Friday, April 15, 2011

So it begins

Well, after much thinking and visualizing and scheming with Shannon, we're feeling more comfortable with the plans for our home. I've started researching the things we need to do in order to get started, and that will happen just as soon as the last of the snow is gone. Planning the logistics is the hardest part. And then of course making sure we have enough money to do all the things we want to do this summer.

So here's what we've come up with so far:

The first thing I need to do is get a driveway put in. This is crucial, as it then gives us access to the property for heavy equipment and have someone drill our well and install the septic system. It also is needed so that we can bring the logs to the property that we will be using for the walls and beams of our cord-wood house.

We will need a permit from the Mat-Su Borough for the driveway. It's a $50 fee and they send out an engineer to take a look at the location and make sure things are good.

Besides the driveway, the next most important thing we have to do, if we want to build next summer, is gather the logs. We have to do it this summer so that they can age a bit. Most articles I've read recommend letting the logs age for at least 9 months, the longer the better. The purpose is to allow the logs to release as much moisture as they can before they are grouted into the walls. This helps reduce shrinkage (yes, I laugh every time I see that word) and minimizes the amount of re-grouting around the logs later.

We are also going to be looking out for used materials that we can use in our house like doors, windows, hardware, tile, and whatever odds and ends. I think we need to clean out our garage so we have a place to store these things.

I've learned one very valuable lesson here, one small decision is like knocking over the first domino. It can affect a whole row of them, and before you know it, there are hundreds of other dominoes scattered all over the floor.

As we have been trying to refine the vision for what our house will look like, we realized that in order to do this we would need to spend allot of time on the property. We haven't been able to do this yet and it's also one to the main things we need to do. Our vision is to be on the land at various times of the day and sort of let the land speak to us and tell us where the house needs to be. We want our house to work with nature, and not have to bulldoze our way into it if we can avoid it. We want our house to blend into the environment, not standing out.

Hopefully, our next blog will include pictures of our land and some markers showing the outline of the house.

Until then,

Love and Peace to you!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Day Before April Fools

I spent a few hours on our land yesterday with my friend, Joey Brost. It was good to get outside after spending a day short of three weeks at work on the North Slope. We built a fire, drank some beer, and just had some guy time. My faithful wife stayed home and minded the youngin's, baked a pie, mopped the floors, darned some socks and waited expectantly for my return. (Ok, ok, I'm just going to tell you that I'm full of crap, plus I've had a couple of beers and I'm just making stuff up. It's also April

The sun was shining and it was great to be outside. It occurred to me today that what I am searching for in a home is built of and includes the things of nature that we enjoy. The natural light, the random and uneven lines, the raw elements. My love of homes and structures built by nature have developed to the point that driving through a modern neighborhood brings upon me a feeling of un-naturalness. It's hard to explain. It's as if something elemental is missing. These straight lines are out of place.

Now, I have to stop, and before you guys get all offended, I understand tastes are as unique as the people on this earth. So I understand that my own feelings may be unique. I know that we all strive to transform whatever house we may choose to live in into some sort of home, with our own personal touches. Now that I got this out of the way....

The types of home that catch my eye are ones that incorporate elements of nature into it's design. They use curves and irregular surfaces. They use stone and natural wood. They are build by the hands of people who love what they are building. I love reading blogs that chronicle the experiences of those building their dream house, and especially if that house it one that uses it's environment to its full potential and minimizes the use of non-renewable resources.

In the future, we intend to give you a little glimpse into the decision-making process as settle on the plans to build our own home. It's going to evolve and change as it goes, much as nature does. I can't wait to see how it turns out. But for now, there's just too much to write about and it's a bit overwhelming to pick just one topic. Hopefully in the coming posts we'll be able to narrow it down a bit.

So what does all this mean? It means I'm enjoying an evening at home with my family, dreaming, and loving life. It means that this blog has no agenda but to include you into our lives and give you something to read when you are bored. So go love your family, and dream the things that make this life full, and then start making them possible.

Take care,