There was a lot going on this Easter weekend but we did manage to get some more work done on the East wall.  You can see in the picture above, the temporary framing support for the window next to the opening for our sliding glass door.  We wanted to have the narrowest possible “post” between the window and door so we created one from the same material that the Faswall blocks are made out of.  I ripped down panels that are actually meant to be used for raised garden beds, and formed a vertical box beam.   Because of the recycled wood content in this material, I was able to cut it on the table saw. We added a piece of rigid foam insulation and two sticks of rebar going up through the beam. The rebar actually extends down into the foundation.




After being sealed up, it will get filled with our lightweight concrete mix.


While we managed to get much of the wall blocks in place, we didn’t get a chance to fill them.  Hopefully that will happen next weekend.


Better Than Television – Cemento-Vision

Today was a great mileStone (forgive the pun).  We mixed concrete to fill in the block wall on our East end.


pastedGraphic.pdfIt all started with a mix of Portland Cement, sand, 3/8” gravel, and ground up polystyrene foam  (scraps from our forming material). This blend created a lightweight concrete mix that is a little easier to handle and uses up a byproduct of our building process.


pastedGraphic_1.pdfJeff commented on how mesmerizing it was to watch the concrete spin in the mixer. pastedGraphic_2.pdf


You can just make out the white bits of foam in the mix.  To make the pellets of styrofoam, I boxed in an area with the blocks large enough to hold an electric lawn mower. pastedGraphic_3.pdfpastedGraphic_4.pdfpastedGraphic_5.pdfpastedGraphic_6.pdf


I then covered the bin with a cloth and ran the lawnmower which produced a pile of little pellets. After sifting them through hardware cloth into a stock tank,  we ended up with the fourth ingredient for our lightweight concrete. Or is it a big barrel of cottage cheese?



If it is a barrel of cottage cheese, did you put ketchup in it as i know you like that combo.
Monday, May 23, 2011 – 12:42 PM
My secret is out.
Monday, May 23, 2011 – 05:38 PM
looking good
looking good,’ I hope too build soon I have a ridge feeled with tree it go’s stright UP ….I would like a under ground home…I will keep comeing back to your ”dragonflyhill”  love it…Good Luck
Thursday, May 26, 2011 – 05:23 PM



“Wall” is for finally starting to put up the end wall.  “E” is for the East end. It is also for energy efficient, eco-friendly and the E in GREEN.

pastedGraphic.pdfWe are using a dry stack wall building system called Faswall.  It is made by a local company (Philomath) Shelterworks, out of ground wood pallets and cement.  In the picture you can see the inserts of insulation.  Once we have stacked these, we will fill the voids with concrete.  We end up with a super strong, insulated wall.

This is really nice material to work with as you can use common woodworking tools to cut it.



A small electric chainsaw works great

for making notches in the Faswall and shaping the block to fit our curves.


There will be a couple of plugs in the wall so we had to run conduit to the receptacles.   I had to find our old rebar cutter which was buried under a  pile of lumber.  I didn’t think we would have to deal with any more rebar but there is some in the wall.


We could only build the wall so high until the electrical inspector comes to check out the conduit. Then we can start filling up the wall with concrete.  Also, we are going to be making the concrete ourselves with an electric cement mixer.  It will be easier for us to fill up to the level of the windows. (reflected in the gaps you see in the first and last photo), before continuing to stack and fill the blocks.  We already have a pile of sand ready and our gravel will be delivered tomorrow.  We will also be putting ground polystyrene foam in the mix to make it “light weight”.