Sunday, November 14, 2010

High and Higher

This November, my shoulders are stiff-to-burning from hunching over schoolwork, so it was good to get up and up ladders, to carry things other than thoughts for a couple of days. Then, over the weekend, I got another kind of high. I went from the winsome coast to downtown Dartmouth, where, for the weekend, I was surrounded by 120 teenagers. Some delight? I was at the annual Anglican diocesan youth conference and this year, we nearly blew the roof off our host church. An awesome theater troupe joined us over the weekend and whipped up all our thoughts and bodies. We went from candles & incense to foot-stomping and peals of laughter like it all okay... and it was. Am presently weary in a nice way and feel like I've been gone for a long time.

Staples & Sticky Tape

It's the middle of November and neither weather nor schedules have been co-operating with house progress. However, we were graced with two decent days last week and got some essential stuff done. The goal, just to remind you, is to have the house closed in by winter. We installed six windows - and have another three to go. And the house really isn't that big. We have a door yet to install also, but the roof is done. We were quite proud of our ingenuity re. that task. At a slant of 45 degrees, the roof does not lend itself to good climbing and even a ladder leaned against it will slip if not supported. We made our ladder cosy with blankets and supported it with a lawn tractor when we both needed to be 13' above ground. Smirks and plenty of "Very clever," I assure you. If before the house was made of sticks making nice frames against the sky & trees, its walls are now a right constructivist delight of straight lines and negative space (2-dimensional).

Monday, October 18, 2010

House in Landscape

Further to comments made in an earlier posting, tiny houses are ever so photogenic. Some of the best shots of them are mostly landscape; the house itself serves to focus and give scale to the vista. (Just a sidebar, much early North American landscape painting used a similar device. Artists often included wee explorers in vast landscape paintings. Is this a sign of irrepressible human arrogance, ie. that no landscape could have meaning without our presence, or of a sincere human effort to know our rather puny place in the cosmos? Questions to take to the gallery.)

Wait. Pardon my disregard for parentheses! The question of scale is an important one. And especially with a tiny house, setting matters. I very swiftly realized that a house 8x18', no matter how bespoke, could not be enough space for me. But I realized just as swiftly that my 'home' always exceeds my housing. Today, from my Halifax residence, I walked down through the shipyards, along city streets, over a long, long bridge, through parking lots, and finally to the Dartmouth ferry... only to step off it and onto the uphill sidewalks all the way back, erm, home. On arriving, I wanted to keep going. I can feel this in my chest, the primal pull of the season (strongest at dusk) to MIGRATE. This has often been a time of year for me to hop international borders, discover new places, wander out alone or wander out towards people I love. It's discipline this year to stay put.

The house is small. And the building is happening slowly (ordered the steel roofing this weekend). There's another landscape coming into focus, too: the peopled landscape. Now there are 3 named followers of this funny little blog and several, several others I know about. There's a life of the house in words as I tell person after person what I'm doing and I hope all of this continues. It's a storybook house that deserves storybook visitors. Amen to the Author of all.

Road & Sea

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nicole: This little house is so frickin' photogenic.
Elmer: Every photographer needs one?

Saturday, October 9, 2010


In addition to getting rafters up, we nailed down the loft flooring (simple plywood). The underside is painted white, making a nice cieling for the cosy back-section of my, ahem, house. As the height comes and the lines against the sky appear, it really does look like a house. I say that at every stage, but at this one, it really is true. Amen to this and yet we continue.

the View

After a week of writing papers (my first two at the Master's level - quality as yet unconfirmed), it is so good to get back to construction work. We had the ever so satisfying job today of mounting rafters & ridgepole. These were pieces that my father pre-fabricated very early on in this project; sweet vindication that they went up square & strong. I applaud good measurements and appreciate the intriguing profile of the roofline. Also today, we paid a visit to Fraser's in Berwick and I am much reassured about installing metal roofing, having talked to one who has installed same numerous times. Tomorrow, with help of a very fine man named Joe, the roof sheathing, drip edge, and ice & water shield...