To say this post has been a long time in coming is quite the understatement. Those of you who know me know that it’s not entirely unlike me to go missing, or just very quiet, for periods of time. This space was originally intended to document our experience going off-grid and building an earthbag house and, having done that, I suppose the blog has been put to bed for me. One project of many, off the list. But I continue to see notices coming in of new followers and subscribers, both here and on the Facebook page, and the occasional pang of guilt gets me. Generally, I’ve found that ignoring a feeling makes it go away but it has been the better part of a year- so, for an update…
We finished demolition of the old house that was in the spot we chose for the new rock house. It was a bitch and I’m saying this as someone who mainly watched. There’s an amazing amount of work that goes into tearing down a house, sorting through reusable materials, breaking down unusable sections and hauling the lot to the dump. But the site is perfect. For all the work that went into prepping it, there is no other spot on the property that offers the advantage of a complete wind block on 3 sides (crucial to comfort where we are on the prairies) and an incredible view as well as an ideal spot for setting out solar panels without any obstructions.
We then ran our measurements and stringlines and dug out the trench for the new house. We got the gravel down into the trench and leveled that and then topped it with landscape cloth. Shane built the forms that we would use for the slipform rockwork, I protected them with linseed oil, and after a period of immense frustration, er- patience got those locked together in the trench. Whilst all this was going, I spent a good portion of my days continuing to collect larger and still larger rocks for the foundation.
The set-up for this project was ridonculous. I mean seriously. We normally get started on a build as soon as the snow has melted, somewhere around April. We placed the first rocks in the foundation in July. By the end of September we had finished the foundation (which measures 2’ wide x 2’ tall, and 50’ x 32’ around) and got a good way towards site cleanup for the year. At the time of writing, the site is entirely ready to go for next year but all we have is a foundation. If you were to drive by the site, all you would see is some rebar sticking out of the ground in a rectangular shape. That’s it.
That right there is about $6,000 in savings though- money we didn’t pay to have someone else put in a foundation and a ton of cement that wasn’t required (and won’t crack later on) because of all the rockwork. Of course it doesn’t factor in the labour I personally put in 5-7 days a week for weeks on end- a fact I made a point of reminding Shane on my grumpier days. But given that he works full-time and is very good at keeping me in books and well-timed compliments, I think I’ve all but let that go. I am going to have a fantastic library by the time we get this house built.
That’s about the sum of it folks. I will try to break down the steps if mostly in pictures over the next while. Hope everyone has had a productive and interesting year so far! And thank you, for being so good to follow us despite the long absences.