Sunday, September 27, 2009

Make mud while the sun shines?

Ever since the Spring I have been feeling the pressure of the coming Winter, but now as the leaves begin to change and the birds and bugs make their preparations and migrations the cold air is so close I can smell it's sharpness in my mind's nose.

Most years I feel an increase of pressure at this time, but this year if anything I feel something of a relief. Relief because the bewilderingly long list of things to do has been shortened to things that need to happen before the snow and frost –Which is really only firewood, closing in the doors and other openings and building a chimney. Of course all work is easier in the warm weather so there is pressure that way, but we should be able to get the wood stove barkin' once we get the other doors and trim on, and frame in the ceiling, and so hopefully by the time it gets really cold we'll be able to work in relative warmth.

For the chimney there are still decisions to make. We're committed to using some sort of thermal mass wood stove. But there are different ways to build these things.There are some kits like this one you can buy for a $5000 and up that go together easily and seem really well-designed. We also have a few friends who use these and say they work great.

Then there are different ways to build them yourself. Here's one set of plans. One way I've only learned about this week is called a rocket stove. It's a little screwy but could be made beautifully and would only cost about $300 or so.

So I guess the masonry stove can wait until next year. Closing in is going to be enough of a project with three doors, all the trim, and the ceiling upstairs and so on. I was thinking it was a priority because it would be easier to frame wood around a chimney than to build a chimney in between walls. And it's getting closer to time to frame in the interior walls. And then you can't build masonry very easily in the Winter.

But there is plenty to do until Spring thaw. And I'm grateful to have the time to learn more about these stoves.

Sorry, no new pictures of the house. But this one of the boys at black rocks on one of those warm September days we had.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September is my favorite

The end of Summer here has been gorgeous. Warm, no bugs, getting dark at a reasonable hour. Here is a picture of the kids on top of our neighbor Jim's hill. We went up there for a Labor Day hike.

We've been preparing for a trip down to SE Michigan for Erica's sister's wedding. Fixing cars, practicing music and so on.

The dry weather has caused us to need to water the young grass every other day. It's not that hot, though and most of the yard is in the shade.

Here's the pump we're using to draw up creek water. It works great, but I have spent several hours screwing around with it to get it working.

Here comes the grass.

The main thing I've been working on with the building this past week or two is the door that we'll use as the 'public' entrance, upstairs near the dance studio. I decided to build my own door. It has been kind of fussy, but also kind of fun. It's a simple design. The top is rounded. I think my inspiration was all those pictures of Jesus knocking on the door. I love that image. You never know what wonderful beauty and love might come knocking.
Speaking of great images, here's the clamping system I used to glue the door together.

I'm back out there today to work on the doors...

Come on, baby! Light my fire!

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