The wait is over.

Well, I am happy to say that the wait is over. After a period of hibernation and some time to work on other things our building permit is finally here.

Today I spent the day poking around and trying get ready to have some people back on the site. There is a lot to be done and soon.
By the permit, we must have an inspection of the masonry stove footing before we can pour the pad that the stove will be built on.

Next, we will be getting an eletrical rough-in inspection and the framing inspection, but there is still some prep work before that. Then there is the two front dormers that need to be built before the framing inspection.

Tapping Trees

I have tapped 8 holes on maple and black walnut trees. I have read that black walnut trees can be tapped and produce a nutty darker syrup - yummers! Need some lids for them though, the rain and bugs can get in. Yesterday I saw a spider in the bucket...crawling across the surface of the snow that had fallen on top of some frozen sap. I guess things are waking up and perhaps not feeling so rested - it was a short winter night.

It is estimated that each tap can produce about 1 litre of maple syrup meaning I should get 8 litres, but I was thinking of tapping more trees. Anyone interested in cooking some maple syrup? Bring a few old tires we can throw on the fire, it makes a nutty darker syrup.

Today I finally finished or at least got the fan blowing in the solar kiln I was working on.
The fan will be on a timer and will start an hour after sunrise and an hour before sun set.
The solar kiln works by basically collecting hot air in the black lined collection chamber, then blowing the hot air forwards, down and then back through the spaced out stack of wood.
More specifically, the blower pushes the hot air across the concrete blocks and down the front of the stack of wood. The stack of wood is spaced with 'stickers' of wood which allow an air gap to let air blow through - the air is forced out of the back of the kiln.
The wood in the kiln is wood we milled from our land it was at about 35% moisture content - it needs to be at 6-8% to be used in any furniture or millwork for the house.
Right now we have long 2" cherry planks that we will be using as stringers for the stairs and all of the wood for the treads too. The wood should dry in about 3-4 weeks and then I think I'll make walnut toilet seats.
The kiln was built out of:
  • Old garage door panels -(you can use them for anything.)
  • some ash 2"x6"'s ripped from wood salvaged from the garage
  • one of Wally's old furnace blowers
  • 4 litres of black latex paint - as low lustre as possible
  • some clear polycarbonate Palruf panels about 20$ each
  • some plywood out of the old kitchen cupboards from the house
  • a few peices of telephone wire for the moisture sensors


Strawbale - Discovery

I must give extreme props to my friend James Brylowski for his Solid Porcupine. Here he is on the left...I couldn't get a picture of his Solid Porcupine.

Over the last 1 to 1.5 years, james has been working on his own video/photography company called Solid Porcupine. James is also the fella that made the video for our wedding, and instead of one of those 5 hour long grainy nightmarish wedding videos, he compacted it into a funny, fast moving 20 minute one.

Right now James is preparing to go to the Cayman Islands to shoot some beach footage for something or other, and has recently spent time in Honduras and Nicaragua shooting some promotional videos for Intercontinental Hotels. He really gets around.

The Real Discovery

James recently came to our house to get some footage of strawbale construction and then went to interview Ben Polley of Harvest Homes and put it all together for a short downloadable movie for The Discovery Channel entitled Strawbale - Discovery. Its just a little basic knowledge about strawbale construction but highly entertaining.

Do you want to see this video?

Go to Solid Porcupine and then to the video section and click on Strawbale Discovery.

Good work and thanks James!