Sunday, November 15, 2009

Amicus, American Clay, Rainwater Tanks, Woodpeckers

What a productive weekend working on the house! Yesterday was gloomy and misty, which provided a nice excuse to pick up our porcelain tile from Amicus Green Building Center. The owner, Jason, was there this weekend so we had a chance to visit with him and bounce ideas off of him. I may have written this before, but it's worth repeating -- before you go to Home Depot or Lowes, check out your local businesses -- especially those specializing in green products -- and support these companies. The knowledge base of the folks at Amicus, complimented by their exceptional customer service is great. But their variety of products and extremely competitive pricing is even better. We've really had great experiences working with Jason and his crew at Amicus, so pay them a visit when you need some supplies.

While picking up the tile, we also stocked up on American Clay Earth Plaster, since we ran out applying it in the guest bedroom and hallway. We had bought a relatively small amount initially, and now we needed more. So we picked up 10 bags of American Clay Loma for the base coat.

After we got to the house, we unloaded the tile and the 50 lb. bags of clay, and then I mixed up four buckets of clay for use this week. Andreas spent time digging a trench by the rainwater tanks for the freshwater pipe to come into the house. It's tough work and slow going.

We were on a tight schedule, since our friends Chris and Greg invited us over to dinner, so we couldn't work through the evening. (The dinner was wonderfully delicious, and it was great to have a fun, enjoyable evening off.)

Sunday was extremely productive. Andreas continued digging the trench and got the PVC piping for the rainwater tanks mostly set up. I worked inside on the American Clay installation. While applying the clay, I was listening to music on my iPod and heard a beat that wasn't consistent with the music. At first, I thought Andreas was attacking the dirt with his shovel. Then I had images of Woodpeckers flashing through my mind. I went to the North side to see if the woodpecker was back. No sign of it. But I head the noise again. I banged on the stucco and, sure enough, the woodpecker flew away from the back of the house. To make a long story short, we now have three holes in the stucco from that stupid woodpecker. It's not wood, there's nothing there for him, why is he doing this? I tried scaring him away, which seemed to work for the rest of today, at least.

Back to plastering -- I should tell you that we've had a change of heart with regard to the color for our walls. The drywall walls (i.e., the interior framed walls) will remain as bright white painted walls. The exterior walls (i.e., the compressed earth block walls) that I'm covering with American Clay, will just be tan -- the natural color of the clay -- which is called Snow Canyon. When I'm applying the plaster, it reminds me of chocolate icing my Mom used to put on cupcakes. When that dries, it turn much lighter and looks like a suede jacket. It's warm, inviting, and masculine. And it goes great with the stained concrete floors, the kitchen cabinets, and the white walls and ceiling. So rather than trying to lighten that clay through expensive additives, we're going to stick with the natural snow canyon look. The basement clay application will be lighter, though, since I already have a 50 lb bag of the final coat of plaster mixed with the white additive.

By the end of the evening, the application of American Clay was completed in the entire great room. Tomorrow night, I'll apply it in the master bathroom and start on the master bedroom. Hopefully by Wednesday the entire main level of the house will be covered in clay - in a good way. Then I can move on to bathroom tile installation!