Timber Frame - Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Monday, November 30, 2009

Back From Thanksgiving

My Reflection in the PV Panels
I love the way the sun looks in the evenings around this time of year, so I took a lot of pictures today. It was nice to come back to such a relaxing place after spending 18 hours in a car (not my idea of a good time). So to catch up with the project, we spent a couple days before I left last week plastering the loft.
Here I am a couple of weeks ago installing the recessed lighting in the observatory roof. We then insulated the ceiling from below as we nailed the finished ceiling up.

The light was hitting the house just right this evening. I couldn't resist snapping a picture from this angle again.

Here is the finished plaster around one of the windows.

Here you can see the smooth texture of the finish plaster. It has such a soft, natural feeling.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Official End of the Building Season

The building season is now over. Some of us have moved on to new adventures. Some of us are starting our own projects. Jennifer and I are continuing to work on the project but we can definitely feel things are slowing down. We have been working on the loft, trying to get it finished so I can move into it for the winter. Right now I am living in Gnome Castle, an earthbag dome built by Jeff over the past 2 years. It is nice and cozy.
Jeff inside his dome installing the wood stove.

Here is randy trimming the rafter tails on the 3 foot overhang of the observation roof. He is tied with a rope which I am holding behind him while he dangles 40 feet up in the air using a circular saw. It was an intense moment.

Horacio, Jennifer, and I are enjoying some of the food during our end of the season cookout. This was our party (on Halloween day) to commemorate the end of the building season and th celebrate all that we have accomplished this summer.
We had grilled veggies. SO GOOD!

Group photo. That night we had a community wide traveling Halloween party where people would host a short party at their home, then the whole group would continue to the next place. What a crazy group!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We have started installing the observatory. It is a 360 degree window around the top of the loft. The hope is to bring in as much natural light as possible. Alex's design has been in the works since July and the steel post that support the roof and house the windows has just arrived. These custom made window are going to look spectacular.
Jennifer and Horacio are talking about design (always). Fall has arrived and the leaves are starting to chance colors.
Here I am doing the first layer of earthen plaster on the loft. It is such a great material (clay, sand, & straw) because you can use your bare hands and it feels nice between your fingers. It is so plastic that you can sculpt it into any shape, but we have decided to make it smooth/flat on the straw walls.
Horacio is so proud of his work. It looks great because he spent many hours getting it exactly how he wanted. I remember him working past 7 PM last week (with a flashlight) because he loves earthen plaster so much.
We have all been talking about how nice it is to enjoy the work we are doing. At times, it almost seems like it is not even work, which is why we often work late - even after it gets dark
This is the mural that Horacio etched into the lime plaster.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

2nd Coat of Plaster

This week we started the second coat of lime plaster! It is only Wednesday and we should finish it this afternoon. It is going so fast.

We are done with light-clay straw as well. This is Owen mixing it for the hundredth time.
The craziest thing occurred last week. I was the first one on the site one morning and went into the loft, only to find a screech owl in there. It was freaking out because all the windows were closed and he could figure out how to get out (I think it came in the rough opening of the downstairs door). There were pepper nails everywhere, so we were worried about puncturing it's wings when it was freaking out. Tony and Rachel came over with a net on a stick and scooped the owl up and released it far away from the village. They said he flew away easily with little to no harm done. They were such piercing eyes, as if he was looking into your soul.
We finally put in all the doors on the lower level, so hopefully no more owls will be getting caught in the loft. Here, you see Owen and Jennifer trying to get the door to fit.
It is starting to feel as if the building season is winding down. We've lost one crew member, Owen, who has gone to Sandhill Farm for the rest of the season. Also, we got a new crew member, Randy, who has been integrating the last few days. His help has been much appreciated.

Its amazing to take a step back at the end of each day/week/month and to see how much we have accomplished. For me, it seems like it is going by so fast.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Small Update

I just wanted to post a few more pictures after yesterday, showing what we got done today. Things look a little better now, after finishing the lime-washed siding. Here is the final product.

I also forgot to mention the installment of the chimney flue. Bear spent a lot of time on it and it is finally completely water proof and looks cool too. This is a view up through the middle of it (from the loft).
Today Owen and I did the first coat of lime plaster around the clearstory windows. We can finally take the tarps down, which makes it look so much better.

Cool picture of the outside of a mortise and tenon joint.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall Is Here!

Siding, Light-Clay Straw, & Plaster. The 3 things that have occupied most of my time.

This is one of the completed light-clay straw walls in the loft. We essentially mix a bunch of loose straw with a water-mud mix and cram it in the stud cavities. The forms keep it in place until it dries and then it is hard enough to plaster over. It can be rather time consuming, but peaceful at the same time because it doesn't use power tools or require any other loud noises.

The siding on the loft is acting as the permanent for on the backs of the walls. Here you see the lime washed boards we installed today. Some of the boards have not had the lime wash rubbed in/off, so they are still white. Eventually, the whole wall will look like the darker shaded boards, which will be the same color as the lime plaster on the rest of the house.

Bear and I installing siding on the south facing wall of the loft.

Mark and Ali plastering. Yesterday we spent the morning helping Mark at his house. He is doing an earthen plaster on his straw bale barn. He spent a lot of time getting the walls to be completely flat, and it looks amazing.

Mark's dry fit rocket stove. In preparation for moving into the barn this winter, Mark and his interns have started to build the rocket stove that will keep his family warm.

Cole staying warm (and looking cute) on a breezy autumn morning.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I've been thinking about doing some kind of relief artwork in the final coat of the plaster. Some cool artwork around the village has been my inspiration. This is Bella Ciao, a house right next to the Timber Frame.
I know Alex will like this. This is the first of the four manufactured post that will support the lookout tower. Hopefully these will be done soon.
We finished the oak siding on the east wall of the loft. What a beautiful wood it is.
The insulation guys came today with their blown in cellulose (recycled newspaper) and finished all the ceilings in only a few hours. We have almost completely sealed the whole building.
We started putting on the fascia. They are oak too, finished with linseed oil.