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DayCreek Journal

July 4 , 2002

Eileen Gets a Window

Things are taking shape at the ol' homestead this week as the last window frame is put into place in what will be the guest room. We have affectionately called the room "Eileen's Room". Eileen is a friend of ours who lives in the Chicago area, but frequently makes trips to her old stomping grounds in Minnesota. Once the house is completed, maybe we will let her stay provided she brings a vegetarian, Minnesotan, hot dish. (If there is such a thing.)

Mudding this past week has been a bit of a challenge fighting off the deer flies and the heat. This has forced me into "Summertime Mode" requiring three work shifts: morning, late afternoon and evening. I usually mud during the morning and late afternoon and then do odd jobs until dusk.

Bare in the Pole Shed
After working a long, hot day it's time to hit the showers. For the past three summers, I have been using a solar hot water bag to take my showers in the pole shed. I have a hook that hangs down from one of the rafters and I simply hang the bag on the hook with a pallet as the floor to the shower stall. This very rustic means of showering has served me well over the last few years and I quite enjoy the coolness of the evening as I shower. The coolness comes from the nice breeze that filters down from the bluffs in the evenings and of course, to take advantage of this I leave all the doors open in the pole shed. Now I don't get too many visitors up the road, so I've never had any problems with someone showing up while taking a shower...until this week.

I was just in the process of lathering up when I heard the sounds of a distant vehicle. At first, I just thought it was another car passing down the road, but I soon realized it was a truck heading up the driveway. Panic set in as I thought of what to do. I could try to run to the front of the shed and lower the overhead door, but the rope that I usually use to pull the door down was chewed in half by some crazed rodent. Closing the door with the end of a hoe would have me reaching up to catch the edge of the door. I envisioned myself doing this and quickly thought of plan "B". Plan "B" was to run and hide behind the Bobcat. By this time the truck had made it's turn up the road towards the pole shed. It was my neighbor Bill stopping by to say hi.

I went with plan "B". He was looking around to see where I was, and I just kind of stuck my hand out from behind the Bobcat to say "hi". At this point he was probably wondering why I was hiding behind the Bobcat. I explained my situation to him but I don't know if he believed my story or not. In any event, our conversation was rather short as he made a hastily retreat. So if you plan on coming up for a visit some summer evening, beware of the "bare" in the pole shed.

Foam Insulation Update
It was brought to my attention that the Selection 500 and Icynene product does give off toxic fumes when burned. Although neither product will burn without a sustained flame, (in other words on its own) they do produce toxic fumes during a fire.

Here is the information that was sent to me:
"Fire-Fighting Equipment: Because fire may produce toxic thermal
decomposition products, wear a self-contained breathing apparatus with a positive pressure.

Hazardous Decomposition: Under fire conditions, carbon monoxide,
carbon dioxide hydrogen products halides and nitrogen oxides. "

So where do we go from here?

At this point I am still weighing the pro's and con's to the Selection 500 and Icynene products. From an insulative and air barrier standpoint, they certainly have their merits. And although they are applied with water, they are still a polyurethane based product.

Air-Krete, a magnesium based, cementuous foam is completely fire proof, but it does not readily stick to walls and should be applied with netting or in between a wall cavity. If I was to use Air-Krete, it would require installing a netting and standoffs if I wanted to insulate the walls before this coming winter. I could wait and have it installed once the interior walls are complete, but then I doubt I could keep the house warm enough to work on it during the winter months.

I haven't given up on dense packing cellulose, but just like Air-Krete, I would have to wait until the inside walls are built.

Healthy Seal
Another option that was just brought to my attention is a VERY new product on the market called Healthy Seal. Healthy Seal has the same R-factor and fire rating as Icynene and Selection 500. What makes this product unique is the fact that it is made from soy bean oil. I certainly like this idea and I will diligently pursue this option in the coming weeks.

As usual, I will report my findings here on the journal. Until then stay cool and don't forget to take your solar shower.

Timing is everything. I just happened to have the camera nearby when a doe appeared in the clearing adjacent to the field. I was shooting photographs of her when two fawns pranced out of the woods and began to nurse.