Building An Earthship In Darfield, B.C.

We are a family of five living in Darfield, BC.
Our house is six hundred square feet in total and we are feeling cramped.

We have decided to build an earthship!

So starts the adventure ...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I've spent the last couple of days pulling the stumps from the trees that I cleared off of the building site.

If I had to choose between the two activities I would take falling trees over pulling stumps! My neighbor warned me that birch trees (mostly what I cut down) have extensive root systems. Naively I did not pay attention to him at the time. The roots on these trees are massive; the main ones are literally thicker than the larger tree branches, and they are extensive. I admit I was getting bored limbing and bucking trees, but now last week looks like a dream job ...

The backhoe has been invaluable for this job. I have been digging a three to four foot deep hole (really a crater) around the stumps that allows me to cut the roots off. I have only managed to hit the house once during all of this. Sandra claims that I hit the house twice (the other strike was actually on the back stairs ... like that counts), and that the one that actually hit the house made everything rattle (really it was just a glancing blow). I did manage to drive the backhoe over a covered and back-filled service junction that I had forgotten about. The cover collapsed and tilted the backhoe alarmingly. It took a while to level the machine and get it out of that spot. Good thing I found that junction before it got dug up and damaged. I think the electrical and water lines run through it.

My list of tools on this job has grown to include the forklift, both chain saws, a shovel and all of my lifting chains. I now truly appreciate a forklift that can lift 20,000 lbs. The stumps come out of the ground pretty quickly chained to the forklift. The backhoe is too light to lift the stumps, and I have actually been working with a really large rock in the front bucket to keep the front on the ground while I am pulling stumps. This is possibly not an intended use for a BlueChip forklift, but it sure is impressive.

I have one more stump to pull tomorrow and then I think we are ready to layout the footprint of the building and start excavating!

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