Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Virginia Woolf and The Country Writing Studio

Alright, so I've been extremely slack with the bloggin (notice the dropped 'g', I'm trying to be more Canadian). Truth is I've been slack in the writing department all around. This move to Canada was extremely upsetting to the creative mojo. While family is great they come with drama (whose doesn't?). And there's been plenty of drama, let me assure you!

Returning home for a tentative year to live with my parents in their country town (yes, I did just turn 28 thank you for noticing) and driving my mother's old '91 Topaz is distructive to the ego, even if it's just a launching pad for me to build my own house. I've already had a few 'The Hours' re-enactions of Nicole Kidman's famous Virginia Woolf scene 'I'm dying in this town'. Except I furthered my scene by adding 'I want to go home to Melbourne' and my nose wasn't nearly so large. I think we've settled on splitting our time between Canada and Australia evenly, we've just yet to figure out how to do that on one wage.

But I haven't died yet...yet. And conjunctions aside, the straw bale writing studio is underway! That's right doubters, the stone foundation is layed. These keyboard-typing fingers of mine are capable of astonishing feats!

Here's a photo journal of the process.

1. Luckily my Pa is handy with a backhoe and familiar with trees. This one was guilty of a falling branch last winter, causing the imminent demise of the horse shelter. More importantly we have firewood forever and no one was killed during the process.

2. Okay so I like design and love when things look good, so after a lengthy discussion with Pa, I refused his advice on pouring a solid concrete foundation and went with the infinetly more asthetically pleasing stone foundation. And more environmentally friendly. Sure, I fainted on the first row but I surived. **Please note the structure in the background has nothing to do with my project. It's horse shelter the II. Also my Pa has a habit of copying me, the old bugger. Look at him in his green shirt with his bobcat, thinking he rules the mountain.

3. The supervisor is on sight. Some of you might remember my chihuahua on the 'Yawn Factor' post eariler this year. He's now found his calling. Also the ground has been smoothed and I've learnt how to mix mortar, use a level and rebar stakes. Oh and how to make things 'pretty' much square. This is only the outside wall, I had to still make the inside wall then fill in the center with found rocks and concrete.

Meanwhile this was the view from our house. Yes, it's a 8500 hectacre bush fire called the Terrace Mountain fire in the Okangan, British Columbia.

4. We leveled out the interior of the studio with wet sand first. Okay, Pa built me a simple inside form. I was all about the concrete after the physical demands of the outside stone wall. To rid any guilt I had about the environment I used a lot of rocks too. It was blasted hot so we layed down poly to keep the cement from drying too fast.

This is where this post ends my friends. You see, my poor studio has been awaiting the harvest of local straw. In just a few days I shall be the owner of 110 straw bales, ordered from an enthusiastic farming lady who uses far too many smiley faces in her emails. I love her though, secretly.