Thursday, December 23, 2010

we're moved in!

Yayyy...finally moved in and together as a family. And right before Christmas too. The place is a disaster because we moved in without the interior being finished. Cindy is busy now painting the closets so we can install some closet organizers and get stuff out of bags and off the floor. Everything works for the most part. We are still having some problems with the Rinnai hot water system. The vent/air intake pipe continues to freeze up at night and shuts down. It is a good thing that we are in a straw bale house. It is in the minus 20's lately and the house can go the entire day without the hot water heating the in-floor system and the house will only drop a few degrees without the wood stove going. With the wood stove, the house is just too hot. We bought a very small Vermont Castings stove and the salesman kept warning us that it would be too small for our 1300 square foot house...wrong! During the day though, the sun hits the black plastic vent pipe and melts the accumulated frost for the H2O heater...sometime during late afternoon I can turn the thermostat on and it will run long enough to heat the slab back up to room temp. I think the problem is that lately it has been unusually humid outside. It is minus 20 or worse and the humidity is still up around or over 80%! That is quite unusual for us...typically it is very dry during our winters.

It is good to know though that the Rinnai heater runs long enough to run a bath or use domestic hot water even when the vent is frosted. I haven't figured out a solution to the problem, but we'll investigate further once we get a little more settled. In the meantime it is completely livable.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

straw bale house update

Here is what has occurred over the past couple weeks. The interior stucco final coat was applied. It did not turn out as we had hoped to be honest. We had always wanted a smooth final coat. When the stuccoer showed up he did not know how to apply a smooth final coat! We had not done our research...oh well. The colour turned out nice, but there is a rough finish that we will have to live with or fix one way or another. Delaying the stucco application was simply not an option that we wanted to entertain.

The next step in interior finishing also did not go as expected...bad week for things to go wrong. We wanted a polished concrete floor with stain. When the concrete guy showed up he informed us that the slab was too uneven for him to grind and polish. At least he did not have a concrete grinder that was big enough to do the job. Instead we simply applied a concrete stain to the existing slab and we will take our time figuring out exactly what we want to achieve with our floors. Tile? Move out and allow a company to come in and grind later? Options to consider this winter. The pictures show the floors that haven't been mopped or cleaned in any way. You are seeing water stains and drywall dust. They look pretty good actually.

The girl wanted a red floor so red is what she got! I like it. Now she wants purple walls...ok.

For the past two days the cabinet installers were on-site. Now, finally something that looks exactly as we had hoped. Kitchen FX out of Edmonton did a wonderful job making and installing our cabinets. A couple doors were not quite ready and the raised panel for the island are still left to complete. The granite slab counter top will be ready sometime in the early new year.

Still to come this week is drywall taping and mudding along with the electrical final switching and plugging and the plumbing final connections. 

Monday, December 06, 2010

Kevin Kossowan's video compilation

Kevin Kossowan was asked to speak at the Slow Food AGM and made a wonderful decision to present a compilation video from all of the farmers that he has interviewed this year. I was told that it received a standing ovation and I am not surprised considering Kevin's talents as a documentarian (is that a word? it should be). The Video