springing back

We just had our one year anniversary of the timber frame raising here at the Vermont Street Project. Started digging in March, raised the frame in May, worked through the summer of 106 degree days and a fall of finishing details, moved in the week before Christmas... then slept. For the last 4 months we've slept, at least in this journaling world.

But last week we opened our eyes to find the ecoroof ready to be installed on the studio, and knew it was time to stand up, arch the back in a slow, body-yawn type of motion like the cat-post-nap, and git back at 'er. Thanks for checking back once in a while. Thank you Silke, Jennifer, even you Josh for the gentle reminders. Thanks for the kind interest. Perhaps I'm back. I do, not surprisingly, have a great deal to say.The studio isn't complete, except for the exterior, but when it is it will be my Portland work place and a one bedroom apartment you could stay at... for a short time! Unlike the main house, which has a metal roof and is designed to catch rainwater in a sistern for drinking, bathing et al, the studio has a pretty flat pitch. We wanted to play a bit with timbers and post modernism. This gave us the opportunity to place dirt and plants up there. Ecoroof, green roof, living roof. All the same thing and there's ecological benefit. Not a ton, but some.

In a heavy urban setting, plants on top can help mitigate the heat-island created by too much concrete, asphalt and rubber in one place. Chicago comes to mind as a city that has embraced this effort. I don't live in a heavy urban setting. Here's my list of value for this roof:
1) Initial storm surges from hard rains tend to overload the storm water runoff in our city. The soils and plantings can be one small part of lessening this by holdng on to some of this water for a bit. 2) Of lesser value, the plantings will actually help the roof lengthen its life, thereby requiring less material overtime. This is done simply by blocking the ultraviolet and harsh sun.And we enjoyed the process. here's Maxine painting with sedums. We used five varieties of sedum cuttings, which I will be happy to supply you upon request. They were distributed in a lightweight soil mixture of basalt, compost and humus. All I had for structure was about 15lbs/sq.ft available for the saturated soil weight, so we went pretty shallow, just under 3 inches deep. This made us put in a simple irrigation system with a moisture sensor, for those few times in summer when even sedum would die.