Peace of Land

It’s been a quiet weekend at the job site.  We pushed back the foundation install about a week.  The intense rain and heat has delayed digging the hole and getting the site prepped for the Superior Wall system installation.  And being the heat of the building season, getting back on their schedule means finding a free day when they can make it out here.  We’re going to install a sump pump and some fabric for the foundation so we can use the extra time for that, plus there will be an inspection that the excavator will line up for us as well.  We’re working with Fike Excavating and their team has been great to work with.  Their professionalism, expertise and experience have proven to be a great benefit to us as we self manage this project.

We took the opportunity of a free Saturday to go out and look at plumbing and flooring options.  It can pretty daunting to make all these selections so it doesn’t hurt to start earlier rather than later.  We actually already have had to choose our appliances so our cabinet builder could get started.  We met with our extraordinary finish carpenter / cabinet builder on Saturday as well to finalize the design of the kitchen.  The kitchen is the one spot we’re overspending on from the get go.  Okay we’re overspending all over, but the kitchen is the worst in that regard I suspect.  We enjoy cooking and it’s where we’ll spend a lot of our time.  I’ll show you more in the future including drawings and a photo of the kitchen we stole out of Dwell magazine.  The kitchen sink is something we’ll have to select in the next week or two, even before one board is nailed on the house.  Flooring-wise we started looking at tile, switching our mindset from real slate to what I call industrial looking porcelain that looks a little like cement.  This is the fun stuff and helps relieve some of the stress of building a house all by yourself.

Since this weekend is so quiet, I figured I could tell you about some of the stuff we did before we broke ground (in no particular order).  Our land used to be part of an old century farm and from what I’ve heard our portion was an old pasture.  We bought it because it was a nice mix of open and treed areas.  There is a nice mix of plants and animals and a lot of interesting viewpoints.  Christine called it “Happy Friendly Land” after our first visit over a year ago.  And that was on a rainy wet Spring day where the cloud ceiling seemed on top of us. 

Picking black berries on our "Happy Friendly Land" in the summer of 2010

About two weeks before we got our permit to build our friends Barb and Corky came out and performed a land blessing on the property and building site.  We met them at the property for the twenty-minute ceremony.  The first thing Corky did was place two crystals in the earth to protect anyone whose path crossed between them.  This would benefit our family, our workers and guests. He then commenced with the ceremony by “smudging” us which involves burning incense and letting the smoke waft across us to “cleanse” us.  A traditional sounding prayer was read; I’m going to say it was along the lines of a native american prayer, though I’ll leave it to him to correct me.  What I need to do is get a copy and put it up in the house once we move it.

Reading of a prayer over our land. Me standing there with a camera like a tourist.

 Barb then drummed up to the house site.  We followed corky along as he spread corn meal as an offering.

Corky beating his drum as we make peace with our land.

Once we reach the house clearing, Barb recites blessings to each of the directions of the compass: east, south, west, and north.  Corky spread more cornmeal along the site of where the house is to go.  I follow along getting covered in ticks and taking pictures.  Finally Christine and I make our own offering in the form of a hair plucked from our head and we say a short silent prayer.

Spreading corn meal and drumming at the house site. This is about where the driveway and garage is going.

I’m really glad Barb and Corky were willing to do this for us, kind of like our first house-warming present.  One of the main reasons we’re moving out there is to be closer to nature and instill a sense of respect and partnership with nature in ourselves.  Blessing the land and letting her know that we mean no harm will hopefully help keep us, the land and all of our workers safe and protected during the course of the project.  All of which is very important to us on a very personal level.  The land is looking pretty rough right now but I’m sure it’ll bounce back once we start getting the house up.

Tomorrow is Monday so that means back to work for me as well as on the job site.  Also I’ve got an existing house whose bushes and grass look horrible so I need to get them whipped into shape.  Another day, another adventure I’m sure.

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