Our earthship build has thrown one spotty, mushy banana after another at us since we began in April 2014 and I'm proud to say we've eaten them all and have acquired a taste for whatever life has decided to toss our direction. You can peruse past posts to see what heartaches I'm talking about but to be clear: THERE WERE A LOT!
Last week, another was thrown at us when we were informed that several residents of our town felt our home-in-progress was an eyesore. Someone actually thought we had stopped working on the home altogether because they didn't feel we were moving quickly enough. Now, this isn't the whole story, but we don't feel the internet a place to fully air out our laundry and so I shall cut to the point. We were essentially given a bit of a shove to get under-roof as quickly as possible or our present life would have to change drastically.
Part of the dream behind building our earthship home was doing every single bit of it ourselves. Zac is one of the handiest, most determined, clever people I know and so after hearing this news, we were both quite devastated because we knew that "our dream" as we had imagined it was about to slip from our grasp. We knew that if we hoped to be under-roof in time for winter and if we wanted to appease the individuals who weren't pleased with our progress, that we needed to kick it into high gear and be done with the shell of our home once and for all. The first step in this direction was explaining our earthship dream home and the process that goes along with building such a home to all of our nearest neighbors in the hopes of winning them over.
And so, after sobbing together for literally a couple of minutes and allowing a small pity party to take place, Zac and I packed the family in the car and knocked on neighbors' doors sharing with them how our home-to-be is different from the typical stick frame homes being tossed up in suburbs everywhere. We had to show them the family whose lives were being affected by complaints and explain how hard we had actually been working on our house despite the fact that progress from their point of view wasn't apparent. We weren't trying to conduct a witch hunt and weren't concerned too much with exactly who had complained and we wanted to ensure that came across. More than anything, we felt we must not have done a good enough job sharing our process and progress with our neighbors. Fortunately, everyone appeared to respond positively and were comfortable with allowing us to proceed how we had been and so came the next step: Figuring out how we were to work more quickly than we had been.
Interestingly enough, when we received this news, Zac was only just beginning his first day of his month-long hiatus from work. We had decided in the spring that he would take off one month to hyper-focus on our home and so this news put a bit of a damper on our spirits as I'm sure you can imagine. After winning over our nearest neighbors (or seemingly so), we spoke at more length with our families about the matter and were given the option of borrowing money to help us work more quickly. We had turned this down in the past as we wanted to do each bit ourselves, but with mounting pressure from the powers that be, we decided to take the loan and begin contracting some of the steps out to ensure we were under-roof by winter.
The last two days of this past work week were consumed with phone call after phone call attempting to work out the details on various aspects of our home. We made tremendous progress this past weekend in getting the trench dug out for our cisterns, placing and plumbing the cisterns and laying out and grading all of the gravel before the plumbing was put in (to occur this week). The next steps will be pouring the foundation, bond beam and footer, framing the home, installing windows and roofing the home. We're still trying to iron out some key issues but feel confident they will be worked out in time for us to move into our home and spend the winter months working on the interior.
|Adding a layer of sand as an even base for the cisterns to be lowered in|
|Laying and grading the gravel in preparation for plumbing and concrete|
|Zac raking out the gravel|
|2 of 3 1,700 gallon cisterns in their final resting place. To be buried into the berm in the back of our home.|
If we had received this news a year ago, I feel we would have been paralyzed with sadness, uncertainty and fear. We may not have known how to proceed. This year, we allowed ourselves to be ruled by the negative emotions for only a few literal minutes before jumping into action mode while at the same time determining the worst case scenario and how we could make that work if necessary. Now I'm not trying to pat ourselves on the back but I truly have never been prouder of our family. Okay, so I guess I'm kind of patting ourselves on the back. We chose to channel our collective energy as a family in a positive direction and with our immediate action, we were notified that we could proceed as we had been as long as serious progress was underway.
And now, not even a week later, I'm pleased to say that we are now happier than we have ever been as a family and feel reinvigorated by the negativity we received. We know that while the next steps won't be completed in the manner we would have liked, we will be under-roof even faster than originally planned and are surrendering ourselves to the process. In fact, with each hurdle we've come across, as long as we continued to keep pushing forward, we've found that we've become immensely stronger. There's just something powerfully fantastic about continuing to overcome barriers despite the naysayers. Are we stressed? Sure. But we really have never felt more alive or more connected as a family than we do today.
Building an earthship is a tremendous journey but certainly not one for the fainthearted. Expect the worst but keep your head up. If you're interested in building one, this may burst your bubble a bit, but I think you must develop the makeup of a cockroach to withstand all the rotten bananas thrown at you when you choose this path. Five years ago, we would have likely thrown in the towel after the first major hurdle. This year, we gladly eat all the mushy bananas.