Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Our Kitchen: A Nuke-free Zone

One day it was gone. Nowhere to be found. I'm not so sure I can exist without it..... I enjoyed it nearly every day, even if just for a few seconds and it saved me sooo much time. Kari initiated the "experiment" and I must admit I was firmly against it. And damn-it, I hate when she's right. So, just what's so wrong with having one anyway....? I always kept mine well away from my crotch, so no worries there.... and I try not to peak in her window when she's doing her thing. As with any non-syncing of ideas and opinions, out came the laptop to Google: "dangers of microwave cooking". It took about 5 minutes to agree that the microwave should be forever banished from the house. It now lives in our garden shed, until such time, it can be disposed of. I moved here to slow life down a little, and not having a microwave oven goes above and beyond contributing. Boiling water for tea, now provides a long loiter in the kitchen while staring at the spot on the counter-top where she used to be.

I've always been proud to be Canadian eh. Steven is doing what he can to change that. Why should Canada have to agree to targets on greenhouse-gas emissions that would exempt developing countries? How about because we should be World leaders, and not whiners. "If all countries emitted greenhouse gases at the same level as Canada, the world would be nearly 800 per cent above levels considered sustainable". Now, that's leadership. I feel another rant on Electoral Reform coming on!

I like this ad directed at parents of female, TV addicted teenagers.... one of which, we have in our house.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Always look on the bright side....

Sunday, we went to the vegan potluck. After dinner a local couple treated us to a slide show of a trip to the Rockies. There's lots going on this time of year.... the famous Denman Island Christmas Craft Faire takes place Dec. 1st and 2nd. It kicks off all the Island Christmas activities.... stay tuned for updates on that.

This is my favorite Denman Driveway... I always think it looks like a painting....

Straw Bale House Update: The weather is cooperating and the trusses arrived on Thursday. (Thank goodness for roof-top delivery!) With a crew of three, we've managed to place them with few hick-ups. The exterior (Cedar) post and beams have all been placed, bolted and plugged. All interior beams are Douglas Fir, (some people have allergy sensitivities to cedar). The pictures are of the beam delivery and progress... as well as a shot of the fir that fell across the driveway during the last storm. It will soon be added to the firewood pile.

Outside the mudroom door

Tree across driveway

Roof-top delivery

Laying out trusses

Trusses east side

Front of house

Looking at the bright side of life........The residents of Churchill, Manitoba are looking forward to Global Warming. Polar Bear watching industry will make way for a new grain port that will ship local crops around the world..... This week's blog finishes off with one of my favorite movie clips of all time.... "always look on the bright side of life".

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Denman Island says: Thanks, but No Thanks.

The North Denman Lands scenario continued this weekend with an Islands' Trust sponsored community "round table" discussion. There was a good turnout from residents that wished to voice their views on the subject.... the overall point of view (in my estimation) was that less is more. The proposed 60 lot subdivision, (revised from 87) is doomed to fail. It seems that Islanders will (if necessary) forgo gifts of land from developers in order to maintain the rural-ness of the Island. The format of the meeting was to give anyone and everyone a chance to be heard for two minutes or less. Near the end of the meeting, a representative of The Kingsway Group development company took the microphone. When his time expired, he asked to be able to continue. He was refused the time and walked away in a huff. As he passed by us, someone jeered, "go home".... his reply was, "I will, and I'll take my land with me". I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. I certainly appreciate the Islanders willingness to show that this island is not up for grabs. I'm confident that it will remain a rural paradise. I was very impressed with the overall quality of the event. It will go a long way to healing the divisiveness that this proposal has caused within the community. To read previous comments about the development in previous blogs... click here

I watched The Walmart Nation this weekend. Although I don't make a habit of shopping there.... I doubt they'll see me again. We're shopping the big boxes less and less. The Lumber packages for the house have been ordered through local lumber supply companies, even though we (knowingly) are paying up to 20% more than (Agent Orange) Home Depot. I'm cheap, so this has not been easy to do. HD has supplied the smaller purchases and goods that locally based suppliers could not.

Straw Bale House Update: The weather looks promising to have the roof trusses delivered on Thursday. We've finally made a decision on a straw supply. We'll bite the bullet and have the straw shipped from Alberta. Flax straw is the flavour of choice as it is the most rot resistant. It's only drawback is it's flammability. The high oil content of flax makes it a little more flammable during the construction process. Once plastered, the house will be far more fire resistant than houses built with conventional construction.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stormy Weather

A big storm hit us on Monday and as usual we lost power for a day and a half. This was the first big outage of the year and the first time using the generator for household use. (It's usually on site running power tools). We were able to run lights and microwave etc., as well as computers with high speed Internet, (only the necessities). We still burned some candles to supplement the lighting.... and Boo Radley, our kitty took it upon himself to be the candle extinguisher. His current lack of right side eyebrows is a testament to his success. The winds topped at about 100kph. It was a small reminder of the storm we had last December that left us without power of nearly a week. It's also the time of year that a chainsaw is standard equipment in the back of the truck. (We had to cut one tree off the road on the way to the construction site.) We drove to the site during the storm to see how the winds would effect the rain hitting the bale walls. There were a couple of tree casualties, (more fire wood), and just as Kari was commenting that the house location was actually quite well protected, another tree snapped off, and it was agreed that it was time to leave.
Straw Bale House Construction Update: It's getting rather cool to be staining, but the beams need a protective coat before being raised. The heaviest of the beams are now in place, (these were extremely heavy and had to lifted about eleven feet off the ground by three guys over fifty). A few quick pics were taken Wednesday showing the last portion of the floor joists being placed. The trusses have been pushed back a week because of weather and technical difficulties.... we'd like to have them dropped onto the second floor by the truss company, to save some grunt work.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Gettin 'er fired up

October 26th is the one year anniversary of the hit counter which clicked over 3500 on that day.... it was also my B-day, and was marked by an excursion to Sidney-by-the-Sea for a visit with my Favorite Sibling. On the way back we visited the big-box centre of Langford. I've gotta say, I don't miss city shopping and crowds of people. Although the Everything Wine store was quite interesting... I picked up a bottle of J.Bouchon Reserve Cab that I'd been trying to find (to no avail). This may prompt a wine review... it's been a while.

Denman Island Wildlife.... (Not meaning the Halloween Dance, which we were to tired to attend), we (again), have a cougar prowling the island. As you may recall the last cat lived here for some months before swimming to Hornby Island, (where he met his demise). Hopefully this fella has no appetite for sheep, (or house cats) and he can eat his fill of resident deer and return safely to the Big Island. The turkey population seems to have exploded in our neighbourhood just in time for Christmas. These aren't the brightest of fowl as shown by the picture taken out my windshield. Even after safely crossing the street some of these turkeys decided to turn back.... there's a joke there somewhere. Eventually they picked a side and I was able to continue without any Tom fatalities. BTW- a group of turkeys is called a "rafter".

Straw Bale House Update: The framing crew Bob & Bob have started on the loft and are ready to finish the floor joists as soon as I have the post and beams in place. Thanks to two band-saw mills here on the island, I have 2 of the beams required to finish the upper floor framing. (One beam I had ready to go turned out to be a foot short.... but only on one end.) Truss delivery is scheduled for Thursday but the weather may push that back til next week. Five gallons of gas and a lot of patience resulted in the burning of the huge slash pile which accumulated when we cleared for the house. Burning of this size required authorization from Forest Services as well as a permit from the local Fire Dept., then you wait for a good venting index and you're good to go. Straw supply is now very good in Alberta... there is plenty of flax, (the preferred crop), to be found at a nominal price. Transport of said straw is another matter. Shopping for a reasonable freight rate begins tomorrow. Still no sign of BC Hydro and the generator keeps racking up the hours. As there is currently no electrician on the island, I'll apply for the permit myself, stretch my limited knowledge on the subject and beg advise where I can. We do need an electrical permit here....septic is also regulated, and Island's Trust requires a siting permit.. no other building permits are required. The picture on the left is a cut-a-way sketch of the lower floor of the house.