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Category Archives: self sustainability

  • The eclipse as seen through our solar array

    in blue, the curve for a normal day, in red, the moon get in the way.


  • The light at the end of the tunnel

    I have been pushing hard for days to get to a point where we can start using the new space. I can see that the rough construction is almost over and that things get easier from then on. In fact, I can see that I will never push as hard as I did these past couple of years. This Summer has been incredible in that the land and the house are really taking shape into the dream we are pursuing. And also because we know the hardest is behind us after more than 2 years of ruthless efforts. And so, while it’s psychologically very hard to muster the resolve to spend days working to exhaustion on ladders in the Sun, I also know this is the last such sacrifice I’ll be doing. Future projects will have a much saner rhythm to them because our livelihood will not depend on them. It is with the knowledge that it only gets easier from this that I plowed through 5 more days of construction.

    To finish the sheathing of the second floor I’ve received help from Chris & Lou. Bringing 4’x8′ half inch sheet of wood up ladders is both tricky & tough. Both Chris & Lou are experienced carpenters, I’ve learned a whole lot from them, including how to make this hard task as easy as possible. They showed me many other tricks.

    It kind of looks like a bunker without windows.IMG_1144


    Insulation & vapor barrier, it’s a very nice feeling to start thinking about the inside.IMG_7188

  • An addition to the family

    Of wood stoves. This little Alpiner will be in charge of the house addition although it will probably not be hooked up to a chimney before next year.

    The tractor is once again proving itself invaluable. The front loader fits right in the truck within 0.5″.IMG_1091

    My new hobby: taking wood stoves for a ride.IMG_1094

    After an hour of trying various techniques, Justin & I give up for the day. The stove is just too heavy to get up the steps.stove_push

    It’ll sit outside until next time.IMG_1131

    Take 2, with a come-along. Same awesome tool I used to move 2 trees a while back.IMG_1141

    Easy as pie.IMG_7197

    I love the Alpine landscape decoration.IMG_1146

  • New inverter

    The old inverter I bought second hand for $20 bit the dust. In part due to my lack of cable strain relief which created contact between ground and negative, oops :\ lessons learned. I bought this new guy which works so much better I think the old one was on the way out anyway. I especially love the fact it comes with a remote start/stop. Since we rarely use 110AC and the solar shed is 50′ from the house, it’s perfect to remove phantom loads. It’s not like we remember to ever turn it off, but we can :)


  • Time consuming

    Throughout building the addition, an inordinate amount of time was spent joining is to the existing structure. This is compounded when reaching the roof. This critical part where to roof lines join was done, redone and re-redone to satisfaction. Here having been demolished for the 2nd time.


  • Closing the rakes

    Several tasks were accomplished today in preparation for a big sheathing push, and to get everything ready for the roofers.

    Making holes to allow the air to flow under the roof.




    Insect screen




    Nice, tight & aerated IMG_1083

  • 600 heads of garlic unearthed

    There will be no vampires tonight.



    An unfinished house is perfect drying space.


  • Haven’t touched a hammer in 10 days

    And it’s time to get back into it. This flight of stairs shall serve as a warm up.


  • Dry & Shaded

    My brother & I have been pushing for 6 days straight to get a roof on before the next rain. Yesterday we reached this holy grail after 2 days of intense roof sheathing. Intense because working 20ft high is draining for you have to be alert at all times. Intense because the Sun does not relent. Intense because lifting half a ton of sheathing material up a 20ft ladder is no joke.

    Unloading, cutting & rigging stationIMG_0735

    Up it goesIMG_0761

    Many swear words laterIMG_0788

    The same night we had a little camp fire to celebrate and we heated enough water for a bin I could fit in. Words won’t do justice to describe the experience, bear in mind I hadn’t taken a hot bath in more than 2 years, nor a hot shower in several months. Not that I mind a cold shower, it’s a great way to end a long Summer day. This only serves to say the experience along with the stress of the roof having vanished left my body relaxed to a point where I could barely walk home. I slept like a log, but this also is a pale metaphor for how I slept and how much the softness of my bed meant to me when all my hands had known for several days were dry rough wood, splinters and scorching surfaces.

    The rain came the next day and the addition stayed dry even though the walls aren’t fully sheathed. It would take quite a bit of rain and wind for it to be an issue (not unheard of…). In the meantime, we are appreciating a new dry, shaded space and the huge milestone the roof represents.