We love to see our forest grow with the addition of new trees every week.
Here is the link so you can all view. http://createyourforest.ca/visit/turn-a-new-leaf
We started this forest project after seeing so much of the forest around us being cut down. We once enjoyed our hikes through these lush forests with our children, the beauty of the moss, lady slippers, nests and so much more to explore. Much of this is now gone., but we can do our part and give back and so can you. The trees that are being planted in this new forest will never be cut down and will contribute to a renewed Boreal Forest environment.
A big thank you for all the contributions so far.
Another reason for this initiative is to help offset the shipping aspect of our products which has always been of concern to us. It was so disheartening to send out single item parcels on a daily basis knowing full well that the same customer would be ordering more single items from me later on or from other sources elsewhere in North America. Think about the impact this shipping creates overall. When I send out one item through the mail, I am using envelopes, cello packages, tape, shipping receipts and lets not forget the gas required for this one item in it’s delivery. We feel this is far too much embodied energy required for just one item, what a waste!
Sales at Highland Wood and Turn A New Leaf Designs will contribute a tree to this forest.
To make a positive change that will directly impact our concerns with shipping I am in the process of phasing out single item shipments. The Turn A New Leaf Designs shop will now have listings of larger quantity diapering items and accessories. This does not include the already large items like bedding. To further contribute and enhance our natural environment and as an incentive for our clients we instituted this “Plant a Tree” concept.
We are making this change within our business to better ourselves, our lifestyle, you as our customer and most importantly the world we all share.
As a craftsman I place a significant amount of value upon the various tools required to create things or provide services. Many tools are a basic necessity for my work, among them only a select few have intrinsic values bestowed upon them. Today two very special tools arrived in a wonderful Easter parcel sent by my mother. One is a small hand broad axe and the other a Latthammer. A Latthammer is the tradition style of hammer used in Germany by Carpenters, Joiners and Roofers. It has a square striking face while the other end sports a pointed spike. The spiked end is intended for various purposes such as maneuvering hard to grasp lumber and timbers, or as a steadying and climbing assistant around the building site.
This hammer and axe came into my possession on a rather sad note. My father passed very suddenly and unexpected in late January of this year. I feel fortunate that I was able to be at his side before he passed, and to be there to console my mother and siblings. While helping my mother to adjust and settle back into her new environment I discovered the axe and hammer carefully stowed in their respective places on the wall of my fathers work area. It is said that a smell or taste can evoke memories from ones childhood. Seeing the hammer hanging on the wall immediately brought to mind my fathers words and the image of his powerful hands deftly making the hammer sing as it drove nails into place.
Of these two items the hammer is most significant, my father brought this with him when he and my mother immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1961. It was the hammer used in building their house in the 70′s, a tool my father cherished and used with delight. He admired it’s quality and would proudly display the polished unmarred striking face which had driven countless thousands of nails through 5 decades of rigorous use. Seeing the hammer hang there I immediately envisioned a new purpose for it. Rather than become a dusty relic among the many other forlorn tools on my fathers wall it will be the hammer used in building our house this year. A fitting legacy bestowed upon a simple tool.
The axe brings to mind a different perspective of the tools on our family farm throughout my childhood. It is one of the countless tools acquired from the many small farm auctions that occurred throughout the 60′s and 70′s. A sad reminder to the demise of so many family farms at that time, the loss of a unique and sustainable lifestyle and the institution of mega-farms, quota’s and government intervention. This like so many other tools became an item used on a daily basis to accomplish specific tasks prevalent on a busy small farm. In some respects these tools were used somewhat inappropriately for their designed purposes however they did accomplish many task. This axe was designed to be used as a tool for finishing hewn timbers or other refined chopping tasks mainly involved in log and timber construction. On our farm it ended up being used as an all round chopping tool including making kindling, chopping wood, de-limbing trees and of late to help peel poles for my mothers trellises. The tools on our farm where always respected and well cared for, something that our father instilled upon us. I quickly rummaged through the old shed and found some appropriate tools for my mother to use as a replacement to this axe. This wonderful tool will become my right hand when I refine the timbers and logs for our house this summer.
I miss my father greatly, his appreciation of life, hard labors and deep love for his family are profoundly rooted within me. These tools are an Ode to his hard labors as he forged out an existence for his family amid the wilderness of central Alberta.
In loving memory of my Father …. Heinrich Krieger …. 1933 – 2013
Making fresh Soy Milk for Silas is a daily activity, it’s much easier and cheaper than owning a cow and he loves drinking this.
Two bottles finished and more beans soaking for tomorrows batch. This soy milk is so much better than even the organic store bought stuff which has a ton of unhealthy additives.
Snow, snow and more snow, maybe later some rain if the weatherman is accurate. It’s pretty stuff but makes our move a bit more challenging.
Add a bit of wind to the snow and you get a supreme frosted look to your house.
Peeking through the trees along our driveway. I’ll miss the daily strolls through snow filled meadows and forest up here once we’ve move down to Middle River.
The last of the heavy framing is done for the shed/workshop, with the ridge and rafters firmly in place. I’ve made it a tradition throughout my career to fasten an evergreen bough to the ridge of my buildings once the rafters are all in place. “Topping Out” is a signal that the uppermost members of the structure are in place, all heavy framing is complete and most important the bough is a token of appreciation to the forest which provided the materials that went into creating the frame.
It has been the wettest September on record, greatly hampering the progress with construction. With fair weather yesterday and today I made quick work of placing the ridge beam and rafters. I pre-cut all the blocking that fastens the rafters to the ridge and top plate. Several hundred trips up and down the ladder and the rafters are up.
I’ve never been an advocate for “toe-nailing” any framing members when building a house. Toe-nailing is minimal at best, yet it is extensively used in modern construction. I always devise a method to properly nail any framing member in place, thus the blocking for the rafters.
This not only holds the pieces in place it also straightens out any twist it may have. With precisely cut blocks layout is extremely easy and once I fastened the final rafter in place I had less than a 1/16″ deviation in my final measurement. I know it’s not a cabinet I’m building but I aim to be within a sixteenth of an inch with all my rough construction.
It would have been nice to sheet the building in before roof assembly, however with pending rain I really want to get the roof in place. The rafters were notched so the sheeting will still slide into place properly sealing the walls top plates.
A large square looking box is emerging in the woods. The walls are up and ready to be sheeted in. With the walls in place it is beginning to feel more like a building than just a dance floor.Rather than use 2 x 4 blocking diagonally between the studs, I “let in” 1×4′s at the corners for braces. This method is quick and extremely stable. It also reduces the amount of thermal bridging in the walls if I ever want to insulate them.
It looks like we may be getting a bit of rainy weather over the next few days so the pace may slow down a bit here at the building site. Good time to catch up with all the furniture orders.
Is summer drawing to a close? The nights are cooler, the days shorter and the weather slowly shifting with unsettled air. Where did the summer go? It’s been so busy, July melting into August and now we are already in September.
Down at the building site support beams are leveled and in place. The floor joists and rims are assembled, squared up and waiting for the plank flooring. Several month ago I found a local supplier for tongue and groove flooring but when it was time to buy some there was no stock available. The mill had shut down temporarily for maintenance. I opted for some 2 x 10 planks from the same mill for the floor.
The driveway turned into a millwork shop for a day as I machined grooves into the edges of the boards. I also rounded over all the ends and edges of the planks to deal with any slight discrepancies at the joints once the floor is fastened down. A plywood spline will be inserted into the grooves to create the same effect as typical tongue and groove planks.
The boards go down nicely with only an occasional one requiring some coaxing from a pipe clamp to straighten it out. The 4″ dipped Ardox nails hold these planks firmly in place. It’s a solid floor with no deflection or bounce typical with plywood or composite floor panels. The look is so pleasing Tracey wants this same flooring for the house.
The summer is flying by with all the hectic activities on the go. There is a stream of endless tasks along with the major undertaking of building the shop and house. This morning while mowing the grass and organizing around the yard I picked a handful of stray raspberries at the fringe of our yard. I ended up getting a bit carried away. I went inside and got a small container to hold the berries that practically fell into my hands and before you know it I had to go in again to get a bigger container. In less than half an hour I had picked more than 6 cups full.
This year is definitely a “berry good” year. Lots of wild raspberries and there are loads of blueberries ready to pick in the field. The blackberries are just starting to ripen and it looks as though there will be buckets of them too.
Picking berries provides a brief repose from the hectic day. A chance to reminisce about summers as a child in the wilds of Alberta picking berries with my siblings. My mother made endless amounts of preserves from the wild berries we used to pick. At that time an important part of my summer holidays was to pick wild Raspberries, Blueberries and Saskatoon’s. On our family outings picking berries both my sisters and I had to pick a small bucket full of berries before we were allowed to go play for the remainder of each picking day. After our buckets were filled we would explore the forests and fields. One of my favorite activities was to escape my sisters and scavenge the fallow fields for Indian arrowheads and other stone tooling. In the attic at my parents place is a box full of artifacts I found on some of these summer days gone by.
It is amazing when I reflect back at the amount of work my parents did to maintain our family. Picking all those berries and then preserving them in jams, juices and jellies. I will be putting these berries in the freezer, it’s so easy and Tracey loves to use them frozen for the Smoothies she makes every day. I will be definitely straying away from the regular work day to reminisce among the berries.
Yesterday was a big day on our building site. The excavator came up and made short work of removing the stumps and excavating two pads for the buildings I will be putting together soon. The topsoil here is beautiful, rich and deep, between two and three feet. Fine reddish sandy loam with very few rocks. I can now see why a homestead had been placed here. Even Allen the excavator operator commented on how wonderful the soil is ” finest garden soil”.
We hit bedrock (Red Conglomerate) about 4 feet down into the excavation for the shop. This will definitely make a solid foundation. At about four feet into the excavation for the house we ran into a problem. The subsoil strata was extremely compacted and rocky making it very difficult and slow to remove material. I quickly repositioned the markers 15′ further down the hill and 15′ further West. This ended up being the ideal location to place the house. The full length at the back of the dig is bedrock . You can’t ask for a more solid foundation base!
There are three huge root piles that I will be tearing into later in the fall, but for now I have to place the footings and foundation for the house and shop. It’s time to collect rocks which will become the walls for the basement of our home.
It is a bit overwhelming at the amount of soil and material there is to move around on this site. Just today I did the bottom of the driveway by hand. About twenty wheelbarrows full of topsoil to remove and another twenty of rock and fill to put in place. Four hours of digging and shoveling that the excavator could have done in two scoops in less than a minute.
Some of the fellow creatures living in our lawn and garden. They are our little helpers that keep some of the unwanted insects in check. A Common Brown Frog, a Toad, a Leopard Frog (Hanna’s favorite, if she had her way it would be her pet) and a Garter Snake
Outside our window: Darkness as night slowly settles in.
I am thinking: Where did the week go?
I am hoping: We will get some sun for the weekend.
I am listening to: The loud racket of Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers in the pond behind the house.
I am creating: Another piece of furniture to sell on Etsy.
I am thankful for: Earlier sunrise and later sunset.
From the kitchen: The wonderful smell of Tracey’s Blueberry Molasses cake baking in the oven.
Around the house: To much “stuff” …. is it really necessary?
A Moment In Time