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Mid Summer in the Pac NW

By: PugetSoundPost , 5:29 PM GMT on July 15, 2014

August 11, 6:50 AM

A HOT day is forecast here for us today. It could end up in the middle 90’s. It is starting out on track for that forecast. The low this morning has only been 61 – I think without checking that last night was maybe the warmest of the year. The sunrise is through a filter of haze (smoke?) that is making the early sun a blood red color, which also can portend the “flames” of a hot day ahead.

Another busy weekend complete – lots more deck work. The foundations are finished and the holes are re-filled. Whew! I did all of the refilling all of last week. Again, I wonder how many tons of dirt I have flung on my shovel? This weekend we worked on getting the ledger board up (as well as flashing and a chemical/moisture barrier) and attached to the house – the board where the deck will actually attach to the side of the house. Two 20’ x 9” boards to hoist and hold in place while the hardware was being put in to hold it. We rounded up our two kids still around to help (me only? Holding all of that up? Nah, we needed reinforcements) and as usual nothing is smooth like that. So it all ended up taking a good portion of the weekend. But progress was made.

Here is what the finished cement foundations looked like:

And a sample of the 8 all re-filled holes! So good to have that job done!

July 28, 3 PM

The rain of last week is gone and the HOT is back! It was heating up over the weekend and today is even hotter. It has hit 90 and is only a tad below it right now as I sit outside. Thankfully in the shade. But I haven't always been in the shade - either today or certainly over the weekend.

We did get going on the cement mixing and pouring into our deck foundation holes. After hauling 67 - 80 pound bags of concrete mix both from the store and out of the car and into the construction zone, and then mixing all of that and pouring it and all of the associated work to make it "right and finished" - all eight of the foundation holes are CEMENTED!! Mr. PSP and I did most of the work. Two long days in the blazing middle 80's+ sun (thankfully shade moves around to it by middle afternoon), LOTS of Gatorade for Mr. PSP especially, Popsicle breaks, and just slogging through it, we got the foundations set in cement by last evening. Now today (and the rest of the week) I am on duty to keep them watered as they "cure" and even that isn't too fun in the direct sun that beats off of the house and ground. But we are very pleased to have made it this far! Now not much more will happen until next weekend.

I see the CPC has us in the "above average" zone for temperature for the next while, along with the west. This has sure been a hot July for us.

As Briar commented below, you just never know what may happen with the weather. Last September was so WET and then the next month just turned it off with a switch. I kind of wonder if this heat will continue into fall, or if it may "burn itself out" more quickly and suddenly we are in the cool again?

Meanwhile, my little garden is producing some green beans and tomatoes are beginning to ripen but mostly those are not too near ready. I also have peppers ready to pick. We have tons and tons of wild blackberries all around the yard, wanting to encroach in places they don't belong and are hard to beat back. But it looks like this is a bumper crop for blackberries. Right now a lot of them are ripening up (but most are still green, but there are tons of them) and I think I will pick some. On my chores around the yard earlier today I picked a couple as I passed by and they are wonderfully sweet and ready to eat right now. Don't want to waste them!

July 24, 7 AM

Rain! After a hot and sunny first half of July, we have had a flip. The change began earlier in the week, but hit in full force yesterday. It poured rain for much of the day. And unseasonably strong system hit the state and brought some thunder and lightning to us (and many other parts of the state) but mostly a good soaking was the order of our day. By the end we had .91” at home. Officially it set a record for the date. We typically are in the driest part of the year for us now, and nearly an inch of rain is pretty wild.

The rain hit those mammoth forest fire areas too in north central Washington. So much rain on the burned areas that flash floods were the next disaster awaiting some of those folks.

After a quieter evening last night, the rain is back this morning. It is cool, heavily overcast, and raining again. It is supposed to slowly clear today and tomorrow and by the weekend be back to the 80’s. But for now it is a much different scene than the rest of July. Our high yesterday was only 63, which is pretty cool for July, and especially this late in July, even for us.

On the deck project, I can report that earlier this week we had the inspector back and we passed! The newly configured rebar (after a very long day last Saturday making the fix) was a success and so now we are free to pour the concrete into the forms. That is on the plan for this weekend.

July 15, 10:20 AM

The middle of summer is here, in my estimation, and these are the days we need to enjoy and appreciate. That hasn’t been too hard to do lately – lots of sunshine and HOT for pretty much all of July so far. Every day except one this month, for us, has been in the middle 80’s to middle 90’s! Pretty amazing weather for the “cool” Pacific Northwest! This is not all that common any time but would be expected a bit more later in the season. Usually the second half of July through middle August is when to expect the most “summertime weather”. Often in early July we are still battling the marine layer and possible rain. Not this year. Only sprinkles that have totaled a whopping .01” so far for July! Mainly blue skies and hot temperatures. We have hit 95 twice already this month and some years we never hit 90 at all, although I’d say those years are more rare.

Everything seems to be moving along a bit ahead of schedule. I see some ripening wild blackberries already around the edge of the yard – they don’t usually start to ripen for another month. I have a nice crop of set tomatoes and the peppers are coming along too. Soon we should have some zinnias blooming.

My son visited us the first week of July from his stint in Nicaragua. He has reached about the midway point in his expected term down there and came home for the first time since leaving in January. It was nice to see him, although we didn’t do too much that was amazing. He seemed to fit right back in like he never left – making the rounds of friends, holding meetings, etc. Just before he came home he spent a few days in El Salvador. Much of the city of San Salvador was “blocked off” as places to certainly avoid travel to because it is so dangerous. So that limited some of his excursion opportunities. He and his party asked many locals in different positions about how dangerous it was and he says that 100% of them agreed that you should not go there, or there, or there, or across that street, or over there and so on. That country has about the highest murder rate in the world. I knew some of this before but even more after he had safely completed the trip, which was good for mom.

Our son-in-law is gone now – off to Air Force officer training in Alabama for the month. He is already about half way through that requirement. Our daughter is still in town but her time here is dwindling.

The biggest new thing for us since I last wrote is that we finally began the rebuilding of our deck! We had “ground-breaking” on July 2 and have made good progress. But it was HARD work!! And hard, HOT work. We were having many days in a row of those hot temperatures and that is when we were out digging 8 deep and wide holes for the foundation footings for the new posts. I ended up doing a lot of the digging, with some off and on help from others in the house. Digging with a pick and shovel. Some very long days “in the holes”. And I was very wiped out at times! But we kept plugging away and got them done. Mr PSP built all the form boxes to go into the holes, we filled in gravel at the bottom, leveled them all up and are ready to pour concrete into them soon. We are awaiting an inspector today.

Here is a photo of our thus-far completed work:

This deck will be considerably larger than the old one and we will have 8 posts for it. Mr. PSP has designed it all and has taken every worst case possibility into account. The deck will long outlast the house, I presume. But it is very good to be underway with it now.

Here is a little quick recap of June for us:

Average High: 75
Average Low: 51
Highest Temperature: 87 (June 23)
Days of Measurable Precipitation: 12

Total Rain for June: 1.35"

July 15
Sunrise: 5:26 AM --- Sunset: 9:02 PM (PDT)
(losing 1 min, 54 sec tomorrow)

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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22. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
3:16 PM GMT on August 13, 2014
PugetSoundPost has created a new entry.
21. PugetSoundPost
11:30 PM GMT on August 11, 2014
Great idea, WTS! We haven't gotten near that far or given that any thought, but it would be a fun thing to do!

What a HOT, HOT day this is! So far our high has been 99.5!! And we are still very close to that. Just need to eek out a half a degree more!

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
20. WatchinTheSky
5:32 PM GMT on August 11, 2014
That's a lot of work, digging those holes only to fill them back up!! But the fun part begins ;D Does Mr PSP have a construction topper picked out yet?

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
19. PugetSoundPost
4:50 PM GMT on August 11, 2014
Hi Cal, Yes, we often joke about how long the deck will last compared to the house. Just imagine if Mr PSP built our house too!
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18. calpoppy
4:27 PM GMT on August 11, 2014
With foundations like that your deck will be there long after your house is gone, LOL! I hope you have an indian summer this fall so you can enjoy your new deck!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
17. PugetSoundPost
2:14 PM GMT on August 07, 2014
Hi Briar! Yes, it has been nicer to be cooler the last couple of days! It has been still plenty warm in the afternoons. I am working on re-filling all those deck foundation holes this week and have been trying to do most of it under the marine layer. This is easier than digging but still takes a lot of work for me. I sure notice the difference when the clouds burn off.

I planted bush beans and have gotten a nice crop. I don't have too many plants, so not an overwhelming amount of beans, but they did nicely. I probably have one more picking and that may be it for the year. It is too bad that deer ruined your beans. There may be time to get some beans yet. If the deer doesn't come back for seconds, first! We've had setbacks in the past like that - from rabbits - and in the end, although late, have had crops hurry and complete. Hoping so for you!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
16. BriarCraft
11:37 PM GMT on August 06, 2014
The factoid in #10 about the driest day of the year was interesting, but it has me wondering if a bored meteorology intern figured that out.

My pole beans were 4 feet tall a month ago when the dratted deer came through and munched off all the leaves. Now, they are still 4 feet tall, but have leaves and are starting to bloom. Wonder if I'll get any beans this year or if Jane Doe will come back and munch off all the leaves again.

Isn't it nice to have the daily highs down around 80 again? I don't mind that nearly so much as 90.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
15. PugetSoundPost
5:15 AM GMT on August 05, 2014
Another HOT day here in the Pacific Northwest. Our high today was 94! Three of the first four days of August have been 90+ and the other day was close. This has really been a hot summer, let's face it.

This past weekend did have some cooling thunderstorm clouds roll through, giving us a total of .07" rain, which was nice, actually. But the sun came out between clouds and it was muggy and hot anyway, just a little less hot.

I have to say the heat has been nice and also oppressive at times too. The house gets really hot and uncomfortable. The cooling that is due this week I think will be welcome. Kind of hard to say that, given all the months we have that we wish for sun and warmth.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
14. JanesVacation
1:02 AM GMT on August 01, 2014
Your deck looks great. Home improvement projects always seem to take longer than planned. It will be great when it is completed!

Yes, our daughter arrives tomorrow and I am really looking forward to her visit. One week will fly by quickly. She is coming without her husband this time, so we will do the usual - shop, talk and shop. LOL My sister is coming on Monday for a couple of days so that will be more talking and less shopping since she has a 9 year old. We will probably take him to pick blueberries since they are right down the road. Lots of U-picks in this area and this is the height of blueberry season.

It's been an unusually cool summer here. I believe the west coast has "taken" our summer heat from us. I don't mind that much, the weekends have all been warmer than the rest of the weekdays. Strange, but gives us a chance to use our pool on weekends.
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13. PugetSoundPost
12:38 AM GMT on July 30, 2014
When the forms come off in a few days I will try to post a pic of the cement work.
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12. WatchinTheSky
6:50 PM GMT on July 29, 2014
A good foundation is key and it looks like you have that! As cal says, the rest is easier. All that shade will be nice once the deck is finished :D
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11. calpoppy
3:36 PM GMT on July 29, 2014
The rest is a piece of cake ;)

I do believe last year at this time I was up in your neck of the woods. And it was hot!! But beautiful. Since one of my nieces lives up there now I get to see pics of Seattle on FB. It was fun to tell her once when she took a pic of a float plane taking off, that she was in Gas Works Park when she took it, LOL! I took the same exact pic.
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10. PugetSoundPost
2:16 PM GMT on July 29, 2014
Today is the driest day of the year officially in Seattle, climatologically speaking. A grand total of .31" of rain has fallen on this date, in TOTAL, since 1945! And we won't add any to the bucket today. Another day of completely blue skies and hot temperatures. Yesterday hit 90 for us and wouldn't be surprised today to see that. I need to keep vigilant on my cement watering job, especially since it gets a lot of direct sunshine on these hot summer days.

Last night we had some of my first harvest of the year in the little garden - green beans. Nice to enjoy the fruits of labor, although it hasn't been overly strenuous.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
9. BriarCraft
10:34 PM GMT on July 27, 2014
Well, we picked up the entire month's worth of rain in a day and a half. While it was doing that, I remembered the excessive rain we got last September that rotted my garden in the ground. I kept thinking and hoping, "Not again, not again. until the sun came back.

So how did the cement work go?
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8. PugetSoundPost
2:03 PM GMT on July 23, 2014
A stormy late July day! Thunder! Lightning! Rain! Quite a slug of rain is expected today - .50" + is likely in the lowlands, and a daily rain record is a serious possibility today. We typically don't get much rain this time of year so this is a pretty strong system for the season. It is already raining pretty decently and thunder is rolling along now and then.
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7. PugetSoundPost
11:39 PM GMT on July 18, 2014
Hi CP! Thanks for sharing about your experience with your son returning. I was surprised, especially with mine coming from a third world country that the culture shock may be an issue, but he was pretty much back into the same routine and it did seem like he had never left. And, now, since he wasn't here very long, it also kind of feels like he was never here!

My daughter is doing pretty well. The doctor has dismissed her from any more visits but she is still going to PT, although not as often. She is free of all braces now, perhaps unless something extra strenuous comes up, and is walking pretty well and normally, but I detect that maybe she isn't 100% yet. The doctor seemed pleased with how well she has done, so now for no more occurrences! She is busy working as a lifeguard again.

We aren't using wood for our decking - you are correct. We tore down rotten wood and now we are going with composite materials. We opted for Azek decking. It is hard to remember the actual color, since it has been under a tarp for a year now! So when it comes out into the open again it will be pretty much a surprise! But no matter what at this point we will love it. Hopefully we chose well, way back when!

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6. calpoppy
7:57 PM GMT on July 18, 2014
I was going to comment on how you said 'He seemed to fit right back in like he never left' I feel that exact same way when I get to see Nate! I even told him in June when they were here that it is like he never left!!

How is your daughter with the bad knee coming along?

That is to bad about the rebar, inspectors are pretty picky about stuff! What type of wood are you using for your decking material or is it going to be wood?
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5. PugetSoundPost
5:29 PM GMT on July 17, 2014
Great story CP! It makes me laugh because it does seem sooo like something we would be doing! All of our projects are built for the worst case, and then we think of some more worst case possibilities. It is nice that these guys have the ingenuity to take something that most would discard and turn it into something useful.

I have to say that our project was set back just a bit this week by the inspector. The rebar in the forms needs to be adjusted a bit in its location (too near the edge) before we can fill in the concrete. So this weekend we will have to do the fixes and have it re-inspected. I'm not excited to have to pull the forms back up and fiddle with them. I have been told it shouldn't be "too bad". I am just anxious to move on.
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4. calpoppy
3:18 PM GMT on July 17, 2014
Your Mr. PSP and my Mr. P have a lot in common when building things. Mr. P always takes the worst case scenario and builds to that.

Many years ago and customer of mine brought in a picture of an industrial mezzanine that she had gotten from her work and wanted to sell. So I was going to put the sign up in the garden center but instead called Mr. P. He went to look at it and bought it. It would become our car port. It was in 3 pieces plus the stairs and railing. The logistics of moving it from their location (dirt road) to our location (2 1/2 miles of dirt road) was tough enough. Then we had the problem of how we were going to move the pieces to be bolted together. We ended up renting a forklift and with the help of a neighbor, my youngest son (before Coast Guard) and another neighbor who videoed the whole thing, they got it up with no problem. It fits underneath two full sized vehicles plus two smaller vehicles, and there is stairs going up to what we call the observation deck! Mr. P made sure that this monster will be standing for a very long time!

Good luck on your deck, digging that much does not sound like fun! I would rather be staining the boards to your deck, unless it is trex decking material!
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3. PugetSoundPost
2:31 PM GMT on July 17, 2014
Ha Briar! Yes, all of the digging does seem to qualify me for something - and I think I (we - there was help along the way but I'll say I kept at it the steadiest :) ) have made better progress than Bertha ever did! Seems like that machine only went a "few" feet compared to how far it has to go! Also, your keen observations are correct - the deck is not a bland rectangle. Semi-circle is close in a broad sense, however it will have angles to it as it moves away from the house, so the outer edge is overall shorter than the house side. Sort of a narrowing as it moves away from the house but with a couple series of short right angles along the sides to give it some interest.

Back to El Salvador - my son did say that they actually never did see a hint of trouble, even from a distance, but they were only there three or so days and stayed in at night, etc. Not trying to look for trouble either. They had a hired driver and he did manage to get to some Mayan ruins an hour or so out of the city. He was having camera problems and has only a couple of photos in the country and they are by the ruins. Those particular ones are not very big looking and we gave him some jazz over how small they looked (I guess we were expecting those large iconic ones in Mexico) and apparently there were bigger ruins further away but he felt like it was a victory just to make it as far as they did, for lots of reasons. Sometimes in a group the momentum is hard to keep rolling in one direction.

HI WTS! No, we kept looking for buried treasure or some archeological wonder to appear, but, sorry to say, none did. No big boulders but there were a lot of rocks that made it tougher. Mostly they were manageable size but would take extra hacks to free them from the dirt. The top several inches were the toughest - dry, tough, compacted worn out dirt. No wonder the grass struggles as soon as the rain stops. But once below that top layer it was a lot more clay, sometimes mixed with sandy stuff, but it was more moist and easier digging.

You also are a keen observer of how sturdy this deck will be. Mr PSP, an engineer (electrical, not one of the building types of engineers, but he can do it all) has engineered the design of this deck to surpass all codes and requirements. As for storms, he has it designed to withstand 100 mph winds, and that includes vertical winds coming up under it! In 1993 we had a very bad windstorm - kind of caught everyone by surprise. it came within literally less than a quarter inch of taking down the old deck - the wind shifted it on its posts - the deck was basically just sitting on them with no real attachment! It shifted and was hanging on by a quarter inch or so. He re-enforced it back then but it was always suspect. This new one will have no issues like that one did! Mr. PSP is very thorough with everything and analyzes every possibility. Now to just get it up!
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2. WatchinTheSky
11:30 PM GMT on July 16, 2014
You didn't find any buried treasure in those giant holes?? I didn't see too much in the way of large boulders laying around, a good sign! I cringe at the prospect of digging in our compacted DG and rocks that pass for backyard soil.
Judging by the holes and forms, the new deck should hold up well to the storms and wind :) Very impressive digging!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. BriarCraft
9:18 PM GMT on July 16, 2014
Your son's observations in El Salvador confirm what I have learned watching Al Jazeera news network. Not meaning anything political at all here, just making an observation of my own: I can understand why so many people from that part of the world are willing to risk their lives to come to this country. Can you imagine how horrible it would be to have to live in a place like that?

That's a big job you've got started on! Judging by the fact I see five posts closer to the house and three posts farther out, it would seem that you are not going to build a rectangular deck, but perhaps a semi-circular one? After all that excavating with pick and shovel, you might be qualified to take up where Big Bertha left off digging that tunnel under part of Seattle.
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Weather has been a lifelong passion for me; while my husband and 4 kids, all grown, and one of them now married, have patiently gone along with me!

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