a brutal and tasty bush

Well everyday now I say to myself, by golly we're really in it now. It's that old feeling I'd get down inside when the raft would stop responding very much to my oar as we entered the next set of rapids on, say, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, and I knew that I had to keep cool, make fast decisions, and pull like crazy. There is no hitting that eddy now.

Many decisions are the mundane, like the brand and application method of the below grade waterproofing. (A straight up parge coat of 3 parts sand to one part cement, mixed real loose and slather on somewhat smoothly, followed by a resin-style waterproofer, followed by a dimple
membrane to let moisture drop down to the footer drains. With this, we can use the clay-soil from the site as backfill without worrying about leaks on the foundation wall.)

Or try this: we have extra polyisocyanurate insulation inserts that came out of the Faswall blocks, because the city made us due a bunch of bond beams that precluded their use. Throw them out? Bad eco form and waste of money already spent. Send them back? Their unique size of 7"x8"x2" was special for us, so I doubt that's an option. What about lining the inside of the block on top of the footer, as an additional thermal block against perimeter loss from the radiant slab. Bingo, IF... this insulation is rated under slab. Each detail, each decision is its own 1-4 hour detour.

Then there comes any of the monsters, and today I visited our two window finalists, Kolbe and Jeldwen, to try to wrap up not only the manufacturer, but... the cladding type and color,(aluminum, red sashes, dark bronze or black frames?), wood species,(FSC certified Douglas-fir) hardware color,(dark metal-ish), stile widths, (narrow, it's about the view) glass types, (366 double-coated low-emissivity rating on the south and west, 270 low-e on the north and east) screen types, (upgraded for clearer mesh in higher-use areas), push vs. roto awning openers, (wow the new push out awnings and casements rock,) and more. This level of fenestration detail comes long AFTER you figure out where the darn things even go on the house.

But for relaxation, then, there's blackberry bush fighting, as we try to wrestle control of our own wetlands backyard. This is NOT a sport for the sissy or weak of spirit. The Himalayan blackberry has officially been labeled an enemy of the state, here, in spite of offering up some of the most scumptous and plentiful berries I've ever had. In the early fall you simply walk down any street or into any field and pick all you want for jams, syrups and fresh eating. But like so much of the if-it's-too-good-to-be-true-it-might-not-be world, this plant chokes out everything, and grows an impenetrable and nasty crush of lethal mesh. Even field mice won't nest there.

Legions of volunteers take their Saturday and go to hand pulling the stuff from parks, fields, green spots all over town. it's a win-able fight, but not without some scratches.