27 January 2008

Things I learned today:

When pushed, unsecured bales of straw will fall down. A lot. I've now put in 2x4's all the way around and lashed the baled to them. How's that for structural stability!!

Maybe Mary is learning!

26 January 2008


Hi Folks!

Dad is home again! JiggidyJig.
His humor is good, his balance is not.
The home health care nurse just came to teach me how to switch out his IV antibiotics, flush the IV line and all sorts of other handy things. I wonder if I should add that to my CV?

Anyway, my beloved shed is sitting out there staring at me through the window, waiting for me to come play. Maybe tomorrow...?

Hiding behind the bales....

This just came in from Alex over at Shedworking...

Castle hidden behind bales of strawBy Lucy Cockcroft
Last Updated: 6:42pm GMT 25/01/2008
A farmer has been ordered to tear down a castle he had hidden behind an enormous stack of straw for four years.
Before and after: the castle built behind a wall of straw
Councillors had no idea the building, complete with ramparts, turrets and a cannon, existed until the barricade of several hundred 8ft by 4ft bales was torn down.
Robert Fidler, 59, spent two years constructing his dream home behind the straw shield before moving in his wife Linda and their son Harry, 7, in 2002.
The father-of-six says he built the structure out of despair after applications to construct a home on his farm in Salfords, Surrey, were repeatedly turned down by council planners.
He hid it from view hoping it would be considered legal after standing for four years.

Shocked neighbours reported Mr Fidler as soon as they saw the structure, which cost £50,000 to build.
Now council officials have insisted it must be bulldozed.
Mr Fidler, who lives in the castle with wife Linda, 39, and son Harry, seven, was issued with a planning enforcement notice in March 2007 by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and ordered to demolish the building and return the land to its former use.
The 59-year-old argues that the castle is now legally allowed to exist because it has been "substantially completed" for four years, and says he is determined to protect it.
The farmer has applied to the council for a Certificate of Lawfulness which can be sought after a development has been in place for at least four years without planning permission.
Making a splash in the world's largest pool
Vicar faces the sack over church lavatories
Mr Fidler said: "I can't believe they want to demolish this beautiful house. To me it [the council] is no different from vandals who just want to smash it down.
"But I'm not worried because I don't believe I've done anything wrong.
"We moved into the house on Harry's first birthday, so for the first few years of his life he grew up looking at straw out of the windows.
"We thought it would be a boring view, but, in fact, many birds nested in the straw and feasted on the worms.We had several families of robins and even a duck made a nest and hatched 13 ducklings on top of the bales.
"What we had anticipated being a very uninteresting view out of our windows turned out to be a fascinating garden with all sorts of natural visitors."
Construction of the covert castle, which took two years to build around two disused grain silos, began in 2000 after Mr Fidler had built walls out of hundreds of bales of straw and covered the top with blue tarpaulin.
Neighbours were dumbfounded after Mr Fidler,who had lived in the castle for four years with his wife and son, unveiled his home by removing the straw in the spring of 2006.
Council bosses issued a planning contravention notice in March 2007, ordering the building to be demolished and the land returned to its former use.
Mr Fidler,who has appealed the enforcement notice, started fighting the order at a public inquiry which began at Reigate Town Hall on Wednesday.
Mr Fidler is fighting the borough council over 12 enforcement notices in total, which include the construction of a go-kart track on his 195 acres of land.
A Reigate and Banstead Borough Council spokes-woman said: "The site is located on the Green Belt and the developments constitute inappropriate development, which is harmful to the openness of the Green Belt."
After the inquiry, if the Secretary of State grants permission for the development, all enforcement notices issued by the borough council will be quashed.
However, should the ruling favour the borough council, Mr Fidler and family would have six months to move out and demolish their "dream" castle.

24 January 2008

And then...

So a week ago, my father went to the doctor for a foot infection - and ended up in the hospital. As his primary care-taker I was glad the foot would be getting better, because well, honestly, I have this phobia of old man feet. If he were a horse, I could handle it.

Lots of IV antibotics, Dear Old Dad (DOD) is looking better. Ready to go home.

They have to put a line in so he can get IV treatment later and take him off his blood thinner.
That night, just before he goes him in the morning, he fell. We think. He doesn't remember, and no one saw it happen, but he's got a bit bump on his head.

He ends up in intensive care, with a bleed on the brain.

The neurosurgeon comes in and wants him evaluated for a bunch of things that make sense.

His balance is terrible. And he's getting more forgetful.

So what does this have to do with my office?

Well, ONCE I can get back to working on it, finish it and get to work in it... I'll have to set up a monitoring system to keep an ear out for him, so he doesn't fall or something when we're home alone.

somehow... I am trying to find the ironic humor in this.

If you see it, please let me know.

More on the shed later.


20 January 2008

Winter Weather Forecast!!!

Twice this week, we have had all sorts of winter weather warnings.
Ice, snows, sleet, freezing rain, school closings, the DoT and Governor asking everyone to stay home because the weather conditions are so hazardous. Not once, but twice!! This usually is a once a year occurance, so twice in a week is unusual.

It makes getting mentally geared up to go work outside sort of difficult.

Of course, the wicked winter weather didn't do much more than throw a few frozen spit balls our way. It hit Atlanta, and north of here, but missed us all together. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. (the photo is from 3 years ago)
But suffice to say folks, the challenge of building one's own shed is that the weather is not always cooperative, and you have to decide what sort of conditions you are willing to work in...

Happy Winter Folks!

(oh, and I'll be back at it in a day or two)

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12 January 2008

My view

This will be my view out of the office when I get done. See, even on a grey winter day, it's still lovely.
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When Straw bales explode...

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Coffee anyone?

Yes, we'll make that somewhat more symetrical. Right now, it's doing the job of add some weight to the higher bales.
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Another perspective

See from further out, it doesn't look quite so small... And you can see my AWESOME loft!! I know I will get a lot of use out of it.
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Bales and then some

The light on the back wall is coming through the windows on the loft. The stacked bales in the room are extras. The big burlap bags once brought coffee here from all over the world to my FAVORITE Roasters - Jittery Joe's. Now they are being recycled, filled with straw and used for filler. They also make great dog beds.

I lost my glasses somewhere in there, I think. That sort of sucks. Oh well...
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Rigging the tarp

Bill decided to create a rigging for the tarps so that we can raise and lower them. Guess who go the job of hanging the rigging?

The Office Innards

The straw bales are in, and settling. Essentiall the weight of them in compressing the bales for a few days before we put the plaster on... A few extra based in the back, may need to be added. Yes, itwill be cozy.... but that was the plan. And the ladder (made by me, thank you very much) goes up to the loft. LOVE IT!
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Office Sheathed in plastic

I can't say why, but it reminds me of a character from the movie Amadeus....
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Edge of the earth?

Hi Folks!

Sorry for being in absentia for so long. I have been dealing with a lot of miscellaneous stuff, so I haven't posted like a good girl. (No one makes snide comments about me being a good girl, okay?)

Right now the office/shed is sheathed in tarps while I wait for the bales to settle. (It sort of looks like it's wearing a big blue condom with a metal roof ...)

I'm about to head out to do some more work and will take the requisit photos.

But I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth, it just feels like it. I've been pushing hard to get set up to work again, because, um... I HAVE TO. I didn't get a contract I really really hoping for, and that sucks. So I've revamped my CV, sent out some over due invoices, and spent a lot of time strategizing about what's next.
The (almost) funny thing is that it is possible that upon finishing my beautiful office, I may end up taking an assignment that will having me living on the other side of the planet more than half the year. How ironic is that?

Okay, outside to work. Burning day light here.

Back with photos tonight.

04 January 2008

Believe it or not, THIS feels much closer thanl I ever imagined it could.
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Stairs done!

I started the day determined to get the stairs done... And finished it pressy quickly.

There is still a lot of cosmetic work to do yet, but at the moment, I'm trying to focus on getting the office functional, and then I'll come back to do the touch-ups once the office is workable.
A good friend of mine once said "Never move into a house until it's finished..." And of course he's right, but I keep coming up with more and more ideas of things I want to do, and I can't put off returning to work quite that long.
But keep me honest here folks - help me get back to it!!

Some times, you just capture the perfect moment...
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03 January 2008

Still a lot to do... BUT It's PROGRESS!!

Just looking at this picture I can find about 20 things I need to do yet... It's like Where's Waldo, but at least now I know what needs doing. And that counts for a lot.
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Mall doors

Testing the mall doors...
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For your protection...

Okay, really, would having sweaty contractors come in and build it from prefabbed bits EVER BE THIS MUCH FUN???
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Getting there...

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about here....

The side view... and the loft...my desk will be right about here where the deck chair is...
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I can see clearly now....

It's a test, and so exciting to see!!
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Starting to see progress FEELS SOOOOO GOOODDD!!!!
The afternoon winter sun will be great in that loft too...!!
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Interior dimensions

From the looks of it - the interior will be about 8 ft. x 10 ft. PERFECT!!!
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straw bales and windows....

what to do?
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And then there were stairs

After waking up fixating on how to do the stairs every morning at dawn, I finally got it. The boys pitched in and we levelled and plummed the posts, then I whipped the floor joists in the landing and placed the boards. They aren't done yet - it's too darned cold to work with the composit right now, and so that will happen tomorrow.
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Pirate Song...

What would you do with a drunken sailor? What would you do with a drunken sailor? What would you do with a drunken sailor - early in the morning....

(Dude! It was only temporary)
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