Journey in the Woods

Saturday, December 27, 2008

More Rafter Magic!

It was an interesting puzzle to figure out how we were going to get the rafters around the posts (as they don't line up exactly so you can put rafters 24inches apart from each other) so we figured out that we could notch into the post itself.

You can also see the little tester 2x4 that's in the 'ladder notch'. There will be 2x4s making a ladder with that big 2x10 running down the middle of it. This helps hold up the eaves.

What the Rain Brings....

I'm now obessed with mushroom hunting, and we had some success right after getting back from Christmas dinner down in San Jose.

These are Honey Mushrooms, which I never saw up here before, but suddenly, we've got tons. After doing a careful spore-print test and eating a few to see if they upset our stomachs,

we cleaned all these and have them on racks drying in the oven. This is in addition to the batch of Boletes Melissa got a couple weeks ago. Wilderness gourmet, here we come!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Melissa the meticulous

To get the rafters to all be the same height (which is important to have an even roof) we use a scribe to trace the beam arc into the rafter to make the notch cut.

It's a lot harder than it looks, because the beam is all lumpy and tapered and not as exactly straight as we would like it to be, each notch is a different width... and figuring out what that should be for each end of each rafter is a chore.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Getting Colder

So we did some good firewood work. This was all cut (and the oak tree that fell in the road) on one fill of gas in the chainsaw... that's like a cup and a half of fuel for, what, like 3 weeks of firewood? that's pretty good.

Rafters in Snow
Even though the snow was sticking around, and still looking very nice,

We're starting to get a bit better at putting up rafters, and got a few more on. You can see Melissa in this photo checking measurements twice, as we need to cut a notch out of each end of each rafter that corresponds to the arc of the beam logs, which are also at different heights.
It's where the organic meets the factory-made slow, difficult process.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow in the Mountains

woke up to a white winterland this morning. Not my idea of a good time, but it is pretty...

until it gets on your shoes.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Humanure Update
A lot of people are surprised/freakedout by our composting toilet set up, and I enjoy showing folks how well it works. I've recently started to add a lot more green to the active pile, as I'm learning more about how to manage compost.

Here you can see the active pile, with a layer of green Madrone leaves chopped up and put on top, before I empty a bucket on it.

I get the green leaves from my 'timberland management area'... I had an epiphany a while ago and realized that I can 'manage' all these saplings growing out of old madrone stumps throughout our property. Probably 4 years ago, someone came through and took a ton of madrone trees out for firewood. The stumps are still there, and have been shooting up saplings.

Here's a photo on one patch. The stump is in the middle of those handful of young trees.

I cut one (or more, depending on where and how I want to manage the shade and sunlight situation) and drag it over to the compost area.

I then pull or cut off all the green leaves for the layers in the compost pile,

and after that's done, I chop up all the small branches into fireplace sized sticks. (see the finished pile on the left?)

Then the big trunk gets cut up, then split,

Then stacked by the hot tub for future soaking pleasure. Here you can see the young stuff stacked on the left.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Roof mock-up

Before we left for Thanksgiving, we were still worried about the beams getting wet in possible rain, so we put up the big tarps, and managed to figure out how to get them over the two southern beams.

I noticed that it basically looks like what the roof will look like, so I stepped out across the meadow (to the south of the house) and took this picture. It looks low and long, but check out the ladder on the far left. It's stand at about 10ft high.

Garden Shed

Did I mention I built a little shed the other day? Since we had all this pretty good wood from our crib building days, in between things I tossed together this little shed for garden tools. It's made of entirely free wood, except for the one piece of plywood for the roof.

I wasn't going to do the tools on pegs, but once I got the thing together, I couldn't resist.

The door hinges are single pieces of madrone, maybe 1/2 an inch thick. They seem to work pretty well.