Reflections on March, 2017

So maybe you’re not into reading about uterine contractions and placental encapsulation, but there is one thing you must know about the birth of Earthbag Build Oklahoma’s 3rd son.  He was born in a round room of our earthbag home on 3-14-17, which, as any math nerd will tell you, is pi day.  We used 3.14 in many of our calculations, so it is appropriate that our son would make his timely appearance on that day.

If you are into reading about the beauty of the birth process, click on over to Our Second H.O.M.E. Farm Home-Birth Story.

Naturally, not a whole lot of progress has occurred around here this month.  We brought our swing, which was my very first mother’s day gift, beautifully crafted by my husband.  As you can see, we almost got it put up.  Apparently some of the chain was misplaced on its journey from Illinois.  And that’s it for March!

What we did in March

What we did in March

Hopefully you know us better than that.

The stars have aligned and blessings have fallen down on us.  It turns out our spray-foam roofing won’t be piecemeal after all.  A wish was granted that allows our roof to be done in one day!  We called around to a few places locally to see about professional spray-foam installation.  The guys we found were surprised and intrigued by our project, barn interiors being their prime jobs.  Now I don’t care how much education you’ve had in geometry or calculus, it is difficult to figure out the surface area of our roof.  We’ve got round rooms, vertical surfaces, overlapping circles, and every angle of pitch you can imagine up there.  There was some serious head scratching going on, the end result being confident enough to come back with the promise of spray-foaming our roof in the near future.  We’re just waiting for the wind to slow down enough.  If you’re into praying, please pray for a warm windless day sometime next week.

The other tidbit about spray-foam is that the genius invisible gutter idea didn’t actually pan out as genius workmanship.  The 1 inch poly-pipe was essentially swallowed up by the spray-foam, rendering it useless.  Oh well, live and learn.

The bathroom stem wall is complete!  We used chunks of old concrete and fortified earth mix (Portland cement and subsoil).  After that was complete, we put in floor joists.  This is one of the few places we used new lumber.  Then we laid 4×8 sheets of ¾ inch plywood, cut into all kinds of weird shapes to custom fit our round wall.

Bathroom stem wall

Bathroom stem wall

Concrete, portland cement and subsoil

Concrete, portland cement and subsoil

bathroom stem wall

Plywood floor in the bathroom

Plywood floor in the bathroom

And then we got a bathtub!  This cast-iron beauty was conveniently listed on Craigslist, only a 20 minute drive from us for only $250!  A new cast iron from Home Depot, without the fancy gold faucets and shower stand, is $600.  And, we don’t have to do any refurbishing to it.

Our own bathtub!

Our own bathtub!

Many of the tubs on craigslist had rust spots that would require lots of work to make them worthy.  Now we just need a water heater.  We ended up returning the one we had because it didn’t heat like the reviews said it would.  It made room temperature water about 80 degrees, which is fine for washing dishes, but not fine for bathing.

To mark Kyias’ birth and to try, once again to get some trees growing, Aaron bought and planted 2 4’ tall cherry trees in proximity to the outhouse.  We are hoping, praying, wishing that they survive whatever kind of summer we’re going to have.  Very few plants and trees have popped up this spring.  Luckily, my mother’s day plum was one of them.

Literary notes from this month:

Because Julius got a new baby brother and a subsequent break from homeschool, he devoured a plethora of books:

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, The Blazing Star, The First Battle, Path of Stars, and Tales from the Clans. Those are all Erin Hunter’s Cat Warrior books.  The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them both by J. K. Rowling. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson, The Search, and The Tracker by Tom Brown Jr, and Monet and The Impressionists for Kids (A nice chunk of non-fiction for the month).  Schooled by Gordon Korman, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.  A Horse and His Boy, The lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis.

books march 2017

We also started an e-book we came across for homeschool but also for fun called, 21 Lessons To Empower the New Age Kid Sandra K. Jones-Keller.  It has short lessons on things like meditation, positive affirmations, and grounding.  I was skeptical whether he’d like these, but he wanted me to read the lesson on grounding multiple times so he could practice.  I think these lessons are an excellent contribution to a well-rounded homeschool.  At the beginning of each lesson, the author asks the parent or teacher to get grounded before beginning.  I have found that the grounding exercise is probably worth whatever the cost of the book is all by itself.  Your kid need not be “new-age” to gain something from this little book!

I finished Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, as recommended by my bookclub friend when we chatted about depth of characters.  She said that young adult characters usually have more depth than adult contemporary fiction characters and I think she was right.  I felt like I jumped right into Eleanor’s skin and could feel all her emotions of angst and love.  What a great story!  I also began Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson, which is starting out interesting enough.

Aaron read Dean Koontz’ Odd Apocalypse, which he said is the kind of book you read when you can’t find anything better, but before you read the dictionary.  That’s why I don’t put much credit into “bestsellers.”

I just happened to glance out the window…  I guess I’m headed out to swing with the family.

No porch is complete without a swing!

No porch is complete without a swing!

Happy Homesteading!

2 comments to Reflections on March, 2017

  • Daniel Way

    Hello, I am wondering where you folks buy the continuous bags. Would you care to share that?

    • Hi Daniel. We got our bags from a distributor in China at wholesale cost. It was a 6 month process with lots of stressful multi-language communication, shipping companies and international tax and shipment costs. It was really a pain in the rear. If you’re looking for less stress, I’d suggest just watching the earthbag building communities on facebook for their leftovers. Are you planning your build?

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