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, September 9, 2009

Fall and the Building Site

Cooler temperatures arrived around here right at the beginning of September. We no longer have the oppressive heat of July and August, and we have had a significant amount of rain that we were sorely lacking over the last two months.

Sandra and I have been working away on the eighth round of tires since the beginning of the month, and we are now a third of the way done. We hope to be done this round of tires by early next week. The kids had their first full day of school today, and we packed 18 tires while they were gone.

We used up all of our tires today, so hopefully Gary (Sandra's dad) has some luck in Kamloops today and brings back lots of tires. Thanks Gary!

Because we are now bringing in tires as we are using them the last two courses of tires have been layed out slightly differently. I am mixing different sizes of 235's much more as I lay them down. I started doing this for the simple reason that I do not have tires all of one size to do an entire row anymore. The results have been amazing! I have eliminated most of the spacer blocks that I used in courses four and five. Had I thought this through at the beginning I would have used multiple tire sizes in every course. Using multiple sizes makes getting everything to fit MUCH easier.

Most of the last week has been a write off due to the Barriere fall fair last week end. The kids showed their sheep. This did not go as well as hoped for, the kid's Suffolk meat sheep did not compare well against other breeds at the fair. There are three weeks left before we go to the Kamloops Winter Fair and the kids sell their sheep. We are increasing the food for the sheep and the kids are exercising them more. Hopefully, this will improve the sheep's finishing, and lead to better results and prices!

We also had some really positive results at the fair! Stephen entered a trio of laying pullets (chickens) and got a first! Sandra and the girls entered baked goods ranging from cakes to rustic bread, and walked away with a number of ribbons for their efforts. Sandra was most pleased with a first for her rustic bread, and the girls both got ribbons for the cakes they baked.

There are some ominous clouds on the horizon. The dump truck has been running poorly the last couple of times I used it; it is backfiring, has no power and is belching white smoke. Some discussion with Gary and Mike Casey leads me to believe that one of the cylinders may not be firing or compressing. I borrowed a compression tester from Mike Casey, and popped the hood this evening to see if I could track the problem. I've got problems ...

The white smoke I saw last time I ran the truck was obviously more than smoke. There was a fire in the engine compartment. The oil and sawdust mixture glued to everything in the compartment (not something I recommend having on you engine, but it is an occupational hazard) ignited and burned off. I am assuming this happened after I parked the truck as there were no obvious signs of an on-going engine-fire when I stopped the truck.

Fortunately the fire did not spread, and went out on its own. The bad news is that the covering on a number of wires was burned off, and some hoses are burned through. These will all need to be replaced. The worst damage seems to be an aluminum housing attached to the engine that is now a puddle of aluminum (three puddles actually). I do not know how significant this housing is (or more importantly what it housed), and will have to dig around over the next couple of days. This is a very common engine (a 427 V8) so parts should be easy to track down. Amazingly, I turned the ignition on and the engine cranked over ... that is a very good sign! I spend my days cursing the old equipment I use, but it sure takes a lot to put it down for the count.

If the truck is unavailable for a while we will have to figure out an alternative for moving more gravel to the building site. A problem for tomorrow ...

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