Whoa, but it’s been a whirl wind these last couple of weeks! Our passive solar farm house is taking shape at a fast clip despite a couple of bouts of torrential rain. Standing puddles at construction site is really discouraging. One rain storm dumped 2.5 inches and created a mud slide in a window well. It’s going to take creativity and lots of shovel work to correct that issue.
I think we got another 2-2.5 inches Saturday morning. I was in the nearby Menard’s, picking out light fixtures, when it opened up. The metal roof rattled under the heavy drops. Fortunately, we didn’t get the hail and high winds that hit woodlots and homes about 50 miles north. Lots of trees down, I hear.
So what got done?
- We varnished, sanded, and varnished (again) 2,000 linear feet of ash tongue-and-grove boards.
- The builder used these to panel the arched ceiling over the dining/living room and kitchen.
- The well is in.
- We’ve got electricity in the house.
- Dave painted the great room (living room, dining room and kitchen combo). Thank you, hubby.
- Both bathrooms painted a sunny yellow (that’s were I was till 9:30 last night).
- I picked up the light fixtures and ceiling fans (yipes, that’s a lot of stuff).
- Ordered the appliances. My criteria were: appropriate size (there are only two of us, tho we hope for lots and lots of visitors), energy efficiency (we’re aiming to keep operating costs really low), cost (always a consideration), and simplicity (the fewer horns and whistles, the better).
While this list is typical of any construction project, Dave and I stay mindful of the fact that we’re trying to build a house that’ll help get us to our goal: sustainability. For us that means building smaller, designing for energy efficiency, being practical (balancing initial cost against anticipated return-on-investment), and trying to make sure that the structure fits the landscape and purpose of our farm.
A new consideration – a farmer requirement – was finding a washing machine that could handle deep grime, and wouldn’t cost me a fortune. I mean, our jeans get splattered with mud and manure all the time. When I’m opening and closing gates, I press my shirts against walls and railings covered in dried manure, dirt and, sometimes, oil. I often crawl, on my belly, under electric fences in order to avoid a high-voltage shock to my back. Better dirty than knocked back 20 feet.
I don’t think I would have ever imagined thinking that when I was raising my children near Minnihaha Falls in Minneapolis 15 years ago.
It’s funny, David, my dear husband, always shakes his head at me when I crawl under a bard wire fence instead of gingerly climbing over it. Well, first of all, his legs are just-enough longer than mine. And second, I’ve been caught on that barbed nastiness once too many times. I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out where on your jeans that wire is likely to catch.
Time to run. It’s thundering again and I need to visit with my little herd. My baker’s dozen of BueLingo beef cattle weathered the recent intense heat pretty well, and have benefited from the rain-soaked pastures. The grasses are lush, and mixed with lots of flowers and herbs. Just the ticket for grass-fed beef.
I’ve also got to rewire three light fixtures. (I wonder how that’s going to go!) There should be a bit of activity at the house today as fixtures are hung and doors are finished. Next’ll come finishing the floors and installing the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
Lots of finishing work and trim to do. I wonder if we’ll make our mid-August target.
Gotta run. It’s raining.