Saturday, October 20, 2007

Loonie Gives the Bird

So, just when will Canadians reap the benefits of the strong dollar? I don't see the prices of import products coming down, do you? I think it's time to send a clear message that we won't be gouged. The news this week featured a story on Bombardier snowmobiles, (which are made in Canada) that are 3-4 thousand dollars cheaper in the U.S. So, why don't we just head south and buy our (Canadian mdae) snowmobiles? Because Bombardier has told American dealers not to sell to Canadians or risk loosing their distribution rights. We have run into the same situation when shopping for a car in the U.S. We were told by an American car dealer that they would not be able to sell to us, as the manufacturer "would not allow it". So, that's it for me, I'm refusing to buy a snowmobile. Now we're beginning to research pricing on appliances for our new home and finding prices in the States at near half of what they cost here. I get the feeling that manufacturers see us as the most gullible consumers on earth.

Straw Bale House Update: The structural beams have arrived along with all the framing lumber to start on the second floor loft. The weather is slowing progress, but there have been some strides made as window and exterior door framing is nearly done.

So, why straw bale? Aside from the aesthetics and being more environmental, this clip pretty much sums it up. has been one of many resources that we have depended on for building detail.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Denman Island: A Difference of Opinion, Surrounded by Water

"A Difference of Opinion Surrounded by Water", (Valdy). A quote from Valdy rightly describes the split in opinion regarding the Denman Northlands development. After nixing the original proposal, the Islands Trust invited the developer to return with a proposal that was a better fit to the Official Community Plan", (OCP). On Tuesday there will be a packed house for the Islands Trust meeting. The two factions will want to be well represented as the "new" proposal is tabled. There's an old saying that goes: "the best deal, is when nobody is happy with it". I'm not convinced that everyone is miserable quite yet, but they seem to be getting closer.

Valdy and Gary provided an entertaining evening to a crowded hall on Friday evening. Although I'd seen Valdy earlier this year at the Ukee Barnacle Bash, this was an entirely different show with lots of new material. Would Valdy dare to give a concert without playing his mega-hit "Play me a Rock and Roll Song"? Yes, he would, and he did, and the crowd let him out alive. Just watching Valdy's feet during one of his concerts is worth the price of admission.

Straw Bale House Update: Concrete piers have been poured to hold the posts that will partially support the roof. I'm now mixing on site for the small pours that are left. (Cement trucks are very expensive on gulf islands). Perimeter beams are in place and a couple of walls have been built that are required to support some of the upper floor. My knees have been complaining about the ladder work, (not to mention walking in sand all day). We put up a portable shelter on the weekend so that there would be a dry place to do work, such as sanding posts and beams.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A little Bonding

Another big blow on Saturday.... the kind where I'm laying in bed thinking: if I hear a cracking sound, I'm rolling off the bed. We have several large trees within "striking distance" of our bedroom. so it's something you think about when the wind hits the 80K mark and you're laying there, awake. Friday, was an outstanding day. I couldn't help but stop and take this picture on my way to work. It's an early morning shot of Chickadee lake.... just after 2 beavers swam by... so use your imagination.

If you're like me (cheap) and use lots of "AA" batteries.... (I can never seem to keep up with the re-chargeables)... check out this tip to get your batteries at a fraction of the cost. And don't forget to take your used batteries to your recycling depot.

Straw Bale House Update: Things are creeping along. We've started bolting down the perimeter bond beams. The laminated beams still haven't been cut.... it's a long story, but the truss company doesn't want to take any responsibility for the beam spans without an engineer's stamp of approval. As we're already "over-building", it shouldn't be an issue... but they feel that there could be some legal implications should the straw house be blown down... no pun intended. Offering to sign a waiver should resolve the issue and work can begin on the second floor joists. The weather will likely be crappy, so the crew will work when we can.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Paper or Plastic?

Denman Island was hit with our first "honk'in" storm of the season. Strong winds and torrential rains kept us inside... watching the Lions stomp the Stamps. It was also cool enough to fire up the wood stove for the first time this fall.

A few years ago, I began reading from the Modern Library's "best 100 novels of all time" list. It features Modern Library's list as well as a "readers list". If I cheat and combine the lists, I've read 17 of the top 30 so far. A few weeks ago, Kari dragged a copy of "How Green Was My Valley" home from the recycling depot where she volunteers on occasion. (The copy was even too ratty for the free-store). I was surprised that it didn't make the list, as it's a great read. The book was published in 1940 and it's frightening that we're still putting corporate profits before the environment.

Many cities are banning plastic bags and some countries are heavily taxing them to discourage use. Reality is; if we could only bring ourselves to reuse and then recycle those bags, we'd be much better off, (than using paper). Paper manufacturing uses nasty chemicals, is energy intensive, and costs more to transport. Yes, those bags are an awful thing to have blowing around....but .... If we could just convince the litterbugs to tie them over their heads.... problem solved. Paper vs. Plastic Next time you're asked "paper or plastic?" tell them you want the one best for the environment.... and see which one you get.

I promise.... no more cat talk after this.... but, I'm amazed that this little feral kitten... the same one that lived under our couch for the first month.... the same one that was terrified of our dog can become the kitten in this movie. ( oh ya, don't know why my camera is making that noise.... so turn down the volume.)