A new construction/personal milestone

Well on Monday I was on my own with the mortar, trowel, blocks and level. The first few blocks were very slow; I was ultimately cautious in making sure everything was true and level, and to the mason’s string stretched between the corners I was working to fill. The pace picked up as I grew more confident, and my production reliability of mortar water balance was honed. By the end of Tuesday, I had a pretty good start, and then early on Wednesday morning the heavens opened, and about an inch (2.5 cm) of rain was bestowed upon the land. The farmers were happy 🙂 I had a morning off because as you can see from the picture below the ground inside the footings was muddy. The picture was taken after some of the water had drained down into the sandy clay subsoil.


The great flood 🙂

I kept at it steadily, starting in the afternoon on Wednesday on one of the driest walls. By Friday I had the end in sight, one very short wall and the longest wall of the house. Below are some “action shots” me doing blocks and the final finished view of the completed first course.

Applying mortar to the footing.

Applying mortar to the footing.

Setting  a block into the mortar on the footing.

Setting a block into the mortar on the footing.

The finished block course from the northwest corner of the house.

The finished block course from the northwest corner of the house.

Looking at the finished complete first course of blocks set in mortar.

Looking at the finished complete first course of blocks set in mortar.

Finished it a little after 5 pm and had an invite from my friends Don and Ellen for dinner. So cleaned up the tools and put them away, and then had my public shower with the nicely solar heated water in my 100 foot hose which had been lying in the sun for several hours; very refreshing, and didn’t run out of hot water till I had accomplished the necessary. What a joy to have a good well for both concrete mixing and personal use. It definitely merited the celebratory bottle of Cabernet Savignon we had with dinner 🙂

5 Responses to “A new construction/personal milestone”

  1. Gerard Says:

    “Public shower”? Ted, you do seem to be acquiring new habits. Just remember, these Ontarians are fairly conservative, almost American.

  2. Warren Niemeyer Says:

    It.s hard to tell by looking, but how big is your house going to be? How many stories tall etc.

  3. tedspassivesolarhouse Says:


    It is all on one level, slab on grade, but with the slabs elevated on a stem wall since the water table is quite high here. House is 1384 sq ft, Garage/workshop/guest room eventually, is another 720 sq ft. Designed to take advantage of passive solar heat in winter, but keep the sun out in the summer. Solar hot water, solar electric, very low energy use by design, and hopefully totally energy self sufficient except for the natural gas for the stove and clothes dryer. Most of the year I plan to use clothes lines for clothes drying. Moving all those concrete blocks is good exercise 🙂 Definitely building my upper body strength.



    PS When I get a chance, I will post pictures of the 3D representation of the house and garage connected by a breezeway.

  4. Warren Niemeyer Says:

    Been following along and looks like you now can be a block layer if you apply for a job. On one of your photo’s you indicated you were on your own but someone had to take the photo.

  5. sonny Says:

    Hi, absolutely loving the blog. Is there any way I can get a hold of you to ask specific questions? thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: