Journey in the Woods

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Still plastering...

As the sun goes down, Melissa touches up some edges of the west kitchen wall.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Typical rural life:

Had to replace this old battery in my truck:

While Melissa collected kindling for the coming winter. You can also see the ash bin from cleaning out the woodstove:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Even more plastering...(we've been doing it for quite a while now)

After I get it all on the wall and as smooth as I can, Melissa comes back and buffs it, first with a sponge, and then with a piece of plastic - cut from the top of a yogurt container. Here she is doing it as the sun goes down, so she needed the headlamp.

It has to be buffed before it gets too dry, so she can't wait until the next day.

Here's the window by the front door, with the plaster on it.
Next step is painting with lime wash, to make it white.

More Plaster process

So, we mix the plaster (sifted sand, horse manure, flour paste, water, white clay) in a bucket with a drill mixer:

Then put it out on the plasterer's table (saw horses with plywood covered with tar paper):

Then trowel it on the wall in a thin, maybe 2cm/1/8th inch layer:
and keep working our way around the room:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wheat Paste for plaster

Every batch of plaster we make includes a bit of wheat paste... flour and water cooked into a soupy paste. pretty easy to do, but time consuming.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Various works keep going

Here's Melissa as she buffs the still wet finish plaster with a sponge. She's really the detail person, checking all the edges and making sure everything is smooth and clean.

I ripped up those warping steps. It was pretty harrowing, as I was very concerned about loosening the other madrone pieces that edge the floor. I had to use a hand saw to cut out the upper one, and now I've got it back in the clamps, gluing up for another try.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stairs still warping.

Even after letting these planks age in the sun the whole summer, then going back and remilling them, now that I've got them in place in the wall, they are still warping more. how frustrating. I think it actually may have to do with the water content in the plaster... somehow they are soaking up the water and using that move away from flat.

I thought this picture would show it well, but the lower step is pulling up, even cracking the plaster below it, and the upper step is sloping down, especially on the left side. They can't even warp the same way?!?

Apples!


Pie!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Some of the finish plaster

Here's some not-well-lit finish plaster from the main bedroom:

The splotchiness is from spots that are still wet, and we haven't cleaned up the shelves or windows yet, but you can start to get an idea.
These are the two nooks in the bedroom. I couldn't help it, I had to put mirrors in the back, to reflect candlelight.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thor visits, works.

On a beautiful afternoon on the mountain, Thor and I had fun with machetes and did some clearing of underbrush down below the yurt. There was a time you couldn't even see half this distance:


the next day we got on some plastering outside the house. Since Thor's skill level wasn't all that high, we had him working back in the 'retaining hall' on the east side of the house.
We got quite a ways around from the front door

It was a great day, nice in the sun, but not too hot. The discovery coat on the outside looks great.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Garlic Town

Melissa has been peeling and drying all of our garlic cloves that were a bit funky. We keep the good ones for regular use, but these that were already sort of soft get peeled, sometimes sliced, and dried in the oven with the pilot light.

the jar on the left is full of the already dried bits. We can put them in the mortar and grind them into powder very quickly when needed.

Started on the Outside!


The discovery coat has begun to fill in the holes on the front of the house. Oh, it's going to be nice not to have to explain about those holes.

Barrel o Lime

We began our Lime Slaking project the other day. The major part of the plaster for the outside of the house (and, we've decided, for the kitchen and bathroom inside) will be lime putty, instead of clay.

To make lime putty, we took 5 50lb bags of hydrated Type-S lime, and mixed it into a barrel of water. This is what 250lbs of lime look like in a 55 gallon barrel, with a little water on top:



They say, the longer this stuff sits and soaks, the better it is. It could be a year before we get this stuff on the outside of the house. I hope it's only a couple of weeks before we start working it into the bathroom and kitchen walls.

By the way, since it was hydrated lime, we didn't really have any of the safety concerns that they always warn about. We prepared for them, but it didn't boil, or give off heat, or act like acid, or anything.