Wednesday, October 25, 2006

they're watching

fcd satellite

here's a new satellite view of destiny from flickr's map feature. you can see our parking lot and the meadow before the current construction. this must have been shot last summer.

Monday, October 23, 2006


tarped tables

brush burn
burning brush

the camp is wrapped for the winter, in some cases literally. here the picnic tables are stacked and tarped. it looks like some kind of futuristic ark to me. about 20 of us worked over the last weekend to close the camp. the timber framing tools are all back at my place in white river. the timbers themsevles have been stacked, stickered and tarped at the building site. the new foundation has cured to about 75% of its final strength. i'm planning to take a break from all this during november to do some travelling and a 10-day meditation retreat. we'll be posting more info here over the winter as we design more of the project and as we do shop work in white river junction.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the next two weeks

timber frame trio
one feather, rip and wave timber frame

view from kitchen site

work continues at the camp now that the big fall event, pouring the slab, has occurred. we've got a couple more weeks during which we'll be working on the timber frame and securing the construction site for winter. i'd like to see us finish cutting and planing the posts and cross beams before tucking the timbers in for winter. wednesday through sunday for the next two weeks we'll be there, so join us if you're inclined. we'd hoped to get the frame raised this fall, but it actually comes as a relief, to me anyway, that we'll be taking a break until spring. the last month has been wonderful and invigorating but also exhausting. the timbers should keep just fine over the winter. we've got them stickered so they whatever drying does occur will happen evenly.

Monday, October 09, 2006

foundation week: sunday

circle dance
circling the new foundation

we gathered for a heart circle near the new foundation, sitting in sunshine most of the time, enjoying clear blue skies and the warmth of the open space. after one go-round we moved the gate that we'd built at our spring gathering in white river junction up to the top of the meadow. we circled around it, chanted a bit and then spiral danced our way down to the foundation, entered it where the front door will be and circled forming walls with our bodies.

foundation week: saturday

one-third poured
one-third poured

stuart floats
stuart floats concrete around grease trap

the shower form

protecting the slab

new fire circle
inaugerating the new fire circle

i awoke at 5:30am to get going. the concrete trucks were scheduled to arrive at 7am sharp. by 6am a few folks had gathered at the kitchen for coffee and a bit of food. around 6:10 peat and i strolled the road howling like coydogs to wake everyone up. by 6:45 we had a crew assembled and awaited the trucks. around 7:10 we heard the rumble of the truck coming up the road. we were concerned that the truck wouldn't be able to pull up next to the foundation because of soft soil but because of a couple days of warm weather the soggy mess that earlier in the week would have certainly caused us problems supported the truck adequately.

after talking up the strenuousness of a concrete pour the night before, the first truck driver made me seem alarmist. he placed the concrete so gingerly and precisely that we literally had to do nothing but screed it. the second driver proved less sensitive, but we got the first driver back for the third load and we tipped him for his fine work. in all we placed 30 yards of concrete. about 29 of it went into the foundation slab and the remaining we used to pour a small propane tank pad across thge road and down in the woods a bit. i was pleased that we had so little waste. concrete is expensive but you don't want to end up short.

with the concrete in the forms we screeded off high spots and filled low spots by dragging a long board (actually two boards spliced) across the tops of the forms. this is arduous and we had people switch off. once screeded we floated the pour with a long-handled magnesium paddle that literally floats across the concrete smoothing and levelling the surface.

i don't have many pictures of this because i was coordinating the pour and often in the concrete. i'm sure more pictures will surface.

by 11:00am we had the pour setting up. the weather couldn't have been better. the morning was cool and sun didn't hit the slab until it was floated leaving us a comfortable couple hours to feed ourselves and take a break. around mid afternoon the slab hardened enough to make the first pass with a power troweller. this is a four-paddled machine that smooths the concrete by levelling progressively thinner thicknesses of the cream that forms when you trowel curing concrete. i'm afraid i hogged the power troweller all day.

finally, we covered the slab with tarps and plastic to keep moisture that's critical for curing from evaporating and to keep a potential frost from damaging the surface.

while the slab was curing and i was running power troweller the rest of the gathering worked in the gardens and and up above the kitchen site creating a new fire circle that will eventually replace the current one by the temporary kitchen. that evening we drummed and danced enjoying the view of the sky and forest illuminated by the full moon.

foundation week: friday

cutting rebar
jeff cuts rebar

plastic, mesh, rebar
peat and pauli lay rebar, mesh on bricks

destiny glow
stuart inscribes the meadow with light!

last day before the pour. this was supposed to have been a relaxed day, but because of losing a day to moving the footings it turned out pretty hectic. i was more stressed this day than any other so far. we had a lot to accomplish and by mid-day i realized it might not happen. but, like a miracle, people began showing up to help out and by the end of the day we had the foundation covered with a vapor barrier, the rebar in the perimeter beam and in the post footings in place, the wire mesh for the slab sitting on bricks to keep it raised two inches off the vapor barrier, the formwork for the shower and even a bit of radiant heat tubing that i had laying around sewn to the mesh under the bathroom and shower floors.

by 8pm, most of the crew had arrived at the camp and we held an informal meeting in our yurt. i described the tasks and the sequencing of the pour and stressed how much work it could be.

since many people arrived for dinner and hadn't seen the foundation site we paraded up the road under full moon light for a tour. standing in the newly re-re-graded gathering circle (the original meadow), looking down upon the new kitchen site, we discovered stuart's talent for writing backwards. my camera takes long exposure and there was enough light to capture both his flashlight writing and the scene!

foundation week: thursday

stuart tamps and bevels

this was the day i planned to start laying reinforcing bar and wire mesh. but, jade and i discovered early in the day that something was amiss. after a few minutes of earnest denial i realized i was going to have to move all the post footings by hand because i'd taken a critical measurements from disagreeing drawings. lesson to myself: always make sure drawings have the same footprint!

luckily we still had two days before the pour. it did take the entire day to move all the footings. i also took time to re-tamp the flat part of gravel infill and to bevel the walls to a 45-degree angle so that the slab would have a gradual transition from perimeter beam to interior slab.

foundation week: wednesday

installing perimeter forms

backfilled forms

foundation plan
foundation plan

the day began with the setup of wooden formwork. using my rough foundation plan i nailed together lengths of 2x10 to form the perimeter of the slab. thaddeus and crew added a second row of ripped 2x6s on top of the 2x10s to provide a 16-inch high form. we squared corners and verified diagonals, fixed the corners with stakes and crossbraces and then backfilled the forms with earth being careful not to bow them in. they did start to bow in places, so we staked them from the inside and braced them against the crushed gravel inside the form.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

foundation week: tuesday

laying insulation
laying insulation

gravel fill
gravel fill formed to make post footings

with the plumbing in and covered we began preparation of the foundation. first a layer of six inches of crushed gravel was laid down over undisturbed native soil and levelled to within 1/4". this was compacted with with a mechanical tamper. next two inches of blueboard insulation was laid flat on top of the gravel to provide a thermal break between the earth and the slab. the insulation extends six or more feet beyond the edge of the slab to keep frost from heaving up the soil beneath. this is called a frost protected shallow foundation.

next ten inches of crushed gravel was laid on top of the blueboard. this particular blueboard supports up to 25 pounds per square inch, or 3600 pounds per square foot, enough to handle the point loads created by the posts in the building. the gravel on top of the insulation is essentially formwork to provide a sixteen inch deep perimeter beam with 2x2-foot footings for the 8x8 posts.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

recent pix

caryatids--faeries where columns will be

testing a joint
testing a joint

dhami cook
our land steward, dhami boo

foundation prep
foundation prep

roy planes braces
roy hand planes braces

jay and gingersnap
jay and gingersnap work a post

jim mortises
jim carves a mortise

timber dice
greg tosses in a game of timber-dice

Monday, October 02, 2006

plumbing is in

faeries posing as posts!

our rough under-slab plumbing is installed and we're ready to prep for the pouring of the slab. we'll be preparing the formwork over the next few days in hopes that we'll be able to pour the slab during the fall gathering on saturday. so far everything is working out.

timber framing is continuing at a slowed pace because we've had our energies directed at preparing the slab but with lots of great help from probably over thirty volunteers at this point we're ready to begin cutting from a new batch of timbers that will arrive wednesday. we hope to get the frame finished in the next couple weeks for a "barn raising" in late october.

i have pix, but can't upload at the moment. more later....