The Straw House Blog


The barn comes down

We pulled the last part of the barn down today. It took quite a bit of doing. Despite its lean it was quite sturdy. We finally got the last section down by pulling with the bulldozer.

We’ve been held up a bit with our other stuff though. The septic system isn’t going to be done until sometime next week—if we’re lucky. And we’re picking up our kitchen cabinets on Tuesday.

Here’s the barn pictures, plus some views of our new grading around the front of the house.



More trenching

We got the trench filled in today. Tomorrow we start on the septic bed.

I’m having a hard time deciding if the +31C (+38C with the humidex) right now is worse than the -20C (-30C with the windchill) we had six months ago. Of course there weren’t any Deer flies out then…

I’m going into town tonight to see Tina’s band play. They’re called BobCajun - guess what kind of music they play. My feet are killing me though, I’ll probably skip the dancing.



I’m still here…

Sorry about the break there. Things got busy work wise and I loaned my camera out so I didn’t even have any new pictures from around the house.

Eric has arrived though, and so big things are afoot. Eric is the excavator, he’s going to be doing the final grading around the house, installing the septic bed, and right now, he’s digging the trench for the wind generator cable. It’s quite the trench. It’s about 3 feet deep, 2 feet wide and runs 680 feet from the top of the back hill all the way down to the house. The trench is dug, and the wire’s down in it, tomorrow we’ll back fill the whole thing. First we dump in about half the dirt then run a line of trench tape down, the tape lets future diggers know that there’s a buried cable in place and to beware. Then we fill the rest.

And Eric has just returned, so I have to go work.  Here’s the pictures from today and I’ll post more tonight or tomorrow.



Very long day

Long day, I just want to watch the West Wing finale and go to bed. Here are some pictures.



Another Job Completed

We have soffits and fascia!.



Pictures from Sunday

Well I had hoped to do an entry about Sunday sooner than this, oh well.

This Monday I gave our landlord notice that we would be moving out as of the end of May. So we’re committed. The bathroom’s looking pretty good, Dad got one of the doors fitted, and a good portion of the plumbing is done. We now have a toilet and a sink. Unfortunately there seems to be some issue with the water pump and we have no pressure or hot water. Simon’s working on that though, and promises results before May. We met with Andrew the plumber and discussed various plumbing related issues with him. Hopefully we’ll have a people bath, and a dog bath very soon. The shower won’t be installed for a couple more months as the shower base was a special order and might not be in until June.

The major to-do list now consists of kitchen cabinets, final stucco, drywalling, and sanding/sealing the posts.



Snowy Day, Busy People

Here’s what happened today: Dad built the battery box. Mom and Rene worked on the insulation. Ian strung wire from the back room lights to the posts for future switches. Joanne sanded posts. I worked on completing the wiring for the various rooms, connecting the wires with Marettes and stringing wires for switches. We’ve moved a few things around, the clothes washer is moving out of the kitchen and into the back room next to the dog bath, we’ve added wall sconces to the bathrooms along with the pot lights in the ceiling. We’re also putting some lights in the top of the bathroom that will shine up and illuminate the ceiling providing some ambient light.

Tomorrow Dave’s coming back to fix up our front doors, maybe he’ll even get to our open bits at the top ends of the gallery. We’ll all be back tomorrow, hopefully I’ll even get my wiring done.

We went for a walk late in the afternoon and saw our friend the porcupine, so I took his picture.



Snow and Electrical

We spent the afternoon working on the wiring again. We’ve got the wires laid out where we want them and now we’re just stapling them in place. Mom and Jo are busy sanding the posts and beams. One pass with 60 grit, and later they’ll do another pass with 120 grit. Yesterday in Peterborough we bought Joanne her own Random Orbital Sander, so now she has steel-toed boots, a tool belt, a hammer, and a power tool. She’s rough and ready to go!

We got a whole bunch of snow today and it looks to keep going all night long. Eric dropped by to see if the drive needed plowing and we chatted with him for a bit. He’s going to talk to Andrew (the plumber) and coordinate getting our water hooked up. Now since Andrew said before the holidays that he was going to coordinate with Eric between the two of them hopefully they can get this done.

We didn’t take any pictures again so I thought I put together a bit of a retrospective of what we got done in 2002. So here’s the year in pictures.



Roofing Part Two

The roof is done. Soffits and fascia will go on some time in January. Many thanks to Mike of MG Construction and his crew of Rich and Rob. It snowed today, just flurries but it was cold and windy up on the roof, they were ever cheerful and took the time to make sure that everything was done right - not to mention that they worked through the weekend and bumped a couple of jobs to get our steel up.

In the pictures you can see that we got the racks for the solar electrical panels and the bottom brackets for the solar hot water panels in place. We also put up a chimney, we don’t know when we’ll have a fireplace but we thought it best to have the roofers put in the chimney while they installed the roof, rather than us trying to do it later.

Dad and I continued our work on the electrical system, we’re hoping to have all of that done by the New Year, then we can start putting in insulation.

Happy Holidays everyone, I know what I’m thankful for… we’re enclosed by Christmas!



Roofing Part One

The cupola is covered. Yippee!! No more annoying drips down the back of your neck as you work in the front. Tomorrow they start on the back portion, but it’ll take much longer to do that - they’re expecting to spend the next two days on it. Mike and Rich came out from MG Construction, really nice guys, good humoured and very easy to work with. Interestingly enough they have put quite a few roofs on straw bale homes, they are VERY impressed with our walls, they say that the other houses that they have worked on have had very uneven walls, real rough work. So cudo’s to Camel’s Back! Much as I’d like to take the credit it belongs to the care taken by Pete, Tina, Stephen and Andrew (who incidentally didn’t work on those other houses).

Meanwhile Jo and I worked on insulating around the windows. The big problem is that the expanding foam doesn’t work very well in this cold.  The other issue is that some of the gaps are quite large and don’t fill up well with foam, or else take a great deal of foam, those Joanne has been (carefully) stuffing with cut off chunks of Roxol.

In the morning Dad and I ran the last of the main electrical wiring. Next we have to run the wire for all of the various switches, plus there’s a good bit of work to do in the back room.