Monday, July 20, 2009

Straw Bale Construction

Straw Bale House Update: The back of the house (which served as the learning curve) has been "baled". What we've been calling the "catwalk", (a box-beam built above the living room windows made to suspend the bales) is being filled in. Below the living room windows another box beam will form a very long window seat. The picture of the window seat also shows the electrical box detail. The wiring runs within a chase at ground level with the bales on a "toe-up" seven inches above floor level.
Working with the Flax Straw has been challenging. It is extremely fibrous and hard on the saw blades (not to mention the skin on arms and legs) The big advantage to flax is the oil content, which makes it extremely rot resistant.

Kari is off on vacation for a few weeks and is being indoctrinated into the strawbale brother/sisterhood. Not exactly a relaxing vacation.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Port McNeill - bean there

straw bale house update:

I've pretty much finished the wiring rough-in except for the kitchen. The kitchen design will have to be finalized before it can be wired. Jesse, ( the electrician in the family) has given it an inspection and has given his approval.

At long last it's time to bale. With my small trailer I can "shuttle" 20 bales of straw at a time from the barn (where it's stored) to the building site. I'll bring the bales to site as needed, as storage is at a premium. The garage is currently filled with 2x12 cedar which will act as plaster stops (top and bottom of the first floor). The wiring in the bale walls has proven challenging. With several attempts to remedy, I think I've come up with something the inspector will approve of.

Let's say that I'm a farmer... maybe a bean farmer. I'm a very experienced a bean farmer with a triple "A" credit rating. One day the government says that I can't grow my beans anymore. I must buy them from other farmers in the area and re-sell them. The other farmers in the area have no fields in which to grow beans. The Government allows the farmers to clear some publicly owned Old Growth Boreal Forests in which to grow their beans. The new farmers have poor credit and they have to pass these costs on. At harvest time, I'm forced to buy the beans at a much higher price than I can grow them myself. Further, I am not allowed to store, freeze or can the beans to sell in the off-season. I must sell all my beans at harvest time, which creates a glut in the market and drastically reduces the market value. I am forced to sell the beans at half of what I paid for them. How long do you think I can stay in business? Would you vote for the government that mandated this practice? 45% of BC residents did just that.
It's only a matter of time before BC Hyrdo is sold off because it will no longer be profitable. (or you'll be paying double to stay on the grid)

Took a quickie trip to Port McNeill on Friday. The highlight was the world famous Burl. The largest burl in the world. Hey, I've saved you the trip.