Sunday, December 24, 2006

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Merry Christmas

We've been busy! Someone stopped by the house today and said she hoped we would be finished with the house by next Christmas...arrgghhhh!! I said something clever like " We will be unless...uhhhh....we're dead or something." People just don't understand the time it takes to build especially when it's not a production build. Oh well, some just don't get it.

Here are the exterior lights I painted yesterday. They were a powder white and we wanted them to look galvanized. There are some excellent spray paints on the market now and you can get just about any finish/look you want. I LOVE paint! I think the lights look great-they will be on either side of the garage door, one on the people door of the garage and 2 on the south entry.

These I found on eBay for the ridiculous price of about $9.00 apiece. They are very sturdy lights and came with compact fluorescent bulbs-GONGA d
Here are the "stoops" we made in order to be able to get our CO. This is the slate I found on Craigslist and will eventually be the front porch/patio but for now it's appearing as the door stoops. The coloration of the slate is beautiful.

My project for today was to tape the joints on the brown walls. We asked that the rockers hang the rock wrong side out so that I would have a unsealed surface to apply the earthen plaster. When Rick asked the contractor if he had ever hung drywall brown side out he replied: "Not on purpose". I taped the joints with the standard mesh tape and homemade joint compound. To make this I used clay and a bit of sand sifted through a window screen. To the dry ingredients I added water and allowed the clay to hydrate. I then added a bit of homemade wheat paste (cooked flour/water). When combined it looks like chocolate mousse, almost good enough to eat. I taped the seams and applied the mud as usual but didn't have to worry about smoothing it as another layer of earthen plaster will be applied. One bright note, if you've ever drywalled you know you have to be careful of the "mud" drying because it leaves "rocks" in the mix which makes the knife work difficult to say the least. With the real mud this is not a problem, it all just mixes together and re-incorporates beautifully.

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This is looking into our compact kitchen-it will be so efficient. Lovin' it!
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This is a shot of one seam mudded, one seam just taped and the brown side of the drywall.
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Cooking lunch in our solar oven.

We may work some tomorrow-or we may just sit, listen to Christmas carols and drink coffee. No matter, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Another week has passed

and things are rockin' and rollin' at the house. The drywallers are hanging the "rock" today and will come back next week to tape. Drywall really changes the look of things.

The garage door has arrived, the garage is being wired, the lot is being graded, the furnace will be tested today...lots going on. What's left to finish? Here's the To Do list:

Kitchen cabinets
Bathroom cabinets
Exterior lights (I'm painting those today)
Interior lights
Interior plaster
Adobe veneer on LR wall
Seal floor
Carpet in boy's bedrooms
Hang doors
Install sola-tube
Install WB stove

Quite a list! Onward and upward.

Most importantly- today our younger son, Joe, turns 14! Happy Birthday Joj!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Playing in the Mud
Plaster Party

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Last Saturday some friends came to help celebrate my birthday and apply the first coat of interior earthen plaster. We had a great time and thanks to Sam, Connor, Dave and Shayne, who kept us supplied with mud, we were able to get the first coat done by about 1pm.

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Amy and Olga

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Sam and Shayne

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Thel...errrr Loui......uhhh Robin!

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New acquaintances, Phyllis and Mary, who hope to build a strawbale cabin in NM.

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I must have been tired, because the camera shook. This is Mariel who came with her husband Bill and MIL Elsa. They also helped with the wall-raising and Bill helped put the roof on.

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Casey, Me, Donna

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Karen and Victor

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Rick, Michelle

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Lunch time!

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Finished wall-we had to leave that space above the first course because we hadn't had the electrical inspection yet.
We have now been inspected and we passed! But not before having to run out and buy and install fire alarms....duhhh!

We were so busy we didn't get pictures of everyone but we sure appreciate all the help and encouragement.

We now have the garage roof finished and the "driveway", all 4 feet of it, poured. Victor will begin the stucco on Saturday.

Kitchen cabinet decisions have been made-they will be Plyboo! I was having a difficult time deciding what to use then picked up a copy of one of those glossy home mags and there it was, The Answer. I was drawn to the mag because our neighbor's house is on the cover. This issue is dedicated to "green" building and living.

Friday, December 08, 2006

In search of Red Clay in So Arizona

If you know of a spot where there is reddish clay that I can dig-please leave me a comment. I want it for the window trim so don't need much.

In search of other colors, I went to
Originate yesterday and bought some pigments. The store has a nice variety of natural building supplies and if she doesn't have what you need she might be able to find it for you. I bought yellow ochre and green pigments. The finish plaster in the living areas of the house will have the yellow ochre added for just a bit of color. Our current house came with an old gold paint in the living room and it is such a cheerful, warm color. I love it, but I would probably never have painted any room yellow on my own. The sparkly stuff is mica-I'm going to add that to the dragonfly wings and also some of the interior plasters. What fun!

Be on the look-out for red clay!
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Monday, December 04, 2006

What We Did This Weekend...

Coated burlap with clay slip and hung it for the wood to bale transition...

added bamboo to a corner transition (stencil will come later)...

cleaned up the cement stucco...

and took all that
disgusting plastic off the windows and doors and stood back and admired!

But then I realized "Yikes, (I hang around Olga too much) it's December!" I'm one of those who likes to have the Christmas cards (I love Christmas cards AND the newsletters) done by Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping mostly completed by my birthday (Dec 7, the Day that will Live in Infamy). So now it's the 4th and nothing, zip, nada. But, NPR to the rescue! As I was driving to Civano on the weekend I heard a story about Mighty Goods. I'm saved! I'm off to cyberspace to shop, I can be finished by the 7th!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Garage That Ate the House!

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You

Looks huge, huh? It is pretty huge but remember, this is the BACK of the house (but probably the side most people will approach the house). We had to have a garage so might as well have a decent sized one. It will provide a place for the freezer, w/d and tools, so it is utilizing non-conditioned space for things that don't require conditioned space and/or produce heat. Also you might notice the slope on the roof beams. When it rains, this will provide water for landscape purposes and the solar panels will live up there.

Remember, this the front of the house. (before plaster)

That's Sam and me finishing up the plaster on the south side. The blue tarps are to keep the sun from drying out the plaster. I worked without one the first day and what a mistake. It's just too dry with the intense sun to be able to finish it the way it needs to be done. Luckily the temperatures were only in the 70's during the day.

Now I just need to complete the west wall. And I have the tools to do that now!