage and children are my greatest accomplishments.”

Excavation…done. Zero dinosaur bones found…sigh.

\"IMG_2111\" \"IMG_2112\" \"IMG_2113\" \"IMG_2115\" \"IMG_2116\" \"IMG_2118\"\r\n

I really wish our excavator\’s name was Doug.  That would be so much easier to make puns about.  Because are no longer in the present tense \”digging.\”  We are past tense \”dug.\” Excavation took a total of 3 days thanks to the hard work of Jason and Danny, our heavy machinery operators. Foundation work is now beginning.

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(That paragraph reminds me of a joke: Past, Present and Future walk into a bar…it was tense.)

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What used to be just an idea, a drawing on our wall, is now happening.  Unless we are interested in a giant swimming pool or an awesome ground level trampoline, there is no going back now.

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To infinity and beyond!

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We are grateful for the continued generosity of our donors in furthering this project and the mission of Bethlehem Farm.

Breaking Ground with ground breaking ground-breakers

http://youtu.be/inBfAL4KdQ4\n\nGO CRAZY FOLKS! GO CRAZY!  The excavator came and broke ground.  More specifically he broke the basketball court into tiny pieces.  Don\’t believe me?  Check it out in the video.  It was crazy awesome.  Though I think there should be a law against texting while excavating or \”textcavating\” (copyright Matt Hubbard).  This new video quickly chronicles the impatience of a young man, the pummeling of a beloved pastimes domain, and the awe of a small child.

On the Verge of Breaking Ground!

 \n\nNow that power has been switched to the new electric panel, we are ready to proceed with excavation!\n\n\"dozer\n\nGetting this project off the ground has been a journey. Before relocating the power lines safely around the building site, the power company was delayed all fall by the power outages and then last month by rain and then snow before finally getting that done. Now, the excavator has been delayed by rain, flooding, and snow over the past three days. We are planning on excavation beginning Monday February 4th, but I am anticipating a swarm of grasshoppers will come in and gum up the backhoe ;-).\n\n\"backhoe\n\n \n\n \n\n \n\n \n\nAll kidding aside, we are excited to get some earth moving on Monday and thankful for everyone\’s partnership in the project. Stay tuned!

Decision Made to Move Forward with Caretaker Residence!!!

With the help of our generous supporters, we will be breaking ground!

\nThus far, the progress on the new Caretaker Residence includes project plans from Chip Williamson at Chameleon Architecture. A little bit more about Chip:\n

Chip Williamson is founder and principal architect of Chameleon Architecture, a mission based enterprise aimed “to serve those clients who serve others.”  His practice redefines architecture as a tool for change. Each project undertaken seeks to create buildings and spaces that better serve the planet, communities, families and individuals, especially those with special needs. Focusing on community housing, sustainable building practices, accessibility issues and education, Mr. Williamson is currently working on an 18 unit accessible historic apartment building in the Over-the-Rhein neighborhood of Cincinnati and a new women’s dorm for the African Bible College in Liberia, in addition to his work on the Bethlehem Farm Caretaker Residence. He is a registered architect in six Midwest states, NCARB certified and a LEED Accredited Professional.

\nWe have also hired a Construction Manager named Mark Solak. A little bit more about Mark:\n

Mark is owner and president of Solak Builders Inc. Mark began framing and building homes at age 14 when working summers for his uncle in Hilton Head, SC. After a stint in Architecture School in Buffalo, NY, Mark made the choice to move back to Hilton Head, SC, to work as a builder. By the time he was 24, Mark had started his own framing company in the area. Wanting to gain a broader knowledge of building, Mark started working as a project manager for small residential building firms, progressing to larger projects and eventually brought his family to Greenbrier County, WV, to work for a company building multi-million dollar homes in The Greenbrier Sporting Club. In 2010, Mark decided it was time to start his own company again – Solak Builders Inc.

\n

Mark and his wife Cindy have been married for almost 23 years. They have six children and are raising them all in the Catholic faith. While only 3 of the children are biologically theirs, Mark and Cindy volunteered to accept full custody of their nephews and niece in 2001. They have been in Greenbrier County since 2004 and have enjoyed the opportunity to raise their family in a small town. Even though Mark has built many beautiful homes, he says, “I feel my faith, marriage and children are my greatest accomplishments.”

It’s Electric Boogie Woogie Woogie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR6XfjAj0OQ\n\nIf you have ever been a volunteer at Bethlehem Farm you know that during your orientation you are instructed to take off watches and turn off cell phones in an attempt to, for one week, live on God\’s time.  It is an exercise in trust and detachment; an exercise that we at the Farm have been patiently been experiencing the past few months waiting for the electric company to switch our power lines from one that runs directly through the build site of the caretaker residence to one that runs a safe path around the site. Earlier posts on this blog suggest that ground should have been broken on the Caretaker Residence last September however that was not the case.\n\n\"2013_01-21\n\nIn July, 2012, Appalachia experienced the devastating Derecho which left 2.5 million people without power.  Bethlehem Farm was without power for 11 days.  We were lucky.  Understandably the electric company was busy for months repairing lines.  East coast of the Unites States was slammed by Hurricane Sandy.  While leaving West Virginia with a blanket of snow, Sandy devastated the New York City and the Jersey shore (even more than MTV had already done with Pauly D and JWoww).  Just as in the Derecho, all hands were called on deck and the electric company was back on the job providing relief to those in need.\n\nJust as the Farm\’s time for service from the electric company again approached in October, 2012, the Ground breaking was pushed back even further.  We were finally informed by project manager Mark Solak that the electric company would be showing up to the Farm on Wednesday, January 16.\n\n\"2013_01-21\n\nUnfortunately, heavy rains, flash floods and another blanket of snow would be the order of the day and, understandably, as with anybody doing electrical jobs, work does not happen when it\’s POURING RAIN! FINALLY, Bethlehem Farm caught up with God\’s time!\n\nOn Monday, January 21, after months of patient facades, the caretakers cheered as electric company trucks turned onto the Caretaker Residence work site access road to start the work on our future home. We\’d like to offer prayers for all of those affected by natural disasters and express gratitude to the disaster relief organizations who displayed God\’s true love in service to their neighbor and taught us the valuable lesson of patience.\n\nNext up:  Breaking News on Groundbreaking Ground Breakers