Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Finished the Outdoor Shower (part 2 of the challenge)

Well yesterday I decided I had to tackle hooking up the shower. I layed out all the bits and re-read the instructions.  This is all new to me.
Here I have connected the water pipe (hose) and the propane pipe.
I am using an  Eccotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater and Outdoor Shower

When searching for something to heat my water I discovered it online. I ordered three from Camping World.  I plan to set one up with a kitchen type sink on my porch and also have one inside my shed for my guest bathroom. :-)  The description read:
"Enjoy instant hot water wherever you go with the Eccotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater. Generating more than 1 gallon of hot water per minute, this compact, energy-efficient heater creates a more comfortable and convenient outdoor experience for you and your family. The water heater comes with everything you need, including the adapters required to attach any standard garden hose nozzle and propane tank (tank not included)."
This was exactly what I wanted and was quite reasonably priced, I think I paid around $129.00.

So after several attempts where water gushed out from the connection, I realized I really did need lots of the special tape they sent to wrap around and seal the joints. :-) 
Finally after hooking up to the propane tank, I flicked the on switch and it fired up and voila, hot water.
I am very happy I managed to do this and look forward to many warm and relaxing showers.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hello Rocks and Going with The Flow

Well yesterday saw the creation of a new driveway.

And this morning Dan drove his truck down to the site and dumped the rock for the stone foundation. 

Elliot came this morning and told me that he's not able to continue on with the project as he is moving with his young family next week. We thought he could get the footings in by Tuesday for the inspectors, but that's not going to happen now. So I'm on the search for a new construction helper.
There are a few signs I've seen up around the island so I'm sure it won't take long. This gives me some time to think about my thesis. :-)
I am so grateful this project is not on a timeline. It's a joyful experience that will unfold as it should. I am sure the right person will turn up at the right time to get my footings soon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Outside shower

I got back on the island Sunday Elliot needed one more day before starting the footings so Rudi came over and built my outside shower for me. We cleared away part of the embankment by my shed and he brought over a recycled aluminum rail from a boat which was perfect. After much digging and clearing we had a level spot, perfect for our purposes. I put some gravel down before laying the paving slabs into place.
This is what it looked like before we started.
Voila. I am so happy with how it turned out. :-)
Today I plan to get my shower curtain and hook up the propane tank to the water heater and get it working.

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Truck: The Little Giver is Back on the Road.

I thought I had posted a picture of my truck when I got it, but looking back I see I never got around to it.

"The Little Giver"

This is my little 1985 Toyota truck that I got just over a year ago off Craigslist. I got it for $650.00 which was such a great deal. But in the process of getting it I also got to meet an amazing artist and wonderful person Bradley Messer. He told me that he called his truck "The Little Giver" and the name is perfect, it just keeps on going. So that is what I call her.
Bradley creates the most fantastical art out of wood he finds. Visit his site and see all the great music and art projects he is involved with in Vancouver.  Here is one of his pieces.  I got a great cat picture for my son Luke when I went to one of the shows he helps host at the China Cloud.

So, the big story today is that I got my truck back on the road after a year parked underground. It had three flat tires and a dead battery.
I am so happy as I got to pick up some beautiful french doors that I found on craigslist. They are just perfect for my cob house, and will lead us from the dining area out onto the back patio.

I plan to take my truck over to Mayne Island on my next trip over. Then it will be there when I need to pick up rocks, clay soil or sand for my building.
I still am looking for windows and doors to complete my list of building supplies needed for my house. I have two doors waiting for me in Mission, at my daughter's house, and some flooring for my storage room upstairs.
So things continue to come together.
I am so grateful to M and N Auto Repairs at 530 E Broadway, Vancouver BC for doing such a great job fixing my tires and getting my truck running in one afternoon. They are so kind and conscientious there, really amazing customer service.  
For more on the story of the Little Giver's special day of pampering, visit my home blog. :-) I plan to write up the story of our day in more detail.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Foundations and Footing Begin on July 22nd: Plus Video on Building Walls from Cob

We have a date for starting the foundations, Elliot has said that July 22nd is a go. So fingers crossed that the building permits come in by then. Everything is actually lining up perfectly. The septic field and tank should be in just as all the paperwork for my permits is processed. :-)

As we get closer to the foundations going in and then the posts and beams, I start thinking about mixing the cob and putting in the walls.

I have been going back over the video I shot up in Summerland and realize how much wisdom Patrick Heneberry has on every aspect of building with cob. I am so privileged to have had the chance to do a workshop with him.  Here he is explaining how to add the cob to the wall, how to tie it to the posts and how the spluge can be trimmed.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

To mill or not to mill? What to do with the wood

One of the hardest things to accept when you plan to build a new home on a forested lot is the trees must be cut down. It has to happen but for someone like me it was a very painful decision.
I arrived at my lot from the ferry just after the first trees had been cut down . The devastation seemed enormous. We had   been very selective with which trees to cut down but it still seemed like a lot of trees lay on the ground.
My neighbour, Evan, had the big machine needed to move the trees. He took off the branches and cut them up into lengths and placed them carefully, ready for milling. It was my original intention to use all the wood from my Douglas firs and cedars in my cob house.

Another friend, Lou, has a chain saw mill which he kindly brought down from Hot Springs Cove. I had arranged to meet him last Wednesday in order to plan cutting up the wood.
He needed the wood to be laid out across two supporting logs so they could be rolled off easily in order to mill them.. This had yet to be done. We sat down with the house plans to determine how much wood we needed and what dimensions the wood needed to be. For my house we need posts that will go upright in the walls.  There are also posts that would support the beams which go across to support the ceilings and upper floors.  There are two by sixes and two by fours for the floor joists and the rafters and the framing of the upstairs floor. Lots of different dimensions. It took us an hour and a half to do most of the figuring.
By this time we were thinking that this was a lot for a chainsaw mill. So I started seeking an alternative. I called my friend Carol who knows all the local tradesmen and she gave me a name. And I emailed Patrick Heneberry to ask his advice, first of all for someone who had a mill on the island, and secondly if it was even worth the cost of milling the wood. Patrick immediately said the Douglas fir would be cheaper to buy but the Cedar would be worth milling for the siding.
When Richard Brown came around to look at the logs to see if he was even interested in taking the job on, he said that the Douglas fir logs were too big for him to work with and also there were a lot of large knots in them, as well as sap. He told me that Mayne island Douglas fir turned very hard once felled. He felt we might be having to resort to screwing the wood rather than just hammering nails.
So, at the moment is Plan B. Lou and I will select and mark the smaller round Douglas fir that will be suitable for the posts and the beams and the round rafters which I would like to see exposed in the lofted ceiling. Richard will mill the cedar for the bat and board siding. And hopefully I have a contact for someone to come and take the fir for firewood. 
I will begin my search for some recycled wood for my floorboards upstairs and who knows I might even find wood I can use for my framing. Otherwise it's off to the builders merchants.