Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall

And it did too! Some strong winds also as you can see from the top of that tree now laying on the ground. I'm glad to see that because that top had actually broken out of one of the trees some time back and had gotten hung up way out of reach. I could not figure how I was going to get it down but the storms yesterday took care of that for me, so now all I have to do it cut it up. The recent rains are helping quite a bit to get our water levels back up to normal but I think we are still in a "considerable drought". The dogwoods have really been opening up this past week too.
I love these trees and have been ecstatic to see how many are around here. There are lots of redbuds too but they don't show up in the photos as well. Hopefully, these rains are helping my grass seeds get started.
This is a discovery I made last year and have been meaning to post about it but just never quite got around to it. At first, I thought (hoped!) this was a witch hazel bush but finally found out it is a spicebush. Lindera Benzoin. It is over near the creek and has these little blooms that open around mid-March. I think it is native but have never seen one before. Of course, unless you happen upon it while it is blooming you would never pay much attention to it as it's summer foliage is somewhat unremarkable. It's leaves and branches do have a spicy smell and my book says it can be used to make teas. The female plants produce small red berries (this is apparently a male) that can also be used as a substitute for allspice.
The weather is still kind of crappy today so I think I will spend most of the weekend trying to clean up and organize the basement. I must get that area in order because it is also my studio and I need to start producing some more pottery. I also have several stained glass projects to do for myself and others that I must start soon. One of them is a window for the bathroom but I need to come up with a design first. It will be something abstract, maybe with vague references to the movement of the sun etc. Speaking of the sun, it has just about disappeared from the house at this time. I was hoping to see today how much was left but it is so overcast that no sunshine can be seen. The past week or two the temps have been in the mid to high 70's during the day and the house warms up to about 73 degrees. It is very comfortable and it holds this temp throughout most of the night, only dropping 4 or 5 degrees in the early morning hours. The heat has not been used more than just a few minutes in some time. I'm not sure if the warmth coming from the ground under the house and through the uninsulated floor has anything to do with this or not. I believe this will affect the temperature in the house some though and am glad now that I have not insulated the floor. Next winter when I have the wood burning stove in the basement it will help warm the house also through radiant heat. I believe I will install some vents in the floor also which will facilitate the cool air from the basement coming in during the summer and the warm air (from the stove) in the winter. Of course, these vents can be closed so to help regulate things also. It's sort of like the house and earth is telling me what to do next if I will listen to it. OK, I'm not weirding out on you but from just observing what happens when I build a certain thing, you can learn a lot. Everything is working it's self out, even the perceived catastrophes have shown me which direction to go next.
A favorite quote of mine from the writing's of Joseph Campbell is, " We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
Now, that is not to say that I don't believe in any planning of life (I think you really need to plan a house well) but we shouldn't hold on so tightly to our little life plan that we strangle any serendipitous fortune that comes out way. It seems sometimes when I quit trying so hard to do something a certain way that a much more simple and elegant way just presents itself. Some would chalk this up to good karma or luck or the will of God but, Go with the flow, dude...ya know?

*Bob Dylan


pablo said...

I'm glad you're learning all of these lessons so when you come to Missouri to build my place, you'll have them as a resource. (Free beer!)

So what does all of that hard rain do to the quality of your well water?

edifice rex said...

Make it free whiskey pablo and you might have a deal. But your house is a whole 'nother thing since you want an earth sheltered home. All new lessons there!
Now, that I have built the wall around the spring so it stops the runoff, the rain does not affect the water. By the time the rain water enters the spring it has filtered down through the mountain and is as clear as can be. It actually takes about 2 days before you see a change (rise) in the spring after a rain.

Jenn said...

"It's sort of like the house and earth is telling me what to do next if I will listen to it."

I absolutely understand this. Houses were considered much more organically in the past, before we had means to use petroleum to control our environment, shut our houses so tight, and stopped 'listening' to what was being 'said' by the wind and sun.

I continue to be amazed at people who chop down mature trees on the south side of their house, in any climate. They are totally out of touch with what those trees actually provide.

edifice rex said...

Hey Jenn! Yeah, what amazes me is that I am often ridiculed or scoffed at for using observations from the natural world to design my house, but why put a black roof on a house in the South?! or face most of your windows to the west?? You are just asking for a $200 cooling bill. But they can pay that and more just to have their house look like everybody elses and I'll sit in the cool in my unique house. :)

hillbilly2be said...

Right on, Annie. :) I worried so much about how our passive solar design was going to work, and if I had done everything right... in the end, it works just great. Burned about one rick of wood (1/3 cord) the entire winter to heat this place. It is so much easier to observe nature and try to figure out how to work with her than to fight her just because the TV tells you to do so.

Maybe some feel that it's "weirding out", but I know what you are saying and it's true. And - what the heck - what's wrong with weirding out now and then. :)


p.s., I love Bob Dylan.

edifice rex said...

Well, Ron, you're right..there is nothing wrong with weirding out every once in a while!

I don't particularly like Dylan myself but his song titles are great.