One and a half month since I compacted my first tire and this is what I have to celebrate:
- The first course of tire is completed
- The second course of tires is well started
- Most of the ground level concrete blocks are done
- We now have running water on location
Weekend July 12-13th
I take Friday off to do my project presentation to the Fleming College group in Bancroft. Great experience, great group of people. I visit their construction site and I am amazed at the project that they are running, how fast the building is progressing, all the beautiful work and features they are putting into it and at the organization. I am definitely pulling both my PM hat and my hard hat to them. It does not look that this will bring me more volunteers for now, but we never know.
Saturday, I redo the tire from last weekend lying over the drain path, install the drain, complete the back wall and start the front wall.
Sunday, after finishing a few more tires, I focus on a number of other things including:
- Installing the water-pressure tank in the shed,
- Digging a beginning of a trench from the well so I can do the pipe connection from the well to the tank,
- Completing all of the plumbing in the shed but cannot complete the electrical connection because I am missing some fittings.
- Installing a new replacement awning on the trailer.
I also managed to go for a good paddle during the weekend.
Weekend July 19-20th
Saturday, two young couples came to volunteer and help. Both couples have purchased properties in Bancroft, one of them very close by, and are at different stages of planning the construction of their Earthship.
Justin also joins the group with his laser level and while the volunteers are working away progressing on the south wall, we get to do a Quality Assurance review on the first course that has been laid down so far.
The QA process consists in:
- Ensuring that all tires are compacted properly. There it becomes obvious that the first dozen tires that I compacted needed a little more compacting.
- Identifying a nominal level for the first course of tires – Typically it will be near the lowest tire and ensuring that all other tires on that course are within a ¾ inch tolerance of this level.
- Identify which tires are significantly higher, lower or exactly at nominal level.
- Verify that all tires are lined up.
- Correcting tires that are outside norms, not compacted enough or out of position.
The good news is that most of the tires are actually pretty good, and after some fixing we have validated that the first course is good. It is also clear that I need to equip myself with a laser level in order to continue on that track.
Sunday I complete the well pump electrical connection and run a pressure test on the shed installation. Disappointment, there are leaks. I drain the system, fix the leaks and try again. After 3 trials and repairs, it is finally totally dry.
Considering my lack of practice with soldering copper pipes, I am proud to have done it successfully after all.
Now that I have running water on site, I am ready to do a pressure test on the camper.
For that one, I am a little more worried as these are old plastic pipes, so I ensure that my shop vacuum is close by and ready.
- I open my tap only halfway and run into the camper to see the result.
- Of course, it is pissing in there, first with that fitting that I did not re tighten well after fixing the drain pipe a month ago.
- I run out, turn the water off, come back in and tighten that fitting.
- Go back to reopen the water, run back inside and find one more heavy leak under the bathroom sink: one hose seems to be completely busted.
- Run outside and shut the water off again. It is now time to bring in the wet-vacuum to suck up some of this water.
- Then I do an assessment of the situation and figure out what I think I may need to fix that. I make a list and head back to Toronto after a busy weekend.
Weekend July 26-27th
On Friday night when arriving, first thing I do is go check the water installation in the shed. Great new, the pressure at the tank is still at 30PSI: no leak!
Saturday morning, as I had arranged I go pick up some tires with my little car and trailer from a recycler in the area. He is a very nice gentleman and I come back with full load of 25 tires. I also go an check another recycler close by and find the place but the only living creatures at the site are two Doberman guarding the house and since these two seem nasty I decide that I don't need tires that bad and I don't get out of the car. I'll have to try this one another day.
I get back to my building site and since I am now equipped with my own laser level, I decide to do the QA on the front wall that my volunteers did last week and find out that it requires quite a bit of work to fix them as most of them were too high probably because the ground level was fluctuating in that area.
Sunday, after doing a few more tires along the front, I stop and get back to my camper plumbing.
I look in more detail at the whole plumbing installation (with an old pressure tank and pump etc…) and decide that I need to simplify it a little since that trailer is never going to be back on the road anyway. I again make list of what I need to buy.
Then I take a trip to the local dump with my accumulated garbage and find out that they actually have a good number of tires. I load 22 of them on my trailer and come right back for a second load just before the dump closes.
So, altogether a good weekend where I found 70 tires, completed the QA on all installed tires, progressed well toward completing the south wall and progressed with my plumbing planning. (see pics in Photo Gallery)
I head back to Toronto pretty late and lucky, for the first time in my life I see a moose!
Weekend August 2-3rd
It is a long weekend (Monday off), but I decide to stay the Saturday and spend it with friends in Toronto. That is good, as I have spent too much time working alone in Bancroft lately.
Arriving on Sunday morning in Bancroft, I set to complete the south wall (except for the concrete block in the center of the wall which I will keep open as an easy pathway into the building for moving dirt in). So I add one more last tire on the south east end and set to frame the gap so I can pour concrete next week, then I start the second course of tires.
In the evening I go and have dinner with my friends Sue and Jerry and make some good music as usual.
Monday is spent doing some plumbing. Of course when I try to open the drain valve on the plastic tank in the camper, it breaks off completely, so once again my wet-vacuum comes handy to help drain the tank and dry the carpet. I can tell you that we are starting to see some clear running paths in the grass right around the camper!
Weekend August 9-10th
Saturday, I first go and buy 10 bags of Portland cement. Then I set out to mix some concrete using the concrete mixer that Justin let me borrow. It takes 3 loads to fill the first bloc on the south east corner but it looks good.(see pictures). Next I set out to frame two other smaller blocs on the back walls and I mix concrete for these as well.
In the meantime, I receive the visit of Val and James who volunteered to help and learn as they want to one day build their own earthship. They continue the second course of tires while I was doing my concrete work. Now I can also do the QA with the laser level as they are compacting the tires and that is a big help so we can do it right the first time.
Sunday, after starting the second course on another wall and removing the frames off all my concrete works, I stop early and start to do some serious plumbing modifications and repair on the trailer, replacing a number of tubes and fittings. When I do pressure tests, I find a couple more fittings that are defective. I will need to buy more stuff and try fixing it next weekend.
Also we decide with James that I will try and set up a major trip to the recycler next Friday morning as I will be in Bancroft for the footing inspection on Friday afternoon. He is offering to come with me.
Barometer and various:
Morale: Yes, I also get frustrated when I think that it is not going faster than that. I do realize that at that rate it will take me longer than expected and that I will have to do something about that. I am just waiting for inspiration to show me the way.
But in the meantime and most of all, I must focus on celebrating the achievements and look at the progress.
Health: From the health point of view, things are going rather well. In fact, I am often happily surprised to see that I can swing the sledgehammer etc. during the weekend and not feel sore or exhausted after that. However, I see that sometimes I have a hard time resting enough, especially when I don’t sleep very well. So, there are highs and lows which help me stay humble and appreciate all the gifts that universe throws my way.
Wild life: I had a few interesting encounter:
· I saw my first moose on highway 28 one Sunday at sunset while driving back home.
· My deer family paid me a visit. The youngs are almost adult now, one male and one female and the mother is not limping anymore. See picture
· One day while paddling, I came upon a loon family on Lake L’Amable and manage to drift very close to them without frightening them. I am sure that they were not too worried because the 3 young were almost adults.