Our house is all put together.

We still have many things to do before it’s “complete”, but the bones and musculature are all there.

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With one of the hides I tanned, I made a pair of high top moccasins for Manijeh.

It was a slow but fun process. It gave my hands something to do while also providing a chance to clear my mind.

I used a wonderful tutorial I found on paleo planet to get the basics.

I try not to use synthetic material and it sometimes means I have to take a lot of side paths.

Rather than use synthetic sinew (which is a woven polypropylene) I pounded and shredded elk sinew to get enough strands to reverse wrap into a very strong thread. I spent many hours making thread while chatting with friends or riding in the car. It’s quite relaxing and is art art form in its own right. Learning to splice many smaller pieces into one long, seamless piece takes some time to master.

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And the happy new owner.

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We’ve been working on our foundation. Today we finish up the subfloor and start on the walls. Tomorrow, the roof!

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08 Jul 2014

I would like to describe the feelings associated with these moments, but I have not the words, nor the mastery of poetry required.

Happy birthday, kiddo.

The world is an increasingly more wonderful place now that you’re here.

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We lost Scribble Pi this morning. After a long, painful sickness I took her to the vet at 2:00am and held her close until the end.

She was Orin’s constant companion and our scruffy, wonderful little girl. She is buried near our apple and fig guilds. We plan to plant a cherry guild atop her burial mound.

It is a hard morning.
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Here we are, ready to start building! I wonder what both of these photos will look like when taken 5 years from now.

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28 Apr 2014

Almost a year later and the short plat process is officially over! Manijeh and I walked into the recorder’s office Monday morning, April 28, 2014 with all of our papers filled out and ready to go. The folks that helped us could sense our excitement and were sweet to us. The deed was recorded and we headed over to the Health Department, the Building Department and the City Planners Department to hand over all of our remaining paperwork.

If you’re curious:  The Health Department provides information on septic system designs. This comes in a handy little packet with worksheets and a blank page for your schematic. It only took a couple of hours to finish up the design at home (luckily 15+ years experience with design software made this a breeze).

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Most importantly is that most county Health Departments want to see proof of potable water on the property before releasing your permit to build. Luckily the gentleman who helped us allowed us to go ahead since we have access to two nearby wells. Bullet =  dodged.

Our well driller should be here at the end of May to put in our well, hand pump, electric pump, and dig trenching to the house site.

If all goes smoothly, we could be building by the end of the May – which is good since our yurt kit is due to be delivered then whether we’re ready or not!

It’s been a long year. :)

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In my spare time I recently began making bowls out of river stones. It’s a bit of a slow process, but it’s quite fun and the stone dust byproduct is a great soil amendment.

It occurred to me that the bowls might be worth selling.

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22 Apr 2014

We began making mead using our milk kefir grains. Two more weeks and we should have a tasty summer beverage to share.

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Continuing to tinker with the Hobbit Hole.

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I’ve cut and stacked sod (from an area that will eventually be excavated) to make the east and west walls. Both walls have windows made of oak branches.

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Each brick of sod is staggered and staked to the layer beneath it. Ideally I’d have two rows of sod per wall, but space is limited due to lack of foresight. Since I don’t have a lot of space, I’ll be reinforcing it all with split log framing which will support the ceiling joists.

Since in addition to hundreds of pounds of soil and plants, kids will be playing both inside of and on top of this structure, it has to be really, really… REALLY sturdy.

NEXT STEPS: digging, framing, making joists, finishing the ceiling (skylight?), sodding the roof, excavating the front and side yard.