April 20th, 2014

Fun, birthdays and celebrating spring!

Fall Photo Review

January 25th, 2014

Checking Off

January 25th, 2014

With the colder weather we’ve taken a break on siding to finish up some projects inside the house. In November we passed our final electrical inspection! We had been waiting to close up the T&G walls in the bathroom and kitchen until this was done. We had made a few additions since the rough-in electrical inspection we thought he might like to see. So nice not looking at wires anymore!

We’ve been trying to be creative with storage using space in the 2×4 walls. It’s worked well for our towel and medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and the spice shelves in the kitchen. In the kitchen we had talked of putting windows in the horizontal space above the wall. We decided to T&G the whole wall to get it finished up, leaving the possibility to add a window above the bathroom door later on. I’ll probably build some tall upper cabinets in the kitchen. We’re likely going to extend our storage space over the bathroom, but the details are still up for debate.

We had planned to use a recycled shower door as our bathroom door by building a wood frame around it. Until one day the glass shower door just exploded. Luckily no small people were hurt and we hadn’t installed it yet. Guess it flexed too much while being stored. So, out we went to buy a new wood door. Adding the frosting to the windows was a bit of a pain, but I really like the 10 window look. We stained it with one of the rejected siding color samples and ordered a gate latch. Surprisingly the frosted window is actually a code requirement. Seems silly and would bug me if I hadn’t planned on frosting it anyway.

Our remaining tasks to get a temporary CO are kitchen countertops (we just have plywood now) and the water test. Pretty short list! Once we get the temporary, we have 3 months to finish the siding. We have a bunch of siding stained and read to put up, so we just need some nice spring days to finish that up. I’ll be very happy when the whole building permit part is complete!

Here’s a view of the fireplace and brick wall as it looks now. I’ll add a couple more feet to the brick wall eventually so all the area with uninsulated pipe has brick behind it. Cozy!

Heating Results (so far…)

January 25th, 2014

We recently got a thermometer for inside of the house, which has been fun to watch. Here’s Jeff’s thoughts from heating on a recent winter day…

So today we woke up to -11(f) outside temp! . We woke around 8:00am to the interior temp of 52 . Fire was tended until we went to sleep the previous night ( 8-10pmish) I noticed that this is the lowest the temp as its gotten so far inside the house . It seems to hover more near 54 on most winter mornings in the am when we wake though (we always let fire die at night) Its Jan 22nd and we have went through 3/4 cord-ish of misc wood from our woodlot. some shimmering aspen/a bit of shargbark hickory and scraps from building. This might be the first year ever that we have heated our home from our land, that will feel good.

The small woodstove usually takes the temp up 10-15 degrees? This makes for a comfortable habitat (interior temp feels comfortable at 62 , 65 if we want to keep it toasty). The house on windy days is tight. Humdity is good now most all the time, if to high can be vented through the higher elevation rear earthtubes/opening window/running the fire. This does not seem to be to much an issue unless its one of those days where is foggy and damp outside of day. The insulation umbrella is not done yet so extending that should have a major impact of THOSE type of days.

The biggest weaknesses thermally is the windows and doors, surprise. We have vinyl double glass windows with a low/e coating on most windows. These windows were from old projects and auction. These are the points of radical extremes meeting. From the moist and warm of the inside to cold dry outside. when conditions are so, creates condensation and freezing on really cold dry nights. Some windows we have stuffed a 2″inch piece of insulation in (north windows). This helps a bit but is not a completely solid air seal.

The doors are even more challenging! I tried to be super tight when building them. So much so that I’ve had to shave them down like 3 times. Wood moves, its just way it is. So i’ve tried.

The conclusion at this time is that we need storm windows and doors on exterior of current doors and windows. All the way round!! I have two re-purposed sliding glass doors for the main doors I hope will work. This will allow us in the summer to remove our current wood doors and just use storm doors of glass? OR to open the interior door in winter when sun is shining and get gain then when sun then when sun moves interior door door can be shut retaining gained heat.

For the windows I am thinking build a lightweight wooden frame holding a clear poly/vinyl material that is fairly thick . This should be able to be mounted very tightly against wooden exterior frame with some form of threaded screw or bolt. Duct tape as a gasket if needed. The materials we have in the “resource center” so it should be negligible on costs. This should also increase solar collection being point of collection is not tucked 5″ in the window frames anymore. The interior windows ( our current mounted ones)all are operate-able can be used to create beneficial convection currents when open and sun shinning. Or a tight seal against outside environment. At night put down the tight insulated curtains. Maybe a magnetic tape and a nice thick felt? So that would make a total of 3 “layers” spanning a distance 13.5″s and a variety of surface types creating wave changing properties? ( the last one i’m guessing on but it makes some sense).

Its 9:00am here and the house currently sits at 58 degrees and 78% humidity. Outside -10 and still. There is a semi clear sky so some solar collection also happening a bit .. Some reflective gain from sloped “front yard”. A small fire of a few small chunks and some coals in the middle.

So overall i’m really happy… caustically optimistic with tweaks it can be taken to a new level and finishing the skirting insulation/membrane layer make it better still.

Update: its now 1:00pm and the temp inside temp64 degrees. Its been slowly climbing.The wood stove has been going ..burned 10-12 sticks of 2″ x 16″ wood.

line poem

November 22nd, 2013

underneath all used forms of man made societal structures is an earth that is alive and breathing.


November 15th, 2013

change …. constant…. flowing …. through structures of attempted permanence until it succumbs and is something new again

Found a what looks like a great all purpose mill

November 13th, 2013


random pics

October 21st, 2013

We play the Theater :D

October 21st, 2013

exterior behind house water membrane and solar collector

October 21st, 2013

So as of before these pics we had none of the insulation umbrella/skirting/cape of PAHS system done.  The rear section had been absorbing some water and putting pressure on the rear wall a bit in the previous years so this year I wanted at least the back done.  The was the goal before last winter  We currently have the first 4′ all around the house down.  That is the 4′ that is going along the ground horizontally outward.

The problem is there is a list of things that needed to get done..this was one.  So as a spur of the moment thing I had my friend Ron and his brother in law Ash help for like 2 hours.  We managed to get insulation on and it covered temporarily.  As this stage in the project where movitvation is a bit low (actually getting better the more progress we make) its nice to accomplish something that had been taking mental space and at least get it started :D

Here is a nice shot from behind looking down.  The circle you see is where the solar collector will go.  There is no insulation there so that that ground can absorb the suns energy and tuck it away for winter.  The pipe you see Is my attempt at making a completely passive solar water heater.  I am hoping to avoid the possibility of freezing without using any complicated heat exchanger.  By tucking the tubing against the warm earth I think i can keep it so it does not freeze.  If it did for any reason though its ABOVE the water rubber membrane so would not get to dry heat storage area!

At this point we coverd with the rubber membrane which was nice with 3 people!  We left it a night .  The next days I have peeled back the membrane and am filling up the void in the circle.  With no dirt fill it would be a low point and would collect water.

Its now completly covered …. battery died.