Well, after a couple of really busy weeks around here, it’s finally slowing down! We’ve finished some important projects and we’ve been planning some cool things for the near future. We are glad to be getting to the point that we can start working on more artistic endeavors, like cob sculptures and our natural-wood loft railing.
Just at the end of the warm weather, we poured a concrete floor in our laundry/utility room area. We have tried to use as little concrete as possible throughout the building of our home, but this was a situation where it made the most sense. We needed to get the floor done quickly since we finally decided to get a washing machine, after not having one for FAR TOO LONG, and we needed a finished floor, pronto! Well, we are installing earthen floors in the rest of the house, but they take several weeks to dry and that just wouldn’t work in this situation. Also, the heavy appliances (washer, dryer, water heater, and deep freeze) could lead to problems with the earthen floor in the future. We had a concrete truck bring us a yard of concrete and Holden and Mike wheelbarrowed it all around to the back door while Tom had the screed board going full force, knocking out the whole thing in less than an hour!
Next we turned our attention to getting one room’s earthen floor finished, Holden’s room. We really wanted to get two layers done and dried before the New Year, but we ran out of good weather! We got the first layer done and it took about a month to dry solid, leaving us with not quite enough time to finish the next layer by when we wanted. We decided to move Holden in on just one layer after laying down some random rugs. It’s amazing how hard and permanent the floor seems! We’ll just have to move Holden back out in the Spring so we can finish it up.
We also finally finished the last of the interior plaster! There were two areas we still needed to cover, in the utility room and above and behind the kitchen sink. The utility room was waiting until Mike ran wire for the dryer and the kitchen was waiting for a light to be installed above the sink. It’s nice to have all the walls covered and the light looks great against the plaster. Now we only have two more coats to go!
Just before the cold hit, Mike and Holden built a small wood shed by the driveway near the house that holds a little more than a cord of wood. It’s a sturdy little building that is doing great at keeping our wood pile dry and ready to burn! It’s a good thing too, since most forecasts for the winter say it is going to be a rough one!
A few projects have been taking up most of our thoughts about what we want to do with a few select areas of the house. The loft has a temporary railing at this point which is made of 2X4 lumber. It’s functional but ugly! We are planning a nice natural wood railing that we will build using branches from the oak/hickory forest surrounding us. We love the stripped-of-bark-and-oiled look! Also, while brainstorming ideas for something cool to do with the gable ends a little while back, Tom and us came up with a great idea that involves creating a pair of wooden half-suns, one on each gable end, that appear to be setting on the west end and rising on the east. We have looked at a ton of pictures for ideas and inspiration and Tom did a few sketches, and we think we have a grasp on what we are wanting. Unfortunately, Tom won’t be able to help actually build them, but Mike and Holden are confident they can pull it off! We are also considering making a cordwood-type floor out of log end-cuts in the most heavily traveled areas, hopefully contrasting nicely with the poured adobe, which will make up the rest of the floor.
There’s a really inspiring blog by some fellow natural building enthusiasts we follow which gave us a great idea for the earthen floors we’ll be doing this coming spring and summer. Their floor is amazing, but we haven’t been able to figure out exactly how they did it yet! Hopefully we can get some good info before the warm weather gets here. You can go here to check out what they’ve done. The floor pictures are at the bottom. It looks like clay tiles that are huge and curved, but it’s actually all one piece. Cool stuff!
After a really crazy and tough few months, we feel like things are smoothing themselves a little and we’re all able to relax and enjoy ourselves a little better. We hope the trend continues and we are excited to be almost to the fun artistic stage of building our home.
Don’t forget to click on the pictures to make them bigger!