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DayCreek Journal

May 17, 2003

In Plane View

Here's a photo of Tom working in "plane view".

It's been a couple of weeks since I last wrote, so I figured I better get on the stick and post a journal entry. Things have been busy here at the house the last couple of weeks and there's always odd jobs to be done besides building a house. It seems that each year I end up expanding my "mow zone". Maybe it's time for a few goats or sheep or something. Okay, enough complaining and on to the journal.

Building a double wall requires the walls be tied to each other or fastened to a frame for stability. If I had elected to build both walls at the same time, I could have added a few 24" long logs to the walls every so often to tie them together. (This is the method that Cliff Shockey used on his home.) Instead I chose to build the exterior wall first, followed by the foam insulation and finally the interior cordwood wall. The exterior wall is tied to the post and beam frame of the house and is quite sturdy.

The interior walls, just like the exterior walls will be tied together using cedar fence posts. Going back many moons ago, I purchased a trailer load of 8' cedar posts that have come in handy for a number of uses: cordwood for the walls (lower 3' of the exterior wall), a cedar post bed, a caber for the Moonfest Caber Toss Contest and now the framework for the internal walls.

Over the past two weeks, 32 planed and sanded cedar posts have been erected at the point where the walls will intersect with the floor beams. The outer layer of the fence posts looks rather ugly, but once removed the posts look beautiful. (The Makita electric planer does an excellent job of shaving off the outer layer of the cedar post). Each post has its own unique personality. Some have lots of knots, while others are streaked with fascinating colors. Of course they are rustic looking, but that's the idea!

Besides giving the cordwood walls something to grab on to, the posts also provide a raceway for the electrical wiring. (Our local electrical inspector wants to see the conduit runs before they're mortared up inside the wall, so it's got to get done before any cordwood work can begin.) I hope to get all of the electrical conduit installed along these posts by the end of next week—wish me luck!

Tanks a lot
On another note, our local electric co-op has a special incentive for electric hot water tanks for new construction so I figured I would give them a shout to see what kind of a deal I could get on a tank. For $70 I was able to purchase an 80 gallon tank that normally retails for over $500. Now of course, the electric utility is banking on me to buy lots of kilowatts to heat water, but there are no rules that stipulate that you must purchase "x" number of kilowatts per year through their program.

I informed the local co-op that my plans are to heat the water using the solar heating system. I was told that it is not a problem (sounds good to me). Hopefully I'll have hot water by the end of the month and I can retire my solar shower bag. Not that I don't like my solar bag, but civilization is finally coming to Day Creek. (Not too much though.)

Finishing Touches
The bathroom is just about finished except for plumbing in the vanity and shower and I'll do that once the hot water tank has been installed. I did get a bit creative and made a medicine cabinet out of barn board and a rustic looking mirror I bought at Menards. The mirror frame was a dark walnut finish, so I sanded it down to bare wood. It didn't take a whole lot of time to build and I got a rustic medicine cabinet to boot.

Speaking of rustic, I saved some of the branches from the ash tree and whittled off the bark. They make great towel rods!

That's about it from here. It looks like I'm about two weeks away from putting up cordwood.

Did you get a chance to see the lunar eclipse? Skies were clear here in SE Minnesota and the eclipse started just about the time the moon appeared over the bluffs.