End of a Chapter

As it happened, 2015 was the year a number of chapters were closed. One chapter closing, that of my Dad’s life, was particularly sad. He was a big fan of Nerdwood and would have loved to have seen Clare and I move in. At least he went out with a whole lotta love all around.
There were some chapters that were much happier to close. I finally got my degree (Bachelor’s), and managed to do so before all my hair fell out. More salient to this story, however, is that we finished the last of the cordwooding, at least in Nerdwood proper.

Continue reading “End of a Chapter”

The Mysteries of Bottle-ends Revealed!

Bottle features are a striking addition to any cordwood wall. They add color and light and personality and are just all-around cool to look at. They consist of a clear glass bottle end on the outside of the wall and colored glass on the inside. In our case, all the clear glass is currently embedded in the outer wall, with a sleeve made of aluminum flashing sticking towards the interior. We just have to add the colored bottle ends as we build up the inner walls.

To do this, we had to find a way to cut the tops off of glass bottles that are too long. If you search the internet, you will find all sorts of ludicrous methods involving tile saws and candles and flaming string, but none of that is necessary (or practical). It’s really very simple, and thanks to this gentleman on youtube we found a very easy way to do the job.

You get one of these nifty glass cutting gadgets, and lightly score a complete circle around the top of the bottle.

The amazing bottle cutter, as seen on the internet!

Then you pour boiling water on the score, being careful to work your way completely around the whole bottle. We bought a cheap electric kettle to use for this.

Just add boiling water.

Next, run cold water on the bottle. The glass is stressed and the top just pops right off.

It's just that simple.

We had lots of lovely bottle ends in no time.

Cut bottles.

After all that, I match them up with a clear bottle as we build. Here’s a wall in progress.

Bottle feature in progress.

And here’s the completed bottle feature, with several different shapes and sizes and colors.

A river of bottle-ends.

Finishing the first floor (for now)

Time is getting a bit tight and we’re still working on the first floor walls. Fortunately, three of the south-facing walls are almost all window (to take advantage of free solar heating during the winter), so the “panels” we have to fill in are very narrow indeed. Each one only takes about three batches of mortar as opposed to around eight for the average wall panel. The leftmost window required tiny, tiny logs to fit:

Thin little panels? Or giraffe necks?

Working our way around the house, Clare decided to incorporate a bottle feature in the panel near the front door. The inside bottles will be blue and green – a river in the wall:

Still bottles run deep

Finally on to the fifteenth and final panel on the first floor – the front door panel:

The gateway... To Logs

So, mid-August and we’ve just finished about half the outer wall. Think we’ll finish the second floor before freezing weather hits? Nah, me neither. Looks like we may be doing a lot of cross-country skiing again this coming winter (oh, darn!).

Besides being the “Summer of Mud,” 2009 also seems to be the “Summer of Bees.” They’re everywhere right now – if you stand still you can hear the whole field buzzing with nectar-lapping fuzzballs.

Give us all your pollen...