Some weeks are rough; nothing goes right, nothing happens on schedule, the tools needed are missing or broken, the car doesn’t start, and so on. Sometimes getting past these hurdles requires taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and counting the weeks since all these projects started. Or sometimes it just takes a major break-through to give the encouragement and energy to keep going, keep positive, and most of all, keep building and planning.
This week there was some of all of the above. It felt as though getting the posts prepped to be erected on the Nid foundation walls was taking absolutely forever, and then when measuring for their placement everything was a tad bit off, adding to the general frustration. Then there was the matter of lifting the 150lb (or more) posts into place and holding them there, trying to align not-very-straight posts with each other and with the foundation…you can imagine. By the end of the week the posts were all finished, and Mandy had spent a morning patiently helping to get the first three posts situated and a method somewhat figured out so that hopefully the rest will go up without too many hiccups! On Friday morning I ended up with a spare hour, and put my frustration-fueled energy to good use in erecting the door frame (the glorious carpentry of which you saw a couple of weeks ago), leveling it, propping it in place, and framing up for the poured concrete door sill. Next week I must get half a yard of gravel, and then I’ll be able to pour the sill, thereby securing the door frame in place. After that, I’ll be back to erecting the remaining posts before having to hunt down and harvest some bamboo for the horizontal wall lathes.
Despite some moments of consternation, frustration, and “Oh god, what have I got myself into?”, the progress on the Nid is going pretty damn well. I took me most of the week to realize this fact, as somehow I’d got the idea into my head that I’d already been here on St Croix for 3, maybe 4 months? Then I looked back and thought “oops…I arrived here 2 months ago yesterday”. Since then all is well again!
Speaking of things going well, today’s baking was amazing! Everything went smoothly, from getting up and kneading the sourdough at 5:30am to lighting the oven, baking a huge variety of dishes and successfully controlling the oven temperature for about 8 hours on very little wood. We had four stalks of bananas come ripe this week – that’s some 60+lbs of banana – so banana bread was the first thing to go in the oven, at around 8am, along with some trays of Tiny House Toasties (crispy rosemary-olive oil sourdough slices). Then a tray of veggies, followed by two batches of sourdough – some of the best yet – beef stew, and last of all, granola and pumpkin seeds. All I can say is that 8 hours of baking is a very long time and takes an awful lot of energy! Yet once the oven is hot it seems wasteful to not use the heat as much as possible, thus the bake-day has come to be.
I almost forgot…how could I? I made some delicious cheese earlier this week, having scored a couple of gallons of milk on sale (it’s generally prohibitively expensive here). Just a basic mesophilic cheese, fromage blanc, I suppose, firmed in a cheese mold in the fridge for a couple of days then garnished with fresh rosemary and Mandy’s Hawaiian pink salt. It’s rather delightful on bread, toasties, fruit….or straight from the knife!
That’s it til next week, cheers!
Just read. You say 1/2 yard, and I see the photo of the box « coffrage ». It is in my opinion excesively deep and therefore a waste of material. I would fill it up with a mixture of washed rocks and concrete ( more rocks), then an inch of concrete to finish.
It is mostly full of rocks, and will have more added. I say a half yard of gravel because that’s how it is sold here – the rest will be used in the floor base.
I’ve been following you from the beginning of your journey and every week I am happy and anxious for you. Rough weeks always come. Here’s some additional light, love and strength to keep pushing. I’m making the same move soon and I can’t wait to see what St. Croix has to offer me. See you next week. Cheers!
Thank you, Safa! Best of luck on your move – where are you moving from?
From Washington, DC. I’m making a trip in June to assess things, then making a final decision from there. The universe has been lighting a path though. I can’t wait for June.
That’s exciting! Feel free to get in touch with me via email should you have any questions about St Croix, moving down here, etc.
I will definitely take you up on that. I’ll be sending an email soon. Thank you! :)
Well, your blog was great and I was so lucky today that I got actually see the Nid and knew what you were describing in the blog. Despite the frustrations which is just part if this undertaking the house is coming along great and now you can see the effects of all the hard work and each week you will see more and more.
The muffins were great and of course the bread was over the top. We enjoyed the toasties on the way home and even shared some with our dog as well he wanted to taste them too and he loved them.
Hope this week there is less frustration and lots of progress. Have a great week and look forward to the next blog with more pics.
Thanks for all the goodies you make for others to enjoy.
It was great to see you Diana, and I’m glad that you had time to see the Nid in person! Thank you for the diligent following, encouragement, and bread consumption!
Oh, as I was saying to Mandy about the Haiti toilets. Basic mortar mix is 1 volume cement to 3 sand , but it can be weaker down to 5 sand for your stone walls. The amount of gravel or pepples you add to make concrete makes no difference to the tensile strength it just gives bulk. The practicle limit is about 6 of gravel, after that the mortar will not fill the voids and it can not be trowled to a flat finish. For your job I would use a 1:3:6 mix.
2014-05-03 18:53 GMT-04:00 tim thody :
> Just read. > You say 1/2 yard, and I see the photo of the box « coffrage ». It is in my > opinion excesively deep and therefore a waste of material. I would fill it > up with a mixture of washed rocks and concrete ( more rocks), then an inch > of concrete to finish. > >
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