Monday, December 15, 2008

The Present has been Unwrapped

For the first time in months, the house is visible from the outside! The tarps have been removed, the scaffolding is gone, and you can finally see what the house actually looks like.

Here is a picture of the front of the house, the side which faces South. The band in the middle of the house is where the skirt roof will be added - a second layer of roofing which will overhang the lower windows (and provide additional shade / cooling in the summer).

Here is a picture of the West side of the house....

And the view from the East side....

Eventually the house can be painted, but it has to wait a year so that the plaster can cure and the minor cracks can be repaired.

This week, the framing also began, and the divisions between the rooms upstairs are underway.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Plastering Complete!

At long last the plastering is complete, both inside and outside. Here are a couple photos of the inside.


The Well? Still waiting for the lab tests.....stay tuned!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Look at this innocent looking drilled well. It stands there solitary, like it doesn't have a care in the world. It turns out that this little guy (actually not so little, he's 192' tall), contains methane. It's funny how that little word can get you a whole lot of attention!

A couple phone calls, and our well site turned into a CSI investigation. The Fire Department, The Ministry of the Environment and a Government Geo-Scientist all came to pay a visit to our little well.

They extracted some very delicious and refreshing looking water, which they will be taking back to their labs to examine further. Would you like a taste?

Stay tuned - we await the findings from Gil Grissom, Horatio Caine, and friends to tell us how much methane is contained in our little water samples. Next, we get to invite an engineer to come and tell us how to properly deal with the methane found within our water.

One possibility is that an aeration tank needs to be installed to try to separate the gas from the water before it is pumped into the house. All I can hear is more well delays.....

The GOOD NEWS is that plastering has started inside the house, and about 1/2 of the upper floor is done. It looks truly amazing! The rounded walls around the window make the wait worthwhile!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Plaster at Last!

The well continues to be a far distant dream, but we have started the plastering by using a water tank instead. The cold weather makes it more difficult to plaster so it is great news that the plastering has started now before we have to contend with snow as well (which could be any day now). Here is a photo of John Crowe, the well driller, hard at work. Unfortunately he is finding more sand and clay than water.

There is an 1100 gallon water tank that is being used, which needs to be filled on a daily basis. It takes a lot of water for the plastering job!

In addition to water, sand and cement are used. You can see the big pile of sand.

The great news is... the Exterior plastering is done and it looks amazing!! I have added some pictures here but it really doesn't do justice to how fantastic it looks. It's hard to get a good photo with all of the scaffolding that is still there.

Next week - plastering inside the house!

Here are some photos of JP from Generation Solar ( who came to do a site assessment to help us situate our Solar panels.

And here is a photo of the pipes that have been laid for the Geo Thermal system. (5 loops, each 300 feet long).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Well Digging in progress...

The Well Digging is underway, but unfortunately it is right in the middle of our parking area. This is the future site of the garage but there are supposed to be 3 separate water currents here - hopefully increasing our chances of finding water.

Also, you can see the trenches have been dug for the geo thermal lines, which are located on the front hill, beside the driveway.

The windows have all been covered with plastic in preparation for the plastering.

Fingers crossed that the well is finished soon so the plastering can begin!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The walls are what?

The straw bale walls are complete!! The Camel's Back crew has done a great job with the finishing touches on the walls - the tenax mesh is up, as well as the diamond lathe mesh which adds the curved shape around the windows and doors.

The hydro lines have been installed underground, and the geo thermal heating lines have been buried under the driveway.

Here is a picture of the geo lines (the black cables) 6 feet underground. The telephone line and Hydro lines are installed on the "shelf" beside it which is 40" deep.

Here is a picture on the way up the driveway (before you enter the treed area). This was taken October 4th - you can see the fall colours already! The house on the right is at road can see how high the hill is...

Next - as soon as the well is installed, the plastering can begin!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And the baling goes on....

The baling is complete on the 2nd floor! (yippee!!!), and about 3/4 done on the first floor.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Still more baling

Yes, the baling continues! About 3/4 of the upper floor is now complete and 1/2 of the first floor is now complete. Although it seems to be going quite quickly now, the estimate is about 3 more weeks until the plastering begins.

Here is a photo of the upper floor:

Here is a photo of where the front door will be. The doors were removed to protect them and ensure no scratches during construction.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Baling Continues...

The baling continues - that is, the building of the walls out of straw bales. While the crew has been working away at this monumentous task, we have been visiting the site on the weekend to stain the windows. The windows have now been installed, and we are staining them a dark brown colour (actually called 'red mahogany'). It is a very slow, and very hot process. The tarps around the house do a great job keeping the rain out, but they also keep the heat in.

Here is a picture of the latest progress building the walls on the 2nd floor:

Here is a picture of the completed roof (without soffit or facia yet):

And here are some pictures of the windows:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What a beautiful day for a baling!

On Wednesday, August 20th we had a bale raising - that is we started building the straw walls of the house. What a fun experience!

Thank you to Tina and the crew (Travis and Mike) at Camel's Back Construction (, for teaching us and assisting in the process.

A great big thank you to my colleagues (Allan, Manju, Hugh, Mark, Boris, and Kamal) who volunteered their time to come out and help. They did a fabulous job and it was hard to convince them to stop at the end of the day. Their work will become a legacy in the house.

Also, thanks to all of the crew from Havencraft that also assisted in the process, and have done a fabulous job with the house construction.

It was a great day, and thank goodness for all of the sunshine!

Take a look at some of the photos from the day....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bale Prep

The rain has slowed things down this week, but preparation for the straw bales is underway!
The house has been wrapped in tarps and the scaffolding is up and in place. The doors and windows still need to be installed prior to baling, so hopefully that happens soon.

Styrofoam has been laid where the bales will be placed, to ensure they stay dry beneath them.

Also, the roof has been started, however the tile we chose is on back order so the roof could only be partially completed. Hopefully they will be able to finish in about a weeks time, however the waterproof layer is up so we shouldn't get anymore flooding in the house.