Monday, June 30, 2008


The 30th Annual Firefighters' Pancake Breakfast was held on Sunday. The weather was hot and the turnout was great..... although according to the syrup meter, there may have been slightly less pancake eaters than last year. The pictures include two pan shots (before and during) the breakfast, the graffiti fence, Sparky the Fire-dog, and Ashley in my bunker gear.

Straw Bale House
Update: Work has been progressing on the roof. It's about half done and the torch on portion is scheduled for Wednesday. The weather is supposed to cool down mid week. This should help, as thirty degree weather is considerably higher on the roof-top.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oh, Deer

The Annual Firefighter's Pancake Breakfast is next Sunday and traditionally a sign is painted on the "graffiti fence" to advertise significant upcoming events on the island. Sometimes these signs are real works of art. This year's sign for the breakfast will tap the talents of Ashley and a friend or two. Saturday, we prepared the canvas.... I'll try to remember to include a picture of the finished product next week.We have little graffiti vandalism on the island.... and when there is, it always seems to be after a music event where tickets have been sold off-island. (subject for a future rant).

Straw Bale House Update: The weather half cooperated this week and we got most of the garage roof completed. There's lots of metal bending involved, (some unintentional while handling the longer sheets.) The 8-12 roof pitch is a challange to walk on and the knots I've learned on the fire dept. have come in handy for tying off a harness. Charlie is by far the most confident roofer and has taken on most of the roof-top work. (The house should be easier with a 6-12 pitch.) Now that we've worked out a system of installation with a crew of three, we'll continue on to the house before going back to install the roof cap and flashings. We can only install the east side of the house as far as the chimney opening as I've been neglectful of having the chimney built beforehand.... but, we did take the time (while it was raining) to "dry fit" the masonry oven core.

While driving by the works yard Friday evening Kari & I noticed a young buck locked behind the fence. I think he thought the situation was reversed as he was quite at ease and feeling quite safe. Monday morning at eight, the gate will be opened, until then he has lots to eat. The young mother deer began to bring their fawns out into the open last week. They are very cute but totally oblivious to people and vehicles. They tend to disobey mom and dart out onto the road. A fatal mistake given the increased tourist traffic that we endure this time of year.

Renewable Energy Denman Island (REDI) has launched their new "Island ride share" website for those looking for a lift to or from the island. Take note those of you who visit us from Victoria and region. I've added a link for future reference on the side bar: Denman Island Links.

There's a protest being organized because of the exorbitant ferry fare increases.... Rock the Boat will take part on July 4th at ferry terminals all over BC's Gulf Islands. I think all Islanders believe that there is a cost to live in paradise, but what's fair?..... The best example I can give is this scenario.... A couple that wants to visit me on Denman and bring their two kids is looking at a $40 bill for an eight minute crossing. The same couple crossing Kootenay Lake to Nelson or Creston, a 35 minute crossing (on a much larger vessel) will cost them $0.00 Also bear in mind that these inland communities are not ferry dependent. they have a road that they can use instead of the ferry crossing. So why the difference? Perhaps it has something to do with the number of voters that live on gulf islands. If the Gulf Islands were a single electoral district.... I beleive things would be quite different. Worth protesting? I think so.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

heavy metal

Straw Bale House Update: The metal-roof bending machine that we'd expected to be here on Tuesday had broken down and arrived Thursday morning. The house and garage were measured and all the panel sizes programmed into the bending machine. A one ton spool of metal was loaded onto the the machine and everything was
ready to go... The bending machine promptly jammed and was finally repaired by the time we'd finished lunch. Once it got going, it worked fairly well and spit out sheet after sheet of standing seam roofing material. The next morning the garage roof papering was completed, (whilst dangling from a rope) and the first sections of garage roofing were prepared for installation..... the top of each panel must be bent to block water at the top, (in case of high winds) and the bottom of the panel needs to be bent into a hook to anchor it. We've decided to roof the back side of the garage first, so that the results of the "learning curve" take place there instead of on the house. The weather is expected to cooperate.... so full scale roofing begins Monday morning.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Getting Tanked

Straw-bale House Update: With the house ready for a roof, most of the effort this week was dedicated to prepping the garage for it's roof. The metal roof bending (for both house and garage) is scheduled for next week. The gable ends on the house have been sheeted (on the uninsulated portions). The open portions (living area) of the end walls will be straw-bale (notched to fit around studs) and plastered to finish flush with the sheeted portions. Then the entire gable end will be strapped and covered with cedar shingles, creating an effective rain-screen for the upper floor. The house picture also shows concrete pillars, upon which will sit cedar posts, which will support the roof over the entry.

Denman Island became a safer place last week.... Thursday our brand, spankin' new tanker arrived. Built to our specs and (just) able to fit through the bay door, she can carry about 40% more water than our existing tankers and provide a formidable fire attack all by itself if required. Because very few homes have access to water from hydrants, tanker size and turnaround time from the water source becomes critical. This tanker will fill, load and dump (more water) faster than our existing tankers. Loaded tankers are extremely dangerous when loaded. They have limited maneuverability and (literally) tons of forward momentum. This doesn't seem to be common knowledge to other traffic on the road, as catching the next ferry is much more important than giving way to a loaded tanker with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Therefore, the most life-saving feature on the new tanker may well be the earth shaking air-horns, which will be impossible to ignore.