Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Wall starts going up...

These pictures are from a few days ago, but this is pretty much all I've been doing lately. We're building the retaining wall 'above' the house spot out of old broken concrete ("urbanite" for those in the natural building world) with rebar and mason's mortar. It's actually quite pleasant to do, especially if you can keep out of the sun.

I got the rebar from my neighbor, who has a gigantic pile of the stuff. This is going to be a pretty strong wall. I'm also tying the rebar within the wall to the roots of the tree stump that's above the wall.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The oven is done!

we got it done a week or so ago, but didn't get the photos done. Here you can see the plaster layer, which is smoother. I had a fire in it to harden the insides, so there's a bit of black on the door top.

here's where it sits above the road and steps to the meadow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Snake in the fence...

Our garden fencing, the deer proofing stuff, has little holes about 1/2 inch square. I believe that Melissa scared a California King Snake yesterday morning, and when he went to get away from her, he got caught up trying to go through the holes... we had to cut him out. Pretty good size, huh?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Kayun took a bunch of good pictures.

As mentioned earlier, Kayun is a pro (see for more ) and we managed to have her take a batch of pictures that show how nice it is around here:

In the mornings, the fog is often moving back over the ridge towards the ocean. Finally we got a picture of it!

This is a view looking south, from a bit west of our place... if that makes sense. our property is on the left side of this valley.

the typical daytime view to the west:

Melissa enjoys ferns:

Me looking off somewhere...
We started building the earth oven!

We had a wonderful visit from Kayun, who helped us start the earthen oven project, and had a great camera that allowed us to document more than usual. (it helps that Kayun is a professional photographer)

The first thing you do (after the foundation work, which was posted earlier) is build a sand mound that will be 'the void' of the oven. Here's Melissa getting that started:

Kayun and Tys have a hard time believing that the sand 'void' needs to be 18 inches tall. We finally got up to our mark on the board.

Then we started the mud mixing, the old fashioned way: with feet. This will be the same basic plan for how we'll build the walls of our house.

We got the first layer onto the sand, and smoothed it out a bit,

so we could scratch it up again, so the next layer will adhere to it. That's the door carved in, so it won't be too hard to take off later.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Big Chunk of Work Done!

We've officially finished the flattened the spot for the house. I'm sure there'll be some raking and changing things, but we've now moved from excavation to construction. It's a huge psychological change. We've dug a drain trench along the upper side, which will go under the concrete chunk retaining wall, seen here with some gravel and the 4 inch drain pipe already in it (looking south):

and then looking west, this is the trench that will go underneath the north wall. well, part of it anyway:

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Garden update:

the garden is changing every day, but I thought I'd toss a few photos up here. Melissa does the watering first thing in the morning. Here she is up by the cucumbers and beans. You can see a few of the tomatoes right in the front of the picture.

We're eating a bunch of snap peas; Melissa is hugging them in this picture. You can also sort of make out the chard, kale, and beets in front of her. The hay down in the lower left of the photo is covering our asperagus.

Cabin shower pan getting in place

Actually, kind of happy about this progress.  It needed to be up so the drain trap will fit.