With winter’s icy fingers starting to prick us here in Asheville, the Nauhaus team prioritized protecting our water supply by building a well house. To the rescue came Andy McFate, a local craftsman whose fine work can be found here. It took a total of 3.5 days of hard and, at times, muddy, work, but the house finally rose. Check out the pix to see its evolution.
First, begin by deconstructing hill – made easier or more difficult, depending on your perspective, by the torrential rains the prior day.
Next up: The foundation. This well house was built for the long term. This aint no fake rock cover.
Step Three: Frame It.
Finally, finish it off with a roof, insulation on the inside and, just as importantly, cedar shakes covered with Rainforest eco-friendly sealer to match the Nauhaus. Awesome job, Andy!
Yikes – Fall temps seem to have set in literally overnight. Brrrr. Ahh – but here inside the Nauhaus, with its amply thick Hempcrete walls along with a multitude of insulating tricks, it’s quite toasty — all without the benefit of any heat source (other than a few carbon life forms).
Here we see that while it is a brisk 43 F outside, it remains 69 F inside (along with 62% humidity). The lighting on the picture needs an apology and you have to figure the inside/outside thermometer is only so accurate, but regardless – the numbers speak for themselves. We’ll continue to check back on how these temp variations track over the coming winter months…
One of the unexpected benefits of living in the Nauhaus has been the proliferation of visitors – a mix of familiars and strangers – who come to admire the finished product.
Most recently, David Madera, (who, as head of Hemp-Technologies.com, provided some of the raw materials for the Nauhaus), stopped by accompanied by Joy Cramer, the Deputy Minister of Housing and Community Development for the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Canada, it turns out, is increasingly looking to renewable materials like hemp to rethink how it goes about tackling the notion of green building. We wish them the best of luck!
OK, so one of the more interesting let alone heavy) remnants of the construction process were these ancient clay segments of sewer line which have been slowly sinking into the Earth.
We Betas came to ask ourselves: what can be done with these? Planters, like those in the front garden? Compost bins (but how to turn them over easily)? Pillars to anchor the greenway? Well, we’re open to your suggestions. For now, we applied some creativity of sorts and erected a chimnea-style fire-pit for the Fall evenings to come….
One of the biggest surprises we, The Beta Family, have enjoyed since moving into the Nauhaus is how it has plunged us deeper into nature. Specifically, with our bird friends, whose songs drown out all but the most obscene man-made whirrings. The air is often filled with the staccato caws of bluebirds, the Star-Trekky phaser bursts of Cardinals and the plucky chirps of the Chickadee. The loudest contributor, however, is perhaps a pair of Wrens who have been industriously building a nest in the rafters of the front porch. Here’s a quick snapshot of one hard at work:
What’s interesting is that we assumed these loud little suckers (their own machine-gun bursts echo nicely throughout the house when the windows are open) were House Wrens. Not so. In fact, thanks to a handy iPhone App that we highly recommend called iBird ($4.99 at the iTunes store), we quickly ascertained that our housemates are Carolina Wrens and that they like to build several nests to confuse predators. Sounds smart, but didn’t the Wrens get the memo about the house being done with construction?
As we, The Beta Family, begin to acclimate to our new surroundings at the Nauhaus, we have begun to notice some peculiar behavior from our neighbors from time to time. Specifically, they tend to stop and point at the house – sometimes from within their SUVs – often not realizing we are sitting on the porch in the foreground. We have forgiven them, though, since the living or green roof, GROOF, is an eye-catcher to be sure.
Greetings from the Nauhaus. As a brief introduction, we are the Beta Family – though you can call us Steph, Darren and Maggie (our mutt of unknown lineage). We have dubbed ourselves the Betas since we have taken up residence in the Nauhaus while the Alphas – Jeff, Jeannine and Jackson – have moved further north (for now) to tackle new challenges. As we’ve settled in over our first few weeks, we can’t stop smiling at how lucky we feel to be living in such a beautiful and peaceful place. We’re also humbled by all the blood, sweat and tears that were shed in its construction. We hope to honor every contributor’s hard work by sharing bits of our experiences in living at the Nauhaus while making our own contributions to its evolution as well (we’ve started that endeavor in the garden). We look forward to keeping in touch.