Wednesday, December 27, 2006

First Christmas in the House

Christmas 2006 - the first in the new house - is already over. We feel lucky to have had our children all here this year with all the chaos. It is too bad that neither of the "Grandmas" could come, but neither does very well on the floor. It was a quiet Christmas with a traditional tree from the lot and few decorations.
We had pizza in the Tulikivi and a walk in the woods on a warm Christmas morning. Overall a success.
There are a few pictures in the Gallery.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Maine Metal-roof torture.

An interesting effect of a metal roof and the passive solar design in an ice storm.

About 1:30 am this morning, we heard a crash that brought both of us and all three dogs out of a nice winter sleep with a vengeance. What? could be some wood checking in the new house? A couple of shakes from the dogs, a roll over from us and everyone back to sleep. For 10 minutes - another crreech - crash!
Back up - Sophie at the bedside to let me know something just isn't right (she is my nervous Nelly about any loud noises - thunder, gunshots etc.) Then the third - brrrrrrr-crash! Aha - ice sliding off the metal roof in sheets and landing against the aluminum at the top of the foundation - due to the southern breeze.
And on it went - rain coming down - freezing on the roof - sliding down the slope and crashing on the aluminum. A fantastic method of natural sleep deprivation. At 2:00 am, I gave up and took the whimpering Sophie to the living room. Banjo and Milos managed to groan at each disturbance, but go back to sleep. Every new bang, Sophie would look up at me and I would reassure her and back to dozing in my chair. At 4:15, I finally went back to bed as it seemed to have slowed down - or I just got so tired it didn't matter. So, build a steep metal roof at your peril.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tulikivi Burns

Before you can use a masonry stove there are several items you need to plan for. Once the stove was assembled we had to wait several days for the mortar to dry before we could start breaking it in. Break-in consisted of a series of fires starting with just kindling and working up to a normal fire.

Normally the stove gets fed twice per day. You can also double fire the stove where once the first fire has burned down you put wood in for the second fire, otherwise you wait about 8-12 hours before the next fire. A Tulikivi masonry stove is different in concept than a cast iron stove. You feed them based on the weight of the wood. To calculate the weight of the wood you should burn you have to know how much your stove weighs. Since our stove is 6,700 pounds you divide by 100 and get 67 pounds and then multiple that by 1.5 to get the maximum amount of wood per day. Ideally the company says you should burn 1-1.2 pounds per 100 pounds of stove per day. For two firings this comes out to about 40-50 pounds of wood at a time. The weather hasn't been cold enough to really do that yet. Like any wood stove you open the air controls and dampers before you start the wood but unlike a metal stove you never slow the fire down. You want to burn the stove wide open and then when the fire is out close the dampers to keep heat from going up the chimney.

The bake oven in our stove will warm food from a fire burned in the main chamber but if you want to bake in the oven you build the fire in the oven itself. When you burn in the oven the same rule about the weight of the wood applies plus you should only burn in one of the chambers at a time. Tonight we burned in the bake oven for the first time.

It takes quite awhile for the stove to warm all that soapstone - but when it starts to purr, it is a fantastic heat and it extends for hours and hours. With the sun and a burn this am, the radiant did not run at all today and the temps were in the high 20s. Great!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Holidays

Holidays are upon us quickly in 2006. There aren't many cards leaving the Betts house this year - every year it seems to be less and less. I changed jobs last December (same type of technology work K-12 just further north in Maine). I am enjoying this new district, but the job is more than busy as my colleague is undergoing back surgery to repair the results of a previous surgery last July. (no comment on the medical system). Happily, the family is all well. If you are reading this, you know David and I have moved to Industry, Maine - nearer the middle of the state. We have been building our dream energy efficient home since summer and documenting it in this blog. The Betts Berm became livable just in time to escape the Maine winters - although it will be a while until it is complete (if you can ever say your house is complete).
The boys are fine and involved with their lives. Ryan and his wife, Robyn, are presently in Portugal for a short vacation with some friends. They plan on stopping in Germany to visit our old haunts and to see some of Robyn's family (her mother is German) on their way home. During their trip, we are dog-sitting Banjo, their labradoodle. She and our youngest leonberger, Milos, are close buddies and tend to get into a bit of mischief daily. Micah is getting ready to experience his internship before finishing up in Medical Technology. All three plan to visit us at Christmas. The lack of flooring and finished bedrooms make it a little difficult for extended stays. They don't seem to mind a few nights in the sleeping bags.
David is deep into finishing - he has tiled the laundry, kitchen and bathroom floors. I never know what to expect when I come home - Yesterday, he was doing some wallboard work. Most of our wallboard is eventually going to be covered with tongue and groove - but there are a few places that we will just prepare and paint.
Changing jobs, moving and building made 2006 an intense year with little time for breaks. I did take a few jaunts with Milos to show him at Leonberger Specialties. I enjoy the people and the dogs even if I'm not really a dogshow type gal. In August, we visited Ohio for David's mothers 80th birthday. My mom also turns 80 on December 28th - they are both doing very well. We just wish it wasn't quite such a long trip between Maine and Ohio.
We hope that life is good to all of you and wish everyone a happy and peaceful 2007. You will find pictures in our Gallery - if you have a website, please send your URL (or put it in a comment here). We would love to visit it. Ho Ho Ho, Sharon and David

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tale of a Tulikivi

It took 5 days and 3 men, but the Tulikivi is now finished and sitting proudly in the center of the living area. It was quite a process assembling those 6,700 pounds of soapstone into the fabulous monolith. I took lots of pictures trying to get the idea of how it went up. I have them in the Gallery. You will find them HERE!
Remember, you can click the little 2 and 3 at the bottom of each page to see the next page. Or use the arrows on the bigger pictures (double click on the first one to enlarge it).

Day 1 - worked all day to get the base course level. Our concrete slab is anything but even and this turned out to be quite a challenge.

Day 2 - mortared in the first course and layed up the next level

Day 3 - another course and the puzzle that is the trail for flame and smoke.

The heat goes up through the openings and down around the sides before exiting at the bottom back under the bench and up the chimney - quite the serpentine path.

Day 4 - more courses - both firebox and oven door openings are now evident. I am looking forward to that first "stone oven" pizza.

Day 5 - finishing with the final course, the insulating and capping. They were very meticulous at the finishing - every joint was inspected. It is marvelous.

Enjoy the pictures - we will enjoy the warmth. First small fire is due to be tested in 3 days.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tulikivi delivered

The Tulikivi was delivered today - 6,700+ pounds of soapstone in a million pieces. The ultimate jigsaw puzzle - I saw the plans and am glad that I'm not putting it together. Starting on Wednesday morning and for the week following that, 3 men will be working to build this gem in our living room. We purchased this beauty from Maine Masonry Stove Company. I am quite excited about the end result and will document it nightly here.

Today it was sunny although temps stayed in the 20s. The sun and our passive solar southern exposure counteracted the temperature and we were able to leave the door open while they hauled stone without freezing or using the furnace either. Gotta love it!

Stay tuned for the process... a few more pictures in the Gallery. (remember to click on any picture to make it larger)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Watch that thermometer

Since we blew in all that insulation - wonder how we are doing? Today was the first day the furnace came on for the radiant heat zones! Impressive. We haven't had extremely cold weather, but it has gotten into the high 20s at night and we are cozy here in the berm.

All it takes is a bit of sun during the day and those thermostats jump right up to the 80 mark. I can see where we may be running around in shorts if we have a sunny week this winter. But - no complaints from me.

We do notice that when the temp does begin to drop, it slows down as it approaches around 68 degrees and then stays fairly stable for 6 - 8 hours. There is one more bit of insulation to install which will wait until next Spring. We need to put the styrofoam from the outside walls out and cover it with stone. I believe it goes out 6 - 8 feet. It is quite a process, but looks to be well worth the effort. I will update occassionally as the weather chills.

We can cook

Goodbye soup and microwave pizzas -- The range is in place and the cabinet knobs all mounted. I discovered that the bottom drawer in our dual fuel range (gas top and electric oven) is actually a warming drawer! That will take some testing. The only thing left in the kitchen is the countertops and backsplash area. We are still planning on slate (mottled purple) for this. I do like the combination. There are a few more pictures here in the Gallery.

You can see the brown tile on the alcove shot - it seems to blend very nicely with the hickory and black appliances. I believe we have a winner there.

Most of our dishes are now unpacked and loaded. I still have all the sideboard things, but we won't be unpacking those until the dining room floor is done.

So - moving on.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Warm and cozy

The attic insulation is done! We ended up with about 18 inches of blown in cellulose insulation.
We chose loose-fill cellulose for several reasons. In reading, it seems that it out performs fiberglass batts. But, even better, cellulose contains more than 75% recycled material, primarily newsprint. So, it not only saves energy, it helps the environmental waste disposal challenges.
Rented a blower and Ken (contractor) and Dave broke up the bundles into the hopper while they snaked a long tube to Jason (works for Ken) in the attic. Jason was dressed in a paper coverall and all wore masks. The material looks a lot like the padding in those envelopes for pictures. And it goes pretty much everywhere. Especially when the hose plugs and then pops off the hopper - blowing the garage in the process.
You can read more about this type of insulation at the Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association (

The good news - the furnace has not come on today (temps are in the high 30s) and we seem to have the "excess" all swept up - at least what we can see.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More plumbing

OK, two blogs in 3 days - not bad. When I got home from work today, the kitchen sink, dishwasher, bathroom sink and commode in the second bath were all in working order. Of course, we forgot to buy a seat for the new toilet which makes it a bit tedious to use, but.....

I really like the sink - it is huge. To demonstrate, I washed some dishes in a medium sized washpan and placed the draining rack beside it - check this out. I can make the mother-of-all-salads in this baby.

All the cabinet hardware is now in and should be mounted soon. Finally, I hope to hear that the kitchen tile is ready for pickup this week. I am anxious to get that range in place.

Click for more pictures of these new items in the Gallery (as usual).

Oh yes - if the rain slows down (we are under deluge again), they should blow in the attic insulation on Thursday. We are following passive solar recommendations and using blown cellulose (15 inches). That should slow down the propane burning.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Moved in - Update

November 11 - Veteran's Day and an update from the BettsBerm. We have been very busy the last two weeks - moved into the berm (short video of trailer), and therefore lost our internet connectivity. But, as of Friday we are back online and in contact with the world.

What has happened since our last posting - this will be a long one.
Outside - the siding is all in place except for one gable end - a pretty light gray which blends very well with the metal roof and the back garage. I will get some good shots later this week after the forecast rain. Today, Dave finished off the driveway with gravel and stone. That should make it cleaner and as soon as the siding is out of the garage, I will be able to park inside.

The kitchen - cabinets are in place and beautiful. Mid-Maine Furniture did a fantastic job - they are variegated hickory and the wood patterns are intriguing. I have posted some pictures in the Gallery. I also have the hardware now and later next week it should be mounted. I had to order the drawer pulls since I chose the old fashioned cupped pulls. The dishwasher is unpacked and the farmers sink in place for the plumber Monday. Tomorrow Dave and I hope to mount the oven hood although it won't be functional yet. The range needs to be connected by the propane company (electric oven and gas burners). We need to make a template for the slate countertops and get those ordered. We picked out the slab of slate when we got the sink.

The bathrooms - we have been soaking in the soaker-tub every night and the sink is in place (also awaiting the plumber). Dave has tiled the vanity top and the floor of the shower bath. That one is dark green slate with winter gray grout. We are searching for a slate sealer that won't yellow or hurt the stone but give it a little shine. Know of anything?

It's warm! The radiant heat is very comfortable and slowly drying out the dampness leftover from so much plaster and tiling. We are not holding the daily solar gain though and the furnace is running often. Of course, that will be helped when we finally get the insulation in the ceiling. We are also thinking of making use of some quilted window coverings in the evenings to hold heat inside. I am doing some research on those.

Next decisions: door styles, floors in living room, study and bedrooms, and the wall between the back splash and cupboards in the kitchen.

Guess that is it for tonight - please check out the Gallery. I will try to be more prompt on future pictures and postings.
Last Gallery Uploads

Saturday, October 28, 2006

First Flush - and Tiling

We have had the first flush! and the slate and tile are being layed. Yesterday Ryan (who came for a few days) and Dave set the soaking tub. Since the plumber had been here this week, we now have a working bathroom. Today, Ryan is working on the wall which is tongue and groove. Dave is laying tile in the laundry room which will then be ready for setting the washer and dryer. I posted a couple of new pictures - check the Gallery and click on Last Uploads.

Today, is just one huge rain storm - as a matter of fact, there was just a flood warning on the radio for nearly all of Maine. We have had an extreme amount of rain this year - ugh.

If all goes well this week, we may be able to "take up residence" before my birthday.
Great present.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

October 22 update

Progress on the house - things have been happening (although not all obvious for pictures). The plasterers are gone and things are slowly drying out. They finished all the concrete walls and taped the ceilings. We plan on putting wood on the ceilings eventually through most of the house. There is one wall between the two bedrooms that will also be tongue and groove - so it is still just a stud wall. But it really looks like a house and we like the layout even more.

The radiant heat is working! First we buried all those PEX tubes in 8 inches of concrete and then we attached water (nerve-wracking), but only two or three very slow leaks at joints in the copper - yippee! It took about 12 hours to heat up the slab - it seems to be exactly as people had told us: a very cozy heat! It is so nice to open up the door to warmth - I can't wait to move in.

Friday, the first tile (black slate) was layed in one of the bathrooms - the soaking tub surround in the same room is also ready for grout (it has dark gray slate). Looks good. We plan on having this room usable first. Starting to count the days until they haul away the green porta-potty. Break out a good bottle of wine and some brie!

Let's see the near future -- appliances are here and will be placed as possible. They are now in the hallway behind the kitchen. Kitchen cabinets should be done in another week - Tulikivi may have to wait until around Thanksgiving as he has three installations and we are one that can be flexible. Plumber will be here next week to finish the tub and commode in the bathroom.
We have the tile for the laundry and the other bath, so they will be next. Our absolute drop-dead livability date is Nov. 1st - snow showers are forecast for the coming week. brrrrrr!

New pictures in Gallery.

Whew - we had quite a gale last night. It did in a lot of trees and seems to have taken my ISP offline for now. I am going to write this and post it later. Been a long while since I put any updates out. Last weekend, I was in Littleton, MA for the Northeast Leonberger Club Specialty with Milos. He did a good job and took his class (Novice Dog) and then came in second in the next round - Reserve Winner Dog. I was proud. I posted his results and a small picture on "his page". Also some shots in the Gallery.

There was a funny in the hotel. He does very well staying with me, but in the middle of the night I woke up to his growling. He is a noisy sleeper and dreams of porcupines and deer alot - but this time, it seemed urgent. It also was slowly increasing in volume and deepness. I switched on the light and broke into laughter. There he stood - stretched to his full height - full ruffled down the back - tail up and curled - growling at ---- his reflection in the full length mirror on the closet doors. He must have woken up to see another leo in his room!! When the light came on, he realized what was going on and just drooped -- with the funniest look on his face. What a clown.

Winter is going to be pretty quiet for both him and Sophie. I do want to get him into some class again, but it is difficult to find things here in the "Maine woods".

Monday, October 09, 2006

Milos the Lover

There have been so many adventures with Milos that I felt I should post just what a lover he really is. Every night, he insists on giving Dave a goodnight hug and kiss - not a trivial matter from a leonberger.
This weekend, I am taking him to the New England Regional Leonberger Specialty. He will show in the Novice category - wish us luck. I kid that he is short on both ends as his nose is a bit blocky and his tail just meets minimum length.
Remember that you can enlarge the pictures in the blog by clicking on them.


They are very busy plastering and it is a messy business. They arrive around 6 am - Milos shows exactly how we all feel about that. Finishing the walls is starting to make the house really take shape. It is quite interesting and a long process. We have a challenging house with the concrete topped with framing - they are doing their best. First they "paint" the walls with a bonding agent, then apply a base coat (some times several to smooth the flaws). That is all followed with a final coat of white plaster. They work extremely well as a team - but, there is plaster everywhere. Thank goodness the first thing they did was cover all the floors.

You can view other pictures by clicking the word: Gallery.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Chimney and Garage Door

It is starting to really look like a house - the chimney is complete and the garage door installed. I am enthralled with the chimney cap and haven't figured out what it really looks like though. The garage door is one of the better insulated models which meant there wasn't much color choice. We went with a sand which should blend in nicely.

Next week will see more of the plaster / wallboard crew. They have the board pretty much up (much of it is cement board as we are plastering alot). I need to do some documenting on that before they cover it all up.

Haven't had any strange visitors since the moose came by last week one day. The dogs went crazy in their pen and one of the workers looked down the lane and saw a bull moose over-looking the construction. I'll bet they wonder what in the world we are trying to accomplish. I took a couple of shots from his position and it is a nice view.
Check out the new entries in the Gallery.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's the little things

Haven't posted on the house for awhile -- the interlude of leonberger poetry should make you smile though.

We have been working on those pesty inside things: electricity, plumbing, chimney, circulation fans, catwalks and insulation. Not very pretty for pictures, but important for comfort later. Here is an update:
We bought and installed in the rafters a rangehood exhaust fan. Now, I think it is a good thing we have big dogs and no cats because this baby should suck up small animals with no problem. The RangeMaster 11oo cfm fan. It is so large, it had to go up the chimney opening as it won't go through the trusses.

The electrician is finished until the walls are covered. We are having most of them plastered since we have those concrete ones to work with. The plasterers are scheduled to arrive this week sometime. Dave has placed insulation in most of the interior walls. We did that between bedrooms in Wells and found it to be a life saver for sound deadening. So, we went the entire way this time.

The chimney is up to the roof and ready to go through -- if the weather dries out, that will happen tomorrow or Tuesday. It looks good and finally I can see exactly how it works into the floorplan.

No air conditioning -- but we have 3 whole house fans. The switch panel is going to look like StarTrek command, but should move some air. Of course, the bathroom fans, dryer vent and attic fans (one at each end of the house) also all needed to be ready before the plastering. The plumber is coming tomorrow to finish all those connections and we still have some work to be done on the radiant heating system. The pipes and water heater are in place, some manifolds still need to be connected. This should also take place this week.

The concrete walls are not as tall as our ceilings (8 1/2 feet). So, there is framing above each of them. For now, we are having these covered with plaster board and plaster. I am afraid they might crack with settling -- we have plans for decorative wood in case that happens. Also, we are planning several wood walls which won't be finished on move-in. Some ceilings are also going to be wood, these will be covered with wallboard for now. Have to be able to blow in the insulation before winter.

Dave built numerous catwalks in the attic / truss space. With deep insulation, that was the only way to traverse that space if any of the above mentioned fans give us trouble.

I saw the kitchen cabinets (the varigated hickory was a good idea and they are coming along well). The appliances are ordered for delivery on or about Oct. 10th. Soon my weekly laundramat visits will end!
So - the little things have been keeping us busy. I'll post more later.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

First Overnight Guests

Friday they placed the windows and exterior doors. And Saturday Ryan and Robyn came to visit - along with Banjo, their cute labradoodle. We had a beautiful weekend with just a few Saturday night showers. And best of all -- they were the first to sleep in the new house. Of course they did so on air mattresses and sleeping bags. Banjo used the exercise pen and Milos's bed. They said it was a great place to wake up with light streaming in the new windows. Thank goodness for an understanding family.
The view is out our bedroom.

Windows are for watching

Through a window I watch, windows are For watching - Square pieces of life Ever changing. ~Donovan Holtz
Yes, we have windows. The shorter ones are casement and open for ventilation. The larger ones are simply sliding door replacement glass which seems to be the best for passive solar installations like ours. We also have exterior doors. You can see the front door about 1/3 of the way from the right side.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Adventures with 2 Leos in the Maine Woods

Episode 5 -
A beautiful evening with a crescent moon and a sky full of stars. Dave is off to town for groceries, I am reading my favorite weblogs and the dogs are resting peacefully on the floor beside me - a cool breeze wafts in the screen door.
A twitch of a nose and a flip of an ear - out through the screen and down the lane after an intruder. We are off on another Milos adventure - What will it be I wonder as I scramble into my shoes, grab the leashes and flashlight and join the chase. There are so many options (and not many welcome):
Our friend, Porcy (episode 1); the ever present deer (episode 2); Feisty Fox or Mangy Moose (episode 3) - probably not the quail or turkeys (episode 4) as they usually sleep at night. Which is something good leonbergers should do also.
Perhaps a new neighbor. The roofer had a black bear run across in front of him on Wednesday am just down the road, not so sure I want to greet him in the trees; there is that skunk that leaves a hint of his presence every week or so on the wind, I know I don't want to meet him in the trees.

By this time I can hear the chase in the brush - thank goodness it isn't wet and there are few briars this time. Into the depths of the Maine night I plunge - follow the sounds - follow the dogs (again). A glance of Milos just ahead. My lucky night - he lost the scent and is doubling back to pick it up. Instead I pick him up. At least he is contrite this time - goes willingly on the leash. No Sophie to be seen or heard, but she will find me -- I only worry about the skunk....
So, back to the trailer. UH OH -- flash the light ahead -trees, flash the light behind - trees, flash the light up -branches and stars. Listen - why didn't I have the radio on? silence.
That trailer has to be close, I only was on the hunt for about 10 minutes. But, which way? Do I have to wait for Dave and in embarassment call for him to direct me back?
Anything but that - these jaunts of mine with my dogs are becoming a great topic of fun and I don't want to add to the events.
So, head first into the trees with Milos in tow -- then, there is Sophie and she heads passively through the trees. I follow her and in just a few feet come out on our well trodden path.
Episode over -- wish I knew which friend we were trying to greet.... resting up - you never know when opportunity may knock:

Friday, September 01, 2006

Interesting visit

Had an interesting day Wednesday - started with a helicopter hovering around the lot. It was black and obviously not a "life flight" waiting for a roofing accident, ha. After a time of speculation, Dave had to go to town for some errands and left the workers on site.

When he returned, it was to a lot of "ribbing" - seems that two ATV's arrived from the back of the lot down our trails. Now this isn't that unusual in rural Maine. But, the piles of marijuana that were strapped to their machines were!!

Yep, the DEA -- wondering who and where the landowner was. Now, I didn't see their haul -- but the reports are very large lush mature plants -- which had obviously been tended. The agents said they would be back, but we haven't seen them since. I kinda hope they do as we would like to know just where this "farming" was going on.... Perhaps those cars that drive up the lane and turn around aren't just young-love.

Maine - the way life oughta be.
Maine Medical Marijuana Act
(Approved 11/2/99)

Marijuana, locally grown and imported from Canada, Massachusetts, and New York, remains the primary drug of abuse in Maine. quote from

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Roofing continues

They are working on the metal roof - it is a dark slate color and looking great. They cut the metal on site and up it goes. The front slope is now finished and the back started. Check out the shots Here.

Also all but one interior wall are now framed and we picked the light locations tonight. I only took two pictures as they don't show much - but you can see them in the Gallery.

Things are moving along - as they should since it is getting into the 40s some nights. Our goal is to be in there by sometime in October. I just ordered the faucets this week and all the bathroom fixtures are sitting in the garage - we have linen and silver colors. Should look good with slate floors. We are planning for circulating air as much as possible and just purchased several attic and good bathroom fans. Hoorah for the internet stores.

So, that's it tonight - I'm tired and ready for that bed. There is a story to be blogged - but you will have to wait until tomorrow.

Blogged with Flock

Friday, August 25, 2006

Roofing continues

The roof is now covered with Advantex (a tongue and groove covering supposed to be better than plywood) and Ice/Rain Shield. -- from their website:
Grace Ice & Water Shield offers premium leak protection for sloped roofs in climates subject to ice dams and wind-driven rain. It is applied to the roof deck prior to the application of the finished roof covering, which is most often shingles but can also be tile or metal.

With our low sloping back and weather in Maine (the way life oughta be), we covered the entire north section. We are using the same dark gray metal roofing as is now on the garage. The roofer is scheduled for next week!

I have a few pictures published in the Gallery if you are interested.


I have become adicted to fresh wild blackberries!! As soon as I get home, I grab my bucket and head for the woods. This has been a bumper crop year -- in about 10 minutes, you can have desert. Huge blackberries that are juicy and sweet.
My only problems are coated in fur -- yes, I have two berryburgers. I took some pictures just to prove what a challenge it is to fill my bucket.
I have a short movie, which may be hard for some of you to get working as it uses wmv format. The same pictures are in the Gallery.
Enjoy --

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Life in Industry

We've come a long way over the years. Lived in 10 places since we were married, but finally have settled in Maine - the way life oughta be. This is an area to record some of our friendly wildlife.

Trusses are up

When we returned from the big weekend (Dorothy's 80th BD party), the trusses were stacked and ready to go. Today, the boom truck arrived. The hole actually looks like a house now. I have added pictures to the gallery.
The plywood will be added tomorrow and the transfer area from the house to the garage will be added too. Dave is talking to the roofer as I type -- it is starting to be fun.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

wood and earth

The framing has started - and the excavator has been working on the grading and retaining walls. What a difference a little lumber can make in your perspective.

Building a house "in a hole" can lead to some interesting grading issues. We luckily have a talented excavator - and Dave has a great eye for where the water will go. Living in the 'swamp lands' of Ohio probably helped.

You can see the lawn taking shape daily. And Maine rocks are perfect for retaining walls.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Concrete Done

The concrete is finally complete -- You can see the step down to the garage floor (which took another couple of trucks). They have even started the framing for the south wall. The results are laying on the house floor. As you can see, we are finally having some nicer weather. But, we still get showers about daily. Now that all those layers are covered, it is difficult to remember what all is under that slab.

Monday, July 31, 2006

45 yards later

The trucks started rolling in around 8:30 today - and 45 yards of concrete later, we have a floor. The house is completed, but they plan on pouring the attached garage floor on Thursday. We ended up going with 8 inches due to the need to cover all the paraphanalia that is incorportated into this slab.
Stone, 2 sheets of black plastic, 2 layers of styrofoam, rebar (on 2 inch chairs), the PEX tubing -- and then we placed styrofoam around the concrete walls to separate the floor from them and thus deter heat loss.
The pour went well - the last load was a bit wet, and the concrete crew is presently working to make certain that ends up the way we want it. Dave was in the middle of the job allong with 5 others.
The garage siding (on the detached building) was also making major steps today and is nearly completed -- gray siding with white trim. All are documented in our Gallery. It was great to be home and see all the progress. I still can't believe we are on the move. As a matter of fact, the contractor left to order some lumber and we should see a start on the south wall framing next week.
Progress is sweet.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Long time - no postings. We had a delay with the progress on the slab the last week or so. Finally, Dave ended up laying the rebar himself (with the help of a neighbor teenager). Today, we had the heating contractors and they have the radiant heating tubes (PEX tubing) nearly finished. I meant to put a link on the previous post for information on the Slab-Shield we used. But forgot so check out this site if you are interested. We read alot on radiant heat and PEX was most accepted as the best material for the slab. Cross-linked Polyethylene.
There are a few more pictures in the Gallery - and check out Dave's wall.

So, now if we can just get the rebar chairs to lift the rebar above the slab shield, we can POUR THE FLOOR!!! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Major Preparation

We are spending a lot of preparation time on the floors and walls. If you want to live in a bermed house, you need to insulate yourself in all the correct places. So, the concrete is first covered with two layers of heavy black plastic, followed by two layers of styrofoam.
After major plumbing lines are in place, the floor is covered with stone, two layers of plastic, the styrofoam and then Slab Shield. After that, we call the concrete team back for the rebar before the heating contractors come to lay the radiant heating piping. WHEW. Documentation with pictures in the Gallery.

Milos Marvelous Adventures - more

Milos' Marvelous Adventures continued...

Last week, I was off to San Diego (a beautiful city, by the way) for the National Educational Computer Conference. I was set to leave at 4 am from the lot as my flight was out of Portland at 7:30. It was July 3rd and fireworks were scheduled for that night at a farmer's field just above our place - we were planning on watching from the comfort of our armchairs. I had just returned from a hike with the dogs and fed them for the night. They were resting quietly when the "Nose" got a whif of something else on four legs. I feared that pesky porcupine, but now believe it was a deer.

Off he went - no shouts (or threats) penetrated that big head. Into the woods around one of the brush piles. I took off after him with visions of bogs and spines in my head. Dave headed around the pile the other way. Bouncing like a kangaroo with his nose in the air -- deeper into the woods. Now, it is July and you can only see about 10 feet past the lanes with all the moisture this year. I called, Dave called; even Sophie whined - but the boy was on another adventure.

And the search began -- we drove up and down the road looking for traces and calling his name. The traffic was heavy due to those fireworks and I feared that if he did head across the road, he would either be hit or picked up. No Milos. Back to the lot and after a mosquito spray shower, into the woods. We walked, called, and whistled for another 1/2 hour -- No Milos. Back into the van for Sophie and me and up and down the road several more times. Dave jumped on his tractor and started up and down all the paths. Remember we have 140 acres and to the north and west the trees go on forever over the foothills. Was it a moose? a deer? or a skunk (I guess we would know that by now).

Darkness was falling and No Milos. I drove the van back to the log landing and parked -- wandered around until Dave came out of the last lane and we pow-wowed. Finally decided that I would contact the animal control officer, but not much else we could do. I couldn't imagine leaving the next morning without knowing..... Turned back to the van and -- There's Milos. I didn't have the camera, but he had obviously had a party in the old beaver bog. I'll leave his appearance to your imagination -- but he was back.

Since, he has only known the end of the leash and his pen. Wonder how those bird dog training devices work?

Oh, the conference was marvelous - I even blogged it for both eSchool News and ISTE (International Society of Technology Educators - the sponsors). If you are into technology and schools, you can read the entries by clicking on the titles.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Porcupine 1, Milos 0

Yep, we ended the day with an encounter of the worst kind.... (from Wikipedia) Porcupines are rodents best known for their coat of sharp spines, or quills, that defend them from predators. The porcupines include the fourth largest rodent, after the capybara, mara, and beaver,

Think he looks cute? - try him from a foot away with quills a shaking and Milos barking in complete abandon with no idea of what is to come. I thought he was after a chipmunk when he took off down the lane - but chipmunks don't usually head into the swampy, overgrown, rocky part of the lot with no access -- or it didn't have access until now. It soon became obvious from the frantic yelps and growls that this was no chipmunk.

So, off I went through the brush and brine to find my "boy" in a standoff with a very large male porcupine. I screamed - and I mean screamed No everytime Milos made a lunge/ This histerical screaming seemed to deter him just a bit. I really think he thought I was cheering him on. Here I am trying to grab his collar and miss the tail myself. We are all three working around a small tree in the muck and mud with large rocks and brush (including blackberry briars). Finally, I managed to lunge and get his collar landing on my belly with the porcupine about a foot away from us both. Milos was out of control - and I held on with both hands. Thank goodness, Mr. Porci was thrilled to have this maniac long haired idiot under minimal control and ambled back deeper into the muck and goo. The slow disappearance of this unusual toy, gave Milos his second wind just as I was starting to get up and find a footing. Back on my belly with arms outstretched and uttering threats of slow death for my previously loved pup, I got him stopped and finally he realized that Mom was hanging off his collar and she seemed to be a bit upset.

He did a double take after the disappearing needle-ball, deciding I was not going to release him for anything (I think I could do pretty well in a rodeo after this). He decided to settle a bit and come with me and we thrashed our way back to the path.

No harm to the porcupine except for a thrill of the night -
I lost my work glasses - never to be found again in that mess. Milos had a handfull of quills in his nose and snout. I immediately pulled as many as I could with my fingers as I know they expand more as the warm in the body.

Then flagged down Dave who was working on the tractor for some help. We managed to extract them all with only a minimal of blood. Neither dog is going off leash for awhile -----
A day on the homestead.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday - June 25, 06 update

Beautiful day with daisies blooming everywhere, mosquitoes singing in the woods, sun shining and a slight breeze. Dave has the plumbing runs covered and is working on evening out the drainage area in front of the frost wall. The general contractor is on a short vacation until after July 4th - so, plumbing is about all that will be worked on. No new pictures.
I took the dogs on a long hike this morning - noticed ATV tracks along some of our paths. We don't care if they use our main trail to pass through our lot as it has been a major thoroughfare for neighbors a long time before we arrived. We don't want to make an ATV park though and may post some "friendly" signs here and there. The animals are our biggest concern - moose, beaver, deer, hare, skunks, porcupine, turkeys, quail, coyote, and even a possibility of black bear are just a few that we share the area with - and we want to keep them as natural as possible. Last week, I even saw a turtle on the main log landing. It is the time of year that the females move around. Two weeks ago it was a beaver that came face to face with us at the old bog. That was a young male trying to find his new home. I wonder where he ended up? We also have run into quite alot of deer and scat from lots of other animals, but I haven't yet seen a moose. They leave tracks everywhere -- Dave had one come directly through the lot while both dogs were out. He said Sophie headed for the trailer and Milos wanted to chase it -- he had both their collars and was nearly pulled in two. Wish I could have seen that one.
So, everything is as it should be on the homestead.
Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Plumbing and insulation

The concrete forms on the walls are finally gone. Today, the plumber worked (along with Dave and Ken, the general contractor). Having a concrete floor and walls means alot of planning and a slab full of "stuff". We have decided on the drainage now -- they cast 'weep' drains into the frost wall and will have a perimeter system carrying away any accumlating water. The excavator said today that it is actually possible the water will find another way over the years and become completly dry. Dave is also putting a back-up sump pump system in just in case. Those years of waking up to floating shoes and socks when he was a teen ager in Bowling Green, Ohio certainly taught him to be careful.
I will try to get a few pictures of the inside of the walls tomorrow night - although I have an appointment with the cabinet maker to finalize the kitchen (much more fun that pipes and drains).
And there is more good news -- we finally have a working phone. We had a two phone system in our previous house and it works here. The base unit is in the garage and the extension sitting in the trailer -- I just talked to my mother and it worked great. I'm excited. Internet and phone - what's next? The dogs are having a great time watching the construction project. Milos is quite impressed with the speed of earth moving going on.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Pouring Water and Walls

Finally some progress. We got the water tests back and everything was within standards. The manganese is right on acceptable and iron is about 50% of acceptable. However, it is actually very soft which is a strange combination to me. We will probably put a filter on, but at least we don't have to worry about radon or arsenic (very expensive to clean). So, another hurdle crossed.
And -- we have walls!! They poured using a pump truck (there are pictures in the Gallery) -- it took 6 trucks to finish the job. It is strange to look out front and see the shape of actual rooms. Some of the forms are already off and I imagine the rest will go this weekend.
Notice the plastic pipes sticking out around the top. We were trying to figure out how to wire on concrete when someone suggested casting the boxes in the concrete. So each of those pipes is an electrical box. Hope they all managed to stay intact. Dave is working his way around the inside "sanding" off the bumps as we hope to plaster most walls. As he says, "innies" are ok - but "outties" just would look dumb. One of the concrete workers suggested a masonry file (or something). It works very well.

So, things are happening -- still no phone, but I won't go down that road as I am feeling pretty good tonight. I am off to a conference Sun - Tues (I will come home at night) and then flying to San Diego on July 3rd - July 7th to present at another one. So, postings may continue to be far between.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

counters and tubs

Slatea natural Maine product.

I had always thought my final countertops would be made of granite (also a Maine product). However, Dave thinks it just looks to “hard” and commercial. So, we have been investigating soapstone to match the Tulikivi. But, I just came across something that I really like – slate!!!!!!!!

It is extracted just an hour or so from our lot and looks very interesting. Check out:

We are also on the lookout for my bathtub – I plan on soaking away the years eventually (and pounds??). This place looks interesting:

The plan is to take Friday off – rain is forecast, so it shouldn't hold Dave back on any work. Off we go to checkout slate and tubs. I'll let you know if we finalize any selections.

BTW – still no phone or internet and the walls are postponed until next week. We still have electricity and footers though.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Footers - concrete phase 1

We have a footer and I can now see the room shapes and orientation. Everything always looks so small at this stage. The "hole" seems to have a leak and continues to stay wet. Dave says they will handle that and it isn't a problem. Such fun to be able to see the outline of the house.
Check out the Gallery.

I also found a local slate quarry. They do some nice looking sinks and backsplashes -- has anyone ever done anything in slate? I am really into natural and this looks interesing.
Click the picture to check it out:

Monday, May 22, 2006

Off topic - family update

Going to make a family update post today -- not much happening at the lake (I mean lot). It is nice to have electricity, but would be better if the rain stopped. Dave has wired some lights in the garage now, too.

We drove down to Wells on Saturday for lunch with Micah. He looks great and has already got another car (his was "drowned" in the flooding last week). He bought (or is buying....) a 2003 Chevy Malabu in dark blue. It is in excellent shape with all the options (sunroof, leather seats etc.) School was over for the summer for him and he says he believes he has about 3 more classes to go. It was great to see him -- now to meet up with Ryan and Robyn soon. I believe they spent the weekend in NYC. I did get a picture of "Banjo" -- she is really growing.

We are fine and enjoying having power from a line instead of the generator. Last night, Dave hooked up our little TV and we got 4 -5 stations quite well. I do have an order in for the cable (have to keep up with those Sox). We are still waiting for the phone service, too.

There is a chance that the concrete group will appear sometime today with forms. I hope so -- if not, Dave was going to make a run to the laundrymat (he is so great). I am researching countertops trying to decide on granite or soapstone. Wish I had some references.
Hopefully, there will be more on the construction front later this week........

Friday, May 19, 2006

Let the light shine in!

We have electricity. After numerous glitches (plug wired wrong for trailer, Central Maine Power taking their own sweet time, etc.), we now are powered. No more waiting to turn on the coffeepot in the morning until the generator is started -- and no more growling generator noises all evening long. This is a step toward civilization. I feel like we have joined the 21st century with running water and power -- that portapotty and those black flies are still a bit of a trial, but whatever.
It is still raining :(

We have a minor swimming hole, but the concrete people say not to worry. They may try to start setting some forms tomorrow. We are off to Wells for lunch with Micah then and won't be around though. I'll get some pictures if they get started.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Muddy Waters

Whew - what a mess southern Maine is in. Wells (our old hometown) had about a foot of rain and is under a state of emergency. We were feeling badly about having a muddy foundation hole -- but I guess 3 inches aren't really a problem.
Yes, we do have a "hole", septic tank and leachfield on site. There are some pictures posted at in the Gallery of the process. The dogs find the entire thing quite interesting as you can see. With luck the concrete workers arrived today and started to build forms for the footer. I'll post tomorrow if that happened.
Since I have now moved into the trailer with Dave, we don't have internet connectivity and I need to do this after work from my desk -- the postings will probably get shorter, but I will try to do more of them. The black flies are out -- UGH. The scourge of Maine. They get after anything warm blooded and pretty much make life miserable. Times like that make me almost wish for those colder days again.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Don't Fence Me In!

Phase one is complete -- we have a fence for Sophie and Milos. They don't appreciate being jailed much, but it is great to know there is somewhere to put them during the construction phases. You can see pictures of the fencing project in the Gallery. We had a minor setback on the utilities. They are going to need to move the electric panel closer to the actual entry point.

But, there is VERY good news!! I had to go to work, but the excavator thought he would able to start today. Sunday afternoon, the contractor and Dave did some work laying out the exact foundation and deciding on the final floor level. It looks like we will get quite a bit of dirt from digging out for the house. Hopefully, we won't need to scrounge much other dirt.
Maybe the next posting will have pictures of the house foundation under construction. Yippee.

Saturday was Dave's birthday and we went out for Chinese food -- had a great weekend weatherwise, too.
The only downside was when Sophie managed to get a stick wedged between her molars across the top of her mouth while wrestling with Milos. We couldn't figure out what was wrong -- she was ok until she would try to eat or drink and then was in a lot of discomfort. We pried her mouth open and tried everything, but couldn't see the problem

So, off to the emergency vet (about 1.5 hours away) at 4:30. Long story -- it took two vet techs and two vets to finally see that stupid black stick resting on the black roof of her mouth. It was fit snuggly into one of the ridges and completely hidden. Anyway, after it was removed -- she licked everyone wagged her tail and drank a gallon of water.
Everyone was fine when I left at 11 pm for the B&B. It is about time for me to move to the lot. Dave used the shower with the generator and we have the hot water heater working. So, I am running out of excuses (ha).
Now, I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Update - Shows

WOW - remind me to never schedule 2 weekends of dogshows unless they are closer than 15 hours from home.

After 2 long days on the road, Milos and I arrived in Frankenmuth, MI and checked into a glorious hotel. He is a great traveler, entertaining himself looking out the windows, licking my ear and generally being a dog. The location was great with fantastic weather. Milos placed 4th in his class on Saturday (should have been higher, but handler errors really occurred -- I need to go to class!). On Sunday, a friend showed him (she is a professional handler) and he placed 2nd. VERY GOOD. The picture is of the two of them during the judging. There are more pictures posted in the Gallery.

Monday, April 24, 2006

News on the Lot

Today they were to set poles for the electric, phone and cable hookups. We hope to eventually have a grid-tied system (These systems are designed to sell power back to the utility company. Since there are no batteries they will only operate when utility power is available. These systems will offset your utility usage. With the correct size system it will earn you a credit during the day that you would consume at night. ) and are purchasing the appliances and connections (i.e. wellpump) for such a system. But with the pressure to have a livable house by cold weather return, we decided to start on grid.

The well pump is in (I forgot its brand) and Dave is working on bleaching it and pumping it for the testing. Keep your fingers crossed. Last week, we got the driveway topped off and it is much smoother for now. At least until the construction crews start to use it. So, things are moving. Stay tuned for pictures.


A Wet Win

Back from the Trilogy (three Region Leonberger Show) held at Monmouth Battlefield Park near Freehold, NJ. Although the weather was -- well, rainy -- we had a great time. The hotel was great and very welcoming to all those BIG dogs. And the show site, the site of the longest battle of the American Revolution. It was so wet and I had my hands full with a teenager who is sure he must prove himself to all other "boys", that I didn't get any pictures. I have put out a plea to others and hopefully someone will send me some links. You can see Milos in the Gallery, but no show pictures yet.

Milos had a ball -- he was awarded the Best Youth Male on both days. Although he didn't place in the Winners competition (winning males from all classes), it gave him a big head to be in the ring with the likes of Lui and Cyrus.
The trip home around NYC (hope for a better site next time) was ugly with rain and two accidents to creep through. It took me about 10 hours. But we are home, dry and actually have a day of work behind me.
Now, it is time to prepare for the GLLC Regional next weekend. A direct quote from their webpage: Weather permitting the show will be held outdoors. If not, show will be held indoors. Therefore, the weather will not be a factor, but you need to bring your own chairs! It is in Frankenmuth, MI and I plan a short visit with my mother and a 15 minute stop with Milos' breeder, Cherrywood Kennel's Ann.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Going to the Dogs

I'm going to be gone a lot the next two weeks. Taking a break from house researching and doing some dog shows. We hope to show Milos and at 16 months, he needs some exposure to the ring. There are two shows coming up for leonbergers: the NRLC is hosting a tri-regional in NJ and the GLLC has one scheduled in Frankenmuth, MI. So, we are "on the road". It should prove to be interesting as both Milos and I are real novices -- and he isn't very happy with other boys when they get too close. I'll post a synopsis after the fact.
As for house plans, we settled on a final kitchen/pantry design this weekend. If Dave draws it out, I will try to scan in the details next week. Also, we think we have a final design on the Tulikivi (our designer, Tulikivi in Finland, Masonry Stoves). Planning on a 30" bench connecting it to the chimney for a good back warming location. Strangely enough, one of the hardest things to get settled is the fencing situation for the dogs. It isn't easy to find a 6 foot fence -- we did lay out the area that we hope to include last weekend between rain showers. I have a call in for an estimate and several other companies to contact tomorrow. Hopefully, as the months progress, we will actually have pictures of all this planning coming to fruition.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Plan

We now have the main draft of our floorplan!! There are still a few changes, but overall this looks like the one.
  • the slight turn in the garage which we added due to the placement of the driveway and the south facing doors.
  • the masonry stove location (see Blog entry for March 7) in the center of the living area
  • the very large pantry area
  • two nice bedrooms and two baths -- planning solatubes in both of those.
  • The odd shaped room will be our study -- we are lucky to discover there is actually cable internet on our road.
  • Berming is all around the 3 sides and windows completely along the south (front).
Click the picture to make it larger.
Questions? Post a comment.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Since my commute is lengthening from 5 miles to 35+miles, I decided I needed something more energy efficient than the Safari. After doing a lot of web research and general looking, I settled on a Civic. Afterall, what is good for my boys must be good for me, right guys?

So here it is -- still on the lot, but due to be delivered tomorrow to my place of work. It is a CIVIC LX 5 speed manual (because of better control on slushy streets -- I have never liked the automatic AWD van as you have no way to prepare the car for slipperyness). Only a 2 door -- who rides with me anyway??
I wanted Cobalt Blue, but Silver was available. And it is kinda pretty.

Of course, no room for the furry ones -- so, we are keeping the van for trips with them. I ended up with an extended warranty which I think is worthwhile -- what do the rest of you Civic drivers think?

Tomorrow it makes its first trek to the lot where it will also get its first dose of mud -- but not the last for certain. We have had a really ugly week, but the forecast is for better weather starting Saturday midday. The fencing search is in full swing. It seems that a moose wandered through the "yard" directly behind the garage and Milos was intent on following the tracks/scent. Dave said there is nothing like standing outside at 5:30 am in the misty/fog and yelling at a determined young hound who absolutely thinks moose smell much better than breakfast. But, he (Milos) did come back and ended up on a very short rein the rest of the day.
Fence is one of the biggest priorities.

The contractor (Ken) probably will finish up the drawings this weekend and I may be able to get a copy to post here. Keep in touch.

Monday, March 27, 2006

From house to trailer

All went well and we are now homeless (as David says). The closing went smoothly and we picked up the 29 foot trailer. Things are a bit muddy and it is still pretty cold, but the trailer is now in place (after a lot of frost heaves from Auburn to Industry).

We hooked up the generator and moved the necessities into the drawers. The dogs are quite confused, but very interested in the smells and roaming area. As a matter of fact, that can be a problem until we get a fence up. They spent the first night in the garage -- Milos managed to find a jug of liquid plant food -- which ended up all over his nicely made bed. He must have just played with it as he had no side effects. So, Sunday we moved a kennel (which was already there) into the garage and they now have a safe secure place to stay -- or a jail. Hopefully, that will help Dave to stay sane.

The furniture was due to arrive today, but I had to come back to work. I plan on a visit tomorrow. I will try to remember the camera and snap a picture of it all stacked in the garage.
Keep your fingers crossed for an early Spring here in the northeast. I have started an album for summer / construction pics. There are only 2 shots there now, but it should grow over the next few months. You can see it here:

Monday, March 20, 2006

The countdown

Wow - it was a busy weekend as Dave and I packed up boxes and prepared for the Friday closing. Ryan and Robyn came by and stuffed her Subaru -- they plan on being back sometime this week to re-fill it. Micah was there to say hi. He got his stuff earlier-- he is presently sharing a house with an old friend and they took some of the excess furniture. It is too bad that we will be moving further away from them; I hope they make the trek up to see us (at least occassionally).

Today, both Dave and I were on the lot, but not together (that seems to be the status lately). Things are looking good there and drying out daily. Everyone keep your fingers crossed for the weather this Spring.

No pictures today -- but I will post a few of the "summer-house" after we park it on the lot. 4 days to closing............

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Carpet and Wood - not my floors!!

Carpets and Wood? Not us

Floors and Walls in a concrete house, hmmmmm....
I have been researching different types of floors which look good but don't deter from the concept of thermal mass . It would pretty crazy to have a wall of south facing windows and then cover the mass with carpets. And (as anyone who has visited us knows, owning two 100+ pound dogs doesn't go well with carpet anyway).

So, ever heard of Acid etched concrete?
Picture from
Acid stains are made from hydrochloric acid, wetting agents and metallic ions. The stain chemically combines with the concrete to form great colors.

Slate and natural stone?
Being a natural at heart, these are probably my favorites. We have slate under our present wood stove and it has been great. I have read that it should be sealed, but takes very little maintenance. There are many colors and shapes to choose from, too.

Anyone have other ideas? Let me know...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Boxing and Planning

Closing is now set on our Wells house. David has been busy setting up appointments with the General Contractor, the electric company, etc. And then there is the challenge of a final floor plan. We can easily design the perfect plan, but unless we win Power Ball.... Well. Anyway, we have one that has been given to our contractor for an estimate. I will put a copy of it here as soon as I can sketch it out. It holds true to our berms on 3 sides, south windows and 2 bedrooms. I managed to get my dream Tulikivi stove included (at least in this draft). If you don't know about Tulikivi, (TWO-lee-KEE-vee) soapstone fireplaces and ovens, check out: This distributor is only a few miles from where I am working and I visited them a few weeks ago. The warmth of that soapstone and beauty of the unit completely won me over. And since you can bake a pizza in 4 minutes in the oven, made it even more desirable.

So, we are packing and shuffling -- look for the plan here soon. Sharon

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


We are going to document the progress as we build our passive solar bermed home in Industry, Maine. How did we get here? In November of 2005 I took a job in Turner, Maine -- about 1/5 hours north of our home in Wells.

The plan? to sell our present home and downsize to a place closer to both my new job and our retirement lot. After searching for just the right location, we came to the conclusion that we should jump right in and start our retirement home now. It isn't easy to find the perfect downsize for two humans and two Leonbergers. So, we decided to skip a step and go directly to the lot. We have owned it for several years. You can see pictures of the lot and garage (which we built last summer) in the Gallery under Industry.

Come back often and see the progress and share the adventure.

And the journey begins.

Sharon and Dave