Winter overhead, actually extends a bit further W&N (north is up)
A year later, the house design, just about.

Below as of September 29th, 2021

From the ‘road’ I’m about where the garage will start.
The ‘road’ down to the bottom of the hill ‘it’s all Mine…bwahahaha…’etc.
Me, again, southwest corner of the house from the garage
Opposite direction, yes it’s that rocky

Below as of September 1st 2021, they dug ‘oles they did!

Base of the power pole that will remain.
From the ‘Road’
Edge of the property where old and new will join.

So the Electric Company Comes and does their thing Friday -Tuesday Monday being Labor Day Holiday

Friday September 3rd
Tuesday September 7th all done but a big spool of fiber optic waiting for the cable company to come fix.

And so we are all ready to start! Except there hasn’t been rain for weeks and while the forest is green it’s a tinderbox and we can’t burn the stumps, limbs and junk when the clearing starts. So we wait.

And we wait.

And finally on the 20th it rains much of the day and cools from the 90’s (F, in C that’s 33 ish) down to the 70’s (F, in C that’s 22 ish) and on the 21st….

The CLAW, it Runs like a Deere…21st
22nd the lower section of the house site is cleared.
It’s HOT in there.
Linda contemplating marshmallow roasting
Me lounging with the equipment

More of the same on Thursday

Friday morning Linda Chatting with Shane the Earth Moving contractor

By Friday evening the pond and the retaining dam were cleared.

Our smoke signal, Saturday morning driving up.
The pond was deeper than it seemed when full of weeds etc.
We have a Wildlife Cam set up to catch things like the Crazy Honda Ridgeline and similar. September 29th inspecting…
The slope up from the south end of the house after clearing. Around end of Sept.
The new swale at the bottom of the knob, from near the neighbors boundary.
Swale from the opposite end…this used to be about 10 ft lower in the center.
October 5th, again from the WildLife Cam…it’s wild man. Center, Alex our builder, foundation level of the lower floor, ‘is it deep enough?’
Shane taking a break, its now a few feet deeper
Next day, all gone. 75 big dump truck loads of material removed in total many, many more moved around. Luckily our neighbor wanted a new parking apron so it only had to move a couple of hundred yards.
October 8th, the footing trenches are dug. Then the rebar put in place to tie the footings together in the pour. The concrete pour.
Read the caption…Now October 21st, Concrete scheduling requires 4 contractors and no rain. The last two times we had the contractors lined up it rained. The 19th torrential and Ryan (Alex’s business partner/apprentice) is digging the dirt out so the rebar is properly exposed.
Now Nov 2nd, finally the pour. It is cold and misty rain but we are now ~4ish weeks behind schedule.
Plastic to keep it a bit warmer and dryer.
Sigh, another week, the block guy had gone on to other jobs. Morning
11:00 next day…finished and out of there…
22nd and the compact-able gravel is being spread and compacted.
The ever adaptable Alex compacting some more with another layer waiting. This is more than minimum required ‘out in the county’ we had geotechnical services in to assess the soil etc. The soils not bad but the slow and cutting had them suggest doing this we are doing this to make sure the foundation is very stable come what may.
Me today, Nov 25th, the compaction tests all passed and the top gravel on which the concrete slab will be poured was added to fill up the walls to nominal grade. This back side view shows one of my pet needs, highest grade water proof membrane to make sure we do not get ground water seeping in. Another $1000 bucks here or there for a bit more peace of mind? Priceless.
From the West end of the wall. Gravel on the footers, then an 8 inch drain then gravel then dirt. Then they have to come back and do another footer cut for the ‘overbite’ of the upper floor.
South east corner ground floor (my office.) gravel fill to the lip. You can see the insulation that is part of the passive home design.
View from my office looking East
Looking South
South East looking West It was SOOOOO peaceful cool wind rustle of leaves…sigh

So, what comes next? More gravel, more footing, more concrete. Maybe we start framing by Christmas…we are 6 weeks later than intended at this point and loosing time all the time. We are far enough out from Fayetteville and the market is so hot that getting crew in to do work is hard. Maybe once we are in the framing and interior work things can get a bit faster. Not holding my breath. These ARE the days that try our patience.

Ridgie (Our Honda Ridgeline) and +$20K worth of lumber
They dug it all up AGAIN ! Well I guess this is standard, tamp it all down then dig it up where the buried plumbing goes…but STILL! (Nov 30, 2021)
Plumbed, smoothed, covered, Rebar, December 5, 2021)
Waterproofing, Insulation, hydrostatic barrier ready for the drain and burying, Dec 5.
As I said, Drain, and burying, December 6, 2021.
Note the insulation* to keep the concrete toasty, it was falling into the 20F (-6C) range at night. December 7, 2021 (Pearl Harbor Day)
*Reused industrial chicken battery insulation, which will eventually form one of the layers of insulation on the outside of the house.
All cured, note that the blocks are filled with concrete and have rebar in each cell, you can see the bolts inserted to hold the sill plates down when the carpentry starts. Also the wastewater outlet that will go to the septic system. December 12, 2021
Wow, that is really tall…10 ft (3 meter) ceilings downstairs. December 14, 2021
Progress, more sticks, December 15, 2021
Must have been taken about this time

So you ask how is it going now? (as in by December 30th)

The interior build out, December 18th, the meaning of 10 foot ceilings (~3meters) entrance to Thomas’ bedroom
Alex (the builder) enjoying the view December 22nd, sheathing progressing
December 23? Dolly the neighbors’ hyperkinetic pup in a moment of petting.
30th digging the foundation for the upper floor
December 31st (Happy Birthday Thomas and Alex) Foundations dug and covered because (again!) heavy storms and cold weather predicted for the 1st and 2nd and we want to pour concrete on the 3rd…fingers crossed.
SE corner, my office, finally finished with windows and sheathing. Ready to start the next floor when the beams come in again next week…making progress.
Mama (Linda) very happy with a future paving stone 😊 We (she) cleaned up a lot of scrap wood on the site, while I watched the fire (actually writing but that’s the same thing right?)
Jan 4 Delivery of the wooden I beam trusses/joists for the ceiling/floor.
Jan 8th the footings for the upper part of the house are cured and ready for blocking.
Jan 8th roof trusses in place, showing the sunroom overlap for the first time.
Jan 11 Blocking begins..
Jan 13th, flooring of the first section, while blocking is almost done.
Jan 14th auto mixer and pump for the concrete block fill (also put in rebar)
Jan 15, filled and plastic sheeting covered just in time. This photo like others is from my Trail Cam so it has the time and temp…it was colder than that this is with in-sol-action…
Jan 18th, filled and reinforced, with the sill plates initially place,
Jan 24 after another bout of very cold weather and snow.
Jan 24th Linda checking out the root cellar
Jan 25th, floor joists in for most of the first floor.

OK it’s now Nov 25, 2022, it’s been a long haul and I fell down badly on keeping this page up. I will take this Thanksgiving day to put some of the story in here.

March 1st, progress on the main floor. Very cold and snowy winter for Arkansas and very slow progress.
Same day showing the exterior.
March 7th so rapid progress can be made. Still lots of rain.
Same Day (no work it just rained again)
Exterior view, cloudscape threatening more rain. That plank bridge is a thing for the next six months.
March 10th
March 17th
March 20th
March 31st More rain
Still March 31st.
March 31st, The Leaky Damn at the foot of the hill to the east.
March 31st…..
April 15th…roofing supplies
May 1st Roofing Progressing…slowly, rain, then early heat wave, then Covid…Argh.
May 5th, Blown out Leaky Damn after days of torrential downpours.
Same day, down the hill from us, note debris from when the water over topped the road.
May 26th, roof finished and starting to put the utilities in, white pipes are for the air exchange system that makes this a ‘passive house.’
June 12th. Finishing the internal membrane that is another major part of the passive house system.
July 10th, Exterior view showing the finished roof and the windows in. No siding,trim, soffit etc
Mark in his ‘Field of D…Weeds.”
July 10th Drywall going up. South side, sunroom and celestory window.
North side, small celestory window.
August 14th. External installation sheath, another passive house feature.
Aug. 14th, other end of the house, with steel siding. We
Septic System Install
Septic system settling tank, digester, aerobic digester and UV treatment tank.
Cabinets…just some, this 2 months after they were to start, still far from done 2 months later…argh
Reworking the depth of the septic system finger field.
October 13th, side of the house where heat pump condensers will sit.
Gravel to finalize the courtyard and garrage
Cap on the finger field, for grass lawn.
Garage foundation
Nov. 12th, starting on the garage structure.
Nov 12th. Side of the house, Linda Contemplating…
Nov 17th
Nov 17th, decorative truss test piece for approval. interior painting finished. Except for cabinets not yet installed
Garage Trusses, Nov ~18th
Progress on the garage.
Thanksgiving day. I have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to look back on with thankfulness even when there are unhappy events. This project is one of love and thankfulness that I hope will last a good while and provide a setting for good memories to come.