July flies by

July has gone by so fast! We got the initial inspections done, found a set of stairs floating in Howe Sound, built decks, grew tomatoes, ate great food, rescued Ralphie when he fell off the dock, trampolined up a storm and enjoyed every minute of the amazing weather.
Just to summarize where we are:
  • the initial inspections by the engineer and the permits people have been done which means we can now begin the wiring, plumbing etc.
  • the exterior is completed except the gutters and interior of the breezeway
  • the decking (except the interior of the breezeway) are completed
  • the tomatoes we are growing are delicious!
  • Fresh grown mint and bourbon go very nicely together
Big thanks to Maddy, Kristen, Brad, Sean, Nessa and Matt



Green roof adventures part 1

This Easter weekend we took out first steps towards putting in a green roof on the breezeway. Because the Resist-eau coating we put on the roof wasn’t UV proof, it was important that we get it covered this year.

I spent about three weeks looking for the drainage mat online, I found places in California and Ontario. Then miraculously I found a place in Burnaby that had exactly what we needed. You don’t always need a drainage mat for a green roof but because our roof is quite flat (it slopes about 1.5 inches every four feet) drainage is very important.

We had top soil which we mixed in with pumice and coconut coir. We picked coconut coir since it’s a by-product and renewable, unlike peat moss, and we picked pumice over perlite again for its lower environmental impact. I’d read about some even greener alternatives, such as recycled glass growstones but these don’t seem to be commercially available yet, We used 1/3 of each material. I’m a little worried this mix will hold too much water since both pumice and coir are more water-retaining than their counter-parts but we’ll see how it goes.

Kevin found a rock down the hill for the step. He not only had to move it up the hill to the cabin, but then get it to the second floor. He got a little peeved when I laughed at him rolling it up the hill,


Next week we’ll finish the dirt and hopefully do some planting!


7L’s and a little luck

I was thinking today about the role of chance, luck and craigslist in the building of our cabin,  I like the fact that we’ve been guided not only by the 7L ideas but also by chance and opportunity.  Although there are days when I wish we could make a decision without thinking about budgets, there are many more days when I happily search Craigslist and elsewhere for good deals and pleasant surprises. I thought I’d list some of them here:


  • Toilet+ sink currently in ‘toilet shack’ (free)
  • Marmoleum for guest cabin
  • stainless steel sink + counter combo
  • counter for kitchen tent (free)
  • French doors
  • BBQ
  • Stove
  • Low-flow toilet for cabin (free b/c no tank lid)
  • Chainsaw Mill

ReStore in Bellingham

  • Fir windows
  • Power tower metal doors (only $6!)

Free from neighbours and friends

  • Posts and beams from trees off a neighbours lot
  • Power tower roof
  • Power tower doors and windows
  • Tool shed
  • Flooring for kitchen shack
  • Corplast for top power tower windows
  • 8 foot high sliding glass doors for guest cabin (Jacks Used Building Supply)
  • Sink for kitchen tent (St Pauls thrift store)


July has been rushing by and we’ve hardly had a chance to catch up. But here is what’s new…

In the one step forward two steps back department our skookum new fridge is on the fritz. But in the serendipity department, it looks like we may be able to use a neighbours propane fridge for the summer. Serendipidty also got us a great new toolshed for use closer to the actual construction site. Thanks to our neighbours Andrew & Yaz and Nick and Janet for giving us a chance to give these items a new life with the L cabin.

Big thanks go out to Drew who helped out in June with the decking on the power tower, Maddy who brought energy and organic food in June and her friend Jordana in July. Their pickaxing and shovelling ‘made level what was not’ as Kevin put it, and made the new toolshed possible, and their patience in assembling it was commendable. ‘Chip’ aka Kevin N came back from his journeys away and wielded a chainsaw as well as helping build our first scaffolding. Pat brought real crab sushi (from fresh caught crab!) and blueberry scones, and if that wasn’t enough, taught us how to make shakes and split rail fences.

Milestones and highlights:

  • discovering we have a) enough posts and beams for the bottom floor and b) only nine left until we are done
  • Split rail fence 101 – very fun
  • Shakes 101 – hmm… maybe we don’t want to use shakes too much on the house….
  • new tool shed – so handy, so organized!
  • first scaffolding for construction
  • beginning of covering power tower teck
  • log pile continues to grow


wildlife report

  • racoons
  • seals
  • raven
  • squirrel
  • deer
  • mice
  • slugs
  • hummingbirds
  • woodpeckers
  • yellow finchy looking bird
  • robins
  • spiders

Slowly chipping away at our log pile. Tiring and hot work, more so for Kevin who actually has to do it. I’m just the log wrangler. The posts and beams themselves are so nice though…