Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why it was Good That we Didn't Bring the EcoHouse Back

Sam Here:

Eric kindly invited me to blog a bit and so I shall. Actually today wasn't that disappointing as I think all the team members (Rob Roy, Mike, Eric, Kappy, Randy and myself) felt happy that we actually pulled off getting all the permits, vehicles, inspections (bomb-sniffing dog and all), and times down without a hitch. We even had all the parts, tools, gas, doughnuts, and coffee we needed.

So when the building didn't load, it was something that was easy to accept and we had fun putting things back together. We were friends, everyone worked well together, and nobody got their ego or their body hurt.

Usefully, when we got done we did a dry run trying to back Rob Roys '57 trailer and '75 dump truck at the house and worked out some problems that would surely befall us when loaded for house.

Mike, former ballet star, attaching ball to spreader bar.

Eric Hempstead waiting for his crane to arrive

Kappy, on camera.


Rob Roy, waiting to ride off with a strawbale house

Saturday morning Feb.28

video

Maybe next time... or...The little crane that couldn't



The big day came, we did the mandatory last minute , hair on fire stuff fixing the truck last night, got up at 3:45 am made it downtown on time, waited for the crane then watched as it became clear that them little strawbale houses be HEAVY. The crane sank a pad into the grass, creaked ominously with the weight of the building and the boss man said "Put 'er back down, crane's not big enough". So now back to square one, set another date and do it again. The Capitol Police were helpful and seemed to have a good time watching . They led us out of downtown with lights flashing ,running right through red lights up Capitol East and out of DC.Thanks guys! And thank you Ray and John at the Botanic Gardens. We'll get it right soon. Thanks to Mike and Randy who showed up to help and to Pat McCardle who came down to film the event. Eileen and Tommy came by the house to help on that end. We had a good lunch and talked of things natural.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Off with the Roof!




Only two days left until the move so off with the lid. It was built to come apart in four sections. Thank you Steve Kemble , all that thought is paying off. There were a few hidden fasteners that had to be dealt with, otherwise it all came apart as planned. Rain is planned for tomorrow so we tarped it up and crossed our fingers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Brains Behind the Operation


This is Rob Roy Mackey the mastermind of this scheme and owner of all the machinery responsible for moving large objects directly and indirectly responsible for the success of this undertaking. Also in the photo is Dan who has been helping us these last few and mightily crucial days.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Almost ready to lift



Today we built a framed floor and attached it to the building. It was a very windy day so we'll wait til thursday to remove the roof. The folks at the Botanic Gardens have been extremely nice and helpful. Ed Raduazo came to help today. Ed knows at least a little about almost everything and loves to help out, thanks Ed! He is better known for his amazing Cob structures and art.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ecohouse in the Air!



Today we managed to jack the ecohouse about a foot off the ground and build most of the deck that will be its new floor and help it make the trip out to Sam and Kappy's intact. Exciting stuff.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Getting ready for the Historic Move



Today we started dismantling the ecohouse and preparing the base for lifting. We will then build a deck under the house which will become its new floor. Rob Roy,Dan ,Sam and me, Eric all put in a long day and have another one tomorrow. During the week we'll come back and finish details to be able to hoist it first thing Saturday morning.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bale work begins


I put the few bales we have left over from the ecohouse into the bays to see how things measure up. I talked with the local bale supplier to reserve about 75 bales for next week. We are due for a good rain tomorrow so we'll see if things get wet.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Roof is Finished Today





Today I finished putting on the Ondura roofing. It went quite well and I like the look . Judging by the roof on Sam and Kappy's house I'd say its got many years of solid protection ahead. It is fun to contemplate filling in the walls with bales and easy to jump ahead to windows and the rest. This is the part where all the hard work and preparation pays off. Next weekend we start to dismantle the ecohouse on the mall. Then the week after that we move it out here. Rob Roy has all the permits in order.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Half a Roof


Today I got half the roofing up, it is pretty nice to work with this Ondura, you have to be sure to get the nail in right the first time as pulling them can mess up a sheet quick. I had to pre-drill some of the tougher boards. We had big winds yesterday and some good gusts today so I had to be real careful. No problems though. Tomorrow I'll go get the rest of the roofing and finish the north side.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Amina la carpintera



Today Amina came by to help with the roof. We worked mostly on details. We decided to go with Ondura roofing. It is a pretty locally made product, comes from Fredericksburg, VA. It is made from 50% post consumer recycled paper impregnated with asphalt. Sam has it on the house and it is holding up well. Standing seam metal roofing would have cost around $2600, commercially available metal roofing , also vertical seam would have been about half that, Ondura is about half of that or $600 dollars for a 500 sq.ft. roof.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wetting the Bush Celebration




Last night we invited people involved with the project and friends of Sam's and Kappy's children. Wren , Anna and Stuart attend a local high school and have some very cool friends that came. The main contributor to the project is Rob Roy Mackey, he has loaned us big machinery, donated wood and helped out with planning and design. Thanks Rob! We celebrated the roof framing being up, this is traditionally the time to hoist a cup to wish the building a long , good life. First Kappy gave thanks then all of us said something. It was great. We burned a big pile of brush from the area we cleared for the studio. Spuds in foil and hot dogs cooked over coals were dinner. The moon was almost full and the sky clear. Yesterday and today the temperatures were in the high 50s, maybe 60s. A nice respite from cold weather.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ready to Roof


Today I finished putting up the roof sheathing. It looks like today will be the last of these pesky cold days for a while. Wind and twenty degree temperatures are a drag. Anyway, we are going to have our "Wetting the Bush" ceremony this Saturday. It will coincide with a nice, fat moon and hopefully warmer temperatures. We plan a bonfire with friends and some nice wine to toast the building. In Chile they call it "Tijerales" when the roof structure is up and the owner puts on an "asado" or bbq for the workers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009




Work continues at a relaxed but steady pace. I have been helped recently by Mr. Josh Dibb of Baltimore. He is a musician but enjoys building. He knows the value of a sixteenth of an inch. We put up the rafters and are now beginning to put the roof sheathing in place. We are looking at standing seam panels to match the roof of the ecohouse. Current plans are to move the ecohouse here around March 1, weather and bureaucracy willing. Sam Droege, Rob Roy Mackey and myself, Eric Hempstead, attended a meeting with the Administrator of the Botanic Gardens and the gentleman responsible for crane operations last week. They couldn't have been more helpful so we will have excellent support for the move.