Walls and Windows and Gin

Before she went off on a 6-week sojourn to elsewhere, Nora was good enough to come and spend a few days doing *extremely useful stuff* here, including chainsawing a bunch of my walls flat. Amazing stuff. All the other tools I’ve ever used for that have SUCKED.

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She did all the accessible walls that didn’t already have render on them. This should make it go a lot quicker with the render.

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And with a view to getting Alec in his room even if the rest of the place is still a building site, we’ve started claying the walls.

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Meanwhile, window installation has begun. Nora showed me how to do it on the first two, and I’ve been running with it ever since. We had to invent a bit, because Ben and I didn’t know how the posts within the straw walls were supposed to work and put them too close together, but our workarounds have been pretty successful. An extra bit of 2×4 moves the aperture toward the outside of the building a bit and makes it the right width for the window to fit with some wedges…

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…which Nora was good enough to make me a massive batch of. The sills get fixed first, then the 2×4 extenders, then the window gets wedged in and fixed.

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And then glazing! Which is a piece of cake on the small ones. I had to wait for Richard to be available to do the big ones though, and the giant one in Alec’s room was pretty nerve-wracking.

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Superheroes that we are, though, we did it.

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And now it’s back to lime. I love it and I hate it. It’s very interesting stuff, I’m proud to have made my own putty so successfully, but my skin is not pleased to be doing this again.

Whole lotta moisturiser.

Anyway, filling in around the windows requires a long straw and lime mixture, which is going to have to be applied in layers because some of the window cavities are really deep and I don’t reckon I’d like to go any deeper then 100mm with this mix, or I’m afraid it won’t carbonate in the middle.

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I’ve just about got the hang of making it now. The putty wants to be pretty loose, like thin yogurt or even double cream. It’s amazing how much straw you put in and it just loses all its volume when it gets wet and sticky. Good thing I’ve got tons of it lying around.

The perimeter of the windows got a slip coat of lime on the straw bits and a bunch of galvanised nails in the wood bits as a key. Advice, as in so many cases, is split on the use of steel in contact with lime. I chose to believe it would be fine.

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The sticky lime-coated straw stayed in place beautifully. I reckon each window will need a maximum of three goings-over with the stuff, with a week’s drying time between, before I can render over it and be done. But the word “done” is such a beautiful word, isn’t it?

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And in the meantime, there’s gin to be made. A very great quantity of last year’s went at the recent party, so I’ll have to make double stock this year. Gooseberry is one of my new flavours, and I’ve just decanted a bit of black elder and lemon that I think might be my new favourite.

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