April 28th, 2011

We received two bidets in the mail the other day from Thom at USABidet (Thank you!). This is just an un-boxing photo – we’ll post again as we install and test it out.

Below is a silly video I made a year or two ago of my first DIY bidet. It’s not as cool (nor adjustable) as the one from USA Bidet, but I’ve been installing it in all the bathrooms I’ve lived in for the past few years. I first became aware of using water instead of toilet paper when traveling SE Asia, in fact, much of the world uses bidets or water instead of toilet paper. It’s much cleaner (think about it – one analogy that was given to me was eating blackberry pie, getting it on your face and then using a dry napkin to clean up—not too effective), it saves resources (yes it uses water, but so does paper processing and it saves the transport fuel associated too). Many folks don’t believe me at first, but once they try it going back to TP is a real bummer…

ps: the etymology of bidet is interesting, it comes from French, literally meaning ‘pony’, describing the way one squats over a normal bidet in France, etc.

Injury Log

April 28th, 2011

I can’t believe I didn’t think to do this earlier, I’ve started a set of photos on our flickr account that will track the various injuries I’ve managed to inflict upon myself. I also posted some pictures I’ve taken in the past, but it’s not nearly a complete set—not sure if I should be proud, as though they’re ‘war wounds’ or if I should feel the fool for not wearing gloves. The idea occurred to me as I was examining my foot (see below) after I dropped 13 Vika Glasholms on it and my leg (each one weights 68lbs, plus I estimate about 2 lbs of cardboard ea., bringing the grand total to be about 910 lbs, needless to say it was uncomfortable).

Blower Door

April 27th, 2011

We did our preliminary blower door test today and the house did great—.291 ACH50, which is half the .6 ACH50 required by the passivhaus standard (lower is better). There are a few doors that need to be caulked underneath and I hope to get that number even lower. To do any better (Google says a Swedish house got it down to .03 ACH50) we’d need better doors and windows (think European – we’re less than satisfied with the build quality of our Serious Materials windows and this has been echoed by numerous architects and building professionals I’ve spoken to), since these are the only places our building can leak based on our sealing detail (wrapping the entire envelope with Protecto Wrap and no penetrations in the roof or walls—everything goes under the foundation). Below is a video starring Kent, from the Energy Trust of Oregon, and a photo of the setup.


Woodpecker part deux – a tie? A pyrrhic victory?

April 21st, 2011

And so I thought I had managed to keep the awl-beaked bird at bay by backing all the knotholes in the siding with metal. He proved me wrong with diligence (and a curious nasal squeak that sounds like a dog toy and rodent hybridized) that’s hard to come by in the construction trade—he’s started to widen the gap between the siding boards. This is obviously unacceptable, so I’ve resorted to deterrent measures, hopefully they work…

I’ll be honest, in a moment of rage and weakness, I started investigating killing the sucker, but it takes a permit, they’re protected, and it’s not a permanent solution and it really doesn’t sit well with my ethics.


April 19th, 2011

If you’ve been following the progress of the house you know the siding on the house is made from old 2×4 lumber from the original house (which we deconstructed by hand), so it has knotholes and knob and tube wiring holes. Well we have a local woodpecker that seems to think these holes represent a rotten tree with worms or some other food source behind. In actuality right behind these holes is our foam insulation, which for the past few days the woodpecker has been making a mess of. The solution has been to screw sheet metal (painted black) to the backside of the boards over the holes. So far this has proven effective, the bird still pounds on the house, but without any damage to our insulation. Silly woodpecker.

and here is the hole he put in the foam:

and here it is patched:

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