This past week I have been sick. We have done little work and thus the lack of posts. Sorry for the unexplained stop in posting flow. I am starting to feel much better and plan to have a weekend full of house work.
Though I have been sick we have done a little work on the house. We have almost finished laying the maple flooring on the second floor. This has been a chore considering that our generator is on its last leg. It was bought used two years ago. Apparently it had lived a full life before me and I made sure to provide it with plenty of heavy lifting to finish it off. I can get it to run for up to two minutes at a time which allows us to fill the air compressor, nail a few tongue and groove planks with the stapler, and then run back down the ladder to adjust the carburetor/ begin the process again. Needless to say it has been an endeavor. Today I plan for us to finish the flooring and frame in a door as well as a window.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
We lifted the rib to an angle so it would not just pull flat along the ground. Once we tipped the rib we placed blocks behind it so it would not slide.
All set. Rope attached to truck, Truck in gear, pulling forward. As we moved the truck forward the pine bent lower and lower. I thought the plan had failed. I parked the truck where it was and when I went to examine the situation I discovered that the rib now felt like a 2x4. It was essentially spring loaded by the bent tree. Allowing the spring of the tree to do the work we simply positioned the rib where we wanted it and lifted the holding blocks out of the way. We nailed some angled boards to the rib to keep it from tipping and the first rib was in place.
Noticeably, there are no windows in the North wall and the South wall has a window set high on the wall. The lack of windows on the North wall will limit our loss of heat in the Winter. North facing windows are essentially holes in a house and provide little light and plenty of reduced efficiency. I should note, a friend was recently visiting from Australia. In The Southern hemisphere the dynamic is reversed. The North wall is where you have solar gain and the South wall is the efficiency suck.
Our North wall will also house our closet. The normal insulation will be in place in the walls but the addition of a closet along the North wall will provide additional buffeting. Hopefully we will see some degree of benefit from this layout choice.
A high window on the Southern wall is placed in order to maximize Winter Sun and reduce Summer Sun. Allowing adequate sun to fill the house in the Winter will not only lift spirits and moods but also help to radiantly warm the house. Conversely, in the Summer the radiant sun would be a negative as we try to keep the house cooler. The placement of the window high on the wall will allow the overhang of the roof to shade the window for a large portion of the day. In the Summer the suns declination is higher in the sky and this higher track is what allows for the eave shading.
We purposefully place large windows on the East and West sides of the house to increase filtered light in the mid day while increasing morning sun and sunset rays. The large window to the East will crank open, three separate cranks stacked. The "triple crank" opens out in such a manner as to shield the interior of the house from any rain and as to scoop air coming up the hill. The scooped air can then enter the house and create flow through ventilation.
Monday, September 17, 2012
While the roof may not be perfect, it will not leak. It is going to be well insulated and it blends well with the surrounding forrest. Oh, and I did not die or break a bone while building it. All in all I consider it a successful roofing experience.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
As you can see their work ethic could use some fine tuning. We have tried to explain to them in fiscal terms the cost of dog food, I am not sure they speak english.
Bright turnips letting their hair out. I was delighted to remember these were turnips and not radishes.
A splendid example of the honesty of seeds. Even though I had forgotten that I was exhausted at this point in the planting, the broccoli seeds had not. Stephen politely wanted to know what had happened to my usual organized planting style. For a moment I thought about making up a clever story, you know those deer cannot be trusted with anything! (Alas the broccoli was ratting me out in plain sight) Dumping out a seed packet at sunset to proudly announce that you are finished planting is not recommended. You can be certain your seed sins will surely find you out.
Thinning seedlings just might be one of the most painful tasks of gardening for me. In a way I feel as though I am splitting up a second grade romance, just heart wrenching... this is where my charming husband comes in to be my knight.
I was tickled to find this little fellow chocking under the native grasses. The rosemary is recovering nicely thanks to aggressive weeding measures.
The bubble insulation is rated to R-11. Considering that most 2x4 walls are filled with R-13, I feel R-11 is a great value for such a thin layer of insulation. We do still plan to put standard insulation in-between the roof trusses. The standard insulation will be rated R-30. This will bring our combined roof insulation to R-41 plus the radiant barrier that reflects heat. All together it should be a well insulated roof, keeping out heat in the Summer and keeping in heat in the Winter.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The main floor is wrapped in tyvek. The windows are in and it is starting to feel like a real house. My next post will have the first photos of inside.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Our little house is built on one course of cinder block sitting upon two slabs of four inch cement that is laid over gravel filled mountain stone. Half of the foundation is laid over undisturbed sandy loam and sandstone. The other half was about a foot lower and so we compacted soil and small rocks to bring it up level. All of the rock and mountain stone was pulled out of a low exposed area about fifty feet from the house. Inside the foundation we poured a thin coat of concrete in most of the area to act as a barrier. We will still lay a vapor barrier but felt the extra thermal mass of cement would be nice under the house. All of the block is cement filled and we placed threaded rods into some so as to connect to the wood of the house. Inside the block we placed ridged foam in a hope of insulating the foundation and holding temperature inside better.
As you can see in the photos we had to shim the bottom boards of our house to make it all level. This is mostly due to my lack of experience with pouring a foundation and making it level. We will have piers about eight feet out from the house on the East to allow for the deck beams to rest level.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The average American household is now over 2000 square feet. The average American individual has around 1000 square feet of personal living space. These statistics vary slightly depending on the source but hold reasonably close regardless. As the modern family has morphed and shrunk the homes in which we sleep, spend weekends, holidays, and special events has expanded. The expansion is something to the tune of doubling within one lifetime. This is an extreme reality of modern American life, we own larger homes have smaller families. Paradoxical? I think yes.
There is a movement, a currently chic and trendy movement, toward small homes. Homes that are minimalistic in size. Homes that are even tiny. This movement is rooted in diverse beginnings, as diverse as the owners of such homes. Some build a tiny home because they want to create something unique. They want something that they themselves crafted and a tiny home is no so daunting as a two story colonial. Others buy tiny homes as a way to avoid debt. The smaller home carries a smaller price tag and allows the owner a freedom from debt. A smaller home with the smaller price tag afford these individuals the ability to fill their small space with quality over quantity. Still others, own tiny homes because the life they live are conducive to a small home. We sleep at home but we live in our cars. We cook breakfast at home but we eat lunch and diner in town. We work all day and spend the evening in the shops. Despite the regional and cultural differences across the county we spend less time at home today than ever before. It is time our house design reflect our culture and not that of our parents, or the aristocracy of past centuries.
We are building a tiny home for all of these reasons. A tiny home is not limited by size. It is designed to evolve. It should be fluid as our lives are fluid. Our house will be 400 square feet. We will have outdoor living areas; covered porch areas, garden paths, rows of fruit trees. The design accounts for future additions. We may enclose a section of porch, converting a screened room to an extra bedroom if the need arises. If the need moves out it can always be converted back to a screen roof. It is fluid. We are accounting for desires such as creative work space. This may enlarge our house but not without reason, for thought and consideration for design. A tiny house is about creative use of space, multi purposing, quality over quantity. A tiny house is about purpose and freedom. It is not limited by size but empowered by it. We have chosen to build a tiny house.
Monday, September 3, 2012
We were able to build a jig and finish half of our roof trusses this week. We lifted them into place with a reasonable amount of grunting and ladder climbing. The metal roofing and reflective bubble insulation was picked up this week and we will hopefully install it in the next couple days.
Yesterday, amidst the rain, we burned four large piles of brush. Most of the brush was from clearing the site for the house. We also burned a large amount of brush from our recent clearing in the forest surrounding the house. The burning really helped to clean up the surrounding area and removing the downed brush from the forest will make room for our hazelnut planting this Fall.
Below are several more pictures of the house in its current state, taken from different angles. The second to bottom photo is taken from the lower field and gives good perspective on how the house sits up on the hill.