The Joys of Building a Straw Bale Home (28th August 2011)
The Joys of Building a Straw Bale Home
We thought we would share with you some of our stories about building our straw bale home, which has now been going for 9 months.
We first started this project with turning the soil over just before xmas 2010. At the same time we sold our house in town and moved in to our rental Highlander Cabin (9 by 2.5 metres) – aka The Rent A Shack – 2 kids, 1 cat (Chardonnay Potammus) and 3 goldfish.
The concrete pad was poured on my birthday, late January. Man I was excited about this. The concrete was being pumped on by a concrete pump, reaching 30 metres into the air. The trucks started coming at 7.30am, truck after truck. Then I saw the contractor shake his head at me and they started lifting the mesh off the floor, using spades to spread out concrete. Meanwhile truck after truck was coming. Challenge number 1 – the polystyerene was lifting at the edges from the pressure of the concrete. Outcome – the concrete contractor downed tools, until the builder had fixed this up. Take 2 – another week later with extra concrete and hireage costs!!!
Challenge number 2 – the builder goes missing for 3 months. Outcome – all scheduled time frames are missed and no roof on.
Finally, roof framing up and roof goes on well. Challenge 3 – 40 metre truck and trailer getting stuck on site. Plus our truck and trailer delivering 550 bales. Luckily, the trusty 40 horse power tractor pulls the truck out. Two small, very excited boys look on from the Rent A Shack.
I almost missed challenge 1 ½ – the concrete contractor ran out of sealer half way through finishing off our floor. Additional sealer took 2 weeks to arrive, due to the Christchurch quake. Outcome – line of different colours running through the finished floor of our lounge.
Oh my gosh, talking about floor, it was my turn to contribute to the challenges big time! Challenge number 3 – painting mulseal on the floor where the strawbales are stacked, being extra careful not to spill any on the floor, I managed to use the wrong end of the metre stick I had marked, painting out to 550mls instead of 450mls. Outcome – 100mls of mulseal (a tar like substance) on our finished floor. Man I still get angry at myself for this one – best not to mention it.
All in all, we are looking forward to the completion of our straw bale home – definitely before xmas this year.
Now I know what people mean by building being a nightmare! We have another builder now, are making good progress, and look forward to starting the meshing of the straw bales this week.
Onto other important matters – on the wine front were hoping to deliver to our customers NZ’s first preservative free wine. I am sorry to say we were unsuccessful this year. I am not happy with the finished product. It does not seem to have the same high quality as our other wines. We have learnt a few things, and we will try again next year.
On the current stocks front, the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Rose are getting low. Likely to be sold out in the next month. Don’t miss out, order now. Our Gewurztraminer is tasting fantastic at present and we still have our Burgundy style Viognier.
Some more good news, we are excited to announce the release of our first Reserve Gewurztraminer this year and fully certified organic Methode Traditionnelle in October this year. We will keep you posted.