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.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Root cellar: second excavation

On Monday I had a neighbor haul a friend’s backhoe to our place. This is the same backhoe I used a year ago to excavate the root cellar. Since I didn’t get the floor poured and walls built last summer, the winter rains washed a lot of dirt and debris into the hole. I started shoveling it out by hand, but found the task daunting. The backhoe has saved a lot of time.

I was able to move clay-dirt from one pile near the hole on Monday, but then it began to rain. I didn’t work with the backhoe on Tuesday, but yesterday I was able to get at it. It was a little muddy on top still, but I wanted to get the job done.

Today, I plan on finishing with a shovel, moving the dirt left in the hole out of the way. Then, I will begin building the forms for the concrete. If the weather cooperates, we’ll pour and finish the floor next week.

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