"I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green." Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from the Old Manse

I spent the entire day, as Josh and Brad installed windows and did a multitude of other building tasks, working in the vegetable garden. I finally was able to get the blueberries planted. They were to go in a bed that was getting construction feet on a regular basis. By adding a border I was able to protect the bed and get them planted. I also finally got in the first batch of lettuce and spinach. Kale, carrots, beets, cabbage and chard seed also went in today. In the cold frame the basil is coming up, as are the tomatoes. The peppers, also in the cold frame, look strong and perky and the peas lined up along the fence are also looking strong. The new fruit trees are leafing out and the strawberries have flowers. God willing and the creek don't rise, a feast is on its way...

Yeah! Windows!

Brad & Josh install the guesthouse windows today.

Josh holds the inside as Brad secures the outside.


New Window Seat Window

Brad and Erin are peering out the newly installed window.

From the inside...


Hands on...

Both Brad and Barry get some hands on pumper truck work as the footings get finished off. In the process Brad gets completely splattered with concrete. The final picture is the finished slab and its relationship to the guesthouse.

Steel Posts get their Footings

The pour yesterday also included pouring the footings for the steel posts. The steel posts had been partially poured, but were topped off yesterday so today the braces were removed. Brad couldn't wait to smooth out the soil and create the "hanging over the pond" look he's envisioned all along.

New Window

The guesthouse window seat window arrived yesterday and, hopefully, will be installed early next week.

Barry & Brad

having enjoyed watching the slab pour, had the remainder of the day to hang out together


Ben, Eric, Brad & Barry

after the main living slab pour.

Marti Bros Pours Slab

From a mess of wet concrete to a beautiful new floor... The finished floor is not yet photographed because I needed to leave for an appointment before it was completed.


from Island Sash and Door visits and brainstorms with Brad on the door between the kitchen and the covered patio in the main living building.


Guesthouse Windows

The windows are getting their coating of exterior paint before they are hung properly. The siding on the guesthouse will be old recycled barn wood so the green was picked to blend with the subtle hues of the aged wood.


working next door at Judy's home yesterday, comes over to our site for a tour.


Thursday is Pour Day.

Here are Brad, Tim, Josh & Barb -- a full crew finishing up the details before our Thursday pour.


Site Visitors

Doug & Jan visit on Saturday.


Snow in Mid-April?

Yep, if you double click on the photo you can see the snow flakes. Here it is mid-April and the snow is still falling in the NW. Ed reports that Lynnwood had three inches on the ground yesterday. I've told my clients for years now, and they usually condescendingly grin at me, that it's not safe to put out tender plants until Mother's Day. Well, this year they're listening to those wise words. Last week, for one day, we had a beautiful spring day and the temperature got into the 70's and we all celebrated the warmth. But it was just a tease. Today, it started out at 38, and has now (9:00) jumped up by two degrees. More snow is forecast. The mittens and hats have come out of the closet again.

One More Layer of Complexity

The final layer of PEX was laid yesterday and is the last layer of detail before the pour. The PEX will carry hot water for heat and is added to a similar layer of PEX at the bottom of this heat sink (5' down), and it joins layers of wire, rebar, electrical conduit, plumbing, sensors, table vaults, insulation, and compacted sand. Yesterday the electrical inspection for the conduit was passed (plumbing passed some weeks ago). The pour is now scheduled for next week for certain. two possible glitches are the weather and running out of PEX for the final "cooling" leg in the outdoor covered area. PEX turns out to be very difficult to locate and to purchase without going through a licensed plumber. And the weather, well, it is a strange spring here in the NW.


It's always such a milestone to reach the window stage of construction. Yesterday, these windows were temporarily hung backwards to allow for priming and painting. We've ordered windows from Smokey Point for years now. A small business in Smokey Point, WA making wood windows as they have for years now. They keep their costs down by sticking to a tried and true design; reduced overhead; no frills like delivery; and avoiding technology when the old way works just fine. All five windows will open so the guesthouse will have an excellent fresh-air connection to the garden.


Buttoning Things Up

The ceiling and walls of the guesthouse are getting insulated and once all the windows and doors are installed we'll be completely enclosed. Tomorrow I pick up our Smokey Point windows. The door to the bridge is going to be hand-crafted so that will take a little longer. The window seat window has been ordered and should be arriving any day now.

Guesthouse Doors

The guesthouse gets new doors opening from the bath to the porch. I found these four, slightly used doors on Craig's List. The fourth door will be used between the shower area and the sink area. Annie is enjoying the view looking into the garden.


Our new little lawn is getting greener and greener, helping to improve our construction site's appeal.

The Complexity of Simplicity

What's interesting about this phase of our main living construction is the effort and time invested to prepare for the floor pour -- initial foundation pour; PEX for heating and cooling; placement of sensors to record the results of the solar heating system; steel, including hours and hours of welding; placement of rebar & wire to hold it all together; insulation, insulation, and more insulation; compacted sand and backfill with hugh machines to assist; plumbing; electrical; cables; forms; table vaults in place, but not before they were machined; roof drainage; foundation drains; truck loads of backfill; inspections by building officials; and other details I've already forgotten. Once the pour happens the details will mostly be hidden and the whole complex mass of pipes and wires and conduit will look like a simple concrete floor. The modified grade will look like it was always just like it is today. Already it is difficult to remember the original site's appearance or the huge initial holes dug for the foundations. I'm continually fascinated by the complexity of design and the application of that design resulting in what appears, on the surface, to be simple. When done thoughtfully all the details of construction are reduced down and down and down to a simple outcome. An outcome that defies the initial complexities. Brad's attention to detail is staggering. I remember when we were working on the barn and preparing to pour the floor. The details were stunning but when the pour was completed it all looked so smooth and clean and tidy. The main living building has so much more detail than the barn, with the solar heat system, for example, that it seems like the barn was "child's play" in retrospect. In a few days the main living floor will look so simple. Even with all our blog documentation we will wonder why it was so time consuming, why it was so difficult, why we worried so...


Linking the living wing with the guest wing

The bridge from the main living to the guesthouse, and back, is now well defined and even walkable, in a tenuous kind of way

Enhancing the Cold Frame

Two stained glass windows we're had for years are now installed in the Cold Frame. Plus, Brad created a lunch spot for getting out of the cool breeze today.


Cold Frame Roof

Brad is putting recycled roofing on the north side of the cold frame roof.

Brad & Barb are finishing up the roofing. The blue tape around the glass is waterproofing to be covered by wood trim.

Seeds have not been planted yet because there is still too much big-foot-construction happening in the vegetable garden, but the lemon tree and bay tree, in pots, are now in the cold frame, which is holding heat nicely. Once the walls are insulated and the soil in the planting bed warms up and acts as thermal mass, the temperature should increase dramatically. Then it's ventilation time.

Main Living Floor

Barry & Brad carefully set the level of the vaults so their tops will be absolutely even with the top of the concrete.

Here are the vaults running down the center of the main living space. Each one is covered with a recycled plastic container to keep it clean.

The wire, rebar and vaults are in place. A few details, like floor outlets, still need to be installed before the pour, but pour day is fast approaching.

Site Visitors

Jim & Annapoorne


Gleaning again...

The super truck just keeps on truckin' and Brad keeps on finding treasurers. Here's yet another load of recycled lumber, roofing, and steel, plus camping gear and climbing gear to top off the load.



Leah & Stella

Main Living Steel

Brad & Tim preparing the steel for welding.

Brad stands on the steel supports forming the main living floor.

Here you can now see the 4 steel posts that will support the east end of the main living roof.