Friday, December 23, 2011

More of the Mess

A batch of photos of the mess from the tree trimming. (much worse than a christmas tree lot)
 One or two branches came down on a plastic barrel I had over by the hot tub, dented it but didn't break it.
 I'm in this photo, way in the middle back... for a bit of the scale. the amount in this picture is about a fifth of what needs to be picked up and moved around, and then chopped up. I'm tired just looking at the photos.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Huge Mess!

(looks like blogger has changed their formatting. will be interesting to see how this looks on the published side) 
So we got a guy back up her to do more tree work.  This first picture is a little into the project already, but you can see the trees directly to the south of the house... with the sun creeping into the shot on the left (east)

Then check this photo out after he was done for the day.  (I was his helper, to save money.  mostly refueling the saws and organizing rope. not unpleasant work, but a surprisingly hard workout)
Barely looks like anything was taken out, right? well, there's days and days of 'slash' clean up on the ground. A HUGE mess. Just going in there to organize it enough to start to cut the stuff up will take days. I'll take some pictures of the before and after today. 

In the meantime, Melissa worked on all the solstice cookies - Great Grandma McTavish's date-filled-oatmeal cookies. Made on the mountain on the shortest day of the year. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Work on the Gen

Well, I've gotten the diesel generator all up to speed for running on veg oil.  Here's the full view:

You can see the fuel line "T" here with the valve switches (the brass bits):

and an old lemonade/ice tea jar for holding the (cold looking) veg oil:

and the still annoying alternator being worked on to get it to create the proper amount of electricity.

Days can just disappear when trying to get this stuff done. sheesh.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Living the life

December is the time for setting up the firewood for winter. great stuff.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Different kinds of accomplishments

Melissa has finished the first round of cushion making. Here's the love seat by the fire with the micro-suede cover sewn to fit over the hand cut re-used foam cushions with hand made (and stuffed) pillows.

Here's the fuel injection pump from a gas generator that my neighbors gave us -unworking - about 3 years ago. I managed to take the thing apart all the way down to find this little brass bit needed to be adjusted and cleaned. I put it back together and she runs.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The morning view

I finally got my laptop holder together. Foolishly, I wanted to make it extra cool with some special notches (through mortises inside a rabbet groove) which took 5 times as long and ended up looking worse than other options... but it's done now, and holds the laptop above the keyboard.

You can see I also bring my morning tea up to the loft on a little wooden tray. The tray was a gift from Art and Joanne's last trip to Hawai'i.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Apples and Fans and Wind
(this post never got published for some reason... if it shows up out of order, oh well. it was written 12/2/11

The Gravenstiens are in! and yes, they are as tasty as they look:

Built my own ceiling fan. We got a standing oscillating fan from Art and Joanne, and I took the stand off, added more wiring, and hung it from the ceiling. Done.

the big wind storm came through and knocked tons of branches down all over the place. Here's the yurt deck:
and while this doesn't look like much on the roof, it sounded horrible all night long. time to clean the gutters! Again.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Various finds and changes

The persimmons are drying slowly, and multiplying: I think Melissa has done close to 200 this year. The purple ribbons indicate they've been dipped in brandy.

Tree guys were here the other day, and cut some high stuff out so we can get some more sun. Surprisingly, that's hard to take a picture of. There may be a lumberjack up in one of these trees.
On our way back from LA for Thanksgiving, we stopped in a small town for lunch and hit the thrift/antique consignment shop. I splurged and got this drill. Notice the handle unscrews and has a holding place for bits. Oatmeal powered awesomeness for $22.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

West Door Work

So I finally sealed up the spot under the door where the pipes go into the floor. Originally, I had wanted the pumps to sit under the threshold, but the way they put them together at the factory made them about an inch too tall for the space. So they sit under the deck, and that empty space behind them needed filling and sealing. I stuffed a bunch of old insulation bits left over from the roof and some plastic trash and then used plywood to cover it. Then, the can of Great Stuff, for every crack:
Eventually, I will build a little insulation box around the whole thing as well as the pipe insulation I have on there. No sense in losing heat. I'll just wait to scrounge some rigid foam somewhere.

Above is the deck boards in place, over the pumps. These were all ends and pieces left over from construction. Some had been the shelves under the yurt. I had to cut bits of rot off and such, but they cleaned up pretty well. Here's with the deck sealant stuff on them, still wet:

Melissa getting things done indoors

Check out this entirely rebuilt from recycled materials pillow: The outside is an old flannel sheet from our bed (that got a rip in part), the next layer is the cover thing that was on the futon we got for free - we wanted the foam inside, which was used to make the seat cushions - and then the cut up bits are from the leftover foam shaping project.

When we go get the 'fancy' cloth for covering the seat cushions, Melissa will probably cover this blue pillow with another layer.
and, more persimmons peeled and hanging, now indoors, for comparison's sake.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Little projects

There seems like hundreds of these little things still to do around the place, and more detailed and important to get right, as they are so front and center to the daily life.

I whittled up the dutch door lock for the back door, finally. and got the door knob on. I love how all three of our doors use the same key.

Melissa has started in on the persimmons for this year. We're trying it the more traditional Japanese way, outside under the eaves. We'll have to see how well they do compared to others.

the rest of my day was spent almost putting another drawer together. It was a great day to be doing carpentry outside.
Still, it's amazing how difficult I find each one of these drawers. I'm making six, and this is my fourth. Maybe by the end of this I'll have these dovetails figured out.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Views around the house

Now that it's colder, the interior bathroom windows fog up very artistically when we've both taken a shower. Melissa is moving plants in there also.

We didn't grow these or anything, but they sure look nice on the counter:

and we've started in on the drying of the persimmons again; Melissa is peeling like mad:
and I got all the new metering parts up and running on the solar power. Check out how nice it is to see this on the meter at 6pm:

Sunday, November 06, 2011


How about this for a picture of home life? Melissa is sewing the final seam on the first cover of the first couch cushion while sitting in a rocking chair with the fireplace behind her, on the new rug out of storage. Cute!
More work on the fridge

So, our little propane under-the-counter fridge wasn't happy with it's new home in the house. I had sealed up the (much bigger than needed) space it was going to be in very tightly, caulking and plastering the edges so that no potentially harmful gases could get out... but then I realized that my venting system wasn't sufficient enough to pull the heat away from the coils. So I went back in and busted some more holes.

Here's looking at the cob wall in the back of the cabinet with the two new vent holes busted into the 18" thick wall:
to the top hole I'm going to add about 10 to 15 feet of chimney, which I hope will create enough draw to pull all the heat out of there.

I also went back in and further insulated the box of the fridge itself. Above you can see the extra inch of foam on the top, and over on the left of the photo you can see the other foam for the side. I also did extensive stuffing of rigid foam along the sides so that the heat exchange area is fully separated from the back of the box (the closest corner in the photo).

All seems to be working right now, but I'm willing to cut a fridge sized hole in the wall back there if I have to.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Solid wall

Some folks think that cob, made of sand and straw and clay, might not be as strong as a 'regular house'.... well, I had to add a vent behind the fridge yesterday (under the loft window). I had to go through about 18" of wall to get in. It took me about an hour of this sort of force:

I'm not too worried about the strength of my walls.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ladder and Moving in

Made a ladder the other day, to get to the loft. It went from logs to ladder in 2.5 days, even including the gluing. It looks nice, but the steps are too close together (I thought it would be nicer to have them closer, but it just bugs me)

it's pretty light as well, so it can be slid up onto the loft floor for more space.

Simple photo inside the bedroom, as things are getting on the shelves

and, the lovely morning light coming in just after breakfast

Monday, October 31, 2011

Some moving in

Got the chosen glass and dishware into the china cupboard, with new cup hooks and upside-down-wineglass-holders made myself. I can't believe I grew up with this piece of furniture in my life and never thought about making those wineglass holders until about 2 days ago.

I love the way the sun comes in towards sunset, streaming across the whole house.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Forward , and into the night!

Did I mention we have electricity, and it works? I turned on a couple lights for this photo... turns out it's hard to take pictures of lights working.

Also, since the first rain, we've had puffball mushrooms, and we got a bunch of Oysters from down in the valley. hello dinner!

Melissa started to repair the old chair that had been in the yurt... the clothe supports had ripped out. We got new stuff from the fabiric sotore, and then she went to work.

Then she had to sew the springs back into a holding pattern.

The coolest thing about this project is my mom is the one who had refinished this chair to begin with. Another cycle through, and ready to use!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Local wildlife

The California 'blue bellied' fence lizard enjoys our sun-warmed cob walls (under the south windows)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some Drain pictures

The gray water system is in place. The outlet pipe has the ability to have a garden hose put on it, and a winter out-to-the-woods pipe.

where the shower drain meets the bathroom sink drain with a access pipe for the future clothes washing machine starts looking complicated:

Cabin shower pan getting in place

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