It's all relative
This building caper has had many silver linings - not the least of which has been the wonderful people we had met along the way. Ari was one of the first people we met. Ari now has a fabulous partner Dean, and a gorgeous daughter Issy (born a few days after our Dylan). They have a straw bale house in Malmsbury (just past Kyneton on the way to Bendigo from Melbourne) that they are owner building.
Back in May 2008, we contacted Ari to see if Peter could give her a hand building her house to get some serious hands on experience which he was seriously lacking. It was the best thing we could have done. Peter got experience in so many things, and we would not have been able to get through the first hurdle of our build (getting the stumps in) if it wasn't for the work Peter did on Ari's house. The confidence that Peter gained by helping Ari was absolutely priceless.
It's been a pretty hard road for them, and we are going up to their place to help them in on a Rendering Blitz on the weekend of 18th & 19th June. We want to get stuck in to the third coat of render and get them much closer to getting their certificate of occupancy and move in. I forgot to mention, Dean is an absolute master when it comes to plastering, rendering and concrete (not the normal kind either). Even though we have a lot of rendering under our belts, we know Dean will be able to show us lots of good stuff. And we are looking for more people to help. Rendering is a great, fun thing to get into, and they are using a different approach to us, so it's a great opportunity for people to get some experience and learn from a master. If you are interested, please get in contact with us.
Ari has a website with lots of photos at: http://web.me.com/summerfilmschool/Site/Photos.html#grid
Now to a completely different subject - the weather. We haven't had the slow combustion heater on for a while. It's not really that cold in the house - though it's all relative. Before we lived here we were renting an old Convent that was the coldest place both Peter and I have ever lived in. Freezing in winter and an oven in summer. So our house is bliss!I imagine that some people would like it warmer. Take today for instance. We were in Melbourne overnight and arrived home at around 4.30pm. The sun had been shining this afternoon, and that lovely low winter sun had been warming up the house beautifully. The weather station showed 16 degrees inside the house when we got home and it felt quite comfy. Slippers and a warm top and we are pretty comfortable. In our book it's not worth lighting the fire to get a few degrees warmer for a few hours.
We are starting to have some cold mornings though. Last week it was 0.1 degrees at 6.30am, and inside it was 12 inside. Stil, it didn't really feel that cold, and we knew it was going to be a warm (18 or so) day with lots of sunshine, so we didn't light the fire. The sun warmed the house up very nicely (to 18 degrees) and we spent some gorgeous time on the north deck soaking up the warmth of the sun. Divine!
But I have nothing to really compare it to. What are other houses like? We have borrowed a very snazzy gadget from my work, that tells you the temperature when you point it at a surface - so we can compare the floor to the ceiling and the windows and the straw bale walls. Fantastic stuff. We are yet to use it systematically around the house, especially when the wind is blowing, so we can see if cold is getting in through any cracks or crevices. We suspect that the house isn't performing at its optimum yet.It's only the start of winter, so will see how the house goes over the coming months!