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 3, 2008

Just a quick update

Sorry, no photos this time. I just wanted to provide a quick update on what I've been doing the last few days.

Last Friday we made a trip to Lowes to buy some rebar for when we pour the footers and root cellar floor. We also bought some 3" pvc for the drain line from the root cellar. While I was loading the rebar, Anne noticed a "damaged" one-piece tub/shower unit sitting outside that was marked down to $50. It had a small hole in the tub edge and some small cracks in the acrylic of the bottom, both of which I should be able to patch fairly well. So, I offered $25 which was accepted, and we have our second tub/shower unit. We spent less than the price of one for two, because the first one we bought a few months ago was marked down because of slight damage that won't even be visible once it's installed.

Sunday was a nice day since the predicted rain didn't show up. With the backhoe, I dug an 80 foot long trench for the drain line. This is for a floor drain in the cellar. At the end near the cellar, the trench was nearly 8 feet deep. It ended up at 2 feet deep at the other end because of the slope. This provides about 30 inches of drop over the 80 feet. My boys helped glue the 3" thinwall PVC together and put it in the trench. Then, I used the backhoe to fill in the trench.

Yesterday, I dug up a culvert on the drive going to my barn. The one there just wasn't big enough to handle the amount of rain water that washes through there on days like today (it's raining right now). I had some eight foot long 12" concrete culvert sections that I had dug up previously. I was able to put two of them end to end (they have a bell end for connecting them) and one of the 6 inch PVC culverts I dug up back in place. It should help keep the runoff from flooding across the drive.

I also planted 1/2 acre of wheat yesterday afternoon. It was dry enough so that I could disc the field last week, then we received about 1/2 inch of rain. It was dry enough yesterday that I could run the disc over the field one more time. Then, using my hand-powered broadcast seeder, I spread 100 pounds of hard red spring wheat over the ground. Then, I ran a friends cultipacker over it to help push in into the ground a little. With the rain we're getting today and will get tomorrow, it should be sprouting soon!

Today, I've been calculating the number of concrete blocks I need to acquire to complete the foundation walls and root cellar walls. I have 238 blocks I've already collected. I need another 750 or so. I'll also need to order six yards of concrete for the footers and floor once I have everything ready. That'll be after it dries out a bit. It's spring and is still wet here.