Holt, Amy and Ivy

Brad's good friend from graduate school, Holt, with wife Amy and daughter Ivy, visit from Colorado.

Holt & Ivy try out the new swing


Ivy loving Kramer

Ivy riding on Dad's shoulders

Done, Done, Done!

The very last piece of roofing goes on today, completely finishing up the barn's roof. Although the roof was started on July 4, and almost finished a couple of days later, Brad left for Vancouver Island and a kayak trip; then a short camping trip; then a Mt. Baker climb. All great summer fun but delaying the final roof wrap up. Add to that Ed in ND for nine days and Travis on vacation. It seems like we've had one interruption after another this past month. But, the crew is up to full speed again so progress will now move forward.



Our e-one was delivered a few days ago. The e-one is a grinder/pump for processing sewage and then pumping it up hill to the sewer line. It's actually pretty neat technology and has allowed Langley to connect folks to the sewer who otherwise would not be able to do so, or not without great expense to the city. The e-one will be down in a hole, with only the green top section showing and accessible to the City's Public Works employees.

Brad and Fran Swing!

Mary and Tin-Tin

Mary helped me juggle cars so Ed would have transportation waiting for him at the ferry when he returned home late last night. She then stopped by our site quickly for a tour of our construction progress. Mary and Dick are building too so they are busy on their site; us on ours, leaving little time to visit one another.


Tedious Work

Although this work is tedious, it is necessary and very time consuming. The past two days, with Ed and Brad out of town, I've been waterproofing the floor of the upstairs area in the barn. When the wind blows, although this area is under the roof, the rain will blow in. As a result of my work, the dry/heated area in the barn will have the equivalent of two roofs. This photo is the waterproofing after two coats. I have two to go, both of which will now have grit in the mixture to provide a nonslip surface.
So, my days are paint on the waterproofing; wait 4 to 6 hours; paint on more; wait; paint on more; wait.
In the previous post (Steady Progress ) you can see another picture of the waterproofed deck.

Steady Progress

From the end of March to today, the barn's progress has steadily moved forward. With the work of one highly skilled worker and many helpers with varying degrees of skill, plus vacations, bad weather and illness to mess with the schedule, the progress has been steady and impressive. To remind myself of our progress I went back to the beginning of the barn's construction. In a about 4 months, with the barn 90% complete, here's a glimpse of where we've been along the way.


Tar Papered

The entire barn is now tar papered and ready for more than a couple trial siding areas. It was stunning how many nails, wood pieces, blocks, and details needed to be tended to before the walls could be extended up to the ridge beam and be completely ready for tar paper and siding. We're experiencing one of those periods where the details are taking forever. Plus, with Brad on vacation and now a long weekend of Mt. Baker climbing, and Ed in ND, the work has been slower than usual. Back with full days next week.

Love this Building

Looking up at the roof from below and seeing the exposed roofing in contrast with the recycled wood is beautiful.

Viewing the barn from the path between Grace Lane and Cork Lane

The Swing

The reason for the hole drilling in the Back On Top post is to mount a swing. I've always loved swings and have wanted a big swing for years -- perhaps since leaving my chilldhood swing when we moved from our Ojai home. Well, here it is. Thanks Brad!

Back on Top

Way on top... And, as you can see from the blue, blue sky, the rain is gone.

Travis on ladder; Brad on rafters

It looks like the photo is sideways

Upside-down drilling

I always breath easier when they're down again


Early On...

Our lot before we turned it into a construction site

Looking east

Looking West

Looking North East

Looking West



Jon, one of our Saratoga neighbors, was a building mentor for Brad. In fact, learning stone work is a skill Jon taught Brad shortly after we moved to Saratoga. Jon stopped by to see what we're up to on Grace Lane.

Ben's Third Birthday

Our Sweet Neighbor Ben

A new birthday bicycle

A wonderful party


They're Back!

Brad has returned to Whidbey from a week of kayaking and sailing in the Klepper, which he reports was kick ass! He and Erin were able to paddle and sail in the ocean with its tides and currents and waves and swells and rolls, not to mention big wakes from too close tour boats. I've only heard just a few of their adventures but am looking forward to the unfolding, over time, of the trip stories. We won't see Erin for several weeks as she remained in Belllingham. Her summer job with Odyssey NW will have her out rowing/sailing or camping with teens in a few days. Scotty is back on the island too, ready to do some summer work for us. It was great to see both their smiling faces on site today.

Oh Boy! Electricity!

Electrical Inspection for the barn is completed and we passed with no hitches yesterday!


A Day to Reflect

Early this morning Ed and I were awaken by the sound of rain drops on the tent. A sound of pleasure and relief after the heat of the past few days. Also a sound without angst as it came with no need to run cover all the tools -- the roof is on! Well almost all on with a few pieces waiting for a few more details.

This day of Brad's birth is a good time to stop and reflect on our lives, our relationships, our family, our new home, our community. Does anything change one's life more than the birth of a child? Tiger Woods, a recent father, said it so well when he said he didn't know it was possible to love something so much that wasn't here yesterday. Since July 13, 1968 I have not passed a single day without thinking of Brad. Today I think of him kayaking with Erin: playing on a Vancouver Island beach; enjoying the hot springs; sailing; swimming; resting...

Our lives change form and shape and direction depending somewhat on the roads our children follow. Would we be building this house if Brad wasn't schooled in architecture, for example? Who knows, but probably not. Are we grateful we're building this house? You bet! Are we delighted we're physically and emotionally involved in this building project together, as a family? Indeed, we are!

As tired as we've been the past few days, it is with satisfaction and a huge feeling of accomplishment that we shower and fall into bed each night, exhausted and sore. Just yesterday Ed and I speculated on the level of our daily pleasure as we move through this building process. We decided the reward is as great as a trip to a foreign land or a many-week camping adventure. Somehow, working side-by-side as a family is more than we'd hoped for when we stated we'd all work on this house together.

We have set no date for completion because that would add a burden to the process. We're all working hard to see a finished product but, at the same time, we stay focused on the daily process. Yes, absolutely, deadlines nip at our heels and make us crazy on occasion. But, we're not saying, "Thanksgiving dinner in our new home." Nope! We want to avoid that expectation trap. A dear friend of mine has often reminded me, no expectations; no disappointments.

We do have goals, like my goal yesterday to finish staining the siding and complete the first coat of waterproofing on the foundations. Like Ed's goal of finishing the wiring in the shop. So, we stay focused on the end product by having little celebrations along the way: concrete pour day; roof day; electrical inspection day; window day. I think I mentioned in an earlier blog post that each day on a construction site is a little celebration. That continues to be true.

We, of course, have meltdowns on occasion. What family, what project doesn't? But, the key is that they are resolved and pass quickly. We're all still excited to be working together on a project that inspires us more each day. It's also fun to fantasize on living in our new home. It will be like no other. Our habits and styles will need to adjust and change to meet the challenges of this innovative design. And, as we've been doing for all the years of our living small commitment, we'll need to continue to simplify our lives and reduce our possessions. One of the biggest challenges is to keep the books from overflowing off the shelves and onto the table tops, the floor and into a closet. This house will require keeping an eye on the open road to the thrift store.

So Happy Birthday Brad, and thanks for the trip!


Lee lives in a small home (375 sq. ft.), but is looking to expand, just a little! He's interested in seeing what we're doing and drops by from time-to-time when he's in the neighborhood.


Staining and staining

My goal for the day was to finish the first coat of black coating on the main house and guesthouse foundation walls and to finish staining the barn's siding! It turns out I was slightly short of material for completion of both tasks, but darn close. The foundation has about a 4'x4' unfinished section and there are three siding boards left to stain. Ed continued on with electrical. The shop is now wired and working and we're ready for cover inspection.

It was cooler today--much. It dropped about 15 degrees from yesterday to today. Yesterday it reached 90+ on Whidbey; 97 in Seattle.


It's Hot!

It's really, really hot for the northwest. The temp in Seattle is up in the high 90's; and here on Whidbey it's in the high 80's. Ed and I have been getting up early to work on the house, and then spending the afternoon doing inside work. As unpleasant as our apartment is most of the time, in this weather it's cool and comfortable. so we run home mid day to get out of the sun. Here I am doing a decidedly unpleasant task -- painting tar-like-waterproofing on the foundation walls before we can backfill. It's one of those tasks that I work really hard to complete so I have the satisfaction of saying, "Whew! It's done."
I'm also very anxious to back fill so that our site is neater. Once the walls are waterproofed, we're one step closer.
The diagonal line is the approximate soil line, with the grade dropping quickly under the bridge-to-be.
Ed is wiring the shop so he's at least in the shade of our new roof, but it's still hot work. The outlets and light switches are in so inspection is near at hand.
Brad and Erin are on our minds as we drip with sweat and imagine them sailing gloriously over the waters surrounding Vancouver Island.

Paula & Billy

We love showing off our new home-in-the-making -- and Paula and Billy are such a good audience as we walk them through each tiny detail of our adventure.


Let It Rain!

The other side of the building still needs a few pieces of roofing, plus the ridge piece isn't on yet, but mostly the roof is on and ready for weather to happen. Brad is leaving today for Tofino, B.C. for a much needed week-long vacation of kayaking in the Klepper with Erin. His accomplishments these past few weeks have been astounding, with 12 and 14 hour days, day after day.