The Battle of the Five Armies….Leveling the Stone

Hello again fans of Middle Earth and fans of the fine art of Hobbit house construction.  I hope all is going well for you this holiday season! It happens every year doesn’t it? You’re just sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner and all of a sudden it’s Christmas. I really don’t know how my wife does it. It really is amazing. Somehow every year she gets it all done….and done quite well I might add. I love Christmas morning at our house. I’m really looking forward to it.

So of course being a Lord of the Rings/Hobbit fan we all went to see “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Tuesday night (December 16th) at 7pm.  I was so glad we could all go see it together. Usually the movie opens at midnight on a Wednesday night. We got wind that it would be shown on Tuesday so we booked tickets online.I enjoyed it. The ending was sad though. I won’t spoil it for anyone. JRR Tolkien was a realist. A line from the Fellowship of the Ring: Many that live deserve death and some that die deserve life…. Or in today’s lingo- Life isn’t fair. Some of the scenes were really good. The Hobbit- Bilbo Baggins. What a character. For those of you who are fans of the movie I hope you enjoy it. I’ll go see it a second time next week.

Picked up the New York Times Sunday edition this morning and the Editor points out that in the Travel section there’s an article about a Middle Earth Museum in Switzerland that opened  up last year. The exterior is a Hobbit house just like Bag End but the interior is a series of underground rooms. The place is huge. 36000 square feet. I think the guy who had it built is an investment banker type. They must have spent a small fortune building  the place. It’s called the Greisinger Museum. The guy has some collection of stuff. Each room is a different place in Middle Earth. I would actually like to see the Silmarillion room. I love that book.

Ah, Middle Earth and Hobbits. At the end of the movie Thorin Oakenshield, the new King Under the Mountain, makes a statement that was really beautiful. He’s talking to Bilbo, the Hobbit, when he says ” Go back to your books, your fireplace. Plant your trees, watch them grow. If more of us valued home above gold it would be a merrier world.”

We’re building this Hobbit House… just trying to do my part to make the world a bit merrier.

We need merriment do we not?

Back to building shall we?

So the three oldest are back from school. Georgia finishing up her student teaching and now ready to face the real world at long last. (She’s starting as a substitute teacher in early January.) We all went out to dinner with her for a celebratory dinner last weekend and had a blast. My wife picked up a German chocolate cake that had the best icing on it ever. I think I ate half of that cake. Anyway, why do German chocolate cakes have coconut on them? I didn’t know they had coconut trees in Germany. Hmmm. Must be one of those mysteries like how did the Big Bang happen. Or did it?

Gonna try not to get side tracked here people.

So Georgia, Ethan, and Jude were tasked with finishing up the gravel situation over at the Hobbit house. I needed them to use a laser level to get the grade right but if you’ve never personally used one before it’s a little tricky. Not that it’s difficult but a demonstration can go a long way. I had to work late the night before they were going to do the work so I rang up Steve and asked him if he could stop by and give the three of them a little tutorial on laser level basics. He said no problem. He just wondered if we had any duck butter left over from plumbing installation. I told the kids make sure to offer him a snack of it. I know it’s kind of weird but the guy is really going out of his way. The Editor took a snapshot.

Laser Level Tutorial-with Steve
Laser Level Tutorial-with Steve

I told these three to take a couple of pictures while they worked but of course they didn’t. I don’t know how Ethan got hold of the camera but of course instead of taking a picture of what they’re doing he takes a selfie. I guess this is the first selfie for the blog. So I have to put it in here.

First hobbit Hollow selfie!
First hobbit Hollow selfie!

I knew they were going to go crazy with the tamper. It really is such a pain in the neck. You just have to keep going back and forth over the ground with the tamper and keep checking the elevation with the laser level. Very tedious and annoying. They did a good job though. Here are a few more pictures.

Jude tamping the gravel and Georgia checking the elevations.
Jude tamping the gravel and Georgia checking the elevations.

They forgot the areas where the shower stalls are going to be though for some reason. I think we had some sort of communication breakdown on that one. If you look closely in the above picture you can see where they left the sytrofoam on the gound. That’s where the showers will be. It’s a little confusing but at those two locations I excavated the gravel 4 inches lower. This allows for 10 inches of styrofoam underneath the floor pitch of the shower and I’m able to get 4 inches of insulation under the trap for the shower.

Saturday Ethan and I went over to check out how they did. I fixed a couple of things and we snapped the outline of the slab on the walls. Then we covered up the slab with insulation so it wouldn’t freeze. Check it out.

Tamped gravel slab.
Tamped gravel slab.
Ethan putting in the insulation.
Ethan putting in the insulation.

 

First layer of insulation installed temporarily.
First layer of insulation installed temporarily.

Hate to rush off but I have to get a few things done. Enjoy the movie if you’re going to see it and I hope you all have a terrific holiday!

Enjoy!

Hobbit Hollow Jim

4 thoughts on “The Battle of the Five Armies….Leveling the Stone

  1. Jim,
    Thanks for the laughs, I knew you were going to mention our friend Theresa. I’m not going there with the super sod having been happily married to a nice Italian girl for 17 years (and I believe it is 24 years for you)
    Enough said as I want to make 18 years, so I keep my mouth shut, capisce?
    Still enjoy your sense of humor after 35+ years.
    Mike

    • Yeah Mike, ya gotta watch these Italianos. They’re so sensitive. Jodi is a quarter Sicilian so if I make any off colored comments she might ask for a favor and I could be swimming with the fishes. 25 years of marriage this February and it still doesn’t count for much with these people. Jeez.

      You and your wife and family have a great holiday! Talk to you soon!

      Jim

  2. Jim,
    Merry Christmas to you and the family, including Steve….
    Place is looking good, always makes my Monday morning to read/see the progress and have a few laughs. I’ll be enjoying winter soon enough as I have to work a week in Long Island shortly.
    Mike

    • Merry Christmas Mike! Glad to hear from you. Hey, say high to Theresa, the Long Island medium, if your in the her neighborhood. Tell her we’re interested more in the uncut versions of the show. You know when the spirits berate their family members. Now that would be a show.

      Oh yeah and I’ve got another use for my mother-in-laws super sod. It can be used as a night stick for the NYPD.

      Tell your family I said hi and have a Merry Christmas!

      Jim

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