Saturday, April 26, 2008

Houston, We Had a Problem

Our stone/tile guy finally made it back to the house after dealing with some family health issues. He spent one day prepping the fireplace for the stone and another day getting the stone up. We got the fireplace back in its place but still slightly out from the stone wall.

Later that evening I went to push it back with the facade back into the its niche. But discovered that I had gone back as far as I could and it was still 2 inches out too far. Yikes! Lots of phone calls and excitement followed.

Our contractor Joel came over the next day and we pulled the fireplace out again. He brought in a pneumatic chisel and chipped away enough of the original brick for us to be able to slide the fireplace back where it should be. A fine layer of dust was everywhere
but in the end it was a very small price to pay compared to what it could have been. He also met with the county the following day to get the final sign offs on our building permit. So we're done as far as the county is concerned.

The black granite hearth and mantel is being fabricated right now. Once they are in we will be done. Well, almost....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why Bother?

Michael Pollan wrote an editorial recently in the New York Times entitled "Why Bother?" which addresses the basic question of "Is eating local or walking to work really going to reduce my carbon footprint?" He raises the question that for every effort we make here is it offset by someone else on the planet.

He argues that it's easy to be overwhelmed by the statistics and get into a feeling of helplessness. He says that "cheap energy" and "specialization" have given us global warming and fostered a feeling of not being able to provide for ourselves. Which brings us to the idea of the local or backyard garden and growing your own food and breaking down the feeling that food must be provided by others.

Pollan writes:

"But there are sweeter reasons to plant that garden, to bother. At least in this one corner of your yard and life, you will have begun to heal the split between what you think and what you do, to commingle your identities as consumer and producer and citizen.

Chances are, your garden will re-engage you with your neighbors, for you will have produce to give away and the need to borrow their tools.

The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world."

Go plant that garden.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beginning of the End?

Our tile/stone guy came back this week. He was on another job and also had to deal with family members with medical issues. All he had left to do was the stone on the fireplace and it's not like we really need the fireplace right now. So as long as we had our working kitchen an ugly fireplace was not the end of the world.

So he was back in on Tuesday and he did some cement prep work. Today he put up most of the stone tile. Tomorrow he will grout and he will hopefully help me get the fireplace back into the box and get it hooked to gas and electricity.

The hearth on the ground and the mantel will be honed black granite. We got an orphan slab at a good price and they will come in next week to measure. So hopefully the fireplace will be completed just in time for summer!