Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Folks Came out for a What's See

...and here is what they saw!
Beloware featured the Lovely Linda and Daring & Dashing John, trying to decide whether to dive or just jump the greywater field! That's OK, Mom, we still love you!
But they did get to witness the roof strapping going on, and John got to partake in some very manly shovelling of sand. Sure made my stint at the shovel easier!
We are moving along at a great rate, the house is so small that nothing takes a lot of time. For example, the Tyvec went on in less that 45inutes. Board siding took three short days. Roof framing went up in one day. Windows took maybe two hours. Long live the Mini house!

Mind you, we have been working so hard, dodging rain showers and thunder storms, that we have been doing little else. Except yesterday. We attended one of the most beautiful weddings we've been to. Congratulations April & Ryan, good health and a hundred children!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yes, we've got the wall framing 75% up and are ready for...for...what? More rain? No! If we get more rain, Paul might never get his back-hoe back! ...wait a minute...
Anyway, isn't this the cutest wee house-y you've ever seen? I certainly think so! And besides, we have spent a pitance on building materials and effort! Long live the Mini House! Long live the Reduce Principle! Smaller really is the way of the future! Save money, fuel, hydro and the environment.
But a word about all this rain. Yucky! Apparently, The County is usually a dust-bowl by this time of year. A complete draought. Zero rainfall. Get the picture? No Rain? Pretty simple. Well, this summer, there has been over six inches. This may not seem like much, but let me put this in perspective for you: the term "inch " refers to the amunt of rainfal needed to cover the whole region with rain. Six inches is so off the map for rainfall that the soil can't drain it away fast enough and our fields are about 10% under water. Thats about three acres. That a $#!load of rain! Refer to the pictures if left in any doubt. And pray for some clear weather so Paul can get his back-hoe out!

We've been framed!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Mini House Rises!

Well! Believe it or not, we have got the first wall framed and standing! No shots, as it was too late in the day, but we can see it from our camp set-up 500 yards away.

The rain almost had us beat, but two fine lads and some exceptional equipment saved the day...and our backs! Paul and his dad, Bill, came out with a back-hoe and a tractor/mini-dump-truck combo came out on Saturday to fill, fill, fill! Gravel, sand and before we knew it, the moat around our wee castle was all gone!

All but one small corner. Here's the story. The equipment was creating these titanic ruts in the road. There has been so much rain his year in The County that neither Paul nor Bill could believe the ground could be this soft, but it is soft indeed! They had two more trips to go when they decided that they could not risk getting their equipment stuck in the mud. So Paul's back-hoe is still sitting in what will be our driveway. It's kinda stuck back there. Can he get it out before even more rain falls? After last night's rain, I'm tellin' ya, there ain't no way! There are soft ruts in our drive way that are over a foot deep. And then another 3/4 inch of rain fell!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Excavating the Mini House

NOW What are They Doing?!

The Blogger is back! And ready to tell all...the thrills (getting Bob and Linda to agree to sharing their land with us) the chills (camping out in this very rainy season!) and spills! (Well, none of us have had any spills yet, but I'll be sure to tell ya if we do!) We are romantically dreaming of bottles of delicious wine from the soil here in Prince Edward County. On Old Milford Road, as a matter of fact.
Any how, what we are really up to has more to do with living with as small an environmental footprint as possible. As some of you know, Jim & I spent the previous year living about our beloved (now sold to new owners) 36' wooden sloop Chelonidae. After we had gone down to the Bahamas and come back, we had put so many miles on our engine that we had to give ourselves a reality check: was this an environmentally responsible way to live?
We had burned about 800 gallons of diesel.
Things had to change!
So we took the best of living aboard and transferred our collective knowlege to an idea for a house. Firstly, we decided that we would like to try sailing south again, but buddy-ing up with another couple to save fuel, engine wear and tear and taking turns driving long distance. Secondly, we learned to live without great requirments for electricity and water. Thirdly, we adapted to our changing environment, for example when it rained, we collected rainwater, when it was a bit chilly, we turned on our cabin heater and heated a small space. When it was hot, we put up the Wind Scoop and caught more breeze to cool the cabin.
This translates to the Mini House design in quite a few ways. Building a small house will require less building material and energy to build. The chappie we hired to excavate actually laughed when he realized that in just three hours, he had dug the hole and made four very short trips to the neighboring quarry to get stone to fill the hole. Then he was done! Such a small foundation! 16 x 28 feet! Bigger than your average 36' boat!
A small house doesn't require a large amount of wood to burn for heat in the chance we are home during the winter. We will limit propane use while baking and cooking using a marine range, as the oven cavity is a fraction of the space of a conventional oven. Besides, I only bake enough for two people, why not go small? We have decided to cut energy demand by continuing to live without a fridge.
I don't know whether we will live without all luxuries, as we'd like an LCD TV to play movies and such, but we are minimalist type people. Growing an organic garden, helping Bob & Linda grow the vineyard, and perhaps working part-time will keep us out of trouble.
It takes so little to accomplish so much! We have also decided to drive our old Honda a little as possible, car-pool when we can, buy grocery items that have minimal packaging, recyle our egg cartons with local egg producers. Reduce, re-use, recycle sort of effort is too small! Especially reduce!