October 26, 2012

The Past Two Weeks

There really hasn't been much house development the past couple weeks.  Our contractor was busy at another job during garage and deck pile prepartion.  Last week rain delayed drilling but it got completed on the weekend.  On Monday the concrete truck finished just hours before (gasp!) snow. Three days of white fluffy stuff has stalled progress again.  Good thing there is lots of finishing to do in the workshop or these delays would start to become stressful.  The workshop walls and ceiling are almost sheeted and soon there will be heat.

It's hard be glum about early snow after spending a couple of days with two very excited little boys!  I can't even remember how many times I heard "I love this time of year!".


October 15, 2012

Family Fun Day

Since moving we have adopted Sundays as "family fun days".  We slipped up the past two weeks and did spend the day working.  Boo!   Yesterday in the mid-afternoon of a perfectly gorgeous day we rallied together and got organized to spend the rest of the day at the farm playing.  We canoed, climbed dirt mountains, watched animals and had a rip-roaring fire.  Now that is a fun day!


October 14, 2012

Let it Flow

It was a slow week for house progress so a lot of organization and puttering took place in the workshop.   
On Friday the plumber unexpectedly arrived to hook up water and do a test pump.  This is significant because now ALL trenches can be back filled.  We are still quite far from hooking up the "facilities" in the workshop but any little bit is helpful.
We are hoping for a very productive week of building!  Enjoy your Sunday!

October 12, 2012

Life in the Country

Before moving to rural Saskatchewan we spent twenty-ish years living an urban life.  Our longing to live a simpler, more self-sufficient life grew stronger when we had our first son. We are not truly "off grid" (still connected to the electrical grid...Mumma needs her Kitchen Aid!) and don't intent to be isolated "hippies".  Truth is that although we enjoy our privacy we very much enjoy the company of others. 

Country living will allow us to spend more time engaged in activities we adore such as cooking, gardening, baking, fishing, bird watching, hunting, woodworking and preserving.  It is going to be a lot of work but it is good work....the kind that fills your soul knowing that you are doing your very best to sustain a healthy family.

October 10, 2012

Deck Decisions

Building the deck is next on our lengthy "to do" list.  After researching almost every "maintenance free" option we made a quick city trip on a snowy Wednesday for the final decision.  It is a major decision because we have a LOT of square footage, nearly 800, to cover!  Admittedly we both prefer real wood but, in reality, know how much labour and product future maintenance will consume.
For railing we will use clear glass panels integrating existing Fir posts.  Most of the deck will be "Duradek" sheet vinyl while the north and west porch will be "Rhino Deck" composite made from recycled plastic and wood.  It was quite exciting to finally get physical samples to help make the remaining exterior color choices a little easier.

October 7, 2012


Building this type of home derives from our need to live in an energy efficient home that uses environmentally preferable materials.  The thought of no longer receiving a $400+ gas bill in January is very lovely. 
The foundation, frame and roof are similar to a typical build while the insulation, drywall and siding are not.  Our bales are sourced locally, less than a mile away.  Straw bales are natural, inert and have no off-gassing components. 
Interior materials are being extensively researched.  Our goal is to use components that are not typical and, most likely, not available from a big box store.  Items such as recycled cardboard light fixtures, vintage tin ceiling tiles, old church pews (for trim), recycled cardboard wall panels, and homemade solid wood doors will be integrated in order to minimize chemical and toxic impact.

If anyone knows about an interesting "green" building material please let us know!


October 5, 2012

Moving Bales

400 stacked and 400 to go! Last week Les moved two loads by himself with the small trailer.  Yesterday there were three of us and we managed to get two big loads in an hour and a half.  The men carried on and moved two more large loads.  Heavy work! Guess what they are doing today?

October 4, 2012


A quick update that floor joists and the subfloor were completed this week.  Cold weather came and, thankfully, the rain (and snow!) stayed away.

The septic tank was set up.  Lots of trenches have been filled.  New ones were dug to the septic field and from the well to the house. 

October 3, 2012


Living in the country means sharing your backyard with animals - ducks, deer, coyotes, moles, geese and moose to name a few.  Some are desirable and will simply add to the serenity of daily living.  Imagine listening to ducks skimming the water under a full moon.  Others can be bothersome like a mole tunneling through your vegetable garden.  Our first unpleasant creature encounter is with mice.  It is relatively easy for these little critters to make their way into our workshop.  They seem to be doing so more frequently since the wheat was harvested.  So our family will soon be growing.  A couple of farm cats are being given to us from a neighboring farmer.  Hopefully the circle of life will ease our rodent problems.  Suggestions are welcome!

October 2, 2012


I have quickly figured out that thoughtful and informative blogging takes time.  Lots of time.  I had visions of describing, in great detail, the building process and providing information about alternate building and energy concepts.  But, there are only so many hours in the day and they get filled quickly by small children, a love of cooking and everyday domestic goddess duties.  For sure we are not experts on this topic and there are already so many great resources available on the web and in books.  So, this blog is primarily about our progress and a bit about exposing how our values affect our choices.  I hope you are enjoying reading about this adventure.