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, February 7, 2010

Interesting video of a reused timber frame

I found this video at and thought it was worth sharing. It’s a beautiful old frame that they dismantled, moved, and reconstructed into a home. There are a couple follow up videos also available (you can find them via the link above).


Video Length: 7:01 Produced by: Matt Berger

Winter 2010 update – back to work soon

I guess it’s about time that I update my blog. I’ve been devoting time to my other blog which focuses on some of the things we’re doing on our homestead. Also, there’s not been much happening on the house, so I’ve had little to write about here. That will change now.

Late last summer I hired a pond dug near the house. I wrote a series of posts about that project which you can read here. The pond project was related to the house project since it’s near the house, and we will enjoy year-round views of it from the house.

Constructing the pond provided opportunity and material to do a little landscaping in front of the house. The slope there was steeper than I wanted it to be, and I’ve wanted to put some fill there to make it slope more gradually toward the garden. I borrowed my friend Mike’s backhoe to complete some of the excavation on the pond and moved a lot of dirt in front of the house.

dumping dirtI used my 1979 F250 with a dump bed to transport dirt from the pond excavation to the site in front of the house. I spread the dirt with a blade on the back of my tractor. There was enough dirt to taper out the slope nicely toward the garden. I sowed some fescue seed on it afterwards last fall. The grass sprouted and got off to a good start.

Following are a few photos taken during the dirt moving process and photos taken at the time I seeded the grass.

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Since then, I’ve done very little work on house. I did get some beech logs drug out of a friend’s woods and staged to have them milled. The milling of them has been postponed because of the weather. It’s a bit wet and muddy over there right now. Previously when we were going to mill them, it stayed below freezing for two weeks which resulted in frozen logs. Another friend is going to bring his Woodmizer over to mill them, and he was concerned about how cold it was that day and how hard the frozen logs would be on his blades. So, we’re still trying to reschedule. The lumber from the logs will be used mainly for the porch floor.

We changed another aspect of our floorplan. We’re going to extend space out on what would have been the porch on the front west side of the house. This ‘bump out’ will be 12 feet wide and 9 feet deep (extending out from and between the corner and first post). This will make kitchen space. In fact, most of the kitchen will be in this space and the dining area will move over to where the kitchen was going to be before. We’ll also be enclosing a summer kitchen off this space on the corner of the porch.

So, I have to dig for and pour footers for the block walls I’m going to put under the kitchen. It will only be out as far as the porch around the rest of the house. That’s a project for this spring once it dries up and warms up a bit.

Below are a few recent photos of the house, the pond, and the landscaped front slope. I hope to have some more posts soon. We’re almost to spring when I can get back to work on the house.

Looking at the pond through the frame The front slope The house frame from the pond View of the pond from the house In the snow Another view in the snow