Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Building the Vardo: Wrapped up against the weather

VARDOFORTWO is wrapped up against the weather, winter (snow) may be showing up this weekend. Pete's out getting more light bulbs to keep him going on the work inside. Thanks to Bob from our Seattle MCS Support Community we have a Rainbow vacuum cleaner (it uses water to capture dirt and dust) to clean the dust inside the Vardo. What you cannot see under that tarp is the front wall and overhang for the porch which are all painted and waxed.

Where we are with the challenges last posted?

1. Mold Solution. The Spori-Clean seems to be doing the job of eating up the mold on the birch roof underlayment.

2. Dealing with the dampness. Alternating between a small space heater (which Pete uses only when he's working inside and can keep an eye on it) and leaving a light on over night, the dampness and moisture seems to be less of a problem.

What's happening inside VARDOFORTWO?

1. The window trim is being painted. So far we're using Garden Seed Milk Paint. This color absorbs and 'fades' into the oak, so more coats are needed to cover.

2. The felt weather stripping needs to be applied around the windows. Pete's going to try stapling rather than using an glues or adhesives.

2. Deciding on the inside color(s). The un-painted ceiling is filling the vardo with the smell of a fine oak barrel. We need to choose the milk paint and neutralize that smell. This will be the real test of the milk paint because we'll be living in here. Send us all the positive energy you can spare as we move forward with this continuing experiment.

3. The verdict on insulation is still out. We have the recycled denim waiting in the wings...if any other MCS safe builders are out there with a solution that has worked for them we'd love to know about it.

4. Still hunting for front door hinges and door knob. Framing will get done soon. Slim's working on the door.


Kate said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog! I appreciate it. I've been reading you blog over here and following your progress - quite an undertaking you have taken on but promises to have wonderful benefits!

VardoForTwo said...

Hi Kate, Glad to see you here. Yes, it is quite the undertaking. As you know, it takes what it takes to transform disability into something YET TO BE. I appreciate your journey, and thanks for your support,too.

VARDOFORTWO visitors go to Kate's blog (click on Kate above) for more inspiration from a woman whose got a story to tell!

Jeanne said...


Wow! I'm so sorry you are going through so much!!


linda said...

Hi Mokihana! Thank you so much for sharing your Vardo journey. It is beautiful to see! I wonder if you know about the jar test for materials? You put something into a jar to isolate it, and then in a clean environment, when you are feeling ok, take a whiff and see how you do. Eventually leave it open beside you overnight to see if any delayed reactions occur. I know someone who's MCS was made unbearable after they used some of the denim insulation. All of us are different, so you might be ok with it, but wanted to let you know it isn't safe for everyone, and to test your own reactions before using it. Have you tried looking at Environmental Building News (EBN) to see if they've discussed green and safe insulation? Some of their articles are free.

Anonymous said...

I just checked out Tom's blog, and reflected on your comment about the value of mother earth. I ended up with this question:
Is there value in sod houses for people with MCS? Or dugout houses?

VardoForTwo said...

Thank you Jeanne, Linda we are thrilled to know you are with us on the journey. Like my favorite astrologer Elsa P has said about these times (when Pluto is in the sign of Capricorn 2008-2025) it's important to share our suffering/challenges in public ... no more secrets, because in the sharing is the power to transform.

Linda: I do know about the bottle and sniff test and have done it with the insulation...the "eventually leave it open beside you overnight ..." I haven't done. You're right though delayed reactions. I know it isn't safe for everybody. And EBN I have not looked at them. I'll check them out. Thanks again for the information. What a blessing!

Is there value in sod houses ...?
-The simple answer in our opinion is yes. Before my sensitivities blossomed to this multiple level, Pete and I love the cob home, thought about and talked with Linda Smiley of The Cob Cottage, in Cottage Grove Oreg. I HOPE SOD HOUSE = COB HOUSE IN YOUR MIND. We love the concepts of cob. Linda's book THE HAND-SCULPTED HOUSE is filled with wonderful details/stories/value of cob or sod houses.

The bigger answer is:

-The specifics of whether a cob/sod home would be safe and nurturing for a person with MCS might be affected by some of these things:
1. Heating. Most cob houses we have heard about are heated with wood heat. A person would need to be 'good with' that. If it was possible to fit the cob with conduit and electricity than maybe that's a solution.
2. Mother Earth. Of course any cob builder needs to know about the site; ie. you're not building within 10 miles of a toxic dump site ...In a perfect world all earth is pure. Then there are other things to consider, and again I refer you to the experts like the Cob People for those details.
3. Mold. That is an issue if the sod is not dried and sealed (many use milk paint) and kept free of dampness.

We aren't experts on cob-sod or dugout, so if you seek more info I'd check with the cob people and talk with them awhile:
PO BOX 123
PH./FAX 541-042-2005

Mokihana and Pete