September 2008


ScrapHouse

ScrapHouse

An entire house built from repurposed scrap materials for about two grand. Neato.

Video and Web site.

Advertisements
Rain garden from the southwest; past the gate is the hot tub deck.

Rain garden from the southwest; past the gate is the hot tub deck.

The weather was gorgeous this weekend and it was impossible to resist the lure of the outdoors. I also love to have the chance to putz around with backyard projects. So I turned my attention to a little corner behind our house that has been neglected for years… an awkward space too small to do much with and a little out of the way. There are unsightly utility connections back there, and most of the runoff from the roof winds up flooding it… especially now that I put in a couple rain barrels and channeled the overflow back there. Yet it was on the path to our “cowboy hot tub” enclosure. I decided it was the perfect place for a quiet rain garden.

(more…)

Gutters and storage device on our Arizona room

Gutters and storage device on our Arizona room

Well I’ve been wanting to harvest rainwater for a long time and now I’ve finally done it!

At our Tucson home, we have a rather poorly built addition called an Arizona room. See, in Arizona it is too hot to sit out on a porch, so most porches eventually get closed in and air conditioned, thereby becoming “Arizona rooms”. Often these conversions are done by homeowners without the dubious benefit of building inspectors.

When I say ours is poorly built, what I mean is that the floor is basically at grade. The concrete patio outside the room doesn’t slope away from the building, and rainwater tends to pool outside the door, seep underneath the threshold, and create problems with rot. Then the ants come in looking for the cat food, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point we discover the walls are riddled with termite tunnels. It sure seems like whoever built this particular Arizona room needed some help understanding a few concepts like “water flows down hill” and “standing water against a wood-frame structure is a Really Bad Idea”. (more…)

Benji, Alice, LE, and Wifey taking a break

Benji, Alice, LE, and Wifey taking a break

Labor day weekend (Friday and Saturday actually) were slated for putting on the metal roof. Only this time wifey and LE were going to come, along with Benji and Susan and baby Alice. We were going to try this construction thing with the kids around and see how it would go. I would head out Friday to set up a safe place for the kids and maybe work on trim painting, and everyone else would come on Saturday to help with the roof.

Alice is about six months old and more or less confined to a seated position, either in a piece of baby furniture or her parents’ arms. Now LE, on the other hand, is currently sixteen-and-a-half months old and perhaps the most inquisitive and headstrong toddler I’ve ever met. She wants to explore and handle everything, and it takes her a while to figure out that “No” actually has meaning. This is particularly unnerving for us parents when sharp objects, jumping cholla, rattlesnakes, choking hazards, and toxic chemicals are involved. (The fact that I have yet to see a rattlesnake on our property is no consolation.) (more…)