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Friday, November 6, 2009

Election weekend, windows and weatherization

Columbia/Barnard gives us the weekend off so we can go home and vote. I took advantage and went home to work on the house all weekend! I was working alone, then suddenly VOILA! I find myself working with 1 then 3 then 6 other people! Matt's mother taking a day to learn about bread baking with her son, Jason learning the precision of cutting drywall, Micki and Bryan helping out in the upstairs bathroom, Vince and my mother tearing out lathe, Dave offering expertise on insulation, Ken showing how to fix minor roof leaks, my father fiddling with the leaky toilet, people stopping by to pick up bread...A community atmosphere and a constant desire to learn has become a part of the house. It's wonderfully refreshing to be in such an atmosphere in comparison to living in the Big Apple.

Work continues on the house, slowly but surely. It's hard when I'm not there to coordinate. The first floor is looking really great--almost all of the drywall is complete! It's almost looking like a real home. The weather is getting much much colder, so we closed off all the entrances to the upstairs to increase the efficiency of the gas heater that heats the downstairs. Also because it is cold, we put the garden to bed for the winter...covering all the beds with dead leaves that will add nutrients to the garden beds for next spring. It looks odd considering a month ago we still had tomatoes and salad and beans and beets! All that's left is the lone kale...

To note: If you have a house with somewhat leaky windows, a temporary fix is using the plastic covers that seal tight your windows, not allowing air infiltration. Super helpful because you can lose a lot of heat this way! It's a quick an easy fix. Although, I should say...do not rely on this. Plastic is not a good material--it is harmful for the environment! Fix your windows and you won't need to do this temporary solution. Call/email me if you would like more information on fixing and weatherizing windows. Also, I'm home in a few weeks for thanksgiving...working on insulating the crawlspace and basement with rigid foam. So if you're interested in learning about insulation, would like a workshop or a five minute demo, contact me as well!

Last update: Research continues on DIY green technologies. I'm looking at a solar heat collector, building it out of aluminum cans painted black and channeling the hot air in through a window. Sort of like a forced air system, only it only works during the day and uses no fossil fuels. Also thinking of trying to capture some of the heat from the oven and channeling it into the house? If anyone ever has thoughts or suggestions...anything would be appreciated. The beauty of this house is that I'm willing to try anything and everything! So bring the craziest ideas to the table and I'll try it...given it's not outrageously expensive.

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