That's not quite where I am. I'm actually in the barn, typing downstairs whilst Elmer sleeps upstairs in the new 4 bed mezzanine, fully equipped for two adults and two children to sleep in, or at least, just lie there at night...
The bale house isn't one of those projects that you can get a heap of people to slap up together in a rush unfortunately. It's a crafted house that needs time and attention, and certain things just haven't come together at the right time. If we had a simple gib board ceiling, and simple (ordinary) walls, we'd have been inside months ago. At the moment, the bales are in, and most of the house is waiting to be plastered. The netting that covers the bales ready for plastering takes some time to attach, and the plasterer can't finish until that's all done.
I feel tired just thinking about all the other things that have delayed us, but I see this as the ugly, final sprint to the finish. At SOME point soon I will live in this house, and at the moment it requires a lot of patience to put up with living in this very basic barn, when I stand in the house and dream of how wonderful it will be to actually LIVE there.
The digger finally got fixed after 3 weeks of sitting here broken. Look at the wonderful things it has done to my lawn in order to make way for an electrical cable :(
Oh and I may as well get in here before Steven does - today I reversed the whole back half of my car into the trench trying to get Elmer to kindy on time. Steven hauled me out with his van. I'm 9 months pregnant! These errors are bound to occur!
Living area. There are still about 20 bales to go in upstairs:
The kitchen, all baled and ready to go:
Guest room, semi plastered:
The utility room:
Oh and remember how we had a tiling disaster, but then it turned out there was going to be tiling done last week after all, in time for bathroom installation on the weekend!!!? Yeah, that didn't happen. The bathroom:
Self building a house like this (with numerous unexpected obstacles along the way) has been the most stressful, challenging, and emotional journey of my life. When it is all over I will be on here to tell you all how amazing it is too.
Coming next, the state of the house.......
The guest room. Plasterer comes in tomorrow to do the first coat on the straw bales. There are THREE coats of plaster. Which doesn't surprise me because most things in this house take the long, complicated route :)
Detail of the netting used to create the curve next to a door opening:
As with any build, we've had unforseen delays. For example this weekend the tiler who was coming to tile the bathroom before the plumber fits it out next week, didn't turn up. I was mildly unhappy about that. We'll have someone in this week though, who should finish on Saturday in time for the plumber. I will ring the toilet man today and shmooze him (I'd quite like a toilet). The digger is still sat on the property, broken. Otherwise things are ploughing ahead!
Photographs that I appear in were taken by Liana of course!
I find myself hoping that baby number two is just like Elmer. He is such a happy, sensitive, sociable, funny little boy. He makes me laugh every day. He's very selective about friends his own age, but loves spending time with older children and adults, and bonds quickly with those he likes. He's a little behind with his speech, but comes out with new, often hilarious things every day.
He loves kissing, cuddling, and holding hands. Often if I am sat next to Elmer at the table or infront of the television he will reach over without looking and rest his hand on mine - something he's done since he was tiny, and something I'm sure to miss when he is 17.
Elmer has great empathy, so when he is playing outside and the dogs come over to lick his face, he will shout "go away dogs!", but then as they walk off, he'll watch them go and say quietly, "POOR dogs." When his cars crash on the coffee table he'll tell them "it's okay... it's okay", and fetch the tow truck to haul them off to the garage. He loves to make us laugh, and check if we are happy ("mummy happy?"). He loves dancing, chasing the chickens, chatting to family on Skype, being outside, cars, trains, diggers, fish, tunnels, insects, "apple and cheese in a bowl", mummy's tummy, being hurled onto the sofa and tickled.
Here is my favourite recent photograph of Elmer, taken by Isabella Harrex. My beautiful 3 year old.
The gib board is all done, ready for the gib stoppers tomorrow who will make it look all neat and tidy. The floor is finished (apart from the inside of cupboards). My walk in wardrobe space is ready (crucial), and other behind the scenes things like switch board wiring has been done.
The digger came to dig a trench for the main electricity cable yesterday, but it broke on arrival so is waiting to be fixed.
This week should also see the tiling in the bathroom done, ready for installation of bathroom goods. The toilet system man showed up. I asked him how long until he could instal the toilet and he said "oooh, a couple of weeks?" I gave him a stern look and explained the gravity of the situation (I'm enormous so he didn't need any extra visual clues), and it turns out he can come next week.
The living area (above) floor finished.... and the kitchen below:
(that's Greg the builder's head poking up above the stairs there!)
Guest bedroom bales starting to go in:
Bales in Elmer's room:
Elmer with his earphones after a cake-break:
Our bedroom upstairs (less bales needed up here so it looks a bit more compete. The floor will be carpeted at some point in the future:
(his Dad is an electrician so we can trust the wires :)
I do normally wash his face...
So, we are still waiting on.... the kitchen, the bathroom, the interior straw bale walls, the plastering, the painting, the floor sanding, the floor tinting etc., the window sills, water, electricity, a few bits and pieces outside, and probably about 50 things that aren't essential at the moment but still need doing. 2 weeks to go.