The frogs are back

Yesterday was ridiculously warm: 17 or 18 was the high. Frogs were out on the driveway (unfortunately their favourite area), lady bugs were on the roof, and there were even a few hearty mosquitoes around. Who gets a mosquito bite in the Maritimes when it’s practically November? Anyways. I was on the roof sealing around the chimney a little more, since it was a bit leaky, and then doing some preventive sealing and making sure the tar paper is well-attached. I have been considering putting shingle material on the roof before the winter, and this was sort of a compromise. I am too much of a snob to have asphalt shingles if I can help it, ha ha.

I am finally starting to insulate the ceiling, and I think it will go quickly now that I’ve gotten some good boards. I had been planning on doing the ceiling the same as the walls, with wood lath holding in the wool, and then plaster, but the plastering is tricky enough without gravity being against me, so I am just using boards. Speaking of plastering, in case anyone else in interested, the recipe that I have found that works the best is completely different than the ones I found in Green Building (the only book I have with that info). I haven’t used clay because there isn’t any around that I can find. I’m using 1 part sand to 2 parts hydrated lime plus a few hand-fulls of straw (cut up) per large bucket. I haven’t measured the water, but it’s pretty easy to figure out since it’s sloppy and hard to work with if there is too much, and doesn’t stick to the wall if there is too little. Here’s the sink, and some plastering:

The ladder to the loft, and fire extinguisher (safety first, but also style, since I opted for the “chrome” one):

I’m kind of getting into a routine these days: wake up around 8, make oatmeal with chocolate chips or oatmeal with apple butter for breakfast, and then work on things around the house or go out to do chores. I eat lunch, then more plastering or insulating or whatever. I try to do outdoor things when I can, and keep indoor tasks for when it’s raining. When it’s starting to get dark, I tidy up so I don’t have to live in squalor and then read and make/eat supper. Candles and oil lamps actually light things up pretty well, and will probably be better when the whole place is plastered since it’ll be a light surface to bounce off of.  And that’s about it.


Chimney, Garbage Pick-up, Civic Address…

It’s been sooo busy lately. I went on a short visit to Montreal (don’t be insulted if you are in Montreal, and I didn’t contact you, I just stayed with Travis at his place the whole time). The night I got there, after 13+ hours of driving, I found out a had a job interview at the University of PEI in less than a week. Also, it was a 6-hour interview which included meeting with the VP academic, supper with the University Librarian and a presentation open to the campus community, among other things. That was yesterday, so I am crossing my fingers.

As for the house, lots has happened with that too. There is garbage pick-up now, which is convenient. I got over my fear of using the chainsaw on the roof, and so managed to install the chimney for the wood stove, so now it’s toasty inside.

The propane cooking stove isn’t hooked up yet, but will be when I can get some help so I don’t blow up the cabin or something. You can see a little plastering around the woodstove. There is more of that throughout the cabin… it’s coming along slowly but surely. I have to mix the plaster in small batches, each made of lime, water, cut straw and sand from a nearby beach. You can just see the hat of the chimney poking up above the roof in this picture of the cabin (to the left of the top of the ladder). It’s not a very steeply sloped roof, so the chimney doesn’t need to be very tall.

I put in a sink the other day, which just empties into a bucket for now, but is still much more convenient than not having a sink. Also, home mail delivery and a civic address! 

While he was here, Travis did a ton of nailing up wood lath and insullating with wool. It’s surprisingly time-consuming…

No longer in the tent

Lots has changed since last post, namely that I’m not sleeping in the tent anymore! I built a loft for a bedroom, and a semi-temporary kitchen counter, and last night picked up a gigantic (but wonderful) propane oven/stove. Today I get the chimney pipes for the wood stove. Travis is here again for the week, so I had to get in gear and get the cabin live-able. I don’t think either or us could face spending more time in the tent, ha ha. Well, that plus it’s a little ridiculous to wait until everything is finished to move in.


The Inside

Up until now there hasn’t been much to show on the inside of the house, but that’s starting to change. I have done a good amount of the insulating which involves nailing wood lath onto the studs and then gently stuffing wool for insulation, along with borax and cedar to deter moths, down in between the lath and the particle board walls.  

Here are some pictures of partly insulated walls:

Oh yeah, and all the windows are in, thanks to help from Story and Cud! I am honestly indoors now, when I’m inside.  Last night I stayed up later than usual and read inside using the oil lamps, which was much more pleasant than reading in the tent with a flashlight. I’m building the loft in the next day or two, and plan to start on the kitchen counter soon. Maybe I’ll start testing out natural plasters too.  I went on a beach excursion yesterday so I could get some sand for the plaster.