Archive for building

It wouldn’t be a project without a few SNAFUs, right?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 13, 2008 by phoenixtree

Just a quick update for those wondering:


there were some major mistakes made at the SIP dealer.  (I won’t name names but suffice it to say Stupid Boneheads Suck.)  while we were told that the SIPs were in production, and even later told they were in transport, it turns out the factory had never received the plans.

oh, bad bad bad.

EY has raised enough Cain that they’ve been very communicative, and said they are “expediting” the process; but he told them he’d hold his applause until the end of the show.

no joke.

I think they should swallow their profit and the shipping, also.  But I’m not going to unleash my temper in this case because when my ‘tude kicks in I almost always make things worse.

So, where are we at?

  • septic system is in and lovely
  • well is in and the drillers say it is a lovely, fast flowing well.
  • electric is at the property and we have a tent with fridge, microwave, and an electric radiator.
  • the foundation is done and awaiting a house to keep it company.
  • it sounds like the latest arrival time is around the end of October or beginning of November.

For the worry-warts: yes, winter has hit and yes, it’s snowy.  our new tent, with all the bells and whistles, is warm and dry and we’re still quite comfortable.  Also, after the 16th we have another option of a place to stay for 2 weeks if it gets uncomfortable.

so don’t worry!

I figure this is all great materials for either my memoirs or Menace 2’s future therapy sessions.

Menace Leader


we have a roof! sort of.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 21, 2008 by phoenixtree

It may not look like much, but it’s home!  


well, it will be home.

yesterday the Menaces and I (with helpful canine cheerleaders) erected this fine structure that will be Chez Menace until the house is built and ready for us.


The tent – which I find myself calling The Swamp after the M*A*S*H abode of Hawkeye, et al – is 10/20 feet, 6 feet at the sides and I’m guessing 8 or 9 feet tall at the peak.  the frame is all steel, and was much harder to erect than we expected!  it took about 8 hours, and some serious creativity.


That puppy is not moving.


It’s in a little corner just past where the house is going to be, to the southeast.  

in this picture, the Menace Mobile is parked pretty much where the house is going to be, and the tent starts about where the southeast corner of the house will be.


since it was so much work to put up, I suspect is has a future in that spot – visitor housing in the summers!


I haven’t taken pictures of the inside yet because it’s all mud and mess.  over the next few days the boys and I will be working on scrounging some sort of floor (call for pallets!  all local people reading this – I need lots of pallets and some plywood for flooring for The Swamp and the storage tent!)


Notice how the place has a disconcerting gap at the bottom?  I noticed, also.  I’m going to dig holes under the legs to drop them down and hopefully make those gaps a little less so.  However, this is most assuredly not a mosquito-proof structure.  We have a couple of bed nets (assuming I find them) but I’m also hoping to get creative to somehow plug the gaps, which are mostly in the corners.


This was hard work. I must say I’m dang proud of us!


We did not stay out there due to not having the inside just so (and not having dug a latrine just yet) but I did set up the little kitchen area and made us a hot dinner and made myself coffee.  it was nice.  I’m going to like this place.


Though I suspect by the time we have the house I’ll be ready for a real roof!


The latest is that the parts for the main structure will probably not make their appearance until mid September, so The Swamp will have to do us into the fall.  I haven’t quite figured out the heating bit yet, but I’m creative.  if nothing else, I can build an outside fire and bring in hot coals in a brazier of some sort.


And since the driveway and house pad are completed, you can see the lovely little curvy driveway!

At the end is Gardeners Lane and the stuff you see out there is on the neighbor’s property.  the green quonset type tent thingie belongs to my mom -Menace Maker – and is our temporary storage unit as we wait for a house to move into.


It’s very pretty and peaceful there.


I’ll make another update soon, outlining the best ways people can help!  watch this spot!



Menace Leader

Phoenix Tree House

Update! And 3rd investor wanted…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 10, 2008 by phoenixtree

The following is a heavily edited version of my most recent update email:


Dear family and friends,

It’s time for an update on the house!

Thanks to your very generous donations, we’ve raised just about $10,000 in the building fund account.  Amazing!  Your generosity is humbling.

So far: aside from the donations, we have two “investors” who are also the signers on the fundraising account.  Each has funded a large amount of the process – from the land, to the dirt-work, and now to the house itself!  Both parties are doing this as a loan to me – with very generous terms. They are making it possible for me to do this.  I’m so humbled.

The house!  It’s a SIP house – Structural Integrated Panels.  These are a nifty new (to me) panels that are built of rigid insulation covered by vapor barrier and plywood skins.  The manufacturers make the floor, roof, and walls.  They install doors and windows, and create little holes within the insulated panel for wiring and plumbing.

The greatest thing about these is that the final houses have excellent energy efficiency – this one is expected to have R28.  With a 700+ square foot size and a fairly small wood stove, only a few cords of wood a year will do me.  It’s wonderful.

Now, the house will arrive with: subfloor, floor panel, 4 wall panels with windows and doors pre-installed, and two roof panels for the top.  It includes siding and roofing. It will also have the materials for the two lofts – each boy is going to have his own tiny aerie.

But that’s it – we will be installing all interior walls, all the kitchen everything, the heating, all cabinets and such, and all electrical and plumbing.  That’s where the donations fund will save the day!

We have a good number of skilled and semi-skilled volunteers to work on the interior wall framing and such, and hopefully wiring and plumbing as well.

Things are moving quickly!

The two investors are looking for a third partner for the loan.  They need someone who can fund the water and electrical infrastructure.  I assume this means the well drilling and septic system perhaps as well as such important bits as a toilet!

Anyone wanting to know more can contact me and I’ll give you their contact information.  I have no idea what exactly this will all entail, but they have it figured out.  Again, this money would be a loan, not a donation.

Thank you all for all of your help, it means the world to us.  I’m beginning to see a light at the end of this very long, dark tunnel.