Friday, August 31, 2007

Summer Ends :-(

Straw Bale House Update: The power trenching has been done and we applied to BC Hydro for service today. We'll need to put in a temporary power pole to hold the meter and power box. Listening to the generator all day is a little unnerving and it will be nice to have a couple of 20 amp circuits to work from. The pump house is almost done.... just a few touch-ups and a roof to go and it will be officially "cutie-fied'. Yesterday was a "town day" for me... shopping for trusses and beams etc. This is exiting for me as I don't get off the Island much anymore. I will have the final drawings this weekend and trusses can be ordered then..... perimeter beam lumber has been ordered and will be delivered next Friday. Meanwhile, two truck loads of pit-run sand has been delivered and has to be spread to build-up the interior "floor level".

I'm adding a couple of other shots... one of my view from work.... not too shabby...... another full moon to boot. The other is of our road, which was recently graded... There has been no other building action on the road yet, although all 5 lots are now sold.

This Labour Day long weekend, Tyler and Jesse are coming to visit. The weather is supposed to be "iffy", but we do have a guys fishing trip planned for Saturday, thanks to Kari. We'll fish the low slack aboard a Hornby Island charter boat and hopefully catch dinner. Sunday, the Denman Island Blackberry Fair takes place. The Fire Dept. runs a Hamburger Stand at the fair and of course, has a couple of fire trucks in the parade. There's also a softball game planned, if weather permits. This should make for some good pictures next week.

Oh ya, We got paid for our house sale today... reason to celebrate... the bank account is very happy! There can only be some serious building supplies forthcoming.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Since plastic became a common household item in the mid 1950's, production has consistently increased each year. We now produce about 6 billion pounds each year. About 3-5% of all plastics are recycled or incinerated, all the rest still exists.... and will for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years...... "If you could fast-forward 10,000 years to an archaeological dig…you’d find a little line of plastic in the rock face. What happened to those people? Well, they ate their own plastic and disrupted their genetic structure and weren’t able to reproduce. They didn’t last very long because they killed themselves." Check out this article ... you will be shocked..... and do whatever you can to reduce and recycle your plastics. Products are beginning to appear on supermarket shelves packaged in "corn plastic", which is supposedly compostable..... the problem here is, there are no public compost facilities to take the used containers..... but please support these products whenever you can, the more we use them, the more pressure there will be to have public composting facilities.

Have you ever bought bottled water from a machine... for a buck? Do the math... you're paying about 5 cents an ounce for filtered tap water .... gasoline on the other hand .... at over a buck a liter is about 2 cents an ounce. Who says the gas companies are gouging?

It must be harvest season as we have been intensely buzzed by helicopters over the last couple of days. I was talking with one farmer who told me that the helicopter had a particular interest in his potted grape plants. It hovered over his farm for several minutes..... doing whatever they do to identify the crop in question.
Straw Bale Update: As we wait for a full set of drawings, attention has turned to the pump house that Kari is determined to "cutiefy", (if that's a word). Friday we went to Fanny Bay to pick up some cedar shingles for the outside walls.... it was also a good reason to stop in at the FBI (Fanny Bay Inn) for lunch and a beverage. They have actually fixed it up a bit and the bikers were outnumbered when we were there. Shingling was started on the weekend with Sienna standing guard... Tomorrow Dusty will trench the power and phone lines..... this could mean.... yes.... power could in our future.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Picture is Worth......

Straw Bale Update: We had our larger Cedar and Fir logs milled on site and the lumber is currently drying in our wet weather. Where did summer go? The Cedar tree that we felled supplied us with all the 8x8 exterior support posts needed.
Although some minor tweaking will likely take place... I think I can confidently say that these pictures are very close to what the finished product will look like.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Denman Houseboat... for rent?

This is Denman Island's version of a Shuswap house boat. Note the the plywood hull, lawn chair and slide. This particular model is oar powered.

Straw Bale Update: While Clay was here last week, he helped me dismantle the pillar bracing and begin damp-proofing the foundation. His plumbing eye quickly picked up on the fact that we had not allowed enough drop for our waste-water outlets... not a big deal and nothing that a half hour of digging won't solve. We are plumbing for a traditional septic system so that any future owner can hook up without any expensive alterations. We are steadfast in our efforts to have a waterless septic system. The beam pockets have been cleared at the top of the support pillars and are ready for the beams, (which I hope can be ordered this week). There is currently a forest workers strike and lumber may soon be in short supply. I'll order framing materials early so that there won't be any interruptions later.
Tuesday, I made a quick trip down to Victoria to look at some barley straw. It will suit our requirements.... Now it's a logistical matter of transport and storage.... and keeping it dry!

One and Two, (our foster feral kitties) have been adopted together. They have gone to a great home and we have reserved visiting rights. We'll miss them and it's something that we would consider doing again.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Straw Bale Update: Forms were "shored up" on Tuesday to get ready for the pour on Wednesday. What we weren't ready for was the impact of cement falling from the top of the boom of the pumper truck., (some 50 feet). Something like a jackhammer hitting Styrofoam forms can only be trouble...... and it was.... sort of, there were certainly some tense moments and a
few minor problems, but in the end we have the posts poured. That will be the end of concrete trucks and pumpers for a while. This was the most costly day so far as these trucks don't come cheap. Now we can begin the beam work and base plumbing and electrical beneath the slab. Now is the time that we have to choose things like bathtubs as the drains pipes must be positioned to accept anything entering the slab level.
Clay is here for a few days and he will help me get an idea of the sub-grade plumbing layout.

The feral kitten twins continue to entertain us. They have now discovered Sienna's dog bed and have taken it over. Two is making huge strides in becoming accustomed to humans, but won't ever be a family house kitty.... in my opinion. One, on the other hand is as normal as a domestic kitten.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Toga Anyone?

A slight resemblance....?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Cementing Relationships

Straw Bale Update: It's likely obvious by now that my time has been dedicated to building rather than blogging. We poured foundation walls on Friday. This pour went much smoother than the first as the truck arrived on time. We were filling foundations by 8:00 A.M. and everyone went home by 11:00 (c'ept me) who does the janitorial duties. Thanks to Bob, Etienne, Dusty and Claude (and Kari). Using Dusty on the Bobcat type machine made it very easy. The alternative would have been to lift wheelbarrows full of concrete up to form level and shovel it out by hand. Kari was in the right place at the wrong time and not only was delegated photography duty, but got roped into helping with the pour. She's currently applying for her union card. Personally, I can do without concrete, as it's rather stressful to get the right amount in the right place at the right time. The re-bar sticking up in the corners will help anchor the posts which will be built over the weekend and poured next week. We have a pumper truck booked for Wednesday, but I'm leaning toward mixing my own cement and pouring the pillars by hand.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

We Have Twins

Straw Bale Update: The grade beam footings are poured.... with a ton of hard work, in the hot sun, not to mention a cement truck 2 hours late and the concrete setting up faster than expected... it's done. Arxx (insulated concrete forms) are now being installed. Some homes on the island are made of Arxx, (the walls, I mean). We've ruled it out because of the high use of concrete.... and resulting carbon dioxide emissions. This will be our foundation, with the slab floor level about 4" below the top of the Arxx forms. We'll likely pour this on Friday. The third pour will be for the posts and will likely be next Tuesday with the assistance of a high priced pumper truck... the alternative would be a cement bucket brigade in the hot sun. We've been officially starting at 7:00 A.M., but I try to get there around 6:30 to set up.... and then stay late to clean up. This full moon shot was taken at 6:30 Tuesday morning from the front porch.

Monday, Fireweed called to see if we would foster a feral kitten that had been caught. The kitten is about 4 weeks old and made itself right at home. The next day, another kitten (the sister) arrived. This one the exact opposite of the first.... with hissing, spitting and growling etc. By Thursday, she's making good progress and will tolerate some contact without a full blown hissy fit. Have a look at the picture and see if you can tell which kitten is which.... it's not hard. Both kitties now use the litter box and follow the smell of kitty formula. Another couple of weeks and they will be ready for adoption... and hopefully can find a home together. Wednesday evening, the kittens went on a field trip to act as bait to capture the mother, (still at large). She will be spayed and released back into the wilds of Denman Island. The kittens' names? One & Two.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention.... we sold our house on Denman.... only a few weeks after we took it off the market, we had an offer with a rent back agreement. Now we have a place to live while we build.... without having to move in the meantime. All is good.