Sunday, 27 July 2014

Our jarrah floors:

From this:


To this:

Then this:


And finally:

Beautifully beautiful.
And to me, there is some comfort is seeing this beauty in the world, when there is also sorrow to acknowledge.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

What a week it has been!!

Michael’s folks and Aunty Joan have been here to help us again J - and the motivation to complete projects with 4+ workers has been great!
As always, they have worked so much to help us achieve so much too – so the whole house has had 3 coats of paint courtesy of Michael’s Mum.  Michael’s Dad has added timber to the end of the kitchen cupboard, built our boot seat and filled in all the old hardware holes in our second-hand internal doors.  And Aunty Joan has cleaned all the windows and frames for us.  No small jobs, any of them – and such a fantastic, amazing, enormous boost to us!!


And chief supervisor, Lucy dog.
While they toiled, Michael and I also did what we could – him working on electrics and plumbing and helping everyone, everywhere – and me, some painting of walls, some painting of cupboards in the hobby room and tiling of the kitchen splashback – and plenty of cleaning in between.


Yesterday – yesterday, was a bittersweet day, a milestone! 
We said, “finished” (yes, lower case is intentional), to Harold, Pauline and Aunty Joan – and to Ryan, who was here on Thursday and Friday to finish off the architraves and bits and bobs.


So that is the end to an era for us and Ryan – I can’t imagine how he feels to drive away from this house that he has put so much time and effort into – what an amazing thing he achieves being a carpenter!  We will forever be grateful for what he has provided for us, with the help of many, many, many others.  Our home is so much more than the sum of its parts – when we look at it, we can see the sum of the love that so many have contributed – and it is a very special feeling to know we will live with that love forever.
As I do, in my thinking of our progress, motivation and enjoyment of this owner-building adventure, I got to re-examining our priorities.

This little graphic is the ‘building triangle’ explained to us by Richard, our building supervisor, way back when we were just starting to talk about how to owner-build a strawbale house.

Actually, Richard drew it point up - I prefer it this way because it makes more sense to me – and those who have read The da Vinci Code might note the potential symbology of both orientations ;-).
But, I digress. 

The ‘builder’s triangle’ shows you the three ultimate goals of building – most of us want all three of these to be in our favour – but experience shows, you can only have two!  They can be any two, so you just rotate the triangle to illustrate your own priorities.
Richard’s builder’s triangle was a very worthwhile lesson for us to decide which two were going to work for us and which one is the compromise.  The way I have labelled this is the priorities we decided on way back – we wanted the money and quality to be the things we had most control over, and therefore we accepted that sometimes, the timing had to accommodate that. 

And I found it a very worthwhile process to re-examine the triangle and take note of the priorities I have felt in these latter stages – they were actually different to what I thought I was feeling!  In the last few weeks, I had thought I wanted the time factor to be the priority (we want to move into this house!), but when I spent the time to really examine my feelings, it actually wasn’t, and that triangle is still looking the same to us…

Friday, 11 July 2014

More progress – yay!

I’ve taken some time off work – to spend with the kids during school holidays and work around the building site again.  It’s actually a bit scary how much I have enjoyed getting back into it…
I’ve had fun in the mud:

Because we have started the infilling – yep, building is still about digging holes and filling them back in again – and dang, this is a big hole!  And being on the end of a shovel is hard work!  And one should remember, one is of a certain age, where the joints protest the next day!   But it sure is a great step in the right direction J:


And we had the young-un help us – he’s not scared of a spade, that is for sure J:


But before the digging, I tiled the laundry floor on Wednesday J - no not perfect, but I still loved the process. (Not quite sure Michael enjoyed the cutting - there were a few exclamations at tiles breaking where it wasn’t wanted!).  Most of the ‘character’ tiles will be hidden by cupboards so no prob in the end.


And we lucked out and found the exact same wall tiles as we had bought for the bathroom, at the salvage yard yesterday, so we have enough to tile the wall behind the washing machine and trough, and a border (skirting) all around – and all for $30.  Gotta love that!
Number one son and I had a walk around the estate last weekend – there was beauty to behold.


Humidity ‘aint so bad when it shows itself as gorgeous fog over the lake.

And water droplets on a grass tree.


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Sooooo – our floors could get laid over the top of that weird waterproofing membraney stuff:


But it was obviously better to get some waterproofing layer that did the job properly (you can see the nice shiny smoothness in the background):

Sooooo - 4 and a half rooms all lovely wood floors to look at and love J in the first week.  Half a room…mmm, the jarrah floorboards we picked up (from the Salvage yard even though they are brand new – seconds, that is) had some character and we knew we would be lucky to get away with the tight square metreage amount that was available.  We took all the 72m2 available at the salvage yard - for the 68 m2 flooring we needed – so only 4m2 to ‘play with’ and we ended up about 5m2 short now.  We were so lucky to find enough locally to finish off, and Michael got to install them too (I helped a little, it was hard work!)
Soooooo – 39mm of rain one night last week – plenty to water in the septic tanks and leach drains - again – but dang, one of the septic tanks developed a lean – so it needed to be levelled out. 

So much work that doesn’t really seem to be a step forward!  Oh well, there *is* always good isn’t there?  Our lovely neighbour, Terry, leant us his brand new sump pump and Michael was able to rig up the block and tackle on some planks suspended across from the tractor to the far bank, and he managed to get it all straightened back up again, after 3 days of work.... but yay! 
And Michael had already had the leach drain all beautifully levelled too:

 And had got onto the pick to take out some more of the clay wall so they could sit in a straight row:

 But we still had to call in the big digger – again (this is Jo, our neighbour's, dad):


The leach drains were about 1m too short (only because we changed over to the plastic ones and you need 14.7m compared to 12 m for concrete) – we knew we were close – and even though Michael is certainly no stranger to hard, digging work, there was no way he could dig through another metre of mud and rock hard gravel.
Best news though – Kent, the plumber could come back yesterday, so all the plumbing is connected and the shire will do their inspection on Friday morning so we can get this all buried and stop the pits flooding!  We sure will be happy with that!!!

Sooooo – still plenty of rainy days lately and still very high humidity in the house.  The doors were being kept open of course as wood flooring got cut etc – but Desmond has Kenny to help now – so the humidity drops right down to ~55% overnight.



I hope that is enough to encourage the lice to live outside instead!!  With a life cycle of 21 days we need to keep the humidity down for about 3 weeks to see if they really are dying off – it’s a lesson in patience for me :-/!  It does look like there are much, much fewer bodies on the tiles over the last couple of days – but I am needing to see zero to believe they are gone!