Rainy Day.

Here’s our call for learner-helpers. Please pass this on to active souls (any shape or age)  in your circles you feel would enjoy this opportunity. We appreciate all offers of help.

“We’re building a Rammed Earth (RE) home this summer and you’re welcome to join in. Forms are going up last week of June and the walls are being built (with experienced RE builder Jef Rempel on site) 17 to 29 July. There’ll be further work in summer and fall – framing, building a cold storage and roofing – as we try to close it in for winter. Please wander around in our website (www.roomtogrowinfo.ca) and read the blog posts on the building we’ve designed (with help from Tim Krahn of Building Alternatives). It’s a piece of paradise for sure where we live on Turtle Mountain in SW Manitoba, Canada. We enjoy sharing the space with appreciative souls. Hearty food from our garden and surrounding farms. Comfortable accommodations. Friendly farm animals. Great company in work and play. Lots of hands-on learning. Come for a day, a few days or for a few weeks. Let us know what your travel plans look like. Bus goes to Brandon. Flights to Winnipeg (and some to Brandon) Text David at 204.305.0528 or email roomtogrowdm@gmail.com or phone David/Maggie at 204.534.2303. Hope to see you soon!” (Pictured is the pond house where worker-learner-friends can stay.)

I had a few questions following my last Romancing Home update – regarding the design and construction of the structure below our solar panels. I went online to www.builditsolar.com to look over structure designs and then spent countless hours in winter with ruler, graph paper and compass figuring out the angles and efficient uses of standard lumber. I need to add, right off the bat, that this process is working for us because we’re NOT going through Manitoba Hydro and so don’t need to have the structure inspected and approved by them. Also, we have space to place our array (panels and structure) on the ground. If you’re in a tight spot you may need to put them on your roof and so an entirely different structure needs to be considered.

Wind is our structure’s greatest enemy. I moored treated (green) posts 2 1/2 feet in the ground using a borrowed hand held post hole auger. (Thanks Simon) I made darn sure each post was solidly tamped in – exactly 4 feet apart. We built up from these posts. I like the triangle shape for it’s natural strength. The most vulnerable exposure for potential wind damage is from the west. I put wooden slats on that side. I’ve learned that giving the wind some opportunity to get in, but keeping it to a minimum, is the best way to tame it. Since then we’ve had some crazy odd winds from the east, so I’ll put slats on that side as well.

We bought aluminum rails – that are made for this purpose – to mount the panels on the structure. It may be possible to home rig something to do this, but the most important thing is to use the rails (bought or home made) to ensure the face of the structure is square and flat – ie. one plane. This makes putting the panels on so much easier. Good luck planning your system. Feel free to fire off questions. There may be more rainy days.

This week we’re receiving our solar components, the rammers will arrive so we can build a test wall, and, I’ll put final work into the form-work plan. I’ll also begin sanding and planing the posts we’ll be using along the back wall so we can easily put together the timber frame. It’s all fun when it doesn’t pile up too much.

Blessings as the winds move you this summer.