Building update: getting there SLOWLY

I got both windows (commercial glass doors) installed. 

The guy who sold the doors to me helped load them in my truck.  They still had the metal frames and it took me a while to figure out how to remove the frame.  Sliding them out of the truck was pretty easy, getting them to the addition was hard.  Mostly pushing while trying not to lose balance.

I unloaded the first door and leaned it against a shelf.  The next morning I found it on the ground, the wind had blown it over.  I couldn’t believe that it didn’t break!  Very strong glass.   But it’s also amazing to see how it bends.

Getting the glass in the frame was the most difficult part and that blue plastic chair played a crucial role. That it didn’t break was a miracle.  I leaned the glass against the window sill, then lifted it up and somehow got the chair under it.  The hardest part was then lifting it up. 

I still have to finish framing the 2nd window and I have to wash it. It seriously impairs my view from the kitchen.

And that post by the 2nd window got rid of the sag, it’s looking a lot better now. 

The satellite dish has to go too, on a slow day I’ll take that off. 

I’m actually almost to the top on the right side, over the window I’ll put double insulation and old OSB.

At the bottom is the drain in case of some flood inside.  Wish I’d thought about putting it in the foundation.

I’ll add a 2nd coat of mud and then I’d like to try lime for the finish coat so it’s waterproof. I’d like to color the lime so it looks like the dirt, still have to research to see whether/how I can do that.  Need to find my “natural plaster” book too.

I also forgot to add a pipe for the temporary washer drain. I’ll have a real sewer hookup, but until I know exactly what goes where, I’ll just use that blue water barrel outside and run the washer drain through the wall.

Since my longest drill bit was WAY too short to get through the wall, I finally used 2 ft. rebar.  It felt like running a jackhammer, but did a wonderful job.

Amazingly, there are NO cracks from the drilling.

Here’s my wonderwasher.  For some reason I had two, the other one just finally had the handle break.  This one is a different model and isn’t going to last long.

I bought them when I was camping full-time and used them off and on when I didn’t have a washer to use, as right now.  Washing jeans and towels is hard, so I’m hoping to have my washing machine hooked up again soon.

My brick making system. 

The 10″ straight shovel fits perfect in the forms. I try to make 5 bricks every day and that’s a VERY full wheelbarrow.  Usually I mix more mud for the 5th brick, since I need more to work on the wall anyway.

The next day I take the forms off, the following day I carefully lift the bricks up and move them out of the way so I have the space to make more bricks. After 3 to 4 days I can currently use them.

And that saw works great to score bricks to break them to size.

I was hoping to be done by Thanksgiving and that obviously won’t happen.  It usually freezes Thanksgiving and the weather turns crappy.  I may have to use OSB to temporarily close off that small west wall.

I wish I had another door to put there.  Am considering ordering another double hung window.  Really need the light for the plants and ventilation in summer.

And, I need some plexiglass for the roof. That’s expensive and I’ll have to check my notes on that.

So far I did everything myself except for the foundation, did that with my nephew.   But now I really need help to push the wind generator up on TOP of the roof.  I still have the wires going through the kitchen (former garage) to the batteries.

Hopefully I can get someone soon to spend a few hours MOVING heavy stuff around, got to prepare a list.

And I’ll need a backhoe for a few hours for some serious grading and dirt moving on the other side.  Am going to have a little dry wash along the sides of my property and driveway instead of having the driveway wash out every time it rains.

But before I can get a backhoe over, I need to move all that heavy crap out of the way and move a bunch of old lumber and palettes.


I’d rather make bricks.

Tulsi (holy basil) can slow down aging?

The Morning Drink that Can Slow Down Your Aging Process

Research has shown that this drink, which is used more frequently than coffee in India, contains many antioxidants that can slow the aging process!

On that page are a news video and many interesting comments.   Last summer, my basil was a complete failure.  It didn’t grow well and had no aroma whatsoever.   Lavender, mint, oregano and rosemary did ok.

There are so many varieties of basil, I’ll order some seeds for “holy” basil and see how that does next year.

Here’s a lot more info on Tulsi tea:

Mini nuclear plants — order now!

Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes

£13m shed-size reactors will be delivered by lorry

Other companies are known to be designing micro-reactors. Toshiba has been testing 200KW reactors measuring roughly six metres by two metres. Designed to fuel smaller numbers of homes for longer, they could power a single building for up to 40 years.

Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. ‘Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,’ said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. ‘They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.’

Deal claims to have more than 100 firm orders, largely from the oil and electricity industries, but says the company is also targeting developing countries and isolated communities. ‘It’s leapfrog technology,’ he said.

The company plans to set up three factories to produce 4,000 plants between 2013 and 2023. ‘We already have a pipeline for 100 reactors, and we are taking our time to tool up to mass-produce this reactor.’

The first confirmed order came from TES, a Czech infrastructure company specialising in water plants and power plants. ‘They ordered six units and optioned a further 12. We are very sure of their capability to purchase,’ said Deal. The first one, he said, would be installed in Romania. ‘We now have a six-year waiting list. We are in talks with developers in the Cayman Islands, Panama and the Bahamas.’

The reactors, only a few metres in diameter, will be delivered on the back of a lorry to be buried underground. They must be refuelled every 7 to 10 years. Because the reactor is based on a 50-year-old design that has proved safe for students to use, few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory. An application to build the plants will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next year.

‘You could never have a Chernobyl-type event – there are no moving parts,’ said Deal. ‘You would need nation-state resources in order to enrich our uranium. Temperature-wise it’s too hot to handle. It would be like stealing a barbecue with your bare hands.’


Where’s the paragraph that explains what they’ll do with the nuclear waste?

Construction update

I’ve been so busy with all kinds of other stuff, gave up on getting done before winter.  But then we had wonderful weather in October and it’s still sunny and warm during the day.   So I’m hopeful again.  Just have to get all the bricks made.   Once it’s cold and cloudy, they’ll take forever to dry and I can only make 5 per day.

I can’t believe all that crap laying around.  I haven’t used the dog house in 7 years.  But I bet I need it as soon as I throw it away.  Wish I knew someone who could use it.   I should ask Butch, maybe he’d like it since he’s often outside at night in the cold.

You can see all the bricks I’ve made, at least two rows.  I couldn’t use them yet since I just finished the roof today.   And I noticed that the horno bricks were 10″ long, so I made a bunch of those little bricks.  They’re perfect to finish up the wall next to the window.

Today I set the 2 x 12 for the first sliding glass door window.  Decided to put it in horizontal.   I won’t put bricks on top since they’re too heavy, so I’ll double up R-19 insulation.   Hopefully I can get the glass this weekend.  Am not quite sure yet how to frame it.  Should have bought some 2 x 4s.

I’m happy to report that the door closes well.  It was hard to install, since it was used and the frame was a bit warped.  But for $20 it’s a good steel door.  Can’t wait to paint it, I’ll definitely go for the Mexican look.  Something bright and colorful.

The window opens and closes well!   I’m very glad I didn’t break it during installation.  I’ll have to move the ladder to finish the wall.   Fortunately I’m almost done with the roof now, just have to get a few sheets OSB to double up since that’s the access to the solar panels and the cooler will be on the addition roof, and who knows what else.  Want to get that wall finished ASAP, the interior of the window is wood I don’t want it to get wet.

And there’s Butch, lounging on the OSB while I didn’t get around to cut it for the roof.

Wish me luck getting the glass and installing it without breaking it … And with lots of luck, I’ll get done by Thanksgiving.