19 June 2008

Update on the build

Yesterday morning, I got an e-mail from the future... it was someone asking if I have finished my office build already. It was AWESOME!!

Actually, my response was that we were doing a lot of work, but it didn't really "look like it" and how many photos of chicken wire on straw bales could one paste. This devoted reader told me that it was actually interesting to know these details, and in retrospect, it seems to make sense. After all, I've been hunting all over creation trying to find this too... so maybe this will be helpful to someone.

I went to Lowe's to talk to my building guru, Mr. Smith. He's a wealth of information and extremely helpful. He's the one who helped me figure out my deck, and a lot of other things. He's very smart. He has looked at me like I was crazy when I talk about my straw bale house... but he said he saw a program on building straw bale houses on cable and was really impressed. He said the one he saw was in Arizona and that once it was finished the folks living there did not need any heating or cooling. He GOT IT!! 

In Mr. Smith's words "It looks like a really good idea, and the insulation has to be incredible. The only thing I can say is 'It looks like A LOT of work!'" 

Yes, indeed. He's special ordering the posts for mounting my mall doors (see, I knew we should have gotten the hardware when we salvaged those doors!!!!) and pricing stucco and plaster options for our building!! 

I love to hang out at Lowe's. There is an air of productivity about the place.  At least ours on the East Side...

Anyway, they were busier than I'd seen them on a week day in a long time. It turns out a couple of other suppliers have closed so Lowe's is picking up the slack.

Back at the office... James and I got busy. He was in the loft. It is so cool!! I know I'll get some good use out of it.

This is one of my build in shelves. We couldn't get a bale to fit with this cross bracing, so I am using my recycled coffee bags (from Joe's!) stuffed with straw.  In a couple places, we had big gaps but could not fill them with loose straw, so we filled burlap bags with straw and then put chicken wire over it. 

The chicken wire is stapled to the frame and the ply wood shelves will be plastered and then proper wood boards placed above them... I think.
Getting the chicken wire fixed to the inside a bit more difficult, because it gaps out, and that won't take plaster well... so we are making pins out of 16 and 20 gauge wire that are U shaped with hooks on the ends. We push those into the bales to anchor the chicken wire to the straw.

James is much better at this than I am. We'll spend the rest of today on that too...
It takes FOREVER, but it's a good way to spend time with a kid on his way off to college.

And working outside has it's advantages... like when our water main in the front yard burst, James heard it. We found the spot where the tree roots had cracked the pipe. We dug it up. This is the second time it happened. Last time was in the winter about 5 years ago and it was wicked cold. This time, it was sort of fun. James wielded the shovel. I got to find the burst pipe. 
Red Georgia clay is just that. 

At least I don't mind getting dirty once in a while...

Okay, back to work.

Keep those comments coming!


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