Monday, April 16, 2012

"How could one team have so much talent?!"

These were the words that came out of Frank's mouth when he measured the levels on our second course of bales. Awesome!!
This morning, as Frank and I drove up to the land, I felt like he was about to give me the result of an exam - the bottom plate exam. The result of said exam was "Fantastic", "This is excellent", "one of the neatest jobs I've seen" and "I'm going to take a photo of this". After starting the day feeing extremely nervous, I soon settled into things, even experiencing tears of joy when we saw the strawbale truck chugging up the road. Ahhhh.... But how could I not feel joyful while building our little house on a perfect autumn day, surrounded and buoyed by the love of so many friends and family members. Seriously, if you're considering building a home, this is the only way to go. We worked so hard!

We cut and re-tied bales to make half bales, which we tucked around the windows and doors.
We cut channels into the bales to make space for the battens which are used to compress the bales and attach them to the bottom plate, every 2 courses.
Morag and Steve made the door buck, attached it to the bottom plate, and then braced it to keep it plumb.
Nassim assisted with the compression by walking around on the bales.
Kiddies read stories with Jaije and played on the rendering sand (now mixed with dirt: we're ordering some more) and climbed the bales.
We stacked bales and whacked them with a giant mallet to make sure they're straight, and tied them with wire and tensioned and compressed them with gripples.
We chiselled recesses in the ends of our hardwood top plates and our not-so-hardwood battens, so that they would fit together neatly.
We put in our window bucks and then, at the end of the day we covered it all with a giant truck tarpaulin to protect the bales from dew. As the sun started sinking we all felt pretty happy and pretty tired and pretty surprised at just how much we achieved in this day's work!
We're looking forward to tomorrow, though I'm a little nervous about the insulation arriving as the insulation we chose is contrary to Frank's recommendation. It's a tricky thing this insulation business, and has been by far the biggest headache. So much advice! So many opinions! So much information and so so many data sheets to wade through. In the end I think I was beaten down by exhaustion and the necessity to actually just make a decision and bloody well order the stuff. I don't feel like I ever could have arrived at a decision that would have ticked absolutely all of our boxes... So in the end I just did my best with the information available to me. But more about that tomorrow


  1. Ohhh I wish I could have been there this week. It looks amazing and I am really enjoying the photos and seeing the process. I feel so excited for you. Good luck tomorrow xx

  2. Wow, I'm impressed with the progress and the weather. I'm in Armidale (at the moment) and it's been raining most of the night. Your weather looks perfect building weather. Best of luck for tomorrow.

  3. That looks amazing! I can't believe how much work you all got done in only one day. Incredible! And by the looks on those smiley faces, it was a fun day to boot. I know what you mean re: making decisions in the end. It's so hard, isn't it? The pressures and opinions of everyone can get mighty confusing. In the end there's always going to be compromise. I've done my fair share of it building our little shed. I've used abit of treated pine too and had to suck it up and accept my decision. For me it's all about the budget this time around so some things that I would've normally been ' No way!' about have ended up 'yes ways'. I figure I'll make it up with my organic garden;) Looking forward to seeing todays progress.

  4. Amazing! Congrats to all on an incredible first day!

    I'm with Meg - I really wish I was there. But at least I get to see the photos and hear the stories. And see Jaije and the kidlets immersed in storytime :)

    You guys are an inspiration! xxx

  5. Annie you guys are incredible. You've done so much and I can't believe you still have the energy at the end of the day to write the blog. Thinking of you guys and wish we were there. tracy

  6. We wish we were there TOO!

    Talent, beauty, and excellent workwear couture from the lot of you fiendishly goodlooking bunch of hotties. We're loving following your progress and have even had an anxious check of the BoM forecast for Bega after the downpours up our way today. May the weather fairies continue to bless you, and know that our hearts are with youse (as they say in the Gong). Keep it coming, and keep going gallant crew!

    Love, Lizzie Ness + Harry xxx

  7. Great updates guys. Keep it up - I'm taking detailed notes so I'm looking forward to seeing how it all turns out, especially given the weather challenges.