Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stony Creek Farm

There were a number of sunny days in a row at the farm, so I took the camera out for a stroll. By no means did I do the vistas justice, but here's a sample of what I see and do.

Endless piles of snowflakes.

Go, go garlic! I admire the courage.

I used scraps of foam insulation to thermally close in the mudroom. Clearly, these industrial materials are much less pleasant to work with than natural materials, but I justify using them here for two reasons: 1. they are not useful for other projects, and so would be thrown away otherwise and 2. this insulation is very efficient, and is waterproof (whereas slip-straw, for example, would be less insulative, and could get damaged by moisture).

There is often a great deal of waste in conventional construction. When I see this waste, I think: "Should I avoid using these salvaged materials because they are not enjoyable to work with, and are unhealthy? Or should I use them to save valuable resources from going to the landfill, and save money?" There's no good answer, and so it must just be decided on a case-by-case basis. In any case, the mudroom will be fully insulated when it's done, making it a very functional winter space.

To ensure that the interior of the Pod doesn't end up too "woody," I decided to use a wall system/material other than pine boards for the rest of the interior walls (mudroom and sleeping loft). There's room for mud in every good building project, so I decided that an earthen plaster would be a good choice. With cob building, it's very intuitive and simple to apply plaster over the earthen wall; it's just the bonding of two like things. Plastering a wood-framed structure is different. The plaster will stick neither to foam insulation, nor empty space. A time-tested solution is a lath-and-plaster system (lath being a grid of stiff, structural members with open spaces in between - it can be wood, metal, or plastic).

Here's the wood lath, over and between which the plaster will go. The idea is that the plaster can squish between the strips of wood when it is being applied wet, and will be locked in as it dries. I additionally installed lathe on the walls of the lofted sleeping area of the pod. It will create a nice separation between life on the main floor, and life "upstairs." My thought is that the plaster will make the loft feel cave-like and cozy.

Here's a sheep. Alas, I cannot call myself a shepherd. But I am the guy who takes care of Stony Creek Farm's flock of sheep, supplying hay and water on a daily basis.

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