After the successful slab pour, I wetted down and covered both house and garage with the tarps and kept them wet for a week. This was not difficult as the rains came again. I never seems to stop, the local farmers are complaining about the wet spring and there is standing water in many fields. Usually by this time of the summer they are complaining about drought. Farmers always complain :)
A week after the slab pour I started on the first block course above the floor. The first step was to put a horizontal course of rebar tied to the stubs sticking up from the foundation. Then I set about placing the first course of blocks, but being exquisitely careful about getting these blocks as perfectly level and plumb as possible. This involved a lot of level use and the judicious modification of blocks whose base was not perfect, with a diamond blade in a right angle grinder. The first course of blocks will be bonded to the foundation with a pour of cement to embed the horizontal rebar, and lock the base course to the foundation. First was the garage workshop as seen in the pictures below, with details of the rebar placement. At the same time it was necessary to get the fill in around the foundation in preparation for moving the wall up to full height. My plan was also to extend the grade from the the driveway to the entry door of the house, place the sand fill for the floor of the screen porch and the breezeway path to the workshop entry door. Was going to try and get 4 loads of fill sand from the driveway into the space between the house and garage, but the dump truck began to sink in so fast once he got on the last layer of sand we only dumped 2 loads off the edge of the driveway in the right direction.
My neighbor Rick across the back fence, who got a new toy ultimate garden tractor a couple weeks ago (John Deere 3020 with a front end loader and a grader) has been itching to move dirt. So he had at it, and after a few hours the two loads of sand were distributed. This was interrupted with a short period where he was stuck up to his axles in the soft spot on the south side of the house foundation were the rain runoff accumulated. He consulted with friends about getting another tractor to pull him out, with limited success. The the son of my neighbors diagonally across the road, who is a farmer near by, appeared, evaluated the situation and declared he could pull it out. Disappeared for 20 minutes and reappeared with another slight larger John Deere, Rick attached a sturdy chain, and voila he was back on solid ground. Thereafter he was much more careful about entering the soft area before putting a lot of fill sand in first. By the time he was done, the back side was filled so the water runs off instead of collecting.
Took a couple days on the weekend to visit my son and family in Toronto, and of course it rained again. Was planning on installment 2 of the sand on Tuesday, but it was actually delivered on Wednesday, Canada Day which I thought was a holiday. It turned out the aggregate company, moved the holiday to Friday for a 3 day weekend, and when I tried to get some cement gravel on Friday afternoon since I had finished leveling and placing the first course, nobody was there. On Monday I was ready for the last sand delivery, called at 7AM had both loads in place by 10:30. Rick the earthmover turned up mid afternoon, and all the sand was in place by 8PM. A busy day with all the fine tuning of the sand fill with rake and shovel, but it is starting to look pretty good, at least to my eye.