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DayCreek Journal

September 30, 2001

Paper Wasps and Asian Beetles and Box Elder Bugs -- Oh My!
It doesn't have the same ring to it as lions and tigers and bears, but they have been quite a menace over the last week.

Monday morning the thermometer read 32 degrees and a heavy blanket of frost covered the ground, but by Thursday temperatures rebounded above 70 degrees and with it came a swarm of insects. Especially the Asian Beetles that were quite the menace last year about this time. And don't let anyone tell you they don't bite -- THEY DO! They leave a welt similar to a mosquito and to top things off, they stink too. Okay, enough complaining.

This week was spent working on wall number 18. I did not complete the wall before leaving for Illinois on Thursday afternoon, but I should get this wall completed this week.

This will be the last wall that I will build this year. Besides the fact that the weather is getting colder and the days shorter, I need to start concentrating on next year's building plans. As I have mentioned in earlier journal entries, I am in need of more wood. This wood won't be needed for another year or more, but I want to be sure to have a supply of dried cordwood before I begin the interior walls.

Kicking Around Ideas - Cordwood Stucco
I have toyed with the idea of using "cordwood stucco" for the inside walls of the house instead of a second cordwood wall. Richard Flatau successfully made cordwood stucco walls out by attaching short pieces of cordwood to 1/2" plywood backed with chicken wire to reinforce the mortar. This would solve some of my problems and create a few others. Here's my list of pro's and con's to using cordwood stucco:

PRO'S

  • A good way to reduce air infiltration by using the same type of vapor retarder used in stick-built homes.
  • Introduces other options for insulation such as BIBs (Blown-In Blanket) or fiberglass batts.
  • The house can be completely sealed up before the interior cordwood walls are constructed. This will make for a very warm house by next winter.
  • Greatly reduces the amount of mortar needed to build interior walls.
  • Already have enough cordwood and 4' x 8' sheathing to build the walls. Only other expenditure will be 4" x 6" to build the frame. (Cost of insulation is a moot point no matter what form of cordwood wall is built. Either way, I need to buy it.)
  • Out-of-pocket expenditures are about the same for stucco vs. purchasing additional logs to build 8" wall.

CON'S

  • Additional labor hours to build interior walls. (Framing, attaching logs to sheathing, etc.)
  • Unknown territory. No disrespect to Richard Flatau who's stucco walls have survived so far, but not much history to go on here.
  • Reduced thermal mass.
  • Bottle ends and cordwood shelves would be a real pain if not impossible to build into the wall.
  • Pain in the neck to cut pieces down to 4" vs. 8".

If anyone has an opinion on this idea, I'd love to hear your comments. I will be posting a subject heading on the forum, so feel free to chime in. I'll be sure to write more about this over the coming month.

Solar Tour of Homes - October 13th
Our house is part of the Solar Tour of Homes this year. If you plan to be visiting the La Crosse, Wisconsin area on October 13th, please feel free to stop by. If you are interested, please send along an email and I will be more than happy to send along directions to our house. You can find out more about the Wisconsin chapter of the tour by going to the MREA (Midwest Renewable Energy Association) website.


A Hunter's Dream


I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened the cabin door one morning to see a flock of wild turkey eating along side the deer that frequent our field.