Cordwood Log Peeling

I took the day off yesterday to celebrate my birthday and have some fun. Met some great locals, was given some locally grown foods, and the waitress sang me Happy Birthday! where I took myself out for lunch.

Today, I got right back in the saddle and set up for log peeling!

The draw-knife is the main tool, and the first log went much more smoothly than I thought it would. After reading "Cordwood: State of the Art," I was expecting an all out battle, and I can respect after thirty years of building Cordwood houses, that Rob Roy would certainly be going a little mad, but I found it much smoother than what I was lead to believe. Perhaps that is good strategy on behalf of our guru of cordwood - thank you Rob!


I also made a little demo video: 

I was kept well entertained today with Odin & MacKenzie. The snow is very deep, but the hot sun has us all falling through in surprise deep patches. I've been walking along numerous times and have fallen in up to my waste. The pups have a heck of a time to, especially without the advantage of Sorels(!) 



Splitting Wood - Second Round

As the romanticism of 'clearing the land' ... clears from my mind... I found myself relaxing into hearing the different pitches the wet birch happens to make when being split.

I found that the smaller logs - pieces closer to the top of the tree when it stood - made more of a baritone crack, whilst the larger logs from the bottom of the tree made often a soprano crack when split through. This 'split' between size and sound reminded me of Bach's music

I know... for those of you who know me somewhat intimately, you'll know that I'll think upon Bach at the slightest of invitations. However.... It reminded me of how often Bach will use a descending triad within an ascending scale-like motion, uniting "opposites" - the sad and the happy, as it were - granting the listener a reverent, ecstatic joy, of being supported as one climbs. 

From my days of writing music and studying the life of Glenn Gould, I have since written much on the nature of opposites, calling them instead, "inverses," as all things in opposition truly relate to each other, compliment each other, and possibly at best, complete each other.

... I separated smaller slash from the larger, as these mid sized branches could be used for fence poles or garden structures. Looking at the big tree that was fallen, this massive timber could easily be used in house construction. Perhaps tomorrow I'll step in to my first debarking! Rob Roy, of Earthwood Building School says you should peel logs "before they stop vibrating from hitting the ground." While splitting the wood today, much of the bark was peeling off with no effort, so I think I'll take a look at this big birch tomorrow.

 Thank you trees!  Thank you Bach! 
Thank you good times in the forest!


Puppy Love

Odin, MacKenzie and I have really taken to each other. After my first night I gave them some ... instruction... as to my barking preferences, and they have taken to it ever since! I am so completely impressed! They also inspired a post on one of my other blogs on the nature of discipline. You can read it by clicking here: All Things Indigo, . Thank you Odin and Mackenzie! You're heart-breakers both!

Splitting Wood

I set out to do some work today on D&S's house site. They have a daughter M, but if I type in DS&M too much, I may get the wrong kind of internet traffic. So do forgive me, M... Please know that when I type D&S... I have M in mind too. :)

I am considering a cordwood home and will be testing my metal for the task with some upcoming log peeling. Every natural building method has at least one massive labour bottleneck, and certainly in Cordwood design, this is it. Today though, I got warmed up with splitting some birch for S&D's firewood stockpile.

I made some pretty tidy stacks, and began imagining my own cordwood walls. A person building with Cordwood has the choice of using round ends or split end logs. I anticipate using split ends, as this dramatically decreases the drying time needed. Also, the finished result looks closer to stonework in my opinion.

I made sure the base of the stack had some lift, so that the wood was not directly on the ground. Some logs were still way to wet for chopping, so I kept them for future chopping blocks, putting cedar bows below them.

I covered the logs with some cedar bows to better the drying time. Today was super snowy!! And I also stacked the poles D has fallen, keeping them layered as best I could with shorter logs in between for air circulation. 

I am thinking that the cedar bows may have an acidic effect to assist the drying wood. Can anyone confirm this for me?

D&S... have these foam blocks salvaged from the nearby tree nursery, and are discovering all kinds of building applications for them. There is a chemical coating, however, so this would not be ideal for a dwelling, but rather an outdoor shop. I used them for a base and cover today. The little holes for the trees are ideal to capture cement. Strapping layers of these together would basically be like building with lego.

I hope you have a wonderful day.



I have long had a 'thing' about mobile homes. I've billeted in a couple before, and they really heighten my need for good air quality. However, S & D have done a really good and practical job on their mobile to make the living space amenable as they work their way through the home building process. In years to come, this mobile will certainly be a valuable place for woofers, guests, and even a potential revenue stream.

We had some home-made red wine last night to accompany the great conversation. It is always great to connect with S & D, as crossing paths with fellow minds on this quest for self-sufficientcy is most welcome amid the twists and turns it inevitably brings. Even today, sitting beside the mellowing fire, amid bird calls and deep silence, the allure of convention sings to me: "It's easier!" it cries out... To which there is only one rational reply within me: "It's no fun!"

For all the gloss and (feelings of) glamour, the city life is, for me, simply the vaneer of a life well lived. The air stinks, and so it follows that many social interactions stink too. People are pitted against each other, for the most part. Communities like Noorish, are truly a welcome oasis for many, and that the business is flooded with joyous activity is, for me, a testament to the need of connection.

I am looking forward greatly to my stay here. I'm looking forward to trying out new skills, enriching friendships, and meeting new people. As per my want, I am certain the resonant silence will get my poet's motor churning in no time - so long as I keep the home-made wine in check!!

Thanks D&S (and M!) Glad to be here.

Kootenay Ride Share

Yesterday launched me into a new round of exploration into the BC interior, and though I have made the trip over a dozen times, this time, I put out a listing on the Kootenay Ride Share to help along with the cost of gas. I met B, a young Vancouver native, ex-rock-and-roller, livin' it to the max, who, coincidentally, is also interesting in natural building methods.

B was in the Edmonton area staying on with his aunt testing out his ability at survival shelters. The man is full of funny stories and good humour, and while constructing his string-and-bow fire tools had hit his thumb with the axe. To extend the situation, he quickly discovered he had locked himself out of the house while his aunt was at work(!) 

Being a survivalist at heart he devised a way to use snow to assist with the bleeding, and eventually got the wound dressed. During the several hour long car trip we covered a lot of ground conversationally: natural building, ethical diet, libertarianism, education, work & wages, girlfriends & psychology, and had a great time.

I will definitely be using the Kootenay Ride Share again, as I believe I've made a friend for life. B & I have way too many pursuits in common that I'm sure our paths will cross again, and that we will be able to assist each other further. Thank you B! and Thank You Kootenay Ride Share!