Wednesday, July 4, 2007

house construction

A few days ago I met some friends of a friend who are in the process of building their own house. They were kind enough to let me come out to hang around for a few days while they worked. The land they’re building on is out in the country, a little more than an hour where I’m living. The property was entirely wooded when they bought it, with a small spring and creek and plenty of hills. Every point on the land seems to be sloped in one direction or another.

For the few days I was there, I helped out where I could: moving dirt, carrying water and other work. The walls are partly made of stacked tires packed tight with dirt. The tire packing is highly labor-intensive, but all that had been done last summer. (A second house on the property, however, is in the early tire-packing stage.) The walls and roof of the first house are up, and while I was there the front greenhouse and entryway framing were being finished. We were also berming earth up around the walls.

Power comes from a small solar array and water comes from a small spring a short hike from the building site. They plan to catch and store rainwater in the cistern dug out in the area underneath the future bathroom as well.

The trip was a lot of fun, and I learned quite a lot about finding property, planning and constructing houses (some of it in the “what not to do” category). I hope to get back out there once or twice more this summer.