On Ward.

“I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.”

Bill Withers

We’ve all now returned from our respective questing, here again to build this house. To spend a few more weeks together as winter settles in. For perspective: there is snow on the mountains and the government is open; the days grow shorter and the fires more frequent. It is the time of year when we most notice our breathing, emerging as it does visibly in the cold. We tend to stay indoors more, or else more bundled with our garb, garbled with our bundles. For some, in this long season, it is more natural to nestle in closer mind and body with the company we share as the elements outside intensify and we watch the weather turn. It is a wondrous time of year as the things that pass perform and we slide into what is next.

In Moab, we have a handful of weeks left with our work. Today, we’ll play a bit of catch-up. Follow us through late September and into late October. From the last of our bale adjustments to the beginnings of interior plaster, through the finishing of the roof and gable-end soffet and fascia, toward a fully drywalled house. Follow the route of pictures below and enjoy!

Dan and Chainsaw trim to plum the interior face of the bale wall, creating a surface ready for even-handed plastering.

Dan and Chainsaw trim to plum the interior face of the bale wall, creating a surface ready for even-handed plastering.

Anna angle grinds a notch into the bedroom wall for future built-in shelving. We have found the angle-grinder to be an effective though problematic means of trimming and shaping set bales. A better tool may be at hand: an electric sheep shearer. With the look of an oversized beard trimmer, the shearer is used by local electricians to cut notches into bales to set panel and switch boxes. It is just as, if not more, effective as the angle grinder, gripping the cutting the straw with a forward face that bears nothing of the sense of danger and volatility of a wildly spinning grinder blade. Plus, it makes less of a mess of straw that the grinder usually sends crach course into clothing and lungs. In all ways it seems the direction to go for interior bale trimming, notch-cutting and other shaping tasks. CR could stand a few in the arsenal.

Anna angle grinds a notch into the bedroom wall for future built-in shelving. We have found the angle-grinder to be an effective though problematic means of trimming and shaping set bales. A better tool may be at hand: an electric sheep shearer. With the look of an oversized beard trimmer, the shearer is used by local electricians to cut notches into bales to set panel and switch boxes. It is just as (if not more) effective as the angle grinder, gripping and cutting the straw with a forward face that bears nothing of the sense of danger and volatility of a wildly spinning grinder blade. Plus, it makes less of a mess of straw that the grinder usually sends crash course into clothing and lungs. In all ways it seems an improvement for interior bale trimming, notch-cutting and other shaping tasks. CR could stand a few in the arsenal.

Dustin and Courtney frame a timber support for the interior sill of the living room window. Affixed to the window frame and interior bottom board, this frame will serve as support for a wide sill of unique timber bought locally by homeowner Andy. Since the sill is perfect sitting height, we are making certain the whole surface area will be able to support human weight.

Dustin and Courtney frame a timber support for the interior sill of the living room window. Affixed to the window frame and interior bottom board, this frame will serve as support for a wide sill of unique timber bought locally by homeowner Andy. Since the sill is perfect sitting height, we are making certain the whole surface area will be able to support human weight.

And here is Brita stuffing Jeffrey's and Leslie's palette wall/entertainment system with a light clay-straw admixture. Don't stuff too hard; we wouldn't want to bulge those aged pallete planks! Just place and press.

And here is Britta stuffing Jeffrey’s and Leslie’s palette wall/entertainment system with a light clay-straw admixture. Britta says, “Don’t stuff too hard; we wouldn’t want to bulge those aged palette planks! Just place and press.”

Doug's not-yet-patented Slip 'n' Scratch interior plaster layer. Using the natural hydraulic force of a full and open palm in forceful press and smear, this mixture of sifted reject sand/soil and water reaches its ways into and underneath the first layer of bale wall straw to establish a tight and integrated solid scratch layer surface upon which can be built successive plaster layers. The key to knowing whether you have effectively integrated the mix into the wall is to run your fingers along the smeared section. If the slip falls off to reveal dry areas of straw, try again. When applied effectively, the surface of straw and just beneath will be totally coated in the tomato paste-like layer. From here, you can take this slip-scratch mixture, add straw, and fill in low points on the wall. Add clay, and build out window sills or other larger gaps where needed.

Doug’s unpatented Slip ‘n’ Scratch interior plaster layer. Using the natural hydraulic force of a full and open palm in forceful press and smear, this mixture of sifted reject sand/soil and water reaches its way into and underneath the first layer of bale wall straw to establish a tight and integrated solid scratch layer surface upon which can be built successive plaster layers. The key to knowing whether you have effectively integrated the mix into the wall is to run your fingers along the smeared section. If the slip falls off to reveal dry areas of straw, try again. When applied effectively, the surface of straw and just beneath will be totally coated in the tomato paste-like layer. From here, you can take this slip-scratch mixture, add straw, and fill in low points on the wall. Add clay, and build out window sills or other larger gaps where needed.

Here is a finished Slip 'n' Scratch wall, the future built in book shelf. (Note the small timber framing provided for support.)

Here is a finished Slip ‘n’ Scratch wall, the future built in book shelf. (Note the small timber framing provided for support.)

Chris says, "Wire brushes really get at gingivitis."

Chris says, “Wire brushes really get at gingivitis.”

Doug assists Josefina and Brita installing a door.

Doug assists Josefina and Brita installing an exterior door. Adjust, adjust, adjust. Precision is key at this insulation weak-point.

Jeff prepares the house's posterior gable end soffet. (Don't anyone tell him we will have to cut into it later to install a swamp cooler.) Looks great, Jeff!

Jeff prepares the house’s posterior gable end soffet. (Don’t anyone tell him we will have to cut into it later to install a swamp cooler.) Looks great, Jeff!

Salvaged I-Beam from Andy's demolished trailer will be put to future use. In the meanwhile, Chris explores the Aerodynamics of Minivans.

Salvaged I-Beam from Andy’s demolished trailer will be put to future use. In the meanwhile, Chris explores the Aerodynamics of Minivans.

Bodies in motion will stay in motion unless they stop to consider other bodies in motion.

Bodies in motion will stay in motion unless they stop to consider other bodies in motion.

Thank you Dave (and Courtney and Britta and everyone) for tireless effort: the Roof is Complete. With this final gap covered with the last of the Ridge Cap, we lay down our ropes and harnesses. Gables ends, sheeting, caps. Now it is time to make holes in everything for venting and swamp cooler and solar tube installation.

Thank you Dave (and Courtney and Britta and everyone) for tireless effort: the Roof is Complete. With this final gap covered with the last of the Ridge Cap, we lay down our ropes and harnesses. Gable ends, sheeting, caps. Now it is time to make holes in everything for venting and swamp cooler and solar tube installation.

Here is a good example: a Solar Tube, or Tubular Lighting. Using an extremely reflective internal tube surface, the dome transports light into the home (in this case into the shower of the secondary bathroom) illuminating an otherwise darkened cavity of the house with natural light. Space age technology originally developed by Ancient Egyptians.

Here is a good example: a Solar Tube, or Tubular Lighting. Using an extremely reflective internal tube surface, the dome transports light into the home (in this case into the shower of the secondary bathroom) illuminating an otherwise darkened cavity of the house with natural light. Space age technology originally developed by Ancient Egyptians.

The path of natural light into the home through a solar tube. Tubular.

The path of natural light into the home through a solar tube. Tubular.

Grace and Josefina install exterior sills beneath all windows. A few inches of plastic surface tied directly to the window frame.

Grace and Josefina install exterior sills beneath all windows. A few inches of plastic surface tied directly to the window frame.

Drywall! Ceiling drywall. Fire protection and a plasterable surface in the form of crushed gypsum held by paper. Acidity problem in your fallowing fields? Some suggest tilling in used drywall to amend akaline soils.

Drywall! Ceiling drywall. Fire protection and a plasterable surface in the form of crushed gypsum held by paper. Fertility problem in your fallowing fields? Some suggest tilling in used drywall to amend alkaline soils. Do the research.

Britta carves out a hole for a future light fixture and Anna plugs screws calibrated to just-right dimpled depths to set the drywall to the trusses.

Britta carves out a hole for a future light fixture and Anna plugs screws calibrated to just-right dimpled depths to set the drywall to the trusses.

A nearly drywalled house.

A nearly drywalled house. Some joints are beautiful (where two factory cut bevels meet). Some are “Butts” (where two rough cut ends meets). And some are “Bastards” (where a factory end meets a wonky hand cut). Thanks Molly! We’ll miss you.

Comments
One Response to “On Ward.”
  1. Robbie says:

    Awesome job! Kudos to all of you. Andrea has waited a long time for a real home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: