Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Umm... okay Nathan, we'll wait.

The house project is now at a point that I haven't much to say, because I haven't been able to participate in a while. That doesn't mean that nothing is happening, it just means that what is happening is far beyond my capabilities - and Eedee's.
Nate has been working on sealing in the place so we can hook up our woodstove that waits patiently in its little nook. This has included putting up our large, hand-made garage doors, putting up the soffit (soffet? I don't know), and stuffing insulation into cracks around the ceiling.
But then Nate realized he had the inspiration to do the electrical, so he's off and running on that project. He tells me he only has a couple more circuits to run, I nod my head and say "that's great!", meanwhile hoping that really is great, and that two circuits isn't code for "I actuallly have a whole house still to wire!" So I think this means that Nate is almost done with the electric... I don't really know.
So you ask what have Eedee and I been up too? Oh we are surely bonding. Eedee does her exercises, you know rigorous stuff like lifting her head, standing on her legs, flapping her arms. And I guess I am her trainer. This means I also have to be in great shape, and I can promise you I am. I have been lifting my head for the most of these last 23 years, and consider myself a pro. Though I do feel my apprentice could beat me in any arm flapping competition. But I redeem myself through my ability to stand on my legs by myself. Go me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

getting in the guts of the place

So the main structure of the house is complete. We have walls, the walls are covered in mud, the roof is on, and the floor has been there for awhile now. The insides are getting formed now. Nate has framed in little Eedee's room, the utility room, and the bathroom...really the only rooms in the house that are going to have walls. Nate also dug the well this past week. After pounding in a pipe with a 80 lb pole pounder for an hour and a half, he informed me he would never volunteer for that job... and I can barely lift the pounder, so hopefully we never have to get a new well.
I finished putting up rock in our wood stove room, and I think I am done working with lime for the year. Pretty sure I am pumped about this. My hands and lips are thanking me for not drying them out every other day. I will hopefully finish with that room tonight when I wash it down with acid- don't worry Eedee will be at Grandma's for that project. Nate and I figured we will already mess with her head enough, we probably don't need to add any chemicals to it.
But the project is moving forward, and getting closer to being done every day. Painting the floor, putting up the ceiling, and doing the electrical are the three big things standing in our way. But hey, those seem minor after how much work has gone into it thus far.

Monday, November 1, 2010


So what could have kept me from my blog all this time? What could have distracted me and consumed all of my time? Lia says while trying to bounce a crabby baby on her knee so that she can have ten minutes to write this post that she has already deleted once by accident.
So Nate and I have brought into this crazy world an active baby girl named Ms. Eedee Aliece Larson. She came in at a strong 9 lbs and 10 oz, stretching at 22 1/4 inches.
But don't worry, she has not distracted us from our house goal. i mean, I went into labor putting on the first coat of mud on the outside of the house. Then I returned four days later to help finish up that first coat that we got distracted from. Eedee is a real trooper riding around in her front carrier or being passed between the grandmas.
Four weeks later, we are proud to announce we have finished the mudding of the outside AND inside of the house. It's quite amazing. Nate put in the windows and the ceiling insulation this past weekend, and it's starting to look like we could possibly live there by... by some date.
So I am sorry this post doesn't have more details - like I guess we could say that the mud is made from a mixture of lime, portland, sand, straw, and water... and it's slapped on the walls with your rubber gloved hands... and my family was dragged into this experience, and have all come to the conclusion that they will never build a strawbale house. But Nate and I are not detered. We just look forward to the next step, which brings us closer and closer to the move in date. Imagine - living in your own house and not having to spend every weekend on the same project. It sounds like a dream come true.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Those are some damn fine walls

So a lot has happened since the last time I've posted about our house. NThe blate, with help from others, framed in our whole house. This consisted of putting in the door frames and all the window boxes. I think we put in 13 windows, which is a fare amount for a house with the square footage of about 670. The windows looked particularly awesome because they have to be placed in boxes about 18 inches deep because the windows need to go on the outside of the house, but the poles that the frame works off is on the inside of the house. So you frame in the windows and then attach these 18 inch deep boxes for the windows to hang out in. It looked awesome.
Then this past weekend we put up all the bales. This was a tedious project, as all of the projects have been on this house, but it was so fulfilling to see. The bales are stacked like bricks, where the seams are put at variable spots. So there was lots of bale haircuts being done, and a giant needle that helped split the bales into smaller bales, you just had to be there. Even I was out there for about eight hours each day, straddling bales, stuffing spots with straw. I was the shit, I mean I didn't see any other 41 week pregnant ladies out there. Not going to lie though, I could barely move on Monday morning though.
We were just so blessed with the beautiful weekend and the help we got. We couldn't have gotten so much accomplished without them. Now this week we are out there every night finishing up the last of the little details and then next weekend comes mudding. Mark it off on your calendar. We need all the help we can get on both Saturday and Sunday. Bring your crappy clothes, some rubber gloves and donate as much or as little time as you have. Perhaps you'll even have a baby to dote over... or a very pregnant lady spreading mud.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

and the floor comes in

So I haven't been able to post lately on the building project, not because I have been really busy with the project, but because Nate has discovered how pointless I am out there. For some reason me napping under the pine tree doesn't encourage him to build faster... I'll never understand. Instead I have been relegated to babysitting duty so that capable people can be out there with Nate. But I am not offended, I consider it research. Through this babysitting I have learned that one year olds are not as bad as I thought. I just might be able to do that, though their poop does stink.
But back at the house a lot has been done. The concrete slab has been laid. Of course we couldn't just hire it out to someone else to do, Nate had to have his hands in this pot. So out came a truck on a Saturday morning, and Nate and a knowledgeable crew helped spread and smooth that slab. I must say, it looks absolutely beautiful. Then the cement blocks had to be gathered and laid around the edge of the house. This provides a moisture barrier between the bales and the cement slab. The laying of the cement blocks took a couple evenings, one extending well past darkness. What I imagine are spot lights, trowels, and the twins game blaring in the background. They finally finished up around 11 pm.
The next morning Nate was up at 7 30, heading out to pick up straw bales. With the help of Miles and John (our fathers), we now have 207 bales stacked in the interior of our house. We still need to gather about 120 more.
If you are concerned about the garden- don't be. It is doing wonders out there. My tomatoes are amazing, and I am planning on canning some salsa, and perhaps tomato sauce this week. Sounds like a great adventure for me while Nate does some manual labor.

Monday, August 9, 2010

a little shade

After taking a lovely weekend of, which was filled with Uncle Shurley gigs, we headed back to the property to go back to work. Or perhaps a better explanation is Nate headed back to the property to get back to work. I, perhaps, just wandered around. But this past week my dear fellow got a great crew out there to put some sheeting up on the roof, so now our I-beams have plywood on them. Then Nate started focusing on the floor, making the concrete form, leveling the dirt, and putting in the re-bar...or whatever it's called. Finally a job was created for me, I get to put buffalo board around the bottom of each pole where it will touch the concrete. I was told this is necessary so that the pole and concrete can contract and expand at their own rates and not bust up each other. Sounds like a pretty important job to me! I believe this job would take Nate a solid hour to do, but when you are inept like me, and 35 weeks along in your pregnancy, nothing moves very quickly. Especially when it involves me getting up and down. But at least my help is offering Nate some humor when he looks over. I have to be very creative with my hammering because I have this obtrusion from my tummy that prevents my usual swing, therefore I do my hammering under my legs, or upside down, or any way that is physically possible. Then to stand up, I must wrap my arms around the pole and brace my legs, and pull myself up. This is much easier then rising the normal way, but does take sometime and looks absolutely ridiculous.
Other than that, the swimming hole is visited often, the garden is doing its thing, and I am ever becoming larger and slower. Shall be an interesting next month for poor Nate and the house, but we both have a positive attitude about it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the cheap and tedious

This past week was spent working with our I-beams. There is a certain beauty in receiving cheap or free beams for your roof, but the beauty isn't in the ease of installation. Nate has been cutting, cutting again, re cutting, and then climbing up a ladder to install all week. It is a tedious task, but one that is saving us loads of money...though not if I was paying him by the hour, which I luckily am not.
We are out on the property five days a week, and loving it. Our view is amazing, the river is the perfect swimming temperature, and we are finally seeing birds again, my favorite is the magpies. Every day makes us a little more anxious and more excited to get out there. My brain is spinning with decor ideas, but Nate warns me that we need to focus on the here and now, and not count our chickens before they hatch...but that's hard for me to do.
On my end, the garden is looking luscious, though that doesn't promise fruition. The deer have taken their share, taking over the beets, beans, and peas. But I a have found my new favorite vegetable - the tomatillo. If you've never grown these, their plant, flowers, and fruit will add so much to your garden. I don't know if I'll get decent fruit, but their external beauty satisfy a certain need.
Next weekend we get a special treat, Nate has two shows with his band, so we won't be able to make it out to the property until Sunday. This may add a little stress during the week for Nate, but I know he's looking forward to having two days where he will guilt free take a vacation from the house. But mark it on your calendar folks - Mid to Late August the bales go in, and all-ya'll will be called on to help!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A roof over your head

I can't keep up with the all the changes going on to our house. If I was to post every time Nate does anything out there, I would have to post five nights a week. This boy is working his two jobs, and then heading out to the property to work on our house. This past weekend clocked him at over 18 hours working on the house. With all this work, we now have rafters on our roof. Please compare the picture of just our fifteen posts, and our current state.
But this work wasn't done alone. On this past Sunday, while I was working, there was a large gathering of boys out on the land, supporting Nate and I. We are really thankful for that. The work was then followed by a dip in our local swimming hole- the new summer hot spot.
In case you were wondering, the garden is doing amazingly. I put up a bunch of tomato cages this past weekend, planted my second round of radishes and spinach, and counted my zucc blossoms. I will hopefully walk out of this garden with lots of tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers. The deer seem to enjoy my beans, beets, and sunflowers. But I willingly surrender those veggies to the deer this year, but you just wait until this fall! Those deer will be on my dinner plate.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

And the poles go up!

We have finally created a the initial structure of our house, and boy are we excited. Nate gathered up five other boys, a cement mixer, and a couple levels this past Monday and a case of beer. That's all it took to put up our 15 poles, and my goodness did they get them square!
The boys arrived about 5 30 and by the time I returned at 6 with the second load of cement, all the poles were placed in the holes. Though they weren't straight yet, my breath was taken away by the sight. It really made the house feel real at the moment. The boys then went through and squared up all the poles. I stayed away during this process because I could feel the brains grinding from my position about 200 feet away in the garden. Instead I cut down some fence, attempted to break in our driveway, and popped two tires on Nate's Truck.
But popped tires aside, this night was a success. The poles were carefully placed, and the cement was wonderfully mixed and poured. And now our skeleton frame is up and the real work can begin.

Diggin' some holes

After waiting and waiting for the rain to stop, it was finally time to get out there and dig some holes. Nate called up a couple of solid friends and headed out to the land with a new tool. He had rented a motorized hole digger for the evening, and was determined to spend the least amount of money possible on this rental, so all the holes had to be dug that night.
The boys set out at about 5 pm and finished 15 holes by 8 30. It was quite impressive. Not only were they digging the holes, but they had to first create the square house shape in order to find out where those holes went. There seemed to be a lot of hemming and haaing for the first hour, but then those kids kicked their butts into high gear and created a master piece.
I just weeded the garden....

Monday, June 7, 2010

The first BIG weekend.

So we have long awaited the day when we can break ground and start the first steps. As any logical couple would do, we made sure to plant trees and turn up a garden plot first. Our property is now the lovely owner of 2 plum trees, 2 apple trees, and 2 pear trees, along with a bunch of lilacs and a couple maple. Nate also, very graciously, turned up a 20 by 30 plot of land for my garden this year. The best part about this garden is that our first house will be built in about those same dimensions. I am not sure if that means I have an excessive garden or a puny house.
Finally on June 5th Nate did the official land breaking for our house. He got to play around on a bobcat and rip up the ground for a full day. Though it was a lot of work, the boy loves his man toys. So after a grueling 9 hours of labor, only breaking for some hummus sandwiches, Nate left us with a nice flattened out space to start our house on.
While he was doing this, I was playing in our garden, planting my excessive collection of starters. I think I planted around 36 tomato plants, and if you ask me you can never have to many tomato plants. But I only have that many plants because I have little faith they will actually produce, but who knows, perhaps the Gods of Clearwater County will surprise me with a beautiful bounty of taste fruits.
But now we await our next step. For me that is putting in stakes for the approach and getting better tick protection for the dog, and for Nate that is putting together the tools to dig our post holes and planning our next house step.