Sunday, June 20, 2010

Finally, beach weather!

Straw Bale House Update: I'm officially done with the exterior plaster. The living room window details were a little tricky, but I'm happy with the outcome. We'll have the best sunset views on the island through these windows. Depending on the weather over the next couple of weeks I'll be working on interior plastering and kitchen cabinet prep or finishing the staining of the shingles on the gable ends.

When we first moved here there were very few raccoons on the island. The rumour was that they had all died off from some disease. Last week, I found the first evidence that they have found the building site.

The better weather has allowed for more horsey riding. Mikki loves to get out and spend some of that hot-blooded energy. (he can really motor) We generally switch off half way through the ride with one of us riding a bike. Mikki loves the bike and will follow close enough to touch your back with his nose. Today was his first ride to the beach. He'd never seen the ocean before and seaweed was a whole new culinary experience. Notice the front leg action of the Peruvian Paso, known a termino, where the feet are thrown to the side. I've learned the hard way not to ride beside him as he can throw gravel a fair distance. Kari's riding confidence level has increased dramatically over the last month. Through my own ignorance and stupidity this hasn't been an issue for me.
Kari planted the two small raised beds I built a couple of months ago. We're looking forward to the first real harvest. She also bought a few fruit trees including cherry, apple, nectarine and Asian pears. The last couple of weekends, we've attacked the thistles which have taken over on the southern exposure of the property. It's a thorny business.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Monday, June 07, 2010

Straight Goods

Hey Denman Island made the travel section of The Straight.... see it here

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The short strokes of outside plastering

Straw Bale House Update: The weather has been crappy on Denman Island this spring. Wetter and cooler than normal. (graph on right proves my point (white line is seasonal norm) Perfect weather for plastering! With the humidity high, the plaster takes longer to dry. This makes for a much stronger wall. Just a few slow details around the living room windows and the exterior will be finished (for now). Once that is done the walls can sit for a year and do what they will. Any small cracks that develop over the next three seasons will be repaired and covered with the colour coat, which will go on next spring. The colour coat is only 1/8" thick so the 2nd (brown) coat finishes 1/8" shy of window and door trims.
The first few mixes for the first coat were mixed in a mortar mixer, which the straw bale gurus highly recommend. The rental was expensive and it turned out that my trusty (and cheap) cement mixer does a great job, (it just takes a little longer). I run the mixer for about six hours a day, six days a week. Not what is it intended to do, but so far, so good, (knock on plaster).
I highly suggest buying one of these cheapie mixers if you are going to tackle plastering yourself.... (or without a large crew). I also suggest dedicated clothes and footwear, as it is even messier than you would imagine. (My "plaster shoes" used to be brown).

The company that supplied the hydraulic lime did the volume calculation for me when we ordered it. It's going to be very close! I think we'll end up within a single bag....(on the plus side, I hope).