Well, having taken the time to post a rant I figure it is probably high time to update our friends about the actual building progress. Long story short- we’re not in and won’t be until spring. Short story long, see below…
As of mid-November we were still planning on moving into the new place this winter. And then I hit a wall. Upon heading outside in the mornings I started to feel like if I had to spend one more freaking day toiling I was going to break down in tears. I was kicking at the snow and muttering clever things like, “stupid house!” From April until November the schedule had been: get up, go to work (house and garden), come home, make supper, pass out, repeat. Which might not have been so bad except that I determined (in my infinite wisdom) to work seven days a week at the beginning of the year. Previous years I’d taken time to dirt bike, read, visit with friends- what a difference a little down time makes.
Anyway, add to that my inability to complete floors and ceilings on my own and the decision was made to postpone the move. Having had a month off physical labour, I’m ready for spring and excited to go again but hey… The decision was made.
I’ve had a lot of questions about what the temperature in the new house is like and don’t feel qualified to answer at this time. Because we haven’t moved in, we’re not heating it regularly. Shane fires up the stove and heater (sometimes) when he goes out but there have been weeks when we haven’t even gone inside. The wood stove in the kitchen does heat things up quite a bit (and quickly). The mass heater takes longer to heat things up but stays warm quite a bit longer. And the passive solar in the living room does add a good amount of heat to the room.
We will finish up berming in the spring. Our intention is to berm at least 3/4 of the way up the buildings on the north, east and west sides leaving only the south side exposed. We didn’t have time to berm very high this year before the snow fell but you can already tell the difference in temperature between what’s exposed and what’s ‘underground’. I suspect that because we didn’t insulate, the berming will be critical to the liveability of the house. We’re actually considering buying a small tractor (wheeeeee!!!) and, if we do, that should move things along nicely compared to our manual shovel-work.
Of my “lessons learned” from the year, I would say that the importance of berming in a northern climate ranks near the top. (And don’t work seven days a week for seven months straight.) The other two big ones: we should have gone with larger (or more) windows in the kitchen and maybe the bedroom (solar gain in the living room is drastically better and does add a good deal of ‘natural’ heat); and deciding to put a room on the north side at last minute, in spite of advice, was not the best idea. It’s very cold in there. We will insulate the room come spring (from the outside) in addition to berming and that should save it. I also think that building lower would not only have saved time but also been more efficient insofar as heating. Granted, we hadn’t intended cathedral ceilings so much as belatedly changed our minds about a second story and decided to throw a roof up… In any case, it looks fabulous but a shorter building would have done.
Like every other year, the experience wouldn’t be complete without a few lessons learned. 🙂
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