"load bearing" strawbale. And this is the main reason for our over-engineered footings. Yes we (and the earth) have paid the price for legitimacy.
Look, I don't know about you but I find this top plate, bottom plate bizzo all a bit tricky to understand. I am seriously challenged when it comes to anything conceptual. I don't know what happened to me. I suspect, the largest part is growing up a book and art loving girl in our gender divided culture. It's like part of my brain got switched off to the point where try as I might, I find this stuff so hard to understand. My lack of understanding is such that when Annie said we needed to head to the land this morn to attach the bottom plate, I actually had no idea what she was talking about.
So we're a bit of a bumbling building duo. We lost the essential drill bit that would allow us to finish the bottom plate task. However we were able to measure and cut the wood. The best way I can describe it is that we were making a kind of timber frame that will sit atop the footing and contain blue metal, a board will sit atop this (drilled in of course) and from here we will start laying the bales. They'll be laid somewhat like bricks.... I'll stop there, best for there to be photos to complement the further detail.
So we spent the glorious morning with sun on our faces and a delicate north easterly breeze in our hair measuring and sawing timber. Yes pine. I think I'll leave the discussion about the ethics and toxicity of timber to another blog post. But if you're interested, in the meantime, Milkwood have a useful discussion on the issue. Oh like so much it's a veritable minefield of ethical dilemma fused with financial constraint. Eek!
It was a task that would take some people an hour. It took us three. We had kids to attend to, measurements and diagrams to check and double check and the fact that our tools were pretty much all wrong for the task. Oh but we are happy. I felt pretty chuffed when we'd measured, sawn and laid out all the timber. So happy I forgot to take a photo. And the kids were happy to have our attention again. They played together and apart. Oscar had been devouring the slopes with his new balance bike while Olive had found a shady spot under a tree for some reading and maths(!). On the issue of maths, well, that is totally self-directed. We're not the hot housing types, I promise. She just decides to do sums sometimes.
After all that calculation, it was time for lunch in the shade of a mighty 500 year old Angophora with views down the valley. Calzone with tomatoey basil sauce + olives + mozzarella made this morning were first up followed by local fruits, bliss balls and tea. Pretty satisfying.
Friends start arriving this week and I need to start baking - biscuits and cake and spice mixes and all manner of general deliciousness to feed the generous and sweaty workers. Exciting times ahead.
On the issue of costs, the timber for the bottom and top plates and window frames (more on this at a later date) was $1,500. After the roof trusses, that's all the timber we'll be using. So far everything is fitting nicely within our budget. Let's hope it stays this way so we can purchase more trees and plants for garden abundance.