the Tire Bale house project


columnsSummer 2009 -

Summer came late this year. There was lots of rain so we got a late start to building.

While we waited, we installed 6 Engelmann spruce columns inside by the windows. Kathy couldn't resist the urge to grow some tomatoes. The vines grew incredibly well and we had tomatoes until the end of October.



digging the french drainJune 2009 -

We finally got to put in a french drain all around the house. We were using a sump pump to drain the water out of the house, but no more. It's working great.

We rented a mini-excavator and took turns running it. Steve is digging the trench on the south side to a minimum of 18 inches deep.



west french drain


Here Steve is working on the west side.




drain piping


We extended the plastic down the tire bales and into the trench. Then we put about 2-3 inches of 3/4 inch gravel over the plastic at the bottom, then the drain pipe, followed by more rock to about 3-4 inches from the top. A layer of landscape fabric over that and then fill to the top of the trench with more gravel.




tunnel door


With the french drain done, we moved on to the middle tunnel door. This took some time to figure out since we're not carpenters. We're pleased that it turned out so well. It's an air lock/mudroom type thing with a storm door on the outside and a solid door on the inside end.



August 2009 -


The saddest part about summer ending is seeing all the hummingbirds leave. This picture was taken early one August morning when the hummingbirds were getting ready for their trip south for the winter. We'll see them again in late April. There are 21 hummingbirds around this feeder. It is one of two feeders we had out for them. The other one was just as busy.





tunnel door2September 2009 -

We were able to get the storm door in, the half round window installed above the door, the two round windows (one on each side), and one coat of stucco on before the first hard freeze.




mudding wallsThe weather turned too cold to work on the stucco, so we started working on the inside. It's time to get all the little critters out of the walls and start mudding to fill in the gaps between the tire bales. We have trapped 3 rats (one big fat one), chipmunks, ground squirrels, shrews, voles, and too many mice to count. I think we finally got all the rabbits out, especially the one that's been eating the tomato vines.

We looked all over town to find clean straw with no mold to make the mud with but found none. We decided to try using portland cement as a stabilizer instead. We also figured the addition of cement would make it impossible for the critters to dig through. Our soil has a high clay content but not much sand. We started out using equal shovelfuls of soil and sand with one shovelful of portland to make the mud for the walls. We experimented with the amount of soil and sand until we minimized the cracking. We started in the kitchen with the wall that is shared with the attached garage. This is an entryway for most of the critters that call our house their home - but not for long. The wet mud is on the back wall and is a darker color. It drys hard as a rock.


web analytics