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Aaron Yarbrough

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since Jan 31, 2013
Austin, Texas
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Recent posts by Aaron Yarbrough

Carolyne Castner wrote:

Tyler Ludens wrote:Howdy!

If chickens are too loud for your HOA, what about quail?

I'd be completely happy with quail. Unfortunately the HOA contract thingy specifies "all varieties of fowl" as well as "all varieties of livestock and animals excluding dogs, cats, and small animal pets."
They're a pain in the butt. I honestly wish we had chosen somewhere else to live...

We did attempt to have the bylaws changed by bringing the chicken issue up for a vote: Unfortunately we didn't get the minimum 75% of households voting on the issue, so even though the "for" votes outnumbered the "against" votes we didn't have enough total votes to get it changed.

HOA board has said we now have to wait a year before we can attempt to have it brought up for a vote again.

I think you could skate quail underneath the watch of an HOA. I keep mine in a 2' (W) X 4' (L) X 2' (H) movable pen that could easily be a guinea pig residence. In the past I've kept them in a hutch on my apartment balcony. If you have a privacy fence no one would be the wiser.
2 months ago
Sketchup Make 2017 is still available for the desktop and free

Sketchup 2017

And there's an plug in for timber framing:

Timber Framing Plug In

With the plug in if you have a tenon it will make a mortise in the adjoining piece. It also generates cut sheets.

I second the quail option. I even have some quail roosters and they're not loud at all.
2 months ago
We installed a 4 kilowatt off grid solar power system on our timber frame cabin. I made a 15 minute video covering the complete install along with some commentary.

The video includes:
- Installing ground rods
- Wiring main circuit breaker
- Wiring the inverter, charge controller and combiner
- Making battery cables and wiring battery bank
- Installing racking system on a standing seam metal roof
- Installing solar panels

Researching for this project I found information on each topic separately but I thought it would be nice to have concise summary of the entire process. So...

4 months ago
Hey Charlie,

Boiled linseed oil includes additives to get it to dry faster (12-24 hours. Natural linseed oil takes a few days to dry. I'm using linseed oil to protect the timbers on my timber frame.

As for lime washing, during the Appropriate Technology Course (ATC) at Wheaton labs we applied lime wash to a building with wood siding. It takes several coats but is easy to apply. I'd be interested to hear how that's holding up.

I'm with Mike, I would replace the cracked battens before applying your finish.
4 months ago
I think applying your own earthen plaster is definitely realistic as long as you have the time and you're okay with highly repetitive tasks. We're in the process of plastering our 400 square foot cabin. It's timber frame with straw light clay infilled walls. For our base coat we're getting fill dirt($20/yard) from our local landscape supply yard. Loads vary some but the mix is roughly 60% sand, 15% silt, 25% clay. We use a 1/4" screen and add chopped straw(~7.50/bale). For our final coat we're using ~ 2 parts screened sharp sand(~$45/yard), 1 part bagged C & C ball clay(it's around $12 a bag here but the final coat doesn't use much) and iron oxide pigment for coloring.

As for applying our bricks, it looks like there's enough of a mechanical key for the base coat to hold on. We plastered over some rough finished framing elements and across studs and the base coat held. The best thing would be to test a small section and see how it holds up

Responding to your other points, tool buy in is fairly low:
- Heavy duty drill and mixing paddle (~$100)
- Trowels (~$60)
- Buckets
- Concrete/Mortar Mixer (Optional)

Here are some video links:

This is an amazing 7 minute video that I've easily watched a dozen times

This is video from applying our base coat. We're currently working on the finish coat. I'll have something up soon.

4 months ago
The door at Allerton Abbey inspired me to make my own custom, extra thick door.

Here's a video about the build

4 months ago
I conventionally framed my internal walls with 2X4s and infilled with straw light clay. You could probably infill with cob using the same technique. Just make sure your framing is well secured and use a mechanical key to give your infill material something to grab on to.
4 months ago
I built a cob shed using a rubble trench foundation. The trench was lined garden fabric. The French drain in directly under the exterior wall. In retrospect, I would have offset the French drain just outside the wall to put my mind at ease that it wasn't crushed. I would have also spent the extra money for the perforated pipe with a sock.

Here's a link to my blog post about it.

Fourish years on on the foundation is stable and there aren't any water issues apart from water will sometimes wick up the exterior plaster because I didn't build an appropriate stem wall with a moisture break.

I think the biggest thing is to landscape your site so that water drains away from/around your foundation. The rubble trench is more of a last defense.
4 months ago