The 57 acres that comprise Cedar Ridge Farm are located in the beautiful rolling hills of South Central Kentucky. My wife, our four children, and I are on a homesteading adventure as we work toward increased self-sufficiency. We grow much of our own food and enjoy being in touch with the agrarian roots of our lives.

One of the major projects we have undertaken is the building of our own home. The house we're building has three major distinguishing features: 1. we're building it without incurring any debt; 2. it is a timber frame structure; and 3. the exterior walls will be plastered straw bales. We live debt and mortgage free, and building our house with that approach makes perfect sense. Large timbers in a home possess a beauty and project a sense of strength, stability, and warmth that we want in our home. Straw bale walls provide insulation and make ecological sense. This blog is a record of our home-building project.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The root cellar and some porch posts

Yesterday morning, I shoveled some more dirt out of the root cellar. It’s getting much closer to being ready to form the footers for the block walls. I still have a bit more dirt to remove, but I didn’t go back to it today. I have some sore muscles, including my right shoulder which I strained throwing some firewood a week ago. In the photos below, you can see the current state of the cellar hole. I have to take some proper measurements and lay out where the footers need to be. To this point, I’ve just taken some quick measurements to figure out approximately where to excavate to.

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Yesterday afternoon, rather than excavate more, I headed out with my Stihl MS250 to fell a few cedar trees. The trees I selected will be milled into 6x6 porch posts. I need 20 posts all together. I spent a little time with Google Sketchup the other day laying out the CRF house -- porch posts 01spacing for my porch posts. They don’t fit exactly on eight foot centers. So, I needed to determine where they should be in order to have them as close to that spacing as possible. On the front and back, they’ll be on 8’ 1-1/2” centers. On the sides, they’ll on 7’ 10” centers. Close enough to eight feet to work, I believe.

The first tree I cut yesterday was one near the house site that had lost its top in the recent ice storm (at least I think that’s when – I hadn’t noticed it before Sunday). I walked up on a nearby hillside and felled three more trees.

Today, I limbed the downed trees and bucked them into nine foot lengths. With a couple of trees I already had down, I have enough for 12 posts already. They all need skidded out of the woods and to the location in which I’ll mill them. I should be able to do that within the next couple of weeks if the weather permits. I’ll need to select a few others, but having over half of them already down is good.

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