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.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Window bucks and other things

It was hot again today. That seems to be the way it is around here this summer.

After doing some garden work this morning, I did some work on the house. My first task was to put a pipe under the footer on the west side of the house. When I was doing the foundation work previously, water lineI forgot to provide for bringing in a water line. I left an outlet hole for sewer, but that’s higher on the wall than I wanted to bring a water line in, which would make it more susceptible to freezing.

So, I dug down and under the footer in one place and fed through a section of 1.5” black pipe. I should be able to tie in to this later on when bring the water line down the hill.

The next task I undertook was installing corner bracesbraces on porch corner post on the northeast corner post of the porch. I could have nailed some 2x4s on at 45 degree angles, but I wanted something a little better than that. I used a 2x4 I milled out of cedar a while back for the brace, and I set it into the post and header on the corner. It took a little while to cut and chisel the pockets for the braces, but I’m pretty happy with the result.

When I finished with the braces, it was time to eat lunch. Because of the heat, I felt tired and worn out. I rested for a little while, and then decided to get back to work. Thankfully, I could work in the shade.

window bucks in living roomwindow buck in master bedroomI cut 2x4s and constructed five window bucks. I put these in for the windows in the living room and Anne’s and my bedroom. I made sure they were square and plumb and securely attached them to the vertical stringers. After putting them in, I added some short stringers underneath to which siding will be attached later.

View from living room looking toward the garden

Speaking of siding, I’ve decided to use cement board siding on the house. The guy I’ve been buying lumber from got a trailer load of it and has offered me a pretty good deal on enough for the house. It will cost a bit more than the shingle siding, but it will go on a whole lot quicker with less work.

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