Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ventanas, ventanas, ventanas!

We have windows!

I'm very happy with our choice of windows. This is one area we decided to spend more money on this time around because we know what a difference quality windows can make in the long-term comfort and efficiency of a home. The last time we got medium grade windows from a salvage yard. Returns from building projects around Tucson-they were all new windows but somewhat mismatched though I doubt many people ever knew. Our current residence has a south facing patio window and in the summer if you get within 8 ft of that window, you can feel the heat. These are Jeld-Wen windows (the front door is Pella) in a Prairie style and I think they add more character to the house.

This is a light fixture I picked up at the HabiStore because it goes so well with the windows! Yes, that's the price tag-$25!

Those are storm clouds you see in the house photos. The monsoon has arrived in full force and are we ever glad the roof is finished. It has rained for about 16 of the last 24 hours here, which is a bit unusual, even during this time of year. We're not complaining because all of the West needs the rain. When we were harvesting water, the rain was always exciting because I knew the culverts were filling. I hope the rain is helping with the fires and potential for fire that is so great in the summer. Rick used to fight forest fires in Ohio and during fire season, I never knew when he would be home (this was pre-cell phone). I can't imagine fighting a fire for hours on end in 100+ degree heat.

I've included a picture of our sodden backyard with overflowing bird bath and the wash behind our house running bank-to-bank! Our backyard was xeriscaped to keep much of the rainwater on the property for the plants. It is quite lush right now, even though we cut all the shrubs back completely in late winter. We have lantana, verbena, Mexican Bird of Paradise, 2 types of mesquite, sweet acacia, rabbitbrush, Texas Ranger, Texas sage, Mexican honeysuckle and cat claw vine. This backyard is probably the #1 reason we bought this house.

Rain is the main topic of conversation at this time of year. "Did you get any last night?" means RAIN! "What time did it start at your housee?" "Did you hear that thunder?" "Yeah, lightening woke me up about 2am!" "It was dry as a bone at my house." The discussion of the amount of rain, the force of the wind, the loudness of the thunder goes on and on until the end of August. I guess we get so little "Weather" we have to make the most of it because it's "Forecast: Sunny and Dry" the rest of the year.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

This was supposed to be with the following post.

Friday, July 14, 2006

More roof pictures.
I know you probably think I've gone dotty over this roof-and I have. I think it's just beautiful. And I've wanted this roof for a long time. Hmmmm a diamond would have been cheaper but would have given me no more pleasure that looking at this roof.

And here's another with Monkey Boy climbing on the gable end doing all the meticulous finish work. He's so good at those detail things; comes from years of intense
LEGO interaction, I'm sure. He's always been able to take a pile of LEGOs and turn them into something fantastic or just to bring order to any chaos. We were camping in Colorado 5-6 years ago just outside Pagosa at a little campground that had a laundry room and lounge with a TV. We were in the 2nd week of a 3 week all camping trip and the TV was very popular with the boys. The lounge also had a big magazine rack similar to what you see in stores. People would bring in magazines and leave them for others to read. Well, that rack was a mess-so Sam, then 11, organized it for them. All the National Geographics together chronologically, all the Time, all the Trailer Life, etc. He had such a great time doing that. And to think when we decided to homeschool people were worried about the boys learning their ABCs.

And how often do you need to recite the ABCs as an adult? It wasn't on any college entrance exam and it has never been on a job application nor have I been requested to recite them in a job interview. I've never understood "learning the ABCs" as an important gateway to future learning. Aren't the things we are expected to learn in the artificial world of "school" derived from the real world? And wouldn't it follow that those things could be learned from the real world when it becomes important to advance to the next stage of our development. And by being forced to learn prescribed things that may or may not have relevance to us at that point in time what things are we not learning that would be much more beneficial? Simply put, I believe we learn what we need to learn when we need to learn it. The most important concept is to be active and interested in many things. Learning never happens without the spark of interest.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a wonderful book and in it there is a passage in which Miss Brodie, a teacher at an all-girls school in Scotland in the 1930s, compares her view of education with that of another teacher at the school:

"To me education is a leading out of what is already there
in the pupil's soul. To Miss Mackay it is a putting in of something that is not
there, and that is not what I call education. I call it intrusion. "

I have no bumper stickers on my car and think it interesting that people seemingly sum up their whole philosophy of life, political ideology, sexual habits and/or religious dogma in a 9" x 3" space on the back of their car. That being said, I do love to collect quotes, so here is one from Thoreau who seemingly has a quote for everything:

"What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch
of a free, meandering brook."

Henry would have been the Bumper Sticker King of his time.
And one last quote, then it's back to building:

"What makes people smart, curious, alert, observant,
competent, confident, resourceful, persistent - in the broadest and best sense,
intelligent- is not having access to more and more learning places, resources,
and specialists, but being able in their lives to do a wide variety of
interesting things that matter, things that challenge their ingenuity, skill,
and judgment, and that make an obvious difference in their lives and the lives
of people around them."
John Holt~ Teach Your Own

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It's a Roof! And a beautiful one, it is.

Let the rains come-however, now that the roof is on, we will probably get no rain. We have had a couple of good gully washers, but nothing the past few days. Some people asked if the rain was a problem for the bales-the short answer, Can Be. Rain that lasts for hours for several days in high humidity areas would be very damaging. The water then has time to penetrate deep into the bales and does not have a chance to evaporate. Here in
southern AZ where the summer high temperatures are consistently in the 100s and the humidity low, bales will dry out quickly. One (of many) reason we've chosen earthen plasters is to allow the bales to "breathe". Many old adobe buildings (unstabilized) have failed after having portland cement stucco and elastomeric paints applied. The Mission San Xavier del Bac has undergone extensive restoration, part of which included removing cement stucco and reapplying the traditional earthen plaster.

Those of you familiar with building know that no matter the wall material, housebuilding is pretty much... housebuilding. It follows a sequence, site work, foundation, walls, roof, windows doors, then we move inside. The doors and windows have arrived so we can get that started. Things are going well, we're pleased. It will be nice for the guys to get out of the sun and work inside. We are still trying to find a source of clay but have a few leads. We'll find the right people.

One cool thing I found-Tucson now has a HabiStore where they sell construction leftovers and salvage! It's a wonderland of possibilities. We used to have a ReStore in town but not quite sure what happened to that. We bought several things for the previous house there.

I'll leave you with more pictures.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Here's the roof with the paper on and some of the metal on the fascia. A few of the panels are up on the north side. Progress! Cutting those triangular pieces for the corners is proving to be a pain-as we knew it would and that's one of the reasons Rick didn't want to do this type of roof. But, when it's finished it will be worth it. Posted by Picasa