Tags

, , , , , , , ,

In the spring of 2008, I left the belovèd Comox Valley of Vancouver Island to wend my way . . . eventually . . . to the Annapolis Valley of NS. From the Pacific to the Atlantic; Comox to Annapolis; West to East; mountains to mountainside; townhouse to duplex. Now how many semicolons will the pedants allow me to ‘legally’ post in one sentence?

300' to roadway prior to purchase

300′ to roadway prior to purchase

I spent the next 9 months looking for the proper building site, for this, my third and last owner built home and homestead. Many thanks to Ken Kern who wrote the Owner Built Home back in 1975. While on one of many excursions in the fall of ‘08, the underwriter was travelling south down the red clay dirt of the Burgess Mtn.

The Burgess Mtn. road sign going north up the south face of the North Mountain

The Burgess Mtn. road sign going north up the south face of the North Mountain

Happening to look in, jayöh sees a disused driveway.

building site is large moraine to left of melted 'V' cut access to gully

building site is large moraine to left of melted ‘V’ cut access to gully

building site in spring after snow melt and prior to excavating site level

building site in spring after snow melt and prior to excavating site level

The memory stuck like the red clay does to footwear and tires. Several months later in Jan. 2009, my real estate agent asked her colleagues if there was a site that met my criteria. It was this 5A piece of dirt, left undeveloped for nearly 20 years.

view from future dining room patio door across valley floor up to the South Mountain

view from future dining room patio door across valley floor up to the South Mountain

jayöh loves a challenge. He is an Aries after all. I suspect that people interested in this property as a building site were dissuaded due to the cost of putting in an 800′ driveway, levelling a glacial moraine to create a potential site. But not him. jayöh remained undeterred!

img_7204

root extraction by many horsepower thanks to Boyd Pineo and his merry men

root extraction by many horsepower thanks to Boyd Pineo and his merry men

Access! a roadway fit for jayöh and his diesel VW

Access! a roadway fit for jayöh and his diesel VW

I needed peace and quiet. A natural setting, hopefully somewhat forested. Some water would be a bonus. Of greatest primacy, was the need for an unobstructed southern exposure.

unobstructed view for building site a prerequisite

unobstructed view for building site a prerequisite

This was to be my best attempt at coming even closer to the elusive goal of the so-called, perfect passive solar house. Another decisive factor was that the lot be far enough away from neighbours, to support ‘the potential’ for a wind turbine within the confines of Kings County.

This trailer from Kent at a close out $ carries 1500 lbs. Who needs a pickup truck with a 100 hp diesel mule?

This trailer from Kent at a close out $ carries 1500 lbs. Who needs a pickup truck with a 100 hp diesel mule?

When I trudged in that first sunny January day without snowshoes, groin deep in snow, groaning all the while, what I found was a sight that made my Heart sing. I had found a sanctuary. This sanctuary was a place to live out the remainder of my Earthly existence, hidden from most prying eyes (2 neighbours visible) and sufficiently far from the sounds of man and his infernal combustion chambered automobiles.

siesta back at camp for a tired but willing worker [twwoofer?]

siesta back at camp for a tired but willing worker [twwoofer?]

After satisfying the requisite red tape authorities, I purchased the 5A in March of 2009, setting about clearing the site, the power line easement for NS Power and ‘the long and winding road’ (apologies to the Beatles).

12 step program for rescuing NS Power's easement firewood. The roadway was raised 11' in this area below my Jetta wgn. That's jayöh sporting his Chinese made sweat band. Mao would've approved of its red colour . . . I believe!

12 step program for rescuing NS Power’s easement firewood. The roadway was raised 11′ in this area below my Jetta wgn. That’s jayöh sporting his Chinese made sweat band. Mao would’ve approved of its red colour . . . I believe!

I got as far as the footings and ran smack into the proverbial red tape with ‘the authorities’. I lost the building year from 2009. Oh well!  Those are the two little words that will take you through every issue that life rolls your way while on the hillside. I recall looking at the long cement lines of the 20″ footings thinking;

Kevin sets the footing depth in the hard pan red clay. Former glacial moraine was 20' above laser level.

Kevin sets the footing depth in the hard pan red clay. Former glacial moraine was 20′ above laser level.

“This is a really big building for a retirement home, one who cherishes a small carbon footprint. What have I done?” I’ll respond to this a little later on.

20" x 6" code approved footings concrete forms were never needed as we went with ICF

20″ x 6″ code approved footings concrete forms were never needed as we went with ICF

I Am John Otvos, aka jayöh.

Advertisements