Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First Frost, winter 2008

Late yesterday afternoon our friend Dan S. came around to remind us that a frost was expected; was there anything I needed help with (since Kurt was out of town?). I did a quick check of the Mercantile - all of the paint, wood glue and other liquid (i.e. freezable items) had been thoughtfully moved by Sparky into Kurt's workshop, which has yet to freeze.

Side note: the shop has no wood stove, but has thick recycled denim insulation in the walls (see photo), 12 fablulous inches of blown cellulose insulation - which is simply recyled newspaper torn into teeny tiny pieces and blown, dry, with a low-tech fan into what ever space you want it in - in the ceiling. Additionally, there are two huge glass doors on the south side (see photo). Passive solar was only a theory for me before moving to Dancing Rabbit. But watching how well this building perform in extreme weather is a fantastic demonstration. It is so cool that it really, truly works!.
Recycled Denim insulation. Used in place of fiberglass, it comes in standard industry sizes and rolls out just like conventional insulation. The bonus: it is soft, non-toxic, and won't leave you with asbestos embedded in your lungs!
The day that the crew blew in the cellulose was a scorcher. They started at 5:00 a.m, but things heated up quickly for Kurt, who was manning the hose in the attic. This is a shot of him when he finally came down, covered in sweat and old newspapers. Ewwwww.
You can see the big glass south-facing doors in this shot of the windmill raising. That was a windy, stormy, thunder-and-lightening day. Perfect for putting up a 40' metal pole!
I was grateful for the reminder - I have a turkey fig "tree" (currently 3' tall) that, while it is supposed to be hardy to zone 5 (where we are) it is in a place exposed to wind. So I took a wheelbarrow over to the Mercantile where there is lots of loose straw (very convenient to be building a strawbale building when one needs insulation for one's fig trees!), loaded up, and surrounded the tree with it. I then put a big black plastic bag (left over from my already-gone-four-years Costco-shopping parents) over the whole thing. It seems like a good idea. I'll let you know in the spring how the tree fares.

This morning when I woke up it was 25 chilly degrees outside. Inside our strawbale home it was 60. Yay for good insulation. We still have lots of single pane windows (donated to DR when other folks upgraded to double-pane) which need thermal curtains. The weather outside is certainly motivation to get going on yet another sewing project!

1 comment:

Mother Earth aka Karen Hanrahan said...

what an interesting way to use denim, wish I knew where to send all the odd pairs that seemingly lurk around my house

oh so fabulous picture of your Kurt

we had a freeze here too, it left great icy designs on my windows..