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, July 28, 2009

Grading around the perimeter

Yesterday I was able to finishing plastering the surface bonding cement on the blocks around the house. So, this morning I began grading the dirt around the house. My objectives were to push at least some of the dirt up to the walls and to level off the top of the hill in front of the house.

Last spring when I dug the cellar, I piled the extra dirt from the excavation in front of the house in order to extend the level of the ground outwards. Eventually, I will have the hill extended further out so that it will slope more gradually toward the garden. For now, I needed to level it off a bit in preparation for building the porch.

Using a grader blade with my tractor, I was able to pull dirt from the middle of the pile in front of the house toward either end and up to the block wall. I pushed the piles of dirt from excavating for the footers on the east side of the house toward the wall and toward the front of the house. In the back, I moved dirt toward the wall and around to the east side of the house. There’s still a bit that needs moved with a shovel, but it’s mostly graded. I wasn’t able to get the tractor and blade on the west side of the house. So, I’ll be moving the dirt on that side with a shovel later.

With the dirt graded around the house, I’ll measure and set some stakes and string for framing the porch. I have to pour footers that go under the porch posts, and I need them to be correctly placed.

014032021   018


Bishopknight said...

I think you're doing a great job. You're doing SBC just like I am. If you want check out my project and my friend jeffs on this website.

Wade said...


Where are you these days? How is the house coming along?

dp said...

Hey, Wade! I'm still around, just haven't posted any updates. I've got to do so -- hopefully a couple of posts in the next week or so. Thanks for checking on me!