Monday, January 29, 2007

Coffee and naprosyn,

Breakfast of Champions

another day begins

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Just A Warning,

the next person who asks :"When will you be finished?" gets it! We're at that point and others involved in projects of this magnitude will understand-those who don't should get their own shows. (oh wait, that's a "Whad'Ya Know?" disclaimer, never mind).

We've accomplished a lot this week. The last plaster coat is on all the walls except our bedroom. Being on the northeast corner and with the weather we've had it's taking a long time to dry coupled with the fact that the NE corner had a huge hole which had to be filled in layers-you get the picture. Today we're painting ceilings! I can't believe my excitement. I chose a white with a yellow/brown tint to take advantage of the volume the cathedral ceiling provides while adding some warmth. It will also be complementary to the brown tones of the earthen plaster (pictures later). It is such a rich brown and the walls look so beautiful, I've decided to leave the south wall brown and use the white kaolin clay on the west and east walls. I love the look of these walls. The east wall will have the adobe veneer. Rick picked up the adobes this week and they are a totally flat, nondescript gray. I will have to put a coat of brown clay paint on those once they are in place.

I have two new obsessions, the first being the website It's nice to know there are hundreds of others out there involved in the craziness that is home building/renovation. I especially like the bungalow blogs as I've always had a passion for these little jewels and our house is a "sortof" bungalow. They have so much character and personality and were built at a time when those who built them were Craftsmen.

My other obsession: researching limewash/paint. Being unschoolers we have always known that learning isn't linear and usually not triggered by chronological age (Ding!! OK junior, you're 12, time to learn Algebra). I like to think of it more as Bursts and Bubbles. Learning occurs when you need to know something and have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the subject and let it take you where it will. This week I have visited the lime kilns of Italy, England and southern Arizona. Saw the building of a Roman bath, and cob structures in England. Learned why barns are painted red. Found wonderful art and glimpses into the the workaday world of an earlier era. Gained an understanding of the chemistry involved in a successful lime project and why lime has that luminous glow. That led me to learn more about pigments that will work with lime which made me think of that beautiful scene in Girl with a Pearl Earring, Vermeer teaching Griet to mix paints. That of course led to pig bladders and the growth in popularity of plein air painting with the advent of collapsible tin tubes. Whew! was I busy but the journey was made easier by the Internet. (Thanks, Al Gore!)

So, after all that I think I've come up with a doable recipe for limewash and hope my results will pay off with something like this.

But until then, it's on to the ceilings.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Click, click, click

When it snows in Tucson you can almost hear the sound of thousands of camera shutters. Everyone gets out to take pictures. Luckily our friend (and soon to be neighbor) Casey took some pictures of the Civano house. It looks so...finished. Thanks, Casey!For more desert in snow pictures go to Simmons' blog Riverfall.
He always has beautiful photos.

The temperature did get in the 60s yesterday! Can spring be far behind?

Monday, January 22, 2007

So Much for Subtle Signs of Winter

Yes, that's snow!

And this is my backyard 1/22/06 at 0730.

The last time we had an accumulation of snow was Easter Sunday, 1999. We were building the strawbale house in Vail-hmmmmmm. The good part is, this time we aren't living in a drafty 5th Wheel. The forecast says 60's by the weekend. Keepin' my fingers crossed.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Winter in Tucson

Some years most people can't really tell it's winter in the Sonoran desert. After you've lived in the desert awhile you begin to notice the subtle differences that signal the changing of the seasons. The angle of the sun, different smells in the air, a slight dip in temperatures and sometimes water falls from the sky. Rain!-in a location that averages 11 inches of rain annually, rain is an event.

On the negative side for us this year is the fact that the lower tempreatures and damp air have significantly slowed the drying process for the interior plaster. On the plus side, it should be a great year for wildflowers. Even though many people think of the desert as a barren wasteland and some are even surprised to see things growing here, the desert has seasons, you just have to pay more attention. But in years with good rain, there is no missing spring as wildflowers literally burst forth and paint the desert with yellow, orange, blue, purple and white. It's an amazing site. It's such a big deal that there are Wildflower Hotlines and sites dedicated to keeping the public advised of the wildflower situation.

The other thing that bursts forth in Tucson this time of year is the Gem Show which draws people from all over the world. It's also an amazing site as all motels/hotels and any open areas around the I-10 corridor become the venue for sales of gems, minerals, rocks, jewelry, beads, jewelry making tools and supplies, rugs, furniture, clothing-you name it, someone there is selling it. The Show is quite an adventure and has to be seen to be believed. There is something for everyone.

But, back to the plasterwork.

Working in the bedroom. This wall had some really deep holes and took a lot of mud. Some areas I had to fill in as much as 3 inches! No wonder it's taking so long to dry.

This is an attempt to show the depth of the second coat but that's only an inch or so.

This is the window in the dining area. If you ever do a strawbale house, come up with some other way to finish the top of the window. Filling that area in is so tedious and half the mud ends up on the floor, 1/4 of it is on you! I'm using reed mats on the other windows and will slather on some mud and then sponge it back for a more textured look and a lot less frustration, I hope.

This is the living room west wall, the light areas are unfinished niches. This room is drying more quickly but gets more sun and took less plaster.

We now have a fully functioning toilet at the house and the little blue outhouse went away. Hooray!
The solar water heater is on the roof.
I've chosen some paint colors and tile for the shower.
Adobe veneer goes on the LR wall next week.
Will the details never end?

Click the photo for some more great flowers-but I can't take credit

But then I recall the Chinese proverb: He who finishes house, dies.

And I won't complain about the weather cause it could be this:

This is the house of our former neighbors in Colorado taken just last week!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The world is mud-luscious e.e.cummings

The drywall is finished and I hear it looks great. I haven't seen it yet as I've been working at the paying/healthcare providing job. Today I get to start on the final interior plaster. Of course the weather has been beautiful and warm all week and today the high will be 60s (not bad) but 30% chance of rain. However, that does mean 70% chance of sun!
(I know I'm weather-spoiled!)

The correct springs arrived for the garage door and it is now operable.

The kitchen cabinets are "in the works".

The gas line for the grill is finished and we, at long lost, have no trenches!
On to the mud...

(Here's the complete poem: In Just )

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Thought for the New Year

The Station

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.
We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent.

We are traveling by train.

Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways,of children waving at the crossing, of cattle grazing on the distant hillside,of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat,of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hills,of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.

On a certain day, at a certain hour we will pull into the station.
Bands will be playing and flags will be waving.

Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.

How restlessly we pace the aisles,damning the minutes for loitering - waiting,waiting for the station.When we reach the station, that will be it!!We cry, "When I'm 18..." "When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz...""When I put the last kid through college..." "When I have paid off the mortgage..."When I get a promotion..." "When I reach retirement, I will live happily ever after!!
Sooner or later we must realize there is no station,no one place to arrive at once and for all.
The true joy of life is the trip.
The station is only a dream.
It constantly outdistances us.
It isn't the burdens of today that drive people mad.
It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.
Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.

Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream,go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets,laugh more, cry less, life must be lived as we go along.

The station will come soon enough.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

...and the final steps to get there
a functioning bathroom
(Toto DualMax)

and an operable kitchen sink (Granite, I don't need no stinking granite!)

Obviously this is not the finish work but now that we have the CO we're finished with inspections and can focus on finer details.

This is the garage door installed. Looks great but we can't open it-they sent the wrong springs.

We've had freezing temperatures at night so the stucco isn't finished.

The taping should be completed today.

I've had a bad cold.

It's always something!


it's a new year and a new day.

Onward and upward!