This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

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Thursday, 29 September 2011


Woke this morning to overcast and fog. The guys were here early as usual  to start work.

Just a few early morning shots of the site so Pat can see what was accomplished yesterday.

 From the catwalk the guys are busy ripping the boards off.

The conduit sticking up through the concrete will allow us to run electrical lines down to the wall plugs I placed before the concrete was poured.

Can you figure out was is happening here? .......................... One clue ...... think tilt...........

We used the bobcat to brace the wall so it wouldn't set with a tilt. This way all our walls are perpendicular and all corners are 90*

One last shot before breakfast.

Enjoy your day and we will write again on Monday.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Sun Came Out

Two post in one busy, busy day. We just wanted to say how thankful we are to have such a great crew working on our house. Everyone and I mean everyone is dedicated to doing the job properly, safely and with pride. I'm on site every day and I check for things that other builders might cover up or cut corners on, can't find any. If I have a question they always take the time to explain how and when it will be done.

So after a full morning of pouring concrete, the sun appeared and Mary and I joined in the fun. Nothing so satisfying as getting your hands dirty as the walls go up. Great excuse for Mary to get a manicure tomorrow.

Sometimes we had to stop and make adjustments (repairs) as the concrete was poured.

Once the concrete was under the sill, Jeff and Kent braced the upright so nothing would collapse.

There's a happy worker; Dave catches his breath while we wait for another truck.

Even Mary got into the act; lefties seem very good at concrete work.

Look at the concentration and what an excellent job.

Working hard but still smiling.

A bird's eye view of our site

Another successful day and we are one step closer to being finished.

Thanks again for a successful day.

The Last Truck

Today we are pouring concrete. When the day is done the walls will be finished and that will be the last of the concrete trucks.

Here you see the cement truck with the pumper behind. The pumper can lift the concrete and pump it to the far corners of the building.

The walls were braced and adjusted for straightness.

Dave works on the bracing ..............................................

Kent does the same on the south wall.

Looking south from the end of the hall ....................... everything looks good.

Dave handled the pipe and did an excellent job; matter of fact all the guys worked hard to get everything done properly.

From the cat-walk we can see everything.

The white stuff is spray foam the crew used to fill all the small openings between cut blocks.

Dave works the pipe, the pump driver operates the controls to move the boom and adjust the flow of concrete.
Thanks everyone for hanging in there until the last load was delivered and unloaded.

Next week we start the roof........................ YEA!!!!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Trailer Renovations

As if we didn't have enough to do, we decided to modify the bedroom in our airstream so we could fit a queen size mattress. The original bed was sagging and in need of some work so we went ahead and gutted the room.

The room has been cleared of all the old furniture and we are ready to measure and start building the new.

A view of the storage area under the old bed. You can access this area from the outside of the trailer, so this will stay in place, just box around it.

All the old bits in the "bone" yard beside our trailer.
 We did finish the room but it was dark and we were working with flashlights so I will take some pictures today and post them tomorrow.

While we were renovating, the crew was building. Here the scaffolding arrives. This will brace the walls and allow TJ to walk the hose delivering the concrete around the perimeter.

Gently does it.

Just some final checks and if the weather holds we should pour the concrete today or tomorrow.

It's 6:30 a.m. and the crew will be here in half an hour. I need to get a few more pipe cut and inserted through the wall. Have a great day and drop by later to see the progress.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Algonquin Park

Yesterday we took the afternoon off and went north to enjoy the fall colours. In the morning we worked on the house; ran two electrical conduit lines, two water lines and retrieved the canoe from the cottage. After all that was completed we packed our supper and drove up to Algonquin Park. The Fall colours were at their best.

As Mary was in the passenger seat she took most of these photos, even though my name is on them.

If you are thinking about coming up to see the colours, come soon.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Progress on the Lintels

There are changes in the wind; more colour appears each morning and more work has been completed by the end of each day.

Driving into town today we saw 5 deer and a beautiful blue sky.

Back at home base, the crew is methodically making their way around the house completing each lintel as they go.

There is a tremendous amount of re-bar in each lintel and it all fits together like a puzzle.

It is a team effort and they work well together.

See the blurred hand? These guys never stop.

Monday they will complete the west wall and get ready for the concrete. Lets hope the weather co-operates.

Thanks for stopping by. How's the weather in Spain, Pat?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Lintels and Straight Walls

That was the agenda for today; lintels and straight walls. I was afraid the day would be shortened by the rain but it didn't come and the guys were able to start the lintels. A lintel is the space in a wall above any opening such as a door or window. Because our house is built from concrete, the lintels have to be very, very strong.

Construction site, early morning shot.

Can you guess why the wood chips are stuck in the wall? Go ahead, there must be a reason.....................
This was their method of straightening the wall. If it leaned then our crew used wedges to straighten it out. Now the wall will be braced and once the concrete is poured it will be straight and solid.

Here Jeff and Kent are working on the lintel. All the re-bar was bent first and now the bent pieces are placed together to give added strength to the concrete lintel over the window.

Looking across our floor to the south wall, a wall of glass when done.

Look carefully at the picture below. What do you see? Yes lots of re-bar, but did you notice the nail, a nail into mid-air? Seems strange at first but then you realize there is a reason, that nail will be surrounded by concrete, which will grip the nail and keep it tightly in place, thus holding the window-buck tight to the wall.

Pat's crew working together to get the walls up and lintels built. How's the holiday Pat?

Every job needs a superintendent. Here Mary wears the superintendent's white hat, to check on progress. She looks very pleased with all she sees.

Thanks for stopping by. Any questions?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Sorry about the delay in posting, just too busy here on the construction site.

Still lots of re-bar to install and here Kent is bending pieces for around the windows. Looks like he's kind of bent himself.

TJ helps bring in the PVC pipe we will use as a conduit for the electrical lines.

Even I was hard at work, cutting holes and installing outlet boxes.

These Durisol blocks are great; strong, tough, but easy to cut with a drywalll saw

Dave up on the scaffold building the corner, what a man!

It looks easy, so Mary tries cutting out an electric box. She did just fine after a few pointers. Note the face, it helps to look serious.

Checking the plans with our electrician; don't want to get the wrong wires crossed.

Tomorrow we hope to complete the walls and start strapping the outside........ we will see.