Yurt Construction - Part III - "Cheap Labour"

Permaculture is a great way to exchange skill, time, expertise, and friendship. The deck is in place now, and pretty much level! There is a slight slant, but it goes toward the downhill, which is actually an advantage, should any moisture actually get inside some day. It is great to see things come together so quickly.

My new sunhat also works great in the rain. It doesn't do so well for carrying plywood, but it is great when one is hot, as the shape creates a funnel for the heat. It is like working with a gentle breeze throughout the day.

The Little Yurt That Could..
curious pups

adding bracing
starting the deck with a 4'x4' hole
for a 20' deck
a good days work
beautiful geometry, for building on the fly


Yurt Construction - Part II - FOAM HENGE

The concrete pilings unfortunately did not work out well for us. I think we needed more concrete mix in general, as when we 'rolled' them... they crumbled instead. Some of them are alright still, and we'll perhaps use them to weight down/tie down the frame from underneath.

Instead, we made our own "Foam-Henge." ... Which quickly lead to "ET, foam home..."  Little styro obelisks for monkeys smaller than ourselves to both worship and fear. A quick 'sani-wrap' and we had instant pilings - again using junk/salvage material - and these ones will have zero chance of rotting.

D secured literally hundreds - if not a few thousand - of these foam blocks from a nearby tree nursery. They are otherwise being shipped back to China to be reused there... for stuff. The nursery is grateful for anyone who wants to come grab them, saving them on shipping.

Levelling them up was fun.

And we finished a good chunk of the decking frame. Tomorrow we'll most likely get the deck complete.

We put the plywood on top, so that we can toe-nail into them once the deck frame is built.
small footprint made: remove duff, and dig into clay

the level-er

centre framing

octagonal frame, 90' facings @ 22.5 degree cuts

not too bad a level, considering the hillside, and that its not tacked down yet.



There's nothing quite like a giant diesel burning tree-lifting truck on a rainy afternoon, burning up lots of extra fossil fuels into the crisp mountain air. Yep, there would be nothing quite like that. For better or for worse, however, we are using the age ole 'Egyptian Technique,' to remove a few large timbers from the woods for next years house-building. Getting these 70 year old things to go where you want them to go is a bit of a challenge, especially on the hill-side. But it is also an interesting puzzle to put together. Progress is slow (without a giant diesel beast to help you), but satisfying.


Yurt Construction

Onto the next project! 

Using some old tires, scrap plywood, and old crappy chicken wire we began making the footings for the upcoming Yurt!

I gave myself a good chuckle trying to fit this square peg into a round hole... It's so much harder to get things done while laughing...

We got some crush from a nearby gravel yard, some cement mix from the new Home Hardware, and mixed in some cedar mulch that we made with the chipper last week... A little bit of rebar, and we were off to the races...

 What was most appealing in this design (aside from incorporating things which would have otherwise gone to the dump) is that the footings are now rather mobile, should the yurt need to be moved in the future.

The warmer days are great, too!


Chicken Coop Complete!

Chicken Palace!
Wow! What a week. S, D, and I put our minds together to get the chicken coop in place last week. The first two days we had the sun in full cooperation, it snowed Wednesday (which was depressing - even for me, who never complains on the weather!) and then we had mostly sunny days to finish out the week. It is truly REMARKABLE just how much a factor the weather is on this hillside - for morale, energy, inspiration, physical exhaustion... I blew out yesterday with a fever. I was in bed by 3pm yesterday, stoked the fire hot and high in the yurt, bundled up and sweated it out until 11am today! Certainly it cannot be over-or-under-stated, that the patience of a saint should be on every person's tool list when taking on any building project.

We were so inspired with the sunlight that I didn't even carry my camera, and missed documenting how we build the platform. Six palettes and three 2x6 - and Dylan's new giganto-nail-gun - had us a platform in about half and hour. A few rocks along the bottom edge had us level, and then we were off to the races putting the structure together.

I enjoyed how S called the wooden palettes "a waste product," and they are certainly something I wish to gather for keeping supplies off of the forest floor. Pressure treated ones would make a good shop floor surface with some sort of sand/salt barrier below. And this brings us to the coop itself. S & D picked this up second hand for $200 (regular $1000 at Canadian Tire). D enjoyed bashing the retail cost of this pile of plastic. It is certainly not hurricane proof, let alone whoops-I-slipped-in-the-mud-and-had-to-hold-onto-something... proof. ... It is, however, chicken proof, which counts the most.

Repurposing: Less plastic in the landfill :)
We snapped this puppy together in about two hours of Kootenay time. Which is to say, it felt like two hours passed, but it probably took longer.... or lesser. ... No one knows. It was easy, and inspired by M's lego palaces inside, the three adults took to it like, say, adults cooped up in a trailer by inclement weather. It was so good to get something off the ground and together in a pinch. The reuse of this building was the "convenience we didn't pay for" but welcomed all the same.

Next, we traced the pole lines, and dug fence posts. Certainly a fence auger is manna from heaven for the task. It's actually very satisfying to use because the progress is so measurable.

the folks of  rBrand - click here to see their blog :)
When it snowed on Wednesday, we eventually got moving on using some new found lumber for building the roosting boxes. The coop kept us reasonably dry.

Last came the fencing, which needed "base boards," just to make sure the little chicks don't get away, and hopefully add another layer of defence against predators... which unfortunately includes the family pup, Oden! He's been super "bad," as his "inner wolf" gets the best of him, especially when the chickens give a little dart. Like pinball, the energy increases, and they bring out the worst case scenario in each other.

The back side needed some extra attention, what with the slope, and to have the option of an extra exit/entrance. The backside levels up closer to the road, and the quad can be better pulled into place to ship in wood chips or heavy bags of feed.

Shortly after came the moving of the chickens themselves, which was so exciting. It was a relief to get them out of the former coop which they had clearly outgrown by number some time ago. Catching them would certainly have put my mother in stitches. I took a good slide on the "chicken shit slide of death."

I had the better part of Friday afternoon to solve the back gate issue, and had a lot of fun doing so. The birch on the left had several curves to accommodate: I built up the ground with some clay and rock to make a step, stapled the fencing into place, and filed in the gaps by lashing a pole along the bottom.

The real gem is the found handle. Character wood pieces always set ablaze the creative heart. As one  unhooks the gate, the little rounded piece makes a perfect handle to lift the gate through. I may need to put a similar handle on the other side too. It's very functional, and there are no gaps!!

Haggard and Happy!