Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Catching up

I'm catching up on posting photos...more photos of the house coming soon but here are some pictures of the land. The house is continuing to evolve very quickly. I'll share some updated pictures of it this week!
Jungle gym house

Ben cleverly used the backhoe to move this chicken coop to the other side of the field to be in the animal area.

Scaffolding and sunset over the mountains.

This is the view if you take an outdoor sunset shower, which I highly recommend.

And our current home, of course.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The house in spring

The stair form going in--looks like a sculpture!

I love all the bright cords and ropes against the concrete and wood, especially when they make these patterns.

There are so many butterflies right now. They must have checked the calendar because they are right on time for spring. This one flew inside the trailer and I took a photo before guiding it out.

I'm not sure if I was trying to take a photo of Little Hawk, the house, or the lupines, but they all came together in one convenient photo. Her babies are so small still that you can't see them in the greenery.

And there are her babies! They still follow her everywhere and sleep under her for warmth.
Lovely sunset lighting

Looking down from the loft towards the living room windows

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Please come to my nature club."

I'm behind on the blog again, or at least it feels that way. The building is moving so fast that it is hard to keep up. Even as I compose this post, I can hear the guys hammering outside and I feel rushed to capture this moment so I can go back out and capture the next. Every little change feels like a milestone. First we could climb a ladder to the bedroom, then there were stairs, then the frame of the walls, then we could climb into the other loft, and on and on.

 We traveled to Iowa for a visit, and it felt like an important part of the building process, as if we were researching what is 'home.' Ben was sweetly interested in looking through my elementary school writing and pictures. I can't believe how little I have changed.
SARAH, PLEASE. This invitation still stands.
Not easy to leave Iowa and this homemade breakfast treatment from my mom and Jeff! Turmeric blueberry muffins.
When we returned from the trip, there were more framed walls in place, the baby chicks were much bigger, and it felt like spring.

Before Iowa trip, looking down into living room towards the window seat

Similar angle after the trip. Now you can see the floor of the loft.
Ben and Sya standing in the bedroom, Johnathan below in the kitchen.
After our trip, here's the bedroom from a different angle, and now it has framed walls. That's Carlos up there working.

Ben's construction look
His Iowa winter look
And this update would be incomplete without a mention of our Chicken Mansion 2.0! We worked so hard to get this coop going, and the chickens seem to love it.
I'm speechless with love for this coop.

I'm proud of our oak branch roosts--they are from our trees, and apparently it's good for chickens' feet to sleep on branches. Plus I love how zen the coop looks right now.

Good night, sweet flock! They love the branches.

I had to help a couple of roosters find their place in the new coop on the first night. They're easy to catch when they're asleep. These guys even fell back asleep while I was holding them! (this is Bowie and Olaf)

The babies Lilly and I bought at the local feed store are growing so fast. they're now in a bigger brooder, the final step before I let them out with the rest of the birds. I believe they're about a month old now.

She now has seven babies, and they are all living inside the coop where they are safer and doing very well.

I'll give you a few more views of the house and of springtime on our land before I go see what new walls have been constructed, what new lupines have bloomed...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Surprises of the good kind

On Friday night, Ben saw a mountain lion on our road!

With the rainwater, the concrete looks beautifully glassy and reflects the sky

 The framing continues at a rapid pace and it has been thrilling to walk through the house as more and more of it pops up. The builders could not work on the house today, because we got some rain. What I'm really excited about today is the chicken coop, especially in light of the mountain lion neighbor.

I let the flock free-range, but soon I'll at least have the option of leaving them in their new big run, if the mountain lion discovers them. Those chickens are going to be so safe, so warm, and so happy. And they'll look good doing it. :)

Putting the roof pieces up on the chicken coop!

Dramatic weather today, changing from sun to rain then sun again. And then a surprise hail. Sya sits comfortably on our coop lumber, with the house in the background. They are framing the sides first, then they'll connect them.

I also found Ben nesting in the wild.
Beautiful Little Hawk on her chosen nest.
 For a few days I've been sad because I thought my chicken Little Hawk was missing. This morning, though, she suddenly appeared, glossy with rainwater, fluffing her feathers dry in the sun, and looking for food. She had been brooding! I sneakily followed her, and she disappeared into her nest at the base of an oak tree. She had sat on those eggs, with no roof above her head, all through the night while it rained on her. I put a makeshift little roof over her so now she'll be dry. I'm so amazed and so glad she is ok. I'll move her to a proper brooder box when the big coop is done. Haven't counted her eggs yet.

Sunset from the "party deck," our name for a special spot with a gorgeous view towards town, but no actual deck (yet). How lucky are we?
If you know what this is, I would love to know. I don't remember this wildflower appearing last year! It was one of many surprises today.
This is why I love chickens. Look at that. This is one of the eight newest babies. She's a bantam cochin.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

La Primera Pared

The first walls went up today! The frames, anyway.  We can't believe how calmly such big change can happen. Giovanni and Carlos speak Spanish together while they work, so when Ben came in to tell me the wall was about to go up, he asked, "How do you say 'wall' in Spanish?" as if the progress isn't real unless we can say it in two languages. We ran out with the camera to admire the wall, practicing the phrase "primera pared" and trying to articulate both its soft and hard consonants.

I'm a little sick and groggy from cold meds. This weekend Ben had the flu and I had a bad cold. The last time we were sick was after the wedding, so it's somehow not surprising that we also got sick after the pouring of the foundation. Even good changes demand energy and then demand that we rest. After sleeping for nearly two days, it was amazing to see the building go on so quickly and smoothly today.
Hoisting the first wall! This is where the window seat will be!

Starting to see Jane's brilliant placement of everything, and how it allows in the best possible views

Celebratory dog dance

Even the chickens can't resist playing on the new structure.
In other news, we are finally getting a steady supply of eggs again, now that some of the chick-raising is done and the new generation is old enough to lay.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Foundation

What a day we had on Friday (the 13th!). Five trucks' worth of concrete was poured into our foundation. It's not just our foundation, but it's our actual floor. So, for the first time, we are now able to stand on our real floor.

It's comforting yet mind-boggling to think of how many steps we will take in that rectangle of concrete. So far I have taken about ten steps, but how many steps will I take in the course of the rest of our lives? Millions? Billions? I wish the floor had a built-in fitbit to tally our footprints.

We created a time capsule of sorts to bury in the concrete beneath the front door (pictured below). On it we wrote a set of 'vows' saying how we promise to care for the land and our home. We printed a set, included a picture from our wedding, slid everything into a sealed-off piece of PVC pipe for protection, and stuck it in the wet cement. Maybe in thousands of years, if someone ever tears down the house, they'll notice that odd little orange pipe that says, "2015, Open." Or maybe not.

Lots of pictures today.

With our vows, now preserved in the concrete under the threshhold

I don't know what we're talking about, but we're standing in front of the future front door, and we just put our vows in the cement.
This is the scene at the top of the hill where Marsha and Ira helped direct the trucks down the hill.
Such a choreographed group endeavor

The wet concrete starting to cover up the deep infrastructures. That tubing is our in-floor heating!

Pouring the final quadrant. Don't they look kind of heroic?

That 10x10 pad is for the chicken coop. They made sure they had enough for this, even before finishing the house. Then the chickens walked all over it and left their footprints. Very cute.

Love this one!