Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 28, 2009 - This Old (F'ing) House

This ooooold house. It has it's "charm". I have discovered that there are places in the house that let fresh air from the outside blow right in. The air blows into the house between some of the walls downstairs, which pipe-lines it right into the rooms downstairs and the floors upstairs. This is a somewhat recent discovery and it has been on my "short list" of things to take care of since last March ... so ... here it is October, nay - November ...

Here is a shot of the 'big room' downstairs, with evidence of my most recent endeavors: sealing up the big room. To the left, you will see the 'Shrine to Mountain Creek' (actually, I have started to finish framing) ... to the right of that there once was a door which was insanely leaky ... i didn't have any drywall handy so I just said F-it and patched in plywood. I mean, really. Who care?! And in the background, you will see the opening I made, exposing the main culprit ...

The exposure of The Main Cuprit. Behind this wall, inside of this hole, is where air from the outside is blowing inside. It is insane. The air inflirtration is coming from where an addition was attached to the house right out side this big room and Jason's bedroom. The addition was made to shelter a fuel oil tank and act as a sort of mud room/entry room. It just was not done well and as a result air from under the eave of the addition comes right into this space between the big room and Jason's room and to all sorts of spaces between the floors upstairs. THUS! Finishing this project before it gets too cold will be essential to saving energy this Winter.

This is a weird angled shot. Looking inside the wall now, we see to the center-right the opening to the awning/ceiling of the mud room addition. The mud room has no insulation, so the wind from outside essentially blows right in. If it is 10 degrees outside and blowing, that is blowing directly into this space, which is right next to Jason's room and the Big Room. There was a bunch of insulation stuffed up and around here, but it was not nearly enough to stop the wind from literally blowing right in the house.

Honestly, I can't believe we didn't explore this sooner.

A cool thing though was finding these little 'cave paintings' drawn on the 2x4s that were used to frame the inside of this crevace.

We do get a lot of mice in this old house ...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October 19th - 2009. Getting the last bits tied up

It was a beautiful Sunday. Bright with possibility and irregularly patterned with persistent criss-crosses.

Last weekend we took the opportunity to till under the gardens. That morning, Dad and I drove out to Lone Rock to pick up a few bags of rye with which we intend to make bread and also use as a 'green manure' - a term of which I only recently become aware of. Hopefully, it will grow up instead of weeds in the Spring. Then it will be tilled under prior to planting.

The last remaining plants. Rutabaga. We'll get to them soon. They can stay in the ground all Winter long I believe. Might wanna Google that up.

Chicken. Some chickens actually eat eggs. This one eats eggs. It's a disturbing sight I am told. I don't want to say it, but this one here might end up in a pot. Might be an opportunity for Jason to learn how to do all that otherwise I may return to my vegetarian heritage.

And now to the dome. Check it out! The layout is more or less set in stone. I would like to add 2 more water barrels. The barrels are to help save up heat during the day. We've salinated them to give them a lower freeze temperature. I need to find out where the maximum saturation point line meets the lowest temperature line ... we'll see.

This is the big experiment. We dug about 4 feet in the ground where this bed is. It wasn't dug as a perfect square simply because it was a giant pain in the rear. It ended up somewhat conical the deeper it got.

The bottom 8 or so inches is crushed lime stone to help draining. Water drainage really shouldn't be a problem, but we put the limestone in to be thorough. And because my wife said I should. After that we put in about 2 feet of horse manure. We added some of our awesome chicken poop to it, too. Follow that with 18 inches or so of soil mixed with some of the horse manure. What should happen is the horse and chicken poop layer will continue to digest, thus creating heat.

The heat will be trapped in the raised bed by this cold frame.

The cold frame is simple. All of the raised beds are cut identically, so we just lifted another raise bed on top. The glass panes are windows that I saved when we replaced many of our existing crank-out windows. I despise crank-out windows with the heat of a thousand white hot suns. But, the windows themselves were perfect for this purpose. They just slide or lift right up.

I dunno. As I look at this picture now I think I can see some flaws. I probably should have built the beds to perfectly match the windows. Doh! I'd get more sun, too, if the box was wider. They should do just fine for Spring and Summer gardening, though.

Here is a lemon balm that we've been keeping in the green house. Seems to be doing well!