In an effort to keep out of the blazing sun, we decided to pick up cordwooding in the back of the house – it’s the north side and is well under the large rear overhang. Two things make this area particularly difficult, though. First, there are no windows at all here, since from an energy efficiency standpoint, you want to minimize the number of north-facing windows. Thus, these walls will take a LOT of mortaring to finish. Second, there is no easy access like there was in the front; no deck on the outside, no second floor on the inside. We’ll have to work on scaffolding and haul all the logs and mortar up by hand.
Fortunately, a friend at work had some extra scaffolding she was not using for a while and loaned it to us (thanks, Michelle!). Fourth of July weekend, we started the Big Log Slog:
Last month, we went to the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Custer, WI. In addition to seeing cordwood mavens Richard and Becky Flateau, we also found a vendor who used to carry the masonry heater kit we have been planning to install in Nerdwood. He still had one lying around and was happy to let it go for a decent price. As I found out with the mortar mixer, nobody wants to deliver anything big to a job site unless you have a forklift there to unload it from the truck. Definitely not the case here! Once again, I had to have it delivered to work where there is a loading dock. The kit is made up of about forty pieces cast from high-heat cement, each weighing from about fifty pounds to about a hundred.
As the kit sat on the (luckily very-little-used) dock, each day we would load ten or so pieces onto the pickup drive them to the house, and schlep them inside. Naturally, this all happened in the middle of a heat wave, adding to the fun of carrying heavy, oddly-shaped, brittle, slippery blocks around. Here they are, getting underfoot:
Aside from the this heat wave, the weather has been excellent for the garden, raining at least a couple of times a week. Butterfly weed in bloom: